Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goals for 2008 Recap

Here's a look back on what were my goals for 2008 and how well I did or didn't do.

1. Increase my 401K contributions - did not happen

Given the state of the stock market I decided to just continuing contribution 6% of my salary and not increase it to 10%. My Personal Rate of Return from 01/01/2008 to 12/31/2008 is -45.3%. I don't have money to lose like that so I'm just going to keep steady but increasing my contributions is just not a good option. I'll stick to maxing out the company match

2. Rainy Day Fund - took a serious hit
I had one too many rainy days so the growth of my rainy day fund took a serious hit. I went through several months of problems with my house in Atlanta where I had to go through several evictions so I had to use my rainy day fund to pay the mortgage. I'm hoping that now I have a stable, reliable tenant in my home I can resume building my rainy day fund.

3. Pay Down Debt - on track but didn't beat the deadline
I wanted to have my debt consolidation loan paid off by December 2008 but again the issues with my home in Atlanta prevented me from doing this. But I'm not discouraged. It will be paid off by September 2009, the original end of the loan date. Maybe I will be able to pay this off a few months sooner than 9/09 but again I'm not disappointed or discouraged. I know when the end is near and I can even circle the calendar on my date. Beating the deadline is just part of me being Type-A.

I changed jobs in January from Sports Illustrated to InStyle but career goals remained the same.

1. Enroll in management classes and training programs - I did it

I actually was selected for a management training program through my company, Time Inc. I took one class in the series but because of financial concerns the classes have been put on hold. I'm going to look in to other management training programs outside of the company.

2. Classes, classes and more classes - took more Mediabistro classes but not ones outside of MB
I took a lot of classes through And as long as I keep working there I hope to take more. I didn't end up taking the writing class at the New School but maybe I can enroll some time in 2009.

3. Take control of my workaholism - 50% achieved
This is probably not the time to be quitting gigs, even if they are part-time. But earlier this summer I finally quit the speed dating job and it was such a huge relief. I had to work so hard for the money I made and I honestly don't miss it. I just adjusted my spending. I've transitioned at Mediabistro in to teaching online classes. I hope to do more of that in 2009. But as a result of the economy my hours as a night assistant have been cut in half. I am contemplating quitting the night assistant position to focus on the teaching. But we'll see about that because I am such a workaholic I always have to fill my time with money making opportunities.

4. Get Published - I didn't even try
I have resumed blogging on a more regular basis but I gave up completely on trying to write and get published. The industry is shrinking so I'll leave the freelancing to those who are passionate about it and have the time to focus towards doing a good job at it.


1. Get back in shape - did not achieve
Santa got me a Wii for Christmas so now I don't have to spend money on a wasted gym membership. So I didn't exercise much in 2008 but I know I will in 2009.

2. Keep on cooking - I did but I know I can do even more
I am proud of how much cooking I did this year. It was a heck of a lot more than in 2007. So I'm happy with my progress on this and I want to do even more cooking in 2009.

3. Read more books - did not happen
In 2007 I read 15 books and in 2008 I thought I could fit in 30 books. But I read the exact same number as the year before. For me it's hard to balance reading the newspaper every day with reading books. Then throw in all the free magazines I get from my job and it gets overwhelming. So I read a lot but I didn't read all the books I intended to read. I'm going to try again in 2009.

If I had to give myself a grade for how I progressed on my goals in 2008 I would give myself a "C." I made progress on some things but I know me and I know I can do better and I can do more.

What resolutions/goals did you have for 2008? Did you achieve them? Check back tomorrow for my goals for 2009.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Staycation & New Year's Eve

I'm doing my first staycation and I just can't seem to relax. I made a list of all the things I want to accomplish while I'm home for a week. Some of the things on the list are fun like finish reading a book and watch some movies. But the rest is about getting organized for the new year. I'm trying to clean, organize and purge. Gotta make room in my life for new things to enter.

