Monday, February 28, 2011

800+

This is an excerpt from this article written by Ray Martin on Yahoo Finance by way of CBS Money Watch. I think it's funny how much he says folks. Good info nonetheless.

If you want to take action to increase your credit score, then take a look at folks with the highest credit scores. About 13 percent of folks have credit scores of 800 or higher. If you look at their credit profile, they have:

  1. four to six credit card accounts (check)
  2. no late payments in the past seven years (Womp, this is what I get for cosigning a loan, never again)
  3. at least one installment loan -- a mortgage or a car loan -- with excellent payment history (I've nothing of the sort)
  4. an average of 10 years credit history per account and a few accounts with 20 years of good history (I'm not even old enough for either of those to be true)
  5. a low number of credit inquiries - fewer than three in the past six months (Good here buddy)
  6. no bankruptcies, foreclosures, charge-offs or collections, and (Good again)
  7. debt levels at no more than 35 percent of their overall credit limits per account (Close, but no cigar)

The bottom line: Having a long history of making all payments on time, using the right mix of credit, and not maxing out on available credit are the keys to a having a great credit score.

That's his bottom line, my bottom line is I only have 3 out of 7 and that's a fail no matter how you slice it. It seems you have to be old (or your parents have to have added you to their old ass credit lines) to have a credit score over 800, which is why only 13% of people have a score that high. I also recently read that your credit score is not about your net worth or even your debt, but about your likelihood/ability to pay a loan back consistently on time.

Anyway, just sharing good info. Getting my credit score up is a lofty goal. I'll just keep living. Paying my credit cards off is much more obtainable... I'll do that. LOL!

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's SO FLUFFY!!!

Now when I say this, you'll know what I'm talking about. Probably one of the best moments in a kids movie EVER.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Money! Money! Money!

So I have a friend that works at a respectable bank, but it's in the hood. Visiting any establishment in the hood is an experience in itself, but imagine working there.

Said homie posts some of his tales on Facebook and I've stolen them to share with my readers. You're welcome!

  • "My customer sees a women in line who he thinks is attractive, he tells me "man she's sexy, I need to go holla at her, I'm bout to ask her if she wanna go to the strip club Friday night" I was thinkin to myself, When did the strip club become a good first date location?"
  • "If I get one more customer to tell me how the bank is bogus for charging them "insignificant" fund fees, I'm gonna go crazy. Bitch I know ur funds are insignificant, 'cause you don't have any, but the word is 'insufficient'"
  • "This dude tells me needed to talk to me cause he got robbed and needed a new debit card. He then continues to say when they robbed him, he Shit himself. What the hell does shittin yourself have to do wit me getting u a new debit card? I dont need to know that. He coulda kept that shit to himself (pun intended)"
  • Ok I work for the bank. I am not the bank!!! One of my customers had the balls to ask ME to loan him $500 until his check clears, and then I could just withdrawl the money out his account when available. Granted he probably was good for it, but I'm still not on duty. I AINT GOT NO ENDS!!! *in my Martin voice*
  • In today's edition of the ghetto gazette. I come to work today to find out someone bussed out the windows of my coworkers car. While we were at the gig. For those who know me, yal understands it takes ALOT for me to get upset, but if someone busses out the windows in Becky, it's gonna be some smoke in the city, AND some furniture rearranging

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Speed Dating: The Finale

I had a break in between bachelors (remember there were more women than men)- The host came over to tell me that since there were so few guys there that all of the ladies get a free speed dating event. YIPPEE!!! and seven minutes later...

Bachelor #4: He was Mexican, from LA (but had never visited Mexico, go figure) and a Spanish teacher at Chicago Public Schools. I told him I went to Chicago Public Schools and he DEFINITELY gave me the judgment face when I said that. He wasn't very funny, but he did keep the conversation going. He wasn't attractive to me at all in the face, so as you can see this was going nowhere fast.

Bachelor #5: The fifth and final bachelor was Asian and probably the most "colorful" character I'd met. He had his coat on and seemed really out of sorts. I'll bet his friends put him up to speed dating as a joke. He was attractive and probably about 5'8, 5'9 with a solid build... hard to tell with that damn coat on though. I don't remember what we talked about.

All I know is that he had to pee like a racehorse and was fidgeting in the damn seat like a three year old. When the bell rang he said "I'm sorry, I really have to go to the bathroom" and I smilled and nodded and said "go, go!" To think he was about to do the fidgety act with like four more women. Just a mess.

