Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: Year in Abridged Review

January: Went to the 9 p.m. service at New Life, then the Posh NYE Party to ring in the New Year. Both were amazing! Paid off all of my credit cards.

February: I'm sure I did something that mattered this month, but I didn't travel and I don't remember any of it.

March: Went to Boston for fun. Went to NYC for work. Found out my credit score was 846 (Yes that made the year in review)

April: Went to Plano, TX for work (don't ask). Quit my job of 7 and half years. Threw a 90s bday party. It rocked "Tommy Hilfiger" socks. Started a new job.

May: Went to Dallas for fun. Went to DR for Paris' 30th. KICKED.IT!

June: Went to the St. Louis area for work. Celebrated Les getting her M.B.A. (Earth, Wind and Fire at Ravinia anyone?) Moved into my new [rented] condo WHICH I LOVE! Went to Donovan's first bday party in OKC.  

July: Threw a surprise going away shindig for Les. Threw Pascale's baby shower with Les and Angie (and Rob, LOL!) K's bridal shower.    

August: Was a tour guide in my city. Became the President of a nonprofit.

September: K got married!!! Visited Pittsburgh.

October: Quit my job of 5 months. Vegas. Pittsburgh. D.C. Final Bears game in the Chi. Chitown going away party.

November: MOVED TO PITTSBURGH for a[nother] new job opportunity. (WOW!) Chicago for Thanksgiving. Erie, PA for work. Chicago for a meeting. (The fact that I'm "visiting" Chicago is just...), Ohio for work.

December: Chicago for 9 days (Christmas, vacation, NYE).

Praised God the whole time. Feel free to share any reflections on 2012 in the comments. :-) 

Friday, December 28, 2012

You Da One

This song reminds me of my honey.



Shoutout to Vevo and the copyright infringement that keeps me from posting the real video. I hope this caking is approved. :-/

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Yoga Funnies

I've been going to Core Power Yoga this week. That free week they offer is amazing. If they get one in Pittsburgh, I may actually pay full price to go.

So while in yoga class tons of things cross my mind, but you can't talk in yoga class. And some of these things really don't need to be said outloud (meanwhile writing them on the internet doesn't really seem that bad).

Top 10 things I think in yoga class.

10. Why do I have to have gas NOW?
9. Did I shave?
8. I need a pedicure.
7. I wonder if my instructor smokes weed.
6. I'm limber, but is this really burning calories?  
5. I really wish yoga diva right here would stop showing off. Who DOES that. (For the record, everyone including me, DOES that. LOL!
4. Who are these people in here with me on my day off and why aren't THEY at work?
3. I think I'm in a class with bunch of stay at home moms.   
2. Men who have wives that do yoga are winning.
1. They should have really named this class preparations for sex.

LOL at my random thoughts. How is your fitness routine going?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Coffee is a problem

Living in a medium sized city brings medium sized city problems. Let's talk about coffee. I am not a coffee snob. If I put enough cream and sugar in it it's all the same to me.

BUT I do PREFER a good cup of Dunkin' Donuts coffee. Sorry to everyone who thinks otherwise, but Starbucks coffee tastes like life is harder than it really is. -

Coffee in Pittsburgh is a problem.

- There are only two Dunkin' Donuts downtown (and probably in the whole damn city).
- It takes 10 minutes to get at these two Dunkin' Donuts.
- Every Starbucks I go into is bite-sized. I wouldn't want to stay in there longer than the time it takes to get my coffee (which is probably 15 minutes if it's 10 minutes at Dunkin' Donuts).
- There are also a bunch of Starbucks kiosks... again, I can't get the coffee house ambiance (and at $5 a cup, I need ambiance) from a kiosk.
- They have a place here called Crazy Mocha. I've had it twice. I've regretted the decision to go both times. The coffee tastes like they brewed high fructose corn syrup into it (even when there was no sugar added). The people who work there are very nice. It's just not good coffee...

I think I shall buy myself a Keurig for Christmas. See how I just made this into a positive. Um hm. LOL!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Put a Card in the Mail


Monday, December 10, 2012

9-year-old boy with stage 4 cystic fibrosis attempts to break Guinness World Record


Dalton Dingus wants to beat the Guinness World Record for the most Christmas Cards

 

(Lake 102.3) Dalton Dingus is a 9-year-old boy from Salyersville, KY, living with stage 4 cystic fibrosis.

He has been sent home because there is nothing else doctors can do. They have only given him a couple of weeks to live. He told his mom he is ready to go because he is tired. He wants to beat the Guinness World Record for the most Christmas Cards. The record is 35,000. 

You can help Dalton break the record by sending him a card at the following address:

Just a card, a 45 cent stamp, and a little of your time to make his Christmas wish come true.

Dalton Dingus
H.C. 62 Box 1249
Salyersville, KY 41465


Thursday, December 13, 2012

To decorate or not to decorate...

After moving to PGH, I realized... I don't like to decorate. I used to think I didn't decorate because I didn't have enough space or money. Now that neither of those things are a barrier, I still haven't decorated. I haven't bought any new furniture or paintings or bookshelves or anything since I moved to Pittsburgh and I absolutely need to. It's like white wall city in here and my furniture doesn't really go with my new apartment.

I like the IDEA of decorating. It seems like it would be fun, but the amount of design choices I have and decisions I'd need to make are overwhelming to me. I just want to sit and relax (and put decorating ideas of Pinterest knowing full well I will never do anything with them).

My disdain for decorating was solified in my mind when I also had no desire whatsoever to put up Christmas decorations. You know what that sounds like to me: work. Go buy a tree, lug it to my apartment, lug it up the elevator (and/or pay someone to do that), rearrange furniture, buy lights, string lights, buy ornaments, put those up. Vacuum those damn pine needles daily.

THEN when Christmas is over, I have to take it all down, store the lights and ornaments (where would I store decorations in a 1BR apartment?) Lug the tree out of the house. Vacuum again (man, I hate vacuuming).

I'm not doing that crap until I have kids and if I can convince my husband to take a warm weather trip every Christmas instead of doing the tree crap... oh yes, new traditions could be formed. 

With all the money I just saved on Christmas decorations (and decorating in general) I think I will go buy a festive holiday shoe. See how I just made this post positive? YES!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

And It Don't Stop

Sidenote: It's 12/12/12. Play the lottery or get married.

On to the beloved topic at hand.

You know I love brunch! I was prepping a Tea's Top 10 before I left the Chi and didn't quite get to it. Here are more brunch places to try. (I have to have about 60+ by now). Enjoy!

The Southern - I'm not a big fan of the rooftop of this place, but the atmosphere is nice. I'd give it another try. I mean, you can't go wrong with some eggs if the drinks are right.

Balsan at The Waldorf Astoria* - So we can get our Coming to America on

Red Door* - A colleague said: "GREAT patio - Chef Troy is great & be sure to visit Jeremiah at the bar."

Eleven City Diner  - South Loop Social Light has been going on and on about the Bloody Mary's here. I stopped by and didn't try those, but the pancakes are as big as your head and just as delicious. It's a true diner and everything on the menu looked fab. Go here often. 

Bistronomic* - I didn't make it here, but I heard great things.

Old Town Social* - Same as above.

Square One - I've been here for happy hour. Great craft drinks. They have an all you can eat brunch for $14.99. There was about a 20 minute wait when I went, but I didn't get a chance to stop because I was on a schedule.

City Tavern - Save your money. The eggs aren't even good.



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Taking Technology for Granted

Inconsistent Fares
I ride the Trolley (the T) to and from work everyday. It's $2.50 there and back. You pay before you go to the platform, like a toll booth. But if no one is in the booth, you can pretty much walk by without paying. My first week here I actually didn't know how to pay, so I was just riding for free (Dude goes on his break right when I get off work).

So yesterday, out of the blue, a lady made me pay $3.25. Actually the price on the box came up and  it said $3.25. It ws so strange. The lady said 4:30-6:30 p.m. were peak hours.

Paper Fare System
So I walk like 5... maybe 7 blocks from my job to the Port Authority to buy a week bus pass for the last week of November. It was Wednesday. The lady tells me their bus cards actually run Sun-Sat. I looked and it was like a laminated piece of paper. I am not making this up. I'm SO used to Chicago, I figured whatever day I used it first, that's the

Connect What?
They have this thing in Pittsburgh called the Connect Card. It's like the Chicago Card plus. There are machines in every "T" station that sell them. Except they don't. I couldn't figure out how to work it, so I asked one of the friendly booth workers what the deal was. He told me they were supposed to be in rotation in September, but now the machines are in all the stations, but they still don't have the technology.

**somebody's grandma's voice** The next time you use you CTA Card Plus, remember, everyone doesn't have what you have. Be thankful for machines that work. I'm laughing, but I'm so serious.

