Back from the Beyond: My Friend Staci returns!

When we last met, two years ago this week, I had literally just started my career in real estate, which has been going well so far. I was also pouring my energy into TheVoyageer.com which I’m happy to report has been doing great — at least until COVID-19 slammed the brakes on any and all travel-related web traffic.

Click here to start a home search in Southern California.

Now, participating in “safer at home” for 19 days at this point, I am naturally turning inward. Thinking about home, thinking about comfort, and looking at new corners of my home in ways that I haven’t in a while.

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Had a couples’ photo session in our home this fall preparing for Christmas cards :) 

With that in mind, Doug and I resolved to conquer a project we had been putting off for about three years. I have had the vision to use the leftover wood from our living room paneling project to do a similar treatment in the office/guest room. That room is tricky since it serves two purposes but I’ve been purging the items in there bit by bit which is helping it feel less crowded and more stylish. We are going approximately halfway up the wall with the paneling. You can watch the progress on my Instagram story highlight!

I never shared the “after” of my paneling project here, so let this casual Instagram serve that purpose for now until (if/when) I style and shoot. If coming back to myfriendstaci.com is something that comes out as a result of COVID-19, I’ll feel good about that.

What did I learn from my last paneling project that I’m implementing this time?

  • Paint the wall first
  • Paint the wood panels before installing
  • Don’t forget to paint the edges of the wood panels
  • Measure and cut the boards all at once

By using these lessons learned, we were able to cut and paint the boards on one day, and install them on the next day! The next step will be to patch, caulk, and sand, and then finally paint. I think we can do everything except the painting without any trips to the store! I call that a #stayhome win.

What have you been up to these past two years? 

LIFE UPDATE, “Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk” book response, and April selection!

I honestly can’t believe we are a quarter of the way through the year. 2018 is flying by and I am personally OK with that. Check in with me this summer and we’ll see if I’m ready for time to slow down or not. I guess I’ll jump into the life update first since it has bearing on the book I chose.

It’s really quite big news. I got my California real estate license and quit my job at PLNU. I am ready for new challenges and to help find people their first (or next) home. This has been a career that’s tucked its way back into the corner of my mind for over five years, so I am ready to just go for it.

Unfortunately this means I will be tightening the belt in the meantime until I can close my first transaction—and even then I’ll be waiting a while until my commission comes through. I can already feel the relief and joy of closing my first deal. Of course I have been planning this for months and have “get by” money socked aside. If you know me at all, you know I don’t make decisions like this without hours of deliberation and preparation. But, honestly, this is probably the biggest leap of faith I’ve taken… ever.

Here’s how you can support me until I make my first sale:

  1. This is the big one: Let me know if you live in Southern California and are in the market to sell/buy a home.
  2. If you are an author or routinely write long reports for school or work, use me as your proofreader and editor (click here). I can also format things for you so they look nice, organized, and professional (click here). Email me to get around the fiverr system if you’d prefer to just use paypal or venmo.
  3. By booking hotels through The Voyageer (even ones I haven’t featured on my site. Just use that widget tool). This will not cost you any extra and I will get a referral commission.
  4. Schedule $30 social media (LinkedIn, etc) headshots with me. (My slogan is “cheap headshots, pretty good”). Email me for more information.
  5. Or just paypaling me a small tip if you like my writing on The Voyageer or have used any of my travel tips. I’d say, “if you like my writing here,” but I have not even averaged a post a month on My Friend Staci since deciding to focus on travel content. Whoops.

Thanks for sticking with me through that. And for sticking with me through two years (!!) of Virtual Book Club and almost nine years of blogging. Can you believe the book club has been going for two years? Even more impressive is that I’ve only missed a couple of monthly posts in that time period. Good job, me!


Virtual Book Club
Click for more reviews

If you need a refresher, Libby, my sister Stephanie, and I started the Virtual Book Club in March 2016 with Her Fearful Symmetry. Since then we’ve covered a wide range of topics and genres.

