Navigating the Airport With Your Spouse

Photo by Matthew Smith on Unsplash

Photo by Matthew Smith on Unsplash

By Maggie Reimherr

There are two types of people in the world. The first like to roll up to their flight gate at the last possible second, avoiding unnecessary airport time. The second like to arrive to the airport 2 hours early, snacks and magazines, and have a drink or 3.

The odds are good that you will marry your opposite.

I’ll admit it. Anything that has to do with schedules or being on time sends me into an anal-retentive tailspin. Once I book a flight, you know I’ve thought through all contingencies standing between me and my vacation. I will get to the airport early, and I will be on that plane with my seat buckled before Zone 2 is even called to board.

I’m sure you can guess Derek is the exact opposite. He likes to saunter to the gate, even when he knows the boarding process is well underway. I’ve tried to teach him to at least power walk. No dice.

In an attempt to be less of a high-anxiety person, I’ve tried to adjust to Derek’s airport ways.

Last spring, we went on a trip to Mexico and our travel plan ended up being very convoluted. We booked the trip when we lived in Boston but then moved to Atlanta. We realized changing our international tickets would be more expensive than buying new tickets to Boston and taking our original flights.

On the Atlanta leg of the journey, I took our local transit system to the airport (that’s pretty much all it's good for). Derek beat me there, and I remained cool as a cucumber, breezing in to check our bags and head to the terminal.

Then I got the grand idea we should go to the Priority Pass lounge to grab complimentary dinner and drinks. Thanks for the perks, Chase Sapphire credit card. Our flight was out of Terminal C. The lounge is in Terminal F. But we had some time to kill, so it was going to be totally fine.

My ideal airport setup - chilling with a beverage, passport easily accessible, not rushing. 

My ideal airport setup - chilling with a beverage, passport easily accessible, not rushing. 

I was almost finished with my second beer when I got a notification saying our flight was boarding. My heart started beating faster.

“Derek, we have to go. NOW.”

He rolled his eyes and collected his belongings. Derek then decided to make a pit stop into the restroom before we left the lounge.

This filled me with pure, blind rage.

“YOU COULDN’T HOLD IT??? WHERE IS YOUR IMPULSE CONTROL? WE HAVE TO GO.”

In a huff, I took off, and Derek followed… still rolling his eyes.

Because we’d never taken the ATL “plane train” from Terminal F, we got turned around trying to find it. Somehow, we ended up in the back hallways of the airport, walking between terminals.

This is fine, I assured myself. We’ll walk fast.

Apparently, Derek didn’t get the memo that the situation necessitated speed walking. He kept telling me, “Hey, slow down. It’s going to be fine. We’ll make it.”

“No, I’d prefer to walk fast. Do you not understand that if we don’t make this flight, our entire trip to Mexico is TOTALLY SCREWED?!?!”

“Maggie, calm down. Breathe.”

...Oh no, he did NOT just tell me to calm down.

I decided, by force of sheer will, the best course of action was, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

So instead I passive-aggressively huffed and puffed all the way to our gate.

At this point Derek was pissed because he was sweating like crazy, I was being rude, and he knew in his heart that he was right and that we were making this flight.

But DO NOT tell an uptight traveler it’s going to be fine. In our minds, it’s already doomsday. We’ve missed the flight, there’s no way we’ll make it on another, and we’re destined for a staycation at Six Flags instead of 7 days of sun and fruity drinks and tacos in Mexico.

We finally got to our gate. It was almost cleared out by then, but they were still boarding. Blessings and praises.

Here’s a fun thing about me: once I see that the danger has passed and everything is going to be fine, my mood changes. I can flip a switch and pretend I wasn’t acting like a speed-walking lunatic 2 minutes ago.

Derek is always baffled by my sudden change in behavior, and it usually makes him mad.

We settled into our seats on the plane, and I acted like nothing was wrong. I began snuggling against him and telling him how excited I was for the trip.

He stared at me in bewilderment and said, “Hey, please don’t act like the world is ending if we’re not at the gate when boarding starts. Ever again.”

My only suggestion? “Maybe let’s get to the airport at different times and make our way to the gate separately from now on. It’s better that way.”

And with that, we settled into our free Wifi journey on Jetblue. We didn’t speak to each other again until we were about halfway to Boston.

Here’s the big picture: in a year and a half of marriage, we’re still figuring it out and adjusting to each other’s quirks. In many ways, Derek and I are incredibly similar. This is what makes us compatible and what makes our marriage so good. In other ways, we couldn’t be more different. Learning to adapt, and sometimes take one for the team by doing things your spouse’s way, is good. But sometimes, you just need to arrive at the airport separately and do your own thing.

We haven’t done that yet, but if anything like this happens again, it’s worth trying. For now, I’m trying to change my ways and freakin’ relax. Derek is giving me more wiggle room so we can actually take our time at the airport. This is one of those cases in which marriage takes some compromise. And every bad airport experience is a learning experience.

Also my ideal travel situation. Apologies to the man in the background.

Also my ideal travel situation. Apologies to the man in the background.

What's Really Happening When You Cry About Pasta

Photo by Paweł Rękas on Unsplash

Photo by Paweł Rękas on Unsplash

By Maggie Reimherr

Picture this: it’s a Thursday night during a rough week. I’ve gotten some news I don’t like. I’ve stayed at work a little later than usual that evening to make up for the hour and a half I missed that morning for a grand trifecta at the doctor’s office: blood tests, a tetanus shot, and a, er, women's exam. Then my commute takes over an hour.

When I finally get home, Derek is barely 5 minutes into cooking dinner. I’m usually a fairly reasonable person. But when I get home at 7:30 and my spicy sausage and bell pepper pasta isn’t ready, I am outraged.

I start stomping around the apartment passive-aggressively cleaning whatever I can find. What else am I supposed to do while Derek makes dinner? Relax? I can’t freakin’ relax. I am HANGRY.

Derek tries to cheerily chat with me, and I am NOT HAVING IT. We finally sit down for dinner, and at the table, he tries to make friendly conversation. I brush him off with one-word answers.

Finally Derek asks, “What is going on?”

I look at him like the answer is obvious and say, “Dinner wasn’t ready when I got home. For ONCE, I would just like to have my dinner cooked and ready. IT’S THE LEAST YOU CAN DO.”

Oh, okay. That’s how we’re going to deal with this, Maggie. We’re going to be a diva.

I stomp off with our plates and start furiously (and still passive-aggressively) cleaning. Afterwards, I storm into our bedroom to calm down.

It took me a little bit, but I eventually came out to apologize. “I’m sorry for being rude about dinner. There was no reason for that.”

When Derek comes over to hug me, I immediately break into sobs: “I… just… wanted… sausage… pasta!” **weeps into Derek’s chest**

Then: “This… isn’t… really… about… sausage… pasta…” **blubbers** **hyperventilates**

Does this ever happen to y’all? There are larger issues going on, and you don’t know how to deal with them. Instead of confronting your feelings, you decide to take them out on your partner. It’s pretty easy to use the person you live with as your punching bag, especially when they do something that feels unthinkably awful. Like not cooking dinner on your timeline. (This is sarcasm.)

Well, here’s my advice, and please allow me to scream it at the top of my lungs: DON’T. DO. THIS.

In this circumstance, my feelings were related to some outside issues that were beyond my control. They had nothing to do with Derek or our marriage. Faced with something sort of irritating, I projected the real issue onto sausage pasta. Instead of sitting with my feelings and processing through them like a mature adult should do, I made Derek the scapegoat.

I’m not perfect and will never profess to be, but I could’ve done better.

It was clear my frustration wasn’t hanger. Half an hour of quiet reflection would’ve revealed this. Or a quick cardio session while Derek was cooking. Or journaling. (Wow, lots of alternatives to yelling about pasta.)

Luckily, after we hugged it out, Derek was supportive and understanding. He knew I was having a tough week that was causing me to act like a crazy person. He quickly forgave me for taking out my anger on him. I married a good man, and I’m super grateful.

Next time, I’m going to do better. (I originally worded this as “try to do better” but then I thought Yoda would be disappointed in me.)

Via Giphy

Via Giphy

It’s a 3 step process:

  1. Recognize my feelings.
  2. Work them out.
  3. Make Derek my teammate, not my opponent.

Oh, and Derek? Thanks for making that pasta. It was v. tasty. 

I Don't Miss College

Photo by Alex Jones on Unsplash

Photo by Alex Jones on Unsplash

By Derek Reimherr

I’ve been watching all the Facebook announcements about school kicking back up. People are moving into dorms and new apartments, talking about football season, and lamenting the cost of books.

So I’m just gonna come right out and say it: I don’t miss college.

Sure, I got a pang of nostalgia thinking about moving into my dorm for the first time. But my envy ends there.

Don’t get me wrong, my four….and a half….years at The University of Georgia were amazing.

I met some of my best friends, people whose weddings I was in and who were in my weddings. Oh yeah, and I met my wife at school.

I developed a slight obsession with college football. I traveled to almost a dozen away football games, notably going to the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail party (Google it) three times where UGA won all three years. I was also at every single heartbreaking loss (yes, all of them) between the 2009 and 2013 seasons. I even played NCAA Football 2013 so often that I developed a legit win steak playing as Michigan (sorry for all the butt kicking, Tyler).

I was part of an amazing fraternity where I developed lifelong friendships. I planned a formal event in Charleston with several other chapters. I got to participate in Greek life and collect enough date night t-shirts for a quilt. RIP frocket t-shirt collection, it did not survive my transition to adulthood.

I played flag football, ultimate frisbee, and volleyball rec sports. Our flag football team even went to the championship. I’m sure I’ll be reminiscing about that over Yuenglings at Chile’s for years. I even officiated several of those sports as a referee.

Academically speaking, since you know that’s what college is about, I received two degrees. I worked in a psychology research lab for a year and literally carried out the scientific method. I genuinely learned a ton of new, cool things in my time at school. *Nerd alert*

I joined a leadership development program at my church for a year. Including that, I worked 6 internships while I was in college that helped set me up for where I am now vocationally. Plus, I held a number of other part-time jobs which helped me work on my time management skills.

But it’s easy to look back at college with rose colored glasses. Turn over the rock and all of the sudden, you notice all the bugs. They probably came from under the dresser in your dorm. Honestly, there are a bunch of things about college that really sucked.

  1. Not having money really sucked.

    I’m extremely blessed that my parents supported me with food and rent money. Nevertheless, at the end of the semester, I was literally eating baked potatoes and baked beans 5 or 6 meals a week. Have you ever used a coupon book to pay for dates? I did, multiple times. #NoShame

    No matter how many Papa John’s pizzas I delivered, there was no way I could take 16 hours of classes and pay for the university meal plan and rent at the same time. Thanks for the $100 tip that one time Tri Delt girl, but that’s not gonna cover the cost of my $250 economics textbook which will suddenly be worth $3.47 at the bookstore in 3 months.

     

  2. Taking tests every week really sucked.

    I’ll be the first one to admit I hate studying. I was all about some shared Google docs with a student-created study guide. There were a few semesters I barely skated by. And to be honest, do I really need to know the science behind low pressure air systems and how they contribute to weather systems? According to my Geology 1103 tests, I did.

    Forgot about those tests, didn’t you?
     

  3. Dealing with academic pressure to keep financial aid really sucked.

    Did everyone forget how stressful it was to constantly click refresh on their college academic portal, praying you made that B+ on your final you needed to get the right grade to keep your multi-thousand dollar grant or scholarship? Just me?
     

  4. Lab classes really sucked.

    Everyone knows what I’m talking about. Whether it was a Spanish lab or Biology lab, those 3-4 hour classes once a week were the worst. In my biology 1104 lab, I had to go to grow an ecosystem in a jar and then write a 15 page peer-reviewed backed research paper based on my observations. Because the scientific community desperately needed my 19 years of life-science-hating wisdom on the subject. Speaking of…
     

  5. Writing 10+ page research papers really sucked.

    I recently found my Dropbox file from college with all of my research papers. There were dozens of them. And each one required hours of research, hours invested into a rough draft, hours into a final draft, and then hours of proofreading. I’m not mad that I don’t have to write them anymore.
     