I'm probably still going to take the T when I buy a car. It costs like $6 a day to park downtown. I already pay to park at home. I might as well say gas and $1 a day (Y'all see what's happening to me. I'm getting cheap because the cost of living is so low. My financial planner loves it. More on this later.)




Monday, December 10, 2012

Hair Check-In

I showed you all the pic of me having to cut inches off of my split ends and you see how much darker my hair is now. I thought after that heavy maintenance that my hair would be easier to manage. Generally, when I get my hair colored, it loosens the curl. And I typically suffer a bit of heat damage because I straighten my hair when I get the ends clipped, but it's out of control now.

- It won't keep a two-strand twistout (my favorite style) for more than a day
- It's MUCH straighter than it's ever been since

I think I need to use clarifying shampoo to get some spring back to it.

I've tried using larger rods to curl it when I two-strand twist it. It's dope for like a day, then I either have to dry twist it at night or wear a headband because the curl is gone after going to sleep.

I've tried using more gel and that works, but only when I dry twist it.

My entire issue is that I only want to do my hair once a week. On a weekend day and then not have to fuss with it for the rest of the week. I'll wear a bonnet, a doo rag, a bandana, whatever it takes, but I really don't want to style it more than once a week. Per usual, I want too much. 

Some folks have suggested doing a braid out and/or a braided styles for the beginning of the week and then letting it loose towards the end of the week. I may need to learn how to braid first (don't judge me).

I would just cut this crap off, but my honey vetoed that decision, so I need another solution. If you know any natural hair styles that last for a week, hollatchagurl. Maybe I just need a winter weave... *strokes chin*

Friday, December 7, 2012

Strange...

When you live in a new city, everyday is a new exploration or discovery. Recently I discovered that people pick sports teams like they pick suburbs to live in. They weigh the pros and cons like good schools, long commute, high property taxes, low maintenance costs in a suburb FOR FOOTBALL TEAMS. 

Because I'm from the greatest [sports] city in the world (we really do have a team for every sport and the most amazing fans), I didn't realize that people who are from cities that suck at sports actually do this.

I had a conversation with a woman who's from Pennsylvania, close to Pittsburgh and she's a Cleveland Browns fan. She said her and her husband discussed it and Cleveland fans are classier and the tickets are cheaper. I'm so serious right now.

I can't imagine going home and telling my mom "Hey ma, I decided to be a Raiders fans because the tickets are cheap and it's free shipping on the jerseys." I would be disowned.

I'm getting ready to have a lot of posts about the differences between what I know to be true and what I'm learning due to my new job, my new apartment, my new city, essentially my new life. I'm not saying it's good or bad... but boy is it different.

How did you pick your favorite sports team?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Update on a Classic

I didn't get a chance to check out the Cole Haan store (but thanks so much ChiChi for the recommendation). I ended up buying these BCBGeneration black pumps from Macy's.
I actually TRIED to buy the same black pumps I always get from Nine West, but this year they either don't make the black leather or they sold out of it already. They only have it in black patent leather.

Sad part is that my new shoes hurt. I can't really walk in them with tights on and I can't carry anything when I wear them. I basically went out and bought a date shoe. Welp.

Maybe I'll give Cole Haan a try afterall. You can't really have TOO many pairs of black shoes.
 
*Looks up Cole Haan in Pittsburgh* Ha! I'll have to buy it when I get visit the Chi.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Football Struggles

Who wants to hear about a recent struggle I had? Well, too bad, here it is.

  1. My cable stopped working on Sunday night. I didn't have the patience to call the cable company, so I hope it'll just fix itself the next time I want to watch TV.
  2. Wednesday, I turn on the TV it still doesn't work. I call the company, they figure out it's my cable box. I saved $30 bucks on that call, but chose to have them snail mail me the cable box0.
  3. Thursday I realize I can't watch Scandal and get sad. I try to watch it online (I pay to have access to cable online), but ABC doesn't live stream.
  4. My honey suggests that since the box is the problem, not the cable connection that I just put it in the back of my TV. This is the kind of solution that I unfortunately never think of myself). I try to remove the cord, but the cable guy has it so tight I need plier.
  5. I add pliers to the list of stuff to get when I go to Target... when I buy a car or have a rental car.
  6. Sunday, I still haven't receive the new box. Fox also doesn't stream, so I can't watch the Bears game. I JUST WANT TO WATCH FOOTBALL. GRRRRRRRRRR. I also have to report to work at 12 p.m. and couldn't leave til 3 p.m.
  7. I borrow some pliers from work. Sprint to my TV to watch the 4th quarter, put the cord into the back of the TV... IT STILL DOESN'T WORK! I have to "auto program" the TV. It takes frickin' 45 minutes to program the TV.
  8. 98% done autoprogramming with 1:47 to play in the game.
  9. I get to FOX and they are playing the got damn Packers game. I AM AN-GRAY!!!
The universe doesn't want me to watch this game. I'm listening online and following with my app. I'm sad that I won't get to see orange and blue on this expensive TV with this expensive cable I pay for.

I have so many similar struggles. I don't have time to tell y'all all about them. Welpington.

UPDATE: FOX keeps showing glimpses of the Chicago game, which makes me happy. I've also called the cable company to see what channel the NFL network is on this Digital (vs. HD) cable.

I FOUND FOX SPORTS NETWORK AND I'M WATCHING THE GAME. LET'S GO BEARS!!! YEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Twilight Zone...

The people in Pittsburgh are SO nice. Like genuinely nice, not fake southern nice (#NoDiss) or regular Midwest polite (#NoDiss). But people ask how I'm doing and genuinely care about the answer. I have met SUCH good people here. That was a huge part of my decision to move. I knew hoped that if nothing else, I’d enjoy the people I met and worked with, but let me explain.

On the phone:
T: Hi, have I reached the water company?

Guy: Hi there, this is the water company, but you’ve reached the wrong number. The correct number is XXX-XXX-XXXX, BUT… keep my number. If you can’t reach who you want over there, call me back and I’ll help you find the right person.

At a networking event:
Preacher’s wife: Here’s my personal cell and e-mail. Call me if you need anything at any time.

Email:

T: Hi there, such and such gave me your info. I don’t know anyone here. I’d love to meet you.
A friend of a friend: Perfect, I’ll come pick you up and we can go from there.

A friend of another friend: Awesome. I’ll get a group of young professionals together at a wine bar one night soon and you can meet people that way.
Um… did God put me in a phenomenal place or what? There aren’t any cabs or reputable cupcakes places [from what I have observed], but I’ll never want for anything with all these amazing people surrounding me. YES! YES! YES!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Feed Me Seymour!!!

Here are the top 10 restaurants that I want to try in Pittsburgh. If you visit, remind me to take you to one of these.

10. Piccolo Forno - Good Italian food (or so I heard) in Lawrenceville (what I believe is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, but it may be it's own city).
9. Lidia's - More italian
8. Kaya - Island cuisine in the Strip District
7. Meat and Potatoes - Located in the cultural district, I think this place gets a lot of people pre- and post-shows. I've tried twice to go there without a reservation. No dice. If I remember to update this post after I eat there, I'll let you know how it is.
6. Primanti's - This is the place where you get cole slaw and fries on your sandwich. (I think). I haven't been yet, but I'm told that I have to do it at least once.
5. DeLuca's - the menu is as big as your head. LOL! I think it's overpriced for a diner, but we're probably paying for the nostalgia... and the portions. Good goodness there's a lot of food.
4. Pamela's - Traditional Pittsburgh diner. I think people compare this to DeLuca's a lot.
3. Sonoma - This California-themed eatery has
2. Eleven - I went here for brunch and it was amazing. It reminded me of Sweets and Savories in Chicago. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and the food options were great. They brought out a bread basket with honey butter and apple jam and I ordered the beignets which came with a delightful apple syrup and the veggie omelet. I've never had such fresh mushrooms in muh life. I can't wait to have dinner here!
1. Savoy - Black owned and I think it's soul food. They definitely have a brunch. I'll let you know after I visit.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Things to Do

10. August Wilson Center for African American Culture - I can't wait to go here!

9. Andy Warhol Museum - This is going to be big fun!

8. Heinz Factory Tour - Heinz is everything here. E.VER.Y.THING. I want to see where it all takes place.

7. Sports Museum - Should be fun.

6. Mount Washington - It's a hill where you look down and see the rest of the city. Scary, but pretty.

5. Strip District - Cute neighborhood with a bunch of bars, restaurants, shops and fresh foods.

4. Shadyside - When I first heard the name of the neighborhood I thought it was a joke. Like that's the shady side of town, but it's quite the opposite. It's like Lincoln Park to me in that big stores like Banana Republic and Victoria's Secret and couched in between boutiques and restuarants and there's a lot of foot traffic. I would have lived in this neighborhood if I found any open apartments when I was searching.

