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.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Election Thoughts

- I'm so glad that Illinois is not a battleground state. I have not seen one political ad for the Presidency and I do not wish to see one at all. It makes my life happier to not have to deal with that negativity.

- I do, however, watch the news and this election is getting ugly. Does anyone remember that Mitt Romney was at the bottom of the barrel during the last election. The other Republicans hated him. He was SO far behind the curve. Now he's the frontrunner for the party. He has the nerve to question the President's birthplace AND he's refusing to show his tax returns? He is a horrible choice for America.


- More on this. When McCain was in the running, I didn't think that my life would be over if he got elected. I wanted Senator [at the time] Obama to win, but I didn't feel like my life would be in shambles if he won. If Romney wins, my taxes will probably go down, but in the money I save, I'll likely have to use it paying for women'son anything, especially national security. After killing Osama Bin Laden, lowering costs for higher education, health care. I'm convinced mamograms and pap smears will not be covered by insurance if we vote him in. I just know it.

- I can't wait for these debates. Last election everyone said that Senator [at the time] Obama didn't have a clear enough plan putting more money in taxpayers pockets creating millions of jobs, I think his plan is better than anyone's before him. I'm curious to see how the naysayers will spin it this time.

- Why are social issues leading this campaign season. How is marriage and birth control more important than jobs and national security and gun control? If we get attacked, it won't matter who's married to whom. Also, if you can't eat, it doesn't quite matter if birth control is covered on insurance.

- I am considerably less involved in the campaign thatn I was this time four years ago. I am more or less a benefactor. I write checks. If the President loses, I will feel personally responsible for not picking up the phone or canvassing or just being more politically loud on my social spaces. I hope that there is a young eager campaign worker who has the time I did four years ago to dedicate to the campaign. I hope my President stays my President for four more years.

- Maybe I'll volunteer in the final months.

- I have a white coworker who's from Texas and she's a Democrat and works on the Obama campaign. Throw stereotypes out of the door. They suck.

What are your thoughts on this year's election?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Days like this...

Friday, I had the worst start to my day.

- I was dead dog tired for no reason. I ate healthily before bed. I have 7 strong hours of sleep... but I still pressed the snooze for 2 hours. Yes, 2 full hours. I took a cab to work to make up for the time but...

- I left my wallet at home. So thinking through solutions, I ask the cabbie if he'd take a check. After he cursed me out, I told him I'd go borrow money from a coworker. He told me to leave my I.D. Bruh... I don't have my wallet. So I left this man with my house keys. I ask a coworker for the $15 run downstairs and give it to him, but now...

- I'm 15 minutes late for a 9 a.m. meeting that is happening on a floor that's different from the floor I work on.

- This comes after I was 5 minutes late to a meeting with the CEO of our parent company yesterday because I was at a dentist appointment.

- At lunch, I go to Corner Bakery to get a lemonade because my wallet is always in my purse and it's hard to remember that I don't have it. I get to the front like I want a small lemonade. Wait, actually, I don't want anything. Thanks and goodbye.

- I'm writing this before I go home and I THINK I have a CTA card with money on it, but I don't have time to physically go to the bank (and it's 90 degrees outside, I ain't on that) so I'm going to hope and pray I make it home without having to walk. Worst case scenario, I have to take a cab, go into my house and get my CC, then have him charge it.

This is what happens when you don't start your day with prayer. Just all wrong everything.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Laptop Repair Update

So I call HP back from home. Someone from India answered, clearly. He proceeds to scold me about not shipping the computer when it was under warranty (yes, yes I know. I'm silly and irresponsible. Let's move on.)

It's going to cost $300 to fix it and then it'll be under a 3 month warranty. Ok, great.

But wait. I bought it in 2009. Laptops have to be much cheaper by now. Perhaps he can get me a deal on a new one. He can. I can get a new laptop, new operating system, more memory than my current one... $600 or so.

Hmm... should I pay the $300 to save money by fixing what I have or pay the $600 for a brand new machine. I am all about that new new this year (it seems).

