Friday, January 30, 2009

Fantasy Football: Need or Want

I watched the Suze Orman webinar on and the topic of fantasy football came up. Is it a need or a want? Suze says it's a want. I say's a need.

Prior to my current job, I worked in sports. When I worked in sports I felt that participating in fantasy football was a requirement of the job. How could I cover football if I didn't understand the users bond/connection/interaction with the sport? All my sports writer friends would agree.

Personally I also felt that how I managed my fantasy football team was a demonstration of my knowledge of the sport and could be a reflection/determination of my skill level at doing my job. So at that point it wasn't just a game it was a training ground/point of approval for myself and to my coworkers.

Suze, people who work in sports or related to sports Fantasy Football is a need. So if we have to pay for a league it's an investment in what we do. I wasn't bold enough to write it off as a business expense but I possibly could have.

So for the guy on the show that said Fantasy Football was a need for him even though he doesn't work in sports or a sports related field I agree. Fantasy Football is a way of networking and connecting with others. I can't tell you how many connections I have been able to make by talking about my fantasy football team with someone else who also plays. Business deals are made on the golf course so why can't people advance their careers through their fantasy game play?

I hardly ever disagree with Suze but when it comes to Fantasy Football...she is wrong, it's a need. It can also be a want. But I don't see it as a or situation but an and situation.

Do you agree with me or do you agree with Suze? Is Fantasy Football a need or a want?

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Maybe it's the weather but I have turned in to a hibernating bear. Every day all I want to do is go home, play with my Wii and watch a movie or one of my favorite TV shows or read. How boring is that?

Or maybe I'm just subconsciously trying to extend my staycation. I loved it...every day just doing what I wanted to do. It's probably the most relaxed I have been in a long time. Thoughts of work would creep in and I would spend an hour or two doing something productive for my job. But then I would snap right back in to staycation mode because I had a movie to watch, a book to read, my Wii to play (notice how much I really love my Wii).

I think it's a combination of the weather and the economy. The thought of me doing anything that would involve spending money makes me want to recalculate my budget. I really think it's the fact that my first trip of the year was an expensive one...the Inauguration in D.C.

Is something wrong with me? Is anyone else feeling this way? Is this just normal winter blues?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

To Do Lists

I'm ALWAYS making lists...for EVERYTHING. When I put something on paper it's like releasing it from my head so I don't have to remember it. It's written down so when I read it I'll be reminded.

I make a work to do list and a personal to do list everyday. I keep a running grocery shopping list. I'm always checking and readjusting my Netflix list. And then I always have random lists from when I remember something on the subway ride to anywhere or when I'm driving in the car. I make lists for my lists. Like if there is an assignment on my job to do list I'll make another list of all the things that have to be done for that entire task to be complete.

Sometimes I do get overwhelmed by all my lists. Especially if I lose one of my sublists. I'll give you an example. On my personal to do list I might have "write future blog entries." So another list I'll make will be topics/ideas that I want to blog about. There are times I have misplaced the list. So let's say I lose the blog topics list I get in to a funk and experience writers block. It can take me twice as long to try and remember what topics/ideas I originally came up with. I might decide to just search for the list because that might take less time. To date there isn't a list or sublist I haven't been able to find. I just wish I never lost them in the first place.

I could not survive without my to do lists. Am I the only one who relies on lists?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Gratitude Adjustment

I had to steal this topic from my girl Ty. I'm so Type-A and always planning ahead that I don't always appreciate the here and now. My girlfriend's note reminded me that I need to do a better job of enjoying now and being thankful for what I have every day.

Here are my gratitude adjustments:

- No matter how stressed or tired I am I will be thankful that I am employed. There are so many that aren't and we all are in jeopardy of losing our jobs. Job security just doesn't exist anymore.

- I will make the most of my free time and try to do a better job of relaxing.

- I will spend more time with my Mom. I don't have a lot of free time but I need to do a better job of spending quality time with my Mom. Going to get my mail once to twice a month does not qualify as quality time.

Overall I just want to be thankful more and complain less. Times are tough but they could always be worse so I want to appreciate life for what it is not what I wish it could be.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Meet to Eat

It's time again for that wonderful New York City tradition -- Restaurant Week! Twice a year, in the winter and summer, there is a unique opportunity to experience some of New York City's finest restaurants for a fraction of the usual price.

Some of Manhattan's trendiest and best restaurants offer three-course lunches for $24.07 (is a cute play on 24/7) and three-course dinners for $35.00 (beverage, tax and gratuity not included). Restaurant Week is a great opportunity to try out a restaurant that may usually be out of your budget, or test some new restaurants with a little less financial risk.

