Thursday, February 26, 2009

One Month - Spend No Money: Day Ten

Sigh. Withdrawal is setting in. The cravings for all of the things I don't deny myself of during a typical month are HIGH. I want Chipotle. I want a tomato basil quiche from Argo Tea. I want my morning honey banana oatmeal from Corner Bakery. I want a Berry Fizz from Grand Lux Cafe. And tilapia tacos from Carbon - with guacamole. And new gym shoes. And a new jacket. And a new pair of Joe's Jeans. I want, I want, I want.... I even tried to get my dad to give me his credit card number so I could use it to add money to my Cosi gift card. It didn't work. He told me to go ahead and cheat because he's positive April is cheating. Well, let her cheat!! I am not going to do it!

On top of this - today is the first day of Lent. What did I give up for Lent this year? Macy's. In-store and On-line. Shopping and browsing. As if to rub salt on the would, I received about $90 in gift cards AND 4 coupons YESTERDAY from my Granny. Its cool. I can do this. 40 Days. I'm going to need prayer. I keep reminding myself that my reward will be my trip a week after Easter. I'll take my gift cards that week and go shopping!

scream <-how I feel about it

Yesterday my Aunt Shelley came to town for a day trip to Chicago. My cousin Cheryl picked her up and they came with Margo to scoop me up and we went to Carbon. My auntie bought me a burrito bowl. I love her :-) Just for her generosity, I am going to help her hook up her new toys when I go back to Detroit!!

cherish and shelley <- Aunt Shelley

Item of the day?

Gmail accounts!! (really... I'm so serious...) It took a LONG time, and I mean a LONG time to really learn to like my gmail account but now I love it. And it seems that most of my friends have them too. As they continue to add more features, it becomes increasingly fun to use! I know this is a Windows Live Blog, but I just do not like my hotmail/msn account anymore. If I didn't like Windows Live Spaces as much as I do I would have rid myself of the email address long ago. Any other gmail users out there?? Love it or Hate it?? I'd love to hear your thoughts on your preferred email service.....

dog email.jpg

Monday, February 23, 2009

One Month - Spend No Money: Day Seven

I survived the first week of no spending!! I did not take one trip tot he grocery store... no buying books, plane tickets, or shoes online... no fast food stops... no martinis or movies. And yet, in that week, I managed to see 3 museums, attend 2 networking events and enjoy a $65 plated luncheon. At no out of pocket cost! NOT BAD, HUH??

On another note, I can definitely say I notice some differences within myself... and I'm really starting to see my thought patterns about money, food and spending overall. My Day Four "break through":

I've accepted that using debit/credit cards are still forms of spending.

Of course, that is basic knowledge that we all (should) have and my father taught me everything there was to know about this stuff... but I can now truly understand my inner thoughts on it. We pull out a card and often take a moment to think before swiping. In that time of thought, we either decide to spend, or we decide to move on. Well, without my cards, that simple thought is now an "evaluation" because I have to go out of my way (back home in most cases) to get to my credit card in order to use it. So now I'm forced to really consider the purchase and determine:

- do I need this? If so, why?
- can I buy it a month from now?
- will I need/want it a month from now?
- is it truly worth it, during this time when I am trying to pay down debt and increase savings.

In most cases, I walk away. It really hit me Tuesday when I looked at a Best Buy sales ad, one of my favorite stores, and saw the TV's on sale. I have one TV in my entire place (not that its huge, but still) It's a 19" Flat panel EDTV (no, its not even an HDTV - leave my TV alone, Brian). It sits on top of my fire place and if you sit any further from the couch you can barely see a thing. I've talked about replacing it for years (Literally). I also swore I'd get cable (which I don't have) when I replace that TV.


So when I see this 32" Flat panel for $497 at Best Buy, my thoughts go:

- no interest for 3 years.. $500... that's (at a minimum) about $14/month. If I pay $50, I'll pay it off in 10 months. No problem. I should go to Best buy right now!
- wait, I am supposed to be on a no spending spree...
- oh, but if I put it on my Best Buy card it doesn't count as spending cause the bill won't come until next month...
- WAIT!! Yes, it does count!!!! Because its still money that I'm spending, and will have to be paid back!!
- Since I've already made it 3 years.. what's another month/quarter/year??? And do I really want to add on top of that, the expense for cable??? NO!!!