3. Consol Energy Center - I've been to one hockey game in my life and my client didn't like hockey, so we just hung out near the concessions. I'd like to give it another try.

2. PNC Park - The Pirates suck, but I'm sure it's a good time at the games.

1. Heinz Field - Go to a Steelers game (I'm planning a massive trip for friends and family when they play the Bears. Please let me know if you want to get in on this).

I also secretly want to run into Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose having a quiet dinner at Applebee's, but I think I want too much!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Car Testimonials

I thought that my life was ruled by convenience and that's why I didn't want a car.

In Pittsburgh, it would be MORE convenient to have a car. Maybe my life is ruled by convenience, but perhaps I am also just cheap. LAWD why do these depreciating liabilities cost so much? I just can't imagine having a car note, paying for gas, paying for parking at home AND paying for parking at work. I've been thinking, there has to be a better way.

I asked Facebook, but I wanted to ask you all as well. Do you love your car? If so, please share the make and model and WHY you love it? I heard things like good gas mileage, sleek styling, cheap repairs, no repairs, great warranty and fun to drive.

I've never bought a car (first car was a '96 Chevy Cavalier as a high school graduation gift from my parents. Woo hoo!), so this is a truly new experience for me.

I live in a city full of hills and it will definitely snow here. I need something reliable, but for the best value for my hard earned dollars.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Grocery Shopping

I have so much to tell y'all about my new life in a small[er] city. First up, I have to start grocery shopping. I can't just stop at Trader Joe's on my way home or order from Peapod. There's only one grocery delivery service in Pittsburgh and the prices are not competitive. There's no way I'm paying more than I pay in a full-price Chicago grocery store for a Pittsburgh delivery service. I cain't go.

So I get a rental car to run errands and I check out the circulars. I have notes from

- Kuhn's Market
- Bottom Dollar Foods
- ALDI &
- Giant Eagle

I also heard that there is a Whole Foods here (I don't really shop there) and a Trader Joe's, but they weren't close and I wanted to hit a traditional grocery store (like Jewel or Dominick's) for my first grocery visit. I can't deal with Trader Joe's and their "we don't have baking powder" nonsense that day.

So I get to Giant Eagle and I had to check my calendar. It wasn't the first of the month, but given the demographic in the store, it could have been and that's all I'm going to say about that.

The prices seemed pretty low on everything except cleaning supplies, which is customary at non-discount stores. I bought a truckload of food and spent what I thought was a reasonable amount of money... until I went to Target to pick up cleaning supplies and did a price check.
Man... I got got. Target had cheaper food in every category. I probably could have saved between 10-30% off the top of my bill. They won't get me again. I've always been team Target, but now I'll be team target for groceries as well.

This is probably an extremely boring post if you aren't moving to Pittsburgh anytime soon. I don't have anything else to talk about. My apologies.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I miss the CTA

I think I enjoyed the commuter lifestyle more than anyone I know. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least 5 people in Chicago who don't have cars, but I can't necessarily think of 10. Plenty of people didn't get it, but living on the north side and the south loop and working in Streeterville and later the loop, I really didn't need a car.

I thought I didn't want a car because my life is ruled by convenience. And driving to work daily, paying parking fees and sticker prices and shoveling snow off of my car is inconvenient.

As a [falling off, but trying really hard not to] tree hugger, I love that I'm not contributing to the demise of our Earth by driving in a car by myself daily.

There is no commuter lifestyle in Pittsburgh. People take the bus because they have to, not because they want to. There is a trolley that goes around downtown for free and to some select places just outside of downtown for $2.50, but I can't get to church on that thing.

I asked my coworker if there would be cabs on the ground level of our building. They all looked at me cross eyed life... "we don't really HAVE cabs." Crap.

Then I went to Target (I've been so many times already, don't judge me.) I asked the clerk to put the heavy stuff in double bags and to put all of the other odds and ends in two large bags (because I need to walk from my Zipcar to my home and I didn't want to make more than one trip or have 82 small bags on my arm). He looked at me sideway. I actually had to just start packing my own bag because he couldn't quite grasp why I didn't want a million small Target bags.

I want to WALK down the street. I want to pick up groceries on my way home from work. I want to see a new restaurant or boutique pop up and walk in there randomly on a Saturday morning.

I want too much! More on this later.

Monday, November 12, 2012

#RealIssues

When something occurs to me, I have to do it immediately or write it down immediately otherwise I will forget. While packing my apartment in Chicago, I realized that I did not have any more checks in my checkbook. A quick search and I realized I did not know where my other boxes of checks were.

I started to do something else. When I wrote this post it was about a week later (two days before I'm scheduled to move in to my new apartment).

Do you know what you need when you move into a new apartment... A CHECK FOR THE FIRST MONTH'S rent.

Okay, no problem, let me check and see where the nearest Chase bank is. In Ohio... 33 miles away. Which would not be the biggest deal IF I HAD A CAR...

So I call Chase and the lady was super helpful. We thought through some solutions

- Look for my checks - Won't work because they're in a box that I can't open until they deliver them to my new apartment, that I can't get into until I present a check.

- Increase my per day ATM withdrawal amount, so I could take it all out and get a cashier's check from a local bank to pay my rent. - Doesn't work because Chase won't let me increase the limit because I just changed the address on the account. A great safety precaution. An irritating problem standing in between me and my new home.

- See if my landlord will let me pay with a credit card - If I remember to update these

Then I remembered my rent is prorated. With my current levels if I do NO debit transactions (highly unlikely) for two days I could POSSIBLY

- Take the money out of the ATM over the course of a couple of days and pay cash - my lease explicitly says no cash payments.

- Take the money out of the ATM and open a new account at another bank and use that first raggedy check they give me - Who knows if this is even possible.

- Take the money out of the ATM and get a cashier's check from any open bank willing to do business with a scatterbrain.

If I remember to update this post, I'll let y'all know what happened.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thanks!

I just want to say thank you for every kind word, every prayer, every hug, every "I'm proud of you," every "I admire your courage."

Thank you for giving me the freedom and strength to do a new thing. To do an amazing thing. For someone who's moved around a lot I may seem a bit dramatic, but I've never lived outside of the state of Illinois for more than 30 days. (Really, why would you want to the state has everything you need with no hurricanes or earthquakes.)

Anywho, I could not be as successful in the move if I was met with ridiculousness as I got ready to peace out, so the support that I've received AND the fact that everyone TOLD me that they supported me is really amazing.

Today I will challenge myself to encourage someone in the way that SO many people have encouraged me.

It's my first full weekend in the PGH! I'm about to SHUT IT DOWN go straight to bed.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Change is Good

This was a reverberating theme/sound bite/cliche/word of wisdom I heard when I told people I was moving. It's so true.

Someone mentioned to me that Chicago will never be the same so long as I don't live there. I will never relax in Chicago again. I'll be visiting people and trying all the new restaurants in 48-72 hour stints. I'll never have all of my shoes in the Chi again. I'll never be the go-to person to plan the events. (Actually, this is a lie. People are going to still expect me to plan the parties. I can handle remote party planning though.)

That made me kind of sad like wow. Chicago will always be home. Chicago will always be THERE. I just wonder how long my heart will be in Chicago. How many years before I stop saying "I live in Pittsburgh, but I'm FROM Chicago." or I live in *insert wherever the Lord takes me next* but I'm FROM Chicago.

I wonder how long before I form some sort of affinity for where I live vs. where I'm from since they've always been one in the same.

This isn't a problem I'm trying to solve. It's just on my mind and I wanted to share.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Move-In Day

I'm moving into my new apartment today! Yes, I have a day off work on my first day. Please respect my corporate thuggin'!!! Actually, God is just always looking out and my new company is some kind of wonderful. Can't go wrong with that combination.

Anywho, my new place is everything I wanted in Chicago at a fraction of the price.

- Downtown Pittsburgh
- Walk-in closet
- In-unit washer/dryer
- Fitness Center
- Business Center
- Valet-only parking
- On-site mgmt 6 days a week
- Dry cleaning room on-site (This is by far my favorite part. You drop your clothes off with a tag in a dirty bag, you come back at your leisure and pick them up. I'll never get home to late to pick up my dry cleaning again. Hooray!)

Have their been any big moves in your life? Want to share?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's Election Day!!!

I early voted in Chicago on October 21 (the second day I could do that). I told you all I had two weeks of free time. The wind blew me to the library, so I put a vote on it. There was a line, but it went pretty quickly. I was in and out in under an hour.

You already know I'm #TeamObama. And if you're not, I respect that. I just encourage everyone, if you haven't already, to please get out and vote. It's your right!

This time four years ago, I was rocking my Obama t-shirt at work and getting ready to storm Grant Park with volunteers and supporters. I am sad that I'm not in Chicago on yet another historical evening, but I'll be watching the news all night and I hope tomorrow, Barack Hussein Obama will be prepping for his 2nd term.

