Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving....

Wishing you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving!!!! =)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Called Out....

LawGrad called me out! LOL Sorry I've been MIA! I've been working hard in my new position, enjoying quality time with family and friends and enjoying a budding relationship. 

I am doing really well. I'm enjoying my new job. Moving was the best decision and I am all settled in and enjoying the company. Seriously, I am happy and really enjoying life. 

My finances are better. It took the last two months to recoup from the move but things are on auto pilot and I will be able to still reach my goals for 2014. I'll find out within the next month and a half my bonus figure and I'm still intending to pay off at least $20,000 in debt this year. It will probably be more and I will have about $5,000 in savings. Not bad at all. 

Starting in January, in addition to my 401k contributions, I will increase my monthly savings from $450 to $700 and still snowball an extra $1,000 per month towards student loan debt. 

Things are moving in the right direction and it feels amazing to finally gain some traction after all these years. I just needed a little bit of help and I am thankful that I have the most awesome parents.

Hope you guys are doing well! Leave me a comment and let me know how you're doing. =)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2014 YTD Debt Repayment...

Here is my debt repayment year to date for 2014. I am on target to repay $20k by end of year with my annual bonus combined with regular payments.

Good Focused Day...

I earned my paycheck today. I was moving and shaking from the moment I got into the office. I ran a 2 hour portfolio call in the absence of my colleague, approved a few deals, vetted a new deal and dealt with the security alarm going off at the condo. The tenant called me and we got it all straightened out. I had about 10 minutes for lunch but I'm heading home and feeling good. Just another day in the life of Chitown!

I am pretty settled in at home and I'm very happy. I appreciate the company and I have the added benefit of seeing my sister and nephew every morning because my Mom & Dad take him to school. The tenants love the condo. I swung by there Sunday to pick up some mail and I love their set up and the place was like I left it....super clean and tidy. Thumbs up!

Still recouping financially from traveling and from moving. It will take me another month to balance out and get back on my feet. I plan to pay off two loans in December with my annual bonus and keep pressing forward. 

Keep your head towards the sunshine and you won't see the shadows! 

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

All Moved...

I moved out of my condo on Friday. My Mom and I cleaned up and handed the keys over to the tenants on Saturday. They are all moved in and happy. Rent was paid on time for September and it's done. I'm settling in at my parent's house and it's actually quite a relief. It was absolutely the right decision for me. The tenants asked how long I was looking to rent and said they would like to stay in the unit ideally for two years as they prepare to purchase a home. We will see. I can do a lot of good in two years and who knows if something will change in my life during this time. It's actually good to remove myself from my condo because I have been so attached and adverse to change. Now I feel more open to the possibilities. 

It's been a hectic couple of months making this BIG decision and starting a new job at the same time. Things are really good right now and I feel amazing. I have good direction, a solid plan and family support. I'm blessed.

I'll post my plan soon for the next year to two years. As it stands, I'm still on target to meet and exceed my goals for 2014. 

Thanks for reading and for the encouragement and support. =)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Moving & New Job...

Hard to believe it but I'm moving in 8 days. I'm 80% packed and ready to go. I got a little sad a couple nights ago because I love my place but I know I'm making the right decision. It's still hard. 

The new job is going well. I like the people and the environment. It feels like a good fit for me. Lots of work and responsibility and I get to stretch myself professionally. 

I'll be back to posting regularly after the move. Thanks for reading and hanging in there with me. =)

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Chitown is Moving & Moving Forward....

Hi Everyone!

I am alive and very well. These last two months have been super busy. Over the past two months, I've traveled for work, family and pleasure to Toronto, Detroit, Wisconsin, Dominican Republic, Indy and back to Toronto. Not to mention, I interviewed and accepted an offer for a new position with the Bank. It's been a whirlwind. 

I started my new job on Tuesday and it's been a busy first three days. I'm exhausted! It's compounded by the fact that my evening flight from Toronto to Chicago was cancelled Monday night so my friend and I (who was traveling back to NJ) had to rent a car and drive back to Chicago so I could be home for my first day of work. It took 8 hours with my lead foot and we made it back by 4am. I got her settled in the guest room and got about an hour of sleep before getting up for work. Crazy! 

I have some really good news....I signed the lease with the new tenants last night! Security deposit in hand, Chitown is moving out the condo! Hard to believe. I have my folks and friends coming to help me pack and move. I will need to hire movers for the heavy lifting. It's all coming together though. I made probably the best financial decision of my adulthood when I decided to lease my condo. I have a plan. I just need to keep laser focus to execute the plan. More to come. 

Hope you guys are doing well! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Open House…

The Open House on Saturday went really well. There was a lot of interest in the Condo and I am supposed to narrow down the choices today to three candidates. I already know my first candidate so hopefully everything will pan out with the credit check. I am making the condo available Sept. 1st and that also works well for the tenant and her husband. We should have the rental agreement signed next week. There is a lot to do in the next month, including starting my new job on Tuesday. All good things through and I am moving in the right direction.  

Have a great day! =)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Started Packing...

The rental listing went live on Tuesday and there's already a lot of interest in my condo. There's an open house on Saturday and two showings on Friday. I even started packing. Wow! It's real guys!

An old childhood friend and I that reconnected with a couple years ago saw the listing and is bringing her hubby by to see my place soon. She's already been over for game night and fell in love before. She'd be a great tenant. We'll see what happens. I spent some time today drafting and editing the lease agreement. I'm ready to be free. =)

On another note, my seventh grade boyfriend found me on LinkedIn. LOL He always contacts me every few years and we've maintained a friendship over the years. His Mom passed away halfway through the school year and I will always remember how sad we were when he had to move away to Maryland to live with his Dad. We wrote each other for a while but eventually that faded. Anyway, he lives in Ohio now. He's recently divorced with no children. We're about 2 months apart in age so it's been interesting chatting it up. I think he's planning to drive in for a visit soon. I haven't seem him in at least 10 years. Should be fun. We're kind of two peas in a pod. We've been on the phone having 3-5 hour phone conversations. Just crazy. I'm like...I need sleep!! It's cool though to catch up with him. We were really just flirty best friends in 7th grade. So we'll see. I shared my journey with him and he's also supportive and encouraging of the move home and thinks it's a great idea. So we're both in transition and after a fresh start. Nice! 