But I love Restaurant Week not only for the food but for the fellowship. I always make a point to schedule as many Restaurant Week meals as I can because it's a good, not so expensive, excuse to get together. There are some people I literally only see in person during Restaurant Week. The rest of the year we talk online and keep up through Facebook. I know that sounds sad but it's true...the life of busy New Yorkers. Good food and good friends, what could be better than that?

This year I have RSVP's at Tao, City Lobster and Steakhouse, Kobe Club, The Water Club and Victor's Cafe. A week of feasting...I...LUV...IT!!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ways to Save

Last week I talked about the declaration of financial independence, a 10-point plan to help you (and me) take control of y(our) finances. So I decided I should start off with a list of a few ways to save and see what else my friends could come up with.

1. No more lattes
Everyone knows this one. Instead of buying Starbucks make your own coffee at home or get it at the office for free...if you have to buy, go to McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts. I heard their coffees can taste better as well.

2. Bring lunch to work
Last year I picked a month and every day I brought lunch to work. I plan on doing that more regularly this year.

3. Reading is fundamental.
If anyone is like me, I LOVE to read books and there are plenty of places that you can get books for free or the Library. I'm also a member of so I swap the books I have for books that I would like to have. Keeps my home library fresh and in constant rotation. And a night at home reading a book is a lot cheaper than going out.

4. Stop getting a tax refund
This year I'm going to increase my withholdings so less money is taken out of my paycheck. I know everyone looks forward to the refund check but just think about what you could have done with that money if you had it all year long.

5. Raise your insurance deductible
The higher your deductible the lower your annual premium.

6. Cell phone vs. home phone
Most of my friends no longer have home phones. They rely completely on their cell phones. If you are one of the few people who still have a home phone, consider getting rid of it. It will save you $30 to $50 a month.

7. Review your bank statements
It's rare but you may find that your bank made a mistake or a debit/credit card purchase you made with your bank card was overcharged.

8. Balance your checkbook
I know this might sound basic but I have so many friends that don't balance their checkbooks. If more people did that they might see they have more money than they realize or maybe even less than they realized but it will save them from getting another overdraft fee.

9. Wait an extra week to get your hair done
I know a lot of women and men get their hair done or cut once every two weeks. So wait an extra week or two and you can cut out a few extra appointments a year. I now get my hair done once a month and wash it/style it myself between appointments.

10. Wait an extra week to get your nails done
I know some of you have acrylic nails so when it's time for a refill you have to go but for the all natural crowd you don't have to get a pedicure/manicure every week or even every two weeks. Try only going once a month and taking care of your nails yourself.

11. Drink economically
This can be a hard one if you live in NYC. But I have to take a page out of my girl Brooke's playbook. I COMPLETELY forgot I had a flask until I saw her pull out her mini bar bottles when we were out. I thought that was so smart. If I brought my flask I could just order a cheaper mixer (soda, cranberry juice, whatever) and add my own alcohol. This might sound rock bottom cheap but I think it's just being socially economical.

12. Netflix nights
I cannot stop singing the praises of Netflix. I have been a member for years and it's always cheap/guaranteed entertainment. I spend $9.74 a month on my membership and end up watching about 4-6 movies a month (depending on how quickly I watch and return). You cannot beat $10 a month on entertainment.

13. Cook and Freeze
It's very hard to cook for just one person. But I don't worry about it anymore because I now cook and freeze half. So if I make spaghetti, I freeze half the sauce for future consumption...same with gumbo...or soup...even my vegetable stir fry. Nothing goes to waste.

14. Dry Clean Less
I literally only take stuff to the dry cleaners twice a year. I usually try to avoid clothing that says dry clean only. And for those that do I will wash on permanent press and not put in the dryer. You save a lot of money if you dry clean your clothes less.

15. Cut your electricity
I've always been big on turning lights off where they are not needed. But now I also try to not keep things plugged in that I'm not using when I'm not home. So I try to not leave cell phone chargers plugged in during the day. When I know I'm going to be away for a few days I unplug the tv's, dvd players, etc. My electricity bill is usually only high in the summer because of the air conditioning but I still try to save a few cents here and there when I can.

16. Empty the cabinets
I have tried several times to eat everything in my cabinets, freezer and refrigerator. It hasn't worked yet but I know if I stuck with it I could save money on food costs.

17. Sell your junk
One man's junk is another person's treasure. Since purging my closets and my Mom's attic I found a bunch of things to sell online and they have actually SOLD. That was extra money I wasn't even counting on getting. I have sold everything from old books and cd's to older versions of software (no more than 1 or 2 versions back) and some of my stuffed animals.

