The Art of Weathering Winter: Insights from a Money Expert and a Sounders Legend

Tori Dunlap and Fredy Montero share the ordinary routines that help them get by

By Annie Midori Atherton February 21, 2023


This article originally appeared in the May/June 2023 issue of Seattle Magazine.

In the dead of winter, yearning for brighter days can feel like a metaphor for the general “grass is greener” syndrome I sometimes feel about life. As a freelancer and new parent, I’ll find myself thinking, “If only I can get our child to this age, or see this amount in our bank account, everything will be sunshine and roses.”

While I know this isn’t true, I found it fascinating to chat with two locals who’ve basically achieved their wildest ambitions – personal finance expert Tori Dunlap, who just published a New York Times bestselling book, and Sounders player Fredy Montero, who is the club’s all-time leading scorer – about how they choose to spend their time. More specifically, what are they up to this winter?


Financial Feminist_Tori Dunlap

Cover Image/Harper Collins Publishing

Last year was a big one for 28-year old Dunlap, who rents a house in the Cedar Park neighborhood. Her debut book, Financial Feminist: Overcome the Patriarchy’s Bullsh*t to Master Your Money and Build a Life You Love, came out at the end of December, becoming a near-instant hit.

She said fulfilling a lifelong dream has been a bit disorienting. “I am in this really fun existential moment where like, I wanted something so badly. I got it. It felt so good. And now I’m like now what? What does my life mean now?”

Despite how grateful she is, she’s quick to point out that her day-to-day reality is basically the same for her and her team of a dozen or so workers. “We get clout, we get to put a sticker on the book, and beyond that, nothing drastically changes.”

This winter, Dunlap is taking a month off work and committing to healthier habits such as nonnegotiable morning stretches, attending Barre3 classes, and keeping her phone out of her bedroom so that she’s not tempted to roll over and scroll first thing in the morning. While she is indulging in a Mexico vacation with her best friend, she’s also planning for a lot of time at home when she returns.

Though Dunlap describes herself as “financially independent,” meaning she could afford to retire now if she chose, she’s excited to get back to work after the break. “I care about it more than I’ve ever cared about anything, often at the expense of my health.”

In fact, one of her biggest concerns right now is an (unfortunately) common one: chronic back pain. “I put my physical health on the back burner last year, and my body is talking back to me.”

I know as well as she that being your own boss doesn’t necessarily translate to a healthier lifestyle. Sure, you can take breaks more often, but they often come with anxiety about losing precious work time.

“I’m so glad I decided to work for myself, but I work 5,000 times harder than I ever did when I was somebody else’s employee,” notes Dunlap.

Fredy Montero

Photo courtesy of Jane G. Photography

Montero, who was just signed on for another year with the Sounders, is exactly where he wants to be. Though he grew up in Columbia and spent several years living in Europe, the father of three now considers the PNW home.

“I’m living my dream right now, playing for my city,” he tells me.

For a professional soccer player, his life sounds like many parents of young children. Mornings mean dropping off the kids and heading to work (aka practice). Weekends are for church and getting together with other families.

Fredy Montero

Courtesy of the Montero family

This is how he likes it. In a 2021 interview with The Seattle Times, Montero opened up about how his newborn daughter’s heart surgery put his stress around work into perspective. So I’m not surprised when I ask him what he likes most about winter, and he says, “Driving the kids around. Making sure they’re happy.”

His “secret” to maintaining energy is not-so-secret: a deep, unabashed obsession with coffee that began when he was 3 years old. His family would fill his bottle with “café con leche” — a beverage popular throughout Latin America. By age 9, he was drinking regular coffee. These days, he throws back about six cups per day of Santo Coffee Blend — the signature blend at the coffee shop in Seattle’s Roosevelt neighborhood that he owns and operates with his wife.

The business is a love story of many kinds, encapsulating his relationship to the beverage, to his Colombian roots, and to his wife, who was born and raised in Gig Harbor. When they first started dating, they’d go to Starbucks together. Over lattes, they stoked a mutual dream of opening a coffee shop together, and in 2019, it became a reality.

On the one hand, talking to Dunlap and Montero confirmed some of my notions of success. Both love their work. Both feel deeply gratified by having reached their respective professional milestones. At the same time, the day-to-day grind of working, parenting, and keeping one’s body functioning don’t disappear. On a good day, that grind can be a form of fulfillment in itself.



This is the fourth and final story in a series titled “The Art of Weathering Winter in Seattle.”

Discover the winter habits of Seattle chef Mutsuko Soma and Shota Nakajima here.

Then walk a mile (or 12) in the shoes of master gardener, Ciscoe Morris and gallerist Tariqa Waters here.

Learn how to cultivate more community, according to author Angela Garbes and State Representative Darya Farivar here.


Annie Midori Atherton is a freelance writer covering culture, careers, parenting, and more. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, the BBC, Insider, and other places. She lives in south Seattle with her husband and toddler.



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