Anyone want to share their voting experience? Did you early vote? Have an absentee ballot? Are you voting today? How did it go?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Lunches, Brunches and Dinners

I start my new gig today. Say a prayer for me today (and always)!!!

So my last couple of weeks before I moved were amazing. There were four weeks between the time I got the job offer til the time I started. The company was amazing about letting me take my time getting to Pittsburgh.

I gave my official two weeks of work, then took two more weeks do go to find a new place, sub-lease my old place, go to a professional conference, have a housewarming/going away party and say my goodbyes to everyone who wanted one-on-one time.

This has been the most spontaneous week of my life. I've basically just let the days plan themselves. So when people asked if I was available for dinner, surprisingly, I was. What an amazing opportunity to strengthen relationships before I left.

People keep asking me if I'm nervous or excited. These couple of weeks have allowed that to wear off. I'm more or less just ready. I've had the proper time to pick up and move and the resources I need to do so. I've had time to pray and reflect and time to be quiet.

The last time I started a new job, I didn't take a break in between. God willing, I will always take a break in between when starting a new job. This was refreshing. I feel amazing and ready to take on the road. I can't wait to share all of my ups, downs and funnies with you all.

The year of never before still has two months to go! Who KNOWS what God has in store!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Party Update

The housewarming/going away party went off without a hitch. I was in D.C. the same weekend as my party for a conference so I asked my mother to plan everything at my apartment. More than anyone, I get my social butterfly and party-planning tendencies from her, so she was happy to oblige.

I got to Chicago at about 3 p.m. and made it to my home at 3:30 p.m. with a house full of family and close family friends. Then at 6 p.m. family cleared out and friends piled in.

I lived in a one bedroom loft. City-size. Maybe 700 sq ft and that's being generous. I invited 100 people. Here's the thing. I didn't know how to edit the list. Everyone on the list was important to me in one way or another and it would have been nice to see all of them before I left. There was seriously not one person I invited like damn, I really wish I didn't tell him/her to come to my house.

So as fate would have it, only about 40 of my friends showed up (I think, I didn 't really count heads and yes, I do count heads at parties, don't judge me). Thanks to it being a Sunday night and people having business it really worked out well. At some point I was like I cannot move in this place, get your own food and drink: please and thanks.

The late crew cleared out at 12 a.m. and I convinced the movers to come on Tuesday, so I could sleep in in my own bed in Chicago for the last time. The rest of my week was great as well. More on that soon.

Monday, October 29, 2012

House PAR-TAY!

I found a new apartment in Pittsburgh, more on that later.

Then I had two days in Chicago before I flew to D.C. for a conference (Thursday through Sunday), more on that later. 

I get back to the Chi and I have a housewarming/going away party for family from 3-6 p.m. We invited 20 people.

Then I have a party from 6 p.m. until for friends. I invited 100 people.

I live in a one bedroom loft. It's probably about 650 sq ft. I mean, there's not even a DOOR on the bedroom and I invited 100 people over.

If you're reading this... I survived and we didn't get shut down by the police it just means I scheduled this blog post.

The point is... I'll check in with y'all tomorrow or later. I'm sure these parties have written about two weeks worth of blog posts.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Split Ends.. No Really.

I'm having the best year ever, but my hair... my hair is struggling. It started getting ratty about a month ago, which means I need my ends clipped. The problem is that I hadn't had them clipped since New Year's Eve. 10 months?

Yeah, I did the dummy and inches of hair are gone in the back to prove it. I faded back to dark as well.

Well, I can't have it all, now can I?

January on the left, October on the right. Let's shed a tear for the strands we lost.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dealbreakers... but not really

Sometimes I have thoughts when dating new guys that make no sense. If they look like Idris Elba or Dwight Howard the thought will disappear, but that's not always the case. It's petty, I know. Judge me.

A peak inside my [dating] brain:
  • Is that Tommy Sport? He probably has bad credit if he wears Tommy Sport.
  • I would sleep with him if he stopped texting me in all caps.
  • How can I ask him what he has against good spelling and punctuation in text messages without sounding like a raging bitch.
  • He was so much more attractive when he lived out of town.

Friday, October 19, 2012

6 a.m. Service

So Fellowship has a 6 a.m. church service every Friday. I don't know if it's for the summer or what [sidenote: This post has been in my drafts since summer 2011], but it's pretty dope.

Q: T, do you go to Fellowship?
A: No.

Q: T, have you ever BEEN to 6 a.m. service at Fellowship?
A: No

But, I have awesome friends that run their sermon notes to me and how can we be better lest we share info with our friends (and blog readers). ,strike> a couple of Fridays
a long time ago Pastor Jenkins preached on the three Ps that you need for a new opportunity to come your way.
Be Prepared
Be Prayerful
Be Patient

If I was a better listener, I would have had more notes on each of these. And if I was a better blogger I would have written said notes immediately so as not to forget them and share with you. But I'm me, so that's it. ;)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tale of Two Grandmas

T: Grandma, I'm moving to Pittsburgh.

Grandma: Well baby you got to do what you got to do to better yourself. And you don't got no babies and no husband and now is the time to do that type of thing...

Baby, don't cry. Naw, don't do that. You're doing the right thing. You come by and see me before you leave.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

T: Grandma, I'm moving to Pittsburgh.

Grandma: What? Pittsburgh? Now baby, why would you do that? Well... you come by and see me before you leave.

I love these two old ladies. They give me the support and slap in the face that I need to face reality.

Answering Opportunity

My Pastor has deemed this the year of never before and even though I already had a new job and just moved to a new apartment and moved to the south side for the first time there was STILL more "never before" for me.

So yep, I'm leaving my new job for a better job opportunity and it's in Pittsburgh of all places. It was not on my top 5 places that I would live in the United States, but the opportunity is so strong and the offer was so solid, I just couldn't refuse.

I cried a lot because I'm going to miss Chicago and everyone in it. Ultimately, I had to take a courageous step to do something different and I'm hoping it will open up a new world of opportunity and featlessness for me.

I'm going to be working in the PR department of an ad agency. You all know I'm not one for giving my longitude and latitude on social media, but trust me, it's a great move.

I'm asking for your prayers and well wishes. Even though I'll be in a different zip code, I imagine that I will still be home for all of the ethings (Holidays, Super Bowl, Virgo Bash, etc.)

And most people don't even see me but once a year, but feel good about knowing that they COULD see me if they wanted to see me. To that I say... imagine that I moved to Naperville and THAT'S why you can't see me AS often. Feel better? Great.

I imagine that I'm going to be too busy to blog every single day over the next couple of weeks, but brace yourself for Pittsburgh stories. A new environment means new content. Who's ready?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Hello Dallas!

It's clean out my drafts week. I started writing this post in April 2012 right after I'd returned from a work trip to Dallas. I stayed at the Joule, which was a "luxury" hotel in downtown Dallas. I say luxury because it was fabulous, but it was only $199/night and that wasn't a discuss. A full-priced luxury hotel in the Chi will run you about half a month's rent per night, so I was pleasantly surprised at the amenities.

- Located in the heart of downtown (it's near my favorite Dallas Tex-Mex restaurant, Iron Cactus)
- Rooftop pool
- ShiShi FruFru breakfast/brunch situation
- Beautifully dressed staff
- Amazingly helpful staff
- Great decor

I could go on and on. If you're in Dallas and you want that sexy stuff for lower prices, go here. Or just put on your bathing suit and sneak to the rooftop pool and go back home. Either way. LOL!


The photo above is the lobby. I don't know what those big things are, but aren't they beautiful? LOL!

What are your favorite places in Dallas?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sandbar

A long time ago, I went to Philly for work and we came upon this non-assuming little restaurant that and it was open and we were hungry.

My two coworkers and I soon found out that no fish in the restaurant was more than 48 hours from sea. Now this meant that at the end of the night a lot of the stuff that we wanted wasn't on the menu, but it also meant that what we ended up eating was off the charts.

I don't really remember what I was doing in Philly for work or who I was even with (yeah, I travel that much). But I came across the business card for this restaurant while I was cleaning to move into my new apartment and I promised I'd share it with my blog readers.

Best part is that I asked for key lime pie and I'm expecting some pre-made pie to come out. Or perhaps they got the pie from somewhere else and it was frozen and they cut me a piece. Um... no. They mixed the pie filling right in front of my face and when I tell you it was the best key lime pie I have ever tasted... in Philly. They snapped.

The sad part about this post is that when I Googled the restaurant to give you the address it gave me some place in New Hope, PA (that ain't it) and like a lot of restaurants, I'm assuming it went out of business.

