At the beginning of 2019, we shared our goals for the year over on our I Do, We Do podcast. Since its now April, we thought we would share our progress to these goals. Before we jump in to grading ourselves on our progress… let’s do a quick storytime. In December, we went away on a little staycation/retreat and focused in our goals. We laid out some really great plans for our goals. They all had target dates, detailed action items-- so we were ready to rock 2019.Read More
It should come at no surprise that our parents are our biggest inspirations in our relationship. I mean, c’mon, there’s 80 years of marriage between the two couples! As observers of 63 of our parents 80 years, we picked up a few things along the way that serve as the foundation for our relationship...Read More
Setting goals is really easy to do, but taking action on those goals and seeing them through is the hard part. That’s where most people struggle. One way to work through that struggle is to have someone who can hold you accountable. Ashley is that person for me and I am for her. We have given each other permission to hold the other accountable. We can call each other out and remind the other about our goals together or the goals we hold separately.Read More
The greatest thing I have realized through the planning of the Austin Young Chamber’s first Leadership Development Day is the power sharing our gifts. So many great speakers shared their gifts with us throughout the day. The staff executed every little detail with ease. We are so lucky to witness their gifts everyday. I walked away realizing one of my best gifts is the ability to put things like Leadership Development Day together. I am so glad that I shared this gift to serve the Austin Young Chamber and look forward to next opportunity to share this gift in service to others.Read More
Our lifestyle dramatic changed in July of 2018 when we challenged ourselves to do the Whole 30 diet. What could we do in 2019 that would have a similar positive impact? We both knew it and slyly grinned at the same time. EXCESSIVE SPENDING. It’s Billy’s need to buy anything with the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl Champs logo on it. It’s Ashley’s obsession with any and all skincare trends. And in 2019, we’ve promised ourselves to stop the excessive spending.Read More
Every year we sit down and discuss our yearly goals together and every year “Prioritize Travel” is on the list.
This is one that defies the SMART test.
It’s not specific. Its definitely not measurable nor is it truly achievable. It isn’t timely either. It does, however, pass the relevant test.
As a goal, “Prioritize Travel” is relevant for us because we want to live a memorable life. We value traveling for all the memories we have made. It has even taken priority over things like buying a home.
A financial advisor would probably hate us for not owning property and traveling as much as we do.
But as cheesy as it sounds, we know we are living a life that will make us rich on memories.
You can hear more about how we manage to travel while working full-time over on our I Do, We Do podcast. But for now, check out our 5 most memorable trips… as told by Ashley.
Orlando was such a special trip for us. We aren’t amusement park junkies or Disney obsessed, so it’s a little odd on this list. This was the first trip we took on our own since our honeymoon in 2011. It hold a special place in my memories because I look at this trip as the one that kicked off our travel bug. I had just graduated with my MBA and this trip was a celebration of that. We didn’t have much money to spend on this trip. We did Disney one day. But I actually remember very little from our Disney World day. What I remember most was the feeling like we could relax. The pool (shockingly) had few kids and was the perfect place to relax. We rented a pontoon boat and fished on the large pond at our resort. We’ve never been fishing together before, not have we done it since. We didn’t catch a thing but we laughed and laughed about nothing.
Three musts in Orlando:
This trip was so special because it was my first time to see snow. Yes, it snowed like every other winter growing up in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But it was unreal to me to see a foot of snow fall before your eyes. We did not ski out of fear our out of shape bodies would come home broken. But we still laugh at me trying to sled. The altitude sickness was rough and we were out of breath from simply going up the one flight of stairs in our cabin. The snow was so intense one day, Billy was nervous to drive out of our step hotel entrance. Luckily, we had gone to the store and had food for the day. Billy grilled us steaks while I sat in the hot tub and drank champagne. We built mini-snowmen adored with hats from our alma maters.
Three musts on Tahoe:
On our first trip to the islands, we managed to cram all the things a trip to Hawaii should have. A Luau. A private tour of the Kualoa Ranch to see the great sites and locations of various LOST filming places. We went on several breathtaking… and heavy breathing inducing hikes like Diamond Head for an epic view of Oahu. And TWO trips to the Dole Plantation to consume as much Dole Whip as we possibly could.