This month was one of our “choose your own adventure” themes. The guideline was that each of us chose a self-help book. I read the short, encouraging (tough-love) book, Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk by Danielle Krysa.

Honestly I bought this book a while ago (September??) but was too nervous to start it. I was worried that it would hit too close to home so I kept it on my bedside. Honestly just looking at the title comforted me, and that was enough. Until self-help month came around!

I was right that the book included a lot of hard truths. Many of them centered around the ideas of “stop planning and start doing” or “many small steps lead to big progress.” Both of those ideas addressed my perfection paralysis head-on.

There were jerk-silencing techniques like saying your inner criticisms aloud to realize how cruel they truly sound. My inner critic constantly says things that I would never dream of saying to another human being.

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You can see how this book challenged me to not only be nicer to myself, but to really put myself out there in regards to chasing my own success. You should buy this book (read it) and keep it on your desk to encourage you.

Since I’ve been working from home for almost a week now, I noticed that days of the week have lost a bit of their meaning. Whoops! I’d just finished a satisfying polenta dinner and was scrolling through Instagram when I noticed I had missed 30 minutes of our Virtual Book Club’s monthly facebook chat! Luckily, everyone was gracious and I jumped right in and learned about what everyone else read, including a money book, a cooking (and writing) book and a look into the always-fascinating Enneagram.

As always, leave your comments below or link me to your review of this book if you’ve already posted it on Goodreads or Amazon! I would love to read your take! 


In April we are changing it up yet again and doing a cookbook! We will be reading Dinner: A Love Story. Okay, Amazon has it filed with memoirs, but it definitely has some recipes in it that I will be making.

Please join along with me, Libby, and the rest of our group as we continue reading interesting books and debating ideas in a friendly space.

Speaking of Libby, I was interviewed on her blog this week. Check it out!

“Little Fires Everywhere” book response and February selection!

January’s book club read was Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, a book that was included on so many “best of 21017” lists at the end of the year, and after reading, I totally get it.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links above and below. 


I have a lot of feeeeeelings about this book as almost everyone who’s read it does. It has so much buzz right now. Luckily, I got most of my “!!!!” feelings out on Tuesday during book club so I can write a spoiler-free review.

That also means the review will be pretty short.

Brief synopsis:

I feel OK starting this section out the way the book started: at the end. We open on a family house burning down and get to glimpse the reactions of each family member as it happens. This is our first peek into the lives of the Richardsons (2 parents, 4 kids), the Warrens (mother and daughter), and their relationships to each other.

From there, the novel backtracks to the beginning of the Richardson-Warren relationship, when the Warrens move into a rental duplex owned by the former, in Shaker Heights, Ohio. If you like complex and dynamic interpersonal relationships that change over time, you’ll like this book. If you like stories that aren’t a mystery but are a bit mysterious with bits and pieces being revealed slowly, you’ll really like this book.

Response:

I liked the way that we glimpsed more and more from each character as the story progressed. I also liked the omniscient point of view – being able to access the thoughts, feelings, and background of each character added a lot of depth instead of just moving through the plot from the POV of one or two characters.

A couple of the main plot points don’t have right or wrong answers, which is why I think everyone is buzzing about this and why we had so many new participants in our book club this month. YES!

From the author herself: An interview with salon.com

This is one of those books that sticks with the reader long after finishing. Things on the news or in the lives of your friends and family will make you recall moments in the book that were complex and nuanced just like things are in real life.

As always, leave your comments below or link me to your review if you’ve already posted it on Goodreads or Amazon! I would love to read your take! 


Our Virtual Book Club normally meets the last Tuesday of the month over on Facebook. This week, since Libby was visiting, we did a facebook live for the first time! It was tons of fun but I personally prefer our normal online chat group. We are always looking to grow our group. If you’d like to join us over there, message me on Facebook to be added.

For February (Black History Month), the group voted to read Hidden Figures. The movie really moved me (I cried multiple times and I am not a crier) and I am looking forward to getting more details by reading the book.

Please join along as we continue reading interesting books and debating ideas in a friendly space.