What it’s like to Attend the Masters (for someone who never watches golf)

Dreaming Big

 

As more of a football/baseball girl, tickets to the SuperBowl or World Series would’ve been more exciting for me. But I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Mon-Sun of last year and this year at the Masters. After Day One, I was hooked.

 

My Top 10 Things about the Masters

  • It’s really well run. Even though there are long lines, they move quickly whether it’s at the golf shop, concessions, or the bathrooms. If you want to learn how to host a large event, learn from the Masters! Even their parking is free and organized (just don’t forget to actually look at the letter & number of the section you park in).
  • Uhh, the bathrooms! They have helpful staff everywhere including the restrooms. They are constantly greeting you, mopping, wiping off counters, and answering any questions you have. Who knew public restrooms could be so pleasant at a sporting event?
  • It’s outside. I work as an outdoor educator, so I love nature. Where I imagine the SuperBowl would be a lot of sitting in a loud place, the Masters involves walking beside beautiful ponds. And it’s so big that you can find an empty patch of grass to read away from the crowds if you so desire. Even though the azaleas bloomed before tournament both years, it’s still beautiful to see all the grass, dogwoods, and old magnolias.
  • Photography. Patrons aren’t allowed to bring cameras on tournament day, but we can during the practice rounds. However, the Masters provides a photographer to take your picture at the clubhouse while you get a chance to look down Magnolia Lane. I did take my own pictures this year, but I’ll have to post them later since I need to upload them to a computer first. The picture they provide is free. They give you a card with a code and tell you it will be online the next day, but mine was up the day I took it.
  • No cell phones. This is probably my favorite thing of all. In all the time I’ve spent at the Masters, I saw one phone, and it was a golfer’s. While it is slightly inconvenient (if, for example, you’re trying to meet up with someone), it’s a great experience. I don’t know of anywhere else that has so many people who aren’t on their cell phones. I look forward to spending the day with my mom there because I know we won’t be distracted by our phones. It helps you really enjoy the game and connect with all the cool strangers around you.
  • I learned so much about golf! I gained a new appreciation for how much walking golfers do (as well as their caddies who are carrying so much). Before I went to the Masters, I didn’t even know what a green was. It was only about a year before I attended that I learned that they move the cups every day. Doesn’t that make golf sound way more interesting?
  • Food prices. They just have regular sandwich bread, but the sandwiches are only $1.50-2.50, I think. The point is, it isn’t outrageous like a theme park. Drinks are 1 or 2 dollars and come in a cup that says Masters that a lot of people keep as souvenirs. They also have fruit and baby carrots as some healthy options.
  • Skipping golf balls over the pond. Hole 16 is my favorite because during the practice rounds, the golfers skip the golf balls. It’s just really cool and fun. I didn’t know about this until I attended. Plus, if you watched Sunday’s game last year, there were three hole-in-ones. It was crazy! The downside is that if you aren’t where the excitement is happening, you can hear the crowds go wild. You know you missed something good, but you can’t check your phone to find out what it is. Also, there are turtles in the pond that sometimes pop up to watch the golfers.
  • The crowds. For the most part, the patrons are polite and fun and friendly. On Sunday last year, there was one person getting a little obnoxious, but people know they can get kicked out and never be allowed back. So it doesn’t get too out of hand.
  • Seating. Chairs can’t have arms on them. There may be other reasons for this, but I think it also just lets more people fit into a row. They have a few grand stands, but patrons can bring their chairs to whichever hole they want and then leave. While a chair is empty, anyone can sit in them. They have a card on the back where the owner can write their name. When that person comes back, if someone’s in their chair then they have to get out. It’s great for both people. When I don’t feel like bringing my chair, it’s nice to be able to use someone else’s. When I do bring mine, it’s nice not to have to worry about someone moving it or taking it while I go to the bathroom or to get snacks.

 

 

Advice if You get to Attend

First of all, if you get the chance to go and have never been, don’t pass it up! 

 

Second, check the weather before you go. (Remember you have to leave your phone in your car.) Wear or take sunscreen. I got sunburnt Tuesday this year because I didn’t put sunscreen on my arms. And as I said, I work outside. I’m used to being in the sun, and I don’t normally burn easily. If you wear sunscreen at the beach, wear it to the Masters.