I asked Twitter, and a couple of my IT homies 1. We diagnosed that my hard drive is defective and I need a new battery 2. 1 of my Twitter homies said he would fix it.

He took a look and confirmed the Twitter diagnosis and sent me links to buy the stuff on Amazon. It'll be about $100, hopefully I'll get free shipping. Then I'll buy him some chicken and beer and I saved $250-450. I still lost $100, but alls well that ends well.

The best thing is that one day soon, I will be able to take my laptop outside of the house without it crashing. Oh, what a day that will be. LOL!

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

More Winning...

At losing.

I guess I'm all about doing stuff that I've been putting off. I think I Tweeted about this, but I guess I didn't put it on the blog. I'm putting it up here as a reminder to myself that even thought I don't do it often, when I procrastinate, I really go hard. I mean my ability to put something off is phenomenal.

May 12, 2008 - Send a note about my luggage being broken and asking if Kenneth Cole can fix it
May 13, 2008 - Get a note that it is under warranty, they will fix it for free, but I have to pay for shipping and handling.
May 14, 2008 - June 27, 2012 - Do nothing
June 28, 2012 - Take my luggage to Sam's Shoe Repair (they do luggage too)
June 29, 2012 - now - Wait.

Apparently it's a special order part and they still don't have it. It's going to cost me $55 and I already dropped $30 on the down payment.

This week's lesson is when you have something to do, do it now. (Next week's lesson is going to be: you don't have to do everythng right away).

I think the overall lesson is balance. Maybe it all doesn't have to be done this weekend, but perhaps waiting four years is just a tad long. Maybe one weekend a month can be dedicated to getting things done. Perhaps.

Again, is anyone winning at losing at procrastination besides me? Is it just me?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I Win!

My procrastination struggle beats your procrastination struggle. Let me explain.

May 2009 - I bought a new computer.
November 2009 - My absentminded behind left it in an airport in New Jersey, but it was returned.
December 2010 - If this machine is closed or turned off, it takes a full hour to reboot. It's a #realissue
January 2010 - I can't figure out what's wrong with it. HP sends me a box to ship it to them, but I have to back up all my files on a hard drive.
February 2010 - August 2012 - I don't know how to do that and I can't find any money in my budget for a $80 hard drive, so I do nothing.
August 2012 - I backup my files to an external hard drive and into the cloud.
Today - I call HP and my machine is likely no longer under warranty AND since I'm called on my lunch break at work, I don't have the serial number AND I have to call them back when I get home AND I know someone from the Phillipines is going to answer AND the call is going to drop because my cell phone doesn't get good reception in my house AND I'm probably going to cry.

The point is, I should have coughed up the $80 bucks in 2009. Now I don't have $80 AND I also don't have a functioning computer.

If you have a procrastination struggle that's deeper than that, please share.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Interview Tips

One of my friends who's a recruiter posted these tips from Inc. magazine by Jeff Haden. So many people I know are on the job search right now.


What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 60 to 90 days?
What are the common attributes of your top performers?
What are a few things that really drive results for the company?
What do employees do in their spare time?
How do you plan to deal with...?

Full article here

Do you have any great questions that you've asked interviewers? 

Friday, August 17, 2012

CKI: TONIGHT: New Life Boat Cruise

Tonight, join New Life Oakwood "Power of One" ministry for our annual all white singles boat cruise. They have three levels: old school, house music and "urban". I'm going to be on the urban floor and I hope they don't play anything ratchet the way they did when I wen to Fellowship's single's minstry's "after" party to the comedy show.

But if you've ever been to 1 p.m. service at my church, you already know this is going to be a good Christian mess. You have to come experience it for yourself, because my Pastor has preached against us speaking badly about God's people. I'm not about to get struck down trying to illustrate a mess. You just have to come and see for yourself.

Food will be served on the boat, but no alcohol and no smoking.

Seriously though, I'm really looking forward to it. I missed it last year because I was doing a wedding the next day. Tonight should be big fun.

