Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Value Brevity

I learn something new about myself everyday and it just occurred to me why certain people cook my grits at work. They're longwinded. Oh, I'm long winded in personal conversation, perhaps even on the blog, maybe I Tweet too much, but at work, your girl is efficient.

I'm efficient with times, words and face-to-face communication. People I work with, not so much. They want to talk ALL the time. Man... when are we going to get work done if we talk to each other so much. I could seriously go a full day at work without talking to another person and that would be ok with me.

Some people will say "Do you have a moment" and not pause for me to answer before breaking into his or her spiel. You must not care if I have a moment the way you are still flapping at the gums and I can't get a word in edgewise.

I imagine that the WRONG reaction is exactly what my reaction is each time: When they get done talking and I have a blank stare on my face and say "Can you e-mail me, I'm really tied up right now."

I can admit fault. I need some help in this area. Send me some books to read, some articles to check out. The book should be entitled

"How to you keep from going clean off when you value brevity and your coworker talks A LOT."


"Just e-mail me: 10 ways to feel better about people barging into your workspace unannounced"

"How to make sure pure disgust doesn't show up on your face: Tools for the Workplace"

Who's got me?


Christian Kickin' It known henceworth and forever more on the blog as CKI is in full effect.

Apostolic Faith Church
Positive Singularity (Singles Ministry)
February 11th (Valentine's Day Weekend)
Beverly Wood Restaurant
11532 S. Western Ave
Cost: $30

Includes entertainment by Stellar Award Nominee Kim Stratton
Light refreshments at 6 p.m.
Program at 7 p.m.

Get more info and buy tickets here.

Who wants to go?

Monday, January 30, 2012

Sticking to it!

That's my story budget and I'm sticking to it.

I came up with a post-CC budget and talked it over with my financial planner (FP). Being the awesome person that he is, he asked questions about what my goals and aspirations were, then made suggestions for what I should do with my money to reach those goals.

Here's what we decided:

What I'm doing: From this post I'm doing A, G, 4, 2 and C... in that order. (E and 6 have nothing to do with my life right now. LOL!)

How I'm doing it:

  • A: About 2/3 of the CC loot will be automatically deposited into a long-term savings account for my "emergency fund" (EF). It'll probably take the full year to save up 6-8 months of "living expenses." So 2012 is all about the EF. Once that money is in place, it shall not be touched. (P.S. I already put my entire tax refund into my EF. Yes, I got my return back already. Yes, I'm still disciplined. Who's proud of me?)

  • G: About 1/3 of the CC loot will be automatically deposited into short-term saving and used at leisure for... trips on trips on trips.

  • 4: In August, I am moving out of the cracker jack box that I now call home. It has absolutely served it's purpose in saving me money. Now I will aim to live AT my means instead of grossly below them. I can't wait to decorate, entertain and most of all enjoy coming home.

  • 2: This is a long-term goal. [Unknown asked if I had federal or private student loans. Girl, both! *assuming you're female.] That hoe Sallie Mae is really sticking it to me, but since 2012 is the year of the EF, I've decided that paying students loans off will have to be a longer term priority.

  • C: Once I have six months of living expenses saved from A (see above), I'll parlay A (2/3 of the CC loot) into mid-term savings for a down payment on somebody's property somewhere. This will likely be 2013[and beyond]'s goal. A key takeaway from my financial planner is that I should focus on purchasing if I know I want to be somewhere for another 5,7, 10 years. That's not my life right now, so I'll put the money away slowly, but I plan on renting for a while.
I'm also more than likely going to stop the quarterly money updates on the blog. They were a tool for me to keep track of what I had to sacrifice to meet my goal (of paying CC down). I don't have any reason to sacrifice or to note my sacrifices now. I will be responsible, yes, but I shan't sacrifice unless I have to. It's time to live it up.

Not to worry. I'll keep you posted on whether or not I'm meeting my EF goals. You all will still keep me accountable for doing what I said I was going to do.

I now need about four weeks of good blog topics. What do y'all want to discuss (besides the election, because you know I'll have posts coming up on THAT!)?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Bulldog BootCamp

My blog needs a makeover. Like if I didn't know me, I wouldn't click here twice. Whatever, who has the time? I certainly don't have the money. Hopefully you're getting this in a reader, so you're seeing it in some better format. Probably not. I'm sorry y'all. Anywho, a fitness update.