So simple, right?? Well, a lot of us have spending "issues" that are ties to emotions. For me its usually sadness, boredom and hunger. So I grab a cookie and storm over the trash can and bury the sales paper deep inside.

Another day of success, another life lesson learned. That is what this is all about!

Today I will take my $10 to the grocery store and stock up on my fresh goods. But I know, you're really looking for my item of the day, right?? LOL! Well, its none other than a seafood meal. Sigh.... going to get my peanut butter now.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One Month - Spend No Money: Day One recap

While Day Two (today) was pretty much uneventful, Day One was a blast! I have to give some credit to the inspiration for this challenge. This blog inspired our first thoughts of taking on our own challenge. I found out today that Brent is a friend of my sorority sister, Mia. Small world, Huh??

Monday was the first day of the best and I was on vacation for the holiday. April was sending me text messages by 10AM about how she wanted a Pepsi so bad but wasn't going to cave on the first day. My original plan was to check out the Chicago Cultural Center (free admission) and the Chicago History Museum (free admission on Mondays).

I hopped on the bus to the Chicago Museum of History. There was a Popeye's across the street when I got off and I instantly thought about a biscuit and 3 wing combo. I shook the thoughts out of my head and started walking so I could get away.

The museum is free on Mondays and turned out to be a great trip. There is an exhibit called "Chic Chicago" that chronicles society fashion over the 1900's in Chicago. Saw some AMAZING designs. There were some other exhibits that were also very interesting including sections in the Chicago: Crossroads of America exhibit on Chicago Jazz and Blues and the Race riots and Gang Violence of the past, along with future ideas for how to take the city to the next level in terms of transportation and sustainability (Burnham 2.0 Plan). I also got a free 4-photo strip from the photo booth :-) Here are some of the pics I took (not the best, as flash photography was not allowed)...


(above) Chicago took the title from the East Coast as the leader in transportation when it developed its rail system. The second pic is part of a plan to earn the title back by 20


(above) Items that were founded in Illinois - Radio Flyer wagon, Lincoln Logs, Schwinn bikes and magazines including Ebony, Jet and Time.

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(above) Chicago fashion, Jordan's jersey and shoes, a replica of the old Chrysler Motors building, a "jazz club" with photos of Chicago artists.

When the museum was shutting down, I decided to hop on the bus and head downtown. I was so busy laughing with the driver when I got on the bus, and he kindly reminded me when I got off that I never paid my fare. I gasped and laughed and offered to pay (though I had realized once I sat down that I forgot to pay) but he let me go free. Save a couple of bucks there by simply smiling :-) I hopped off the bus and excitedly skipped towards Jamba Juice, only to come to a screeching halt 10 feet from the front door, once I realized i can't spend any money. So I turned away and went to Macy's to pay my bill, wandered around for a bit and ended up buying absolutely NOTHING. Surprise, huh?

Then I walked over to the Chicago Cultural Center only to discover it was closed early for the holiday. I headed back to State Street and caught the bus to the Shedd Aquarium (Today was a FORD Free day and they were staying open later for the holiday). The guy at the entrance informed me that they were closing in 50 minutes but since I didn't pay I could only visit the first level. No problem, I saw plenty in just 30 minutes... and was reminded that my maternal urges are buried deep inside after the 3rd kid walking around screaming the word "Mommy"over and over forced me to run to the nearest exit. But I was able to get a few pics from the Aquarium...


By the time I left, I was hungry and tired tired so I caught the bus back home. I fixed myself a nice (cheap and quick) dinner of Cuban Black Bean Stew and settled in for the evening.

Day One = Success!!!

Day Two= Success!!!

Stay tuned... So far, its been a breeze, but I'm sure it gets tougher. Any bets on how long before I cave and buy my first piece of junk food???

money pic,jpg

...and since I can't spend I HAVE to post an item of the day.... Maybe if I can do "no spending" for... say... about 12 months I may be able to buy these beautiful Christian Louboutin shoes!! LOL!! (Yes, they are the pink version of the silver ones I posted a week ago!!!)

Christian Louboutin Mirrored Platform Pump

Monday, February 16, 2009

New Challenge: One Month - Spend No Money

April and I have decided to take on the challenge of one entire month of spending NO MONEY. Every failure (purchase) must be tracked. The challenge does not include rent/mortgage, bills, transportation... but pretty much everything else counts - yes groceries included! So this required planning. I had to plan out my meals and buy enough groceries to last a month - which cost me WAY more than I have ever spent at once in a grocery store!!!!