If you live in Philly or go to Philly and see it, let me know. If not, I wish I could have done their PR for them. I hate to see a perfectly good key lime pie recipe go to waste.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Panera Cares




This has been in my drafts since June, but the Panera on the Corner of Diversey and Broadway (right next to Walgreens) has changed into a Panera Cares. It's basically the same restaurant, same food, but instead of cash registers, they have donation boxes. So you can pay what you can to eat. I learned about it when I was still a northsider. The model addresses a ton of things:

Hunger, Homelessness, Job Training, Community Service and Giving.

If you frequent Panera like I do, you know that there are always a ton of homeless people in there. And most people are just trying to get out of the cold and get something to eat. This Panera Cares concepts allows them to do just that, but it doesn't isolate them. Instead people who can afford to pay more, do. And people who can't afford to pay much, pay what they can. It's basically how government would operate if everyone was a good person. I digress.

What's also awesome, is that Panera Cares is using the space to do job training for the unemployed.

I love this concept. Kudos to Panera and the legislators in the area that made it happen.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Make It Work

I have a female mentor who's knocking on 50, not married and no kids. She loves her life, but regrets not stopping when she was closer to my age to get married and procreate.

She told me I need to be married in the next five years. (Like marriage is a city I can just buy a plane ticket to and be there in 5 years, smh).

Every once in a while she checks in with me and is like "If you like him, just make it work and get married and have a baby." Again, like I can just propose and have a husband. She figures marriage is hard, so make it work with whoever has most of the parts and is willing.

I don't subscribe to the gospel she's preaching, BUT I appreciate people who are candid about the choices they've made in their lives. I appreciate people who care enough about me to tell me where they feel unfulfilled, then do their best to make sure I'm filled in those areas. What a blessing to have that honesty in my life.

She feels like work was her priority and she just forgot to stop and have kids. It's good to hear someone give me that perspective to make sure (since I "DO" want munchkins) that they same thing doesn't purposely happen to me.

Have your mentors ever given you some well-meaning, but far-reaching (and hilarious to boot) advice?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Practical Tips for Being a Disciple

I love when a sermon has a pratical application. I believe that all the Bible stories happened, but sometimes I don't know what they have to do with me. A visiting Pastor at Broadview Baptist Church gave a great lesson and I wanted to share.

Pastor Bill Smith
Scriptures: Matthew 28:18-20, II Chronicles 16:9
Title: The Disciple's Mandate

1. Evangelism - Sharing the good news and what God has done for me. I should look for every opportunity to share God's love. Pastor Smith mentioned your server when you go to a restaurant. Do you treat waiters and waitresses with the love of God. And if they're having a hard time ask them if there's anything you can pray for them for. This hit me like a ton of bricks. I'm so much better with customer service than I was a young lad, but the last thing on my mind is sharing God's love with them. I'm like "are they going to do their job right or what" and that's the wrong attitude to have. I learned so much from Pastor Smith on this night.

2. Education - Are you willing to do what God has asked you to do. EVERY CHRISTIAN MUST HAVE A PASSPORT. This was an interesting message to me because my own Pastor, Pastor Hannah, has been saying this as well. My church is less traditional though and I thought the idea was pretty cutting edge. Growing up in a "missionary" Baptist Church though, Pastor Smith, underscored that if we are truly missionary as Christians, then we must get off U.S. soil and share God's love. I really enjoyed that.

3. Teaching - Every Christian should be a part of the teaching ministry. This is not a task I'm willing to take on right now. I go to church regularly, but I'm not involved in ministry. I do have a passion for youth, but I'm not exactly "living right" all the time, so I feel horrible teaching "rules and regulations" to the kids, then not living up to those standards myself. I think once I'm married (and having church-sanctioned sex), I may start getting more involved. This is something I'll continue to pray about.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dresses!!!

I am in love with dresses now that I have to dress business casual for work. I found this site www.dorothyperkins.com while on Pinterest. The prices are extremely reasonable. I hope they fit well. I haven't bought anything yet, but this is my reminder that when I put dresses into my budget, I need to go here first.



Have you bought anything from here? Where's your favorite place for dresses?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Flowers and... Cufflinks?

I send so many flowers to my girlfriends that FTD thinks I’m a man. I tweeted this and then it occurred to me that I never send flowers to my guy friends. If it’s a man’s birthday, bereavement, promotion, new job, new baby… I don’t know what to send that’s in the $30-60 range that would get the same reaction as flowers would get from a woman.


So I asked the men of Twitter and though they started with all the vulgar sex things a woman could do in thanks, I reeled it in to remind folks that sex is necessity not a gift. You don’t bring people bottled water talmbout “Happy Birthday.” Goofs.

Anywho, here are the gifts they told me. I’m writing this more as a reference for myself when I want to send a little gift.

10. Jordans (Someone didn’t see my $30-60 price point)

9. Clothes (specifically, someone said $60 of white tees says “congrats” or “job well done”)

8. Groceries

7. Food gift cards (Harolds, Chipotle, Starbucks, Endless Shrimp)

6. A nice card and a trinket for his desk (this came from an older happily married preacher)

5. Music

4. Cologne

3. A round of golf

2. Nice cigars

1. Game Day Tickets (Got to be for the Bulls and not the Bears though because Bears tickets start at $140 a pop)

Overall the response is that men are specific. They want what they want and most men with jobs already have everything they want, so just buy him more of what he already has. Let me reiterate that while these could be caking gifts, this is NOT a caking post. I have male friends that need congrats and encouragement too. I give y’all a head’s up when I’m caking, don’t I? LOL!



Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Online...

I was supposed to be doing nonprofit work, but I got wisked away by shoe shopping online

Zappos.com - The best part about Zappos (besides the free shipping for preferred members) is that they let you pick every detail to narrow your options. So after clicking, heels, 7.5, pumps, 4-inch (I checked 3-4 inches too), leather, I had 88 choices. They had a Pour la victoire shoe ($230), but that's not a brand I know or trust. They had an Ivanka Trump ($130), but I support nothing Trump related, if I can help it. Damn my moral convictions getting in the way of my shoe purchaes. They had a Steve by Steve Madden, Steve is not the homie when it comes to your feet not hurting.

I probably should have told y'all that I'm picky. But you should already know that.

So I hit up Norstrom online - They MUST have a shoe without embellishments. They must. Shoes-pumps-classic pumps-black and then boom. This beautiful Charles David ($185) black pump appears. These jerks don't have it in 7.5. The search continues. Vince Camuto Kain Pump ($89.99 on sale) Boom. It's only in 9.5... unboom.

Michael Kors site - Only have short heels

BCBG Max Azria site - Nothing unfancy

Charles David site has a variation on the Sway pump I saw at Nordstrom, but the heel is snakeskin. Hmm...

In going back to get links for this post I found this Enzo shoe on sale. Another consideration.

So which one do you think I bought? Or do you think I'm still on the hunt? Which would you have bought and why?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Update on an Update

I finally made it to the hearing doctor. The net net is that I don't need to do anything. (Don't you love when this happens?), but let me explain.

- There is nothing structurally wrong with my ears, so surgery is not an option so there's nothing to fix.
- I can't hear very high pitches of words or sounds. Some words have very high pitches. Over the years to cope with this, my brain has just filled in when necessary. Sometimes, my brain fills in the wrong words.
- Additionally, my hearing is worse when background noise is involved. So concerts, trains, parties, football games, movies, etc. In a face-to-face conversation, not so bad, but face-to-face at any of the above mentioned places I'm like what? huh? Say it again?
- Hearing AIDS would be an expensive problem and they're not smart, so they would bring in all the background noise that I probably don't want to hear (folks whispering in a movie theater, creepy sounds at a bbq, etc.)

So the net, net is that assuming that my hearing hasn't gotten worse since I first noticed the loss, my original doctor was right in telling me there's nothing I could do about it. Perhaps, like most things, this is semantics. There's PLENTY I can do about it, but there's nothing that would be worth my time or money given how well I've done with the hearing loss to date. The cost-benefit analysis doesn't add up to take action. Perhaps that was too much information for a teen, but I think I could have handled it. I digress.

It took me four doctor's appointments to come to the conclusion that nothing needs to be done. All these copays later, I'm happy to have peace of mind. Now when I ask you to repeat yourself, you'll know why. Don't hate me. ;-)

Additionally, the doctor (who's 80) said to come back and see him in 3-4 years and we'll see if it's changed. I love elderly people who love their jobs.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Who Knew?

I have grown weary in my search for a black, pointed toe, leather, 4-inch pump. The most basic of all basic work shoes. Let me take you on my journey.

DSW - They had a Nine West (59.99) pump. Same that I always get. #DoNotWant. They had a Guess pump that I would have considered except it only came in black patent and black suede.

Macy's - They have Nine West ($69.99), which I already know I don't want and INC ($79.99), which is Macy's store brand and the same price point as Nine West, which leads me to believe, it will also tear up after one year of wear.