#30for30 went well. My metabolism was on 10 the entire time and Yes, I did exercise on Christmas day at my mom's house. It was miserable, but I did it. And my food tasted better because of it. AND I didn't gain any weight because again, my metabolism was on 10.

We're doing bootcamp at work. It's 8 weeks and today marks the end of the 3rd week. The goal is to get 5 stickers a week for a chance to win prizes.
One workout equals one sticker.
If I do the group fitness classes, I get two stickers.
If I do the nutrition classes, I get two stickers.
(UPDATE: Week 1 = 5 stickers, Week 2 = 1 sticker, This Week = 3 stickers so far...)

So I can essentially workout twice and go to one class and still get 5 stickers. I'll do that on my bare minimum weeks. Other than that, I plan to work out 3x a week for 8 weeks and hopefully keep that going well past the challenge.

How's your workout plan going? Have you abandoned your fitness resolutions and goals for 2012 yet?

Also, randomly I found another good workout site: Body Rock. #BeOnThat

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tea's Wintertime Dating Survival Guide

These all came out of a fail on my part to be wintertime sexy on dates. Really I'm just giving you all advice and putting it on the blog to serve as a reminder to myself.

  • Fly Socks - So a lot of people don't let you wear shoes in their house. OR it's wintertime and you can't really wear shoes in their house. OR you'd like to get a little bit snuggly and you can't really do that with shoes on. Either way, once you kick off those boots instead of the fly pedicure you MUST sport in the summer - dope socks are required. I got caught wearing some pretty basic socks and rectified this before it was too late.

  • Flat, cute boots - So he wants to take a winter stroll through the park. That's cool, but I only have super high heeled booted or midheeled boots that don't really work in snow or extreme cold. I mean, I freaked the look, but I should have had some riding boots for this very occasion. Don't be like me. Buy flat, warm, cute boots.

  • Sexy sweaters - All of my sweaters look like I'm getting ready to snuggle up by the fire at my grandma's house deep in the country, not like a chilly city girl on a date. I need some cute off the shoulder joints or an empire waist or a tunic I can wear with leggings or something, so I can look hot and sexy even though I'm cold and snuggly.

  • Cute winter headgear - My big hair is a big problem. I either have to wear earmuffs, or a headband that doesn't match my gloves or no head gear at all. If you have small hair, good for you. If not, send me some etsy designs or for cute, warm headgear. I'm out here losing trying to act like I'm warm when I know my ears are freezing.

  • An open mind - He wants to go iceskating... I say *expletive* do you know it's 2 degrees outside? GTFOHWT-ICECOLD-BS Don't be me, reconsider ice-skating, skiing, snowboarding, any of the cute cold stuff he wants to do. Winter is no reason to be stuck in the house dateless right? Right.
What other winter dating tips do you have?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Another Wedding!!!

I don't have any coordinator gigs lined up for 2012. Sad face. This may be turning into more of a hobby than a side gig. A friend of mine and I decided that we were too close for me to do her wedding. She wants me to be a full-time guest in 2012. #LoveHer and I have an inquiry about 2013. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Here are pics from a wedding I did in August. Enjoy!

Below: The bride was stunning!!! This was in the back room at Trinity as we waiting for the service to start. I experienced a tender moment when her dad saw her for the first time. THESE are the moments that make my job SO worth it. That and sleepy flower girls. I can't describe the joy I get from doing this. #LoveIt

Below: There were no pictures allowed in the sanctuary at Trinity, so it's straight to the reception. This photo shoot should have been on the cover of "black and bougie". I ABSOLUTELY loved it! I also had to get on my duty and play with the kids while the adults were snappin' pics. I do it all. Anything to make the bride happy. :-)

Below: This picture is blurry, which should FURTHER indicate how it was going down on the dance floor. I love this couple and their reception. So much love and so much fun!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Obsessed with Hair

Americans are obsessed with hair. Everyday when I open up my e-mail the first news story has to do with how a celebrity did something different with their hair.

Kim. K - She cut bangs... why the big deal?
Jennifer Anniston - So she lost a couple of inches... her hair looks EXACTLY the same.
Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez - I could just stop the post right here. Seriously?
Olivia Wilde - This was actually worth noting, she looks totally different.

If we're talking Rhianna red or Katy Perry Pink, I think that deserves a story, but these bang and bob stories have GOT to stop.

I'm guilty of it too because hair is the first thing I notice about people. I don't put any press releases out when people cut and color, but I do mention it.