Go here to buy tickets. See some of you all tonight!

In the words of @PastorHannah "Married, separated... need not apply."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

iPhone Trauma

Me: Hey Babe, what r u up to?
Mom: Don't think this one was for me. o_O Dis babe is about to lay it down though. Good nite. ;-)

I love my mom. I hate my iPhone. LOL! Nah, I love my iPhone too, but that was embarrassing. #ThatAwkwardMoment when you try to tell your mom you were NOT setting up a booty call (I swear to y'all, even though that's what it looks like, I really was not).

Welp.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Spending Fast Update

There's only one person that I know of for sure doing this spending fast with me and she checked in at Pinkberry, so I think we're both losing, but maybe it's just me.

I started on Monday, August 6. Since then, I've bought the following:

Headphones - This is not groceries or transportation, but my other ones fell apart. I think it's a necessity.
Candy for a brainstorm - I need to start charging this stuff to the company
Dunkin' Donuts - I only went once last week instead of 5 times like usual. This is a "frugal" win, not necessarily a fasting win.

I went to drinks with a friend, but they had $20 wine bottles and a free pizza with your first bottle, so she picked up the tab.

I'm going to brunch on Sunday. I MIGHT just have my friend come over my house and I'll cook because that's not breaking the fast.

I would pick what seems to be the longest month of the year to do a fast, wouldn't I?

So how's your spending fast going? How do you stay frugal when you have a pocket full of money?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Butterflies

I talk about so much on my blog, that I think I've told you all everything, then I run a search and find out that I've left out some super important information.

Let's talk about butterflies. I have to have them with a guy. They're not nice-to-haves or let's-hope-they- comes. They are must-haves. Butterflies are my dealbreaker. (Let's be honest, it's one of many, but we'll discuss that during an all-day session. Let me cook.)

I have encountered people who are attracted to a man's resume and can be logical like "if he values these things" he'd make a good choice for husband and I'll grow to love him or grow to have butterflies. I actually like and appreciate this line of thinking. How many fewer divorces would we have if people based marriage on values and not feelings.

Why do I keep getting away from the point?

Point is, in dating, I've learned that there are no rules. If there were rules, there would be fewer books on the subject with opposing viewpoints. If there were rules that worked there would be fewer "experts"... you know folks with their answer for what YOU should do.

Nope, this thing is personal. Per.so.nal.

I met a woman who said any potential mate has to have a smooth backadaneck. (Read it again, say it as one word.) That's right, razor bumps are her deal breaker. Ahahahahahaha I died, but everyone has something. For me, I MUST have, I mean, it is an absolute requirement that I have butterflies.

Well... I do. :)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

50 Shades of... No Not Really

So I'm all about following trends. I embarrassed that I don't set any, but hey, I can't win at everything. When it comes to pop culture literature, I just started giving in. I read Little Bee, The Help, The Hunger Games Trilogy and I started reading 50 Shades of Grey... not because I liked any of these books/authors/genres, but because everyone else was doing it.

Well... the buck stops here. 50 Shades of Gray is HORRIBLE. I don't watch porn. I don't read erotica. There's no judgement here. I also don't read vampire books or futuristic titles. I just don't do it. So I really didn't know what to expect, but everyone was raving about it, so I tried it. Then after reading it and STILL not understanding the hype, I heard from my friends who DO read erotica that it's actually just quite bad.

- Writing. Bad. (how many times is she going to use the word delicious to talk about sex. I mean really)
- Plot. (What plot?) Bad.
- Characters. Weak Sauce. (from what I read anyway) Bad.

I think what's messing me up more than anything is not only does everyone who sees me reading the book KNOW that I'm reading about sex, but the fact that suburban housewives have taken to this like it's the first erotica book ever written further lets me know I don't need to be involved. I'm pretty sure my managers have read this book series. I don't want to have the same visuals of sex as my managers.