  6. Having people constantly ask you what you’re doing after college really sucked.

    Whether it was peers, friends, fraternity/sorority members, parents, relatives, co-workers...someone was always inquiring about your vocational direction. That in of itself isn’t a big deal. It was the judgment or comparison that came after it. No one cares that you think being counselor, financial planner, marketer, or educator is inferior to a science or law-based track. Go away Karen, you’re the worst. And Uncle Rick, yes, you CAN make money with a communications degree and no, your son is not better than me because he has a marketing degree. Come off it.
     

  7. Deciding what you want to do for the rest of your life after college really sucked.

    Some people come into college knowing exactly what they want to do. Some people have a subject they’re really good at, like math, and know they want to use that in some way. Some people had no idea and just kind of figured it out. Like me. So while you’re racking up thousands of dollars in debt, trying out various internships, and fielding questions about your life choices from literally everyone, the countdown to graduation is another week closer. But I was definitely doing okay.
     

  8. The search for internships really sucked.

    Basically every entry level job requires 2-3 years of experience (advanced degree preferred) these days. The only way you can stand out is with internship experience. Some companies offer unpaid internships which is just a cute way of saying vocational volunteering aka working for free. But it’s a great opportunity to build your resume, right? And the internships that actually do pay are rarer than unicorns. Plus, you’re fighting dozens and dozens of other people for the job. Easy peasy.
     

  9. Student loans really suck.

    On a serious note, this is real life, no past tense here. Leaving college with thousands in debt is just tough, especially considering how much entry level jobs pay. The past 30 years have seen a 400% increase in college tuition. As it stands, college tuition increases are continuing to outpace inflation and financial aid isn’t pacing with those increases. So like yeah totally take that semester abroad, it’s NBD.

--

My time at The University of Georgia was fantastic, life-changing, and foundational to who I am today. But do I miss college? Nah. I’ll take my DINK life living in downtown Atlanta any day.

Athens, GA, on the other hand, will always have my heart.

Stop Comparing Your Life to Your Friends' Lives

PHOTO FROM UNSPLASH

PHOTO FROM UNSPLASH

BY DEREK REIMHERR

If you’re anywhere near our age...Welcome to you mid-20s! What an exciting time of your life!

You graduated college/completed trade school/finished an apprenticeship.
You got your first job and maybe your first promotion.
You’ve probably moved out of your family’s house and are living with roommates or on your own for the first time.
You have at least some disposable income to afford some of the things you’ve been wanting like traveling to an exotic place, a new TV, or a wardrobe refresh.

With all of this happening, why wouldn’t we be incredibly stoked with our lives? Sure, we have career aspirations and would like to make more money so we can pay off that crippling student debt. But all good things take time, right?

Unfortunately (fortunately?), we live in the age of social media and constant connectedness. (never heard that one before). So while we’re moseying along doing our own thing, so are our friends. And here’s what they’re doing, according to Instagram:

  • Meeting the love of their life and getting married
  • Starting a family
  • Traveling to Europe for 3 weeks and taking amazing pictures in Santorini
  • Buying a house
  • Getting their dream promotion making $85,000
  • Becoming debt-free
  • Investing in the stock market and saving beaucoup bucks for retirement

And that's just what I came up with off the top of my head. When you look at that list, it’s easy to think, "What the heck am I doing sitting here eating Doritos and watching HGTV?" Side note, #guilty.

It’s natural for us to look to our left and look to our right, comparing ourselves to what is going on in other people’s lives. It really is. But as famous pastor Andy Stanley calls it, this is a comparison trap.

At the end of the day, you don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s life. Sure, it’s always possible that your peer has rich/wealthy parents who are feeding them money. If that’s the case, lucky them.

What’s more likely is one of the following scenarios:

  • They chose a more challenging college major and gained relevant work experience throughout college, starting them off at a higher salary and more prestigious job.
  • They were more involved in extracurricular activities/social groups which enabled them to meet new people, like their current significant other.
  • They worked extra hard after business hours to learn a valuable skill or gain an advanced degree so they could switch industries or advance their career.
  • They’re able to travel so extensively because they live with 3 roommates and save a ton of money.
  • They're able to buy a house because they lived in a cheap apartment with their significant other for 4 years.
  • They made smart investments in the stock market 10 years ago and are able to cash out now.
  • They’re starting a family, but they’ve struggled with medical problems and have spent thousands of dollars in doctor’s visits and treatments.
  • They’re buying a brand new luxury vehicle, but going into $35,000 or more of debt.

There are so many scenarios that can explain why your friends are doing things you just WISH you could be doing. 

You never know what’s at play behind the scenes. Sometimes they’ve made incredibly smart decisions. Sometimes they’ve overcome extraordinary odds to get where they are. Sometimes they’re being unwise with time, money, or relationships in an effort look successful.

Here’s a personal example. I decided to make a career change and switch from the automotive industry to marketing services aka agency life. I’m very happy now and I have incredible job opportunities and growth ahead.

But there was an opportunity cost. I lost the chance to continue advancing at my previous company where the pay for a non-technical job for a 20-something was (in my opinion) quite lucrative. People who started at the company at the same time as me are making upwards of $75,000 if you include perks. It’s easy for me to look at those Facebook promotion announcements and feel a pang of envy.

What’s the point? I made a decision I’m content with, so what does it matter? I’m happy for my former co-workers. Thing is, their decisions come with costs, though. Most of them are traveling Monday-Friday every week. When you’re single, that can work. But as a newlywed, it made less sense.

It's so easy to get caught up in what someone else is doing, forgetting to think about all the context of your life and theirs. Everyone has their own path. Everyone deals with their own struggles or blessings. When you compare your highlight reel to someone else’s, you're doing yourself and that person a disservice.

If you’re unhappy, be unhappy because you’re not meeting your own goals, not because you’re not following in the footsteps of a friend or peer. You’ll be better off being self-motivated than motivated by someone else’s accomplishments.

Practice contentment. Practice thoughtfulness. You’ve made the decisions you’ve made for a reason. If that means you need to uninstall Instagram from your phone, do it. I promise you're not going to miss it. 

The 7 Credit Cards We Have and Why

Photo by Vitaly on Unsplash

Photo by Vitaly on Unsplash

By Derek Reimherr

Growing up, my parents always told me to stay far, far away from credit cards. For a long time, this was really, really good advice. If I had owned a credit card in college, you better believe I would’ve spent money on things I didn’t need, namely a gaming computer. There were so many times I looked at my bank account and said, “I can do this. I have enough money.” But I couldn’t bear to part with the money. A credit card would’ve opened up all that sweet, sweet high-resolution gaming goodness.

This is why until I was 22 years old I threw away every single credit card offer that came in the mail. RIP dozens of Discover It! cards.

(Side note: I still haven’t found the right justification for dropping $1,500 on all the equipment I need for a gaming computer instead of going on a vacation. Harry Potter World feels more important than being able to play desktop games instead of PlayStation.)

Over time though, I proved to myself I was (somewhat) financially responsible. And eventually, a credit card made fiscal sense. Once we started looking, we realized we had several criteria a new credit card had to meet before we made the leap.

  • Sign-up bonus
  • Rewards/Points
  • Perks
  • Exclusive offers/discounts/coupons
  • Interest rate

You might be asking yourself why the interest rate is our least important criterion. It boils down to the biggest reason why we even own seven different credit cards.

We pay off our balances at the end of every month. In 4 years, I’ve only paid interest twice. Both times were due to mistakes when setting up auto-payments.

The internet term for how we use credit cards is “churning.” Basically, we take advantage of ridiculous sign-up offers and perks credit cards offer. But because we pay off our cards every month, we never deal with the absurd interest rates.

In fact, if you don’t have the discipline or ability to pay off your credit cards every month, click away now. I’m not going to even mention interest rates in my discussion (but you can read more about money tips here). In my opinion, you shouldn’t have a credit card if you’re going to flirt with 15-30% interest rates, depending on the card.

Some people will say you should carry a balance on a 0% APR credit card to build credit. I would ignore those people.

Some people will suggest using a 0% APR sign-up offer to float yourself during hard times. I would say ignore that advice unless you’re in dire financial straits.

(Note: If you ever “need” to do this, I highly recommend the Chase Freedom card. I’ll talk more about this later.)

We didn’t go out and sign up for a bunch of credit cards in one year, though. We built this collection at a rate of roughly two credit cards per year. So let’s walk through what we did chronologically.

1. American Express Green Card

It doesn’t get any more baby steps than this because it’s a charge card. You don’t get a choice: the payment is due at the end of every month. I initially got this card for business expenses and I used it for years exclusively for this purpose. I still have one for work now. The annual fee is only $95 and it’s a “foot in the door” card for many Amex members. I would not recommend having this card for personal reasons except in two cases. The first would be as a way to practice using a credit card and the second would be to have a basis credit card for purchase protection.

2. Delta Gold American Express

Remember that “foot in the door” card thing I mentioned? That’s how we both ended up with Delta Amex cards. The annual fee is still $95, but the direct tie-in with Delta limits your rewards and points.

We signed up because of the Delta SkyMiles bonus sign up offer. This was a major boon for us: Maggie and I were in a long distance relationship at the time. Our sign up bonus netted us about 3 round trip plane tickets. This card is great if (and only if) you fly Delta a lot. If you do, you get triple miles on all Delta expenses, 1 skymile per dollar spent otherwise, Zone 1 boarding perks, free checked bags, and bonus miles for using your card on Lyft (this might be temporary). I hesitate to recommend this card, though. Delta SkyMile redemption rates and Medallion Member rewards have  deteriorated over the years. For these reasons, we’re planning to cancel our Delta Amex cards. We predominately use a different co-branded airline rewards card instead.

3. Southwest Rapid Rewards Chase VISA

Once again, the sign-up bonus drew us in. In this case, it was 40,000 miles each after spending $1,000 in three months. On Southwest, 80,000 miles can be worth 5 or more round trip plane tickets. We’re waiting to get our second Southwest card until we book our spring trip to Los Angeles to visit friends.

I was never a big fan of Southwest because of the boarding process. In case you’re unfamiliar, you get a boarding position based on when you check-in. Then you go stand in your position at the gate and board in order. I like to roll up at the very last second and walk onto the plane 15 minutes before take off (which Maggie HATES). Southwest doesn't work with this strategy.

Anyway, we’ve stuck it out with the Southwest card. You get double miles on Southwest purchases and one mile per dollar spent otherwise. Southwest flies bags for free and doesn’t have rewards miles blackout dates like other airlines. The big draw for keeping this card is the “cardiversary” bonus. There are two slightly different tiers with this card: Plus and Premier. The Plus card nets you 3,000 points every year and the Premier card pulls in 6,000. The annual fees are differ, with the Plus running at only $69 a year and the Premier at $99. The only reason to get the Premier, aside from the extra annual miles, is you won’t pay foreign transaction fees. So if you’re a big international traveler, spring for the extra $30 a year, no question. I give this card a big thumbs up.

4. Chase Freedom Cash Back Card

This is the good stuff right here: cash back cards. Almost every major bank or lender offers them, but we’ve stuck with two different Chase Cards. With the Freedom, there’s one simple reason: rotating quarterly 5% cash back. Every 3 months, a fresh set of categories come down the pipe. All you have to do is sign in and claim the reward. Q3 of 2017’s bonus cash back categories are movie theaters and restaurants. Yeah, so that’s a 5% discount at ANY restaurant for 3 months. See how great this can be? The best part is that the rewards are points, not straight cash. Chase Ultimate Rewards points redeem at a higher rate than any other card provider (1.5 cents vs. 1 cent per point) when you redeem through its portal.

There’s no annual fee, plus you get a $150 sign-up cash bonus after you spend $500 in 3 months. And if that wasn’t enough, Chase offers 0% APR for the first 15 months. If you find yourself in a bind, you can sign up and put yourself on a 15 month payment plan, interest free. Make sure you pay it off in full before interest hits and always pay the monthly minimum.

As a side note, there’s also the Chase Freedom Unlimited card that gets you 1.5% cashback on all purchases. We Reimherrs like to maximize our rewards, so I don’t think that’s good enough. But if you don’t want to segment all your card usage like we do, that’s a fine option.

