Tips

So, last week my best friend and god-daughter went to dinner at this great restaurant in Waldorf, Maryland that I love called Boston’s. We had a great time and the waiter was phenomenal. I have never had bad service at this restaurant.

When the bill came, we split it 3 ways. I’m not about splitting the bill by taking out what you ordered especially when no one had alcohol. It gets too complicated and I don’t like to dine with cheapskates (more on this rant later). LOL.

My god-daughter paid cash and my best friend and I had our credit cards to pay. I told the waiter to apply the tip and we would split the difference between the two cards. We still had to tip. So, we added the 20% tip of the total bill to each receipt. Easy right?

Yeah, I thought so. But, guess what my bank sent me:

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LOL. It was so weird. I guess in light of all the identity theft they are just making sure that everything was legitimate. This tip was on purpose and on par with the 20% for the total bill that was due.

I value that great service.

Powerball is the Work of the Devil

Okay, now that I have your attention… Let me just say that the Powerball is the work of the devil.

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Powerball phenomenon has captured this country’s time, attention and in some cases intelligence. Everyone is running out to stand in line to buy tickets, planning their “I’m rich b**ch quit speech” and how they are going to help folks once they win. Why? We all know that the odds of winning are one in 292 million.

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That’s one in freaking 292 million! 

Let me give it to you further…

Because mathematically the odds aren’t in your favor and you won’t be able to solve poverty no matter who says so. See this picture circulating on Facebook? People are literally trying to justify the need for the Powerball.

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By giving you “mathematical” reasoning on how we could end poverty. Don’t fall for it people! Still not convinced that you can end poverty with the Powerball winnings? Then you my friend need to go back to school. Why?

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You may get close in your number choices and think “Please Sweet Baby Jesus” just let me win. You won’t. You will look down at your ticket and think dang “I was close”

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But, you can dream right? There’s nothing wrong with dreaming of winning.

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If you should choose to partake of this mania, do so with a positive attitude…

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Whew! Ya’ll taking this too seriously. So, look at your losing ticket and calmly stare at it for hours trying to rationalize your loss…

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Accept it and move on. But, before you do…PLEASE make sure you delete your “I quit because I’m rich b**ch” text or video that you planned to send to your boss tonight.

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Good luck!

Bye Bye 2015

It’s the last day of the year and I’m sitting here thinking what Munch and I will have for dinner. Thinking about parking at this big church event that we are attending later on tonight. Why? Because it’s New Years’ Eve and I’m a mom who has her son. So, we are going to ring in the New Year giving praise and thanks for another day.  Another year. Bye-Bye 2015!

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What did I learn in 2015? I shared the gifts I got in a prior post. A lot of lessons, some pain, lots of joy, some heartache and some not so pleasant things. But, in the end I learned more about me this year. I learned that I am strong and capable of surviving any storm. Ya’ll know that my struggle was real and my story had more bumps that caused crashes, but I’m grateful. I survived. So did you.

What do I wish for 2016? What do I want? Here are the top 5 things that I want in 2016.

  • Love
  • Debt Reduction
  • Healthier Lifestyle
  • Romance
  • Many more mommy moments

To be more specific and put it out in the universe…

  • Love – I want to find someone who I can be myself with and experience all the good and bad things that life has to offer. I want a slow and steady and dependable kind of love. I told my friend that I want an easy like Sunday morning kind of love. The love that you don’t have to work for. The love that endures. The love that just exists and in that moment we are so blissfully happy we don’t know how we got here. No, it doesn’t mean that it’s perfect, it just works. It works for us. We can have fights and disagreements, but we do it fairly. No below the line fighting or name calling. No rage. We are grown so we know how to make up. This year, I want to find someone who loves me and my son as though we were flesh of his flesh. I vow to do the same.

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  • Debt Reduction – Yes, this is a big one for me too. I want to reduce my debt and curb my spending. I have some goals that I’m trying to achieve and I need to get cracking. I’m looking at budgets, tracking my spending and creating emergency cash reserves. I have a lot of stuff I need to do and I’m trying to read, research, react and reduce my debt. I’m getting accountability partners and plotting my plan. Trust me…I will keep you posted by guest blogging with a couple of fellow bloggers so you get the real nitty gritty. LOL!