Nordstrom - They have a 2 1/2 inch Michael Kors pump, which is perfect, except for the fact that I don't wear kitten heels. They hurt my ankles. We're wearing heels or flats in 2012. None of these grandma shoes (#NoDiss). They also had a Prada ($650), but the damn shoe said PRADA accross the front. I don't wear labels on my clothes. It's not my thing.

Bloomingdales - This is the first time I've ever shopped at Bloomingdale's. I used to think I couldn't afford it, but they have some reasonably priced stuff in there. They had no 4 inch heels, but a 3 1/2 in Coach (129.99 I think) and B by Brian Atwood ($345). I was ABOUT to buy the coach shoe when I realized that it had a Coach tag on the back. No thank you. Then the B by Brian Atwood shoes pinched my toes. It's never smart to buy a shoe that hurts in the store, especially at that price point.

So I go home, empty handed and deflated, but determined to find what I'm looking for online.
More on this tomorrow.

Friday, September 28, 2012

So...

Being the President of a nonprofit. It's more than a notion. I'm doing a [self-proclaimed] good job, but I want to be great, motivate others and prevent burnout. Who has tips? Books? Articles? Links?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

It was the worst day EVER

When something bothers me and I tell you about it, you would think that it was the worst possible thing that has ever happened to any human being on the face of the planet. Hell, in the entire universe. Perhaps, it’s the inflection of my voice or the animation of my facial expressions. Maybe it’s the size of my already-large eyes or the colloquialisms that I use to describe sophisticated situations or the eloquence with which I state the most hood interactions, but PASSION oozes out of me when I’m even slightly perturbed.

Me: Mom, it was the worst day EVER.

Big T: Girl, I know. My day was the worst day ever too, let’s talk about me now.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Me: BFF, it was the worst day EVER.

BFF (either of them): OH NO! GUUUUUURRRRRRRLLLLLL, tell me ALL about it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Me: Honey, it was the worst day EVER.

Honey: I’ma let you finish, but was it the worst day ever or are you exaggerating?

Thank God for someone to balance my Chi, Amen! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Can You Hear Me Now...

Nope, not yet.

The hospital my Dr. referred me to wouldn't answer the phone, so I just went to Northwestern. They answer the phone and I know how to get there. #WinWin

I FINALLY got a hearing test and I have been diagnosed with permanent sensorineural high frequency hearing loss in my right ear and some minimal hearing loss in my left ear.

The common causes are:

- Ear Trauma, explosions, etc (not my issue)
- Age (not my issue)
- Heredity (could be, not sure) What does that mean

I had to take that diagnosis to my Doctor, who then gave me a referral to an ear, nose and throat doctor. Now I could have just gone to the ENT without a referral because my insurance is not a hater, but that's frowned upon in medical establishments. 

This brings me to the topic at hand. I sat in my primary physician's office from 3:50 p.m. to about 5:45 p.m. when I actually saw her, she wrote a referral, spending maybe 5 minutes with me, most of which were her typing exactly what I was saying onto her laptop.

Um... the last time I went to the dentist I was there for about two hours too. My doctors' offices are like the new hair salons. WHY does it take so long? Do they double book? Are people REALLY sick every time I just have routine check up? Is it just me? Maybe it is.

On the bright side, with my new iPhone and my young Mophie charger, I was able to fully catch up on my blog reading. I haven't had four straight hours of free time (hour to get there, 2 hours in the office, hour to get home) in a long time.

Thanks Doc. I guess.

I will also send you all an update after I see the otologist. Hopefully, I won't have to have surgery (if that's even an option). Pray for healing!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ftiness Update

If you follow me on Twitter you know a few ladies and I try to keep each other motivated. #TeamFit In the throws of the winter we were really going hard with #30for30 or working out 4-5 times per week. As I prepped to go bare midriff for my birthday followed by a vacation, I was completely committed.

Enter the summer. Bbq food, cupcakes (like summer is an excuse) and lots 'o' drinkin' and I fell completely off. Well, not completely. I've had some two week stretches where I didn't work out and I didn't even try to work out. But lately, I've been saying I'm going to work out three times this week on Twitter (therefore it is true), but not living up to my goals.

As a woman of my word this hurt my heart. So this week I just flat out said: I'm not working out at all and I don't know when I will. This eliminates any pressure...

One would think. However, since I'm not working out, I joined a gym. Yeah, read that again. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I can't get out of the bed to workout in the mornings, so I joined the gym in my work building. Now that's an option that's available to me should the mood ever hit me to workout.

In other news, all of my clothes still fit, so no news is good news, I guess.

More on this later.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Getting my life together

And by my life I mean appliances and electronics. Random updates for you all.

My computer is fixed. It costs $157 to buy the parts myself and give my homeboy a thank you gift vs. the $300 I was going to pay to Dell. The best part about it is I didn't have to ship my computer away for a week or longer and I didn't lose any files. Hooray!

My luggage is fixed. I dropped it off on June 28 and didn't get it back until September 14. I just happened to be in the building where the shoe repair shoe is and I asked if the part finally came in for my luggage. They're like yeah, we fixed it. Bruh, can I get a phone call. My luggage was in that place so long it had dust on it. Whatever. All's well that ends well.

I've also had my oven, cable and air conditioning fixed in the last two months AND am currently waiting to schedule a maintenance appointment for the microwave which started going bonkers beeping uncontrollably and waking me up out of my good sleep.

The lesson here is: Things fall apart.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Obligatory Hair Post

So now for a completely boring, but absolutely necessary post, have you all tried Kinky Curly, Knot Today. My bff called and was like "I know we have different hair textures, but girl, it's magic".

She is a truth teller if I've ever met one. I used this stuff as leave it before I put the IC Fantasia Gel on my wash and go. No tangles, no knots and when it dries my hair just feels better.

This post is probably a smidget late since it's not chilly in the Chi and I need to stop wearing my hair wet outside, but I love it.
Have you all used this? Any other leave-ins I need to know about?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Girls Night Quandary

Remember in this post I talked about how I wanted to move so I can entertain. Surprisingly, I moved from one studio I couldn't entertain in to another that I could only entertain one or two people at a time in, but hey, baby steps worked for me.

I am finally on my grown woman and I can have, oh I don't know, 10 people plus me at a time in my crib. I've been doing this a lot and during a girls' night potluck an interesting question came up that I wanted to pose to my blog readers.

This is just for fun and because I want to know y'all's opinions, so I don't want anyone getting touched and personal in my comments, okay? Okay.

Is there a difference between dating exclusively and being boyfri end and girlfriend? Why or why not?

I'll tell y'all how I feel in the comments (or in a subsequent post).

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

So on Radical, Revolutionary and other Crap...

I am a feminist. In that I believe a woman can do everything a man can do and deserves everything that a man deserves (like equal pay for equal work). I am a chauvanist in that I believe even though a woman CAN do everything a man can do, she probably should NOT.

Let me explain.

Michelle Obama, the flyest first lady of the United States EVER, gave a phenomenal speech at the DNC. She said she was the mom-in-chief above all else. Feminists took to Twitter saying that it's a shame that she had to mask all of her personal accomplishments to just be a mom and play the normal gender role of a woman to further the campaign. Days later a blog post surfaced saying that this is actually "white" feminist rhetoric (not true, black feminists on my timeline said the EXACT same thing).

But that blog said that Michelle Obama, is indeed revolutionary because as a BLACK first lady of the United States, she CHOOSES to stay at home with the kids vs. working and that's a choice that many black women don't have.

I feel like an atheist who says "If something good happens, it's God. If something bad happens, it's God. You Christians are nuts." As a Christian, I understand that faith isn't always logical, but this FLOTUS conversation has nothing to do with faith and everything to do with logic.

Why does she have to revolutionary? People are saying just by her being a black woman in her role, it's revolutionary. Others are saying her choosing that role (over another) is revolutionary.

Can I ask y'all something. Is there something wrong with being a wife and mother? What exactly is wrong with gender roles? Does anyone disagree that marriage is a sexist institution? If it wasn't, we wouldn't be husband and wife, we'd be husband and husband (in heterosexual marriages). Stop. Think about it. Why can't you all just let her be WHAT SHE IS?

Why does she have to be "revolutionary" for us to respect her? Why have we come up with all these different ways to make her bigger than what she is and she's already HUGE!

I'm tired of people acting like wife and mother is something to be scoffed at. No Mrs. Romney has never worked outside of the home, but how do any of us have the right to talk about that?

My point is as an American adult you can choose to do whatever you want to do so long as it doesn't hurt the freedom or liberty of another. So if Michelle Obama thinks her kids are the most important thing in the world to her (news flash: most moms do), can we just call that good parenting and not a revolution.

And if Ann Romney has the luxury of not working (which most moms WISH they had) then why can't we just let her be great.