 

Third, it can be really disappointing if you’re only attending one day and that’s the day there’s a thunderstorm. They will have you leave the golf course. There are lots of great things to do in Augusta, so maybe make a backup plan with that in mind so it doesn’t seem like a complete waste. If you don’t get to buy stuff in the golf shop, check out some consignment shops like Uptown Cheapskate. They only sell used items that are still fairly new and in really good shape.

 

Fourth, since you don’t have your phone to keep up with the time, it’s good to bring a watch if you have one. That makes meeting up with people easier. Plus, you can keep track of which hours to stay out of the sun!

 

Places to Visit while in Augusta

I may need to do another blog post on this, but I’ll give a brief list here.

The New Moon cafe on Broad St. The hot chai tea is delicious, and their grits bowl is a favorite (it comes with avocado!). It’s also located right next door to the Book Tavern which sells new and used book. And I’m sure they have some about the Masters. The Riverwalk is also nearby. All of that is downtown.

A few things I love about the Evans area are the Lady Antebellum amphitheater and park (located near a nice library and not too far from a post office if you’re wanting to mail postcards or something) especially nice if you have kids with you (and there’s free wifi) and Uptown Cheapskate as I mentioned before (which also has a location in Augusta).

Those are just some of my favorite places since I live in the area, but there’s tons more stuff. I’m just not much of a mall person or anything.

 

If you have questions, I’d like to answer them if I can. I’d love to help you have a better time during your trip to the Masters! (Or so you can kinda live vicariously through me.) You can email me at mcstarbuck{at}gmail{dot}com.

 

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter to learn simple ways to make dreams come true, whether it’s attending the Masters, traveling, or overcoming fear.

If You Like to Travel, You’ve Gotta Give This a Try

I was so nervous, but I knew if I didn’t ask her then I would chicken out for the rest of the trip.

I was at a gas station in Tennessee, which isn’t far from my home state of Georgia, so it didn’t seem like a big deal. I just needed to get that first one overwith.

It was even worse because my brother was there. I knew he would be judging me. And possibly hiding from embarrassment.

Turns out she was from New York.

And I have the journal to prove it.

If you love to travel, you should make a journal like this. Here's why...

I started my traveling guest book for my road trip to Alaska. I had no idea if it would work. Would people want to take the time to sign it?

Apparently, the answer is yes! And I loved it so much that I didn’t stop once the road trip ended.

So here’s my advice on starting one yourself:

  • Find a journal. This one was given to me by a friend from college. She knows I love handwritten letters and also journaling, so this fit perfectly what I was doing. You could also use a travel journal or anything really. Just keep it cute and make it something you wouldn’t be embarrassed asking all sorts of people to sign.
  • Keep it in a waterproof bag and with a pen. I travel outdoors and in the rain so much that I have kept mine in a ziplock bag for a while. I would just hate for it to get ruined. Just a suggestion. I always keep a pen with mine, too. It just keeps things simple not to have to search for a pen every time.
  • Write/type your questions. Make sure the questions are easy to read. I wrote mine on a separate piece of paper so that they don’t have to keep flipping to the front of the journal to see the next question.

One of my questions was, “What’s another question I could add to the list?” This has led to these great additions in mine:

  1. One thing on your bucket list?
  2. Favorite quote?
  3. If you could meet anyone, who would it be? Why?
  4. What’s one thing you can’t live without?
  5. Favorite ice cream flavor?

I highly recommend having a variety of questions from easy (such as “Oceans or mountains?”) to more thought-provoking.

When I ask people to sign it, I always ask them to include their name and where they’re from. Then I tell them they can choose 3 or 4 from the list because I don’t want them to feel like they have to spend an hour on it, especially if we’re parting ways soon. But I have had people answer them all, which has been fun.

Ask questions you’d like to know the answer to. One of my favorites is, “What’s the most life-changing book you’ve read?” I’ve gotten some great reading suggestions from that!

It’s funny remembering how nervous I was to ask people to ask those first few people to sign it, but I’ve never had anyone refuse.