Also I have NO PLANS for New Year's Eve. I know that is pretty shocking to everyone because I usually do it big. But I have had such a good year I really think I'm just going to stay home. Enjoy the fact that I'm happy and healthy. At home I have all the comforts I need from food and drinks to the tv and radio.

As this year has proven nothing is guaranteed. Job security is just not what it used to be. I have no idea if I will still have the job I currently have in 2009. Plus I have a problem spending $175 for a place I can normally get in for free or for $10 or $20. Given the current state of the economy I just can't justify the expense.

Anyone else off this week? What do you have planned? What are you doing for New Year's Eve?

Monday, December 29, 2008

All That Ails Me

I'm only 28 years old but my health and fitness is a big concern for me.

I have scoliosis, a medical condition in which a person's spine is curved from side to side, and may also be rotated. I also have serious muscle spasms. Stress builds up in the muscles in my shoulders and back. So as a result of these two conditions I see a chiropractor and physical therapist twice a week. But don't feel too bad for me. Words can't describe the relief I feel when I get my bones adjusted. And I get a medical massage that is covered by insurance. I just have to make my insurance co-payment. Do you know anywhere else you can get a great 30 minute massage for $15?

I also have had allergies and asthma for most of my life. I'm tired of suffering because of my allergies and asthma. So I'm doing something about it. I now get an allergy shot twice a week. I have to get the shots for 4-6 months but after this initial treatment I'll only have to go once every 6-8 weeks. It is worth it to me so I won't get sick when I go over my friends apartments that have pets. I won't have to avoid cut grass anymore.

But my biggest concern is doctor's fatigue. Doctor's fatigue is when I reach a point that I get so tired of going to the doctor that I miss appointments and stop making new appointments.

In 2009 I'm really going to try to focus on my health and fitness. I'm getting near the end of my 20's and it's only down hill from here so I have to get on top of this now.

What are you doing about your health and fitness? What do you plan to do differently in the New Year?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Kicking the Coke Habit

Several times I have blogged about My Coke Rewards habit. I'm down to my last caps and I think I can kick the habit for good.

I knew my addiction was a problem when I would see a coke cap in a garbage can. I would look around, look around if no one would see me, I would take the cap and get to the nearest sink to wash the cap (and of course my hands). It used to actually bother me to think about all the coke caps that get wasted every day.

But I can actually thank Delta for me finally deciding that it's just not worth it to collect and enter codes anymore. I initially joined to get Skymiles to feed another one of my addictions, travel. But Delta stopped offering miles about a year ago. And I kept collecting in the hopes they would come back but they haven't. So I'm entering my last codes. I have 2 accounts so if I enter 20 codes a day I can be done with this by the new year.

Even after I finish entering I'm not sure what I'll spend my points on because the rewards aren't quite as rewarding as travel miles. My top options are:
- $20 Omaha Steaks Gift Card (I LOVE Food)
- 30 free 4X6 prints from Snapfish (I always take and upload photos but prints are becoming a lost art.)
- Donation to the USO (100 coke points can equal a $5 donation to support our troops)
- Rent one blockbuster movie and get one for free (help to supplement my dvd watching between Netflixs shipments)
- One month membership to Rhapsody Unlimited (normally you only get about 30 listens free a month and I can go through that in a day)

Coke may have extended the program for another year but I'm hoping after 12/31 I won't be collecting and entering points to the level that I do now. To all those who supported my addiction, it was appreciated. And if you still save points for me, I won't be mad at you :)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thank You Santa

Dear Santa,

I don't know how I can ever thank you, Santa, for the joy and happiness you gave to me today. I woke up this morning to find a Wii under my Christmas tree. I guess my reasoning for wanting one must have been pretty convincing. This weekend I'm going to try and find/buy a Wii Fit. How can I ever thank you for encouraging my health and fitness? Thank you for getting me started on a path to a better me.

