Thursday, March 31, 2011

What to get...

So while I was on vacation, I realized I need to be much more mobile when I don't bring a laptop with me. The weak sauce browser on my Blackberry is for the birds.

The only problem is that I've tried an HTC phone (or was it a Droid... can't remember). The point is, the touchscreen drives me absolutely nuts. I might give it another try though. So question of the day is how would you suggest I be more mobile on the road without a laptop:

a) get a touchscreen phone (iPhone, Droid, HTC, etc)
b) Get a tablet (iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Motorola Xoom, etc)
c) Get a tiny laptop like a netbook

What do you all think (and why)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hebrews 11

Hebrews 11 is SUCH a powerful and beautiful passage of scripture. It gives countless examples of people in the Old Testament who were blessed because of their faith.

Noah, Sara, Rahab (she was a hoe), Abraham, David, Moses and even Abel.

Hebrews 11:4 (KJV) - By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

What this means to me is that Abel's faith spoke, even through his death. That's crazy faith. It makes me think I need to trust God even if I know it could result in my death. My faith needs to be that strong. This scripture encouraged me SO much that no matter WHAT God has my back. It also is a great summary of all the books I read in the Old Testament. It feels good to actually understand in detail the stories that this passage references.

I encourage anyone who's going through something to take a moment to read this scripture. I hope it strengthens you the way it's blessed me.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

None of this, More of that

I was on vacation yesterday and definitely left y'all hangin'. I had my auto posts on the wrong day. O_O Sorry about that.

Here's a list of things that I'm also not having by default since I cut out sugar:

None of this
- Oatmeal (this is kind of sad, but I'm not eating sugar-free oatmeal)
- Artificially sweetened yogurt
- Cola
- Most baked goods
- Ice cream
- Candy

Only some of this
- Coffee (actually, I've been just drinking it with cream and I'm getting used to it)
- Cocktails (I've been drinking beer and asking for diet Sprite and other nonsense at the bar. People looking at me like I'm nuts)

More of that
- Greek yogurt
- More fresh fruit (currently loving Clementines)
- Tea without sugar
- Kashi Cereal

Friday, March 25, 2011

More On Shopping

Side note: When all was said done I picked Option 2 for my ski trip. I'm off to Lake Tahoe by way of San Francisco to visit Liz. Pray for my safe travels and strong bones!!!


So in the information age, there's no reason I should be killing myself to find answers to questions like I did in yesterday's post. Here's what the experts have to say about how much you should spend on clothes (not necessarily how often you should shop, but I'll take any guideline I can get). Surprisingly, I did NOT find a lot online about how to budget appropriately for clothing, but what I found will suffice.

I took a look at my budget and found out this year I'm dedicating a whopping 49.5% of my net pay to debt repayment. I'm actually not willing to spend 4% on clothes if it means dropping the debt repayment percentage down to 45.5%.



Given this information, what I've been doing (not shopping) is what I should be doing and when I make 2012's budget, I'll take this 4% (0r so) guideline into consideration. It's actually quite reasonable and I feel better now that I've armed myself with this information.


Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Shopping

So this is an odd question of the day, but what is the appropriate time period to go shopping? Everyday? When you need things? Once a week? Pay Day? Once a month? Only when you DON'T have credit card debt?

It seems like such a silly question, but shopping has been dangerous for me so take a walk with me through my thoughts on it.

Where I am: Lately I haven't been shopping at all. I've learned that I don't even need to put the desire for new things in my spirit if I don't have cash to pay for them. My last three clothing purchases were dresses for speed dating (Feb) and NYE (Dec) and a bonus dress (Dec). The December purchase was unexpected, but the February purchase came out of approved funds.

Where I've been: I THINK my former habit is to deprive myself (because I made so little money or because I had credit card debt) and then when I did shop to splurge on credit cards (and at the time I'd think 1) I work very hard and I deserve it 2) it's natural and normal to buy new things and 3) I'll pay it back later).

Where I struggle: On the one hand, how can I set aside money to shop when I know I have balances on credit cards?