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  • Healthier Lifestyle – I’ve shared with you the slow progress of getting my health on track with working out, practicing mindful eating and trying to reduce my stress. It’s part of honoring my temple to be a healthier version of me. The pound loss has been slow but I’m definitely losing inches and my clothes fit differently. I want to continue working out and making healthier choices to prevent the need for medications. My goal is to lose a total of 40 pounds for 2016. That’s about 3.33 pounds a month. It starts with me.

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  • Romance – I was never one who believed in romance, but I have to admit that I’m sort of romantic by default. I love to do little things and to have someone special do little things for me. I like to surprise you with a romantic dinner or gift just because. I like those things in return. I like little notes or emails to let me know what I mean to you or what you’re feeling about me at any given moment. It is when someone listens to my heart and tries to make me happy that I feel special. I want a romance where we speak each other’s love language and we like it. We put forth an effort to romance each other. You like physical touch? I like quality time. Let’s romance each other in 2016.

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  • Many more mommy moments – Yes. This is a definite. My munch and I have so many moments that we’ve shared this year and I can’t wait to share so many more. I bought a new DSLR camera (my first one) and I’m so excited. I want to capture all the moments we share whether on this new camera or with my cell phone. For example, he got his first check from his grandma for Christmas and I had him take it to the bank and deposit it in his account. He was scared, but he loved the experience. That’s my wish for him. More moments where I can teach, engage, love or just nurture his spirit. I love being a mom and he’s growing so quickly.

View More: http://magnoliastreetphoto.pass.us/tikeetha--brendan

That’s all folks.  It’s time to say bye-bye to 2015.  What are your 2016 goals? Do you write them down?

 

 

Disclaimer: I don’t own the rights to any of the photos except those of my son and I. I did a Google search on the above photos.

Guest Blogger: Parenting, don’t fool yourself, it doesn’t end

Good parenting never stops because you can always have a positive impact on the lives of your children, if you pay attention and employ good thinking.

Loving them no matter what

My divorce was quite unpleasant.  After my ex-wife and I separated, my children were upset.  One expressed anger and wanted little to do with me.  I made clear that I cared and wanted to be in his life.  So, over time, that attitude changed.

After some time, we met for dinner.  The evening seemed to be going calmly, but then I said something that brought out his anger.  I sat and took it.  Because I listened to his anger, and continued to be clear that I loved him no matter what, this was a turning point.  We have grown much closer ever since that evening.

Celebrating holidays

Holidays are always challenging.  Last year, in September, I asked about Thanksgiving.  The response was, “I thought you said seeing us on Thanksgiving day was not important to you.”  I said that I had feelings that made me realize that was completely true.

However, I backed off and I sent an email saying that, what was really important was to see my children together on any day, regardless of what day was.  A few days later, I got an email saying that they wanted to join me for Thanksgiving.  Messages like that will bring tears to your eyes!

Finances

As an attorney and financial planner, I try to make sure my children plan well.  On the other hand, I know saying too much turns into prying into their lives when they are striving to be independent and can make them feel badly, as if they are not doing well or as if I am being critical.

After the divorce, my daughter needed some support from me.  I asked if her mother was helping.  She said yes, so I never asked again and provided what she said she needed.  Much later, I learned that she amassed several thousand dollars in credit card debt during this time.  When she told me this, she also told me that she paid it off.  Such an impressive accomplishment; you have to be proud of that!

So, the learning on my part never stops, and what I can do to help my children continues!

© Getty Images
© Getty Images

This article was submitted by my fellow Blogger, Steven Branson, from  millennials-money.com .

Steven A. Branson, Esq., is the founder of Millennials-Money.com, a financial planning website for Millennials.

For nearly 30 years, Branson has been creating financial plans for clients, and has worked with numerous Millennials to help achieve their financial goals.

Branson has a law degree from Harvard Law School and is known for his financial articles geared toward Millennials.  Branson’s writing and financial tips can be seen on this blog.

Yes Lawdy…I’m Psyched!

As many of you know from my post last year that my car insurance raised 117%. I was officially depressed. I cried, had a breakdown, thought about medication. Thought about alternate employment offers (none that were Christian like if you get what I’m saying) to get the money to pay what I needed in order to be able to drive. I felt as though the world was closing in on me and I was in perpetual hell.

