Friday, January 31, 2014

Buying to Feel the Feeling...

I just had a thought since I was just talking about Louis Vuitton. 

Have you ever bought something you know you have no business buying just to feel the feeling of having it and to know you can? I did this recently. My boss invited me to makeovers at the Bobby Brown counter at Bloomingdales and then we walked over to the Louis Vuitton store on Michigan Avenue and Oak Street. Let me tell you something, you would never think we were in a recession the way women and men were buying and walking around with bags on Oak Street. That's where all of the high end stores and boutiques are downtown Chicago. My best friend used to work at a Bank on Oak Street when we graduated from college and I remember just thinking "Wow" when I'd taxi up there to have lunch with her. It reminded me of Pretty Woman when Vivian was on Rodeo Drive. lol 

Anyway, after the makeovers, we all walked over to the Louis Vuitton store and I fell in love with a handbag. The girls convinced me (it wasn't too hard) to buy it since I never buy myself anything nice and it was bonus time. I bought it. I took it home. I looked at the box in the bag all day Sunday and promptly took the damn thing back on Monday. I never even took if out if the pretty wrapping. I remember feeling so much lighter having the $2,500 back in my account. It was just nice knowing that if I wanted to buy the bag, I could have without adding anymore debt to the equation. It's nice knowing that with focus and diligence, I'll soon be able to walk into stores and buy a handbag and bad *ss shoes without guilt. That's going to be fun. 

Okay...I'm really going to bed now. lol


I am so thankful that it's Friday and I can relax and recuperate this weekend. You know those people coughing and sneezing on the train or in closed quarters where you just want to run away?!?! Well that was totally me today. I couldn't even look people in the eye. Praying that I feel better by Monday. Good news is that I called my Mom and she's feeling good. Knowing her, she'll pop over tomorrow to check on me. She's pretty awesome like that and really thoughtful. 

The cooking class last night was so much fun. I ran out of steam around 8:45
but we still had about 15 more minutes of  cooking to do. The menu was crab cakes with a remoulade sauce, chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, and bananas foster bread pudding with vanilla bean ice cream. Yum! Yum! Yum! I learned a lot and it was much easier than I imagined. I didn't get home until about 11pm and my eyes were crossing by the time I said my prayers and climbed into bed. So worth it. I thought about canceling since I caught this virus but I didn't want to let my friend down, we had to give 24 hours notice of cancellation or pay the entire fee and the class was my idea. So, I took some meds and feverishly washed my hands a million times. I can't wait to recreate the recipes. 

They almost got me last night. They used this amazing Le Creuset stock pot for the gumbo and then wanted to offer everyone 20% off anything in the store. I wanted that freaking pot but it was like $280 for the size they used. That sucker had to stay in the store. I'll put it on my wish list and pin it to Pinterest. 

I am a huge huge fan of Pinterest. I have over 7,000 pins (don't judge I even set up a private vision board where I pin and upload all the things I want to manifest. So I'll pin the pot to my board to go along with the compact zippy Louis Vuitton wallet. I have a beautiful Louis Vuitton purse but I feel like a purse fraud without having a nice wallet to pair with it. I've been told that I look silly pulling out my $40 smartphone wallet with a $4,000 purse. lol It's totally pinned to my vision board and I'll get it eventually. 

Some of the other things pinned are trips I would love up take to Africa, Italy and Hawaii. Then I pinned things I'd like in a home and even the SUV I would like. Rounding out the pinning is home life stuff I'd like to experience like getting married and having children. Pinterest is a lot if fun. I recommend giving it a try. 

Well the coughing is picking up again so I think I'll take my butt to bed. Have a great weekend and GO BRONCOS!!! I'm a Peyton Manning fan. =)

Sick as a Dog...

It's official...Chitown is out for the count!!! Man Down!!! Code 10!!! =(

My alarm for work is set to go off at 5:30am but my head is pounding and I can't stop coughing. So I'm wide awake. It's a serious cough too. I lost my voice. I'm a mess. My chest hurts. My breathing is compromised. My inhaler is on standby. I have zero energy. 

I need to go into the office to get some files and print off some info but then I think I'm coming straight home. I will definitely be in the house all weekend getting better. Darn! I never get sick! I don't even think I caught a cold last year. 

I called my Mom last night and she thinks she's coming down with something so I need to check on her today as well. 


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chest Cold & Cooking Class...

I decided to work from home today. I didn't feel well yesterday at work but I had a jammed packed schedule and I had to kick off a new review that I am leading this quarter. My calendar was open today so I decided to stay home. I just had a terrible sinus headache and a pesky cough. I still have the cough but it's much better and the headache is long gone. Thank goodness. My nephew was running a slight fever with a cough over the weekend and we were playing together so I probably caught something from him. No biggie. I am tough gal.


I am looking forward to taking a cooking class with my friend this evening. It's been planned for a few weeks and I am so excited to learn something new...not to mention enjoy some wine and laughter. =) Good friendships are priceless and we always have a blast together.