And here's another thing. I cannot stand when things that are not excellent become popular. This happens all the time. At work, you may work with a vendor who just does ok work, but EVERYONE uses that vendor, so you use them too.

In life you go to a restaurant with poor service and mediocre food because EVERYONE goes to the restaurant.

I'm really just jealous that nothing that I'm mediocre at has blown up. Like I bake ok. I'm not a phenomenal baker. Let me open up a bakery and see if it can blow up...

Shame on you if you read that horrible book series. With that said, I have the trilogy box sex. You can have it for the low low price of nothing (or shipping and handling)... Let me know if you want it. LOL!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

YAY ME!

I hosted my first big group of people at my new place recently. Hooray! So I always say I would like to host, but truthfully, I've never hosted in my own home. I've co-hosted at other places, I've hosted at my mom's house, but in my own space... so much to learn.

Here are some recent lessons:

- Turn the fridge down. I got home to half frozen food... no bueno. At least I know no one will get food poisoning.

- I need more stuff - The planning/cooking would have been easier if I had a few key things: serving platters, a carafe or two, more serving spoons, more portable seating

- I gotta learn how to grill (or get someone over here who knows how). I think it would have been a more fun summer party

- I need to brush up on my wine pairing knowledge. I know VERY basic stuff, but I wasn't sure what went with a summer recipe (see below)

- Fresh Veggies
- Deviled Eggs
- Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwiches
- Tri-color pasta salad with pepperjack cheese and asian peanut sauce (I'm pretty proud of this one)
- Banana pudding
- Red & White Wine

I can't think of what quick and easy things to make next next. Perhaps a pot luck...

What tips do you have for hosting a big group?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Word From Pastor Jenkins

From time to time I go to Fellowship. I love Pastor Jenkins. Here's a quick word from him:

Keep your...

Feet on the ground
Heart in the right place
Mind on the right thing

#ThatIsAll

Monday, August 6, 2012

Accentuating the Positive

I want to share a #realissue that I have with you all. I have a hard time accentuating the positive. I can state what is:

I have a new job, a new apartment, a new honey, my friends and family are safe, fed and healthy (and gorgeous to boot) and when one thing will goes wrong it'll be like everything else I already said is not true.

It's usually something stupid too, like I missed lunch or I didn't get enough sleep one night out of seven nights. Or I missed a bbq (like there aren't a milion bbqs in life). I know this is a trick of the enemy. To make me forget all of God's blessing and have pity parties when things don't EXACTLY go my way.

Then when I come out of the funk (that I sat in by myself because no one wants to hear a pretty little rich girl complain) I feel guilty for being in it in the first place. And I feel like there's something I need to do to remind myself to never get into it again. It's probably prayer. I pray daily, but when I skip a day, it's like my world is turned upside down. #NoteToSelf: Don't skip praying!!!

I'm writing about this because it's a constant struggle and transparency and accountability make me a better person. On my second blog post ever (March 3, 2008) I wrote about how I struggle with living in the moment. I need to enjoy what's good now and not look for things to be better in the future. In that same vein, now I struggle with remembering how good my life is and how good God has been to me.

So my goal for every day of my life is to give things their proper attention - good and bad. My cell phone dropping calls does not mean my life is over. The audiologist not calling me back does not mean I'll suffer hearing loss forever. The good still does (and always will) outweigh the bad.

More on this later, maybe. Who's praying for me?

Friday, August 3, 2012

I got an iPhone!!!!

So as you may know, I have real serious electronic issues. My laptop hasn't worked correctly since I left it in the airport and up until a few days ago I still had a blackberry (does that even require an explanation).

I made an executive decision that my life would be better with an iPhone... I NEED an iPhone. But Verizon said if I get an iPhone, I'll lose all of my voicemails. I'm sentimental and I have some voicemails I want to keep forever and ever.