On the other hand, how do I rectify making a significant amount of money and still wearing clothes I wore in college? (Side note: Praise God for the few shirts and sweaters from college that still fit, Amen.)

All of this to say, if there was a reasonable guideline for the balance one should have on saving, debt repayment and spending on yourself, I would probably follow it. I would actually prefer a "spend on yourself breakout" because when given the choice of dining out with friends and buying new things I will pick friends every time and never buy anything new for myself.

More on this tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

2-week Weigh-In

Hey Challenge participants (Antithesis, BGG, Jenna, Kidd, Nerd Girl, South Loop Social Light, Thummyb, Tina, and Will)

It's been 2 weeks since the start of our 10-lb Weight Loss Challenge. In today's comments please share how much you've lost. If we're on target to lose 10 lbs by Easter, we should each be at just about 3lbs of weight loss today.

Please share:
  • How you're feeling with the increased exercise
  • How you've been doing with whatever you gave up for Lent (if it's Challenge related) and
  • Any fitness and/or weight loss tips you have for the group
I'll start. I've lost 2 lbs, which is just 1 lb shy of the goal. I'm proud of my weight loss to date, but I'm going to have to kick my workouts into high gear. This is definitely proving harder than I thought it would be.

My tip: Schedule workouts in advance. I announce on Twitter what days I'm going to work out for the week and it really helps to keep me accountable.

I can't wait to see your progress and read all of your tips in the comments!!! So far:

T - Lost 2 lbs
Antithesis - Lost 3.5 lbs
Jenna - Lost 3.5 lbs

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Support and Such

Tea's note: This is a guest post by Antithesis about the 10 lb challenge. If you're participating in the Challenge and would like to do a guest post, please e-mail it to me. Also, we're doing a weigh-in tomorrow. Everyone should be at about 3 lbs weight loss. Best wishes!

The key to any weight-loss plan is support. T had the awesome idea to recruit whomever she could into her 10-lb challenge. What better way to suffer (read: sacrifice) than to suffer with others? But support goes beyond the "sure, i'll do this with you" or the "I'm not going to do this but I'll do what I can to keep you on track". Sometimes it's a simple as others around you not being asses. Since Lent, I've experienced some examples of a**hole behavior. I gave up bread and potatoes and starchy stuff like that and people have not been my friends when it's come to that. Wanna know about it? Here it go:

At starbucks (pay no attention to why I was there. I have rights still)

barista: you know what would go really well with that? *insert some starch-laden confection here*
me: that sounds really great but i cant; gave up cookies and stuff for lent
barista: [it tastes like deliciousness sprinkled with tasty with a side of 'oh my god'] how long is Lent?
me: it ends on Easter.
barista: ok, we'll talk about it in 2 weeks
me: *blank stare*

ok, i admit i forgot what she said but she really did try to sell that shit. I remember laughing and telling her "you're a horrible person, right now" before we got to the point of saying she'll tell me about it later.

at work (every shift)

coworker: YOU CANT EAT ANYTHING! WHY WOULD YOU GIVE THAT UP?!
supervisor: WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!
coworker (again): no one told you to give up wheat...
coworker (one more time): aha! you cant have beer or vodka either.

Not only are people around me extremely rude, they are also not the brightest. I never said anything about bread/starch ingredient-DERIVED products. But I am conscious of my empty alcohol calories.

at home

dad: *walks in with 10-piece nuggets and fries* here
me: i cant eat that
dad: *walks away shaking his head*

in his defense, he hasn't seen me but maybe twice since Lent because of my work schedule but still. Not helping.

By the way, I've lost 2 pounds so far.

Monday, March 21, 2011

You Might Be a Bad Coworker if...

Disclaimer: I love my job and my coworkers.

