Friday, June 29, 2012

*Cosby Voice* CHALLENGE!!!!

Help! My wallet is bleeding. This spring hit me right in the pockets, here's where all my money's gone:
  • The apartment move (paying almost double what I pay now in rent, paying for rent in two places for 15 days, getting movers, updating my electronics),
  • My new job (they haven't issued me a corporate credit card yet and purchases still need to be made)
  • My new salary (I somehow think it's ok to buy DD coffee and lunch daily, new clothes and shoes weekly and have lunches, brunches and dinners at my leisure despite a fridge full of groceries) 
  • Occassions (bff's graduation, planning a baby shower, out of town baby bday parties, bridal showers, new babies and birthdays)  
And even though I'm not concerned with my increased credit card usage (I'm paying it back swiftly, no worries) I am concerned that maybe I COULD be spending my money better.

I think, what would I order if I was on a budget? Probably not the filet mignon. Or what would I buy the baby if I was on a budget... probably not the high end high chair. Or would I work harder to find cheaper catering options for the baby shower or (God forbid) just cook for it if I felt like that was my only option.

You all know I have to constantly challenge myself. Whether it's my love life, my fitness routine or my wallet. So in August (yes, I'm giving myself a nice little cushion) I'm going to do a spending fast. That's right, smack dab in the middle of summertime Chi I'm going to commit to not buying anything except groceries and transportation. Anyone want to do it with me?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Keep My Money

I was out to dinner with my bff, our big brother and sis and her parents #FamilyTime and papa bff began talking about money. He said we are all so concerned about making more money. He said one day he took a step back and realized that he made enough money, but what he should be more concerned with is how to KEEP his own money.

He said everyone from the government to for-profit companies are trying to get MORE of our money. As a marketer, I know this is true. We're here to make money... even if it's for the better good of the world at the end of the day, someone has to pay for it. 

So after hearing this nugget of wisdom, it occurred to me that I, too, need to make a choice to keep more of my own money in my own pocket (or bank account or wherever). Whether that means giving more to charity for those young tax breaks (oh, I know it's not just me) or remixing my closet instead of frequenting the freakum dress superstore EVERY.WEEKEND, something needs to change if I want to be wealthy (which to me means leaving money for my kids). The Bible talks about leaving an inheritance as well, so this isn't just being greedy. This is the Word.

Also, completely unrelated mama bff agreed with everything papa bff said that night. I don't know if it's 30+ years of marriage, if she REALLY agrees with him or if she just likes peace in her home, but not presenting an opposing viewpoint (if only for the sake of conversation) is foreign to me. It was a joy to watch and I learned a lot that night.

More on this tomorrow.

Monday, June 25, 2012

CKI: Movies In The Park

From the New Life Covenant Singles Ministry

Join us at Montgomery Ward Park (630 N. Kingsbury St.) for an evening under the stars. The feature movie is Moneyball on Tuesday, June 26, 2012.


While movies begin at dusk, it is best to arrive early to secure a good spot. Please bring your own chairs, blankets, food and other essentials you will need.


See ya in the park!

Anyone want to go? Hollatchagurl.

Friday, June 22, 2012

No Doorman

I move tomorrow folks, but I still don't have a doorman. I, like most other 9-5ers without homes, get all my stuff shipped to work. Here's a random list of stuff that I've had shipped to my office in the past two weeks. I know our receptionist is pissed with me. #KanyeShrug 

- 3 graduation gifts
- A credit card
- A camera charger
- Hair moisturizer
- baseball tickets (for various teams, this is actually work related)
- a box of checks
- 50 shades of gray trilogy box set (on sale, hollatchagurl) AND
- A paper shredder (What? Wal-mart has $.97 shipping)

LOL! If you live in an apartment where do you get your stuff shipped to? Work? Your sigfig's house? Your mama's crib? I know it's not just me.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

That's What Friends Are For...

So I was on my way to... I can't remember... something social. My social life is important to me. If it comes down to having a clean home or hanging out with friends, I'll hang out with friends. It's who I am.

So anywho, I had a long list of stuff to do, dealing with my move and/or the fact that I left stuff like my sunglasses and camera charger in the DR. It seems like I should have time to take care of these menial tasks, but when there are 20 of them, you pick and choose.

So I was complaining commenting that I didn't have time to look for a camera charger and my homegirl (whose car I was in at the time) told me to send her the make and model of my camera and she'd research it for me during her downtime at work.

I bought said charger today [read: the day I wrote this] from a link she sent me. Man, what a wonderful friend I have in her. I'm truly grateful to God that when I ask HIM for help, he sends me something as practical as the friendship of someone who has a free hour at work to help me run my errands.