Now you'll have to excuse me. It's my turn to play tennis. I only have one remote so the family is taking turns.

I love you Santa,

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Lexus Lover

This time of year the car dealers and manufacturers play the best, most tempting car commercials. And with the lowest grade cas costing $1.49 a gallon it is soooo tempting to go out and buy or lease a car.

Every year I always see the Lexus commericials with the big red bow on top of the cars. I would probably go in to hysterics if someone ever bought me a Lexus. My first choice is the Lexus LS 460, the car that can park itself. But I would probably go all out and buy the hybrid version, the Lexus LS 600h. I am one of those people that will carry newspapers, magazines, empty plastic bottles and empty cans around in my bag until I can find a proper place to recycle them. I also live in NYC so I would probably want a vehicle with some height to it. So if I wasn't buying a Chevy Tahoe hybrid I'd get a Lexus RX Hybrid. And I don't need a new car, these all come as certified used cars.

I know, I know...Lexus are just souped up Toyota's but I love them. And as much as the cost of cars and the cost of gas comes down there are 2 very strong reasons for why I'm not buying a car:
1. I live in NYC, I don't really need the car I have it's just nice to have it.
2. I don't want a car payment or higher insurance payment. My car is paid in full and even though she is old she still runs well and I plan on riding her until the wheels fall off.

Do the car commercials have you dreaming of a new car for Christmas? How much does the cost of gas effect your car purchasing?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

As Seen on TV

I remember when the George Foreman grill started out as an infomercial. I was in college and I remember I got sucked in to it. I would watch the infomercial over and over and over. I finally bought a Foreman grill when it hit stores. And sadly I now own 3 of them, 1 of them is still in the box.

But every now and then there is an infomercial that truly catches my attention and stays on my brain. I seriously contemplate buying these products. I even bookmark the websites for them and every so often I'll go back and look at them and reconsider if I really want them.

Here are the top 3 "As Seen on TV" items I am considering buying.

1. Hip Hop Abs
I LOVE to dance and I LOVE to dance Hip Hop so this infomercial gets me every time. I won't even embarrass myself by telling you how many times I have gone back to the website and contemplated buying. I already dance around in my living room. Why not dance around to a structured routine/workout?

2. The Bender Ball
I work so much that I just don't have time to go to a gym. And I HATE doing situps because they hurt my lower back. But the bender ball makes it look so comfortable. Notice I said comfortable, not easy. I even tried putting a pillow under my lower back. It helped a little with the pain but it wasn't helping me with the effectiveness. This might just be worth the $20.

3. Snuggie Blanket
I was interested in this one because I'm always sitting on my couch with a blanket on my legs. But it's hard to type on my computer with a blanket around my arms. The Snuggie is the blanket with sleeves. My boy just told me to wear a sweatshirt, which I do, but I'm a sucker for fleece. What really got me was that I could get 2 for the price of 1 so I would keep 1 and give my Mom 1.

Speaking of my Mom she is also a sucker for "As Seen on TV" infomercials. She waits until a product hits the stores but when she sees it, if the infomercial really got her she will buy it. Her latest purchase, Aqua Globes. She like her Aqua Globes so much that she bought me Aqua Globes too.

What infomericials have caught your attention? Have you ever ordered on the phone or online from an infomercial? Have you ever bought something you saw in an infomercial once it was sold in stores?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Gift Giving

I'm so thankful that I don't get caught up in holiday gift giving. I don't give presents, for the most part, at Christmas to my family because I give to them all year long. In this economy it's not worth it to me to put myself in to debt just for the fanfare of one day.

This year my niece wanted to come to New Jersey to visit during her winter break and my Mom really wanted to have her visit. So I told them both that the purchase of the plane ticket would be my mutual present to both.

But for the most part I don't stress about buying everyone presents. Christmas is only one day out of the year and I seriously give all year long. When someone asks for $20, buy me this, get me that, etc., etc. I just don't believe in stressing myself out for one day.