I have since taken it to the Grand Canyon, Thailand, and a Tiny House workshop. I love flipping through it and being reminded of such good times. My only regret is that there are so many other people I’ve met that I wish I’d gotten to sign it.

If you plan to start your own traveling guest book, I would love for you to leave a comment telling about your plans!

Also, I plan to share a few old and new entries from my traveling guest book on Periscope this week. It’ll be way easier for you to get a feel for what it’s like that way. Follow me there @mcstarbuck. Or contact me for the replay. It’s so interesting to see all the different handwriting from people around the world.

Floating in the Dead Sea

You told me I was like the Dead Sea
You’ll never sink when you are with me

Whoa, I’m like the Dead Sea
The finest words you ever said to me
-The Lumineers, “Dead Sea

I can still see the small classroom where I learned about the Dead Sea. I’ve been able to float on my back since I was like three, but still the thought of floating without trying seemed like the coolest thing.

And it pretty much was.

It's like you're on a float! Plus, there are no fish or anything to be afraid of because nothing can live in all that salt!

It’s like you’re on a float! Plus, there are no fish or anything to be afraid of because nothing can live in all that salt!

I went in 2010, so the caption under the photo below is what I put as the description when I posted the picture to Facebook back when the experience was still fresh in my mind. Writing this post is like reliving it. Such a fun flood of memories!

I remember Mrs. Julianne telling our class years ago that it's so easy to float in the Dead Sea because of all the salt; it pretty much holds you up. Even though I thought she was exaggerating, I had always wanted to go since then...but she wasn't exaggerating. smile emoticon It was sooo fun & crazy!

I remember Mrs. Julianne telling our class years ago that it’s so easy to float in the Dead Sea because of all the salt; it pretty much holds you up. Even though I thought she was exaggerating, I had always wanted to go since then…but she wasn’t exaggerating. 🙂 It was sooo fun & crazy!

 

Before we got in, we were informed not to swallow the water. And if it got in our eyes, we were to use the showers (right by the water line) immediately. You also use those showers as soon as you get out anyway. Which won’t be long because they also advise you to only stay in for a limited time.

All the minerals keep the water dense, which allows you to float. To learn more about the minerals and their affects, check out this quick read. There was a huge shop full of Dead Sea lotions and creams.

Apparently there are lots of minerals in the Dead Sea, hence the "facial" in this picture.

Apparently there are lots of minerals in the Dead Sea, hence the “facial” in this picture.

In these pictures, it looks like I’m just keeping myself afloat. It really is such a different feeling, though. You can even float while sitting, as you can see below.

Bucket List: Dead Sea

It’s still surreal that I got to go.

What’s the last thing you marked off your bucket list? I’d love for you to let me know in the comments below!

If you liked this, you should check out the rest of my bucketed list.

I’m Engaged!

For those of you who read my recent post about being single, this announcement may be a shock to you. If you’re single, maybe you’re feeling betrayed by one of your own.

But when you’re the one in love, getting engaged is a lovely experience.

Photo

I understand that everyone won’t share my excitement just as Elizabeth wasn’t thrilled with Charlotte’s news because of who she was engaged to:

 

Charlotte: “I’ve come here to tell you the news: Mr. Collins and I are…engaged.”

Elizabeth: “Engaged?”

Charlotte: “Yes.”

Elizabeth: “To be married?”

Charlotte: “Yes of  course, Lizzy. What other sort of engaged is there?”

(from the film version of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, 2005 adaptation)

 

Once you hear who I’m engaged to, you may be disappointed. You may be less excited than when you first saw this post.

Or maybe not.

Maybe you’ll fall in love with my fiance as much as I did. That is my hope. You will be better off for it. Engagements are so important, and I pray you will support me during this time.

In his book Love Does, Bob Goff states that

“being ‘engaged’ isn’t just an event that happens when a guy gets on one knee and puts a ring on his true love’s finger. Being engaged is…a way of living and loving. It’s about going to the extremes and expressing the bright hope that life offers us, a hope that makes us brave and expels darkness with light. That’s what I want my life to be all about–full of abandon, whimsy, and in love. I want to be engaged…with life.”