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My car insurance was more than my car note. My co-workers were the first to console me and they were so sweet and encouraging. My friends cried with me and were like “Dang, that’s serious.” No one offered me money. Moolah. Cold hard cash.

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So, I prayed. I limited activities. Didn’t go to Dubai with my girlfriends last December. Forget Dominican Republic for my 40th birthday celebration. What? I can’t afford Brazil in January for my 41st birthday. I have to pay my car insurance. I couldn’t continue to wallow in self-pity and feeling hopeless. I just tightened expenses and created a plan.

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I prayed. I wanted to go to all those places, but it was now time that I grew up. Made adult decisions and created plans to get back on track. You know the same things that I did when I was in college. I worked 3 jobs my senior year in college and took 21 credits. I could do this. I just needed to work the plan. Get my goals aligned with my finances. Make better decisions.

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Much like my decision to practice mindful eating, I had to watch my finances. Cut expenses where I could and decrease spending. Small steps. I cooked more. Ate out less. Entertained less. I saw two lights at the end of the tunnel…

I got a pre-approval to reduce my APR on my car by 50%. Talking to my financial savvy friends about my options which I saw as two:

  • Pay off my current loan in less time keeping the same monthly note or
  • Keep the same terms but lower the monthly payment

Both were good ideas said my friends. I felt the first surge of hope soar in my heart. All was not lost. Even though I’m leaning towards the first option, there was something new…hope.  It was on the horizon.

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Then I got this insurance renewal notice in the mail. I prayed before opening it. I knew that they were going to drop me. My friend borrowed my car in May and got into an accident. He hit a police car. “Jesus” was all I could say. I opened up the documents and saw this…

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It was less expensive than my current rate. How much? It was $85.00 a month cheaper than my current rate. I could breathe. They didn’t drop me after all. They even reduced the rate. I wouldn’t be destitute and twerking in some dark and dank club for some change to pay the car insurance.

I was officially in praise mode and yelled, “Thank you Jesus” and did my praise dance all up and through my office.

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Won’t HE do it? Thankful for every blessing!

Men are the Breadwinners

That’s the emerging theme I heard when I posed this question on Facebook last week:

Hey FB family:

I asked this question in a group and wanted your opinion.

I have a friend who is 48 and makes above $80k annually. When we were talking about joint accounts he said that he doesn’t believe in them because then someone would see how much you make. I explained to him that if you’re getting married your potential spouse should already know. He said, “Well, I’ve been burned before and I usually meet women who make substantially less than me. Between $20,000 and $40,000 less.”

I explained to him that at his age he’s closer to retirement than just entering the workforce and he shouldn’t be dating women who make less than $80,000 a year. What are your thoughts?

So, I get that my question was a fire starter in some instances. It brought all kinds of comments. Many of which I don’t think people answered and just wanted to comment. LOL!

I get it. But, the interesting thing is that women felt that the above man shouldn’t date if he’s worried about a woman’s salary because men are supposed to be the breadwinner. As a strong advocate for equality among the genders I disagree with this premise.

Why?

Because if the roles were reversed and I was making $80,000 or above I would not date anyone making substantially less than me. The response is…you shouldn’t. So, why is it that a man can date a woman who makes a lot less than him and it be okay or if he doesn’t he’s considered being pompous or too selective?

Women were responding that money shouldn’t matter because they make less than their spouse and it’s fine. Point of clarification…it’s your spouse. What married people decide is between them. I’m talking strictly dating.

My reason for giving the gentleman that advice was because he was closer to retirement than just entering the workforce and if he’s dating for a purpose he may want to consider someone who is his financial equal. You don’t want another dependent. However, even that was considered too harsh.

My own mother responded and said:

Let’s distinguish the levels here. If you are dating, no disclosure required. But, don’t be fooled, most people can figure out what you make, if they try hard enough. However, once you put a ring on it AND set a date, I think it is time for full disclosure on BOTH sides! After all, you can make $85K and be $65K in debt! Likewise, you could make $40K and have no debt! Full disclosure after engagement! That is my two cents!

Yes, my mom is on Facebook. She’s only 19 years older than me. But, I called her and told her that I disagreed because as I spoke about earlier this week with financial intimacy, would she want me to date someone who makes substantially less than me knowing I have a child. Her response, “No, I wouldn’t.” See. I told you.