My friends are awesome and my God is even better!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

And It's Not Even My Birthday

So, if you know me for real, like for real, for real, you know I'm always caking. WHAT?!?!?! T, the "pointer outer" of all cakers everywhere. Yes, it is I, queen of the cake. If you know me, you also know you'd be hard pressed to "find" me caking, but cake occurs, nonetheless. No more Facebook photos kissing my man in the mouth. #BeenThere #DoneThat #WroteaBlogAboutIt

So I was caking this morning [read: the morning I wrote this post] and while we were getting off the phone he said "it was good to hear your voice."

I melted on the inside and immediately missed him. Let me try to figure out why...
  • Getting off the phone takes like five minutes when you're caking and I'm always surprised at how we choose to prolong the conversation from one to the next.  
  • He didn't have to tell me that. He could have just said bye.
  • He didn't assume that he would always hear my voice, and thus appreciated when he did (this is also what happens when things are new. Couples say sweet things to each other vs. "w(here)tf were you yesterday that you couldn't call my phone"... I digress.
  • He prefers talking over texting (but we still text like teenagers) *giggles*
  • "It was good to talk to you", "I'm glad we got to connect", "It was good to hear your voice" and everything else you say before "have a good day at work", "call me later", and "good night" are the new "You hang up" "No, you hang up" and finally...
  • Despite my Tweets and FB call outs that state the contrary, I'm a big fan of cake. Don't tell a friend and don't get caught slippin. I will STILL point you out.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

To compliment my new new

I also need a stereo system. I have a radio, with a cassette deck on the bottom and a CD player on the top. I think it's a Magnavox. I haven't been able to bring myself to throw it away after all these years, but I might give it to the Salvation Army this weekend.

But help me find a stereo system. What are the basic basics that I need? Should it compliment my TV? Do I need separate subwoofers? I can't throw a bbq with music playing on my laptop and no bass. That would be frowned upon in my new condo-living environment.

Do they sell stereos that you can tap your iPod into? Stereos that play MP3s from iTunes? What's the new new in sound electronics? What's too much to pay for a stereo system? What's going to get me kicked out of the condo association (that's what I don't want)

Again, help a sista out. Please and thank y'all!!!

Monday, June 18, 2012

That New New

I still have a bubble TV. It's like a 24-inch or some odd size and I've had it since college. I bought it with my own money (and/or a credit card that I've recently paid off... can't remember) and I'm likely taking it with me to put in my bedroom at my new apartment. #Don'tJudgeMe

Howsoever, now that I'll be entertaining, that TV will no longer be on display in my Living Room, or frunchroom as Midwesterners like to call it (you thought they were say front room didn't you? Don't lie.)

So I need a new TV and I'm technologically illiterate. HELP!!!

What should I buy?
What is TOO much to pay for a TV?
Do I have to buy Google TV in order to get Netflix sent directly to my screen?
Do I need a special TV for Bluray? Do I want/need Bluray?
Is H.G. Gregg the best place for deals in 2012?

(I clearly need a man, but until then can y'all help a sister out?)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Today Is a Good Day

It's the first day of my new lease, but ALSO my bff is getting her M.B.A. today, which means WE got an M.B.A. we're celebrating in our honor. Hooray!

Why is today a good day for you?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Not These Quotes

"I knocked up my wife. What's you're address, so I can send you an invite to the shower." 

Followed up with:

"You move more than a foster child"

You already know whose ignorant ass said this to me. I still love him though.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

When He Pays Attention

A guy I don't talk to very often, pays so much attention to what I say every time we talk. Everyone SHOULD pay attention when I'm speaking, but he kind of just gets me and we talk so infrequently that it sometimes freaks me out. I also feel like he has a specific purpose in my life, but I don't know what it is yet.

Anywho, recent convo went like this:

Him: So how was your workout
Me: *super paranoid* How did you know I just came from working out?
Him: The last time we talked it sounded like you'd made working out a priority, so I figured it was safe to assume that you worked out today.
Me: *impressed face* Oh... it was good.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

How Many

I saw 16 apartments/condos before finding my gem, but I'm happy to report that I found a place last week and signed my lease on Sunday. My lease starts in three days and I move in 11 days (and not a moment too soon, I guess.) LOL!

Oh, you all probably want to know more about it, huh...

It's in my budget. (HEY NOW!)
It's a soft loft
high ceilings
in-unit washer/dryer
hardwood floors
stainless steel appliances,
exposed brick
fireplace
carpeted, lofted bedroom
probably about 700 sq ft (It's not big, it's just bigger than where I've been and that's enough for now)
wood gated private patio
steel gated free parking space
And it's in the south loop. So in two weeks, I will, for the first time EVER, officially be a south sider. Tell a friend.