So, I’ve come here to tell you the news:

I’m engaged.

With Life. And I knew for sure that I was in love with it the moment Life invited me to be on a Tiny House TV show (which I won’t be doing until I can afford the land and the build…anyone wanna fund me through kickstarter? Anyone want to help me start a kickstarter campaign? haha).

As I said, you may be disappointed by this. But I’m not.

I’m as excited as a bride-to-be!

And I hope that you’ll share this excitement. If you’re engaged with Life, or want to be, I challenge you snap an engagement photo and share your own engagement announcement. Tell the world about that moment you knew for sure that you were in love with Life. Be sure to use the hashtag #Engaged2Life so that I can see it! If you’re sharing on Twitter my handle is @mcstarbuck And I’d love for you to leave a comment below about how you’re engaged with Life.

 

So, Charlotte Lucas, what other kind of engaged is there?

This kind!

 

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Plant a Tree

In December of 2013, I planted 11 trees after signing up for the Arbor Day Foundation. I had never planted a tree, but I had lots of help from my 3 brothers, 2 of my nieces, and a nephew. When I planted it, it looked like a twig with no leaves. Maybe a foot tall. As of August of 2014 it was nearly as tall as me. Yes, I’m only 5’3″ but still. And look at those leaves!

Photo

Jump into a Pool Fully Clothed

To celebrate paying off $25k in debt, I wanted needed to do something to celebrate.

My big celebration has already been planned for winter because I didn’t think I’d have it paid off until then, & also because a month at the beach is way cheaper at that time.

I decided to mark something simple off my bucket list: jump into a pool fully clothed. I had wanted to do this for college graduation pictures, but things had gotten so busy at that time. I still have my cap & gown, so I decided I would wear it, too, in celebration of having my student loans paid.

My last thought before jumping was, “What if I drown?”

Well, that’s exactly how that debt had made me feel.

Jumping in was so fun, though! *hint, hint* I didn’t drown.

 

Have you marked something off your bucket list lately? Or have you paid off your debt? How did you celebrate? I’d love for you to share it in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

 

Live Tiny; Dream Big!

 

And in case you missed it, here’s my post about 3 Things I Didn’t Expect at the End of Paying off $25k in Debt.

 

3 Things I Didn’t Expect at the End of Paying Off $25k in Debt

In many ways, paying off $25,000 of student loans in 3 years was easy.

(Of course, I say that now that I’ve marked it off my Bucket List today.)

But here are some of the difficulties I faced that I wish I had known, along with this picture which shows that my “I’m too full at Thanksgiving” face is the same as my “I didn’t expect negative feelings once I paid off my loans” face.

 

1. It isn’t all excitement. I thought I would be so relieved and happy and ready to celebrate, which I have been. But I’ve also been exhausted from working overtime which also made me feel secluded from friends and family. I’ve been sick to my stomach at the thought that I worked so hard and have nothing to show for it (as in no savings, no house, no land). Instead I’ve just imagined 3 more years working this hard to reach other goals.

I don’t regret it; I’m glad to be rid of the weight of loans. I learned a lot in college, had amazing experiences, and met incredible people I’ve kept in touch with. I don’t know what experiences I would have had or who I would have met if I hadn’t gone to college, but if you haven’t gone to college, please realize that even if you were only making $5,000/yr after room and board, you could have about $30,000 in savings by the time you’re my age.

I have zero.

And the repayment process has been anti-climactic: for months I dreamed about hitting that “pay all” button, but I got it down so low that it was just like making another payment. I just wish I’d known this semi-depression was even possible after such an exciting accomplishment.

 

2. You’ll want to make big purchases towards the end. Don’t.

It seemed the last 3 or 4 months were the slowest for me. I’d spent years paying off this debt, but the sum had always been so huge that it seemed like I was paying it off at a good pace–not as if I should be able to pay it off in one week. I was doing great! Toward the end, though, I was all, “If I made more money, I could pay it faster,” and “Wow, I’m almost done paying them off. What will I do next?” This question got me into a lot of trouble because what I wanted to do next was going to cost money. I was frustrated that my loans had kept me from so much. I got impatient and signed up for classes and even this blog, which put me a couple of weeks behind my goal. I wanted to spend even more (I mean, what blogger doesn’t have her own laptop?), but thankfully my mom reminded me of Dave Ramsey’s story about Gazelle Intensity. That’s exactly how I felt.

