NYC Lola Retreat Day Two Recap

The Lola Retreat weekend was just as great the second day as the first. Before we started in on sessions, it was nice to chat with other women who were able to return for the second day of sessions over a delicious brunch. Many whom I spoke with had taken away so much from the day before, they were digesting it all and coming up with new ideas, plans, and goals for themselves. It was exciting to hear how others were planning their next steps!


At the start of the sessions, we heard from Shannon who spoke more about The Financial Gym and explained the “Gym Magic” wall. This wall below is where they have puzzle pieces they put up on the wall when they are able to help someone in need financially through a tough time. It’s a way for you to donate to support other women when you’re up, and they may be down. This is an idea that Shannon wants to recreate in all future Financial Gym locations. If you’d like to read more about it or donate, check it out here.

It was great to connect with this lovely lady, Lisa, from The Penny Hoarder and her new podcast I’m checking out: The Pop Fashion Podcast. I hope to get a chance to talk with her soon to share more of our story and definitely have her on the Lifelong Learning podcast!

Session One: Sandy Smith, Yes I am Cheap

The opening session was full of energy and a lot of fun plus hundreds of ideas! “Side Hustling Your Way to Financial Freedom,” presented by Sandy Smith of Yes, I am Cheap.

Sandy’s story opened up with her Jamaican heritage and how they’ve always had “tres jobs.” I completely identified with her on that front, as I don’t think one year has gone by where I haven’t had at least 2-4 streams of income. Even in college, I took 16 credits undergrad, worked on campus, worked off campus, and was a secret shopper for a banking system. I look back and wonder how I managed all of those things, but when you do it, you just do it.

Today, I have had more “jobs” when you consider this blog, my podcast, photography over the years, my second job at the college and all the side hustles I pick up where I can! And Chris is now a side hustling guru, he’s doing so many things I can’t even keep up.

A major sign to me during her presentation was this slide below. Side hustling isn’t about taking on a second job. A second boss. A second schedule and set of rules to follow.

Bam. It hit me hard.

Side hustles are where you make the hours, choose what you want to do, and decide the details. Whether it’s uber rides you set your schedule for, or filling out survey apps, or doing something creative. It’s not a job, it’s a hustle on your own terms.

Job Number Two Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That

Sitting in Sandy’s session it dawned on me the choices I’ve made over the past two years when it came to removing side hustles, and well, adding a second job. Back around the time Crab was born, I picked up a second job (literally I was 9 months pregnant in the interview and started the job at 12 weeks post-partum!). I’ve expressed my desire to step away from it in some capacity, but since I closed my photography business I felt like it was something I wasn’t going to be able to restart again.

Kate Nesi Photography Re-Opening?

After listening to what Sandy had to say, I realized how much I missed my side hustle and how I have not been entirely happy with the direction I choose a few years ago. I blame post-partum depression, but it probably was a combination of things. I was overwhelmed, it is a lot to run a business and I had a newborn and toddler to take care of. It was easier to show up for a second job on a schedule, do what was asked, and go home. I needed that structure at the time, and I had wanted to add more to my resume for future professional librarian opportunities. Plus, it was nice helping people in a different capacity.

Now after being an adjunct librarian for several semesters, while I enjoy the work, I am locked into a set of hours, location, and salary. I made far more income from my side hustles, but when I think of adding those with where I am now, it’s too much. I’m sorting my options out now, but I am excited at the prospects and reinventing my photography business in the process this summer. Because a second job – ain’t nobody got time for that!

Session Two: Mabel A. Nuñez, Investing

The second session of the day was “Investing 101: A Pathway to Wealth,” presented by Mabel A. Nuñez. I met Mabel the day before and looked forward to hearing what she had to say about investing.

Mabel got into investing when she was younger, as she was unsure of how to do it or where to go. Overwhelmed with all of the options, she decided to study finance in college! She provided a general overview of investment options and what to look into to get started. The Financial Gym also helps with this as well, so both are a great place to go for resources.

I enjoyed her philosophy on becoming an investor vs. a consumer in our society. When you invest, you buy a piece of the companies you love, while being a consumer you just get the goods that depreciate in value. Definitely, a better idea to invest in companies than to buy things we just throw away later.

Mabel inspired me to keep pursuing our mortgage payoff as well as adding in more investments into our portfolio. I look forward to what is ahead in the coming year with the ideas I’m planning for and will share with you.

Until We Meet Again, Lola

At that point in the day, I had to catch a train with Chris to get back home to pick up our kiddos and take care of our dogs. It was not a good weekend for all those who helped us out, as our kids ended up being rather sick with coughs and vomiting, and our dogs drove my mom crazy. Ah, well, at least everyone was kind enough to give us a few days to get away!

Happy Birthday Chris!

I’m super thankful Chris has supported me on all of the journeys I’ve gone on throughout our 10 years of marriage and 15 years of dating. He’s always been a huge encouragement to get me out of my comfort zone. While he is the social one of the two of us, it helps us work together. I reel him in sometimes, and he pushes me out the door at others. This weekend wouldn’t have happened if he didn’t tell me to “GO!” to the retreat with or without him. I was glad he could come along to celebrate his birthday Friday and all weekend!

Revisiting My Independence

For some reason, I’ve lost a bit of my confidence in going out alone to the big city since having children. I used to work in the city, commute everywhere, and have no issues doing things alone. In the past six years, I’ve become a little more of a homebody, nervous and insecure. I’ve gained weight from the second pregnancy I have yet to lose, which doesn’t help my insecurities, either.

After this weekend, I feel more confident in getting out there and meeting new people again. I have decided a few things going forward to put myself back out into the world and that’ll be coming up tomorrow!

2 thoughts on “NYC Lola Retreat Day Two Recap

  1. I didn’t officially reopen. I was going to, but now I’m managing a friend’s photography studio which is great… but I did just take newborn portraits for a friend which was enjoyable… so we shall see if I return! Thanks for visiting Sandy!! 😀

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