You might be a bad coworker if:

  • You write stream of consciousness e-mails from your blackberry and expect people to know what you're talking about
  • You call people to ask them why they have so many meetings on their calendar because you actually wanted to schedule another one O_O
  • You have face-to-face meetings when an e-mail would have sufficed
  • You send an e-mail when you CLEARLY should have had a face-to-face conversation
  • Every meeting you ever host runs over (Is it 30 minutes or an hour man, pick a team)
  • You're longwinded
  • You tell people everything you're doing after work in the hopes that it will make up for your inaccessibility and your general failures during the day
  • You don't know how to use an Outlook calendar
  • You suck at delegating work (it's a skill people, learn it)
  • You fail to recognize my greatness (this is sort of a joke)
  • You work from home and there is background noise (babies, animals, delivery men... really?)
  • You eat other people's food out of the fridge and/or freezer. Especially my clearly marked Lean Cuisine's. BUSTAS!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Commercial Make Me Cry

and here's one of them...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

There's a Scrip for that

So remember last year when I disclosed that I was self-indulgent in this post? At this month's New Life Covenant Singles Ministry Meeting we discussed "Getting Your House In Order." This topic which was originally scheduled for January, is actually right on target for Spring Cleaning.

We heard testimonies on:

Health & Fitness
Education/Career
Time Management
Reaching Your Dreams
Financial Wellness

One scripture that really stuck with me is Proverbs 21:17. In the KJV it says: He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man. He that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.

This is the scripture I need to help remind me how important it is to make sacrifices. I can't do everything because it's fun. I can't buy everything because it's cute. And while I absolutely need to take care of myself, sometimes that's going to mean Netflix, Magazines and a nap and not an indulgent massage.

I feel like when I'm debt free, I can indulge, but right now I cannot make a habit of loving indulgent things if I want to increase my net worth.

Easier said than done, but that's the scripture. That's what I'm going to hang my hat on. I hope you're praying for me!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tea's Log: Lent 2011

Day 1

8:53 a.m. I prayed in the morning morning. I threw away all the yogurt and sweetened green tea in my fridge. I gave away my honey nut cheerios and sugar-sweetened oatmeal at work. I had tea instead of coffee since coffee without sugar is the pits. Tea... not so bad.

10:30 went to a vendor presentation. They had muffins and coffee, but I chose fruit and water.

Noon: Went to Fellowship Loop for some afternoon praise. They had boxed lunches. I gave the cookie away.

2:57 p.m. I WANTED A COKE and a smile... I'll have a diet instead.

I can literally feel the pounds coming off of my body. I've skipped maybe 600, maybe 700 empty calories today and it's not even time to go home yet.

7:00 p.m. Those 2 Sprinkles cupcakes I had on Fat Tuesday showed up on the scale. I hate everything.

8:30 p.m. I had dinner and raisins for dessert.

Day 2

9:13 am This lemon tea sucks. I want sugary coffee. I am so hungry. Maybe I'll try coffee without sugar. :-/

Day 3

8:30 am I skipped my usual blueberry muffin and had a bagel and cream cheese instead. I ate that bagel so quickly and was still starving.

Day 4

1:00 p.m. I went to Jason's Deli and didn't get any free ice cream. Then I went home and prayed. Woo chile!

Day 5
I ate all day and was hungry ALL day.

Day 6

I got my Peapod order: lots of fruits and veggies and greek yogurt. The fiber cereal helped with breakfast. No solve for lunch and I discovered Diet Sprite... it'll do.

Day 7 - That's today.

I'm going to be doing a 10 lb challenge check-in this time next week, so thummyb, antithesis, south loop social light, Jenna, BGG and Will, I hope you all are doing well. We should be at about 3 lbs weight loss by that time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

No Sugar Makes Tea a Hungry, Hungry, Hippo

Ok, not eating sugar is making me fat. Close to God... and fat. There's something in my brain that sugar triggers that tells me I'm full. This is why dessert or a dessert-like treat is needed every night. Without that treat, I'm eating until I'm stuffed.

And you know I don't like denying myself, so this week it's been pizza, burgers and fries, oh my! (and that HAS to stop).

So I talked to an R.D. at the gig as she suggested greek yogurt. It's all natural flavoring and has a lot of protein in it. I'm adding that, lots of fruits and veggies and sugar-free, high-fiber cereal to my Peapod grocery cart and I'll see what happens.

Signed,

Hungrier #dinnamug

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fitness Tips from an SI Model

I saw this on Yahoo's homepage and immediately clicked it because who knows more about keeping it tight, than a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model... um... no one. Find the full article here.