18. Discount days
Saving does not mean you have to become a hermit but it might mean altering the days you go out. Every bar or restaurant has food and drink specials on certain days and/or at certain times. Take advantage of it. It will save you money. Also for those with kids, at least in NYC D&B is half price on Wednesdays. Meaning that $10 game card you buy for the kids will last them 50% longer.

19. Turn down the heat
This is super old school but my grandmother would say put on an extra sweater or get a blanket before she would turn up the heat. I live alone so I think it's ridiculous for me to have the heat on full blast. I think about my grandma and use her advice when I get a little chill.

20. Save the change
I have a jar (the shoe fund jar) where I save all my change. Every day at the end of the day I put any change that I have in my purse/wallet/pockets in to the jar. You would be amazed at how much change you can save up in one month. When my jar gets full I take it to TD Bank (formerly known as Commerce) and have the change exchanged for currency.

So those are some of my ideas. Y'all know I've become very BIG on saving so I have more ideas I could share but I want to see what ideas y'all have first. Maybe I'll do another blog post with some more ideas based on what y'all come up with and what else I do to save.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Work Life Balance Part 2

I blogged a few weeks ago about contemplating quitting my side hustle. And yesterday I blogged about Work/Life Balance.

Well I finally took a leap of faith and quit my side hustle. It just wasn't working when I was at my full-time job stressing about getting to my hustle on time and at my hustle thinking about all the things I needed to do for my full-time job. I just really felt like I was at a breaking point.

I do miss the side hustle but I don't regret quitting. I don't miss it because of the money but because my side hustle was a stress reliever. The work wasn't hard. I enjoyed what I did, the people I got to work with and the people I got to meet. I liked the assignments I got that required little to no thinking because they were simple administrative tasks. Photo copying might sound boring to you but the hum of the copier can be relaxing at the end of a long stressful day. Being asked to work and not really being asked to use much brain power was actually a relief.

I liked the juxtaposition of being a manager by day and an assistant by night. I felt like it kept me grounded to work on both the top (really the middle) and the bottom. People get so high in their careers they forget what it was like to be on the bottom. Hopefully I never will.

So thanks to everyone who offered their opinion and perspective. I'm really glad to have the time to focus on other things, whatever those other things might be.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Work Life Balance

The economy has elevated my workaholism to an entirely new level. When I think about how I spend my week the majority of it is spent working. I wake up and check my Blackberry. I head in to the office and bust ass all day long. And just because I leave does not mean the day or work is over. Maybe I should have had a resolution for 2009 to cut off my Blackberry between the hours of 10pm and 7am.

But I have the same fear that everyone else has. The fear that the job I have today won't be the job I have tomorrow. That if I work hard that will ensure my job security. But I also know that job security is a myth. And I'm sure I could always get a job some place else but in the current economic climate it would be a lot harder and take a lot longer for me to find another job.

I also go back and forth about quitting the side hustles. But EVERY financial expert, including my shero Suze Orman, is telling people to find additional sources of income nto get rid of the side hustles you have.

I realize my work life balance is way off balance. But what am I supposed to do? How do you balance it all? Any advice?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lend Me Some Sugar

Lately I've been surprised by companies new methods of saving money.

A few weeks ago I got a memo about milk delivery and sugar at work. They are cutting back the milk delivery to two days a week and they are no longer buying equal as a sweetener. At first I was like WOW, is it really that serious? It's a sad reflection of the current state of our economy. But then I gave it a little more thought and I don't think the company would do it if it wouldln't provide significant savings.

Just think about how much you personally spend on milk. How much would you save if you didn't buy a gallon of milk every week? Now multiply that to the level of a company buying milk every week. And I don't feel too bad about the sweetener. They offer equal and splenda, so they decided to offer only one. It's better than no sweetner at all. I also think about how much milk must get wasted every week. There have been plenty of weeks where by the time the next delivery came there was still unopened containers of milk.

I talked to Poppa K and was reminded that his job has NEVER offered coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Small businesses don't offer those kind of perks to their employees. I never thought about them as perks but then again I have always worked for large companies where it was standard.

But then I heard even worse news. "Gannett to Furlough Workers for Week " What does that mean? The Gannett Company, the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, said on that it would force thousands of its employees to take a week off without pay in an effort to avoid layoffs.

I can only imagine how many millions will be saved from a one week forced unpaid vacation. If you can pair the one week unpaid vacation with a one week paid vacation to have 2 weeks off I would try to find a way to capitalize on it. Whether it's a much needed staycation, extending an already planned vacation or doing what some employees that work for this company are doing...searching for other job opportunities. But the first thing I would do is turn off my Blackberry. Vacations are paid for by the company so I feel obligated to answer when I can on vacation. But unpaid vacation...I owe you nothing.