Hope you guys had a great day! Just wanted you guys to know I am moving full steam ahead with leasing my condo so I can be debt free sooner rather than later. =)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Spirit of Chicago...

My current view from the Spirit of Chicago Ship. We are having our Summer Outing at work today and the weather is perfect. So happy! I love Chicago!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Spending Pause...

Working from home today.  A handyman is supposed to come by this afternoon to do some work on the condo but he ran into an emergency at another appointment.  I am not sure if he will be able to make it today.  It's not a biggie.  If he needs to reschedule, then my parents or my sister will cover the next appointment. 

I am winding down my current position.  I held a successful close-out meeting yesterday on the Review I was leading and now I am pretty much coasting to the finish line.  My last day is July 31st.

I am going to send an email out to my friends and tell them thanks but no invites to anything expensive for the next year.  This month hit my savings big time with the Trip to Punta Cana and paying for the flight, hotel and party tics for my trip to Toronto's Carabana to celebrate my good friend's 35th bithday.  After August, my savings will be on life support with $2K in my eFund and $2K in other liquid investments.  It was so worth it all and I will survive but it's definitely time for a Spending Pause! 

I just feel so good about the decision to rent my condo out and move back in with my parents for the next 12-24 months.  I am over there 4 out of 7 days already and I literally get home just to sleep in my condo.  In that time period, my goal is to pay off my Private Student Loans and Credit Card which totals $113K combined.  With diverting my mortgage savings, my new $115K salary, target 20% annual bonus that pays out each December and my stock options that pay out in December 2015, I should be able to reach my goal and it's going to be a great feeling to get that worry off me.  Paying that debt off increases my cash flow ~ $900 per month so that will be more than helpful and wonderful.  Then I will tackle my federal loan debt with much more ease but I am definitely thankful for the fixed rates.

I am trying to pump myself up to pack. LOL  I go to Indianapolis this weekend for my family reunion.  Then next weekend is the open house.  After that, I will have the movers come to move my heavy furniture over to my parent's house and take boxes a little at a time to storage and their house over the next couple of weeks. I've been in my condo for 11 years so I will definitely take this opportunity to purge and bless someone else that may be in need.  Exciting times!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Moving Forward & Back to Work...

Thank you for hanging with me while I enjoyed the best 2 Week Vacation ever! It started out with an impromptu trip to Wisconsin Dells, then enjoyed the 4th holiday with family and a music picnic in the park. I ended with a 5-Day vacation in Punta Cana. I am truly blessed and now I am rested and relaxed.

July has been a very expensive month and my savings will surely be nearly depleted in August but I am okay with it all and at peace with my fresh start. I should have close to $4k at the end of August. I am closing out my time in my current position with the Bank and I start my new job on Aug. 4th. Very excited to move on to bigger and better things.

I am also moving forward with renting out my condo and moving back in with my parents so I can make some real progress with debt repayment. My parents are thrilled to have me and I need the help. They offered to give me space in their home and that is priceless. I am very thankful.

I signed the listing agreement with the Realtor on Friday to lease the condo. They are coming to take pictures tomorrow for the MLS listing and will hold an Open House by the end of the month. She thinks that the unit will rent fairly quickly and that I can get ~ $1,600/month. My mortgage (including taxes), assessments, water and home warranty total ~ $1,325 so the extra will cover a storage unit for my furniture and any $75 deductible needed for home repairs under the home warranty. I have a few repairs to make on the condo and have engaged a handy man already. He came on Saturday and should be back to do the work in the next week.

More to come... =)

Monday, July 07, 2014

Punta Cana...

This is my current situation. Absolutely stunning. The different colors of oceanic turquoise never ceases to amaze me with its beauty. The water is nice and the beach is perfect. I have no other plans than to rest, relax, drink & eat. Cheers! 

Sunday, July 06, 2014

I'm Off to the Dominican Republic....

About to take off to Punta Cana! They put me in Business Class! Wowza! I was heading to Coach when I realized that it started at Row 7 and I was in Row 4! I kept checking my ticket! LOL

Talk soon! Happy Sunday! =)

Friday, July 04, 2014

4th of July...

Felt really really tired this morning for my run. I struggled through running 1.5 miles and then my left shin started hurting so I switched to a Run/Walk. Just glad that I got in some exercise today. I am going to conquer these bleachers and then head home to jump rope for 15 minutes and then enjoy the rest I the holiday.

Today is Harlem's 40th Birthday. I completely forgive him and I forgive myself. I don't have any blocks on my phone anymore so I sent him a text this morning to wish him a Happy Birthday. I sincerely hope he has a fun and fabulous Birthday and that he's smiling wherever he is today. Everyone should be celebrated on their special day. 

Okay bleachers....Be my friend! Have a great 4th of July!!! Two days until Punta Cana! Bavara Princess Resort...Here I Come! =)

Thursday, July 03, 2014


I've been working out consistently the past couple of weeks. I'm still stuck at 3 miles for some reason. It's a combination of fatigue with my lungs and legs. I just have to keep pushing. I also did three rounds of stadium stairs which is up/down 5 times per round. Time to shower and enjoy the rest of this beautiful and sunny day. No rain in the forecast. =)

Have a great day! 

52-Week Challenge - Week 27

I completed Week #27 of the 52-Week Money Challenge and I now have $378 saved. The goal is to hit $1,378 by the end of the year. Slow and steady. Slow and steady. =)

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Putting The Plan Into Action...

Power was restored early this morning. My best friend just got power back this afternoon after almost 3 days. Thankfully, she had a backup generator for her television and refridgerator. I spent the day unpacking and doing some laundry. I am hoping to get most of my things packed for my trip on Sunday.