I really love it. I can't wait to start throwing shindigs.

But back to the topic at hand, how many units/apartments/homes did you see before signing on the dotted line?



Monday, June 11, 2012

DOH!

Here's a list of stuff I left in the Dominican Republic. It's mostly just a pain in the ass to replace. This is what happens when you don't sleep. 

- Camera charger
- Detangling comb (I can't find a Conair comb like this one in Walgreens now and boy am I pissed) 
- Travel sized gel (these are hard to find and I usually refill them for new trips. Pissed.)
- Travel sized condition (no big here)
- Sunglasses (this is by far the most irritating b/c I keep forgetting to go to H&M and buy new ones) 

Are you an immaculate packer or are you forgetful like me? What have you left on vacation? 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Apt. Search Tips Cont...


5. It may take a while. At the time of writing this post, I have been searching for three weeks. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I originally gave myself one day to find an apartment

4. Be prepared to spend more than you thought you would spend to get what you want. My girl is on the hunt as well and she spent about $650 more per month than she originally envisioned. I had to increase my budget by $500 per month to even see options that remotely resemble what I want.

3. Be decisive. I saw a place that I wanted on a Tuesday night and I was weighing it against a place I hadn't seen. On Wednesday at noon, I said that I wanted it and there were already 2 applications on it. I could care less as I'm sure my application would have won, but the owner wanted to move quickly and the apps s/he already had were good enough, so they wouldn't even take my app. My heart hurts for that home that could have been mine.

2. If you don't feel good about it, don't do it. I could have paid the $125 parking fee and had an apartment I loved, but I didn't feel like getting swindled was an appropriate start to the landlord/tenant relationship, so I moved on. Even through apartment searching, I believe that what God has for me is for me, so that place, just wasn't it.

1. Have fun! This process has been very stressful for me because I just started a new job AND went on vacation and I don't really spend as much time in Chicago on the weekends the way a normal person who's looking for an apartment should. However, when I take a moment to breathe, I have so much fun looking through photos of apartments and considering all of the possibilities of where my new home could be. If it weren't for the possibilities, I would be absolutely miserable with this process. But I've been like washers and dryers and rooftop decks, oh my!!!  

So... that was a blogful, huh? Now, what tips do you have for apartment searchers in 2012? 

Friday, June 8, 2012

2012 Apartment Search Tips

It's crazy how much the rental market can change in two years. Here are some of my tips based on this month-long apartment shopping experience.

10. You are probably going to have to use a leasing agent. I know a lot of people use agents that their friends recommend. I use agents that have the best listings online. That way, there is no pressure to listen to the sales dribble they spit about why one place is better than another.

9. If what you want changes, tell your agent right away. When I originally started looking I gave a lot of northside neighborhoods. Once we started pounding the pavement, I realized that the north side didn't provide the types of places I was looking for (spacious, to entertain, somewhere I'd be happy coming home to daily, etc.) I thought the agent could intuitively pick up on what I was liking and not liking (based on the apps I put in), but I had to explicitly tell him to take the north side out of the search. Life was better after that.

8. Stress non-negotiables to your agent - I told my agent I wanted 1BR, w/d within a certain price range. Because I was looking at units in a certain area, she assumed I wanted to be walking distance from work. When I filled out the app for an apartment, it said "why do you want to move?" I said something like more space/I need w/d. She looks at me and goes "OH, you want washer/dryer?" It was at this point that I realized that we are all really alone in the world, but yeah, just say what you want over and over. These agents are working with a bunch of folks. They can't remember your life.  

7. Know your non-negotiables and stick to them. I listing agent said there was a washer/dryer in a unit I saw. When I tell you it was gorgeous, it's only because I can't find a better word. It was spacious, beautiful views, floor to ceiling windows, high/artsy ceilings, perfect location, hardwood floors, great for entertaining. AND they had Ikea bookshelves and wardrobes that stayed in the unit. I wanted nothing more than to live there, but it didn't have washer and dryer. My leasing agent called the listing agent and dude talmbout "there's washer and dryer in the basement." Complete waste of time. If I was a woman who tired easily, I would have just taken that apartment, but I need washer/dryer in unit. It's really all I want in life (that and a boat)

6. Work with more than one agent - At first I felt bad for doing this, but one of the agents was very detailed and put-together. The other agent had a better handle on what I wanted and was very responsive. Working with them both gave me all of what I needed to get the job done. Kind of like dating in multiples, but that's a whole 'nother blog series, isn't it? 

