Earthquakes & March Recap


Friday night I rented the movie The Book Thief. Somewhere close to 9pm I started doing that head bob thing from dozing off. Yeah, that’s how I roll on a Friday night. A real party girl here! :) Anyway, suddenly it felt like my apartment was doing a little bounce, which certainly woke me up. I knew it was an earthquake, so I did what all Southern Californians seem to do…look up to the air with a quizzical look on our faces ala Joey Tribbiani and wonder how long we can get away with just sitting there before any serious action needs to be taken, aka, diving under my coffee table.

"hmm, will this earthquake get worse? Mmn no, just a 3.4."

“hmm, will this earthquake get worse? Mmn no, just a 3.4.”

My apartment swayed back and forth a bit in a gentle rocking motion, but luckily no diving under furniture was necessary. You’d think by watching the breaking news on TV though, that part of California fell into the ocean. One reporter was in downtown LA in a news van and reported “violent shaking” of the news van. “REEEEEAAAALY?” C’mon! *

Although all of us living in Southern California do like to make post-earthquake jokes, I think we’d be lying if we said that it doesn’t make us think about having one that is more serious, although ironically, the worst earthquake I’ve ever been in was the 6.8 earthquake in Seattle in 2001. I was on the 4th floor of our office sitting at a desk when the quake hit. No one, including me, knew what to do, so after it was all over we practically trampled each other running out of the building. I was convinced the building would fall apart when it was happening. Video tapes were flying off the shelves and the lights went out and you could hear the building making cracking noises. Here is a video from Microsoft when it happened.

I have friends from Michigan who give me shit about earthquakes, but tornadoes are much worse if you consider the death toll in the US. And Michigan has tornadoes.

I think the point is no matter where you live you’re probably going to be faced with some kind of potential natural disaster. The best you can do is prepare yourself as much as possible, then go on living life.

So March is just about over and overall it was a good month. I made decent income, took a vacation, got plenty of exercise, made some business/work decisions, and was overall very frugal. I did finally order a new pair of Oakley sunglasses for $150 (not an affiliate link), but it was a well thought out decision and they are the best glasses for me for playing beach volleyball and doing other outside activities. I’m not too brand loyal when it comes to clothes/accessories, but Oakley is a great brand with great customer service.

I also splurged a little for my friend’s birthday Saturday night. But like my sunglasses, my purchases this month have all been well thought out and planned, so that’s good!

So other than the news of owing nearly $8,000 for taxes in April (includes 2013 taxes, my accountant fees, and April estimated taxes), this month was pretty good. Thank god for that emergency fund, eh?

March Goals Recap

1. Make 2k in side income. (FAIL, but made $1,477, so not too shabby).

2. Network/Job Search (need to start expanding my video clients, especially if I sense a slow down). (PASS!)

3. Pick up a new writing gig (anyone looking for a staff writer?). (FAIL)

4. Wake up at 5:30 each weekday and follow a set schedule for this blog and Healthy, Fit, & Frugal. (PASS-ish) I did this for awhile to test this out, but realized this wasn’t a realistic schedule for me, so I’ve adjusted a few priorities.

5. Sell two items on Craigslist. (FAIL, although not due to lack of trying)

This month I’m deciding on not setting any specific goals. I have one main priority that I will be focusing on from now until I accomplish it, and everything else will fall in line behind that. I’m also making sure I get in more social and relaxing time.

I think sometimes we get so focused on goals and productivity, that we often don’t take time to just be, and enjoy the outdoors, friends, family, etc. So I’m just trying to make sure that I stay healthy, relaxed, and feel as well-balanced as possible.

*I just had dinner with my cousin who was in town who said my Aunt & Uncle (who live in Fullerton, which was right next to the epicenter), had a lot of stuff fall over and created a huge mess in their house! 

What big goals do you have this month?


Tonya is a video editor/producer and writer living in Los Angeles who enjoys beach volleyball, playing ukulele, and running. To get the latest updates, be sure to subscribe. To support her fundraising efforts to produce more video for this site, please visit her crowdfunding page!