I officially signed off on and accepted the new job yesterday. I am so exited and thankful to move on to better days ahead. My start date is Aug. 4th and now I can just enjoy the rest of my vacation. 

I spoke to my Realtor this morning about listing my condo for sale and rental. She threw in the sale bit. I would be happy if I could find a buyer but condo values have not rebounded that far yet. She did say that she didn't think I would have any problems renting my condo and covering my expenses and she thinks it could lease fast because people also like to settle before the school year starts in August. I told her I could be out by the end of the month which would be lovely since I have about 3 weeks before I start my new job when I get back from vacation. 

My parents have a decent size basement but I will need a storage space for some of my things. It shouldn't be a large expense. I'm ready to move, tackle this debt and be totally free. Moving forward! 

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

More Storms....

I came home to down power lines, down tree branches and no power. Thankfully my Mom and Dad have power. I grabbed more pj's and came right on over to spend the night. The power has been out for a while with a big storm that hit Chicago. Eveything in my regular freezer has also now defrosted. Gone! 

My Sis & BIL are also affected so we're all one big happy family at the parent's house. The gang's still together. Love! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Kalahari...First Impression...

This place is massive. Nice Suite! We drove up just at 11pm and all I could see were signs for...Arcade, water slides, go carts and laser tag...Oh My!!! Giddy Giddy Giddy! I may have more fun than my nephew! I am going to make the most of these two days at Kalahari!!! =)

Vacation Surprise...

Vacation just got so much better. I was in the park reading when a message came up on my iPad to call my Sister ASAP. I looked at my phone and saw missed calls from my Sis and Mom. I started to panic because my Sis, BIL and Nephew drove up to Wisconsin Dells for a mini vacation. I called and was immediately like "What's wrong?!?!" She said nothing. The Kalahari Resort upgraded them to a Suite that accommodates six people and Dad and I should come up. She'd already called my parents. I was down to go immediately. I called my Dad and he said, "Let's Roll!" Love Him! An hour later, I was packed and at their house to hit the road. My Mom is keeping the doggie Max. So excited. I love water parks and I've never been to Wisconsin Dells. I'll be up here until Tuesday and then I leave for Punta Cana on Sunday. This is going to be the best two weeks off ever!!! Oh yeah!!! =)

Hope you guys had a good weekend!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New Job...

I GOT THE JOB!!! The HR Department called me this morning to extend me the offer! I am so thankful and excited! I am moving into a Credit Manager Position with approval authority and portfolio oversight in AZ, FL and the Central States. At least I believe that will be my regional assignment. That could be some fun work travel. I may make it to Miraval Spa sooner than I thought. =)

I keep all of my benefits and my base salary increases from $102k to $115k. Still a bit below market but moving up within a company is a challenge and I'm still young. I've been with the same organization since undergrad. 14 years full time. You really make your salary jumps when you switch companies but I like where I work. So happy! I'll be able to handle the increase in my student loans and still live. =)

The BIG draw is that I will get away from my current department. I worked until close to midnight last evening and I'm just getting on the 8:20pm train to get home by 9:30pm. My eyes are crossing. I have a target date to switch over by July 21st into the new role. I leave for Punta Cana on July 6th and I'm so much more excited for my trip. Rest & Relaxation with the extra bonus of knowing I get to come back to work knowing better is ahead. Yes!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Punta Cana...

Chitown is going to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic! I booked my trip today. I'm being a BIG GIRL and taking my very first solo vacation out of the country. Oh yeah! I didn't feel any guilt whatsoever when I booked the trip. It felt right and it felt like the right thing to do. I haven't been on a relaxing vacation since 2008 when I went to Jamaica with my Mom. I am sooooo excited! ((Running Man)) 

I'm on the train right now heading home and there is a rainbow in the sky to the East that seems like it's springing right out of Lake Michigan. So Pretty! Hope you guys had a good day!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Interviews Over...

My last & final interview went well today. I should know within the next two weeks if I got the job. I think it would be a great opportunity, provide me with a little bit of a challenge but also allow me to work in a better environment. Not to mention, it will give me a salary boost and I could use a boost for sure.

Looking forward to time off work. For the first time in 14 years, I'm taking two weeks off in the Summer. I'm scrambling to pull everything together and clean my plate before I leave. I put in 10 hours today and I'm just ready to go home.

I'm still on target with my goals for the year with the exception of my health & fitness. I have to make it a priority along with everything else and get it done in the morning. Once I get home in the evening, especially after a long day like today, working out is not at the top of my list. So, it has to be mornings. I've gotten better at going to bed earlier so I can fit in morning workouts.

I realize I didn't post May's financial results but you can get the results by clicking on the Net Worth IQ link at the top right of my blog. Have a good evening.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Good Weekend...

I'm having a good weekend. Slept well last night and got out for a little jog and stadium stairs at the local high school track before church. My nephew is about to jump in my parent's pool so I'll hang out with the family for a little while since it's a beautiful day and the sun is shining.

I need to do a little work tonight but I'm determined to enjoy this wonderful day. I have my last interview for this position tomorrow and then vacation starts Friday.  I can't wait to have two weeks away from the office. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014


The Diamond Cutterz laced up the cleats this afternoon and took the Win. I still love the game of softball. I'm just glad that we got the games in before the storm. It's pouring rain right now but I've got a date with my Mom this evening to go see "Think Like a Man 2!" Should be fun and I could use some laughs. Hope you guys are having a good weekend!


They always talk about a ride or die chick. I want a ride or die man by my side. I want to marry my best friend. Someone who will love me unconditionally, stand by my side always and carry me when needed. Yes! I want the freedom to be silly, laugh my ass off, dance in the car and have a moody day. Yes! I also want classy and passionate. I have a wild side so I want a man that will take a trip to the wild side with me. I want a husband that's my partner who I can share everything with so there's no shade or secrets and he will share with me the same. No walls. No barriers. Sharing, loving, living and ALL IN now and forever. Yep. That's what I want. Truth, honesty, sharing, loving and open to experiences, different points of view and different ways of getting things done. The ability to say "I'm Sorry" with sincerity because nobody is perfect and when you realize you messed up, you take accountability, learn and move forward. 

