richer friendsI was at a conference for financial bloggers recently and one of the keynote speakers on the last day of the conference said something that caught the attention of a lot of people as good advice:

"Your income equals the average income of your five best friends."

I'm not buying it.

While those may not be his exact words, that's the gist of what he said. His point — and he made it often — was that being rich is great and if you want to be rich too, like he is, then go find some millionaires to spend more time with and surround yourself with richer friends.

I think some of his speech was tongue-in-cheek, but for the most part I think he was serious and was proud of his bank statements and income. I don't think being wealthy is anything to be ashamed of, and I applaud him for it.

Who doesn't want richer friends?

But what threw me, and what wasn't questioned at his talk to close the conference, was his advice to start finding and introducing yourself to richer people so that you can somehow glean the behaviors that help make them rich.

Really? Stop spending as much time with the top five people I know now and go look for five rich people to hang with? If dropping five friends for people with higher incomes is a path to financial success, count me out. And even if the speaker wasn't saying that those original five should be dropped, then spending a lot less time with them while pursuing richer friends sounds like a poor life choice. ...continue reading

fall foliage

Fall is making a bit of an early appearance this year! The weather is getting cooler with snow even happening in the northern mountain states already. The pumpkin spice is in the air and starting to stack shelves upon shelves upon shelves at the grocery store! Most importantly the leaves have just started to show hints of yellow and orange.

Fall is great time of year to go out and immerse yourself in nature as it puts on its fall coat. The best part is, you don’t really have to travel far to see gorgeous fall foliage. Here are some inexpensive trips you can take in your area to get the best out of what fall has to offer.

Travel to Your Own Backyard

There’s no better place to see nature firsthand, and inexpensively, than your own backyard or neighborhood. If you live in an older part of town or an older community, chances are the trees are gigantic and turn all sorts of colors. Put on your jacket and take a stroll. Fresh, crisp air can do wonders for your health. ...continue reading


As a society, we are all about customizing our lives; we put family stickers on the car and download unique cellphone ringtones. How you decorate your home is a reflection of who you and your family are – your garden is no exception. Your front and back yards should showcase the individuality of your spirit, and if you aren’t, you should make a plan to change that. Whether you want to open up space to grow produce or if you just want to show off some pretty foliage – here are a couple ways to spice up your garden with some personality!

Create a Theme

It feels great to be in a space that speaks to who you are as an individual. If you are proud of your heritage, consider a theme inside your garden that will evoke your home place. Or maybe you’ve traveled abroad and want to bring a piece of that foreign locale back with you? You can accomplish an Asian-inspired green space by adding cultural design elements or using principles of Feng Shui in your landscaping to bring the aesthetic to your yard!

If you were wanting a Mediterranean taste in your garden, consider making room for spices like oregano, thyme, sage and rosemary. And don’t forget the red-toned terra cotta brick walkways.

Add Surprises

Flowers and other greens are going to make up the majority of the space in your garden, but that doesn’t mean they have to take up all the space. You can find all kinds of items that paint a broader picture of who you are. If you are an art lover, try to incorporate a sculpture or statue in your setting for an artistic appeal. Fans of ceramics should consider adding pottery or handmade bowls into the garden. They can be retooled to be planters or just simply placed in the dirt for a dash of texture or different color.

You can find items at your local second-hand shop to place around your yard. It doesn’t have to be the best flea market in town (though interesting finds likely exist there, too). Second-hand shops and resale markets all have different items from different vendors and they may all speak to your personality.

For those that have a great sense of humor, try putting toys around your yard and make play scenes. Have fun with it!

Add Homey Elements

If you have a knack for hosting parties or entertaining guests – adding touches of home to your garden can really spruce up the environment. Install lights throughout your garden for a soiree effect. If you want to be eco-friendlier, consider choosing solar-powered fixtures which will never need to be turned on or off. Placing comfy outdoor furniture under a cozy overhang will provide a warm place for your friends to sit and stay awhile. Adding a mirror to your garden area can make it look and feel bigger than it is while also creating a breathy atmosphere for you and your guests to relax in. 

Buying a home is the biggest investment you’ll ever make – why not make it look great? Adding a bit of personality to your yard and garden can make it a great spot for your family and friends to relax in. Spending the time to energize your outdoor space will help turn a house in to your home.