Thursday, March 28, 2013

Maximizing the US Dollar

The dollar is weak right now in most places, but not everywhere.

Check out this article about cheap places to travel on the US dollar.

Sneak Preview, they are:

  • Costa Rica
  • Vietnam
  • Ukraine/Romania/Bulgaria
  • "Central" Central America
  • India
  • Argentina
  • Cambodia
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • South Korea
I definitely want to get to Costa Rica soon. And by soon I mean in the next 5 years. Did the writer miss any? Have you been to any places lately where the dollar is strong?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lost & Found

In this post, I let you all know what I what I was missing from home. I've found a few things and am still missing a few.

Check out my latest lost and found.

Still Lost
- Eyebrow Threading (My first stop when I get to Chicago is Lakeview Threading Salon. It's a true talent shortage of good threaders in this city)
- Black health care professionals (I found a doctor, but still on the hunt for a dermatologist. I don't think it's going to happen here)
- High End Shopping - They seriously don't have a Saks or Neiman Marcus here. I see why the cost of living is so low. People can't buy high end if they wanted to. There is a Saks outlet close. I'm going to check that out soon.

Found
- A new church home!!!
- A new cobbler!!!
- A new dentist. Ok, he's not a woman, nor is he a person of color, but I found this place called the Pittsburgh dental spa. They have calming waters in the waiting room, massage chairs and ceiling TVs in the dentists office AND they play 90s R&B. I mean... I'm breaking support our own rules, but this place is AMAZING!
- A good mall! From Gucci to Louis Vuitton (like I shop there anyway) to Nordstrom to Macy's, this mall has what I need. Now the department stores are only 2-3 floors high. I was in Nordstrom like "There's only one floor of women's clothing?", but one is better than none.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The F Word

So you all know I came to Pittsburgh with no family and no friends here. In the past four months I've met some great people are reconnected with some Illini. However, I make it a point to tell people all the time that I have no friends in Pittsburgh.

Sure, I'd had a couple of ladies over for dinner and I go to my Pastor's house and fellowship with his children and their friends weekly, but I have a problem using the word "friend" to describe these people I just met.

My "friends" and I have been through some things.

My friends knew me when I wasn't staying in a high rise downtown with valet-only parking. My friends have shared dorm beds with me before they owned their own homes with guest rooms. They've sipped tea on a towel on the floor of my first apartment after I moved out of my mama's basement when I had dishes, but no couch. My friends have dealt with me through breakups... Lord, help them.

My friends know if I need them and can't get to them I will call their husband in the middle of the night and ask him to pass them the phone (true story).

My friends share in my successes, buy me cupcakes when I'm down, accept my flaws, pray for positive transformations and travel up and down highways and across the country to see me.

My friends know when to agree to disagree. My friends have seen my hair in rollers and my eyes without liner and mascara. My friends hug me like they're never going to see me again (Chile, if I get one more church hug in Pittsburgh I'm going to scream).

My friends know how to spell AND pronounce my name and have never once called me Tanisha (WHO IS THAT?!?!?!?!) to my face.

My friends are the product of years of grounded relationship building and strong connections.

I'm not opposed to making new friends (tiresome as it may be), but I wonder how long it will take to build the type of trust, loyalty, honesty and genuine concern that my friends and I share with new folks. I wonder if these surface relationships will always be so. I wonder how I can become a potty mouth and begin to use "The F Word" without reservation. I wonder if building those relationships will ultimately dictate my ability to "be settled" in this new place. I wonder if I pick up new "Fs" will I have to let old "Fs" go.

Time will tell.

Monday, March 25, 2013

I Should Have Cried

Someone shot and killed a six month old baby in Chicago.
I didn't cry.
I wanted to.
But I didn't.
I don't know if I'm numb or if I'm removed from Chicago living in Pittsburgh or if I was just tired.

The last time I felt this bad about a shooting I tried to figure out what I could do. I said I would mentor kids. I reached out to an org and they didn't hit me back.

I got busy again.

I'm STILL not doing anything to help, so I feel like a part of the problem. I'm not even going to say I'm definitely going to start working with youth in Pittsburgh to do my part.

But I can't keep shaking my head and doing nothing.

Ok, I'm putting it here. I WILL mentor a child in Pittsburgh. I'm going to give myself a couple of months to research the best opportunities. I will be committed to an organization by the end of 2013. It's on the blog, therefore it is true.

In the meantime, I will continue praying for peace in my city.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Beyonce Concert!!!

Beyonce isn't coming to Pittsburgh (Go figure). And she's coming to Chicago in the middle of the work week. I need to try to save my vacation days for real vacations, not mid-week concerts.

So I bought two tickets to the Mrs. Carter

Me (via text): Do you want to go to the Beyonce concert with me in Vegas?
Homegirl (on my text): HELL YEAH
Homegirl (calls my phone immediately): Yes, I can go. Did you get my text? I'll put the money in your account tomorrow.
Homegirl (via email): Hey, I found a hotel deal for Vegas. I sent it to you before I called you.

I'm not joking call. This all happened like 30 seconds after I sent the text.