If your job told you that you had to go on an unpaid vacation, what would you do? Could you afford to go unpaid for one week? Have you noticed your job making any cuts in an effort to save and reduce costs?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Suze Orman Challenge

At times I can be a super nerd, especially when it's a topic I'm really interested in. I have been on a serious financial learning kick for about 3 years now. So as soon as the link to Suze Orman's new book was available on Oprah's site I downloaded a copy. And being a geek I read the entire book in one night. It was only 200 pages and I only skipped one chapter that was completely not relevant to me in my current situation and I skimmed through another but the rest I read.

Suze proposed an interesting challenge.
"Within a month of reading this book, I ask you to:
- Do not spend money for one day
- Do not use your credit card for one week
- Do not eat out at a restaurant for one month
I think you will be surprised by the changes the resolutions bring about in you."

I'm always up for a challenge. I think the first one is easy. There are a plenty of days where I spend no money. I think the second one is easy too. I really only use my credit cards for big purchases like plane tickets. Otherwise I pay cash or use my debit card. So for that challenge I think I'm going pick a month and not use my credit card at all. The month of April is looking promising where I won't have any major purchases to make because all major purchases will have already been made.

The last one is a challenge. Especially this is the start of NYC Restaurant Week which is like a food holiday to me. So right now I'm shooting for the month of March. My birthday is in March so after NYC Restaurant Week ends and I'm done traveling for February I won't have a reason to go out to eat. The only exception I will make is if I go on a date and my date is paying.

So to recap. I'm going to not eat out at all (at least on my dime) for the month of March. Since there are plenty of days where I don't spend money I'm going to pick a week, maybe in February, to not spend any money. And for the month of April I will not use my credit card. I think these short term goals will also contribute to my larger goals for the year. All the more better to try.

Today is your last day to get a free copy of Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan from You are also invited to attend a LIVE webcast with Suze on at 9 p.m. ET/ 8 p.m. CT. Register now. Learn what you can do in 2009 to take control of your financial future. It's revealing, it's interactive and it's free!

So are you up for the challenge? Do you think you can go without spending for a day, your credit card for a week or eating out at restaurants for a month?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I had another blog post planned for today. But when God speaks, you have to stop and listen. This week he has spoken to me twice.

I don't get hints. For me to understand something someone has to be pretty blatant. This week I was complaining and stressing about being pressed for time and God made a way out of no way. All my meetings were canceled on Tuesday and I was able to do a lot of work on one major project. It's exactly what I wanted and needed.

So I know you are like how do I know that was God. I don't know...we never know. But I had been stressing, losing sleep and praying for relief. I had talked to a friend about what do you do when you know you are at your end. I was at my end but God came through. I'm not religious, I'm not a strong believer, you won't catch me in church every Sunday. But I have a strong spirituality. I have always believed in a higher power guiding and shaping my life. I may call HIM GOD and you may call it something else.

But God is very good at sending you a message through other people. And HE did it when I was least expecting it.

I ALWAYS have something to read when I'm riding the subway because I don't want random homeless people to bother me. I'm currently reading Rich Dad/Poor Dad. And this guy across the aisle from me offers me a piece of paper. I thought it was a note about God because on the connecting train a Jehovah Witness tried to offer me something. But I looked more closely and it didn't have that much writing. So I took the paper and it was information about a club called RichDadNYC CashFlow Group. I got the biggest smile on my face.

As I have been reading this book I have been thinking about how can I put what I'm learning in to practice and who do I know that has read the book. Well this group is based on the teaching in this book. I don't normally take stuff from strangers. But I'm known to hold a random conversation on a subway because I know when I'm getting off and thus the conversation will end. So I talked to the man who gave me the piece of paper. I asked him does he always carry around flyers for the group. He said no, but when he saw me get on the train he noticed what I was reading and searched around his bag and pockets to see if he had one. And then we talked about how nothing is coincidental. There was a reason that I got on that train, that he was on that train and that we shared the book as a commonality. He told me a little about himself and his wife. How he works for the MTA and through this group has learned to invest in real estate and have his assets work for him. He encouraged me to check out the website and come to the next meeting.

When I got home I immediately checked out the website and here is what it said:
A group of professionals who embrace the philosophy of Robert Kiyosaki's "Rich Dad, Poor Dad". Our goal is to educate ourselves and our community in financial literacy. It is through such education that we can achieve Financial Freedom. All who have read the book are welcome to attend our monthly meetings. It's FREE. All that we ask is whatever you learn you share and try to help someone else achieve financial freedom.