5. Department Store Credit Cards

Even though I'm a millennial, my love of a good deal outweighs my pride. So when we signed up for a wedding registry at Macy’s and they told us all the savings we’d get with a Macy’s card, we were sold. When we returned duplicate gifts off of our registry and bought new ones, we racked up tons of coupons. Those coupons funded new swim trunks and shoes for our honeymoon. The same can be said of the Loft credit card Maggie has. That’s her favorite store for business casual clothes. When she was building a professional wardrobe, it paid for her to be brand loyal. My buddy just scaled Mount Kilimanjaro and was constantly going to REI. It made perfect sense for him to get REI’s credit card.

If you regularly shop at the same stores, don’t feel bad saying yes when that cashier asks you if you want to open a new account.

6. Chase Amazon Prime Rewards Card

The Reimherr household is obsessed with Amazon Prime. So when I went to buy a bicycle online and Amazon offered me a $100 credit to get a Amazon Credit Card, I was all over it. The card also offers 3% cashback on all Amazon purchases - respectable, not extraordinary. Then in January of 2017, Amazon created a new tier for the card based around Prime. If you have Amazon Prime, you get 5% cashback on all Amazon purchases. I’ve had Prime since 2011, so we were upgraded.

We are deep in the Amazon ecosystem and buy all these things online:

  • Household items - toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies
  • Gifts for almost any occasion
  • Groceries, both fresh and nonperishable
  • Toiletry items like toothpaste and shampoo

Oh and you also get 2% cashback on dining, gas stations, and drugstores. And one more thing: it's a Chase card. The cashback points are rewards points meaning they can be redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards at the higher 1.5 cent rate. See why we love it so much?

7. Chase Sapphire Reserve

This is it, the mack daddy of our credit cards. So far, we’ve touched on rewards cards, a rotating cashback card, co-branded retail and airline rewards cards, and a co-branded cashback card. By early 2017, we were well on our way to being credit card ninjas. The last category we were considering was a premium travel card. We were living in Boston at the time traveling back and forth to the South frequently. We had also settled on how important vacation travel was to us as a couple. Getting a premium travel card made sense.

A friend of ours presented the Chase Sapphire Reserve card as the best option. Chase introduced it in late 2016 and it made a huge splash. The biggest reason? A $450 annual fee. If you’re intimidated, so were we. But after 15 hours of research, I came to believe the card was worth it due to how frequently we travel. Look at all these perks:

  • A $300 annual travel credit that automatically deducts from your balance.
  • 3x points on travel and dining. That includes Airbnb, Uber/Lyft, baggage fees (which you should be avoiding with either Southwest or a co-branded airline card), hotels, rental cars, flights, and ALL restaurants.
  • A $100 credit every 4 years to get Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check.
  • Access to Priority Pass airport lounges. These lounges are at almost all major airports. You check-in and get access to all the food, drinks, and alcohol you want. We get about $40 in value every time we go to an airport.
  • Discounts on National, Avis, and Silvercar rental cars.
  • 50% higher point redemption through Chase Ultimate Rewards than other Chase rewards sources (like the Freedom or Amazon Prime cards).

See what I’m talking about? We generate thousands of rewards points a month.

Oh and I forgot to mention something. When you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months, you get 50,000 rewards points. These are worth about $750 through Chase Ultimate Rewards. We signed up when the offer was 100,000 points aka $1,500. That deal expired in January of 2017, unfortunately.

Sign-up bonus aside, you need to spend about $3,300 a year on travel and dining to make this card worth it. So if you book a trip through Cheap Caribbean once a year and eat out a few times a month, this card is worth it.


If you’ve seen a trend throughout this blog post, it’s that we lean heavily on Chase Rewards cards. For travel, they’re hands down the best points.

I didn’t even have a chance to touch on the general benefits of using a credit card instead of a debit card. The list of benefits is long:  fraud prevention, purchase protection, travel accident insurance, roadside assistance, rental car insurance.

What credit cards are you thinking about? What’s holding you back? Let us know!

GUEST POST: Learning the 4 T's When You're Locked Out of Your House

Image: Pinterest

Image: Pinterest

**This is a sponsored post.**

When Zach and I were first married, we were 25 years old. Prior to becoming husband and wife we had dated for four years in college and during my time in graduate school. We had dealt with a two year long distance relationship as well. We felt like the hurdles and curve balls that were thrown at us were dodged and thrown back at full force. Zach and I felt like a true team - a compatible couple that laughed, sang, cried and was always there when one of us needed the other.

And then came children. Don’t get me wrong, our children are wonderful. We have a three-year-old daughter and a three-month-old son. Suddenly our comforting, casual and carefree marriage was turned upside down with strollers, diapers (oh so many diapers), wipes, toys and so much more! While we loved spending time with our children, our time as an "us" couple was dwindling slowly. A few years ago, Zach and I decided to uproot our family from the windy city of Chicago, to the southern pines of Atlanta. We were excited for our new adventure and all that awaited us.

One afternoon Zach and I were outside on our deck painting. Our two-year-old at the time (we didn’t have our son yet) had gone inside to grab a toy. I realized she had been gone a while and went to try and open the door to go back into our home when it wouldn’t open! I tried again. It was locked! I began panicking and quickly called Zach over to help me unlock the door. He tried his best and continued to knock to get our daughter’s attention. Suddenly we were in a screaming match of who had let our daughter go into the house unsupervised. We began blaming one another for what was taking place.

Thankfully my husband had his cell phone with him and called STL Locksmith. Their emergency locksmith service covers a wide area in Georgia, and they were not only friendly at calming us down but extremely prompt in helping us unlock our door and get to our daughter. Of course, they know that these things happen and thankfully are always fully-equipped with their training and helping to ease our frustration.

The moral of this story? Instead of blaming one another for what happened (because as scary as it is, it does happen from time to time) we should have remembered the Four T’s of communication. The first is timing. Is it a good time to bring up what’s going on? In this circumstance, it most definitely was as we were stranded outside! But I realized in my own panic that I went right from timing to my tone. The tone in my voice was scared and blameful on my husband because I thought he was watching her and vice versa. Our tone to one another was harsh, hurtful and not needed in a scary situation that had occurred. The third “t” is technique. I was blaming my frustration on my husband and that wasn’t fair as we were both at fault for what had happened. The last “t” is truth. Is what I’m hearing and saying truthful, or am I just frustrated? Despite blaming my husband for what was occurring, I was also using harsh words and again, should not have been saying them.

After the chaos of our daughter locking us out of the house (and yes she was ok and was actually sitting on the couch the entire time we were calling the locksmith over), we assessed the words and our communication a few hours after it had settled down. We were both scared at what had happened but instead of blaming one another, we just needed to effectively communicate our frustration. Thinking of the four t's during this experience could have helped us think of other words to say instead of becoming angry. Afterwards, we praised one another saying “I’m so happy you were there" and “Thank you for being calm while talking to the locksmith.” We also thought that a neighbor should have a spare key just incase it were to happen again (it hasn’t since, thank goodness).

Things happen. Life happens and marriage takes work. It will test you and your relationship as often as it can. My suggestion when faced with a tough situation or event? Think of the four t's when possible and take a few deep breaths before you begin to fire words at your spouse. And be sure to have backup key somewhere close by!Hi everyone! My name is Cait and I blog at Cait's Cozy Corner! My blog shares a lot of my family (we just had our son 3 months ago and have a little girl who is 3 1/2), our travels around the world (we recently went to Oktoberfest..I was 8 weeks pregnant so you can imagine the fun I had over in Germany during that time), my love of coffee and shopping, plus some tips on fashion, food, fitness and more! I love meeting and getting to know my followers both online and in real life! We moved to Atlanta two and a half years ago and love it, especially coming from Chicago and those bitter cold winters! I hope you all stop by the blog and say hi! 

bio.jpg

About Cait:

Hi everyone! My name is Cait and I blog at Cait's Cozy Corner! My blog shares a lot of my family (we just had our son 3 months ago and have a little girl who is 3 1/2), our travels around the world (we recently went to Oktoberfest..I was 8 weeks pregnant so you can imagine the fun I had over in Germany during that time), my love of coffee and shopping, plus some tips on fashion, food, fitness and more! I love meeting and getting to know my followers both online and in real life! We moved to Atlanta two and a half years ago and love it, especially coming from Chicago and those bitter cold winters! I hope you all stop by the blog and say hi! 

My Wife and I Are Obsessed with Amazon

By Derek Reimherr

I’m addicted to Amazon. There, I said it.

It all started in 2011 when Amazon Prime was still picking up traction in the public mainstream. They had a special deal on the annual subscription (I think it was $20) for college students. I soon realized I could buy textbooks on Amazon Prime for a lot cheaper. That was only the beginning.

Naturally, I started feeding the Prime beast by ordering more and more things to take advantage of the 2-day “free” shipping. “What?” I would ask myself, “You have to get your money’s worth.”

Then they added Amazon Video. Now if Netflix or Hulu didn’t have it, Amazon probably did. That logo was always there just waiting for me on my PlayStation or Roku home screen. “Why not rent a movie here?” it would ask. Slowly, other on-demand movie rental subscriptions fell by the wayside. Amazon Prime Video became our new Blockbuster.

Then we got Amazon Prime Rewards credit cards. This was truly the beginning of the end for the Reimherr household. All of the sudden, we got 5% cashback on all of our Amazon purchases. Why buy gifts at Target when I could get free 2-day shipping on the exact same thing, probably for a better deal AND I would get cashback?

Soon after we made the switch to the new credit card, we heard about Dash buttons for the first time. Apparently, Dash buttons were physical buttons that tied directly to ordering a specific brand’s product. You pick out your button, Amazon sends it to you (complete with $5 off your first purchase using the button), you pair it to your WiFi, and you’re set.

Now when we are running low on toilet paper, Maggie just opens up the bathroom cabinet and there it is, lying in wait. She presses the button and the small light blinks green. Soon, one of us will get a notification through our Amazon iPhone app saying, “Your Charmin toilet paper has shipped!”

What madness hath we wrought upon ourselves? We thought we were at the point of no return. There was no lower we could sink.

And then there was the Dash Wand.

Amazon has iterated on the Dash Wand numerous times, never quite hitting the mark. In the summer of 2017, the team finally struck gold. The 3rd generation Amazon Dash Wand has Alexa voice recognition built in and a barcode scanner attached….for only $20.

But for a limited time only, the $20 Dash Wand came with a 3-month trial of Amazon Fresh (worth $15 a month), plus a $20 rebate off your first purchase. Amazon was giving me $45 to buy their latest gadget. Our Dash Wand now hangs silently off the provided hook next to our chalkboard in the kitchen.

In Boston, we didn’t have access to the fresh food delivery service because we weren’t close enough to the city center. In Atlanta, we live roughly two miles from the literal center of the city. Amazon was closer than ever to having a remote office in our home. It didn’t take much research to sell us on the service completely.

Soon our free trial will come to an end. But for only $15 a month (on top of our annual Prime membership), we’ll continue to have access. We can peruse all of Amazon’s fresh meat and produce, plus other perishable and nonperishable items, and get an attended or unattended delivery right to our doorstep. Perishable items come in brown paper bags with insulated liners and cold packs to keep our cilantro and basil fresh. After doing a price comparison, it’s roughly the same price, plus the extra $15 for the subscription.

As it turns out, bell peppers are extraordinarily cheap with Fresh. Curse you, Amazon. We love bell peppers.

Photo by leonie wise on Unsplash

Photo by leonie wise on Unsplash

I shudder to think how much longer it’ll be before we have Amazon Echos strategically placed throughout our home. Soon, I’m sure. I bet the Cyber Monday deals will be amazing.

Now our life is an amalgamation of convenience and brand loyalty.

Whenever we’re running low on milk, I pick up the Dash Wand and scan our Horizon Organic carton. It’s automatically separated into our Amazon Fresh Cart. When Maggie does our meal planning on Sundays, she makes sure our cart costs at least $40 so that the delivery is free.

On Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the delivery time Maggie selected, we’ll get 3 or 4 bags of food handed to us by a nice delivery person. Since I put on pants for this delivery, I decide to walk down to our package room and check the mail.

Oh, we have a package. I sign in to our delivery lockers - it’s an Amazon box. I guess Maggie pushed the Dash Button for our Tide Detergent Pods.

After dinner, Maggie is brushing her teeth with the toothpaste we ordered on Amazon after we forgot to buy it at Publix last week. I’m sitting on the couch watching Man in the High Castle via Amazon Video.

