Friday, August 30, 2013

Responsibility...

Responsibility is awesome and horrible. I just woke up on the best day of the year (that day comes twice a month, Praise the Lord!) and paid all of my bills BEFORE I head out of town on a mini-vacation. What kind of grown-up, adult, boring lifestyle is that?

I mean, I know exactly how much cash I have to spend and how much I need to keep in the bank if I intend to go grocery shopping when I get home.

Who DOES that?

LOL!

I can make fun of myself now, but I think I used to get a rise out of being wreckless with my money. Well, with the credit card company's money. Like I was getting away with something. *looks at past interest payments* Trust me, I didn't get away with a thing.

After work, I'm headed to Vegas for the third time this year. I meant to go to Vegas this much this year, but not really. *inside joke*

Y'all make sure to wish Dorian a happy 30th birthday on Tuesday. We're about to get it in!!!

What are you getting into for the holiday weekend?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Where to live in Pittsburgh

Chichi, have your friend call or email me for true details, but here's a quick neighborhood guide.

Much like Chicago, Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods stacked on top of each other. It's just a 10th of the size and a thousandth of the diversity. But I digress.

If you don't mind living in an up and coming neighborhood and/or the hood to save money consider:
The Hill, Manchester, Hazelwood*, Mount Washington or North Side. If you choose north side, be sure to stay by the stadium and don't go TOO far into the neighborhood. They really do have a problem with gun violence over there.

If you prefer a city feel, walking neighborhoods and can deal with congestion/hard parking consider:
South Side - This is like living on green street at the University of Illinois or Division in Chicago. Tons of restaurants and bars, but also tons of drunk frat boys.
Shadyside - This is by far my favorite neighborhood, but nothing was available when I was looking. It's like a Pennsylvania version of Lincoln Park in Chicago. Tons to do and lots of young people, but not ONLY students. Lots of yuppies (no diss) and young families as well.
Strip District - This is another of my favorite neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. It has a lot of bars, clubs, restaurants, fresh fisheries and Pittsburgh-specific places like DuLuca's and the Steelers superstore. There are a lot of lofts here too.

If you're a hipster or just like living around hipsters consider:
Lawrenceville - This neighborhood is tiny but reminds me of a lowkey Wicker Park. Two good weekends and you can do everything they have to offer, but the restaurants are so good, you'll want to go back over and over again.

If you want in-unit washer/dryer:
You basically need to live Downtown. High Rises to look into include River Rue, The Pennyslvanian, Washington Plaza, 909 Penn, Heinz Lofts (this is in the Strip District, but just like the high rises downtown), Cork Factory (also in the strip district) and one on Stanwix that I cannot remember the name of, but it's called "*something* on Stanwix."

If you want to live in the suburbs:
Ask somebody else. LOL! *Black bougie girl voice* I don't really "do" suburbs.

Also, DO NOT pay Chicago prices for Pittsburgh apartments. They will have you thinking it's inevitable because the rental market is ludicrous, but it's not. You can find a great value for your money in this city.

Best wishes!

*I originally put Hazelcrest where Hazelwood is. Hazelcrest is a suburb of Chicago. Hazelwood is an actual neighborhood in Pittsburgh. I clearly miss home.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Nice!

Rolled across this on Facebook on Monday. Had me in my apartment jammin' solo dolo. Happy Friday y'all!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Almost, but not really

My flight to Jamaica from Pittsburgh, by way of Philly left at 7:10 a.m. on Thursday morning. I worked until about 8 p.m. Wednesday night, came home and twisted my hair, packed and was going to clean and get my last workout in before I left. Ha! At about 1 a.m., my body shut down. I had my "do not forget" list by the door and thought I would take a nap. Because that's what you do pre-vacation and on-vacation and post-vacation, take naps. Ain't nobody sleeping for real.

So I set the alarm for 4:15 a.m. so I could be out of the house by 5 a.m. at the airport by 5:30 a.m., park, shuttle to the front gate, print my ticket, check my bag, get my passport checked, eat breakfast, begin reading my magazine, board my plane and get my vacation cracking. Or so I thought.