So at the end of the dating charade you mark yes or no next to each bachelor and turn your card in to your host. They guys do the same. The host e-mails you the next day to tell you if there are any matches.

I marked yes for bachelor #1 and no for all the rest. He didn't mark yes back, so I had no matches. Sad, I know.

The experience was fun and I'm glad I did it and now I get to go to another one for free, so I'll have a full recap on that too. If you're pressed for a man/husband, I wouldn't do it. But if you want to open up your network and try new things and have different experiences (AND YOU ARE SINGLE, that's kind of a big deal), then give it a whirl. If nothing else you'll get three or four solid blog posts from it.

Have you ever done speed dating? Would you consider it?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Speed Dating: Continued

...some fellas and plenty more ladies walked through the door and another woman who wasn't a lunatic sat at a table near mine. Things were looking up. I was about halfway into my drink when I realized it was about 5 minutes past the 7:45 p.m. start time.

The host announced that since some of the men were running late that she'd just have them fill in when they got there and if there was a man we wanted to meet that we didn't get a one-one-one with that we could talk to him during the break. And so it began:

Bachelor #1: My first impression of him phyisically was "eh." He was a white guy, balding in weird places and the way he wore his wool overcoat made him look short. He wasn't short, but the coat overpowered his small frame. I found out he's from a city in the midwest that I've visited (which immediately gave him cool points. For reasons we don't need to go into, I prefer men from the midwest). He had a lucrative job, was familiar with the suburb I grew up in and had great conversation skills.

Bachelor #2: So the switch seats bell rang rather suddenly and Bacholor #1 was off and Bachelor #2 was in front of me. He was tall and Indian and had a sturdier frame than bachelor #2, but he wasn't attractive in the face to me. As we talked, I found out he was a doctor, well-traveled, from New York this was his 3rd go-round at speed dating and he said there are different people every time. His conversation skills were good, so I was staring at him trying to figure out if I could drum up any bit of sexual energy towards him. I couldn't... on to the next one.

Bachelor #3: He was Indian as well. He wasn't as tall, but still taller than me. He wasn't ugly, but I wasn't feeling anything about him. I'm pretty sure he's from Skokie, he works in an industry I don't understand and he's a grad student. After hearing grad student everything else I head sounding like "womp, womp, womp," so that's all I have to say about him.

Tune in tomorrow for the finale...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Speed Dating Tell All

I want you all to have the full speed dating experience, so I'm writing a narrative (plus I don't have anything else to blog about, so I need to stretch this thing out). Enjoy.

It was Valentine's Day 2011. I'd left four of my girlfriends and a great DJ at the Time Out Chicago Valentine's Day Party at the Wit and headed to an undisclosed Old Town location to embark on my first speed dating adventure. My hair was fluffy, my dress was [just the right amount of] tight and my red pumps were pounding the pavement in search of love (or you know, whatever).

Always the punctual diva, I seemed to be the first one there. I found out that the women would stay seated and the men would rotate. This was a bit disconcerting because like Loretta Devine in Waiting to Exhale I think there's something to say about a man watching you walk away.

I grabbed a Ketel and lemonade to calm my nerves and ever the exhibitionist, I decided to take a seat front and center so everyone who came in the door would have to see me.

As the women started to file in, I quickly learned that everyone wasn't so festive. There were no stunning women there, but no one was ugly. This was a good sign that I hoped would lead to generally attractive men. One woman, let's call her Suzanne, checked in with the host and then immediately walked over and starting talking to me.

She didn't take the same care that I did getting dressed. She had on duck boots and mom jeans and a shirt that your mom would think was nice to wear to a PTA meeting. Something you'd wear to the Target without feeling like you look a complete mess. She looked like she was about to go hunting deer.

Also, she was certifiably crazy. Our correspondence went something like this.

Suzanne: How old do I look?
Tea: Um... wow... um, that's a really leading question.
S: I know, but just give it a try
Tea: (Note, she was clearly 40, so I said) Um... 34
S: I'm 35, but the cut-off for tonight is 34, so I'm glad you said I look 34.
Tea: Great, you look just about your age.
S: No! I looking YOUNGER than my age. You said 34.
Tea: Right. 34. Exactly.
S: I'm divorced. I live at home with my parents. I'm not working right now, but I'm taking classes. I have to find a way to spin this. And you know what else? Posture... I have horrible posture.
Tea: *smiling and nodding* You know, I think your posture's fine, but you may not want to sit at this table [next to me] on a stool with no back. Maybe you'd be better off at one of the couches, so you can perch up [way the hell away from me]
S: That's a great idea. Thank you!