I’ve got my Amazon iPhone app open casually browsing daily deals. Apparently, we have $50 in Amazon Prime Rewards points from all these Amazon Fresh purchases. I decide to cash them in and buy a new boardgame. It’ll be here in 2 days.

As Maggie and I are laying in bed preparing for sleep, she asks if I want to go see “The Big Sick” starring Kumail Nanjiani. We just finished binging Silicon Valley, so we’re very interested in seeing the movie, especially since it received outstanding reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. We buy tickets for Saturday night.

We’re sitting in the theatre a few days later. The previews end and the opening credits roll.

The movie was produced by Amazon Studios.

Dear God, what have we done.

Instead of Getting Married, Break Up

Photo by Charlie Foster on Unsplash

By Maggie Reimherr

A few months back, Derek and I were out with a girlfriend of mine and her fairly new boyfriend. We met him for the first time that night, and we were all getting along swimmingly. My friend and I were at the bar ordering drinks, and once our beers were in hand, we wandered over to the guys to join their conversation.

Derek, being the fount of wisdom that he is, was telling this guy that in a relationship, before you decide to commit to forever, you should think about why you really want to be with that person. And if your conclusions are unsatisfactory, you should break up.

My friend and I made bug eyes at each other as I attempted to kick Derek in the shin to SHUT. IT. DOWN. My tipsy attempts at taking out his shins were unsuccessful, so I swooped in to change the subject. I’m sure it wasn’t smooth.

The good thing is, my friend and her boyfriend are still together. Also a good thing? That advice… though it probably shouldn't be dispensed the first time you meet someone.

Yes, people. Millennial Marriage officially condones strongly considering breaking up with the person you’re dating before you decide to commit to marriage with them. We also think you should work through some fairly significant conflict together before you say, “I do.”

Why? Because when you commit to forever, you need to go in knowing that:

  • Your spouse ain’t perfect.
  • There will be bumps in the road that cause you to have to choose that person over and over and over again.
  • Not all relationships are destined to end in marriage. Trade your heart eye emojis for some clarity, peeps.

Another reason why? Derek and I did this. We are better for it. I know you’re probably thinking, “Wait a second? Y’all haven’t been consistently obsessed with each other for your entire relationship? You actually thought about dumping each other?”

Yes. We actually did. And the good news is we did it before we walked down the aisle. That’s when you want to think about breaking up with your significant other, folks. Things get really messy once vows are said, rings are exchanged, and legal paperwork is signed.

So… why did we almost break up a few times? We had 3 big conflicts that almost ended our relationship.

 

1. Deep insecurities.

Hi, I was a 20 year old girl when Derek and I met, and I was deeply insecure. SHOCKING, right? My dating history, if you can really call it that, was riddled with rejection before I met him. All I wanted was to be chosen. Finally, I was dating a good guy who was choosing me, and I was terrified that he would stop. For the first few months of our relationship, I waited for the other shoe to drop. By September 2013, 5 months into dating, it still hadn’t. So I decided after one too many Bud Light tallboys at a Braves game to fill Derek in on how good of a guy he was… by comparing him to people I’d dated in the past. (Dating tip: NEVER DO THIS.) That evening ended in Derek getting super annoyed with me, me sobbing, and a few weeks of relational turmoil. He had to decide if he wanted to choose me, despite my insecurities. The thing about choosing a 20 year old and all of her emotional issues is that as she matures, those issues *usually* go away. To be fair, it took a few years, but I am no longer deeply insecure. Derek had to roll that dice and decide, “Yes, I still want to pursue this.” (Also, shout out to his college roommates for not letting him break up with me.)

 

2. Long distance (spoiler alert: it’s terrible but also a good learning experience)

I was an emotional wreck about being long distance - was Derek going to break up with me when he met someone cooler and prettier than me in California? Would we be able to survive 7 entire weeks without seeing each other? I have never been more dismayed than I was during the first few weeks - and on top of that, I was a HORRIBLE communicator. To be fair, so was Derek but in different ways. I didn’t know how to verbally express my feelings in a productive way, and I’m sure I was really annoying to talk to. Good news: I learned communication skills and also quickly realized that when a man works 60 hour weeks and only socializes with his co-workers and also HE LOVES YOU, there’s not that much time or desire to dump your girlfriend back in Georgia for California girls.

In this instance, Derek wasn’t super concerned with my “OMG what if he dumps me” insecurities, because I didn’t actually verbally express them, and also, homeboy already knew what he was getting into (read: previous section). But he did have to decide whether or not to be patient with me through the communication issues. Ask yourself this: if we’re not on the same page now, can I see us getting to the same page? How are we going to get there? How can I be a better communicator? How can I help my significant other communicate better with me?

 

3. Baggage

Marriage is like many commercial flights: you pay extra for baggage. Sometimes, it's as easy to carry as a rollaboard. Other times, it gets slapped with one of those "Caution: Heavy" stickers. I’m going to be very vague on this story/issue because not everything should be shared on the Internet - I know, right?! But I’m a MILLENNIAL!

Basically, one of us had to choose whether or not we could live with the other person’s baggage.

Clearly, we're married now, so we made that choice. But think long and hard before you do, because it's not going away. Ask yourself: am I okay with this person’s past? Their family? Their debt? Can I live with this challenge long-term, maybe even forever? Does everything else about this person make this one thing “worth it”? Are we on the same side, tackling the issue together? Will I regret choosing this down the road? Depending on what your answer is… break up or buckle up. That thing one of us chose is still the most consistent source of unrest in our lives. Our saving grace? We’re on the same team about it, and we’re carrying the load together.


 

Final Thoughts

Dating couples, I’m sure your objection is this: “But I love him/her!!!”

Here’s the truth - once the promise of a diamond ring and a beautiful wedding and a sexy tropical honeymoon is fulfilled, this is your life. You’re in it with this person for what should be ‘til death do us part. That’s a really long time. Are you asking the right questions? Do you have clarity about the relationship? Don’t let your vision get fogged by wedding Pinterest boards and potential future baby names.

If you’ve asked yourself the right questions, and you’re thinking it might be time to end the relationship instead of taking the next step, I’ll tell you exactly what my therapist told me when I was considering breaking up with Derek. You will be fine. You are awesome. There are other fish in the sea. Okay, she didn’t say that, but seriously, there are.

If you’ve asked yourself the right questions, talked them through with your significant other AND trustworthy friends and you’ve still decided to get married... go get hitched, people! Marriage is fun!

The Power of the Weekly Budget Meeting

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

By Derek Reimherr

When we moved to Atlanta, we encountered a major problem.

I got a great new job opportunity, and so did Maggie. Commission is part of her pay structure, so for a little bit we’d be working off of just her base salary. But our household income was still very respectable for a young couple in their mid-20s. We didn’t move to Atlanta for jobs, though. We came back because we missed our people! And the first few months were great.

We fell in love with our new workplaces and we fell back in love with having more of our friends around (but shout out to our amazing Boston friends, we still miss you).

Wait, none of this sounds like a problem. Well, what I’m leaving out is that we were so excited about being back in Atlanta that we were doing all of this:

  • Living in an expensive, bigger apartment in one of the most desired areas of Atlanta
  • Decorating our new apartment because we wanted to host our friends as often as possible.
  • Hanging out with our friends 3 or 4 nights a week
  • Eating out at all of our new neighborhood restaurants 3-4 times a week

And then on top of that, all of this was also going on:

  • Had major routine maintenance done on our existing car
  • Paid off THREE tickets that a jerk New York State Trooper gave Maggie
  • Bought a new car (more on that another time)
  • Booked our fall trip to Denver

As you can imagine, you throw all that together, and we were having major cash flow problems. We were still saving money and contributing to our 401Ks, but we were wasting a lot of money.

Enter the Weekly Budget Meeting.

Some people like to make dates out of their budget meetings. Some people do it on Friday before the weekend starts, some do it on Sunday before the week starts.

The Reimherrs? We grab a seat at our kitchen counter every Tuesday night at 9pm. We figured we would rarely be out of town on Tuesdays and neither of us have standing Tuesday night commitments.

So how does this thing work? Do we sit around and talk about our five year plan and pick index funds to invest in? Nah, y’all give us too much credit. We spend 15-20 minutes looking at our budgets in Mint. That’s it!

We’ve recently pivoted from having little budgets for everything to going to the Zero Sum Budget model or as I refer to it, the Flex Spending Budget. It looks like this:

Income - Mandatory bills (rent, utilities, student loan payments) - Flex bills (groceries, gas) - Monthly savings goal (yes, you should have one) = Flex spending amount

Here’s an example:

$2,000 - (Rent - $400, Utilities - $100, Student Loans - $200) - (Groceries - $200, Gas - $100) - ($400 - saving goal) = $600 flex spending

Our idea is that we want to put all of our dollars to work before we go out with friends, buy some new shoes, or plan a trip. So during our weekly budget meeting, we look at our spending over the past week, ask questions, categorize transactions, and discuss ways we can improve.

  • Hey, what was that $40 on Amazon?
  • By the way, I have a doctor’s appointment next week. Our co-pay is $30 and I think the medicine will cost about $40.
  • Let’s not go out this weekend so we can save more for our Harry Potter World trip (SO EXCITED) in the spring.

The goal is to have an open, honest discussion about finances. Talk about the things that are coming up soon. Look to see if you’re wasting any money. Spot trends in your expenses. 

You will be AMAZED by the headway you can make on your finances when you take the time. This is crucial for us to avoid incurring interest on the various credit cards we carry. In fact, today we canceled several subscriptions and changed our PlayStation Vue package, giving us $100 more to save each month.

What strategies have you tried with your finances? We’d love to hear and try them out ourselves!

The Laziest Person in the World: Me

By Maggie Reimherr

Photo by Benjamin Combs on Unsplash

Hi, my name is Maggie Reimherr, and I am the laziest person in the world.

No, really, I'm not kidding.

Derek and I recently had a *small* argument about how I'm in a life stage where I'm not interested in doing anything that I don’t specifically want to do. A short list of things I've put off during this life stage because they would cause me minor inconvenience:

  • Cancelling an unused credit card.
  • Getting a Georgia driver’s license. I lived here for 4 months and drove with a Mass license every day before I switched it, plz don't tell the cops.
  • Registering the car in Georgia. Again, 4 months… oh, and now that I’ve changed it over, I still have a front license plate from Massachusetts on the car because I forgot about it and can’t be bother to learn how to use power tools to take it off.
  • Confirming that I am Derek’s dependent (offensive) so I can be on his health insurance.
  • Paying 3 traffic tickets I got from the world’s meanest New York State trooper. I have hexed him many times in my mind.
  • Canceling my Fabletics membership. Okay, I've been putting this off for 2 years.
  • Making a dentist appointment.
  • Cleaning the bathroom (why is it constantly getting dirty tho).
  • Returning our Comcast equipment from when we cut cable.
  • Writing for the blog for 2 months when I promised 2 posts a week henceforth in my last post… but hey, I’m back now!

Things I have been doing:

  • Ordering my groceries online. Thanks, Amazon Fresh!
  • Eating out approximately 4 times a week (to be fair, I think this is less than the average millennial).
  • Reading a lot of books.
  • Relaxing with my new neck and shoulder massager.
  • Watching The Bachelorette and Big Brother like it's my second job. I listen to recap podcasts too. You are welcome to judge me.
  • Doing one of those creepy sheet face masks at least once a week.
Via Giphy

Via Giphy

Does any of this sound familiar to anyone? Congrats. You are as lazy as I am.

No, I haven’t neglected work. But I have neglected actual responsibilities outside of work that have hit our bank account and hit Derek’s confidence in my ability to G.S.D. (get sh!t done). It started with a few gentle conversations about me needing to be productive outside of my 8:30-5:30 work schedule. Then it turned into sideways comments: “So. Are we just done with the blog forever or something?” And finally, Derek hit a breaking point. It came in the form of 2 bills in one day for things that I’d forgotten to return/cancel. That’s the thing about being married: your laziness doesn’t just affect you. Bummer.

Sometimes, I just wanna be a sloth. But oftentimes, I don’t have that option. I love getting home from work and having no obligations stretching before me until my 10:30 bedtime. But laziness has its consequences:

  • Bills for Comcast equipment that you have lying around your apartment because you forgot to return it. Take it from me, friends: just go to the UPS Store.
  • Interest charges on credit cards you *swore* you had on auto-pay.
  • Cavities. (Note to self: you still need to make that dentist appointment!!!)