1. Combine Cardio and Weight Training
“I recommend doing both cardio and weights, both of which are on my Elle Make Better DVDs. High energy cardio can be fun when you set it to music and keep changing your focus. It’s important to balance the two out. You'll notice yourself getting leaner and stronger when you add variety into your workout.”

2. Don’t Forget About Food
More than exercise, Brooklyn believes that nutrition plays a major role in slimming down. “Nutrition is a HUGE factor in slimming down for summer. You can work out all day long, but if you are filling your body with junk, you won't see the results you want. The great thing about consistent exercise, though, is that you get to have that occasional chocolate bar if you want…completely guilt-free!”

3. Ab-Trimming Foods
The best thing for slimming the abs, which, Brooklyn says she’s “still working on”… is food that digests easily and helps clear out the system, such as high fiber foods, vegetables, and probiotics. “I personally like natural plain yogurt and broccoli. This helps you reduce any bloating around the tummy.”

4. Hydrate
Your Skin from the Outside!
Your skin eats too. What you slather on it matters. When it comes to face wash, Brooklyn keeps it simple. “I like simple Cetaphil. The bar version is antibacterial, and a makeup artist told me that it helps to clear any breakouts you may have.”

5. Hydrate Your Skin from the Inside!
Want a healthy glow? “What you are fueling your body with is a huge factor in how your skin looks. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!!” Yes: WATER.





Cetaphil, broccoli and lots 'o' water, on deck!!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

10 lb Challenge

Of course, after I announced my no-sugar Lent, now is as good a time as any to discuss dropping these pounds. I weight 145 lbs. I'm pretty sure 146 is the heaviest I've even been in life and while that's not fat, it lends itself to me looking like a peanut-colored version of sponge bob. All square everything.

I'm not getting any younger and my body is not on these tricks and games with me, so it's time to drop 10lbs. Yes ma'ams and sirs, my goal is to be 135 (that's my flat stomach weight) by my birthday. I started yesterday, so this gives me 7 weeks to get right and get it tight before my birthday trip Tiff's wedding in Jamaica.

The plan: I'll likely drop 5-6 lbs without trying due to Lent. You can judge my motivation for doing Lent if you want to, but no one can convince me that dropping lbs in the name of Jesus is wrong. Nope, can't do it.

I'm going to commit to working out three times a week, every week, regardless of travel or other commitments.

If, I'm not seeing results by April 1, I will increase it to 4 times a week (which is just torturous for a busy person like myself), but it's on the blog, therefore it is true.

Anyone want to drop 10 lbs with me? Thummyb and Antithesis are already on board. We need more fitness buddies, virtual or otherwise, let me know.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Red Pump Day

Well it's actually National Women and Girls AIDS Awareness, day, but let's be serious, the Red Pump Project has taken this day over. This year more than 1,000 blogs are participating. Just Amazing. I think it's absolutely phenomenal and somewhat nuts that I've gone to high school and college (and am currently colleagues) with one of the founders, thefabgiver. She is a dear friend and I've told her before, but I'll say it again. I'm so proud of you, really seeking out your vision to help others and truly succeeding. I hope this organization is everything you imagined and more.

But... enough of the mushy crap.

In honor of this day I want everyone reading this to make it a priority to go get tested for AIDS ASAP (or at least within the next 6 months). I don't care if you're married, celibate, been with the same dude for 8 years. I really don't want to hear your excuses for NOT getting tested. You owe it to yourself to know your status (every 6 months).

And because it is Red Pump Day, feast your eyes on these Louboutin puppies. Yummy!



P.S. Today is the last day to get early bird prices for the Rock the Red fashion show. Please support my homie (and get VIP tickets because... they're just better. LOL!)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Lent And Such

Thummyb mentioned being turned off from food fasts for God because her intentions are usually more on losing weight. Kidd chimed in too that she doesn't usually do corporate fasts because her motivation isn't usually right.

I did Lent for the first time last year (I grew up Baptist, we don't do all that. LOL!). Anywho, I didn't deny that I was trying to get it right and tight for the summer and Lent was my spring board.