Yeah, the Good Lord woke me up at 5:35 a.m. I was running around my apartment like a crazy person trying to figure out what could happen and what could wait. A shower HAD to happen, but lotion did not. Brushing my teeth was a must, but I could take the rollers out of my hair at the airport. Man, it was a mess. From the time I left my house, I made it to the airport in 20 minutes, which was really upsetting because in no traffic driving the speed limit it's 20 minutes and I definitely wasn't going to speed limit, so I don't know why it took so long.

I digress.

I run from the parking lot to the airport. I run past 3 moving walkway, run to the gate, ask a man if I can go in front of him. Thank the Lord I live in Pittsburgh at and 6-something in the morning, there was only one person in front of me at the airport. He was nice, let me go and I got to the check at 6:22 a.m. If I had arrived at 6:26 a.m. I would have missed the 45 minute before your flight check and either had to buy new luggage or just not go. Look at God.

So I run to the alternate checkpoint. Another gem of the Pittsburgh airport. I get through there at 6:40, the exact time my plane is boarding. I run from the airplane shuttle from security to the gates (that thing moves so slow) to my plane. I stop to get water and some chapstick. Wouldn't you know of all the things that were must-gets, Carmex was not one of them. #TeamNoAshyLips So I make the plane.

My bag did not.

I get to Jamaica. You know nothing is of any urgency to anyone on any island, let alone Jamaica. I wait for all the bags to go and mine isn't there. I wait in line behind a couple with about 18 bags. This woman is going on and on about how her facial cream was in that bag. She can't get that stuff in Jamaica. She wasn't that cute or fresh about the face, which made me if she uses that stuff religiously and she still looks how she looks, she REALLY needs her bags more than I do. That attitude is not of God. Pray for me.

So I get up there and there's good news. My bag did not make the plane, but they re-routed it through Charlotte and it was in the airport. Again, nothing I can do to make things work or not work. Just have to calm down and trust the Lord.

4 blissful days and 3 nights of vacation then...

I set my bag on the bus to go to the Montego Bay airport. I go inside to get my wristband cut off. I tell the bellman, don't let them leave me. He says, ok, it's no problem. They're not going to leave you. I come back 30 seconds later, the bus is going up a Jamaican hill without me on it. Man, what the what.

He calls security (the other bus can't leave the premises without hitting security). We hop in a go-kart and he drops me off on the bus. I look at the driver like really dude? He looks at me like hey, you're on the bus, it's no problem.

So I almost missed my flight, but not really.

And I almost got left in Jamaica, but not really.

My happiness in both situations was directly tied to my reactions. Am I overreacting? Cursing? Having an anxiety attack? Or am I chill in knowing that whatever happens, God has my back. Without these minor inconveniences I wouldn't have a story to tell, a blog to write or a testimony to give. As in all things, Glory be to God for the things he has done including blessing my vacations. Amen!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

More Vacation Musings: Phones, Clothes and Shoes

  • I turned my phone completely off while I was on vacation. While I was dying to know what was cracking on Instagram the random updates on Facebook and constant need to check my email immediately left me. 1. 'Cause I was on vacation, but 2. Because Verizon doesn't have any package deals for Jamaica. Fam, I'm not paying the 5.
  • Speaking of paying the five, I didn't buy a stitch of clothing for this vacation. Going to Vegas for my bff's birthday on Labor Day weekend. I'm not buying anything. Going to a professional conference in October, not buying anything. When I was saving money to pay my credit cards down, I wanted to buy things, but didn't and guess what, life still goes on. This also made me realize I don't need new clothes every time I leave my zip code. But this time around two very significant things are happening. 1. I REALLY don't have a desire to buy anything because I have so much. I have plenty and I shop all the time. but 2. I don't have a desire to buy anything because I'm comfortable with myself, with what I have, with how my clothes look. I'm just in a really good place right now.
  • I love to shop. Whoo! Pittsburgh is making it hard for a sister, let me tell you. To my credit, I have not been shopping since the 4th of July. That's a smooth 6 weekends.
  • They had Pittsburgh fashion week here. A V.I.P. pass for 5 days of events, goodie bags at each one and specialty seating and cocktails was $125. I opted not to go so I could have more spending money on my vacation, but I'm definitely on that next week. What I really want to know is if there are more boutiques in the city. I think they're tucked into the suburbs. It's time out for being subjected to the Loft, Express and a subpar Nordstrom as my high fashion options.
  • Someone drove their car into DSW in Robinson, PA. People were hurt. There was structural damage to the entire building, so it was closed for like 3 weeks. Before this news story the only DSW I knew about was in Homestead, PA. So I was the news and the first thing I thought was "Wait, there's a DSW in Robinson?" I know I'm wrong.  