More on this tomorrow. Save your comments until then. :)


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Goodbye North Side

So, you all know from my north side campaign that I love all things northside. I love to be able to fall off and having no one I know seeing that. I love having shops and restaurants within walking distance of my home. I love how accurate the bus schedule is (yes, this matters to me). And most of all, I love being 10 minutes away from work via bus and 5 minutes via cab.

Well, I got a new job. I work in the loop now vs. Streeterville. And it takes me approximately 30 minutes to get too and from work every day. That's too many minutes.

So in my new apartment search I've been looking at places in the south and west loop. I like both neighborhoods equally. What they lack in shops, they make up for in new construction and in-unit washer dryer.

Another challenge for the north side is that it lacks new construction (where one would find a w/d in-unit). On the north side you pay for location. On the south side you pay for space and amenities. I want space and amenities. I knew that it would come to this, but I just thought it'd be because I was buying, not renting.

Anywho, I will have to exercise covert tactics if and when I decide to walk out of the house looking a mess because while viewing a south loop apartment I saw one of my blog readers in the elevator. She told me another mutual acquaintance (i.e. a Twitter homie) lives in the building AND one of my homegirls from HS lives in the building too.

When I was in college this would have been great, but now that I've lived up north, pretty much by myself for so many years, I feel very exposed walking the streets of the south loop. I feel like I know everyone in all of the cars passing by. I feel like people are going to take pictures of me on the bus stop and laugh in the winter time. LOL!

I'm willing to deal with the lack of privacy (a lease is only a year anyway, right?) in order to have a place that I love coming home too.

And, I'm truly looking forward to just showing up at people's houses in sweatpants and rollers because they live downstairs or across the street. Moving to the south loop will provide a level of community that I'm definitely lacking on the north side.

Who knows, I may start a south loop campaign, but first... I need to find an apartment.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Going for the Okie Doke

Let me tell you a little story about me wanting a good deal and an honest landlord. I found a place that was basically downtown, but depending on the listing it could be considered, south loop, west loop or printer's row. It was about 800 sq ft with a balcony, a fireplace, a large bathroom, w/d (of course) and an island that separating the combined kitchen, living room, dining room space and even came with an optional parking space for an additional $125 per month. It also had some cool features like spotlights on the wall for art, etc.

My leasing agent put my application after three apps were already in because he was sure my credit score would be higher than everyone else's. It was. They said I got the place and were drawing up the lease. They were calling me all day on details and asked if I wanted parking. Nope, no thank you.

*record scratch*

My leasing agent talked to the listing agent who talked to the owner who said s/he wanted to rent the place with parking.

Now I'm not sharing how much my budget is, but let's use round numbers. Hypothetically speaking, let's say my budget is $1,000. This particular unit was listed at $875 plus $125 OPTIONAL parking. I look at the place as a $875 place and decide that I like it. After they've chosen me they call me and try to strongarm me into getting a $1,000 lease saying I can sublet the parking spot for whatever price I like. Um... no thank you. So, of course, when I declined the owner went with a candidate with a lower credit score. Good luck with that.

Not only did I not want to have to deal with getting $125 from some third party every month, but I also felt very swindled in that situation. And as you can see from this hypothetical budgeting exercise that I CAN afford the whole $1,000... comfortably. But... it's the principle of the thing.

They should have listed it as $1,000 with parking included vs. $875 with parking optional because PARKING WAS NOT OPTIONAL.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Apartment Search Tales

At the time that I'm writing this post, I still have not found an apartment. I'll let you all know as soon as that changes. L

et's talk about wanting a whole bedroom. Leasing agents will list places and show you places that have a wall separating the living room and a vacant space for a bed and call it a one-bedroom apartment. THAT IS NOT A ONE BEDROOM APARTMENT. It is a big ass studio.

 Here are some words to avoid when looking for a WHOLE bedroom: cozy, cute, jr. 1BR, and it could go 50/50 with the word loft.

Anywho, remember when I said I just want a WHOLE bedroom and in-unit washer and dryer... you all KNOW that's not true. Below find a list of things I found out I ALSO want. And note, these aren't non-negotiables, but when you see a building with a rooftop deck for the same price as one without it, it does something to you. I also can't justify paying more money for less square footage if something like heat isn't included. I didn't know I wanted these things until I saw them.

I blame an economy where competition is encouraged. LOL! Here they go: I want:

- A building with amenities (rooftop deck, party room, fitness center, etc.)
- At least 700-800 sq ft - Closet space
- Heat included
 - A defined kitchen
 - Hardwood floors
- A good deal
- An honest landlord

Have you been apartment searching lately? Were there things you didn't know you wanted that came up on the search?

I have a funny little story about "a good deal" and an "honest landlord" coming up tomorrow.