Now there are exceptions to every rule. I MIGHT buy my new great niece a present but then again she is only a few months old so she's not old enough to appreciate any gifts. I would rather just spend some quality time with my family eating, talking, laughing and watching movies. That's a happy holiday to me. No one has to spend a lot of money or go broke or stress out or feel guilty about not being able to buy someone else a present.

How are you handling holiday gift giving this year? Is the current economic state making you approach the holiday differently?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Times Square Billboard

My face graced a billboard in Times Square. On Saturday December 13, 2008 at 8:17pm my photo was displayed on the Time magazine promotional billboard for the pending Person of the Year issue.

Your picture can be on the billboard too. Just upload your photo at this website and they will send you an email when your photo actually displays in Times Square.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shopping Temptations

I think the stores and my credit cards are in cahoots to keep me in debt.

The stores are having incredible sales right now. 20% off everything...25% off everything...40% off your entire purchase. The ads in the newspaper are very tempting especially when some places got hip to the fact that it's better if you DON'T ask people to bring in a coupon and you just offer them the discount off top.

And then to make matters worse almost every single one of the credit cards I have has increased my credit limit. Just as I've been working to get out of credit card debt they go and raise my limit. Damn them both. I'm NOT falling for it.

I don't even walk past stores. Not like walking past a Macy's would tempt me to go in but you won't catch me in shopping districts. And I'm using the additional credit limits to consolidate debt and pay less interest overall. I'm sure that's not what the credit cards intended when they upped my limit but that is MY plan.

So the stores and credit cards will not break me before Christmas BUT I'm not sure I'll be able to resist the after Christmas sales when they realize they haven't sold enough and are trying to get people to shop as much as possible before January 1.

Am I the only one feeling tempted? Have you given in to the temptations? If not, how are you holding out?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

2009 Shopping List/Wish List

Dear Santa,
I don't ask for a lot but what I do ask for I usually really really want. So please evaluate my list and the reasoning for each items and judge accordingly.
A Bad Girl Gone Good ;P

- Wii and Wii Fit
I haven't owned a gaming console since my Ninendo with the running pad and the gun to play duck hunt and clay fighting. It's really a case of me wanting a Wii fit and I can't buy a Wii fit without having a Wii. I think a Wii/Wii Fit would be of more value and use to me than a gym membership. I can workout at home any time I want, what could beat that.

- Nintendo DS
They had me at the commercial for the Personal Trainer: Cooking game. I don't even want to call it a game because anything that makes cooking easier for me to do is more than child's play.

- Earrings
But specifically I want a pair (or two) of Harry Mason earrings. I haven't owned a pair since my trip to San Francisco back in February 2006. I loved the earrings and I had them for awhile but when you lose one there is no point in wearing the other.

- Mac Computer
If I had to (or could afford) to buy another notebook it would be a MacBook Pro with the 15 inch screen. My Dell notebook has a 17 inch screen. If I had to (or could afford) to buy another desktop it would be a Mac Pro. I'm tempted by the iMac but the Apple store is always so ridiculous I haven't had a chance to go to the store and really compare for myself. All I know is I need quality computers that can handle serious web production

- Everything else
These are the things that I keep putting on my list so no need to go in to detail again....just reference previous lists.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008 Shopping List Recap

It's that time again for me to review the shopping/wish list I created for last year and see what I got, what I didn't and what will remain on the list. It always amazes me when I look back on it because I don't actually go back to reference the list during the year.

- New Computer(s)
I bought myself a new Dell laptop BUT I really want a Macbook Pro or a Mac desktop so this may go back on the 2008 list.

- Fry Daddy
Still haven't gotten it...still burning the hell out of myself when I cook.

- Watch
I rely on my 2 cell phones to know what time it is so I may have to take this one of the list.

- Earrings
It's ridiculous how I lose earrings. So on the 2008 list this will go.