So I got my hair straightened for NYE. I really just got it done so that I could get my ends clipped, so that my natural hair styles would look better. But there's a funny little side effect of straightening your hair. People are treating me SO much better. It's a crazy phenomenon. People walk past my office smiling, everyone has stopped in to say my hair is beautiful or gorgeous or amazing. No one is using words like good or nice, with the click of a flat iron, my hair has graduated to amazing.

I love the attention. I do, I do, I do, but I hope when my hair is fluffed out next week in a two-strand twist that people don't ask dumb things like "what happened to your hair" or say "oh, I like it better straight." Let me just mentally prepare myself (and my key messages) for that type of rude commentary. I know it's on the way.

Oh, I guess you guys want to see my hair straight huh? It WAS pretty fly. Here you go.

Monday, January 23, 2012

So... what now?

Can I be honest with y'all. I don't feel as good about having paid off my credit card debt as I thought I would have. You know how brides say they have this sadness after the wedding is over, because they don't have something to be thinking about all the time? I feel like paying off credit card debt was my wedding and I don't have anything to obsess over anymore. It's very strange, but it's real, so I'm sharing it.

That emptiness has nothing to do with today's post though so...

I have this dumb amount of money that I've been using to pay down my credit cards and now I need to parlay it elsewhere. Here are my options:

A. Start an Emergency Fund - I've heard everything from $1,000 to 3-5 months pay to 6-8 months of living expenses. Either way I have ZERO dollars saved.

2. Pay off my student loans - If I use the payments I've been making to credit cards to pay down student loans, I could possibly have that debt paid in less than two years.

C. Save for a down payment/closing costs on a home/condo/whatever

4. Move to a nicer apartment

E. BALL OUT - Oh yes, I could make it rain at clubs and take trips and have weekly (not monthly, weekly) trips to the spa. It could go down. (I'm not really going to do this, but thought that I would note that it's an option. LOL!)

6. Invest - In real life, am I ready for that? It's so scary.

G. Start a vacation fund - I'm going to travel ANYWAY - might as well have a cash fund for it.

So what say ye, good readers of Tea & Such? Did I miss any options? Where should I put my spoils?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Missing Tweets

I've been on a Twitter, Facebook and TV fast all this week. I cannot wait to catch up on all teh Housewives, Love and Hip Hop and the Game. I've missed everyone's banter on Twitter, but I've been more productive and work and in life without those distractions. For those of you who missed me (and really for my personal sanity), here are things I wanted to Tweet and couldn't. They're likely just as mundane as they would have been on Twitter. Enjoy.

  • No one person should want this much cornbread.

  • I'm still in love, but I think cupcakes have jumped the shark.

  • Two co-workers told me I look slim today. I don't know if it's #30for30 or this $150 jeans, but I'll take it.

  • #ThatAwkwardMoment when you bill your time to the wrong week & have to start over. #BML

  • Thyme is my new favorite season. What? I'm late? Oh, ok then.

  • I really want to create a Pinterest board called "Naw Joe" and just repin ****ery. I'll abstain though.

  • I ain't got no man yet, but this right here's for practice #InTheKitchenTweet (Side note: I probably would have typed this, then erased it before I Tweeted it)

  • #WIMH Work and Can't Get Enough [clearly] - J. Cole

  • I just signed up to Rock the Red Pump for the 4th time! Woot Woot! @redpumpproj

  • R.I.P. Etta James

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Do You Pinterest?

I know in terms of paving the way, I'm probably extra late, but someone put me up on Pinterest and I absolutely love it. It's like it was especially made for me. It's the ultimate time waster that includes all things pretty.

Not much more to say about it than that. Do you Pinterest?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Christian Social Scene

So Fellowship [Missionary Baptist Church] had a comedy show with Marcus Wiley (a homie of mine from back in the day) and then they had an afterparty that had food catered, mocktails and a DJ playin' real music. We Christian kicked it!

Can I be honest with y'all though? That DJ took it just a little too far for my Baptist soul. He played she got a donk. I just sat down because I couldn't think of any Christian dances to do to that song. Oh, I could dance to that song, but not in a church setting. That's just not right.

I digress.

So the party was awesome and that same night my church, New Life Covenant, had a skate jam at the Rink. I got to thinking about all of the churches in Chicago and how we could hit the Christian social circuit and STILL be out every weekend. We wouldn't be hungover in the morning, our feet wouldn't hurt, we would get home at a decent hour, (I know I'm not the only one who has laundry and errands and cooking to do on Saturday. I need my rest.) AND best of all, we'd meet new people.