Apparently not being on social media for a few days has left me with a lot to say. Let's see if I can get a week's worth of posts out of this trip. See y'all tomorrow!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Jamaican Vacation

This post started off as random musings about my vacation and turned into, I'm 30, here's what's different. LOL! More musings tomorrow. 

  • I think I have a post-vacation cold. I almost always have these when I get back from Vegas. It's like going from extreme heat to the extreme air conditioning is too much for my body. I didn't expect it this time because I've been taking Airborne like multivitamins (once daily) and it tends to work. Of course, I got off my supplement regimen on vacation, so I'm at the crib sipping tea with lemon and trying to take it easy before it's back to the grind tomorrow.
  • I used to be anti-supplement. I never saw or felt the effects of a multivitamin. Then as I got older things like Emergen-C and Airborne came out and then I discovered B12 one drunken night and my life has never been the same. Found out I'm slightly anemic. Iron pills on deck. Found out Zinc knocks out a cold before it comes (after the first tickle of a sore throat). Purchased that. Realized I don't drink enough milk and my grandmothers and her friends are dealing with osteoporosis and osteoarthritis and when I tell you I want NOTHING to do with that. Man, biggest understatement ever. Now I'm chewing calcium supplements. My morning cocktail of supplements is getting bigger and bigger and I'm surprisingly ok with that. Anything to my health.
  • Speaking of health, I had a weight I was trying to achieve by my birthday. I didn't hit it and I didn't care. I've been working out 3x a week religiously. Word to #TeamFit on Twitter and Facebook. When I'm getting ready for an event I eat healthier. When I'm not, I'm about 50/50 (though I know I should be 80/20). For the first time in a while my body was not where I wanted it to be on vacation when I actually tried to get it right. 30 is a whole new ballgame. I'm at peace with having a lil stomach here or there. Like I always say on Twitter, it hasn't impeded action.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tea's Tangents

Haven't done one of these in a while. So much random stuff on my mind.

  • Ishea and Brittany had a whole conversation about why late people are late. My takeaway is that it's a combination of being an introvert who doesn't really want to go out and not giving a damn. They also noted that extroverts are pushy (we are) and I'm going to try to keep that in mind when I plan group events and folks are not on time.
  • I know very little about Native Americans. Like I know less about Native Americans than mainstream America knows about black people. I am (out-of-nowhere) embarrassed by this.
  • I'm 30. It's time out for these punk ass weekend vacations we take. The next time I go out of the country, I'm trying to be there for 5 days or longer. It's not worth the stress to be out of the office for three days.
  • On that same note, I have fewer days off than I ever have before, but want to take longer vacations. This actually makes sense because most people here won't take a Friday or a Monday (we don't have enough days). We save up these punk ass 2 weeks off and really vacation. It's a definite cultural shift for me.
  • Buzzfeed gives me life every day. Every. Day.
  • I still don't know how I can be effective in doing anything about Trayvon Martin or Stand Your Ground. I've been devouring information about laws and I'm almost set up to mentor a girl in Pittsburgh. (These mogs need amongst other things a TB test and an FBI clearance. This 16-point checklist they have me completing should FURTHER let you know how serious I am about giving back.) If you've been able to make any changes or contribute to any causes, please share. The more we share, the more we grow.  

Friday, August 9, 2013

Did You Know?

So my homegirl works for the NAACP. It's basically her job to be black. How cool is that. It's like working at church. It's your job to be a Christian. Or working as a stripper, it's your job to be a woman. Wait...

I digress.

So she put up a horrific story about how officers do cavity searches on women in Texas. It's disgusting, violating, a  and I hope those officers are fired, fined and shunned from the community of other women.

But that's not what we're talking about today. Did you know if you got pulled over and you don't feel safe you can call 9-1-1. Here's what she said:

"If you call 9-1-1 to tell them you have been pulled over but would like additional officers dispatched, they SHOULD be able to radio the officer to say they are in communication with you. However, there is always room for them to say you may be trying to drive away OR are a threat to the officers. Tough call.