- Sex and the City: The Complete Series (Collector's Giftset)
Still haven't bought it. Sadly this one has been on my list since the show ended.

- Sex and the City Essentials
Hasn't been on the list as long but I still want it and I still don't have it..

- Wine
I bought a significantly larger amount of wine this year than in years past. This will probably remain on the list.

- Harry Potter Boxset Books 1-7 (Hardcover)
I got this as a birthday present (thanks jerk face, you know who you are).

- Victoria's Secret gift card
No gift card but that didn't stop me from shopping at Vicky's.

I ALWAYS want this and I always get this. Several people took me out to eat this year.

- TIVO with recordable DVR
I still don't have it. I need to just break down and order a DVR from my cable company.

- Pearls
Still haven't gotten this but I'm thinking about using my Citicard Points to get a set.

- African American History For Dummies
I'm a member of and this is on my wish list so whenever it becomes available it will be mailed to me.

Check back tomorrow for my 2009 wish list.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Color of My Money

I've taken a lot of online surveys and quizzes for fun but this one my girlfriend found was pretty damn accurate:
It's basically a quiz that determines what careers are best for you based on the colors you prefer to look at - but not necessarily the colors you prefer to wear or decorate with.

When people ask me what would I have become if I didn't become a journalist I ALWAYS say librarian and people laugh cause whatever they think of when they think of a librarian, they can't picture me as that. But this survey agreed with what I have been saying all along. Librarian would have been a great career choice for me.

See my results below and take the quiz for yourself.
  • Best Occupational Category

    You're a CREATOR

    Key Words:
    Nonconforming, Impulsive, Expressive, Romantic, Intuitive, Sensitive, and Emotional

    These original types place a high value on aesthetic qualities and have a great need for self-expression. They enjoy working independently, being creative, using their imagination, and constantly learning something new. Fields of interest are art, drama, music, and writing or places where they can express, assemble, or implement creative ideas.

    Suggested careers are Advertising Executive, Architect, Web Designer, Creative Director, Public Relations, Fine or Commercial Artist, Interior Decorator, Lawyer, Librarian, Musician, Reporter, Art Teacher, Broadcaster, Technical Writer, English Teacher, Architect, Photographer, Medical Illustrator, Corporate Trainer, Author, Editor, Landscape Architect, Exhibit Builder, and Package Designer.

    Consider workplaces where you can create and improve beauty and aesthetic qualities. Unstructured, flexible organizations that allow self-expression work best with your free-spirited nature.

    Suggested Creator workplaces are advertising, public relations, and interior decorating firms; artistic studios, theaters and concert halls; institutions that teach crafts, universities, music, and dance schools. Other workplaces to consider are art institutes, museums, libraries, and galleries.

  • 2nd Best Occupational Category

    You're a PERSUADER

    Key Words: Witty, Competitive, Sociable, Talkative, Ambitious, Argumentative, and Aggressive

    These enterprising types sell, persuade, and lead others. Positions of leadership, power, and status are usually their ultimate goal. Persuasive people like to take financial and interpersonal risks and to participate in competitive activities. They enjoy working with others inside organizations to accomplish goals and achieve economic success.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Vegas Curse

Now that I'm done gushing about Vegas I have to admit I have a Vegas curse. The curse is that EVERY TIME, without fail, that I go to Vegas SOMETHING happens in terms of travel either on my way there or on my way back. So much has happened you would think it would make me stop going back to Vegas...but I keep going back.

Here are a few examples of my travel disasters:

December 2008 - I get to the airport to go and they tell me I never bought my ticket I only reserved it. So Delta, why did you hold a ticket for me for almost 2 months because that is how far in advance I supposedly "ordered" it? Then I get to Vegas and they "lose" my bag. Translation: my bag didn't make my connection and was coming in on a later flight. So why am I paying you money to get my bag there when I arrive and you get it there after I arrive? Then on the way back why do I have to sit in the airport for 3 hours? You tell me I can't get on a plane seperate from my bag YET my bag arrived back in NYC before I did.