Cooking more is one of my goals for this year along with working out and doing some traveling. I love to cook but never learned when I was younger. I was too busy playing sports, in clubs and taking honor classes. My Grandmother was an amazing cook and my Mom is as well. The food they know how to cook isn't always the healthiest but it's damn good. lol My Mom has been showing me things here and there and it's just great to learn something new.

My Dad & Nephew

My Dad is healing great from his surgery to get a defibrillator. I stopped by last night to see my Mom and Dad and he's even back to doing some hip hop abs but he can't lift his arms over his head yet. My nephew's school is closed today and tomorrow so I am sure my nephew enjoyed doing his ab work with his Paw Paw. It's the cutest thing to see him try to mirror everything like my Dad and Brother-in-Law and it's really hard to imagine that he's going to turn 5 next month. Time really flies but I am so in love with my nephew. He makes my heart smile just thinking about him and he keeps me young at heart. I laugh and smile so much when he's around. The other day he was giving me my instructions for when I babysit him. His words. "Tee Tee, when you babysit me, you have to cook dinner. Then in the morning, you have to cook me a BIG breakfast!" I almost fell off the couch because he kept going with his instructions. I was like, "I need a pin to write all this down." Too cute.

Well, I hope you guys have a great day. It's so nice to be blogging again. It was nice to take a little break but I missed it here on Windy City Blues to Bliss. Thanks Scooze and ShellyShell for hanging in there with me and for leaving a comment yesterday. =)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Freezing Weather = Work From Home

We got to work from home yesterday and today due to the subzero temps in Chicago. My brother-in-law braved the weather but I slept in and worked from home. We don't get this opportunity that often and well, I didn't feel like losing my face on Michigan Avenue. I was walking on the train platform last week and all of a sudden a burst of wind came and I threw my arms over my face like OMG! OMG! Felt like I was being slapped in the face. I love working from home. I spend less money and for once, I had plenty of groceries. I didn't spend any money the last two days. Score! =)

I just went out to start my car and let it run for 10 minutes. All is well in that area and my car is holding up good. We're supposed to get a heat wave this weekend with temps returning to the 20 degree range. (Chitown rolls her So, I will go to the car wash and have them knock some of the snow and salt off my car and clean up the inside.

Tonight I am going to cook dinner and then curl up on the couch to watch Obama's State of the Union address.

2014 Goals...

I am setting some goals for 2014. It's always great to have focus.

  • Pay off a Minimum of $20,000 in Debt
  • Maintain $10,000 in Savings 
  • $10,000 in Savings
  • On target to pay off $20k-$25k in debt this year. 
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.
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Registered for the Shamrock Shuffle - 5 Miles by End of March
  • 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 
  • In talks with friends for a visit to NJ
  • I will put out some alerts for deals to Niagara Falls 
  • Looking to book the DC trip for Summer
  • I haven't visited my college friend in LA since 2003 so I want to visit her and meet her new son. 
I am totally excited for 2014 and I believe it will be a year of GREATER! 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


A little bit of housekeeping. If you are reading my blog and you know my identity, I am asking with all sincerity that you please keep my blog private so it can remain anonymous. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Happy New Year

Hi All and Happy New Year! I hope and pray that it will be a Happy New Year for you and your families.

I am staying prayerful that this will be a year of Greater and a year for Wishes Fulfilled. My Dad is having a heart procedure on Thursday so I am asking for your prayers and I thank you in advance.  

I finished off 2013 strong financially. I did the very best I could do with all that I was juggling and it was a blessed year. I squeaked by and I don't know how I managed. Wait! Yes I do...God! After August, I didn't have more than $500 in free cash to my name but I made it happen. Below is a snapshot of December 2012 and December 2013 so you can see the progress.  I really tried to put my best foot forward. 

As you may recall, I went back to my Financial Advisor in the Spring with all kinds of spreadsheets, information and projections to see if there was anything more I could do to put myself on a better path and to better prepare for having a family. He wasn't surprised since he remembered my spreadsheets from back when I was just 24 years old. lol  After talking with me and reviewing all of my information, he concluded that I was doing my best and that I was on the right path. The only thing he wished I could do was contribute to my company's 401k which has a matching program of 100% up to 5% of my salary.

So in July, I bit the bullet and started back contributing to my 401k. That change reduced my monthly income an additional $400. I started the year bringing home $5,700/month and that decreased to $4,600/month by the end of the year with the roll off of the middle class tax cuts, switch to bi-weekly pay schedule, my 5% 401k contributions and then my 5% ESPP contributions. So after July, things were beyond tight. The ESPP is a great plan and the stock and company are solid. I get to purchase stock on a quarterly basis at a 15% discount and I can sell it immediately. The only cost is $20 to sell the stock. I started in the last quarter as a way to force myself to save 5% and I contributed $1,100. Now, I have $1,300 in stock value to liquidate. Not bad. It forces me to save and I get to make a profit. All in all, I am on the right path and I am making progress. 

 * Other: Stock Options @ Cost - Vesting 12/2015
Current Market Value ~ $12,400