Three musts on Oahu:
Our favorite of the Hawaiian islands, easily. It was also the first of many trips we would go on with my sister. We can’t wait to be returning to the island in late 2018 with her and her soon-to-be husband. The Na Pali Coast is still the most beautiful thing we have ever seen. But we made a lot of laughs on this trip that really made the next 2 months of her living with us in our one-bedroom apartment more comfortable.
Three musts on Kauai:
This was my first intercontinental trip. And I panicked about being in such a small space for such a long trip. Like bawling the first 30 minutes of the flight. It was awful, but I would do it all over again for all the great memories made. Wine cheaper than bottled water at every meal and tricking Billy’s parents into a second or even third bottle at dinner. Seeing the old beauty of some many old Catholic churches was awe-inspiring. But Palm Sunday Mass with the Pope is the memory that will last a lifetime. The part that made it so memorable was the emotions of Billy’s mom at Mass with the Pope. To experience that feeling with her was something I will never forget.
Three musts in Rome:
The holidays are just around the corner and you've crossed everyone off your list. Well, everyone but one.
That pesky millennial.
They've got a steady job and disposable income that allows them to purchase the latest and greatest.
What could you get them that they don’t already have?
You've got a Starbucks gift card in the back of your mind for them. It's not a unique gift but you know they will use it since they always post pictures of their lattes to social media.
We’re telling you now... DROP THE GIFT CARD.
We've compiled a list of gifts for that career-driven, jet-setting, young professional on your holiday shopping list.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. We truly believe in all the products below and if you choose to purchase, we will earn commission at not cost to you!
Airtight Cold Brew Coffee Maker - $29.99
Cold brew is all the rage and this gift is sure to please for all the coffee lovers on your list… plus you’ll save them a few dollars (and time!) for not having to swing by the drive-thru on the way to the office.
Breathable Garment Bag - $14.99
Make all those travels for work, fun, and all the weddings for all those college buddies less wrinkly with these garment bags. Bonus: there is two in this set!
Vegan Leather Laptop Sleeve - $16.99
Keep those precious devices safe in this sleek (and vegan!) laptop sleeve.
Spikeball - $55.99
This Shark Tank favorite is a hit with those with a more active lifestyle.
Organic Hemp Oil - $49.99
There’s no controversy with this product… it’s legal everywhere and helps those down hours be pain & stress-free.
Portable External Battery - $10.99
The sleek design of this battery matches most electronic devices and holds a charge that will last for multiple devices.
Bonsai Tree Seed Starter Kit - $39.99
Bring some of the great outdoors inside with this zen-inducing bonsai starter kit.
Hard Cover 12 Month Planner - $24.95
A key to staying organized for any professional is a planner. Look for ones with a quality design, but can be personalized with the addition of stickers.
Skincare Set for Men - $35.00
They may be considered young now, but that won’t always be the case. This set of products is a favorite in our household.
Jade Roller for Face - $23.95
Facial rollers might be the biggest trend in skincare this year. In addition to reducing wrinkles and puffiness, jade in ancient Chinese times was used for protection and for increasing the inner energy.
Passport Holder - $9.99
Help the jetsetter who is always on the run keep the most important documents organized in this gender-neutral passport holder.
“Think and Grow Rich” A Professional Development Book - $15.25
A favorite in our house that gets re-read every year.
Marble Stone Coasters - $29.99
These swoon-worthy coasters will make the perfect addition to any minimalist’s home.
Alexa Dot - $49.99
A staple in most homes already but this tiny device makes a great addition to another room or even in the office to increase productivity.
Gift Cards - any value
If you have to grab a gift card, try to grab one from local restaurants, coffee houses, or bars. Subscriptions like Amazon Prime and HelloFresh can make great gifts as well.
Think we are missing something? Let us know in the comments, we’d love your feedback!
Over on the I Do, We Do podcast, we chatted about time management and how it is a myth. SPOILER: Time can’t be managed since it is finite, but you can manage yourself.