The fact that we are defining womanhood for other women and breaking it down and re-constructing it to fit whatever our ideal of womanhood is (to fit our own personal beliefs) is perhaps the least-revolutionary thing any of us could be doing.

Let these women be great. However they choose to be.



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chicago Sushi Roundup

This has been in my drafts so long that one of these places isn't even open anymore. Ah well, here goes:

Tsunami (dead and gone) - They kicked off their opening with free sushi and champagne and my girl did the PR for it. This is literally the place that made me decide to stop partying on weekdays. Thursdays maybe, but Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday nope. Sad they went out of business.

Japonais - The oft forgotten cute and trendy spot on the river. We've done bday parties, client and celeb dinners and just drinks before the club here. I can't really remember what the sushi tastes like.

Ra - All the cool kids go here. The sushi is yummy, but not the best in the Chi.

Rise - This is a great first date spot on the northside. LOVE it!

Sushi Taiyo - I love this place. Great atmosphere, great location. Great for a girls' night out. They also have an event space upstairs that I've had professional and personal events at. They're awesome to work with. Go here often.

New Toyko - Another north side gem: best sushi in the Chi. Period (or so I've heard. LOL!) I lived so close to it for years, but never went in. The lines were long.

See my note about South Coast Sushi here.

Did I miss any?

Monday, September 17, 2012

When was the last time we talked about brunch? Here are some new places to consider:

I got 10-5 from this Red Eye article, but the sentiment is my own.

10. Grandma J’s Local Kitchen* - I'm down for trying anything with Grandma in the title. It's also in a less than safe neighborhood, but if I can go to the west side for MacArthurs...  

9. Nellcote(833 W. Randolph St. 312-432-0500) - It's kind of fancy, but features a prix fixe menu. Can't ever go wrong with fixed costs. LOL! 
8. Bar Toma(110 E. Pearson St. 312-266-3110) - I've been by this place a million times and still haven't gone in. Mainly because I'm pissed that it took over Bistro 110. Man they had the best french onion soup on the continent. Yes, it was amazing. Beware, it's a tourist magnet, but if Red Eye says I should check out brunch, then I shall. 
7. G.E.B.(841 W. Randolph St. 312-888-2258) This is a Graham Elliot restaurant without the crazy prices. I've actually been to Graham Elliot (word to my uncle), but I bet their drinks are AMAZING. I can't wait to go here. 
6. The Peasantry* (2723 N. Clark St. 773-868-4888) The best part about this place is I know exactly how to get there. A quick Google search indicates that it is NOT in the Kanela Breakfast Club space (that's 3231 N. Clark) and so I am still intrigued. 
5. Tavernita(151 W. Erie St. 312-274-1111) this place took over from Martini Park. Man, they had the best martinis in life, but horrid customer service. If you don't treat your customers right, you will fail. *cough* Blockbuster *cough* I want to go here, if for nothing else, than to see what they did with the space. 
4. Social 25* - The cool kids go here. It's over at 2 a.m. as well, so make sure to hit early service at church to get to the good eats. 


3. Ja'Grill - I've been here for dinner, but just heard it's great for brunch. I know that rum punch is off the meter. I know that.

2.  Hash Hash a Go-Go - Everything here is bigger than your head. Bring your appetite and a car to take food home. ;-) Also, they have an app that texts you when your table is ready. Um #LovesIt

1. Elate - I swear I talked about this place on the blog before, but I couldn't find it in a quick search. The steak is amazing. The bottomless mimosas are awesome. The service is great and the atmosphere is swaggerific. Also, no one goes here ever, so it's easy to get a seat. Yep, love it. (P.S. It's in the Felix hotel)

*Denotes places I have not yet tried.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Speak On It

There are so many hot topics in the news right now. Speak your peace on whichever you choose. I'm curious...


10. The iPhone5. It's smaller, faster, sleeker, longer battery life and a 28 megapixel camera. Will you be rushing to the Apple store to get one.

9. Love and Hip Hop ATL. I know I'm not the only one that watched. Will you be tuning in next season?

8. Gun violence in Chicago. What is the solution. How are you contributing to it?

7. The teacher strike in Chicago? Are you with the administration (Rahm Emanual and CPS) or the teachers (CTU). Do you believe that both sides really want what's best for the children.

6. The United States ambassador to Libya being killed. What does this mean for foreign relations?

5. The RNC - Did you watch? Thoughts?

4. The DNC - Did you watch? Thoughts?

3. Volunteering for the Obama campaign. Are you giving more this year? Less? Are you volunteering?

2. The campaign in general. Do you live in a battleground state? Are the ads horrible? (I have literally not seen one ad. I love that I live in Illinois. We're going blue and Obama. Every.Rip.)

1. Michelle Obama and feminism? Is she truly revolutionary as a black woman in the white house or does her mom-in-chief title solidy sexist gender roles. (I have an entire post about this coming up tomorrow or soon).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Interesting Perspective

I got VERBATIM from Your Black Bloggers.net (YBB)

Title (from YBB): Chandra Gill: Open Letter to Interscope Records about Chicago’s Violence – Chief Keef

Editor's Note (from YBB): The letter below is written by Chandra Gill, Ph.D., to Jimmie Lovine of Interscope Records. In the letter, Dr. Gill discusses the violence and murders of young men and rappers.

Dr. Gill is questioning why Interscope Records is not taking any responsibility for the men that they sign to work under their label.

Interscope Records
2220 Colorado Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 865-1000

Re: Chicago’s Violence – Chief Keef

To: Jimmie Lovine:
(Founder of Interscope Records)

“The African-American is not a bestial race”

“Somebody must show that the Afro-American race is more sinned against than sinning, and it seems to have fallen upon me to do so.” – Ida B. Wells

What are we to say about the recent murder of yet another teenager here in Chicago? What can be said about this alleged rap “beef” amongst those young African-American men here in our communities; communities that inhale hopelessness and helplessness, as it smells of poverty, mis-education and unemployment?

This letter seeks no theoretical framework regarding the varying complexities and debatably learned behaviors of said populace. It’s not a letter of rage with potentially combative elements. This letter is “simple’ and begets this question:

- What foreseen responsibility will your record label have as you continually sign young troubled African-American men to record deals?

Let me be clear (full disclosure): I’m an educator born and raised on Chicago’s south side. I understand the constant dialogue involving parental responsibility, as my parents were present in my life; they raise me and were my first teachers. So I get it. Parents have to be more responsibly involved. However, as I teach, we must as a society soon abandon the either/or position and embrace the both/and philosophy. In that, I insist on individual responsibility and institutional accountability. By example, sure, parents are responsible for what their children wear (ie. 9 year-olds in low-cut shorts with “Sexy Booty” on the back). Yet, we must connect this conversation too to companies that manufacture and produce such items for 9 year-old girls to wear. (Heck, McDonalds is opening up a vegetarian restaurant in India because the market demands it. India’s not known for the consumption of cows and pigs). Corporations can change. Companies can adjust. As people, we must do the same.

Mr. Lovine, I understand business. I’ve debated the, “it’s the American way” mantra often in my quest to be successful, professionally. I know at some point soon we must create a compass of consciousness, as a society of adults. I don’t have all of the answers. But I do know it’s time for us to ask some critical questions. One of which I’ve posed here to you.

When I consider the surge in violence here in my hometown, I can no longer act as if there are no solutions for our children. Just this year, I’ve spoken to over 20,000 students and parents here in Chicago. I believe in our youth. Not na├»ve or blindly, I too believe in their future, notwithstanding their current realities and conditions.

In reaching beyond a culture of complaining, as if there’s nothing we can do, I suggest the following:

As a concerned Chicago resident and US citizen, I believe Interscope Records should investigate its current policies (and explore more innovative ways) in signing teenaged artists to its label. In step with the NFL and NBA professional leagues, record labels should consider a possible age requirement, entry-level contingencies, etc. for your artist of interest. To place millions of dollars in the hands of troubled teens, thereby creating optimal exposure for youth to glorify America’s biggest failures socially is unacceptable. If high school attendance and graduation is a bottom-line requirement for athletes, why not record labels? Educating our youth to excel beyond one platinum record album is critical to their life as a whole. To think otherwise is to benefit in the moment, monetarily at the expense of our full existence, culturally and globally.

In closing, I side with Ida B. Wells and her words. I write to you with hopes of a timely response. I’m on the side of producing solutions for the sake of our youth in peril. It is my hope that your company will consider the above mentioned and other innovative measures in helping rescue the hearts and minds of our children, our future. I can be reached at 866-496-5667.

Genuinely,

Chandra Gill, Ph.D.
CEO-Blackademically Speaking Enterprises
www.drchandragill.com

Thoughts?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Black Pumps

So some years back I went on the search for the perfect pair of black pants. I found said pair of pants and still own (and wear) them to this day.