I've been thinking a lot these last few weeks since Toronto. I really want true love with friendship. I know what it looks like because my parents have been married for over 40 years and they are best friends. They will piss each other off and still love each other and stick together no matter what and that helps them to also be the best parents. Knowing how strong their bond is makes me feel more secure is knowing my family  is always there and the unconditional love they have for each other spills over to me, my sister and my nephew. 

I want that for my children. A home where they can see unconditional love in play and in practice every single day of their lives. Consistency and stability. I want to have true unconditional love because I know it will help me to be the best wife and mother I can be to know and believe to my core that I have a partner for good in this life. That together and with God, we can tackle anything and come through any challenge. 

I want that ride or die Man! Knowing that if it's Us against the world, the world doesn't stand a chance. We got this! 

Now that's a beautiful love. When it not only fills you up but overflows to others and makes their lives better. =)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Thank You Stephanie Kwolek...

Here is someone to know. A woman chemist whose kevlar invention saved countless lives. 

Kevlar Inventor Stephanie Kwolek Dead at 90

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Monday night, my security system's trouble light came on after a loud beep. When I came home Tues night, the entire system was off. I figured it needed a new battery but in 10+ years, it's never turned off completely. Fast forward to this evening when I walk into the laundry room and there is a stench. Silly ole me accidentally pulled the plug out of the wall when I went to unplug the washing machine. For some reason, the washer wouldn't stop signaling a complete cycle so I just unplugged it but I accidentally pulled the entire wall mount loose from the wall. I unplugged the alarm system causing it to use backup power and I also unplugged the deep freezer. So for two days, eveything was defrosting. Salmon, shrimp, Popsicles, etc. all defrosted and melted. That was a very fun cleanup project this evening but mission accomplished. It only took 30 minutes to throw everything out and clean it all up. Smelly laundry room gone! 

Silly silly me! That was a very unorthodox way of checking something off the 52-Week Organization Challenge. =)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Busy Busy...

Today was a busy but pretty blah day. I don't know. Too much going through my mind. Happens and I'm sure the thunderstorms didn't help.

I am sitting here for a few more minutes watching Millionaire Matchmaker. Pretty cool show and Patti is hilarious. She's actually the one getting matched up this time and the master date or whatever they call it just happens to be at Miraval Spa in Arizona. I really want to go there someday. They just ziplined and I could just see myself climbing right up that ladder eager to take my turn. Fun!

Has anyone ever been to Miraval?

I've been taking care of business. Moving and shaking. I have one last interview on Monday for this position and I am finalizing my life insurance so I can be covered outside of work. I have coverage with my employer but if anything ever happens to my employment, I'm assed out. So, I'm getting a seperate policy so I'm covered and I don't want to wait too much longer because it's more expensive  as I get older. I felt pretty exposed during the application process. They ask some very personal questions which makes total sense but leaves you feeling like..."Damn! You need to know all of that?!?!" I'm getting less and less bashful about my pile of baggage if you will. It is what it is and I can't change any of it now. 

I put in a 10-hour workday today and I'm kind of pooped. I'm not sleepy though and I kind of wish I had some company. This is exactly why I know I need to go away for a few days while I'm off work for vacation. Sitting on the couch vs. Sitting
by the ocean. No brainer to me! I'm thinking the second week in July. Then I can enjoy a week at home, the 4th with my family and Chicago's House Music Picnic on July 5th. Being with my family on July 4th will help me get my mind off the fact that it's Harlem's 40th birthday. I often still wonder where he's at and how he's doing. 

I know...I know. Personal Finance Blog and it costs moola to go on vacation. Gotta find that money tree! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Day Two of Interviews...

My second day of interviews went well. I have just one final interview next Monday then I will be done. Work is super busy and I'm looking forward to vacation time starting June 28th. I will need to put in some longer hours in the next week and a half but then I'm free. Yes!!! ((Fist Pump))

I slept for 7 hours straight last night which is rare. Chitown was tired. If I have any plans of running this half marathon in Sept, then I better get running soon. I've been so tired but I know that's because I need to exercise and sleep more.

Brian Williams Raps 'Baby Got Back'

This is absolutely hilarious! 

Brian Williams raps 'Baby Got Back' thanks to 'Tonight Show' mashup magic

Monday, June 16, 2014

Good Interviews...

Interviews went really well this morning. The Head of the Group concluded with saying that she was happy to meet with me and that she thought I was very impressive. That's always good to hear. 

Fingers crossed and prayers up that I get the job! Still thankful for the job I have now. Time to go do some real work. =)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Interviews This Week...

Father's Day was a success. I am back home and getting ready for my interviews. I have two interviews tomorrow, another interview Tuesday and a final interview next Monday. I have to wrap up fieldwork on my review that I am leading this week as well. It's going to be a busy but good week. 

Hope you guys had a great weekend. Pray for me with these upcoming interviews. Thanks! 

Father's Day

Wishing all the Dads out there a Happy Father's Day! 

In about an hour, I'll head over to my parents house to celebrete my Dad's special day. I'm so glad and thankful we had some Father Daughter time this weekend. It was fun to get out on the dance floor and dance with my a Dad at the wedding and decide to spontaneously detour on the trip to visit a cousin. If he were with anyone else but me, he'd have gone straight to Detroit but I'm always down for a fun adventure. Google Maps was our friend and we made it happen. Our Cousins were so happy we came for a visit. 

Have a wonderful Sunday! =)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Beautiful Wedding...

My Cousin is an absolutely beautiful Bride. She and her Groom dated for 5 years before tying the knot today. About 3 of those years were long distance and they made it work. She eventually relocated from Boston to Dallas where they now reside. 