Derek implored me to please, for goodness’ sake, make a to do list. At first I fought back: "I have a to do list in my head!!!" But that wasn't really working. So I made my list in that handy Notes app on my phone. I got my new driver’s license, I registered the car, I cancelled my Massachusetts insurance, and I returned the Comcast junk. I still don’t know if it’s actually possible to cancel a Fabletics membership. Help.

I’ve found that a productive Maggie is a better Maggie. Sometimes there are things on the to do list that are outrageously annoying. No, I did not want to go sit at a Georgia Department of Revenue office for an hour and wind up getting on the phone with my insurance company to have them FAX (it’s 2017!!! What r u doing, State of Georgia??!) a copy of my policy over to a government office. But I did it. And you know what? Getting it done felt good.

Sometimes, it’s okay to be lazy. Set aside a few nights a week for Netflix binges or power-reading books or whatever your heart desires. But when you’re lazy for a months’-long stretch, things start to fall apart. It puts strain on a marriage. Sorry, Derek.

My advice: don’t be like me! Get organized before you get an avoidable bill in the mail from Comcast (happy ending: it got refunded after I returned the stuff). Make a list, and stop. freaking. procrastinating.

And with that, I have completed my first blog post in almost 2 months. I’m also using the Notes app in my phone to jot down ideas for more. See? I’m getting better already!

Everything You Need to Know About Cordcutting

BY: DEREK REIMHERR

I’ve had a hate/hate relationship with cable companies for a while. Who hasn't? You get locked into contracts, have random price hikes, and often your apartment/home only has one provider option.

Because of this, I've been working on cutting the cord for a while. In fact, since high school, I’ve only had a full TV lineup for one year. Instead, I’ve had Hulu and Netflix since 2009 and 2010 (uninterrupted, mind you). I got Prime Video when it debuted with an Amazon Prime subscription. So when Maggie and I moved to Atlanta, I was chomping at the bit to take it a step further: no cable contract. Luckily for us, our new apartment complex is wired for Comcast, AT&T, AND Google Fiber.

There are several things you need to know before we get started:

  • You NEED a good internet connection to reliably use streaming for everything. I would say around 100 MB/s is a solid speed. The streaming companies say 30 MB/s but I don’t think that’s good enough.
  • Depending on the promos for cable companies, cutting the cord entirely may not be cheaper. For example, Comcast often offers basic channels and HBO with 75 MB/s internet at a cheaper rate than just getting the internet.
  • If you live with someone (roommates, significant other), don't start making changes before chatting. They may not care - Maggie didn't - but be safe and ask.
  • If you’re doing any kind of streaming, you need a streaming device. This could be a Roku, Chromecast, gaming console, or Smart TV. Before you pick your path, know the platform compatibilities of the streaming service.

So, why do people even care about cord cutting, especially if it might not be cheaper? The biggest reason is the flexibility - streaming services don't have contracts. Comcast often has 3-year agreements and DirecTV is usually 2 years. Don't even get me started on Charter or Time Warner.

Assuming that cordcutting involves some type of television access (whether live or on-demand), there are 3 distinct ways to get TV:

Antenna

Yes, these still exist. And yes, they can get you a good number of channels. Plus, they’re not ugly anymore; take a look at this Vansky transparent antenna. Essentially, you set up one of these bad boys, plug it into your TV, and BOOM, free HDTV. The issues are they usually only pick up channels broadcasting within 50 miles or so and you’re stuck with live TV ads. This Lifehacker article has some more info if you’re interested. 

On-demand streaming TV

These are the options most people are familiar with. Hulu, Netflix, HBO Now, and Amazon Prime are the primary ones. You pay anywhere between $8 (the monthly cost of an annual Amazon Prime membership) to $20 (HBO Now) for access. Set up an account and turn on your app and you’re rolling. Some are better than others, but keep in mind that you can always stop and start service based around the release of your must-see shows (like Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black).

Live TV streaming services

These services are the primary focus of this article today. Most people trying to cut the cord are looking for ways to get live TV without a cable subscription. In the past 2 years, several options have popped up like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue.


All that said, there are several areas of concern when cordcutting that many people don’t think about or consider.

Okay, but how am I going to watch sports?
Many people don’t care about live sports. For someone like me who’s an Atlanta Falcons fan and a diehard University of Georgia Bulldogs fan, sports channels are required. These people are looking to have live TV at least in the fall and winter. This was the biggest motivator for me to cut the cord - I wasn’t going to pay $200 (or more) a month for Comcast’s internet + TV sports package. If you’re interested in sports, look closely at a streaming service’s channel lineup before making the jump.

But what about ads?
This can be tricky. Even though I’m in marketing, I can’t stand TV ads, so being able to fast forward (or avoid them altogether) was important. Some plans from the big on-demand services let you avoid ads, but any live TV options and first-party streaming apps (like CW or AMC) cram them down your throat. Luckily, several of the live TV streaming services have DVR with commercial-skipping features.

I heard Google Fiber was coming and it’s gonna be awesome!
Don’t get your hopes up. I was thrilled when I learned our new apartment was pre-wired for Google Fiber. I got on the wait list immediately knowing it would be 2-3 months until we saw a technician. That’s okay, I can wait for such a good deal. Unfortunately, at the 3-month mark, Google still didn’t have an ETA on my technician. I dug around and found that Google has more or less given up on their Fiber network rollout. They were hit with lawsuits from AT&T and Comcast for appropriating existing cable infrastructure and then realized they were unprepared to do the work themselves.

I’ve read rumors they’re working on some new wireless TV technology, but I would wager that’s at least 3 years out. If you’re in a city like Atlanta, Nashville, or Louisville waiting on Google Fiber, don’t hold your breath.


Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to meet the biggest Live TV contenders. For more in-depth overviews comparing specific channel breakdowns, check out the below articles. Keep in mind that channel lineup will differ slightly based on where you live.

Hulu Live TV

Source: Hulu 

Source: Hulu 

  • Cost: $40
  • Channel lineup: Put in your Zip Code to find out
  • Sports: All ESPN and Fox channels, NBC Sports, and CBS Sports
  • DVR: 50 hours, 200 hours with Enhanced subscription.
  • Skip recorded content commercials: Yes
  • Devices: Apple and Android mobile, Xbox One, 4th Gen Apple TV, and Chromecast
  • Value prop: Includes normal Hulu subscription. Pay $5 more for no-commercials plan with on-demand shows.

Hulu Live TV is pushing to be the best option out there. The main issue? The number of platforms are super limited. You can’t use it with Fire Stick, Smart TVs, Roku, or Sony/Nintendo gaming consoles. Heck, it isn’t even on desktop yet. Additionally, if you watch a bunch of shows, the DVR is rather restrictive without an upgrade. There are also reports that the interface isn’t user friendly. However, it’s still in Beta. When it goes live on Roku or PlayStation, I’ll seriously look into it.

Sling TV

Source: CNET

Source: CNET

  • Cost: $20-$40
  • Channel lineup: Depends on package - more info
  • Sports: ESPN + Fox and NBC regional channels with Sling Blue or combined package
  • DVR: Yes, if you’re a beta customer and only available on Roku, Android, and Amazon devices.
  • Skip recorded content commercials: No
  • Devices: Desktop, Android and iOS mobile devices, Xbox One (but not 360), Amazon devices, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, and some Smart TVs
  • Value prop: The cheapest option at $20 a month.

Sling TV’s biggest advantage was its “first” status. I used Sling Blue ($25) last fall during football season, but I found the stream to be extremely buggy. The video would frequently freeze with the audio continuing to play. I usually had to back out of the app and reopen it once every 30 minutes on average. To its credit, it has some of the most available devices. So if you’re looking for a cheap Live TV option, this could be it.

DirecTV Now

Source: TheVerge

Source: TheVerge

  • Cost: $35-$70
  • Channel lineup: Depends on package -more info
  • Sports: Most channels in basic $35 package
  • DVR: No
  • Skip recorded content commercials: No
  • Devices: Desktop, Android and iOS, Amazon devices, Apple TV, Chromecast, and some Smart TVs
  • Value prop: Easy transition from cable and no data usage if using AT&T for your phone provider.

To be fair, I have no experience with DirecTV. Personally, I find that these packages have the most bloat. Plus, the upper limit is quite expensive. While there isn’t any DVR option, many channels have a “3 day catchup” feature which is nice, but still doesn’t compare to the perks of a true DVR.

YouTube TV

Source: TechSpot

Source: TechSpot

  • Cost: $35
  • Channel lineup: One package - more info. No HBO integration.
  • Sports: Most channels included, but no NFL Network.
  • DVR: Yes, recorded videos expire after 9 months with unlimited storage.
  • Skip recorded content commercials: No
  • Devices: Desktop, Android and iOS, and Chromecast
  • Value prop: Free Chromecast after you pay for your first month and the most DVR storage.
  • CAVEAT: Only available in certain cities - more info

YouTube TV is the newest addition to the bunch and is still rolling out. Many expect it’ll have the best adoption rate due to the massive existing audience YouTube has. Plus, in addition to live TV, you’ll get access to YouTube Red original programming (not that there’s anything great there yet). However, HBO and YouTube aren’t playing nice. That’s not a huge deal, but it means you’ll have to get a separate HBO subscription to watch Silicon Valley or Veep.

Playstation Vue

Source: Destructoid

Source: Destructoid

  • Cost: $40-$75
  • Channel lineup: Depends on package - more info
  • Sports: Most channels in basic $40 package. Everything included in the $45 package
  • DVR: Yes, tag shows as “My Shows” and every future occurrence will be recorded. Recorded videos expire in 28 days.
  • Skip recorded content commercials: Yes
  • Devices: Desktop, Android and iOS, Amazon devices, Apple TV, PS4, Roku, Chromecast, and some Smart TVs
  • Value prop: Has the most compatible devices and a great DVR system.

Recently, PS Vue increased its price making it the most expensive option. However, keep in mind you have a built-in DVR which I found is the absolute best version out of all the streaming services. The main issue this service has is the PlayStation tag - it confuses consumers. As you can see, it actually has the most available devices with the only exceptions being other video game consoles (Xbox and Wii/Switch). Additionally, PS Vue provides the most access to NFL games. Only Sling TV can compare, unless you have someone’s NFL pass for streaming in an internet browser.


So who’s the winner? For me, it was PlayStation Vue. The biggest factor is that it has the best DVR. Yes, YouTube TV has more storage, but you can’t skip commercials on recorded shows which is (in my opinion) the ENTIRE POINT of DVR. Hulu TV could be the move for us in the future, but I’m not going to buy any additional streaming devices (Chromecast, in this case).

With all of this being said, what does an actual cordcutting mix look like? I’ll give you our breakdown and explain some of our choices:

  • Internet: AT&T Gigabit Fiber - $80/month
  • Streaming services:
    • Netflix Ultra - $12/month
    • Hulu Ad Free - $12/month
  • TV service: PlayStation Vue Ultra - $65/month
  • Total: $170

Now, if $170 sounds like a lot, it is. But keep in mind a couple things. For starters, I’m getting the faster internet available to a residential property. You could easily save $30 a month by getting 100 MB/s internet. Secondly, I plan to cancel both of our Netflix and Hulu subscriptions once we finish original programming shows like Handmaid’s Tale, House of Cards, and Sherlock. I can always start them back up later when a new season drops. Finally, I’m paying for the most expensive Vue plan because of HBO. When we’ve finished Silicon Valley and the newest season of Game of Thrones, I’ll drop down to the $45 package. In theory, you could be paying $100 for decent internet and a Live TV streaming service with sports and DVR.

And remember, the biggest reason to cut the cord is this: it’s totally flexible. Aside from my internet plan, I can drop any of these services at any time or change my subscription. THAT’S why we cut the cord.

So, do you have any questions before you take the leap? I’m happy to help out. Drop us a comment below, send us an email or shoot us a message on Instagram.

 

 

 

 

It's Millennial Marriage's 1st Birthday!

By Maggie Reimherr

So today we’re celebrating a birthday - Derek and I published our first post on Millennial Marriage 1 year ago today.