It's time to turn to my social networks again to inquire about the perfect pair of black pumps. Every year I buy THIS pair of Nine West pumps:
I think they're $69.99 or perhaps $79.99. I know that after a year of wear, they're popped... every year.

In this the year of never before, I've updated everything from my calendar to my cable and now it's time to wrench around and get my closet right. Ladies, do you have a favorite pair of classic black pumps? What brand are they and when'd you get them? I need a shoes that's going to last longer than a year.

I want a 4-inch heel pointed toe, no platform, stiletto heel. (Basically EXACTLY the shoe above, but higher quality).

Essence says I need to buckle down and get a $600 pair. What say ye, blog readers? Help a sister out.

Monday, September 10, 2012

#ThatAwkwardMomentWhen

...you realize that you're too old for all of your dresses to be tunic length


...you go to get your clothes out of the dryer and realized you forgot to turn it on.

...you realize your box fan is dirty as hell

... your "I hope it works out with him one day" dude shows up to a wedding as a former classmate's date

...you're seated at the table with said dude and his "date" for the wedding reception (maybe it's just me)

Um... AWKWARD!

Meanwhile, have you all seen Season to of Awkward Black Girl? Thoughts so far?

Friday, September 7, 2012

These Are My Confessions

I have some pop culture (and/or Chicago African-American) confessions:

- I've never seen Green Mile, Godfather or any of the Rocky movies
- I've never eaten at Valois, Home of the Hoagie (or plenty of other south side eateries that folks rave about)
- This year was my first at the Bud Billiken Parade
- I didn't see New Jack City or Dirty Dancing until I was an adult
- I've never had a Bloody Mary and I'm not sure that I ever will.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Let me upgrade you

I broke down and paid got more channels on cable. I was really holding on to the most basic of basic cable channels, but then I found out the Bears/Packers game is going to be on the NFL Network.

I have this awesome TV, I figured out how to go to the HD channels, my honey hooked up my wireless speakers and I still have to leave the house for a Packers game? Naw, I cain't go.

I'm excited about getting TVOne, Centric, OWN, Oxygen, the Style Network and the NFL Network. Raise your hand if you think my productivity level will stay high on nights and weekends. I'll wait.

Party at my crib. No, but for real... but not really... unless you got the text... ok bye.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

South Loop Exploration

So here are all of the places that I have not yet tried in my new neighborhood that I need to get on top of.

Tamarind - Sushi spot that caught my eye.
Thai Spoon - Thai spot that caught my eye.
Opart Thai House - I have actually heard TOO much about this place to not have gone yet. I'ma go.
City Tavern - This is a place for carnivores. They have outdoor seating and I only ever see men there. This FURTHER lets me know that I need to make that trip. 
Acadia - You probably need reservations to go here, but the bar looks like open seating. When I first encountered it, I thought it was a wedding reception hall because the people going into it were dressed SO nicely. I'll keep you posted.
South Coast Sushi - This is where uppity African-American go to eat sushi. I kid. I kid. Maybe.
Eleven - a spot that South Loop Social Light recommended yesterday. Go here to get your sandwich on.
Waffles - I've heard good things. I've heard bad things. I need to just stop in and decide for myself.
Tapas Valencia - If you blink, you'll miss this place, but people who LOVE tapas know about it and keep asking me if I've been. I haven't. I will go though and report back.

One that didn't make the list is Scout. We tried to throw a going away party there and it took them 2 weeks to call us back. There's no reward for bad customer service, so they're on my No Thank You list like La Cantina.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

South Loop Eats

Let me take you all on a food tour of my new neighborhood. I like some of these places better than others.

Weather Mark - This is one of my favorite south loop spots. We threw my bff's surprise going away party here and they were so easy to work with. Their prices are reasonable and their food is good. On Monday's they have Burger, fries and beer for $6 and Tuesday is trivia night. If you ever want to go here, let me know. I'm down.

Zapatista - The margaritas here are good. The food is good, but make sure to get the tacos, burritos, small plates or something simple. I tried to get the carne asada one night and it wasn't right.

Gioco - This is good authentic, Italian food. It's a bit more authentic that I'd like sometimes and kind of pricey, but definitely a good date night spot.

Cafe Bionda - This is one of my favorite Italian restaurants in the city. And I LOVE Italian food. It's my favorite. The best part about this place is that it looks like an deli from the outside, but when you get inside, it's white tablecloths and gourmet food. Prices are reasonable too and I've never had to wait for a table. Definitely a gem of the sloop.

La Cantina - I hate this place. It made the list because I've been there. But the food is subpar, the drinks are big, but not strong enough and the service is HORRIBLE. I literally had to go tell the waitress we were ready to order. You know if you look up like where is out waitress that the place is seriously lacking. Don't go here.

Ma & I - Good Thai food. It's also really spacious in here, which is odd to me. Most of the restaurants this close to the loop lack

Yolk - This is for the purpose of people who live out of town, because I don't know one Chicagoan who hasn't been to Yolk. Their menu is extensive and their food is good. Not extraordinary, just good. You may wait up to 45 minutes for a table on any day of the week, but it's centrally located, so a good place to meet friends for breakfast/brunch.

South Loop Market - This little overpriced grocery store warms my heart. They have everything you might forget (paprika, pickle relish, spaghetti sauce), but an extensive list of wines and Skinny Girl Vodka. Headed to the beach, stop here first. On the way to a friend's and need a bottle, stop here first. Can't think of anywhere to eat except La Cantina... stop here first.

Kroll's - This is the place to be on Game Day. They have big screens and projector screens and their bar food is good. There's dark leather furniture and dark polished wood, so the fellas are very comfortable here. You're also guaranteed to run into someone you know. Fun times.

Dunkin' Donuts - Ok, this is blasphemy, but I needed to get to 10. Don't go to this DD if you have somewhere to be on a schedule. They're small and they've got nothing on my fave DD (Ohio and St. Clair or my 2nd fave DD on Lake & LaSalle), but it's good to have them in the 'hood.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Day Off

#ThatIsAll

Friday, August 31, 2012

Spending Fast

I don't know if I should say I failed the spending fast or if I should say I quit or both. I didn't start at the beginning of the month. And when I got started I denied myself very little. The #realissue with this fast is that I did not include God. It was more of a project and less of a fast. 

It helped me do a couple of things:

1. Be conscious of the money I was spending. (Before the "fast" I was just spending until I ran dry)
2. Make a concerted effort to put more money in my savings. (I have savings allocated in my budget, but due to vacation, a big move and frivolous spending, I had not saved AS much.)
3. Stop eating out for lunch every day. I ain't got it.

It also taught me a couple of things:

1. I'm tired of being frugal. Unless forced to do so, I don't think I'm going back.
2. I'm a consumer. Some people are savers. Some people are spenders. I'm just a consumer. I market products at my day job. I buy products people have marketed to me when I get off work. And OH, what a fine job of marketing they have done. (Who's been to City Target? Oh, the joy.)

So I'm going to tell on myself here. I AM on track to save what I said I would save for the year, BUT... I've been using one of my credits cards. #facepalm Not sparingly, not responsibly and I have not been paying it off at the end of the month. This is more or less what brought on the fast (that I didn't really do).

So I paid these jokers off in February 2012, then I ran one up by the end of July. It's not maxed out and it has the lowest APR (and I cut it up this week and erased it off of my online shopping accounts) BUT I'm becoming more and more comfortable with carrying a balance. That cannot be good. Habits are HARD to break.

I'm going to take some time to come up with a game plan for paying this one off w/o sacrificing my savings goals. Stay tuned. Probably need to call my financial planner. Maybe he'll read this and call me first. I'm scared. Prayers and advice (and scolding) are welcome.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tea's Tangents

I haven't done one of these in a long time. Let's go:

- When both of your best friends move away from Chicago and your bestie is 9 months pregnant and the party crew is in New York, who exactly are you supposed to go shopping with?

- When do people get stuff done? I feel like I have so non-work-related stuff that needs to happen during work hours. I'm starting to believe that everyone has a concierge, but me. Or that folks have more vacation time than I do or that people are not really working at work and getting personal stuff down. Someone should do a study. They study every damn thing else.

- I have't been on a plan in about 2 months and I'm surprisingly ok with that.

- Club retirement is awesome. You should feel my couch. It goes so hard on Friday and Saturday nights.

- Football season is here. I know we had a lockout this year, but it seems SO early this year. I'm happy for football, sad to say goodbye to summer.

- The violence in Chicago is out of control. Moreover, gun violence everywhere is crazy. I may be changing my stance on gun control. I previously wrote in one of my most thought-provoking posts that law-abiding citizens should have access to guns. Now I'm thinking only people who are up to no good have more than one gun. (Save for hunting and police officers and such). I don't know.