The ceremony was short and sweet and the reception is very nice. This venue was originally the Ritz Carlton but it is now called The Henry and owned by the Ford Family. Beautiful venue with pieces of artwork everywhere to both visually enjoy or purchase. Very nice!

It's a brunch reception which I think is an amazing idea and I am certain that it is cost saving as well. The ceremony was at 10:30 and the reception immediately followed without much delay. 

There is a buffet with traditional breakfast foods as well as lunch selections. Then you can get omelets and waffles made to order which are brought to your table once prepared. Everything is delicious and yum! The made to order option is great for those who are not big fans of buffets.  Something for everyone. The music is good too! Always a plus in my book! 

Well I have a few more minutes in these 2 hour heels. I am going to go cut a rug and boogie! 

I'm taking notes! I'm next! =)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Road Trip...

I might know 25% of the words to an Anitta Baker song but I will sing and make up my own words! Enjoying the car ride with my Dad. Detroit here we come! Pit stop in Lansing, MI to visit more cousins. Blessed! 

Happy Friday...

I am taking a half day at work today. My family and I are driving up to Michigan for my cousin's wedding. I am so excited and happy for her. She's originally from the Detroit area but spent a little time in Chicago a few years ago and we were able to bond. She lives in TX now so I am super happy to see her and I know she's going to be a beautiful bride.

Who watched that crazy Heat/Spurs game last night? Crazy Right?!?! We will see if Miami really brings the Heat in the next game. I kept thinking they were going to make a comeback but the Spurs were unstoppable.

It should be an easy breezy morning. Have a great weekend! Wishing an early Happy Father's Day to the Dads out there! =) 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

2014 Debt Repayment Progress...

I got promoted and started earning my first six-figure salary in April 2012. During 2012, a lot of the extra income went to repay medical loan debt from two surgeries as well as auto repairs. 2013 was the first year that I was able to make any meaningful progress towards debt reduction and I made some progress. I am aiming for 2014 to be my best year yet for debt repayment. Each year will get better until I am completely DEBT FREE!

In 2013, I managed to pay off $7,224 in principal. Through the first five months of 2014, I have been able to pay off $5,011 or 69% of what I was able to pay off last year and I haven't reached December when my annual bonus pays out. This year, it should be no less than $13,000 after taxes so you can see that with continued monthly payments and my bonus, I will be able to reach my goal of paying off $20,000 in debt this year.

YTD 2014


This! Thank You!

"It's less about how you get what you desire and more about how you treat what you value..." - Rob Hill Sr.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


My grandmother developed a severe case of Alzheimer's once she hit her mid 80's. There was an immediate loss of short term memory. So bad in fact that I believed she had a stroke of some kind because it appeared so immediate. Of course it was a gradual loss but then it just dropped off a cliff. Short term memory gone!

One of my Mom's best friends is suffering from a form of dementia. She is 70. I've know her my entire life and she's been friends with my Mom for 40+ years. I am also good friends with her nephew who is my age. He lost his Mom (her sister) last year and she also suffered from early onset of dementia. It's apparently hereditary.

They moved to FL in 2001 and are in town for the week. My Mom cooked a big dinner tonight realizing that this may be one of the last times she sees her friend while she has some of her mental faculties. She asked me about
5 times where I went to school and 3 times if I had my outfit ready for my interview on Monday. No short term memory but she was so excited to see me and give me a hug.

I could tell her son was getting tired, frustrated and impatient but dementia and Alzheimer's are not logical conditions. If you try to apply logic, you will only get more frustrated. It takes strong patience to care for a loved one affected by dementia and Alzheimer's.

I remember that I used to laugh to keep from crying when my grandmother would have episodes. What she would say and what she would do made no sense what so ever. You just had to go along and make sure she didn't hurt herself. I developed a lot of patience.

I kept thinking this evening just how thankful I am that my parents are in better health, thankful that they can actually fully participate in life and that we can still share in quality time.

In 2009, my nephew was born and my sister had a post delivery complication that could have taken her life. A month later, I developed health issues. A couple months after that, my Dad had a massive heart attack and nearly died. And a few months later, my grandmother slipped into Alzheimer's. I will always remember that year. Not because of all the tragedy but because of how all of it brought my family closer together and because I am a more humble, less judgmental, relatable and better person because of what happened to me and to my family.

I don't take a single moment with them for granted or a single moment with the people I love for granted. Even when people upset me, I still tell them I love them and wish them well. I can't hold on to anger for long. I am not that person. I am just so thankful for the gifts of love, care and quality time. It means something to me when someone gives me their time because it's their most precious possession. The fact that they are willing to share it with me is such a blessing. That's me. That's who I am. I am so sorry my Mom's friend is inflicted with dementia. But I do know by the show of people that were around her today that she is loved.

2014 Goal Check...

It's time for a Goal Check. Below are the Goals I set for 2014.

  • Pay off a Minimum of $20,000 in Debt
  • Maintain $10,000 in Savings 
  • $6,000 in current savings - savings have depleted the last couple of months.
  • Still planning to end the year with over $5,000 in savings if not closer to $8,000.
  • Still on target to pay off $20k in debt this year.  
  • Interview for a new job next week that would increase my base salary to approx. $112,000 annually plus provide an annual bonus and still allow me to qualify for stock options. Pray for me!
Health & Fitness:
  • 8 Hours of Sleep
  • Minimum of 1 Gallon of Water Daily
  • Run 3 Times a Week
  • Jump Rope 15 Minutes Daily
  • Run Races and at Least 1 Half Marathon 
  • Plenty of sleep. Interrupted but ample.
  • Got off the water kick but back on it heavy.
  • Registering for the Chicago Half Marathon - Training started this month.
  • I love love love to travel.
  • Take at least one big trip - Destination TBD
  • Visit my friends in NJ
  • Visit my friend in DC
  • Visit Niagara Falls
  • Visit CA with a drive up the coast 
  • I made it to Niagara Falls in June 2014!!! Beautiful! 
  • Going to Toronto for Carabana in August with my friend from NJ for her 35th birthday. 
  • My other NJ friend is coming to Chicago for the Annual House Music Picnic. 
  • My last NJ friend is moving to DC so I am going to try to get to both my DC friends this year.
  • No plans for LA yet....I would love to also get out there to get my hair cut/trimmed.
  • Looking at last minute deals for 3 nights for my 2-week vacation in July...Anybody want to come with me?!?! lol
Other Comments