Talking about time and managing ourselves got us thinking about our morning routines. Since those are some of our favorites blog posts to consume, we thought we would share our own morning routines.
One thing you will not see in our routine is coffee.
Yes, we are *THOSE* people. We wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed ready to start the day… without caffeine. You may never find “morning people” more ready for the morning than us.
We also wake up around the same time. And it’s not because we are both morning people even though we totally are. But since we share a car, our morning routines have to sync up in order to make that work.
On a good day, our morning goes like this...
Ashley’s alarm goes off, no snoozing
6:00 AM to 6:20 AM
Ashley does hair, she has a lot of it so it takes some time to manage
Billy’s alarm goes off, lights on in the bedroom
6:20 AM to 6:50 AM
Ashley puts on makeup & gets dressed
6:20 AM to 6:30 AM
Billy showers & gets dressed
6:30 AM to 6:50 AM
Billy checks the day’s schedule, his to-do list, and checks email
6:50 AM to 7:00 AM
Both pack breakfast and lunch
Out the door (in our shared car)
7:00 AM to 7:15 AM
Billy drives Ashley to office while we both listen to The Bobby Bones Show
Confirm each others calendars and make travel arrangements for the day
Ashley checks emails while in car
7:15 AM to 7:30 AM
Billy drives to first client’s office … and changes radio to ESPN
7:15 AM to 7:30 AM
Ashley sets priorities for the day in her Bullet Journal
She drinks first Watermelon Waterloo of the day
7:30 AM to 8:00 AM
Ashley responds to emails requiring action while chugging a Yeti full of ice water, then eventually indulges in breakfast (Bolthouse Farms Green Goodness juice)
7:30 AM to 8:00 AM
Billy preps for the day’s client meetings, updates to-do list, sends emails requiring action, and drinks breakfast (Bolthouse Farms Strawberry Banana juice)
Not every day looks like this. But a good, ideal morning follows this format. What is a key step for you to set your day off right?
It should come as no surprise that we love setting goals and accomplishing them. That’s why we have created our Goal Setting for Partners download. We want to help you achieve an epic partnership through goal setting!
But we heard from a lot of people saying how difficult the dreaming piece of the download was for them and/or their partner. And we get it. Putting 100 dreams down on paper is not easy for everyone. In all honesty, its something we struggled to do together. One of us was use to the process, the other was not. Just be patient, you’ll get there together.
You can jump-start the dreaming by focusing on these 7 things you should add to your dream list…
1… Travel somewhere new.
This is an easy place to get started. In the era of Instagram and travel bloggers, travel dreams can come from mindless scrolling. Iceland is totally on our list because of all the great photos we have seen on Instagram. Plus, we learned that you can see the Northern Lights from here. And that would cross off another item.
One of us was also inspired by ‘The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants’ and added Greece to their dream list. Can you guess which one of us that was?
Heck, there’s even an entire TV channel dedicated to travel. That’s where we picked up our dream of staying in an ice hotel.
2… Build a Family.
At an early age, Billy added “marry the girl of my dreams” to his list. He was able to cross that one off back in 2010, and we cemented that in when we got married a year later.
And then, the question we always get… when are you two planning to start a family? We do not see kids of our own in our future, but we have toyed with the idea of fostering or adopting a kid. This one is not officially on our dream list, but we talk about occasionally. Right now our family is complete with our two cats.
Building a family could also look a little like strengthening your family. We hope to continue making life-long memories with our parents (aka our best friends). And actually look forward to taking care of our parents just like they like to take care of us. We have also made progress on repairing relationships in our family.
3… Advance Our Careers.
After being married to each other, we are married to our careers. We work hard to secure new clients, deliver on our commitments, and earn the next promotion.
We consider ourselves lucky to each have a career we are passionate about. We both have a career we dreamed of as a child. But with that, we are also building a side-hustle.
4... Better the Community.
Community is at the center of all we do. We want to make sure we do good in our community. We continue to volunteer regularly and have been honored to serve on nonprofit boards. We have big dreams of supporting our community by making a large philanthropic gift.