Someone's excited. LOL!

I'm excited too! WE'RE GOING TO SEE BEYONCE IN VEGAS!!!! I might get a blonde weave too... I dunno. I need to be able to act a fool.

Do you have any fun concerts coming up?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Eating Better

I've been taking fitness and nutrition classes at work. It's a 12 week (or maybe 14 or maybe 16, can't remember) program called New Year, New You. I did it to keep me on point pre-30... Woo that age is coming around the corner like a bat outta hell... but I digress.

So we're talked about eating real food, sugar consumption, eating fake food, emotional eating. And upcoming we'll be talking about fat, salt, carbs... probably other stuff I don't REALLY want to know about.

But, when I know better, I can do better. Here are some changes I've made and will hope to make habits.

1. Limiting sugar intake. It's supposed to be 50g per day (Try that. It's HARD AS HELL) Not to worry, I'm still going to be the cupcake queen, but I'll pay attention to the TYPE of sugar I'm eating. Is it processed? Is it fake sugar? Could I get a lower sugar version of something. Oatmeal for example, I rock with Quaker. Everything else tastes like hot garbage. So the regular version is 24g of sugar per instant packet. The low sugar is 11g per instant packet and the weight control version is 1g per instant packet. I might as well do low sugar oatmeal to save my sugar allowance for something decadent.

1B. Using Stevia whenever possible. Stevia is an herb that's 200x more sweet that sugar. So you use less of it AND it doesn't digest in your body (and cause an insulin response) the way that sugar, corn syrup, honey and agave nectar do. So I bought that for my morning weekday coffee and tea on the weekends. Remind me to report back.

2. Eating real food. I've been trying to eat more salads for lunch and not the processed $2 Michelina's, Smart Ones and Lean Cuisines. Those things got me through my 20s, but I need to eat for life now and with heart attack being the #1 killer of women, I should probably slow down the sodium intake wherever possible.

Trina (who's fitness journey is truly inspiring) put up an Instagram photo that said eating healthy means avoiding any foods with a commercial. So true. Lettuce doesn't need a commercials. LOL!

3. Reading labels. Again, understanding how sugar, carbs, fat, sodium and everything else affect my body and what's a healthy amount of those things, will help me to make better choices at the grocery store. Before long, I'm going to be shopping at Pennsylvania farms. #DontJudgeMe

Have you made any healthier food choices lately? Share them with me!!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hecky Naw Joe

So I get in from work at a decent hour and I get dressed to go work out. I also start doing laundry because my mom will be here tomorrow and I guess at some point I should clean up.

I lollygag for a little bit, then fill my water bottle and look for my headphones. They are not on the counter where I usually keep them. So I check another counter, my table top, my bed, my purse, my workout bag, my laptop bag.

Then I sit on the couch. Sometimes just slowing down will help you remember.

So I think (I actually Tweeted) if I were my headphones, where would I be? By George, I think I've got it. They're in my hoodie pocket.

Check the front closet. Nope, not in my hoodie pocket.

So the washing machine stops. Good. I need to put another round of laundry in before I go to workout ANYWAY.

But the washing machine is actually just backed up and not done. This has happened before. I call maintenance and ask them to get this fixed.

So I can't find my iPod and my washing machine is broken. Great.

Wait a minute... I can't find my iPod AND my washing machine is broken.

Wouldn't you know my iPod WAS in my hoodie pocket and said hoodie was in the washing machine.

I pulled it out and the washing machine now works. I put the iPod in a cup of rice. I'm laughing at myself right now. Hecky naw joe!

Humidity...

I was in Cancun for work and my hair was so... moist. Because the air was damp... because it was humid. And I realized that my hair wasn't doing what I asked it to do, but it WAS keeping a form of a style longer and fluffing up better and just being more fabulous in general.

So while dark hair color and longer (untrimmed) hair MAY be my problem. Something I had not considered is the humidity levels in Chicago vs. Pittsburgh. I think I've found the culpit for my hair woes: dry air.

The air is MUCH drier in Pittsburgh.

Howsoever, I still don't know what do do about it.

Any natural hair ladies go from a moist climate to a dry climate... what did you do? I need tips.

*heads to Google*

P.S. Thanks chichi for the healthgrades info (and all the other stuff you post that I don't respond to). I'm reading it and I appreciate you!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Free Tickets to the Rock The Red Fashion Show

As you may know, HIV/AIDS is my cause of choice. In Chicago, I had the pleasure of sitting on the board of the Chicago Women's AIDS Project with the founders of the Red Pump Project. They're also alumni of my high school, good friends and phenomenal women.

While I can't come home for every event (I really wish I could) I still want to take the opportunity to support a cause dear to my heart and people who are making their life's work helping other.

I'm giving away tickets to the 4th Annual Rock The Red Fashion Show to support the Red Pump Project, which is committed to raising awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls.

Here's how to win:

1. This has to be your first time attending the show.
2. Post a blog about the topic or the show and link back to the show's ticket page.
3. Comment here with a link to your post to complete your entry.

Who wants to win a free ticket?!??!?