But the best part is that they have a game night. But not just any game night. They play the game that is associated with the book one Thursday night a month. I had literally just talked to my boy Tim on Friday night about how much I wanted to buy that game and play it. Now I don't have to buy it and I can play it with others.

I am ye of little faith but when God speaks to me it is loud and clear. God is in my head with me so he knows what I'm thinking and he's in my heart so he knows what I want. Literally at the moment that stranger gave me that piece of paper I had been thinking about the one business I would like to have that could work for me instead of me working at it.

So I sent the group leader an email. Sadly I don't remember the name of the guy who gave me the paper. But if our paths are to cross again, they will.

Does God speak to you? Have their been moments where you just knew it was God's hand that was causing something to happen?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I, the Saver

It is more important than ever to save as much as you can. ING Direct has started a savings campaign. They have created a declaration of financial independence. The declaration of financial independence is a 10-point plan to help you take control of your finances. I think a lot of the points make sense. If you agree go to and sign the declaration and send it to others.

1. We will spend less than we earn. Saving a little out of every dollar we bring home is the foundation of independence. Without it, we can’t build equity in our home, we can’t invest for the future, and we can’t be ready for challenging times. We promise to pay ourselves first, always.

2. We will use our home as a savings account. Besides shelter and comfort for our family, the role of a house in our financial life is to build equity. We will have a healthy down payment when we buy. We’ll choose the mortgage that lets us pay down the principal fastest. And then we’ll leave that equity safe where it is instead of spending it on things that don’t last.

3. We will take care of our money. It’s not enough to have money in a bank. We will put it where it will grow. We’ll keep track of it. And we’ll check every account we have every year to protect ourselves against fraud or escheatment.

4. We will defend our credit worthiness. Good credit is going to be precious in the years to come. We will pay our bills on time. We’ll borrow only when we need to and in amounts we can comfortably pay back. And then we’ll do just that.

5. We will ignore unsolicited credit card marketing. We decide when we need a credit card, not some marketer. And mostly, we probably don’t need another one at all. We won’t even open those solicitations. We’ll shred them.

6. We will know the cost of borrowing. The interest lenders charge us is real money, too. When we buy a mortgage or finance a purchase, we’ll figure out what that interest is really going to cost in dollars, add it to the purchase price, and ask ourselves if it’s still worth it.

7. We will invest for the long term. Futures are built out of patience and prudence, not luck. We will not put off being a saver because we think there’s a lottery win in our future, in Vegas or on Wall Street.

8. We will take care of the things we have. We work hard for our money, and it’s disrespectful to waste it – or the planet – by treating our possessions as disposable.

9. We will remember what matters. We are not the things we own. If we have to spend and spend on bigger, more impressive things to keep up with our friends, then they are not our friends at all.

10. We will be heard. Our representatives in government and the corporations we deal with need to know that we are paying attention. If we’re silent, we’re accepting the status quo, and the business practices that got our country into this situation will continue. We are not going to accept that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

24: 10:00am - 12noon

Let me start off by saying that I don't intend to blog every week about 24. There are weeks that I know I will miss the show (like MLK day) so I'm not going to make a full commitment to blogging. I'm just hoping I can keep up and that or Fox or someone is smart enough to post episodes online so I can catch up on anything I may miss.

You ever notice how 24 will have ebbs and flows where things will slow down and then they hit you with something hardcore. First I'm just happy to know that CTU is not really disbanded and has now gone deep cover. I'm elated that Tony is not really on the side of the bad guys. There is still hope. And of course my girl Chloe is back on the scene. Nice to see Bill Buchanan as well.

I think this episode brought up a very real issue/moral point. For the most part Americans don't ever get involved or really get their hands dirty. The closest we ever got to experiencing first hand what some people in other parts of the world have to deal with every day is 9/11. Not to say we should live every day in fear but as Americans we are privileged to live in this bubble. We live in this sphere of safety. It's hard enough to deal with our current economic state...that's already a constant state of fear...a constant state of physical fear would push many people over the edge.

But enough of my ranting....let's get to the hardcore part....watching Jack and Tony get out of CTU. The best part for me was watching Chloe and this new (weaker) hack Janis go head to head. It was almost heartwarming to see the CTU team reunited. And watching Jack get out of any bind is always an adrenaline rush. Even though we all know Jack cannot die we still can't fathom how he will get out of the situations he gets himself in to.

And the pearl of wisdom from Jack Bauer, "Where do the rules of engagement end and the crimes begin?"