The differentiation for me is that where I lack discipline in trying to look cute, I make up for it in obedience to God. And so if I make a commitment to God, vs. to myself, I'm going to stick to it.

This year I'm giving up sugar. Mainly because I have the biggest sweet tooth in life and this will be a true sacrifice to God. Secondly things that have sugar in them (cookies, cakes, brownies, ice cream, good cereal, pop, coffee - they way I drink it - and other delectable delights that I'll be saying no to day and night) generally make you fat.

I also was eating dessert every night about a month ago and I woke up sluggish, even with the proper 8 hours of sleep, so as a tertiary benefit I look forward to boosts of energy.

Anywho, the Bible calls on us to fast and pray and so even if my intentions aren't pure as a dove, I still feel compelled to do it and I feel no guilt whatsoever about the added benefit of losing weight.

What about you? Are you participating in Lent this year?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Love You Jesus... the Remix

So, I was at church one week and they started singing my jam... except it wasn't a church jam. It was definitely Dangerously in Love by Beyonce with some of the words like "baby" taken out.

So it got me to thinking, what other secular songs could be sang to Jesus: Here are my top 5 (and 2 from the comments). If you have suggestions, I'll edit to get to a top 10.

7. Love - Musiq Soulchild
6. Everything to me - Monica
5. Dangerously in Love - Beyonce
4. Flaws and All - Beyonce
3. He Loves Me (actually Jill said in an interview that when she first wrote this song it was about God, then she changed it to be about romantic love on the album)
2. For Real - Amel Larrieux
1. Everything - Mary J. Blige

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Five Love Languages


First a girlfriend suggested it, then my Pastor preached a series on it, then Barnes & Noble had a Groupon. I really had no excuse NOT to get this book.

This book teaches what speaks to you and how you can figure out what speaks to people with whom you interact daily (roommates, coworkers, parents, sigfigs, etc) to strengthen your relationships.

I found the love language profile particularly helpful to figure out what my secondary love language is, my primary one was already obvious to me. This book has 14 [easy-to-read] chapters, but you really only need to read the first 8 to grasp the concepts.

The last note I'll make is from my Pastor. He said while all of the love languages are good and necessary, if you require someone to constantly speak to you in each language, then you want too much. (Of course, he had a whole sermon and I just have a sentence, so I can't really elaborate like I want to.) I thought it was interesting to note that he said by asking for too much you can make yourself "difficult to love."


Friday, March 4, 2011

Speed Dating Info!

Want to try speed dating? Here's a list of sites if you're interested

Chicagofirstdates.com (Schedule on site, events are reasonable $25-35)
Fastlife.com (Have to sign up for free, events are more expensive, $50-$100)
Dateanddash.com (Didn't have any Chicago events)
FastDater.com (Have to sign up for free, they claim to be more fun than the others)
Hurrydate.com (Schedule is on site)

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Ma'am... Sirs, Promptly Take a Seat

Unnecessary affirmations and/or disclaimers have made me so mad lately.

Example 1: Someone says "I don't really do Valentine's Day, but here's a whole blog post on it" OR "I don't really celebrate V-day, but happy hearts day to all the ladies out there"

I'm not sure why this sends me into an angry rage, but it does. If you don't care about something, you don't talk about it. Let me give you an example. I don't celebrate Halloween. I don't go into diatribes on social media channels about WHY I don't celebrate Halloween. I don't dress up and say "oh, it's not celebrating." I don't take my nieces trick or treating and say "Oh, it's just for the kids." I don't volunteer to go to the church parties with kids dressed like angels or Bible characters as a means to "counter" Halloween. I don't celebrate it and I don't mention it and I don't try to get people to be like me. It actually doesn't matter to me and the way you know it doesn't matter to me, is because I DON'T talk about it.

I find that black people can be so anti sometimes. It's like we've been so picked apart that we like to pick each other apart before anyone else get the chance. I really want us to stop doing that. Here's a new rule: if you don't support something, just STFU about it.