We started for a few reasons:

  • We had stories to tell - like the time I thought I was going to bleed to death on our honeymoon (joking) or the time we almost got scammed out of $3000 in an apartment rental scheme.
  • 2 months into marriage, we'd already found ourselves doling out marriage advice. We’re not experts, but we’re pretty good at being married to each other. If something works for us, why not share it?
  • We’re both pretty good writers, if we do say so ourselves.
  • We'd both tried and failed to blog in the past and thought, “Maybe if we do this together, we'll hold each other accountable to sticking with it.” And so far, it's worked. Admittedly, we've had a few months when we've only published a post or two, but we never jumped ship.
  • This time last year, I was trying to figure out what the heck I wanted to do with my life and my career. I was having trouble coping with the day-to-day monotony of my old job, and I needed a creative outlet. I had also wondered if writing/content marketing was a potential career for me. Ultimately, I decided it wasn't what I wanted to do professionally… but it's a whole lot of fun.

And here we are a year later with…

  • 3 brand partnerships under our belt
  • 4200+ Instagram followers
  • 10.7K unique visitors to the site
  • 25.6K lifetime pageviews
  • Newfound expertise in iPhone photography
  • Even more stories to share

We love doing this blogging thing. And we've worked hard so far to get where we are. I can't tell you how many hours we've spent researching what works and what doesn't work for bloggers, how much effort it took to build up our Instagram following, and how challenging it can sometimes be to come up with ideas for quality posts when you're juggling a million other things. One of our biggest lessons this year was that you don’t just start a blog and sit back and go viral. You have to hustle.

 We had blog goals in our first year… mainly “stick with it” and “insta followers galore.” Now that we've done that satisfactorily, we have some more things planned for year 2. Our #goals for year 2 of Millennial Marriage are: 

  • New posts on Tuesday and Thursday... every single week.
  • Growing our social media platforms - especially on Facebook and Twitter - and get more active on those platforms. Shout out to Instagram for being a great platform for us to share pics and connect with readers and other bloggers. (Have you liked/followed us? No? Why the heck not?! Do it.)
  • More advice based on what we've learned so far in our marriage. It's been more than a year, so we’re obviously hella wise now. Joking, but really… we've learned a lot and we’re going to share it.
  • More quality lifestyle content. Travel guides and Atlanta restaurant recommendations? Let's do it.
  • More brand partnerships. Hey travel brands, wanna send us on a free trip? Plz hmu.

Honestly, there are way too many bloggers on the internet. And most aren’t writing anything worth reading. No knock on them - we know as much as the next blogger that doing this is fun, so do your thing! But because there’s such an oversaturated market, you kinda have to love it - there's a one in a million chance you can turn blogging into a career when there’s so much out there grabbing people’s attention. But we also decided in the beginning that while this is for fun, we always want to share stories and advice and thoughts that are a good read. We’re not going to post subpar content just to post. These are some of the posts we’re most proud of from the past year - a little fun, a little storytelling, and a few life lessons...

To everyone who’s stuck with us over the past year - THANK YOU for following along as we try to figure out marriage and adulthood.

Now we want to hear from you… what do you want to see more of from us in the next year? Any topics you'd love for us to cover? Let us know in the comments, on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), or in an email!

We're Not Really "Milestone People"

By Maggie Reimherr

Picture this: it’s 10:45 pm on our first anniversary. Derek’s reading a book on his Kindle. I’m about to go to sleep. I sit up in bed with a start.

“OUR CAKE! WE DIDN’T EAT OUR CAKE. WE’RE EATING IT NOW.”

At my insistence, Derek reluctantly gets out of bed and follows me to the kitchen. I pull the top tier of our cake out of the freezer. It’s frozen solid. Derek asks, “Are we supposed to eat it frozen?”

No, sir, we are not.

“Huh. I didn’t think of that. Oh well,” I say, leaving the cake on the counter to defrost. “We’ll try again tomorrow.”

We forgot to do the one thing you’re supposed to do on your first anniversary.

On our way back to bed I remark, “We’re not really milestone people, are we?”

Derek replies, “Nope. We are not.”

I ponder this thought before rolling over and saying, “It’s better to live a happy life all the time than place too much weight on the ‘milestones.’”

I think that’s a really important life lesson. I don’t know about you, but I certainly know some people who would react to forgetting to eat cake on their anniversary like their life/marriage was ruined. Do our daily lives have so little value that we only live for the moments that are supposed to be “big”? I hope not.

It’s not that Derek and I aren’t celebration people. In fact, I think it’s that we celebrate all the time.

Good day at work? Good for you - crack open a beer! Thursday? Congrats, we almost made it through the week - let’s have friends over for board games to celebrate. Minor achievement? Treat yo’self. Avoiding pregnancy month after month? Have a glass of wine and give yourself a pat on the back for properly administering your prescribed medication.

We tend to celebrate the small things, so when the big things come around, they don’t feel much different than our every day. I think that’s a good way to live.

Of course, we celebrate bigger things too - like birthdays and holidays and job interviews and first days of work and signing leases. But we don't put pressure on those days - which ultimately leads to disappointment anyway - because we celebrate every day.

We did celebrate our anniversary, too - with BBQ brunch and sushi dinner (our love for food knows no borders). Full disclosure: we actually wound up canceling the reservations we had at a fancy restaurant because we felt like keeping it casual that night.

But then we forgot one teensy detail.

So no, our marriage isn't ruined because we forgot to eat cake on March 26. When we got around to it on March 27, the whole thing was pretty anticlimactic anyway. We each ate a little sliver of it and then kinda looked at it and asked, “So do we just throw away the rest?”

(Side note: it was quite well preserved and not at all disgusting, so props to the person who wrapped it in 3 layers of cling wrap, 1 layer of tin foil, and a gallon size bag.)

I felt bad about the idea of throwing it away so it lived in a ziploc bag in our refrigerator until one of us decided “enough is enough” and threw it away. But can you imagine what would have happened if we'd put too much pressure on the moment of eating a few bites of year-old cake? I'd be despondent, asking, “Why didn't that feel more special?” Or I'd have eaten the whole tier of cake on principle.

Life's special enough. Celebrate the small stuff. The big stuff never disappoints when you live out every day in celebration.

Foreshadowing of me saying, "Whatever! It's just cake!"

Foreshadowing of me saying, "Whatever! It's just cake!"

The Summer Purchases You Won't Regret

sai-kiran-anagani-209542.jpg

By Derek Reimherr

In case you missed it, we recently moved from Boston to Atlanta. And there’s nothing like upgrading to a 2 bedroom apartment with a giant patio, walk-in closets, and full-size bathrooms to make you realize how much you do (or don’t) have.

Being an interests guy, there are many things I love in this world. Surprising no one who knows me, two of them are entertaining and decorating. Something something gender roles, whatever. As we looked around at our new apartment, Maggie and I got the itch to start buying stuff we probably don’t need to make our new home feel more comfortable and entertaining easier.

Some of that stuff we definitely didn’t need (like a mousepad with a Rambo cat riding a fire breathing unicorn), but several of our purchases have been really, really great.

So as you’re gearing up for the summer, we’ve got a few (non-sponsored, no one is paying us for these) recommendations based on our recent purchases. We think they’ll make your home a lot more fun, cozy, and comfortable.

1. New bar stools for your kitchen

In the south, people gather around food. Lucky for us, our new kitchen comes complete with a nice, long bar. Unfortunately, it’s been sitting naked for the past several months. No more! Target came in clutch with these really slick stools that perfectly fit our apartment aesthetic, and at only $180 for 2 pairs.

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 4.04.47 PM.png

2. Decorations for your patio. Extra points for copper.

All copper everything. I don’t even care how ~basic~ it makes us, we LOVE copper in the Reimherr household. Our patio is perfect for summer sitting since it doesn’t get much direct sun and we want to spruce it up with unique lighting features. One trip to Target yielded this copper lantern and following Kinja Deals on Twitter served us these copper wire lights for a steal. The lantern is on our patio set (also from Target) and the lights are now strung through our patio fence/railing.

P.S. Be careful with Kinja Deals. Every time I click on their daily deals, I have something in my Amazon shopping cart 5 seconds later. Speaking of Amazon….

3. Amazon Prime membership

If you don’t already have one, what are you doing? You’re too busy to run to the store for every little thing this summer. 2-day free shipping has been a major time saver for us. But wait, there’s more! Amazon Music, Amazon Movies and TV (like Man in the High Castle - so good), and early access to deals. What are you waiting for?

4. Cold brew coffee maker

If you haven’t explored the world of cold brew, summer is the perfect time. There’s nothing worse than hot coffee when it’s already 80 degrees at 9:00 am. Yes, you can make cold brew in a french press or a pitcher (with some finagling). But wouldn’t you rather get a super cheap, super easy to use cold brew maker instead? This one is 1 quart which is perfect for two travel mugs every morning. Yes, cold brew takes a lot more coffee beans to make, but it’s still about $0.75 per 10 oz coffee vs. $3.50 at the coffee shop across the street from us.

5. Self-care essentials

Maggie is all about the self-care and it’s rubbed off on me, too. For her, that means bubble baths, frequent trips to the library, and the occasional massage. If you’re partial to relaxing baths, here’s what she’s been using lately. While you’re at it, get a bath caddy to hold your glass of wine. I gifted Maggie one for Christmas and she loves it.

6. A good pair of headphones

Anyone that plans on bebopping (people still say this, right?) their way around coffee shop patios in the summer knows the value of decent bluetooth headphones. Alternatively, they’re great for air travel or long car rides. Trust me, your ears deserve better than those iPhone headphones. I have a pair of Bose on-ears but recently bought a well-reviewed and deeply discounted pair of over-ear headphones. Yes, there’s a difference.
 

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 10.03.23 PM.png

7. Portable battery/charger

Man, these things are absolute LIFE SAVERS. Get it, like battery life? From the research I’ve done, Anker is the undisputed king in this category. Their portable batteries come in all shapes and sizes with a variety of ports. I got the small model - it fits in my pocket and backpack super easily.

Screen Shot 2017-05-03 at 9.43.38 PM.png

8. Lightweight cotton sheets

Maybe you’re still using your sheets from college, but we were fortunate enough to get a set of 600 thread count sheets as a wedding gift. They’re unbelievably soft and cozy, but they retain heat like nobody’s business. This does not bode well in a Georgia summer.

I did some research recently and found Brooklinen sheets had the highest ratings. (This is a referral link btw. You buy anything and Maggie and I get some credit. Thanks in advance!) As an avid Casper brand evangelist, it pained me to go off-brand. One cannot ignore reviews, though. These 270 thread count sheets were exactly what the doctor ordered. No more waking up sweaty for this couple. Bonus points if you get polka dot sheets because you know your wife will think they're "cute." 
 

9. Game night options

We are big board/card game people. Okay, I’M a big board gamer and I’ve converted Maggie. Having a couple beers with friends while crushing them in not-Monopoly is the perfect Sunday night for us. (Seriously, Monopoly is the worst.) Not all game nights are created equal, though. Cards Against Humanity (or Exploding Kittens, Utter Nonsense, etc) is awesome for 6 or more people - we just bought an expansion for this exact reason. But nothing beats a rousing, yes rousing, game of Settlers of Catan, 7 Wonders, or Pandemic with another couple or small group of friends. Make sure you have options.

10. TV upgrades

What does this have to do with summer, you ask? Isn’t summer for going outside? Yes, but the night is dark and full of terrors. For all you non-Westerosi out there, Game of Thrones is coming back this summer. So is House of Cards. And Orange is the New Black. Invest in your binging viewing experience by grabbing a soundbar - your TV speakers aren’t doing Jon Snow’s brooding justice. There are options as cheap as $150, but I spent a bit more when I upgraded.

We recently bought a strip of bias lights. They’re supposed to reduce eye strain and increase the perceived on-screen contrast. Or something. I’m enjoying them so far.


There you have it. Go forth and shop. 

What are you planning on buying this summer? Let us know!

Happy Friday! (And a Jord Watches Giveaway!)

By Maggie Reimherr

Happy Friday, y'all! We are Oxford, MS bound for my sister’s college graduation. A college graduation that comes with an adventure to a cool little Southern town? Yes, please. We’re excited to eat some delicious Southern food, attend a graduation at Ole Miss’s famous Grove, drink cocktails (and, since it's a college town, light beer) at the local watering holes, and maybe even go on a literary adventure - William Faulkner’s old home, Rowan Oak, is in town!