I decided that I am going to try my best to strike a balance between my Debt Reduction Plans and Living. I want to live versus just exist to pay bills. Perhaps my original goal to repay all my debt in 5 years was too aggressive but I know I can do it in 8-10 years. With that, I could have $200k+ in retirement savings and close to $50k in other savings/investment assets. The important thing is to pay off my Private Loans that have a variable rate ASAP.

I would enjoy life a little more by stretching the plan but staying focused on the goals. I would be less tense and stressed. I am 36...$200k+ paid off and Debt Free by 44/45 isn't too bad. Of course that time frame could shorten if I have a partner to share expenses with where I can direct more money towards debt reduction. I am focused! I will get all of this debt paid off but I want to enjoy my life too.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A few months ago, I reactivated my profile but then I deactivated it for a while. It always gets me when I see a cute guy's profile and then I scroll down to religion and see Athiest. I get off his profile page quick, fast and in a hurry. Even when I was younger and questioned if God was real, I would claim Him just in case. I was scared and fearful enough not to totally denounce Him. I mean, it's possible right?!?! I wouldn't want to be the one at at pearly gates saying "My Bad!!!!"...Nah...not the kid! To each his own and I believe everyone has a right to choose their own beliefs....I am just going to roll with Jesus! The guy is still cute though...can't take that away from him. =)

Monday, June 09, 2014

Challenge Money...

So I was wondering what I would do with the money from the 52-Week Challenge at the end of the year. Then it dawned on me that it would have been cool to do something like this for my nephew from the time he was born. Just like every week, the amount increases, I should have increased the amount by $100 each year and he would have $17,100 by the time he turns 18. That's nice "pocket money" for a kid going off to college. What do you think? I could still do it. He's 5 right now so I should technically have $1,500 in an account but I will have close to $1,400 by the end of the year. I think it's a good idea and I would keep it to myself as a secret. Nobody has to know. Even 13 years from now when he's turning 18, the monthly savings amount would be just $150 per month. I'll be in a much better financial position by mental wheels are spinning. I love my Nephew. Doing something like this for him would make me happy. I would love for him to have a better start in life. Perhaps he wouldn't get it all at once but it would be there for him when/if he needs it for school or after school. Hmmm.....

How to Squeeze Meditation into Your Busy Schedule...

Here is a pretty cool article on meditation. I am going to try to put some of this advice into practice immediately.

How to Squeeze Meditation into Your Busy Schedule

Sunday, June 08, 2014

52-Week Money Challenge...

I completed Week #23 of the 52-Week Money Challenge and I now have $276 put away. The goal is to hit $1,378 by the end of the year. Slow and steady! Slow and steady! =)

Sunday Relaxing...

Missing Harlem but trying to stay strong. It's been a month since our last communication and it still saddens me that we couldn't pull together to create something great. My Dad asked about him yesterday and I explained what happened and the temporary block. I've long since removed it but I told my Dad that if he really wanted to reach me then he would find a way. He agreed.

Still withdrawing from caffeine. Got up for a two mile run this morning and then made it to Church. My best friend and I took her daughter to see Maleficent after Church which was well done and an excellent movie. I got a little sick after the movie but I'm over at my parent's house now relaxing with some ginger ale. After a 5 hour nap yesterday, I still slept a good 7 hours last night. I think I just reached my exhaustion limit.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

I Am Enough...

Just started following @initforthelove on InstaGram. This picture was a great reminder that I am enough just the way that I am. I just need to have faith that a wonderful man will come into my life and appreciate who I am, what I have to offer and show me his love and appreciation with both his words AND actions.

Today, all could think about at my nephew's graduation is how much I love that little boy, how proud of him I am and how much I really want to be a Mom. I am so thankful for my parents, my sister, brother-in-law, nephew and my best friend and her daughter who comprise my core group who love, support and encourage me every day. Without them, my life would have very little joy, happiness or purpose. With them, my life is rich so I remain grateful, thankful and humble. It blows my mind that God thought enough of me to bless me with such amazing parents, family and a friend who is like a sister. I am a glass half full type of woman. Someone once said, I have blinding hope. I just quite simply believe in God. Even when I get frustrated with His timing, I believe in and put my faith in God.

In this life, I desire to be healthy, free from debt, to be happily married with a family of my own, to raise my kids to be good people and their best selves and to travel and see the world. I rest in the belief that it's possible and that it will happen.

Caffeine Withdrawal...

I know I am very sensitive to caffeine but I endulged in several lattes daily to stay awake when I was in Canada for training. This last week, I was going, going, going non-stop with very little sleep.

Man oh man! In just one week, I'm going through caffeine withdrawal. My head hurts, I'm nauseas and super tired. I went to my nephew's graduation this morning and then we went out for a celebration lunch. Soon as I got home, I couldn't lie down fast enough and slept for 4-5 hours. It was a beautiful day too. It just takes a few days to detox the caffeine out of my system. 

I'm trying to wrap my brain around my finances. I've been on a little spending kick lately. I broke down and finally bought some Cole Haan heels for work. Even on sale, the shoes were $200/pair but they have the Nike technology and come in wide. I've had two toe surgeries so wide shoes just feel better. 

I'll tally the damage up this week. I just have to say, Capital One is Awesome! I lost my credit card about a month ago and they express mailed me a new card. Well, I lost it again in Niagara Falls last week and when I called, they didn't give me any hassles. I called the restaurant the next day when I noticed it was missing but they could not locate the card. They finally found it and called me today but I'd already cancelled the card. I appreciate that Capital One didn't give me a hard time. Kudos! 