I think we need to change our mindset and not be afraid to discuss money if we are dating with a purpose. You don’t have to give an exact figure of your income, but most people can guess based on what you do and where you work. It’s hard to date someone if you’re in your 40’s, living in this area (DC, Maryland and Virginia), have dependents and make less than $80,000. I’m not making excuses, I’m being real about the situation.

Which is why many women are running into men that want to pay for the first date and then chill or hang out at your house for the next. That’s crazy. We don’t know each other. You shouldn’t want me to know where you live and trust and believe that I won’t tell you where I live. So, how do we get to know each other?

Phone conversations? Yes. Text Messages? Sure. Email? Perhaps. Those are all great methods for communicating but you need to engage in the old-fashioned face to face communication. We need to hang out doing things. I’m not necessarily speaking on things that are costly, but you have to be willing to invest both time and money when dating someone.

Realistically speaking isn’t that what matchmakers do? Match you with someone who they believe would be a good fit. Who wants to get matched with a gorgeous man who makes an annual salary of $40,000? Not at 40.

Now, before you get your panties in a bunch and say, “T, money isn’t everything.” I know it’s not everything. I agree with that. If you’re a man who meets a woman who makes less than you I’m not suggesting you dump her and move along especially if there is chemistry. What I’m suggesting is that you observe her lifestyle and with communication find out if she can make sound financial decisions and practice sound judgement calls when it comes to wants and needs.

Again, it is my belief that the older you get you should look for financial compatibility as well as compatibility in other areas.  Dating with a purpose if you are closer to retirement with your financial equal is of utmost importance, not just for women but for men too. You don’t want to be a victim of someone’s financial irresponsibility.

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Marriage for One

Don’t marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can’t live without. – James Dobson

So, by now you’ve all seen the reports of the Texas woman, Yasmin Eleby, who married herself last month. If you haven’t heard (because you’ve been out of mainstream media) it was publicized that she got fed up with dating and promised herself that she would marry herself by the time she turned 40 if she wasn’t already married.

Ms. Eleby had an all out ceremony with 10 bridesmaids, a huge wedding cake and her sister officiating the ceremony. The ceremony was a symbolic ceremony because you can’t legally marry yourself, but the bride decided that she wanted a  wedding. Now, as weddings go, this one was all out gorgeous. The decor, location, colors, photos were all beautiful and appropriate, but I got to ask the question…is this where we are headed?

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I know what it’s like to get engaged and be all googly eyed over the possibility that you are marrying your soul mate. The other half of who you are. You stare at the ring thinking “He did good” and rush to call your parents and tell them the good news. You start planning immediately. Who will be your bridesmaids, what will you wear, the guest list, etc? It goes on and on. It is a roller coaster of emotion and you think…this is happiness.

But, is that really fair? What if you don’t ever meet your soul mate or it takes you a few failed relationships or marriages to find Mrs. or Mr. Wright? Should you be depressed and drink yourself into oblivion? Should you just take matters into your own hands and marry yourself in a grandiose fashion? Is marrying yourself in a small and/or simple ceremony more appropriate? Is marrying yourself a desperate attempt at being a bride regardless?

I don’t know. But, does it matter? Not everyone supported Ms. Eleby’s personal decision to marry herself. But, is it wrong to want to commit to honor yourself and who you are as a woman in an all out ceremony? Not to me. I have to say that I was intrigued by her desire to put forth a ceremony to vow to honor, love and protect the woman she is. If no man is forthcoming shouldn’t we do it for ourselves?

Think back to Sex in the City when Carrie Bradshaw created a wedding for her stolen Manolo Blahnik’s? I loved that episode. In it Carrie, attended a baby shower and her new shoes were stolen because all guests were required to take off their shoes. The host actually blamed Carrie for her shoes getting stolen by saying that she shouldn’t have worn such expensive shoes. Carrie decided to get her money back by creating a marriage to herself with only one gift on the registry…the same pair of Manolo’s that were stolen. The host paid for the shoes from the registry.

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Genius!

Ultimately though, I have to wonder will society think women crazy because they vow to commit to themselves instead of waiting for a knight and shining armor to come sweep them off their feet with a big ring? Or will we be forced to be mocked because we want to honor ourselves in the same way we would honor ourselves if we had a partner? In either case, (Yasmin or Carrie), I say no. Marry who you choose. Including the person you love the most…You.