So after I'd successfully gotten rid of Suzanne, I noticed some fellas walk through the door. To be continued...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Clowns vs. Mimes

Before I get into today's goofiness, I'd like to say HEY! to all my new followers *waves*. I've noticed a lot of comments from people who haven't commented before, so I just want to say thanks for reading and I hope you're enjoying Tea & Such.



I don't know who came up with this goofy topic, but again, I'm up for a challenge.

In the battle between clowns vs. mimes, I pick mimes. I think they're more talented. Sometimes being quiet and just working with what you've got is enough. I think clowns spend too much time trying to be funny, and let's be honest, they miss the mark a lot of times. They also try to make fools out of people.

Mimes just walk down the street, minding their own business, picking up stuff that doesn't exist...

Wait, at least clowns are in touch with reality. Mimes are just a tad bit off. Well... I can deal with off. I can't deal with people spitting water and goofiness in my face.

Mimes win.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Volunteering & Such

I got this from the Fab Giver who got it from Oprah. Check it out for yourself here:

I am a New Breed Volunteer. I think that's pretty cool.

The New Breed Volunteer
Gone are the days when "charity" work is the sole domain of Junior League socialites. You're a radically different breed with just as much desire to give back. You're a busy professional, student or parent with a full life, but you believe that doing good feels good and giving back is part of living your best life. Volunteering regularly adds meaning to your life.

Your most rewarding volunteer opportunities are likely to be:
Ongoing programs at soup kitchens and food pantries, mentoring and after-school programs, senior care and support, hospital volunteering, homeless shelters or any group in need with an organized program and a regular place to meet.

You're no help here:
Organizations that need full-time volunteers or charities that don't have an organized volunteer program in place.

To find your best fit, ask yourself these questions when choosing a volunteer opportunity:
* Where am I most needed?
* Is it an organized program with easily sustained involvement?
* Will I be volunteering with other people in my age group?

So, which one are you? How do you plan to give your time (not money) this year?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Books & Such

I'm curious to how my blog readers partake in the written word. Do you

A) Buy Books
B) Get books from the library
C) Use an e-reader

The question came to mind because I have about 50 books on my Amazon wishlist. Some of them, I've read already, but I still want to purchase. Then I thought, hey, is that weird? I get a certain gratification from owning books. I don't know what it is. If I'm ever blessed to have a mansion, there will definitely be a library in it.

I know this isn't exactly my most scintillating post, but this is what's on my mind today. Can't wait to hear your comments.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Wisdom and Such

Me: I hear you, but I feel like if I'm not a part of the solution, I'm a part of the problem.
Her: Well, maybe YOUR solution is contributing to the problem.

chuuuuuuuch

Monday, February 14, 2011

In 2010, I asked, You Answered

Last Year I asked how to get my money right and you all had some great advice. Let's take a look at what worked (these are paraphrased).
  • South Loop Social Light and Product Junkie Diva said: "Close your credit cards, so you'll stop using them." I didn't close them, but I did stop using them, which is so awesome!
  • K to the said: "Get direct deposit into your savings" - This worked well and I'm going to increase the amount in 2011.
  • Scott said: "Set aside a daily income (spending cash, if you will), so you don't have to dip into your savings for that money" - I did this a bit. I am going to really do it more in 2011. Cash only!
  • B said: "Consider giving yourself a cash allowance" - While I don't necessarily put cash into an envelope for the week, I have been on a cash-only diet and it's working well.
  • Well Heeled said: "look into direct deposit for student loans because it may lower interest payments up to .25%." - I switched my Federal Loans to Direct Deposit because the benefit is automatic.
Sallie Mae (Private loans): My interest will decrease by .35% after 24 direct deposit payments (so two years from now). Should I do it for lower rates in 2013?

What do you all think? Direct deposit for Sallie Mae or no?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Gifts from Twitter


Found this on bluntcard.com. Hilarious. As a Chicagoan, I had to share. Happy Weekend!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fitness Update

So working 10-12 hours days leaves me a little too tired to go to the gym. But I am committed to going on my off days and weekends. I've been doing an hour instead of 30 minutes of the days that I go to make up for all the days that I'm not going.