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  • eemusings (NZMuse)

    $8k in taxes? Dang :(

    I saw a lot of tweets about the e/q. Have yet to experience one myself but imagine it’s pretty scary.

    But more importantly how was The Book Thief?!?! Any good? I just can’t see how it would measure up to the novel.

    • Tonya

      Yeah I know. Painful! TBT was good, but sad…really sad. I cried pretty hard at the end.

  • Liz

    Wow that’s an impressive amount of side income – nice work! I’ve never been in an earthquake before but I would be totally freaked out. To actually feel your home moving uncontrollably must be a really strange feeling.

    • Tonya

      It’s funny because it often feels like plane turbulence, but with a plane you “expect” the feeling, whereas your house should not move. lol!

  • Brian @ Luke1428

    “…prepare yourself as much as possible…” That’s true. You can only do so much. We face the threat of tornadoes in Georgia more than anything else. Several have ripped through here in the past several years causing damage and taking a few lives. They certainly leave an impression. Every time a bad storm comes the little ones ask if we should go to “the bunker” in the basement. Thankful you are OK.

    • Tonya

      I watched a special on netflix about a bunch of category 5’s that hit Alabama one year. Man it was incredible and scary footage.

  • Michelle

    Living in Ontario just West of Toronto we can get some severe weather with tornadoes, it freaks me out on occasion. We’ve had some minor earthquakes in Ontario but they’re only minor, I couldn’t imagine what a strong quake would be like.
    My main goals for April are nailing down a new job and no excessive spending. I’ve been tortured enough in my job, time for change!
    You have to pay $8K in taxes! Oh my goodness!

    • Tonya

      Good luck on the job search. With you on that one! And good luck with the spending as well!

  • http://Www.Plantingourpennies.Com/ Mrs PoP @ PlantingOurPennies

    Glad the earthquake wasn’t a big deal for you =) I’m in the middle of reading the Book Thief, so I can watch the movie after I’m done. How was it?

    • Tonya

      The movie was really sad. I kind of bawled my eyes out. The little girl was so cute though.

  • DC @ Young Adult Money

    Absolutely agree with this -> “I think sometimes we get so focused on goals and productivity, that we often don’t take time to just be, and enjoy the outdoors, friends, family, etc.” Glad the earthquake wasn’t terrible, but living in an area that is prone to tornadoes it definitely can be scary thinking about ‘what if’ something bigger happened.

    • Tonya

      I think as PF bloggers we are so goal oriented. Sometimes it’s nice to just flow along with life…

  • Holly Johnson

    I agree that there are hazards no matter where you live. I live in Indiana and we do get tornadoes. They are so scary!

    • Tonya

      Yeah I remember being pretty freaked out by tornadoes growing up in Michigan. I would want to go to the basement and my mom would hang out outside looking for them. I used to think she would get swept up like Dorothy. :)

  • Travis Pizel

    I live in the Midwest where we have the threat of tornadoes……you know what I like to do when we get severe weather? Go outside and watch. Drives Vonnie nuts. The thing about tornadoes though….we usually get some kind of warning that the potential is there, or that a storm cell is moving in. Earthquakes just kind of happen, right?

  • John S @ Frugal Rules

    Glad you were ok after the earthquake. I lived in San Diego for two years and experienced a couple of earthquakes and have lived most of my life in the Midwest and never have seen a tornado…I’m very glad for that! :) Looks like you had a good month overall. We got our taxes back last week and owe a good amount, but for some reason we’re getting a nice state return, so that definitely helps.

    • Tonya

      Interesting regarding the taxes. I owe both. FML! :) Glad you haven’t faced any tornadoes in your area, which usually gets quite a few yeah?

  • Stefanie @ brokeandbeau

    Why is selling stuff online so hard?! Ugh. I spent friday night working on SEO, very sexy :)

    • Tonya

      That is damn sexy! :)

  • Kim

    SW Colorado has no natural disasters other then avalanches and forest fires, which can be avoided for the most part. My Mom is all freaking out that we are going to California this week, but I can’t count how many tornadoes have leveled crap around them, so it’s all what you’re used to I guess. I can’t lie that being in an earthquake would probably freak me the heck out! Hey always check with me before buying eyewear. I can usually hook you up if you know the brand and model. Can you return them for a refund? I can get half off cost plus shipping with Oakleys.