Example 2: Tweets like this "I don't know why people go to AllStar weekend. It's just a bunch of groupies." "If you didn't go to the game, it's just a trip to LA." OR the worst "I'd rather sit at home on the couch and hang out with my friends than go to AllStar weekend to meet celebrities."

You know where groupies go also: basketball games, the gym, church and the fucking grocery store and EVERYWHERE else the rest of the world goes. Not going to AllStar weekend so you miss the groupie train is not going to help you avoid them.

And on another note, it's like people are asserting that they're better than you because they don't like to party. Seriously? That's what we're on in 2011?

I also think people just hate on it because BLACK people go. PLENTY of people go to the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl without a ticket, surprisingly no snarky Twitter comments about that.

Of course, I'm taking Example 2 personally because I frequent AllStar weekend. I like to party and AllStar wknd is a built-in good time. I mean hotel lobbies JUKE during AllStar weekend. It's a cheap [enough] trip and I like it. It's not the Kentucky Derby and it's not Tennis AllStar weekend (does that even exist?), but I like it and I want people who don't like it to keep their negative, divisive commentary to theirselves.
I also want them to not amass self worth by putting others down.

I just feel like if you don't care about something you don't mention it. When these people say "having movie night with the fam" (and I don't really care that they're doing that) I don't Tweet "fuck movie night. I don't know why people would see a movie with family. they must not have any friends."

People act like we're not allowed to have different interests without being better than another person. You can be a homebody, that's fine. It doesn't make you BETTER than me.

Sorry for this long angry-ass post. Pray for me y'all. I really don't want people to be able to get under my skin this way. It's silly, but I was mad when I wrote this, so I'm blogging about it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chicago: Food City

As restaurant week comes to a close, I got bored and decided to compile a list of all the restaurants I've been to in Chicago. I'm starting to think I'm a foodie (or just a fat ass, either way). Thank goodness for the gym. Your girl likes to eat!

Restuarant Week Trysts
Devon's Seafood Grill, Fulton On the River, Keefer's, N9ne Steakhouse, Roy's, Spiaggia, The Capital Grille*

Dinner Club Faves
Brazzaz, Cedars, De Cero, Ja Grill, Nacional 27, Opera, Quartino, Sushi Taiyo, Tango Sur, The Melting Pot, Volare, Wildfire, Mediterranean in Hyde Park

General Dining in the City
AI, Alhambra Palace, Angelina's, Bice, Buddy Guy's Legends, Boka, Carnivale, Cafe Bionda, Cafe Baba Reeba, Cafe Iberico, Coco Pazzo, Demera, Gioco, Hub 51, Hugo's, Italian Village, Japonais, La Creperie, Ma & I, Market, Mercadito, Mercat a la Planxa, Midtown, Petterino's, Ping Pong, Nick's Fishmarket, Ra Sushi, Red Light, Rise Sushi, Rosebud on Rush, Rumba, Ruth's Chris*, Smoque, Sushi Samba, Tavern at the Park, Texas de Brazil, Viand, Weather Mark, Wilde, Zapatista, Zed 451, Zocalo

And then of course, the others chains that are basic, but still worth noting: Bar Louie, Cheesecake Factory, Dick's Last Resort, Ed Debevic's, Emelio's Tapas, Gino's East, Giordano's, Grand Luxe Cafe, Hard Rock Cafe, Maggiano's, Lou Malnati's, McCormick & Schmick's, Weber Grill

What's crazy is that this isn't even a 10th of all the good restaurants in the Chi. If you want to see a review on any of these, let me know (and specify which restaurant).

*Visited this chain out of town

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Read Through The Bible Update

So I didn't quite make it through the Bible last year. I'm in the New Testament on December 18, 2010 and reading a day's worth about twice a week now. Jesus has died and risen and ascended back into heaven and it's just a lot of letters from the disciples to each others or to new churches that have sprang up. It's not nearly as exciting as the Old Testament and the letters are all very similar.

The good thing about Bible reading is that it's like working out. You never really are done. So I'm going to finish out the New Testament. Then I'm going to go back and read the three or four chapters I missed in early 2010.

I will feel good when I can say I've successfully read the entire Bible.

What's your Bible reading routine for 2011?