So far, my weight is holding steady at 144 lbs. Which is 4 lbs heavier than my "this is the most you can weigh" goal. I'm soft and pillowy. LOL! I haven't made any commitments to changing my eating habits to lose the weight (stuffs cheesecake in mouth), so I'll probably just be this weight until I do.

Jamaica is on the horizon, so I imagine in March or April, I'll get on some sort of carb-free diet and work on my 6-pack. (Ok, who am I kidding, that ship sailed in HS). I'll probably do something drastic for Lent too. Until then, I still fit all my clothes and life is good, so I'm not dieting.

How are your fitness goals/plans going?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Church at Home

So I watch church online sometimes. I know it's not just me, let me tell you how I modifed stuff this last time at the crib.

Praise & Worship - I did this just like at church. Except I had a bathrobe on.
Communion - I had a Ritz cracker and a sip of Riesling
Pastor said "Hug 5 people and tell them you love them with the love of Jesus." - I just hugged myself
Tithes - I went ahead and paid online.
Pull out your Bibles - I was actually winning here. I have three Bibles at home, but they're all raggedy, so I don't take them to church, for fear that pages may fall out.

I'm not making this stuff up. I thought it was kind of funny so I'm sharing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I Have a Date!!!

I know people that know me read this title like "And what else is new?" LOL!

Ok, I don't just have A date, I have several dates, as SPEED DATING!!! Which will be happening at an unknown time at an undisclosed location. I'm so excited. Mainly because

1) I think it'll be fun AND
2) It's something I've never done before

I need your advice. QOTD: What should I wear?

A) A dress and heels
B) A dress and boots
C) Jeans, cute shirt and boots (I'm not wearing heels with jeans because there will likely still be snow on the ground.)

Or do you have an outfit in mind for me that I haven't mentioned? The recap of this thing will be so much fun. I hope you all are excited.

Monday, February 7, 2011

HOW To Reach My Goals

I went to a presentation in 2010 that was quite insightful. Let me share some of the insights with you to help you understand how I came to this year's money goals.

Insight 1: We are 5% Willpower and 95% habit
Insight 2: A habit has a specific time attached to it. It has to be precise and routine.

For example, "I will go to the gym more" doesn't make it a habit. Instead, saying "I will go to the gym three times a week, specifically on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays" makes it into a habit (when you follow through with doing what you say you're going to do).

This makes so much sense. Of course, the best ideas/insights seem so simple AFTER you put them into practice.

So I took a look at what I said I was going to do at the beginning of 2009 (Get my CC debt down to 1-20% of the available balances to improve my credit score and get the debt monkey off my back.) My habit was SUPPOSED to be sticking to my budget. As you can see from all of the quarterly updates, I did not make it a habit. It was more like a lofty, pie-in-the-sky dream. I took money out of my savings to do things that I felt were important to me and I didn't commit to paying a certain amount of money every month.

I do have a revised budget this year. Rather than bore you with it and beat myself up next year for not sticking to it I created two, simple, measurable habits that I am going to implement in 2011 that I am SURE will help me reach my new goal of being credit card debt free by December 31, 2011.

1. Pay a pre-determined amount towards my credit card debt EVERY 30 DAYS.
2. Put 50% of said pre-determined payment into my ING savings account automatically every time I get paid (15th and last day of the month).

This HABIT I'm forming is precise, measurable and moreover, I can check myself every 30 days to make sure I'm sticking to it and adjust as necessary (as opposed to trying to pay one big lump sum at the end of the year like I attempted to do (and failed) in 2010).

This also gives my credit score a chance to creep up, bit my bit each month. I'm excited.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Tea's Tangents: Winter Edition

  • A loose hoodie perfectly camoflauges a muffin top. #WinterTricks
  • When the people try to get you on the side of the street to make donations to "great causes," don't make eye contact. If you do make eye contact tell them you're not going to make any donations, but you'll listen. If they ask why say "I don't have room in my budget for another expense." This is a no-fail method, for real.
  • Organic jelly is so good. I eat my toast thinking "I never knew a grape could taste this good."

