Plan Your #Passion @passion_planner #passionplanner #pashfam


Photos of my Limited Edition Blush Passion Planner ©2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

I decided to plan my passions in 2017.

A few years ago, I heard about “passion planners” and was very intrigued. For someone like me who thrives on making lists, plans to plan and who loves the look of a beautiful agenda, I really, really wanted one.

I have a “thang” for paper…

I did my research, found some great options but only one planner was to my liking – it was from Passion Planner. But at that time, I needed to stick to a budget and with the planner being in USD funds and the additional international shipping costs, this frugal girl shoved her wallet back (and deep) into her purse.

But after this year’s renovation drama I endured, I decided to treat myself and so I ordered one.

No, I actually ordered two planners – a dated limited edition Blush for 2017 and an undated one at half price for almost the same shipping cost in the fall.

I’m loving my Blush passion planner because it will totally fit my needs. There’s a step by step “roadmap” to help you map out your goals for 2017 and a “how to” on creating your passion plan. There are specific sections to jot down your week’s focus and a monthly section to tally up what you’ve accomplished….a.k.a “accountability”.

I used to have a notebook for goals and projects, an agenda for work and another agenda for my personal life (which was an annoying First World problem) but now, I only need one!

If you’re on the lookout for a great planner, you should check out the sale Passion Planner is currently running at 50% until tonight 12 PM PST.

If you would like to know more about how the company got started, you can read this article from the Washington Post.

And just to be clear, I am not being paid to review and/or endorse this brand. I’m simply sharing my personal “like” of the Passion Planners I purchased. 

All Rights Reserved©2016 Marquessa Matthews.

5 Ways To Ruin Your Vacation #TravelTuesday

Broken Phone

Photo credit: mandiberg via / CC BY-S

When it comes to traveling, we all have our tips and tricks. But there are always new lessons to be learned with each trip you make.

If you’re looking for creative ways to ruin or put a damper on your vacation away from home, here are 5 ways to do just that.

And yes, I have had personal experience with all 5 scenarios…

1. Smartphone Smarts: You finally get your turn at the ticket counter after waiting in a long line to drop off your luggage. As you’re handling your business with the agent, a careless fool bumps you from behind, making you stumble. Your smartphone promptly flies out of your hand, hits the side of the counter and lands on the floor. CRACK! Not only is your cell screen totally cracked, only the emergency number function is working and you have no time to do anything about it before leaving. In other words, you are f***ed. You will have no way of keeping in touch with anyone. WTF to do?

Lesson learned? You know that old smartphone in that drawer at home that still works but that you no longer use because you upgraded to a new model? Just charge it and throw it into your carry-on luggage, especially if the old SIM is compatible with your current smartphone. If something goes wrong, you can pop your SIM into the old cell and it should work. Or use the old one to surf the internet when you are in unsecured hotspot connections. The wifi on your cell will work with no data plan.

2. Extra Extra: You’re at the gate sitting next to a family with a not-so-happy energetic baby or toddler. With Murphy’s Law always on your side, you know that you’ll be the lucky one sitting next to them on your flight. You brush it off because you’ll tune the noise out with your headphones or by watching something on your cell…until you realize that your device battery is almost dead. Now, you’ve got nothing to distract you when the baby or toddler starts crying. To make matters worse, your plane is an older one that has no power source to plug into. It’s going to a very long flight…

Lesson learned? Always bring an extra power source with you. My smartphone batteries always decide to “swell” and die at the worst times, so I always invest in an extra battery and charging cable. I hang on to my cells until I can get free upgrade so I don’t mind the additional expense. And though my mp3 is ALWAYS charged pre-travel, I carry along a portable USB device to give me extra juice if need be.

3. Mo’ Money, Less Problems: You picked a cheaper flight through a quieter connecting airport hub to save a few bucks.I understand that. But when you get to your connection, you are told that your flight is canceled until the next day or will be delayed for the next 6 hours. You are royally pissed because you have no option but to wait it out. Unless you buy your own plane and if that was the case, we wouldn’t be having this discussion, right?  :)

Lesson learned? It may cost a little more but I always book connections though busy airports like Miami, Philadelphia, etc.  It opens up tons of alternative flight options if I need to change carriers.

4. No Credit Card, Big Problem: In case of theft or loss, you thought it was safer to travel with just one credit card, right? But what do you do when a vendor tells you that the XYZ credit card system is down across the country or that they just don’t take that particular card?

Lesson learned? On a business trip a long time ago, my credit card company’s system was down at the national level and I wasn’t happy about pulling out my debit card to pay (I hate missing out on accumulating loyalty points). Since then, I always have two differently branded credit cards with me with low limits and that I only use when I travel and online shopping.

5. Heavy Load and Overweight Issues: Your luggage was under the allowable weight when you left home and you didn’t buy THAT much stuff to back take home, right? But when you get to the airport and your luggage is weighed, the agent tells you that you need to fork out some major dough for excess weight. Surprise, surprise…unless the agent has his foot on the scale (which happened to me in Mexico once and I called him out on it).