So to kick off Christian kickin' it, here's a list of some social happenings the one social happening I heard about with the young adult or singles ministries at some popular churches. my church. Can you all send me lists of what's poppin' at your church too? Let me put a disclaimer out though - I'm looking for church SOCIAL events. I already know where to worship. AND if you know there are no people under 40 or men at your church, don't send me off talmbout I should visit (so you can have company). That's not right. LOL!

New Life Covenant - February 10th - Singles Ministry Scholarship Gala at the Hyatt Regency featuring Kindred and the Family Soul

Fellowship - What do you all have crackin'?

Trinity - What do you all have crackin'?

Apostolic Faith Church (AFC) - Lauren told me about a consecration day or something... I'm going to pass on that and wait for the bowling party/skate Jam/night out at Grand Luxe, etc.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Goodbye Bar, Goodbye Club

In 2009, it was said in this post: "I like to party [at the club]. It's been said and I'll continue to say it until one day I, magically, don't like to party anymore." That day, my friends, has arrived. A couple of day ago in THIS post I mentioned that I skipped Friday nights at the club and because I didn't have any money AND I didn't really want to go.

It has officially happened. I'm over the bar and club scene. Over.It. I can't get over hangovers fast enough, my feet hurt for three days after the fact, besides my friends, there's really no one at the club I want to see or meet and I'm so over the pretentious nature of standing in line or being held outside while very pretty people can go in (Thanks JBar).

So I'm not saying you'll never see me at another bar or club again, I'm just saying your birthday isn't always going to be a relevant enough reason to make me go. Like 8.5 out of 10 times, iaintgonebeabletodoit. If you really want to celebrate with me and your birthday party's at the club, I'll just take you to brunch later. If I get the itch to club again, I'll go. But if not, don't sweat me about not seeing me out.

Side note: Why are people who don't even know how to pronounce or spell my first name ALWAYS so concerned with why they haven't seen me at the club/on the scene. You haven't seen me because we're not friends. *Staples button* That was easy.

More on this tomorrow...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Why You Mad?

Bring it in folks. It's group hug time.

On January 6th, Beyonce and Jay-Z welcomed Blue Ivy Carter into the world. Man, I was geeked. Excited. Ecstatic. Overjoyed.

THEN Jay-Z dropped a tracked about Blue. Man, I was touched. Happy. Humbled by how acts of God happen daily. Just over the moon.

THEN I see people hating on the name Blue Ivy.

THEN I see this on Yahoo's homepage calling Beyonce's birth demands over the top. I also saw this story saying that the $1.3 million is not true.

Finally, my Facebook timeline starts poppin' with people that I know in real life, who's company i enjoy talking about how mad they are that everyone is so happy for Beyonce and Jay-Z. They think we should talk about #realissues and/or talk about people we know in real life. (These are dumb reasons for being mad. Although Facebook and Twitter can be outlets for the revolution, in general that's not how we use them.)

So to all those people that are literally angry that the rest of us are happy, I'd just like to know Why You Mad? Your anger is clearly deeper than Jay-Z, which means it's deeper than rap. You just woke up mad and decided the rest of us being happy was too much.

Just two weeks ago your were talking about how the world is a great place because you were on vacation from work and getting ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus. I know you're not a Christian and THIS ANGRY at us being happy. I know God didn't call you to be that angry because this little baby is so LOVED. This I know.

I'm not mad at you. I want to hug you. Group hug you. )))))))))))group hugs(((((((((( Sprinkle happy dust on you or something.

My grandma called. She said if you don't have anything nice to say [about Beyonce and Jay-Z's new bundle of joy] then don't say anything at all. :-)

Friday, January 13, 2012

It is done.

I paid of credit card 6 of 6 today. Today, I am completely credit card debt free. My credit card balances are ZERO DOLLARS! I can't explain this feeling. It's happiness and joy and accomplishment. It's the fulfillment of what years ago just seemed like a dream.

I've never shared HOW much credit card debt I had before because it's embarrassing, but it doesn't have a hold over me anymore, so I'm going to share it.

When I started this journey to really pay off my credit cards in May of 2008, I had 6 credit cards and more than $16,000 in credit card debt. When you factor in the fact that I JUST stopped using those bad boys in 2011, I'm pretty sure over the last 3 years and 8 months, I've paid more than $25,000 in credit card debt. Stop. Think about it.