And I know y'all know Mother’s Day is this weekend, too. I hope you have your gifts ready. Your mom deserves better than Kroger flowers.

Finally - shameless plug to myself - my birthday is on Mother's Day. I'm turning 25, which I feel like legitimizes me as an adult. Derek seems to have some birthday surprises up his sleeve, and I'm also super happy that on the morning of my birthday, I'll be with my family before we head back to Atlanta after the weekend in Mississippi.

With a graduation, a Mother’s Day, and a birthday this weekend, there are a ton of gift-giving occasions set before us. If Jord Watches hadn't been so generous to send me one of their gorgeous wood watches, one of these bad boys would definitely be on my birthday wish list. I love the Frankie Zebrawood and Navy women's watch they sent me!

I'll admit, we weren't the best planners for Mother's Day and my sister’s graduation so we couldn't get this unique Mother's Day gift (shout out to Williams Sonoma and checkbooks for saving us). But guess what? In two weeks, we have another graduation - my baby brother’s all grown up and graduating from high school - and Father's Day is just around the corner. Jord has super trendy men’s watch styles too! The best part? You can make it an engraved gift and personalize it however you like!

If you know me, you know my style has been more preppy than hip. I've been rocking J Crew cardigans since I was 17. But this cool watch has made me want to turn over a new, more fashionable leaf. So I'm wearing my wood watch to graduation this weekend with a trendy jumpsuit!

Derek and I are partnering with Jord to give away a $100 gift card toward their beautiful watches. You can enter below!

What are y'all up to this weekend?! And how cute are Jord's watches?! Leave us a note in the comments or on social media - and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

What I've Learned about the 6 Different Types of Workplaces

By Derek Reimherr

If you missed the series intro, go back and take a look. I lay out my motivation for this series and why I even feel qualified to write about this topic.

A quick recap: I’m 26 years old and I’ve had 30 managers, 22 different jobs and worked in 15 different industries. And I’ve learned a lot about work from all those different experiences. With that background, let’s talk about work environments.

I think companies/offices generally fall into these 6 categories:

  • Hourly Mentality
  • The Traditional Office
  • GET SH!T DONE
  • Growing Pains
  • The Contractor’s Dream
  • Progressive Workplace

Generally speaking, I’m focusing on the feel of the office and the way people approach work. My goal is not to pass judgment but offer commentary. If you feel I’ve missed niches or subcategories, please let me know! Let’s dive in.

Hourly Mentality

Everyone has worked in this type of job before. These are typically hourly workplaces. Zooming out, there are several more defining characteristics of these workplaces:

  • Focused on the short-term, very little emphasis on higher-level strategy.
  • You’ll hear the “Not my job” sentiment or something along those lines. “Someone else will take care of that.”
  • Often stuck in reactive panic mode dealing with “fires” as they pop up.

In this work environment, people show up, do their 8 hours (or shift), and go home. Employees don’t care about the company at large - they want a paycheck. They're great when you’re looking for a part-time job, internship, or starting out. This isn’t the place you want to build a career.

The Traditional Office or "Out of Touch"

Ah, the office of our parents and grandparents. It’s famous business professional attire, lack of benefits and/or perks, and very few, if any, casual days. These offices are typically technology regressive or resistant to change. 

Maybe everything is printed or you’re still using Office 2003. Perhaps no one has heard of Dropbox, Box, or Google Drive. You're probably not seeing many perks unless it’s a big company. #CorporateLife

Workplaces like this struggle with hiring younger demographics. Candidates and new employees question a lot about these workplaces.

Why can’t we wear jeans?
Why there are only 8 PTO days per year?
Where’s the sense of team camaraderie?

As such, you’re likely to see “lifers” in these offices - people who have been there for many years. And because of that, you’ll often hear the sentiment, “Well, we’ve always done it this way. Why change now?”

GET SH!T DONE

You might be laughing at me for the all caps, but I promise it has a purpose. These offices transcend categorization by demographics, perks, or vibe. These teams focus on the end product, customer, or sales. A better descriptor is intense. It could be a result of unorganized project managers, unrealistic deadlines, or an unhealthy internal competition. Or everyone is hyper-focused on delivering good work and not much else.

Consider this: a startup with a beer cart, ping pong table, standing desks, and unlimited PTO seems cool. But if you only talk about work with your co-workers or if you’re often working on the weekend, you might be in a GSD office. This might be ideal if you don’t much care for your workplace relationships and want to do great work. Beyond that, many people may experience burnout here.

Growing Pains

I imagine these as larger or more established companies with culture problems. The company is seeing a changing of the guard: Baby Boomers are retiring and millennials/Gen Xers make up most teams. Senior leadership looked at themselves and said, “We need to change.”

So management shook things up. New perks, revised management styles, and flexible work options were created. All good things. Sure, some employees are pushing back, feeling “left behind” or disgruntled. But, if you can stick it out, this could be a great place to work. In the meantime, there will be a lot of tension in the air.

The Contractor’s Dream

Nowadays, many teams operate in autonomous work groups or as individual contributors. These companies are may use contractors or part-timers as a sizable part of the team. Or they could be a flexible work-from-home or even entirely remote company. Or both.

Here, you can work multiple jobs or have side hustles. Less corporate hierarchy means you’re not dealing with layers of management. Say goodbye to micromanaging. You can come in, knock out your work, and move on. Some will feel disconnected working here, but others will love the freedom.

Progressive Workplace

(Full disclosure: This is the kind of place I work at now.)

The majority of the Gen X and Millennials are looking for this kind of job. This workplace values corporate responsibility, transparency, work/life balance, among other these. Co-workers openly discuss traditionally taboo topics: race issues, cultural backgrounds, sexual orientation (LGBTQIA+), and political views. These companies create employee engagement programs with team building, happy hours, and retreats. And yes, they’re usually agencies, startups, and tech companies.

For many workers, it’s too much. Not everyone wants to discuss their personal life at work. Many people don’t want to work in an open or remote office. Some don’t want to be friends with their co-workers. That’s okay and there will always be other options. But for a lot of people, this is the dream.

--

To be fair, most offices operate on a spectrum, overlapping several different categories. But I think workplaces generally lean in one direction over the others.

Here's a story to illustrate why this is important. A little over a year ago, I was working at a Global Fortune 10 company. The pay and benefits were great. The advancement opportunity was there. But the environment was in the "Growing Pains" stage at best and the "Out of Touch" at worst. Managers were technologically challenged - I was often asked to convert Word docs to PDF and print for my boss. The office wasted so many resources (human capital, paper, time, etc). Every day, I came home from work unhappy and complaining. It drove Maggie CRAZY. Even though I had to take a pay cut, I knew I had to get out of there for the sake of my personal and marital health.

It’s vital for all of us to take a step back and identify the environment we’re in. If we like it, why? If we hate it, why? Your satisfaction and fulfillment at work bleeds over into the rest of your life. Consider this: if you're unhappy from 9-5, do you spend more on the weekends to balance out? Or does your significant other regularly bemoan your poor attitude? Understanding where you currently are can help shape where you want to go or whether you should stay put.

Do you think I’m wrong? Did I totally miss the mark? Let me know. Next up, we’re talking about management and leadership.

Lessons I've Learned from 30 managers and 22 jobs

BY: DEREK REIMHERR

I started a new job in Atlanta recently (and so did Maggie) which seems like a good time to look backward. How far have I come? It's a doozy. I’m 26 years old and I’ve had 30 managers, 22 different jobs and worked in 15 different industries. Don’t believe me? Let’s break it down:

  • 10 part-time, minimum wage-type jobs
    • Soccer referee
    • Intramural sports referee (think flag football, soccer, ultimate frisbee)
    • Department store cashier
    • Clothing store associate
    • Camp counselor
    • University dining hall worker (I made awesome grilled sandwiches)
    • Pizza delivery driver
    • Restaurant/bar server
    • Caregiver/babysitter
    • University academic tutor
    • 2 apprenticeship/development-type jobs
    • Non-profit Lighting Production Assistant
    • Non-profit Communications and Social Media Associate
  • 7 internship or similar positions
    • Event venue Marketing Intern
    • Real estate brokerage Marketing Intern
    • Newspaper Marketing Coordinator
    • Mobile app Sales and Marketing Coordinator
    • University psychology Research Assistant
    • Food and beverage corporation Field Sales Intern
    • Auto parts company Marketing Intern
  • 4 salaried positions
    • Corporate Analyst
    • Corporate Regional Marketing Associate
    • Marketing agency Social Media Specialist
    • Marketing agency Senior Social Media Analyst (omitted in total because new job)

I count the number of industries I’ve worked in or with at around 14. You might combine a couple of these, but the number is still in the double digits. A few examples: retail, non-profit, food and beverage, real estate, automotive, and agency/firm (or professional services, I guess). 

I’ve had more jobs than most people will have in their whole life. Since I was 16, I've only been unemployed for 6 months in total: two different semesters in college. At times, it was out of need. But oftentimes, I just wanted some extra spending money. I was fortunate enough to have parents who provided a lot of financial support but didn’t spoil me. They always encouraged me to work to earn the things I really wanted.

Because of this, you could argue I’ve got a pretty decent perspective on “work” that other people my age don’t have. Heck, I'd go out on a limb and say I have a perspective that many people will never have.

Furthermore, I’ve had managers from all walks of life: women and men, executive and contractor, millennial and baby boomer, corporate and small business, salaried and hourly, parents and non-parents, married and single, minority and white.

Disclaimer: in all my time, I’ve never had a direct report. I’m only 26 after all - doesn’t seem too unusual. Sure, I’ve led projects, onboarded and trained new employees, taught seminars/sessions, and coordinated teams. But it’s never been up to me whether someone stayed on the payroll.

Here’s the point: I’m going to write a multi-part series on work. I’ll talk about where I’ve seen culture motivate (and demoralize), how managers and leaders can empower (or discourage), and which employees succeed (or fail, myself included).

The goal is to provide you principles you can apply in your own vocation. There should be something here for you whether you’re:

  • Part-time, full-time, or salaried
  • A young professional or seasoned worker
  • An individual contributor
  • A new manager or a long-time manager
  • A senior leader or executive (Going out on a limb with this one. Maybe you’ll learn how to better lead new hires, manage up with your boss, or celebrate your team even if it’s just a birthday.)

This is important. We spend more time at work and with at co-workers than our loved ones. So examining our relationship with our jobs is beyond crucial. When I loved my job, I checked out at the office door. When I didn’t? It couldn’t help but bleed over into my relationship with Maggie. This discussion should provide a framework for you to evaluate your own situation.

We’re going to talk about the main factors that I’ve found influence work satisfaction the most: work environments, managers and leaders, compensation, and your personal performance. 

I’m really excited for this series. Stayed tuned for the next post all about work environments.

Divorce Boats

By Maggie Reimherr

I once heard someone call kayaks divorce boats. I concur. Derek and I have been on a kayak exactly once, and it wasn't pretty.

Our friends Chris and Amanda were visiting us in Boston for a weekend. We’d heard that a *quintessential Boston activity* was kayaking the Charles River. It sounded really fun and like a great way to see the city, so we thought, “Sure! Why not?”

We arrived at the kayak rental station in Cambridge, MA on a sunny May afternoon. We decided, “Hey, we’re married couples. Let’s get double kayaks!”

This was a grave mistake.

We started slathering on some sunscreen to prepare for an afternoon of boating on the Charles like true New Englanders. Like the very unathletic person I am, I decide to wear a dress that day. We were going to an improv show later that night and wouldn’t have time to go back to the apartment to change. I hiked my leg up onto a cooler at the kayak rental place to put on some sunscreen, and some RUDE-ASS LADY walked up to me and said something about how she could see my underwear. Cool, thanks. I don’t really care if anyone sees my incredibly modest granny panties, but you just made me feel self-conscious about being unladylike. 

So I was entering into this boat ride already a little emotionally distressed.

Via Giphy

Via Giphy

We decided Derek would take the back of the boat for steering purposes, and I’d be in front. This meant that when it came time to take a cool selfie of us on the boat, I was going to have to be the one to snap the picture without losing an iPhone in the depths of the Charles River. Lucky me.