Lesson learned? I hate surprises and wasting money. I always have a small manual luggage scale in the outer pocket of my carry-on. I check my luggage BEFORE leaving for the airport to avoid having to open my luggage in the middle of the airport and stress out trying to stuff into my carry-on, purse or on myself as extra clothing…Now I solve the luggage weight issue before it even starts.

I hope that these were helpful for you and add to the other ones I shared a while back!🙂

What are some of your tricks? Please share!

©2016 Marquessa Matthews. All Rights Reserved.










“Keep On Walkin…” – Part 3 #fiction #love

Ich liebe dich! 95/365

Photo credit: Skley via / CC BY-ND

Continuation of “One In A Million” and “I’d Rather Have A Love

Keep On Walkin’

(video embedded below)

Don’t do it, don’t do it, don’t it…

Just as I was about to get sucked into the vortex of Matt’s sad puppy dog eyes and Juan’s teary eyed look, it all hit me like a ton of bricks.


I wasn’t obliged to make a decision about giving Matt a second chance, on the spot and under such pressure. I just needed to do what was best – for me.

“I’ll think about it.”

Matt’s eyes grew large and Juan kicked me under the table as if to change my mind.

“You…you’ll think about it?”

“Yes …because you might have been right about not getting too serious.”

“I’m not following you Lily…” Matt was clearly confused. “What are you saying?”

“I love you,” I said and saw his face light up, “But I need time. I need to make sure that you are the right man for me and to do that, I need to see who else is out there for the next while. While I do that, you can do the same.”

The words tumbling from my lips didn’t feel like they were coming from me. But they were. An awkward silence veiled the table. Matt was looking at me like I’d grown a third eye.

Not being able to take the drama anymore, Juan hastily wrapped the rest of his brownies in a napkin, muttered something about needing to be somewhere and disappeared from the pastry shop.

“Just before we met at that party, I’d posted a profile on Match but then, I took it down after our third date. But I’m thinking about giving the online thing a chance… at least for the next few months.”

Matt shook his head and clenched his hands. He was visibly upset.

“Months? Come on babe, are you honestly going to do that me? Is this your way of punishing me?”

“No, not at all. I need to be sure about what and who I want in my future. I need to protect myself.”

“From me?”

I didn’t answer. We stared at each other for a few moments before he gave me a frustrated yet determined look.

“I won’t accept that…I just won’t.”

“You don’t have a choice Matt.”

That’s when another flash of worry crossed his face.

“But what about my sister’s wedding this weekend? You’re just going to bail? What am I supposed to tell Mariah and the rest of my family?”

I had completely forgotten that Mariah, Matt’s sister had specifically invited me to hang out as she and her bridesmaids got dressed.


“Please Lily, don’t do this now. You have to go. After the wedding, we can talk again about all of this, okay?”

On one hand, I didn’t want to disappoint and distract Mariah with our lover’s drama. But on the other hand, I needed to draw a line in the sand with Matt.

The wheels in my brain churned, turned and burned…


“Fine. I’ll go but we won’t be going as a couple Matt. And there is nothing to rediscuss after the wedding…”

“Whatever you say Lily.”

From the way Matt’s lips curled into a small smile and his eyes twinkled at his tiny victory, I somehow knew I would regret it.

Matt stood up and shoved his hands into his pockets.

“Mariah will be getting ready at my folks place so I’ll pick you up and give you a ride there.”


“No, I said that…” I was soon talking to empty air because Matt vanished before I could finish my sentence.

Yeah, I’m going to regret saying yes to this mess…Why didn’t I just tell him to keep on walking?

What are your ideas on what should, could or would happen next? Until next week…🙂

All Rights Reserved©2016 Marquessa Matthews.

Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos directly above. No copyright infringement intended.



#NaNoWriMo 2016 : Final Word Count Is…

Photo credit: Monda@NoTelling via / CC BY

NaNoWriMo is officially over and I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to 50,000.

The last official word count I submitted on was 22,985 but from my “guestimate”, I think that I’m closer to 30,000.

I thought that I could maybe push myself in the last few days but motivation fell flat. I mean, if I’m going to write, I need to “feel it” and not just write any old words on the page just for the sake of it. Quality over quantity. But then, I was forced to call “911” for my laptop a few days ago and am currently using a loaner that simply feels wrong under my fingertips…

But being a “non-winner” did lead to :

  • 34 short fiction pieces which I not only enjoyed writing and editing but will also give me a jumpstart for the 2017 A to Z Challenge;
  • a number of drafts related to some new blog features I’d like to introduce in 2017;
  • bite-sized #TravelTuesday tips planned for 2017; and
  • a clean up of my blog categories, tags and blogs that I follow.

Congratulations to all those who won!

And to those who did not meet 50k like me, you’re still further than where you started on November 1!