September 2008 - I literally passed out on the plane. I was fast asleep and I felt my blood pressure dropping, blood rushing to my feet and I was nautious. I try to get up to go to the bathroom and I fall out in my seat. I still haven't been able to explain how that happened.

August 2007 - It's NYC, you think no matter what the weather is, the subways always run. WRONG!!! There was a HUGE rainstorm that flooded the subway. But I wasn't worried I take the bus to the airport, not the subways. Well the subways were so packed I almost missed my flight. I literally stopped a random guy at a stop light and said I would pay him if he would take me to the airport. At first he thought I was a cop, when I convinced him I was desperate to make my flight, he gave me a rid.

February 2007 - the journey to Las Vegas was so outrageous I had to do a blog entry about it.

I could go on and on and on about the travel disasters that have happened to me in regards to my trips to Las Vegas. Should I let my travel mishaps keep me from going back to Las Vegas in 2010?

What is your worst travel nightmare?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Home for the Holidays

I love to travel. Even my boss mentioned that I'm always going somewhere. (Shut up anyone who is thinking, "Yeah, going insane.") But I'm actually looking forward to staying home for the holidays.

My holiday break doesn't officially begin until December 24th BUT the majority of my team at work goes on vacation Friday December 19th. So I'm looking forward to the 19th when everything at work will slow down.

So far it looks like my Mom and some of my family are going to come over Christmas Eve and we are going to cook Christmas dinner. Then my niece is flying in from Ohio X-mas night so we will either scoop her up at the airport and come back to NYC or hang out in NJ.

But I'm really looking forward to sleeping late, staying in my apt, maybe not taking a shower for a day or two as I lamp on my couch watching football (college bowl games) and dvd's....lots of reruns and marathons on TV, getting to finish one of the many books that I'm midway through. I also want to do some purging. It's the end of the year, out with the old, in with the new so time to clean house (physcially and metaphorically).

What do you have planned for the holidays?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Best Vacation EVER!!!

Sorry for the late blog folks. I thought I had banked a few blogs in anticipation of my vacation and that I knew I would be too tired to blog.

I won't give a full fledged recap (to protect the person I went on this trip with) but I will hit the highlights of why this trip qualifies for one of the best vacations I have ever taken.

1. As always, we stayed in a great condo. I *heart* timeshare condos for vacation lodging.

2. We found a casino whose sports book pays on ties for parlays. They also do 6, 6.5 and 7 point teasers (You gotta be in to sports gambling to understand the significance of that.) I will be going back there to gamble.

3. We went indoor skydiving. I loved it so much I want to go skydiving for real in some place exotic like Costa Rica.

4. I did things and went places I had never done or gone before on all my previous trips to Las Vegas.

5. I took my first helicopter over Hoover Dam. And my travel buddy got to fly the helicopter. If he ever gives me his permission I will post the pictures.

I could list 20 highlights...easy...but I'll keep it short and simple to just 5.

As always I left my Vegas vacation happy and I'm already longing to go back. But I'm looking forward to 2010 in Las Vegas. It will be like a brand new city to me with all the changes coming. They are building new casinos, a new indoor water park and an indoor ski heard me, indoor skiing in the middle of the desert.

So I'm going to list 5 things I would like to do when I go back to Las Vegas in 2010...yes I said 2010 not 2009.

1. See O and/or La Reve.

2. Visit the Grand Canyon.

3. Visit the new indoor water park.

4. Check out the new City Center.

5. Go to a club and a restaurant that I have never been to before...there are plenty of options for that in Vegas.

What's your best vacation?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Cheese Keeps on Moving

At my job there seems to be a new announcement/change every week.