Between the accidental flashing and the potential iPhone drowning, on a scale of 1-10, my anxiety was at around a 7.

We started paddling and immediately, the physics of kayaking baffled me. I knew I had to put the oar in the water and push to move forward. What I didn’t realize was that this motion, if done incorrectly, could cause the kayak to veer to one side or go around in circles.

Derek started to get frustrated with my willy-nilly paddling. Additionally, each time I dipped my paddle into the water, somehow I couldn’t get it together and not splash water all over him. “Here, just take a break and let me paddle,” he said in frustration.

It’s one thing to paddle yourself in a single kayak. It’s another thing entirely to try to paddle you and your wife in a double kayak when she’s a completely useless partner. Derek is a champ, but one man can only take so much. His arms got tired. He requested my help once more. I kept splashing him and spinning the boat in circles.

At this point, we’d made it maybe 50 yards from the spot where we departed from land. I don’t know if I had an unrealistic expectation of how far two people can go in a kayak, but I thought we’d be moving at regatta speed and see a big chunk of Boston.

I was wrong. We had MIT on one side of the river and Back Bay on the other, and that’s it. For visual representation:

Divorce Boats.png

Derek and I started snapping at each other.

Derek: “Maggie, STOP SPLASHING ME.”
Me: “We’re in the water! Water splashes! Get over it!”

Derek: “Can you please paddle straight?!”
Me: “I DON’T KNOW HOW THIS WORKS, OKAY??!”

All the while, our friends Chris and Amanda were floating down the Charles nearby, having a blast. We pulled our boats next to each other and convened on a game plan.

“So, uh… do y’all want to go back to the shore?” I asked nervously.

We’d been on the river for probably 45 minutes. To my relief, they said it was fine to return. They are very accommodating and very good sports.

But getting back was not easy. More splashing, more spinning in circles, more groaning, until finally, we reached dry land.

And what do you know? Like a beacon in the night, right before our eyes was a glorious, beautiful beer garden.

It was time for alcohol.

We returned our boats and immediately made our way to the bar. Sun-tired and sore from kayaking, we sat and drank beer and chatted and laughed.

Just when I thought we’d forgotten about the troublesome kayaking from earlier, Derek whispered, “We are NEVER sharing a kayak again.”

So take it from me, folks. Save your marriage. Choose the single kayak.

Oh, and we did get our selfie without sacrificing an iPhone. We appear far happier than we actually were.

Everything You Need to Know About Cheap Caribbean's Deal of Fortune

By Maggie Reimherr

If you've been following along on Instagram and Facebook, you know that we got a killer deal on our Mexico vacation. The catch? We didn't know which resort we were heading to until a week before the trip. We chose to book through Cheap Caribbean and rolled the dice on their Deal of Fortune.

I wrote about the process of deciding to throw caution to the wind and book this mystery vacation over here a while back. (Side note: check there for my booking tips.) To recap: we decided to book a Deal of Fortune because I read every review on the Internet and thoroughly researched each resort option in the package we chose. We chose the 5-Sun Cancun deal specifically because we were cool with landing at any of the hotels listed.

Now we’re home from the trip. Did we like it? Was it an amazing find or a scam? Let's find out…

We got an email a week before revealing we'd be staying at Secrets The Vine Cancun, ranked #3 among every Cancun hotel on TripAdvisor. We knew we liked the Secrets brand because we stayed at Secrets Maroma Beach for our honeymoon last year. We also knew this was another resort that people rave about in this chain of properties. We were stoked. Side note: we’ll publish a separate post reviewing Secrets the Vine and comparing the 2 resorts in case you're booking a Secrets vacation soon and having trouble deciding.

So to give y'all a sense of just how good of a deal it was, let's talk numbers. We were at an all inclusive resort. That means unlimited food and drinks (yes, alcohol, too) were included in our package. Also included? A “run of house” room, fancy wording for “cheapest room we've got.” And finally… our price through Cheap Caribbean included airfare. I've priced it out below:

Full price 7 night trip for 2:
Run of house room booked directly through Secrets the Vine: $4500/week
Airfare (BOS to CUN to compare because we booked this out of Boston): $1200
Shared round trip transfer from airport to hotel: $60
Total: $5760

Our Cheap Caribbean Deal of Fortune 7 night trip for 2:
Total for run of house room, all inclusive food + drinks, airfare (BOS to CUN), shared round trip transfer: $2800

Yep, you read that right. We got a half price trip.

So should you book a Deal of Fortune even though you won't know where you're going until a week before? HELL yes. Spice up your life and save mucho dinero, folks!

Derek and I kept talking about how the trip felt like stealing because it was like, “Are they making any money off of us?” We honestly don't know how the finances work on their side. But we do know that as long as the Deal of Fortune exists, we will never, ever, ever book a full price resort vacation again.

The cool thing about getting such a stellar deal is that the pressure is off to get alllllll the bang for your buck. You want to lay at the pool all day, every day and participate in 0 activities? Go for it. Want to go to bed early and skip the evening show? Done. Wanna head up to your room at 3 o'clock and binge watch an entire series on Netflix? You're free to do that (and… guilty. We watched all of 13 Reasons Why on this trip).

On the flip side, you made it to a luxury resort in the Caribbean for half price. So live it up! Eat nachos by the pool, drink those unlimited margaritas and Coronas, go to the tequila tasting at 4 o'clock in the afternoon (#didthat), sing along to the cover bands at the evening shows, and order a 5-course meal just because you're on vacation.

I shared booking tips in my previous post about choosing the Deal of Fortune, so to figure out how to book, head over there. Now time for some DoF/all inclusive resort tips for when you're actually on vacation…

TIPS:

  • Bring cash to tip. You scored an awesome deal. Don't be stingy to the waitstaff.
  • If you're a honeymooner, be aware that the “run of house” room might be 2 queen beds. If your heart is set on enjoying your honeymoon on a luxurious king bed, set aside extra money in your budget and see if you can upgrade to a king suite once you get there. They offered us the upgrade to a king room in the "preferred club" section of the resort (which also would've allowed us access to an additional pool and breakfast/lunch restaurant) at $90 a night. We declined and took the 2 queens. And yes, because they knew this trip was for our anniversary, they left rose petals on one of our queen beds the first night. 
  • Also, honeymooners… I don't know if this is the standard across all resorts, but at both Secrets we've stayed at, the toilet was in a room that was basically just a frosted glass closet. So beware that not only are you adjusting to being married to a person, but you're also gonna have to get real comfortable with bathroom stuff real fast. Good luck.
  • If you're planning on a truly budget-friendly vacation without any extra activities, 7 nights may be a little long. The daytime activity schedule is fairly repetitive each day (but the entertainment staff is fantastic!), so you may feel a little bored of 7 straight days poolside. We booked an excursion, and I'm super glad we did to get away from the resort for a day. (Cancun specific tip: y'all have to go to Isla Mujeres. Book a catamaran excursion like we did - if you’re a Cheap Caribbean customer, you can book through your Amstar rep in the hotel lobby - or just hop on the ferry over to the island. Rent a golf cart. Barter for souvenirs with the locals. Eat an authentic Mexican meal, but take it from us - taste the sauce before you douse your burrito in habanero salsa and plz don't set your mouth on fire like we did.)
  • Bring a laptop for show/movie watching on lazy nights. We had a smart TV in our room but the smart part didn't actually work, so we ended up watching Netflix on Derek’s laptop a few nights.
  • Don't overpack. No, Maggie, you did not need that second pair of wedges.
  • Along those lines… if you don't regularly work out, you aren't going to start on vacation. Leave the 5 Fabletics outfits at home. Drink your pina coladas and pay for your sins when you get home.
  • If you need something, just ask… but know that it might be slow getting to you. All-inclusive resorts tend to run at their own pace. So when you order a water and a margarita from the pool waiter, you may not actually see those things for a half hour. Be patient. You're on beach time.
  • Eat your vegetables. It's so easy to let nutrition go by the wayside when you have an array of DELICIOUS foods at your fingertips 24/7. But trust me, if you don't eat your veggies, you won't be feeling good. Derek and I skipped karaoke night, which I would NEVER NORMALLY DO, because we were physically ill from eating too many carbs all week. Oops.
  • Stock up on sunscreen and other essentials back home. You don't want to pay resort gift shop prices for that SPF.
  • Take advantage of the onsite entertainment options! Last year, we went to a Beatles cover show at Secrets Maroma Beach that we’re still talking about. This year, we loved the Jersey Boys show at The Vine. 
  • For airport transfer… we booked shared transfer through Amstar and lucked out. We ended up having a van to ourselves on the way to the resort from the airport. On the way from the resort, we shared with one family. It cost us about $100 less than private transfer would, but I've heard it's a bit of a gamble... you could end up on a bus and stop at every resort along the strip before you get to yours.
  • Check ahead of time to see if the resort offers honeymoon/anniversary perks. Secrets brought a complimentary bottle of champagne to our room to kick off our stay as a little anniversary gift.

So all that being said... Cheers! Your vacation awaits! And now we want to hear from you… would you book the Deal of Fortune now that you've read about our experience?! And resort veterans - what are your all inclusive travel tips? Leave us a note in the comments or on social media!

So We Moved to Atlanta: A Recap

By Maggie Reimherr

I don't know if y'all have noticed, but things have slowed down on the blog over this past month. We have a pretty decent excuse - we moved across the country. But now that we’re settled, it's time to pick it back up. So let's play catch up.

First up: the big move. It didn’t exactly go as planned. You see what happened was…

Derek's license expired about 2 weeks before the move. He planned to get a new one in MA even though it would’ve cost upwards of $150 (total ripoff). But then the day before we packed up, he tripped and sprained his ankle on the cobblestone streets of Boston. In true Boston fashion, the city’s infrastructure gave him a big “f you.”

Did y'all know moving trucks don’t have cruise control? We didn’t. With him in some serious pain and no cruise control to help, it was left to little 5’1” Maggie to drive the truck.

Another question: Did y'all know moving trucks were classified as commercial vehicles and are subject to height clearance rules? Well, I didn't. And this time, it was my turn to receive a big “f you” from a New York State trooper in the form of a ticket. As a lifelong rule follower, I was so embarrassed for not knowing this particular rule. I was also outraged that the cop decided to fill his February ticket quota by pulling over and being extremely rude to a 20-something girl who was already in a very stressful situation. And now I'm avoiding the consequences… I’ve yet to make the phone call to the local courts to find out how much I owe. Luckily we just got our security deposit back from our Boston landlord. So hello and goodbye, money.

So We Moved.png

We made it to Durham, NC in one day as we planned...technically. We rolled into the Holiday Inn Express parking lot at 2:30 am after stopping nearby to “get some fresh air” and “grab a snack.” Quotations used because we were exhausted and needed breaks to wake up. Driving that late at night was extremely unsafe and I wouldn't recommend it. But I'd already booked and paid for the hotel room so we felt obligated to get there. (P.S. Don’t do that either.)

After 1,000 miles on the road, Atlanta was finally in sight. We double checked with the apartment complex to make sure we were good to move in. Of course, we weren’t. We had to set up an account with the utility company to transfer over payment responsibilities. Oh, and we also needed money orders for our move-in fees. So after several frantic phone calls and a stop by Walmart, we finally rolled up to our new home in Atlanta, vowing never to do an out of state move (at least on our own) again.

When we got to Atlanta, we were greeted by friends and family to help move us in (#blessed #thankyou). Beer and pizza are always great motivators for friends. We wasted absolutely no time decorating the place and making it feel like home (one of Derek’s rules - he’s the interior decorator in this relationship). A few days later, I started my new job and Derek started working remotely.

So what've we been up to since? Settling in. Enjoying time with friends and family. Eating at a lot of restaurants in the neighborhood and drinking a lot of local beer. Exploring. Learning how to get around the city… and now, conveniently, as we just learned the routes, without using I-85. We’re walking distance to several parks, walking trails, shopping districts, and restaurants and bars galore, so we’ve taken the time to breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy it.

The whole moving ourselves thing was...rather chaotic. But we are unbelievably thrilled to be here. Shout out to everyone who helped us move - we couldn't have done it without y'all!

And now, back to your regularly scheduled Millennial Marriage programming. New content is coming your way!