In our podcast, we challenged ourselves to add five new dreams to our list together. Something that came out of this conversation was a dream to run for office. We do not know what office - could be local school board or maybe even something at the state level. But we do know that if we want to see big, systemic change that our community needs it will be done through policy.
5... Grow our minds.
We know that growing comes from learning. We continue to talk about our desire to learn Spanish. It’s probably about time that one turns into a goal. In the podcast we mentioned earlier, we also added live in another country. We put it here (versus travel) because it is about more about our desire to study a different culture and growing our worldviews.
Growth for us is also spiritual. We hope to always grow in our faith.
6... Build wealth.
Read: Build wealth, not greed. There is nothing wrong with building wealth. Wealth allows us to pay off student loans, buy a car, own property, and make that large gift we mentioned before.
Our financial goals are not just buying stuff (or paying debts), it is also investments. We also want to build our retirement and invest in a business.
7... Create Experiences.
This is where all the others dreams fall. One of us has a huge fear of heights and decided to face that fear by skydiving. The other has a fear of speaking to a large crowd and would love to face that one.
We are both big sports people. So things like meeting sport legends (specifically, having a beer with Chase Utley) and attending the College Football National Championship also fall here.
Still struggling with your list?
Download our *free* 29 Prompts to Fill Your Dream List.
We talk a lot about being better together and how our differences make us stronger. But if we’re being real, when it comes to eating, we have NOT been better together. We each independently have bad eating habits. Those bad habits became terrible habits when we got married and began living together. Insert Whole30.
The purpose of the Whole30 diet is to eliminate types of food that may be causing other health issues for you. You can read more about it on the Whole30 website.
A common benefit? Weight loss. Yeah, we are super pumped that we collectively lost 20 pounds.
Another benefit? I learned that eating bread makes me feel bloated. I can indulge every once and while, but only once. No bread binging for me.
But the best benefit? We learned how we as a couple can build better eating habits. For us to change habits, we knew it was key for us to do it together. We kept each other committed, accountable, and motivated.
Here are three key things we learned about teamwork while on Whole30:
Sometimes you just need someone to introduce you to something new to bring out the best in yourself.
We’ve always had some sort of sparkling water in the fridge, but Billy never had one until Whole30. His beverage choice was always a Red Bull or a Dr. Pepper. Often his first sip of water was at night when taking a pill before bed. He now swears he could go through life never drinking a soda again.
A little motivation can get you over a speed bump.
Everyone has a weak point when changing bad habits. Previously, when one of us was eating well the other would convince them to eat something bad (typically pizza). But when on Whole30, we realized those weak moments are key for the other person to step up and be strong. It isn’t always easy because who can really say no to pizza?!
Strong teams know how to complete each other.
We like staying busy. And often we used this as an excuse for our terrible eating habits. Quick meals are a key to our success in Whole30. If it isn’t quick, we can easily revert back to our old habits.
Cooking meals rarely takes us more than 20 minutes… because we do it together. Billy excels at grilling, but hates chopping. I hate touching raw meat, but love rinsing and chopping veggies. We have gotten in a great routine of Billy cooking our protein (usually steaks, chicken, or salmon) and I handle the sides.
We continue to follow the rules of Whole30 even after the initial thirty days. It really challenged us to break our bad habits and replace them with some better ones!
Want to know what two busy professionals eat in a week on Whole30? Get your free download of our shopping list and a week of meals.
Over on our podcast, we recently chatted about competition and how it is a killer of relationships. We wanted to dig deeper into that and to give you some other insights. Here are some things we believe kill relationships and collaboration:
Unclear Goals: “Without vision the people will perish.” Without clearly defined goals and expectations a team will fail. Rally your team around the goals. We have a podcast on goal setting coming out in few weeks because we believe it is key in a successful relationship or partnership. You must commit to growing together, not apart.
Emotional Immaturity: This includes negative attitudes, but also includes defensiveness, constant anger, lack of forgiveness, being overly opinionated, or arrogance.
Believing the myth that there is no “I” in team. This is about personal responsibility. It is for this question: What can "I" do to make the team or my relationship better.