 

3. You can pay too much too quickly on your debt. That doesn’t seem right.

Until you consider that I put so much toward my student loans one week that I didn’t have any money left for gas to go to work. I shared this with someone who said she had done the same thing. It wasn’t a big deal because she paid the credit card off, but it’s something to consider if you don’t have credit cards or some other back up plan.

You can also overpay through your time. I worked 26 days in a row, which I do not recommend. I feel like I need 2 months off now to rebuild all my relationships. I also worked so much that I missed out on some deals that would have saved me hundreds of dollars. Insurance would have nearly covered the cost of a year’s supply of contacts and a pair of glasses. I would have paid about $40, but instead I paid over $400 for glasses and half a year’s supply of contacts because I was too busy to go to the appointment before my insurance ran out.

 

 

I hope you are more prepared than I was if this is in your future, or that you find comfort in it if you thought you were the only one.

So many people have shown interest in my financial journey that I am pleased to offer Dealing with Debt, a FREE 4-week course in which I will share (1)what I gave up, (2) what I’m glad I did, (3) what I would do differently, and (4) what resources I used.

I had considered just doing a blogpost, but it’s really too much information for that. Plus, I don’t want people to just stumble upon one post and feel like it’s the whole picture. Also, I don’t have a section for it on my blog (yet).

 

Even if you’ve already paid off your debt, I would love for you to participate so that I could share your input with the rest of the “class.”

If you’re interested in Dealing with Debt, simply sign up for my newsletter at the top right of this page.  (Don’t worry, you can unsubscribe at any time.) You’ll then receive an email from me with the link to all 4 topics.

I can’t wait to share more with you.

 

For now, Live Tiny & Dream Big!

 

Steven Harrell: Tiny House Listings

I appreciate Steven Harrell of Tiny House Listings taking the time to sign my traveling guest book by answering a few questions about tiny houses. I met him at one of Deek’s Tiny House Workshops. If I had known how big Steven’s website is, I would have been starstruck…which I never noticed until now is a word very similar to my last name. I digress.

Here’s his entry. Enjoy!

In case you can’t read it in the image, here are my questions & his answers:

a) For you, what’s one of the biggest appeals of a tiny house? (While writing his answers, he pointed out the irony in this question of the BIGGEST appeal of a TINY house…I hadn’t even realized I’d done that. Also, he’s such an overachiever, always giving more than he’s asked for. Or maybe he’s just rebellious…or generous. Either way, here are his TWO appeals of a tiny house.)  freedom, less resources used

b) How long have you lived in a tiny house? Zero seconds

(I think this is what he was referring to when he handed me the journal and said something like, “I just put some stupid answers.” Well, ask a stupid question…)

c) What’s the hardest thing about it? Fitting my beer (I typed that as “bear” first, which would also be a difficulty, I imagine.) in it.

d) How much did it cost? (or what’s your goal cost?) Will cost about 25k

e) What inspired you to build a tiny house? Tiny houses mean less bills, less bills mean less answering to people which is pretty awesome.

f) What’s the best thing you’ve learned at this workshop? That my public speaking skills are far inferior to deek’s

g) What advice would you give someone considering a tiny house? Vacation in one

(I love this idea! Makes me want to vacation in one and also rent mine out once I finish it…you know, after I start it.)

h) Is it ok if I post your answers to my blog? yes

(He kindly proceeded to steal a page from this traveling journal to write down my website. So I tell him it’s “TrueStories–” He’s already like, “Seriously?” I continue “JournalEntries,” pausing to let him write it. Then I add, “It gets worse…Letters. Dot. Blogspot.com. Yeah, I’m gonna start a new one.” Here ya go, Steven. Better?)

 

 

 

To learn how to start a traveling guest book (& why you should), check out this blog post.

 

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter at the top right of this page so that you don’t miss other posts like this. I also include some things there that don’t end up on the blog.

 

Keep living tiny & dreaming big!