Do you think there will ever be a 24 without Jack Bauer? Well we know it ain't next season because the taping of the eighth season begins in April 2009 to air in January 2010.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Jack Is Back

WARNING: If you haven't watched the first episode of the seventh season of 24 STOP READING NOW!!! Otherwise...

I have three words for you...Tony is alive! And this time it appears he is on the side of the bad guys. That's so typical of 24, the people you think are dead aren't always really dead. Anyone remember when Jack "technically" died and was brought back to life.

And the best line to start the season came from our new female President for this season, Allison Taylor, "If getting through this day won't be hard enough." I already like this President. She reminds me of myself by asking lots of straight, tough questions. Why is TV ahead of society? 24 was the first to have a Black President and at the time it was groundbreaking. President David Palmer was the best President to ever be on the show.

If you haven't seen the the 2-Hour season prequel, 24:Redemption let me help you catch up. The special bridged the gap between the sixth and seventh seasons of 24. Set partially in Southern Africa, Jack finds himself caught up in a military coup while trying to find somewhere he can hide from the United States. Meanwhile, in the U.S., it is Inauguration Day, where Allison Taylor is being sworn in to office.

Season 7 begins at 8:00 AM as a major national security incident occurs when the firewall responsible for protecting America's government computer infrastructure is breached. But this is 24, you gotta have one main story line and then a bunch of subplots.

The subplots I think I have identified are the rouge warlord named General Juma Jumba has overthrow the government of Sangala and is in the midst of a genocide. The President is getting ready to send troops to deal with the coup in Sangala but we learn that her son recently died under suspicious circumstances. It was labeled a suidide but the First Man thinks it was something else. And anyone who saw 24:Redemption knows the son's death is related to the situation in Sangala. The First Man is waging his own investigation in to the death of his son. Jack started the show appearing before the Senate to testify about what he did as an agent of CTU and on the governments behalf. He is to be indicted by the Justice Department for things he did in violation of the Geneva agreement when dealing with terrorist suspects.

And there is always some random person in each episode that says what the audience is thinking. In this episode it was a random FBI agent. How dare the government put Jack Bauer on trial given all that he has done and sacrificed for them and the people of the country. But Jack also says profound things throughout each season. And he responded to the agent that it's time the people know the truth and the people decide how far we should go.

Random new character would be Janeane Garofalo as Janis Gold. She's like the Chloe O'Brian replacement character. But we all know Jack can't survive without Chloe and she is really his behind the scenes side kick. So expect to see her back this season too and maybe she can help this Janis Gold character grow some (if you know what I mean). You can't be a punk and work with Jack Bauer.

What I LOVE and HATE about 24 is that they come up with the most realistic plots; actual areas of our government that are weak. This season has not played out yet so I don't know for sure but I think the best plot was Season 4 involving the takeover and possible meltdown of nuclear power plants and the stealing of a nuclear warhead and Air Force One being shot down.

Do you like the beginning of this season? What's your favorite season of 24? Do you have any predictions for the season? Am I the only one excited about the return of 24? Who is your favorite character (dead, supposedly dead or alive)? Do you have any favorite villains (dead, supposedly dead or alive)? I forgot to do a death count...anyone know how many people died in the course of this episode? Times like this I wish I had a DVR...I would go back and check.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Quitting Time

I have been debating for about a month quitting my part time job. I have had this job since May of 2007 and initially I only thought I would work for 6 months or so. But I really do love the job, the people I work with and the students and teachers I get to work with. So I need the help/opinion of my friends to help me decide. Listed, in no particular order, are the reasons to continue working and the reasons to quit.

- My hours were cut from 8-10 hours a week (about two nights a week) to 4-6 hours a week (one night a week)

- It's ONLY 4 hours and a few bucks more than what I would have if I did nothing for 4 hours

- We had layoffs in November and the demands of my full-time job have increased. That's 4 hours I could be at my main job (and no I don't get overtime at the full-time job)

- I could rebudget so that I wouldn't miss not having any additional income since a day was cut out of the schedule for me.

- I'm not hard pressed for the money 4 hours a week brings in after taxes.

- If the economy wasn't what it is, I wouldn't even debate quitting...but I know every penny counts.

- I could stick it out until May (the 2 year mark for me) and then quit because it will be summer and who wants to work extra during the summer.

- A person's time is priceless so the 4 hours a week I'm putting ain't worth what I'm getting paid when I could be doing something I want to do.

- I also teach and that is on top of the 4 hours in office. If I get picked up to teach more classes, at least 2, that would be the equivalent of working 4 hours a week for 50 weeks. So hope that I get renewed to teach then resign.