    • Tonya

      Really??? Those same Oakelys?!!! I’ll probably just keep these since I’m sort of sunglass-less right now, but I’ll keep that in mind for sure! Most visitors like earthquakes (not too big though) because they know they can leave and not have to deal with them for real. :)

  • Andrew

    So true about the news reporters…they like to make things much more dramatic than it really is. I feel like NYC doesn’t have much natural disasters…I’m more worried about unnatural disasters like a terrorist event. We had Hurricane Sandy, but that affected mostly property near the water and people living near there were for the most part given early warning to evacuate.

    • Leslie Beslie

      Guess you haven’t been affected by the R train disruption while they repair the tunnel for a year because of Hurricane Sandy damage.

      • Andrew

        True, I was thinking more in terms of the fear of loss of human lives due to a natural disaster. There are definitely a lot of people who suffered…lost their homes or had their lives disrupted in other way. But I think Hurricane Sandy is a very rare occurrence in this region.

        • Tonya

          That was surprisingly bad! I felt bad for everyone living in that area. We get fires that destroy a lot of homes, but I’m nowhere near being in danger of wildfires.

  • Done by Forty

    I remember little earthquakes in San Diego and having the same reaction. I kind of just sat there and by the time I got off my butt to go outside, it’d be over.

    I’m glad you had a frugal month in March. At least one of us did! :)

    • Tonya

      Well you had the wife in town so a little splurging was probably OK? I don’t like earthquakes in the middle of the night though. Too jarring.

  • Leslie Beslie

    That video was crazy! I didn’t really know what to expect. I’ve lived through hurricanes and tornadoes but haven’t experienced an earthquake. I agree that natural disasters are everywhere. You can’t avoid ‘em, all you can do is be prepared.

    • Tonya

      Yup! Apparently floods are the worst as far as death toll goes. Crazy huh?

  • Ryan @ Impersonal Finance

    Ha! I’ve been in earthquakes and tornados- give me the earthquake anyday. But those news reporters need to have a dramatic story, right? And your Friday night sounds exactly like mine, so definitely a win for the party people!

    • Tonya

      Woo hoo we are super exciting peeps! :) I did go out Saturday, so that’s something? :)

  • Shannon Ryan

    We felt the earthquake too, Tonya. We do get a big jaded about them, don’t we? And yes, the coverage was a bit much. I get that it’s news but it must have been a slow night too! I am very goal-focused but I agree that sometimes we get so caught up in working on them that we do forget to just have fun and enjoy life. And ironically, sometimes our goals suffer because of this. So good for you for giving yourself a break. And I bet by doing so, some more pieces will fall into place as to what you want to do next.

    • Tonya

      Thanks Shannon! And being from LA you are probably earthquake pros and make fun of the transplants? :)

  • thefrugalweds

    We live in Glendale and we didn’t feel the earthquake at all! We may have been in the car travelling or something. Being from Los Angeles and San Francisco, we’ve definitely experienced our fair share of earthquakes. I don’t mind them so much now, unless they’re big shakers. I’ll take earthquakes any day or ice and snow and everything else :-) (Like Ryan said!)

    Great job on the March goals :-) I think every small victory is worth celebrating when it comes to finances. And that tax bill — yikes! But here’s another pat in the back for having that emergency fund! Have a wonderful start to the month!!

    • Tonya

      The girl that lives in the same complex as me said she didn’t feel it either. If you were driving or up walking around it would be easy to miss. Funny how that happens.

  • alwayshungry4

    “wonder how long we can get away with just sitting there” – I loved this because that’s exactly what I did. I was talking on the phone and thought “man, do I have to get my bum off the couch?” like it was a chore. :) The OC posts from FB did make it sound like it was bigger where they lived, so hopefully your fam is okay. It sounds like a great month with your trip and living frugally! Were your taxes pretty onpoint to what you expected?