Last week in October we were warned by an email from Ann Moore that the layoff axe was going to drop. For the next two weeks we got memo's of senior people choosing to "retire." Two weeks before Thanksgiving the layoffs officially started. So the next week was all about transition people's assignments to other people and/or figuring out what tasks were no longer essential. The week of Thanksgiving was short and bitter sweet. It was the last days for those that were laid off. The week after Thanksgiving was hectic as we adjusted to new responsibilities and missing the people that were once there. In my case, I also got the curve ball that we were moving offices, again. We were being integrated in to the magazine so now the magazine and website are all on one floor.

So now my big adjustment is that my new office is a cave or at least that is what I have nicknamed it. I used to have an office with 2 big windows. Mind you I was always facing my computer but it was nice to be able to do a weather or time check every now and then. Now I have an inside office with no window and it's dark. We have these sensor lights and because I make such slight movements when I'm at my computer it ALWAYS shuts off on me. So just imagine sitting in a windowless office at your computer and suddenly the lights go out. My computer monitor thus serves as a flashlight.

It's no secret that I HATE my new office. I'm not claustrophobic but sitting in a cave for 8+ hours is depressing. On the brighter side of things, at least I still have a job. But I wish I could work from home more. A lot of natural light floods my office in my apt. Oh well, it is what it is. The cheese has moved so I'm moving with it.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Travel Nightmare

My worst nightmare actually came true...but not for me.

My worst nightmare is to go on vacation and come back to find out that I don't have a job or that my home has been burned down or someone very close to me has died. Well one of these 3 things did actually happen to one of my friends.

One of my boys, who happens to love Vegas as much as I do, went on vacation and came back and was laid off from his job. He was out in LA and Las Vegas for Thanksgiving. Vegas is a good time and you can really spend some loot, not just gambling. But you don't really think about that when you go on a trip cause you know you can always make more money when you go home. That is unless you get laid off. And that is exactly what happened to him.

As much as I travel that is a HUGE fear for me. Because when I go on vacation I spend money. Mind you I always have a budget BUT if I blow my budget a little it shouldn't be that big of a deal right? WRONG. In this current economic state you just never know.

Today is my first day back from vacation so let's hope I still have my job AND that I can get in to my office (that's another blog for tomorrow).

Friday, December 05, 2008

Computer Love

Has anyone ever asked you to name one thing you can't live without? Sadly, for me, I can't live without my computer connected to the internet. A computer without an internet connection is just a box. It's the internet that makes it come alive and useful.

I can live without a phone...just chat on AIM or G-chat.
I can live without a TV...just watch TV on my computer.
I can live without a DVD Player...just watch movies on my computer.
I can live without a radio...just listen to music on my computer.
I can live without books, newspapers and magazines...just read on my computer.
I can live without physical stores...just shop on my computer.
I can live without going to a restaurant...just order food on my computer.

So when I go away and I don't have my computer I can still get all my emails on my phone. But it's not quite as comfortable typing an email on my Blackberry as it is on my computer. After about 2 days of not having a computer I begin to go through withdrawal.

One of my boys has been without a computer at home for a few months now. I would go crazy with frustration. If my computer was to break today I'd have to order a computer ASAP. Otherwise I would spend additional hours at work because I couldn't go home and be online.

I love my computer. It's the first thing I get on in the morning and the last thing I'm on before I go to sleep. I cannot live without my computer.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bye Bye Vegas

I'm getting ready for my last vacation of the year. This one has special significance because this is also my Farewell to Vegas trip. For those who don't know I'm taking a break from Vegas for 2009. There is a pool for when/if I will break and fly to my beloved city in 2009 (if anyone is interested in placing a bet).

As with every Vegas trip I'm going to try and do a few things I have never done before in addition to some of my favorites. I really want this trip to be memorable since I know that I won't be back to Vegas for 12 months or even longer. I hope I don't cry when I have to get back on the plane and fly to NYC. Hopefully I'll be too happy, content and tired and the vision of Vegas show girls can dance in my head as I travel back east.