So now its DAY ONE and I'm on vacation for the holiday. I slept in (in a lame attempt to pass time) and now I'm trying to map out my afternoon with free events/exhibits in the city. So far I'm going to check out the Chicago Tourism Center, the Chicago Cultural Center and the Chicago History Museum (free on Mondays). I found this list and it has a few other ideas for me to pull from over the next month.

I'll be sure to take lots of pics and report back on how well April and I are doing with our "no spending plan". Wish me luck!!!

P.S. - If you're in the Chicago area and want to offer up a free meal at your restaurant or complimentary admission to your venue, in exchange for a blog post or Yelp review about how wonderful you are, just let me know! ;-)


As for April - the competition is ON!!!!!! Winner takes all!!! (uhm, for the record - there is no prize other than bragging rights among two competitive females!)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

$50 Fashions (special post for Candice)

Candice asked me why I always post my dream fashions when I know none of us can afford them right now. Well, I like to daydream sometimes and share them with with world (or at least the people who read this blog). But she had a good point. So this post is all about designer fashions that are each on sale for under $50 and can be worn many different ways!

Pure Simple Long-Sleeved Jersey Mockneck Dress

I have a dress like this gray one (above) by Pure & Simple that I wear by itself with boots, or with tights and heels, or with a belted blazer layered over it.

Kensie Striped Tissue Sweater Tunic

This Kensie tunic can be worn with leggings (as shown) or over a pair of dark skinny jeans.

Evan Picone Flowing Georgette Dress 

A BEAUTIFUL dress in a HOT color for spring and its only $22!

absolutely cotton cardigan

These cardigans are great loosely draped (as shown) or belted with a wide belt and worn over fitted pants or a flirty dress.

Rubbish Long Sleeve Tee

I own SEVEN of these in different colors. These are great tees for wearing alone or layered. And at $11 each its a great deal.

Aqua Women's Long Sleeve Scoop Neck Sweater Dress

I love mini dresses and they are so cute with tights. If you live anywhere in the north you've still got time to get a few wears in before it warms up! Throw a denim jacket, leather bomber or layer another mini so that the color peeks out at the bottom.

Live a Little asymetrical tranch

This trench coat by Live A Little has a cool asymmetrical cut that makes it stand out.

There are plenty of pieces, many of which can be mixed and matched to create new looks for different events. Hopefully you can grab some of these special deals before thy are gone!! Sunday I begin my "30 Days, No Shopping" Challenge, so no shopping for me!! But I will post updates on how well I'm doing and how many times I cave in to spending!! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Birthday Winner!

I ended up finding the PERFECT dress for my birthday this past weekend! While it wasn't the one-shouldered number by Tibi I mentioned in the last blog entry, it was a beautiful strapless belted dress by Rebecca Taylor in a bright color called "cranberry".... and you know it was on sale!!! I found it at Macy's during the 80% off sale so the original price of $350 was marked down to $70! I paired it with my rhinestone-heeled Miu Miu sandals and it turned out, well.... I'll let you decide....

IMG_0203 - Copy

I thought I looked great! ;-) A few other pics from the evening... we had dinner with the family at The Detroit Fish Market. The FOOD was excellent and the owner, Frank Taylor, came by to make sure everyone was enjoying themselves. Our Maitre'D, Louis, was very accommodating and when our reservation wasn't in the system he did his best to make up for it. After dinner we went to party at the Signature Saturdays event held at Sweet Georgia Brown to celebrate with my girls (April and Jawana pictured below), "Bobby", and my brother, Bravo!



I did a lot of shoe searching at first, thinking I wanted a new pair of heels to go with my dress for the party. Eventually I realized I didn't want to spend the money and everything I liked (and could afford) only came in peep-toe, which I don't like anyway, so I went with my old favorite Miu Miu sandals. But here are a few of the brightly colored "dream shoes" I found online... the last two (in silver) are my favorite!!

christian louboutin pimp platform pumpgucci sofia patent pumposcar de la renta applique pumps

bottega veneta orange loafermarc by marc jacobs yellow pump jimmy choo prize bar sandals

lanvin metallic green pumpschristian louboutin blue satin pumproberto cavalli platform sandals

miu miu suede pumps christian louboutin mirror pumpguiseppe zanotti fishbone sandal

Have a wonderful week!!!!