So you see my head is all over the place. So what do you think? If you were in my position what would you do?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

My X-mas Vacation

Remember when we were kids and we had to write essays like "What I did on my Summer Vacation." Well now that the holidays are over I can look back, fondly, on how I spent my Christmas Vacation.

X-mas Eve - the family came over and I cooked gumbo (traditional brown and red). We had a good time talking, laughing and watching movies.

X-mas Day - more food, more talking, laughing, listening to music and watching movies. My niece arrived from Ohio.

Day after X-mas - I went to see my chiropractor. Family can be a real pain in the But we were all pretty lazy that day. Ate leftovers and did more of the same.

Two days after X-mas - most of my family went home. My niece from Ohio stayed over and I made sure she got a beef patty (apparently there are none in Dayton, Ohio), we went to Dave & Busters, we went and saw the tree, we got cupcakes at Magnolia's, we ate at IHOP (there is no IHOP in Dayton...closest one is Cleveland).

Three days after X-mas - took my niece ice skating and then took her to Jersey to spend the rest of her break with the family over there. And so I could spend the rest of my vacation in solitude.

No offense to my family but after a long, hard year that ended more sour than I expected I was really just looking forward to a quiet staycation. Just me, at home, catching up on reading, watching a few movies and purging my apt.

Overall it was a good, long, Christmas weekend.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Gotta Have It

Ebay has to be the most stressful, intense and frustrating place to shop anywhere on the planet. I was online for hours in search of a Wii Fit to go with my new Wii. I lost several bids in the last seconds or I watched bids go up from $50 to $150 in 1 minute. It was like a Wii Fit frenzy online. I had to use a fairly new feature, the power of one click bidding, in order to be able to win my Wii Fit. But shopping on Ebay is stressful. I literally had a headache and I knew my blood pressure was up.

Has there ever been an item that you just had to have and you did whatever you had to do to get it? Did you ever spend hours searching online for that item? Did you get it or did you give up?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Guitar Hero vs Rockband

It's been a long time since I was a gamer. And given that I have a Wii, which true gamers don't consider gaming, I feel like a person who has been in a car accident and is learning how to walk again. So I put on my Wii wish list that I want Guitar Hero but I'm really not sure. What's the difference between Guitar Hero and Rockband? Which one is better? Which one do you prefer? Help this newbie choose.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Wii Wish List

I am addicted to my Wii. I spend hours online looking up things to buy for the Wii and who has the best price. So I had to create a list of all the Wii related items I want to add to my Wii arsenal.
  • Wii Play with an additional remote control
  • Guitar Hero (not sure which one yet, there are so many kinds)
  • Deal or No Deal
  • Shaun White Snowboarding
  • My Fitness Coach (which I also need to buy a stability ball, the Pulse Pak (see below) and hand weights from the Wii Fit Workout Kit (also see below))
  • Mario Kart w/wheel
  • Cooking Mama: Cookoff
  • Jillian Michael Fitness Ultimatum 2009
  • 2GB Gaming SD Memory Card
  • Digital ankle/wrist weights
  • Wii Fit 6 in 1 starter kit (Balance Board Mat, Balance Board Lithium Ion Battery Pack, Silicone Sleeve for Wii Balance Board, Anti-Slip Socks)
  • Dream Gear Wii Fit 5 in 1 fitness bundle (rechargeable battery pack, USB charging cable, jeli sleeve, fitness mat, travel bag, and 1 pair of textured foot socks.
  • Intec Nintendo Wii Ultimate Action Pack - (Tennis Racket, Baseball Bat, Z Sword, and Golf Club attachment extensions for use with your Wii Remote)
  • Wii Fit storage sleeve
  • Protective cover
  • Neo Fit (The Neo Fit is a soft cover that adds comfort and protection to your Wii Fit balance board.)
  • Pulse Pak (includes both a Wii Remote holster and a convenient heart rate monitor)
  • Double color Silicone 2 Case
  • Silicone Sleeve for Wii Balance board
  • Wii Fit Workout Kit (workout mat, rechargeable battery pack, charging cables, 2 2lbs dumbbells, workout towel, 2 wristbands, 1 water bottle )
  • dreamGEAR® 15-in-1 Player's Kit for Nintendo Wii (Light gun, Steering wheel, Remote cradle, Jeli grips for Nunchucks and standard remotes (4), Remote savers (2), Game grips (2), Wrist straps (2), Baseball, pool, golf and tennis extensions)
  • intec Dual Charge Station and Turbo Cooler for Wii
  • Wii backpack
So you see how easy it is to go Wii crazy and financially broke off all the stuff I could buy for my Wii. By the end of 2009 we'll see how much of this stuff I have actually purchased or received as gifts.