Given the economy this might actually be my last vacation for awhile. For 2009 the only planned trips I have is Obama's inauguration (which doesn't count) and my girlfriend's wedding in Atlanta. The inauguration doesn't count because D.C. is a short drive away and I'm staying with my sister. Atlanta is a trip because I have to get a flight, hotel room and rental car. So cost is the determining factor on what I call a trip/vacation.

I thought about trying to take a year off from traveling. Literally not going on any trips that involve flying or driving for more than 2 hours. But even I know travel is the one thing I can't give up.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Say Cheese

I've been reading and re-reading "Who Moved My Cheese?" A lot has been going on personally and professionally and the simple parable of the book keeps my spirits up and serves as a reminder. So I wanted to post the books reminders on my blog because I'm sure I'm not the only one that has to be reminded that the cheese (whatever your cheese is) will move and you have to be willing to move with it.
Change Happens
They Keep Moving The Cheese

Anticipate Change
Get Ready For The Cheese To Move

Monitor Change
Smell The Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old

Adapt To Change Quickly
The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, The Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese

Move With The Cheese

Enjoy Change!
Savor The Adventure And Enjoy The Taste Of New Cheese!

Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again & Again
They Keep Moving The Cheese.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

School's In

I've worked many different side hustles but I'm about to embark on one that puts my years of experience to use. A week from now I'll start teaching an online course, "Writing and Editing for the Web." People ask me all the time for advice on how to break in to the web, especially in today's job market. I think my course will be a good overview/introduction/starting point. At the end of my class a person will have a blog (if they don't have one), an improved blog (if they do have one) and a written piece ready for submission to a website. Best of all they will have a better understanding of the online industry.

So if you know anyone who might be interested in taking my class, send them the link. If my class doesn't fit their needs, I'm sure they can find others also offered by MediaBistro.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Spelling Bee

Nothing major in this post I just wanted to share a special memory.

So one Saturday night I was at home and Akeelah and the Bee was on Lifetime. That movie holds a special place in my heart because it provokes several good memories.

I saw the movie in Seattle with one of my mentors Reggie Stuart. We were in Seattle for the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) convention. So we are in the theater watching previews and the fire alarm goes off. They made us evacuate the building. They didn't know when we could go back in to the movie theater. So what did we do? We walked over to Starbucks (there is one on every corner in Seattle) and got a hot drink. Hopefully we could see the movie when we finished. Patience is a virtue that everyone knows I lack but I was with Reggie so I was good. We enjoyed our hot beverages and walked back over to the theater. We got to see the movie (it was worth the wait) and we each got 10 passes to see movies for free at any AMC theater. Of course I was sitting in the theater crying...I'm a sucker for a touching story. The movie makes me think of my time in Seattle and especially getting to spend some quality time with one of my mentors. That will always be one of my most special memories of Reggie.

The movie also makes me think of a guy I used to date. Back in December of 2005 I was preparing to leave Atlanta for a job at the New York Times. At the last minute I decided to spend New Year's Eve in NYC and bring some of my stuff home. I had a great New Year's Eve but New Year's Day was pretty cool too. I spent the day watching reruns of previous Scripps National Spelling Bees with the guy I was dating at the time. I know it sounds nerdy but we had such a good time. Too bad I'm not a good speller and thanks to technology I don't have to be. But I can appreciate the people who are.

And lastly this movie actually makes me think about another movie and another guy. I have never done a New York Times crossword puzzle but being the nerd that I am I can appreciate a movie about it and the people who are obsessed with it. Wordplay is a great documentary and because it's about words the movie Akeelah the Bee makes me think about it. My best memory associated with the movie is spending a Sunday morning cuddled in the bed with a guy I was dating. We had slept in and when we woke up I made breakfast. We ate breakfast in bed and watched Wordplay. I thought he would think I was a corny nerd but turns out he liked the movie and he was a nerd too.

I like movies that provoke feel good memories. So thanks Lifetime for the reminder.