I digress.

When I started this journey I barely made enough money to pay my rent AND eat three meals a day. The task was overwhelming to say the least. It seemed impossible, but with God's help, an open mind, trial and error, a healthy dose of discipline and regular pay increases, here I stand credit card debt free and I'm beyond ecstatic about it.

I just want to encourage anyone who's in credit card debt now: You CAN stop using (and sometimes abusing) your credit cards. You CAN pay your credit cards down. You CAN live off of cash only. You CAN have a fabulous credit score (and a fabulous life at the same time). You CAN be free of the guilt and shame that comes with credit card debt. You can do it!!! Just by reading this blog, you've believed in me all these months... well, years. And this time around, I believe in you.

Happy Friday!!! No, I'm not going out tonight and and no, you cannot borrow a dollar!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Q4 2011 Update: December

In December I skipped:

3. Friday nights at the club (This was mostly due to money, but also due to an attitude change. I just didn't think it would be any fun. And rather than scrape up a couple of dollars to get cute, drink and cab home, I figured my free couch was a better - and warmer - look.)

4. Buying a new purse. I'm sure this has come up all year. I carried a laptop bag that was literally holding on by a string to work and on the weekends I carried this free bag I got from H&M's grand opening in Chicago. (Don't front like you don't still use that bag). I do not feel very much like a diva carrying these makeshift handbags, but this is the sacrifice I had to make. UPDATE: This paid off because I got a Macy's gift card for Christmas and I ran RIGHT to the handbag section and bought something I can afford. It's pretty darn cute if I do say so myself.

5. Shopping, man I didn't go to the club, but I did kick it. Holiday parties, HOUSE PAR-TAYS and NYE... I.didn't.buy.anything. Let me tell you about this genius plan I had though: I went shopping in Big T's closet. She has so many clothes. A dress here, a cardigan there and a couple of accessories really made me feel like I extended my wardrobe.

6. On December 21st at 5 p.m. The Limited put all of their holiday stuff on sale for 50% off until midnight. 7 hours of online sales and despite all the girls at the gig buzzing about it, I bought nothing AND I WANTED TO BUY SO MUCH. Man, if that's not discipline, I don't know what is. *sigh*

My unexpected expenditures were:
f. Cabs - I don't know what's going on, but I'm about tired of waiting on the bus stop and when I'm ready to be somewhere quickly, a cab it is. In the course of a week in December I took like 10 cabs, who [on a budget] does that?

Side note: For the first time in a long time, I really want a car. I'm not buying a car though. It's a depreciating liability and besides getting somewhere 5 minutes quicker, the cost benefit analysis doesn't justify the purchase for me right now. Stay tuned [into my life] though. I'll give it a year, maybe two before I break down and get one. The bus (or a cab) is just not the groove some days.

g. I went over my Christmas cash budget by about $100 and charged a gift or two. I vowed to pay it back within 30 days though to prevent finance charges. Who thinks I did that?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Q4 2011 Update: November

In November I skipped:

2. Monday Night Football - Bears vs. Eagles *sigh*

My unexpected expenditures were:

e. Magazine subscription
f. Zipcar(s). Even though I don't have a car, I probably need a line item in my budget for transportation budget. No way getting around should always be a financed expense. (Or I could vow to pay it off by the end of the month I incur the expense... I have to think about this)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Q4 2011 Update: October

In October I skipped:

1. Dinner club with the ladies

In October my unexpected expenditures were

a. baby shower gift
b. Amtrak ticket (for a conference)
c. Conference hotel room
d. yoga classes

Monday, January 9, 2012

NLC Fast

I wrote a month's worth of posts this weekend, so I won't be dark like I was last week. Thanks to Lauren for putting a fire under me. One day, I'll update my blog's look... don't hold your breath or anything. :-)


This is my second January with New Life Covenant (NLC) and I guess Pastor Hannah calls a fast every January, because I'm pretty sure we did the same thing last year.

Here are the guidelines I'll be sticking to for the month.

Week 1 - M-F - no meat (I did that!)
Week 2 - 3 days M-F - a liquid diet (pray for me)
Week 3 - M-F - A fast of my choice. I think I'm going to do Twitter again
Week 4 - M-F - One hour of quiet time each day

This is pretty simple stuff. I heard that fellowship is doing a 21-day-pick-what-you-want fast. Is your church doing a January fast?