BTW - I'm now adding Best Buy, Amazon, Toys R Us and Circuit City gift cards to my 2009 wish list. :)

Friday, January 02, 2009

2009 Travel & Vacation Plans

My job asks for our vacation dates very far in advance. The dates are not set in stone but it forces me to think about my vacation days and how I will utilize them in relation to things I have to do/cover at my job.

For the most part I have the first half of 2009 figured out in terms of travel. But I always leave room for flexibility.

January 2009
My best friend is flying from Chicago and we are driving down to DC for the inauguration. We are staying with my sister, outside of Baltimore. I can't wait to be apart of history.

February 2009
I have two weddings to attend, luckily one is in New Jersey. The other is in Atlanta but because February is a crazy time at work between fashion weeks and award shows so I'm literally going to fly in and out of Atlanta in less than 24 hours just to attend this wedding.

March 2009
For my birthday I'm going to Orlando for ESPN the Weekend at Disney World. Sports, Disney World, a warm location. What more could I ask for?

April 2009
I will be attending a wedding in Houston.

May 2009
In November 2007 (yes 2007) I attended a timeshare presentation and got a free 3 day/2 night trip. It was always in the back of my mind that I had this trip and that I needed to use it within 18 months. So one day I called to see when it expired and when I could book a trip. The day it expires is the day I'm checking in to my vacation in St. Thomas. I extended the trip to 5 days/4 nights, from Thursday May 14 to Monday May 18. I can't wait to go.

June 2009
My Mom turns 70. I want to have a party for her but my brother wants to take her on a vacation. I'm hoping that maybe we can do both. My Mom has never been on a plane before and my brother feels that because we travel the most we are the most equipped to travel for the first time with Mom. I haven't talked to her about it yet but I hope she can be convinced.

July 2009
I usually go away for the 4th of July. Right now the leading candidate is Essence Music Festival with my best friend.

August 2009
As of this blog I'm planning to attend the NABJ convention in Tampa. But I HAVE to find a roommate because I know how tight money is going to be in 2009. Also the annual ATL girls trip has been moved to August to coincide with my best friend's birthday. We haven't picked a location yet.

September 2009 - December 2009
So far I don't have anything planned in terms of travel for the 4th quarter of the year but it's still early, still plenty of time to plan something.

I know what you are thinking, we are in a recession, how the hell are you planning to travel so much? One word, PLANNING. If you plan far enough in advance you can save a lot of money. I'm using a lot of miles I have accumulated. I have a hookup on timeshares so I don't spend as much as I would if I stayed in hotels. And if I charge my trips now I can pay them off through the course of the year. So despite my self imposed Vegas ban, I'm still looking forward to the trips I got planned in 2009.

Do you have any travel/vacation plans for 2009? What was the best trip you took in 2008? What was the worst trip you took in 2008?

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Goals for 2009

This year I've decided to do a little something different. I'm going to make 9 goals that I will strive to achieve in 2009.

1. Read 30 books
I attempted this in 2008 and only got half way there but I'm all about try and try again.

2. Pay off my debt consolidation loan
My last loan payment is supposed to be September 28, 2009 and then I will be credit card debt free.

3. Get back in shape
I'm so happy Santa bought me a Wii. Working out is now so much fun and I can do it anytime I want and totally at my convenience.

4. Keep on cooking
When I think back to 2007...2006...2005...I have come a long way in terms of cooking and I hope to do more of that in 2009.

5. 3 to 6 months of expenses in to my savings
Hopefully I won't have as many rainy days in 2009 where I will need to tap into my emergency savings. I want to build a real financial cushion.

6. Relax more
Anyone knows me knows that I am super Type-A personality. I have a very hard time relaxing. So I'm going to try and do more of that in 2009.

7. Stay healthy
I haven't had a serious asthma attack in a year. I want to stay on top of my asthma, keep getting my allergy shots, be consistant with my chiropractor appointments and just do what I have to do to stay in the best of health.

8. Travel some place I have never been to before
The point of me taking a hiatus from Las Vegas was so I could travel to other places. So in 2009 I need to go some place I have never been before.

9. Purge my apartment
I still have boxes that I have never unpacked from when I first moved to NYC. And I have stuff in my Mom's attic that she wants me to also go through and get rid of. So it's time to, in the words of Tim Gunn, keep it, chuck it or donate it.

I'm all about setting realistic goals for myself. I feel if you aim too high you'll only be disappointed if you don't reach it. So here's to another year of growing personally and professionally.