Hope you guys are having a good weekend!!! 

Friday, June 06, 2014

Getting Back in Work Mode...

My alarm went off this morning and I had no idea where I was or what day. Just exhausted and disoriented. I managed to get myself up and into work today.

I received an invitation to a second round of interviews for a position I posted for with the Bank. It should be scheduled to happen within the next 2 weeks. That's great news! More to come. This position is 100% different and would mean a higher salary. 

Looking forward to taking 2 weeks off for vacation at the beginning of July. I originally put the time off in the vacation calendar thinking I'd have 2 weeks to travel and celebrate Harlem's 40th Birthday but it still comes at a much needed time for a break and pause in the busy action. 

My nephew graduates from pre-school tomorrow so it will be a family filled weekend. Love!

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Heading Home....

After a week away in Canada, I'm finally heading home. I'll board my flight shortly. I had a great time, met some awesome people and I learned a lot. I was in Canada for Management Leadership Training and I learned a lot about myself and how best to communicate and work with others. Looking forward to putting what I learned into practice.

This afternoon, we had an awesome exercise/simulation. There were 25 of us and we were divided into groups of four, with a white envelopes on each table. We were told that we had a client that wanted to see 5 different models of airplanes for purchase. We needed 12 inch and 9 inch models that had to fly 16 feet in the air and given a finite set of resources to make the paper airplanes. As an entire group, we had to produce 5 planes for the client within 20 minutes.

Oh shit went through my head. We divided responsibilities and I opted to demonstrate the final product. One of my group members came up with the brilliant idea for all of us to collaborate together and instead of 4 different groups, we had one group and everyone played their roles. I kept time and when they couldn't get them to fly the 16 feet, I could see that they needed weight and suggested they use the Popsicle sticks and then they flew a longer distance. We had these colorful pipe cleaners and feathers so I suggested that we use those to extend the wings to 12 inches to meet the 12 inch parameters when we had 9 inch paper. That worked as well. I was just appreciative that they listened to my ideas to improve their designs to meet the goal. I admit that I had to stay in my non-paper plane making lane but I came up with some solutions that helped us reach the goal. Afterwards, we were told that we were the best and funnest class yet to work with for training and the only class in the history of the program to decide to work together and only have to produce 5 models with 2 backups as opposed to 5 models per group. In the real world, we saved the Bank a lot of money being efficient. Kudos to my teammate for that idea!!!!

I'm just ready to go home and be around my family and friends. Priceless!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Roll Call...

Can you guys do me a favor? Let's do a Roll Call!!! Tell me where you guys are checking in from! 

You can make it anonymous if you want. I'm curious we're the Readers of Windy City Blues are from. 

Help me out y'all...It would be fun! =)

Monday, June 02, 2014

Niagara Falls...

My Buddy MC was sneaky and took this picture of me while I was taking a picture of the Falls. It was a beautiful day but there was a little wind and we got semi-drenched from the mist. I was so happy that I didn't care. =)

Toronto Trip Check-In...

I had a really great couple of days hanging out with my friend MC. The trip was made complete with a fun overnight trip to Niagara Falls. I checked into the training facility last night and my first day of Leadership Training went very well today. I'm learning a lot about my strengths and weaknesses as well as learning to work effectively with people who have different learning/working styles while still maintaining authenticity. The BIG thing we learned about today is Emotional Intelligence and it's importance. Eye opening exercises. I am the only American but I love getting to know others and my Canadian colleagues are treating me very nicely. More to come.

Hope you guys are doing well! =)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Time to Fly...

I am at the airport and getting ready to board my plane to Canada. So excited to see my buddy, visit Niagara Falls and have a few days away from the Chicago Office. I kicked off my review this afternoon so my Team has plenty of work to do in my absence. Yes! 

More craziness in the office. Two male coworkers raised voices at each other over a deal and one guy was later pulled aside and told he should look for a new position. Sucks because I really like him. Then my other coworker got seriously demoted this afternoon although she will keep her salary and title. 

I am just keeping my head down and posting for positions. They tried to come for me again a couple of weeks ago but I shut that down with my performance record. You don't have to like me or my personality but my team likes me, appreciates me and I am a top performer. In the end, they sat there with blank stares after I was done with them. I had everything documented. Moving on and thankful I had my work record to back me up. I've more than stepped up to the plate this year so they had nada. 

Toronto...Here I come! Have a great weekend! =)

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Good Morning!

Working through feeling a little sad and grieving for my relationship. Just really trying to get to a place of true forgiveness and love so that I don't continue to have this internal dialogue in my head surrounding what went wrong and how I felt about it all. Just trying to make peace with the past so I can move into the future. I wish I had a mechanism that would just switch it all off but I sincerely loved Harlem and wanted a future with him. Real feelings don't change that fast and we were great together when things were good. Just continuing to pray for healing of my mind and spirit and continuing to keep everyone in my prayers so that this kind of hurt and pain never has to reach another person. God is faithful so I know he'll bring me through this personal challenge. 

Looking forward to my trip this weekend to Canada and Niagara Falls. I stayed up last night to start packing and chatted with my friend from NJ. We didn't get off the phone until midnight and she's on the East Coast! 

Wishing everyone an amazing day! Thank you for reading and for your continued support of Windy City Blues to Bliss! =)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Four Day Week...

Back to work today after a wonderful long weekend. I leave for Toronto on Friday and I'm looking forward to hanging out with my friend MC (we always joke that we have the same initials) and visiting Niagara Falls on Saturday. He's been counting down since last week and sent me the forecast this morning which looks awesome or this weekend. Thumbs up!

I jumped on the treadmill this morning for 30 minutes. It takes forever for my body temperature to come back down, even with a cool shower. Thank goodness, I don't need or wear make-up. Just a little eye liner, mascara and lip gloss and I'm good to go.