So here's what I did (and the reason I've hesitated so long)

1st Try
- Download Blackberry desktop (a 2008 program) Really, RIM, REALLY?
- Go to bed (it took all night to download)
- Find voicemail in the .amr format
- Copy the folder to my desktop
- Realize that won't work

2nd Try
- Download visual voicemail
- Accept the $2.99/mth charge (you'd think this would be the same step, but it's not)
- Set-up e-mail on your blackberry (surprisingly I've never done this)
- Forward your visual voicemail to your e-mail address
- Download Real Player to play said file (Quicktime wasn't on that with me)
-  Go to bed (it took all night to download too)
- Wake up and e-mail all voicemails to myself
- Download said voicemails
- PLAY THEM ON REAL PLAYER
- JUMP FOR JOY

It should never be this hard, but it almost always is.

So... who has iPhone tips?


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Prevent Hearing Loss...And Such


An update on my lack of comprehension (what? say it again? I can't hear you...): The audiology department still hasn't called me back and I haven't gotten around to choosing a new one, but check out some helpful information from one of my blog readers about hearing loss. Read, share enjoy!


By John O'Connor

Prevent Hearing Loss


WebMD states that hearing loss is something that may be gradual or sudden, and though there are some types of hearing loss that are unavoidable, there are also some types that may be prevented. If you are someone who is worried about hearing loss, or you are already beginning to suspect that you are dealing with some hearing loss at this point, you’ll find that it is essential to visit an audiologist in order to get your hearing checked. Your audiologist will be able to asses you current hearing levels and provide you with tips on protecting your hearing or depending on the severity even suggest the use of hearing aids. Making an appointment with an audiologist and following the steps mentioned below can help you protect and save your hearing in the long run.

Turn Down the Volume

Loud and persistent noises in your life can slowly wear away at your hearing. If you are someone who listens to music on a frequent basis, especially if you primarily listen to your media using headphones or ear buds, turn down the volume. In many cases, people listen to songs that vary in volume. A quiet song may prompt you to turn up the volume, and when the next loud song comes on, you may forget to turn it back down. Keep your music players at a fairly low but still audible volume.

Get Regular Hearing Checks

If you get regular physicals, make sure that you add hearing checks to the general run of tests that they perform on you. Typically, this is something that is easily conducted at the time of your appointment. Hearing checks can help you track your ability to hear things, and it can tell you if you are losing hearing and if so, how fast it seems to be deteriorating. While you cannot reverse hearing loss, you can slow it or even stop it entirely. When you are talking with a doctor, bring up your concerns and ask for further advice on how you can reduce the damage that you may be doing to your ears.

Wear Hearing Protectors

If you know that you are going to be near a loud noise, or if you are aware that there is going to be a lot of noise evident in the next few days near your workplace, make sure that you invest in devices that protect your ears. Earmuffs and earplugs are two common devices that will protect your hearing, and they are a necessity if you work at a job that is very loud. Earplugs do very well as they drown out harmful noises; choose hearing protectors that are rated for a high degree of protection.

Stop Smoking

There is a strong link between smoking and developing hearing loss, though the precise mechanism regarding how one affects the other is unknown. Smoking is a habit that leaves you open to many different health issues, and hearing loss is just one of the issues that might affect you. Take a moment to think about your smoking habit and to consider the effect it might be having on your hearing.

Are you someone who has been noticing some hearing problems, or is this a condition that concerns you? Take a moment to consider what might be endangering your hearing and what you can do to prevent further damage.



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Spending Fast

Ok, I'm not saying I'm quitting before I get started, but I'm going to have to wait until at LEAST Monday. I know it's August 1st...

I also have two professional touch bases set up throughout the month and I'm going to have to buy coffee or drinks or something for those.

Unless it's professionally related, I'm going to try my damndest not to make any more concessions.

So here's the deal: I can buy groceries and pay for the most frugal means of transportation possible and that's it. Coffee and donuts are not groceries. A quick snack at the convenience store is not groceries. A cab home from work is not the most frugal means of transportation. No Sunday brunches, no lunches that I did not make at home. No more trickin' 'cause I got it (It really is still trickin').

Anybody down for this ride with me?