I've had an instance where I was followed by a squad car in a "not-so-minority" populated area of Chicago. I called in to 911 and told them I was happy to drive to an actual police STATION, but would not be getting out of my car - alone, 10 pm, with male officers. I gave my name, address and any other info they wanted. They called the car to inform them I wasn't trying to flee, and they did follow me to the station (of course with attitude). The officers said it was for a "broken tail light" and "rolling stop" at a stop sign, and gave me a "warning"...I don't think they were prepared for my actions. God only knows how THAT could've gone..."

Sharing is caring. Tell a friend.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

More on #9 from yesterday

This is deeper than I'm making it, but how are you going to be mad at me for supporting the 'cause. Or as all these angry people say, "fake" supporting since all I do in the world is change my profile pic. There's no way I donated money, or mentored a child, or made sure my own brothers were safe law-abiding citizens. Nope, I'm ONLY interested in the death of an unarmed teen because everyone else is and therefore I don't matter.

Further, no one and I mean no one got mad when everyone changed their photos to equal signs to support gay marriage. Half the people who did that sit in churches every week that do not support gay marriage. They are not vocal, nor are they on the front line of the debate, but when they changed their photo, no one called them on that.

But let it be something black. Lawd, people are up in arms about MY PROFILE picture on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Dare I say the amount of energy that it took these self-righteous jerks to be mad at me and everyone else participating in a social media movement could have been better served doing all the doing they claim we are not doing.

Or they could have had a damnV8. But I'm sleep.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

That's Funny...

There are some things that people hate that I rather enjoy that I think are hilarious. Moreover, I think it's funny that people feel the need to open up and tell you (via social media) what they hate and cannot stand.

Also, people love telling you what news they don't give two damns about. I think this stuff is hilarious. But people get really touched, so I'm going to laugh at them over here and not on their actual posts.

  • Turn up - Mogs hate when other mogs say turn up. I think it's 'cause they don't like to turn up. If you're mad at this phrase (or the overuse of this phrase), I'm laughing at you.
  • When people change their profile photos to support social justice - I started writing and had 3 paragraphs on this, so I'll elaborate tomorrow, but if this really cooks your grits, I'm laughing at how pathetic you are. You, yes you.  
  • Celebrity Deaths - When people get mad at other people for mourning celebrities. Man, somebody died. You mad that I'm sad about it. I'm laughing at your high levels of wackiness. Yes, I am.
  • ROYAL BABY NEWS!!! Now you ALREADY know, I am all about the royal baby. The royal wedding and all of its corresponding fascinators warmed my wedding loving soul. So, of course, when Kate came out looking fabulous, rocking heels I loved every ounce of it. She knew what she signed up for. We're acting like they deserve privacy. No ma'am. You should have married a Comcast man (#nodiss) if you wanted privacy. Plus babies are awesome.
In a couple of days I'm going to give you a list of new that I don't give a damn about and you can laugh back at me.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Discussing Pain

Three weeks after the fact, I finally sat down to watch this in its entirety. I am proud to have a President who recognizes the pain that people feel on a racially divided topic and was brave enough to step up and say something.

His bravado is clearly coming out of the fact that this is his second term and he says what he wants (He wasn't pro-gay married during his first term for the same political reasons).

However, there is a time and place for everything and I am happy that he chose this time to speak up. We need that.



I'm still not ready to watch Fruitvale Station, but also inspired that the stories of black men who have been wrongfully killed and seen no justice for it are being told. Knowing it happened is perhaps the first step in preventing it from happening again.

For those of you who refuse to take the 17 minutes to watch, here are the 4 things he said we could do:

1. Implement police training on the local and state levels to gather data and challenge law enforcement to think about how/why they made a stop. This type of training will allow them to be better at their jobs and build trust in communities where there is no trust now.

2. Take a look at local laws. He said if Trayvon Martin was of age and armed, would he have been able to stand his ground against Mr. Zimmerman because he felt threatened. He said if the answer to that question is at least

3. I honestly have no idea what the third thing was. Y'all should watch the video.

4. Do some soul searching. Try to understand the differences in people, why they feel the way they feel, expect the best not the worst, don't act like we don't have a long history of violence in this country and try to ignore that, etc.