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Was That Necessary

This is like my millionth post on laundry, which FURTHER lets you know how much I hate doing it. During my vacation week, I spent two days doing laundry. (Not two straight days, but laundry was done twice in one week). I abhor it: the act of going up and down the stairs and holding your breath, hoping the machines aren't occupied. I'm also absentminded, so more times than not I forget my quarters, or laundry detergent, or the actual clothes if it's a 3rd or 4th load. It's just the worst.

Then there are rude neighbors who think that their clothes have the right to stay in the washer or dryer for however long they desire. I used to be one of those people and I would have a hissy fit if someone touched my clothes. After having all my bras stolen in college and a strong dose of reality (um, if you don't want anyone touching your clothes, don't give them the opportunity, be downstairs, on time), I've decided that it's really not that serious.

I touch people's clothes, wet or dry. If they don't like it, tough. I've yet to have anyone confront me in the laundry room.

So the day in question, someone's clothes had been chilling for more than 30 minutes in the dryer. I know this for a fact because my clothes had time to wash before said rude person came to get their clothes. This person, while rude, did leave a bag for me to put their dry clothes into and when it was time to put my clothes in the dryer, I did just that.

So imagine my surprise when 45 minutes later, I come downstairs and one of the dryers that I'd left closed was wide open with my clothes wet in it. This passive aggressive son of a bitch opened my dryer because he or she was mad that I'd taken their clothes out of the dryer.

I KNOW that's what happened because I've considered doing that many times when I was mad about the same thing. Also because I'm absentminded I always check to make sure washer and dryer doors are closed and that I've pressed "on" or whatever...

With no one to get upset with and no clothes of theirs to destroy, I decided the following: I'm blessed beyond measure. I have a whole PAID week off of work to do my laundry over and over again. AND I have a whole bank full of money to waste $1.50 on laundry.

I decided there was no use in sulking all day, but I'll be damned if I wasn't Katie Kaboom mad for like 60 whole seconds in the laundry room.

Who's happy about my new anger management skills? *raises hand*

Now, to look at condos with in-unit laundry...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hostile Female Cartoons

I was talking to the homies about cartoons and it was brought me my attention that I like all the bitchy female cartoons. I can have a bit of a temper. I think as a child that was repressed so I didn't get knocked clean out my my mom or grandma.

Also, it should be noted, as an adult, I've learned where to put all that anger and I'm MUCH nicer to customer service people and people who are irritating just in general. (YAY for growth). My friends are mad because I don't tell waiters and waitresses where to go and how to get there anymore. I'm sorry y'all, hang with a 19-year old for that type of foolishness. I'm too old.

Anywho, here's are my three favorite bitchy cartoon characters:




Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Fasting From Twitter

Last week, I did a media fast for church. I fasted from TV, Twitter and Facebook. I learned that Twitter has turned me into somewhat of an exhibitionist. Here are the top 1o types of things I wanted to share that I couldn't.

10. What I was eating while I was eating it, what I was cooking before I ate it and what I had a taste for before I cooked and/or bought it.

9. What I was listening to and/or watching. #NP and #WIMH go harder than I thought.

8. My thoughts on the news stories of the day: Jay Cutler, Oprah's sister, Rahm Emanuel, the State of the Union Address, Mary Harvey's Youtube clips...

7. How my commute was going. For example on Monday it took me like two hours to take a rental car back. The Avis is no more than 6 miles south of my house. Then on Thursday I ran a bunch of errands that were supposed to culminate with an hour at the gym. Get all the way there in a snow storm and I'd left my gym shoes at home. DOH!

6. Speaking of the gym, I wanted to tell Tweeps when I was getting ready to go to the gym, what I was going to do there, how hard I'd worked out and how many pounds I'd gained or lost.

5. The randomness: Like there is a United States Post Office in Lincoln Park that doesn't sell stamps. Only on the wacky northside is this ok.

4. Happy Birthday. I'm sure I missed a few birthdays last week, but I'm old school, so birthday alarm has most of my friends in it and I sent them text messages.

3. What I was reading: books, the Bible, the paper, magazines and popular blogs and what I thought about the content.

2. Airport stories as I went to Oklahoma City to visit Dorian.

1. How happy I was to not be at work. As I rolled over in my bed several times I reached for my phone to tease Twitter, then realized I couldn't do that.

What has Twitter done to me? To us? Why do we share these mundane details of our lives? It was a quiet week and though it was tough at times, I appreciated the clarity that being alone with God and my thoughts. I was all too happy to get back to Twitter though.