    • Tonya

      Taxes were much higher than expected. :( That’s funny you were thinking the same thing about the earthquake.

  • E.M.

    It sounds like you had a great month! I’ve never experienced an earthquake or a tornado before, and I would really like to keep it that way! Apparently, there was an earthquake here once, but of course, I was on vacation at the time and “missed out.” I am going to take the same approach with April. We are going to be focused on moving and settling in, so I think everything is going to take a backseat to that!

    • Tonya

      Yes I’m sure you’ll be busy enough this month with the move. Good luck with everything!

  • Mackenzie

    I wasn’t here for the earthquake, but I heard it was definitely a shaker. So true though, about how you sit there thinking, do I have to get up? :)

    • Tonya

      heh heh I know you know that! :) You’re going to miss them when you’re in Portland aren’t you? :)

  • Debt and the Girl

    Glad you weren’t hurt in the quake :) Sometimes I feel its best not to set goals for a while especially if something unexpected happens. I think all the pressure can drive you nuts after a while.

    • Tonya

      Agreed. Sometimes it’s nice to take a breather.

  • Fit is the New Poor

    The idea of earthquakes terrify me. I have no idea how you on the west coast do it! We had a super minor one a couple years ago and I was so terrified that I took all of my art off of my walls for months.

    You’re right that us in the midwest are more freaked out over tornadoes. I grew up in an area that was hit by a tornado every single year. While only the farm land got damaged, it was still terrifying. I have seen tornadoes way too close to be ok with them!

    I’m thinking of taking time off of my goals as well. Maybe not this month, but possibly for May or June.

  • Dear Debt

    I hate earthquakes so much!!! They terrify me. Actually anything natural disaster related scares me. Glad you made some nice income this month and I wish you luck with the hustles and finding work. You can do it!

  • Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way

    I’m glad you’re safe Tonya, we really had a terrible earthquake last year in the Philippines. The thing I remember when we had an earthquake, I was just shocked and I didn’t move, I only watched our chandeliers swaying and shouted at my baby that there was an earthquake, gladly my brave younger sister hugged my daughter.

  • Kemkem

    I still remember the Northridge earthquake! That was insane. Worst part was that we were in the middle of a remodel, they had no inspectors to send out on remodels for over 2 months (low priority) so that sucked balls and cost money! Glad you had an okay month..and l loved The Book Thief!

  • Heather @ Run Like a G!

    Glad you are safe! Any natural disaster is scary!
    Great job on your goals! I agree that we need to be our selves and not so focused on our goals! Life is too short!!!!

  • Daisy F

    Haha I have a friend who lives in Minnesota and once I asked her whether she wants to move to California and she was like, “Why would I do that? They have earthquakes!”

  • DEBt DEBs

    LOL, love your Joey Tribbiani analogy. Made me smile.

  • Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies

    Earthquake sounds scary. I’m glad we don’t have any over here in London. Good job on staying within your budget. March was an eventful month for you.

  • Megan Michael

    I live in PA and from time to time we have tornadoes that actually touch down. I will never forget, about 3 years ago, I was conducting an elementary school show. The entire school was in the performance so at least 600 parents/grandparents were there watching. Kindergarten sang first. They left the stage as 1st grade came on the stage. Before we started singing, the principal took the microphone and said there were tornadoes and we needed to go to the basement as quickly as possible. It was actually pretty organized getting down there, and our basement is actually part of our school (my classroom is down there) but we all had to stay in the hallways because the classrooms had windows. IT was sooooo hot and stuffy and crowded and the power went out a couple times. I was not worried for us (the safest place for us to be was in the basement of a huge brick building), I was worried about my husband, who was at work, and the cats at home. We have 2 huge bay windows in our house and I knew Christmas would be laying on them watching the storm. Jelly and Basic would without a doubt be in the basement, since they know what is good for them, but Christmas would be out watching the action, I just knew it. Well it turns out my hubby was fine and so were the cats. Whew.