Following the Golden Rule: Don’t treat others or your partner as you want to be treated, treat others as “they” want and need to be treated. It’s not about you; it’s about the relationship. It's is not I Do, its We Do!
Lastly, the number one killer of relationships and collaboration is competition. On a team or in a partnership, a desire for personal rather than team accomplishment undermines the team. Never set up competitive situations-team member vs. team member or partner vs partner. All competition should be the team vs. the opposing team. In sports, an attitude of: the team lost but “I” was the game MVP is a recipe for a losing season. Don’t keep score on personal accomplishments!
Let's dig a little deeper into competition since it was the subject of our most recent podcast. The greatest team killer in a long term relationship is the tendency to compete with one's partner and to keep score. It is not so much keeping score that is the problem, it’s that we tend to keep score of all of the negative things and not the positive things. We rarely say: How do I love thee, let me count the ways. Instead we say, I unloaded the dishwasher 5 times this week and you only did it 2 times.
The act of keeping score inhibits your ability to empathize with your partner and threatens to foster resentment in your relationship. Because score-keeping is biased, everyone has a different system they use to catalog what is deemed good or bad. Your partner will poke holes in your argument and come back with what he or she thinks is a superior score. Instead of trying to understand your partner’s feelings or point-of-view, you probably reciprocate by finding flaws in your partner’s argument, and so the cycle continues.
To save our relationships and respect our partners, we need to rewire ourselves, take a step back, and work to get rid of competition from our relationships. Instead of keeping score with a negative lens, try the following:
Acknowledge your partner’s point of view and accept that a difference of opinion does not make you “right” and your partner “wrong”. Do not respond with, “I get what you’re saying….but”. There are no but’s! Listen to and understand your partner’s perspective, and gently correct any misguided assumptions.
When you first notice yourself becoming angry or frustrated, pause the conversation and take a moment to assess your goal in speaking. Is it to:
Criticize your partner;
Share your feelings;
Try to understand your partner.
When sharing your feelings, be clear and own your perspective. It helps to use “I” statements, like I feel judged when you loudly clean the dishes while I watch TV or I feel under-appreciated when I feel like I have to plan all of our dates.
If you want to make a request for change from your partner, be straightforward with what you need. Skip the part where you might criticize your partner’s normal way of doing things or passive aggressively pointing out something that your partner forgot to do. For example, there is a big difference in how your partner will most likely respond if you say, You never clean the bathroom! vs. Can you please help me with some chores this weekend? Changing habits takes time, and things will go a lot more smoothly if you support your partner and remain clear about what it is you want done differently (and do not forget to tell your partner how much his or her change will mean to you).
If your partner falls into the scorekeeping strategy and begins pointing out things you did not do or did incorrectly (from his or her point-of-view), instead of defending yourself or counterattacking, own up to your transgressions and apologize. Accepting responsibility is an effective antidote to keeping score. It helps your partner cool down and gives both of you an opportunity to reconnect over a source of past resentment.
Remember that it is OKAY keep score of the positive! We all keep score to some degree, and it is impossible to completely turn off this self-protective instinct. However, you owe it to your partner to track the things he or she gives you, some of which are abstract and may be harder to tally, rather than only keeping score of his or her faults and perceived shortcomings. Challenge yourself to change from automatic me-thinking to conscious we-thinking. Heighten your awareness of the positive things your partner brings to your life, and be more active about showing appreciation for those things to your partner. This helps balance the human instinct to focus on the negative, and it increases the positive interactions between romantic partners.
People naturally have different acceptable standards of living and expectations in relationships. It is normal for this to conflict between you and your partner. Do not ignore it and let the problem fester while you feel unacknowledged and resentful. Do not attack your partner and lay out your inner scorecard. Be courageously vulnerable and share your concerns while respectfully asking your partner for help.
Giving up competing with your partner and scorekeeping is not a call to be silent or readily accept poor treatment. It feels bad to feel like you are giving more than you are receiving in your relationship, and if that is your current position, it is helpful to talk about it. It is something that needs to be addressed.
Competition may be a relationship killer, but effective communication can save relationships.