I'm doing my very best to stay positive, focus on being my best self and remain  thankful for all of my blessings. I cannot say that I don't miss Harlem because I do but I hope he's doing well whenever he is in the world. It's still crazy to me how I'd never know where he was when we were apart. Without a permanent address, he could be anywhere at anytime. A life so different than my own. Not wrong or right. Just very different. My Mom mentioned him yesterday when we were talking about men and crooked teeth. I know...random. She mentioned his smile and I had to just grin and agree because he has a smile that makes my heart melt. Bright smile against rich chocolate. Just Beautiful! I hope he's smiling wherever he is and I pray he's happy. 

I intend for this to be an easy and peaceful workweek. I begin leading another review today and I have to kick it off before I leave for Toronto since I'll be gone for a week. I should have an interview scheduled soon for a new position. I am ready to move on to a new challenge. 

Have a great day!!! 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hit the Track...

I slept in this morning for the first time in a long time and it felt great. I got up and went for my very first training run. The arches in my feet have been hurting really bad doing the T25 so I decided to see if the track at the local high school was open. I was so happy to see it open and several people out running. I even ran into an old classmate from junior high and high school. Love!

The soft track was great for my feet but I do need to get out earlier to beat the sun and heat. I think I burned a little. I ran Mile 1 straight. I sprinted the straights and walked the curves on Mile 2. My lungs were struggling with the 80 degree heat and direct sunlight. My inhaler was my friend. Once I got light headed, I called it quits.

I Came! I Saw! I Conquered! Day 1! =)

True Love...

I had to stay up to finish reading this book. Amazing love story....I laughed. I cried. Beautiful!

Sunday, May 25, 2014


I had another really good day. An old school fun day. Playing in the yard, eating good food, spending quality time with family and listening out for the ice cream truck. Old school! 

As I left the park today, I found a little peace in my heart. I absolutely love living in a smaller town near a big city. I like the closeness and feel of a small town with big malls nearby but small mom and pop stores also in the heart of the village/city. It's special to feel that hometown feeling. 

I go into the big Chicago city to work and sometimes hang with friends. It's rich with history, culture and amazing people. I really feel like I get the best of both worlds. Being with my family and friends is the best place to be and's home! 

Enjoying the Park...

One of my most favorite things to do is go to the park to just to walk around or sit and enjoy a good book. I got up early this morning to go to Church and I stopped over to my parents' house to get my cookout assignment. Wine picked up and car washed, I was able to pull over, grab a chair out of my trunk and enjoy this beautiful day in the park.  

In a couple of hours, I will head over for some good eats. My Mom is throwing a bunch of stuff on the grill. Yum!!! The family is coming over so I will get to enjoy good food and quality time with loved ones. Can't ask for much better. 

Yesterday, I got an awesome massage, treated myself to lunch and then my Mom and I took my nephew to see Rio 2 which was such a cute movie. Despite it being a cartoon, I found myself laughing at different parts and bopping to the music while my nephew destroyed my nachos and slurpee. lol That's okay, after the movie I took him down in the arcade with some car racing games. lol...I will always be a kid at heart. Maybe today, we'll play a little baseball and football in the yard. Dad put together the hoop I bought my nephew for Christmas so there is sure to be some basketball too. Fun! 

Remaining thankful for all my blessings. I hope you guys are enjoying this long weekend. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Lovely Day...

It's a beautiful and sunny, mid 70 degree day in Chicago. I had an awesome massage this morning and now I'm having lunch outside. I just have to get out to enjoy this beautiful day. Dating myself may not be such a bad idea until someone special decides to join in the fun. =)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Take a Moment, Give a Hand...

From Soledad O'Brien's interview in Essence Magazine on what's behind the Starfish name of her company. Everything you do for another matters.

Happy Friday...

I woke up this morning to the sun shining and just excited and thankful that's it's Friday and the long weekend is finally here. It doesn't even matter that I have no plans other than a massage. My house is clean and I am free for 72 hours. Yippee!!! No work, no muss and no fuss! Oh yeah! 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Long Weekend...

Trying to work on some weekend plans so I don't get bored or lonely. This is when I really wish I had a significant other and partner for companionship. We could brainstorm some activities together and really get out and have some fun. Or we could have planned a short getaway with a last minute deal involving the beach and sun. Whatever! I love spontaneity. 

What plans do you have for the weekend?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Goals Update...

Chitown is going to Niagara Falls! I had a work trip scheduled for Toronto in June but my nephew is graduating from pre-school the Saturday after the training. So, I was resolved that I wouldn't be able to make it to Niagara Falls. 

In steps my buddy from Toronto. He was a football player at NU, resides in Toronto and has dual citizenship. We've kept in touch over the years via Skype and FaceTime and he called me a couple of weeks ago to ask me when the company was sending me across the border. I was just about to book my flight for training when he said come early and we could hang out and he'd take me to the Falls. Perfect! He has a condo in Toronto, about 30 min from the training facility. He'll pick me up Friday and I can stay with him and then and we'll stay the night at Niagara Falls and he's taking me to meet his family on Sunday. He says his Mom always likes to meet his friends from Northwestern and I love time with family so that's perfect. Then he'll drop me off at the training facility for the week. I am so excited because the flight is on the Company and I will have minimal out of pocket expense and get to go to the Falls. Yes!!!

One of my best friends from NJ is turning 35 in June and she called the other night to ask me if I wanted to go to Carabana in Toronto again in August. Umm...yes! I just don't know how I'm going to pay for that trip. I told her I'd get back to her. We just need to book by the end of the month. 

Lastly...I'm running another half Marathon. My Buddy from Toronto asked me to run with him and his sister and I was promised a nice fattening meal after the race...I'm sold!!!! lol. Now I will meet another goal this year. Time to lace up the sneakers. 

I am still determined to pay off at least $20k in debt this year. I think that's more than possible. I'm claiming it...It's already done! At least 20k this year and $30k next year. Boom!