Money And Me – A Love Story

All my life money has had issues with me. I’d work hard to make it, put it in the bank and watch it disappear.

Oh there were patches there where money and I would reconcile and stay together for long periods of time, but inevitably I’d find my money cheating on me with my bills and I’d realize  that money didn’t love me as much as I loved money.

It took me a half a century to figure out how to keep money happy and believe you me, that makes me happy too. I want to share what I’ve learned with you and if I can help just one person to improve their relationship with money – well that would be a good thing.

1.     Don’t spend other people’s money

Other people’s money, that means credit cards,credit union loans, bank loans, student loans and anything else that you will have to pay back with interest.

Other people’s money seems like a great idea when you’re in the line at Macy’s and the cashier says you can get 10% off of your purchase today if you sign up for a card RIGHT NOW. Trust me the one day sales and percent off coupons and those gratuitous credit limit increases will have you in debt up to your eyeballs in no time and that 10% off won’t offset the 16 to 30 percent interest you’ll be paying on your balance each month.

IF YOU CAN”T PAY FOR IT WITH CASH, YOU CAN PROBABLY LIVE WITHOUT IT. Remember your money will leave you when it discovers your affair with other people’s money.

 2.     Don’t spend money now that you think you’re going to earn later

You just got a new job, big promotion, your tax refund is going to be awesome this year- so you think to yourself “I’m going to earn that money later, so why not go ahead and  treat myself or the family to____”. I think this was one of my major shortcomings, always spending money I thought I was going to earn before it was actually in my pocket, I like to call that “euphoria spending”. Just think about it, if I’m spending as though I’m making more, when I’m not, then something is going a gangling as they say. Maybe it’s the electric bill, the gas bill, money for the commute to work next week, lunch money for the kids…whatever.  DON’T SPEND WHAT YOU DON’T ACTUALLY HAVE…YET.

3.     Pay your bills in full every month

Keeps the bill collectors at bay, makes you feel rich , and helps you to keep your sanity.  This is a hard one for some people, they tend to pay half of this and a quarter of that, steal from Peter to pay Paul and end up in this deep pit full of past due bills. I’ve never been one of those people, just wasn’t in my DNA, but I wasn’t always able to stay  on top of things and would suddenly  discover that the cell phone bill was 3 months past due because I  got busy and wasn’t keeping up. Continue reading and I’ll tell  you how I fixed that and how you can too.

4.     Open an ING account

I am sure that by now there are other online banks that allow you to open as many accounts as you’d like and manage your money in the way that I am about to explain. Back when I started ING was the one that I found and that’s the one that has worked for me

  1. Open an Electric Orange account and have your paycheck Direct Deposited there.
  2. Add a savings account and call it “Emergency Fund” because this is where you will stash a little money every month for unexpected things like a busted water heater or car repairs and the like
  3. Open one savings account for each one of your bills – this will keep you on track so that you don’t miss any of your monthly payments. I name my accounts after my bills: The Rent, Gas bill, electric Bill, Cell Phone,Car etc.

 

5.     Set up automatic transfers from your Orange account to each of the savings accounts

This will ensure that each month when that bill comes due – you have enough to pay it. Here is an example:

Bill and his wife earn $1000 per week. The table below shows their bills and the automatic transfers that should go into each account when they get paid every week,( the math may be off but I hope you get the idea):

Bill Amount Weekly Automatic Transfer
Mortgage $1000 $250
Electric $120 $30
Gas $30 $7.50
Cell Phone $200 $50
Cable $75 $18.75
Car $350 $87.5
Credit Card $100 $25
Gas and groceries $550 $137.5
Savings (external Account) $800 $200
Emergency Fund $300 $75
$3525 $881

As I hope you can see – by saving money from each check to pay their bills, Bill and his wife are able to live happily with their money.

6.     Open an external savings account

I need to have money that is hard to get to, so I have an account outside of ING where I transfer out 20% or so of my income each paycheck. That amount is based on how much I usually have left over after bills, groceries, gas, and other necessities.

Today, money and I have a healthy relationship based on mutual respect. I’m able to eat out, shop, shower my children with unexpected gifts, build up my savings – and pay my bills on time. We’re finally happy together – and you can take that to the bank.

Where Are All My Friends? The Polarizing Force of Radio,Television And Blogs

Years ago I had a lot of friends, and according to Facebook, I still do (but I don’t believe that boshwah because I know better).  I was first introduced to the negative after effects of talk radio by Tom, a coworker who believed that he was Axl Rose, (whole nother story that) and that racism was dead, and that black people (except for me of course), were lazy welfare swindlers and a lot of other crap that I’ve since erased from my memory banks. Tom was a Rush Limbaugh listener, and what struck me about Tom was not the things he said, but the angry and loud way in which he said them. I cannot think of one single moment in a scary movie that can rival being stuck alone in an industrial sized building for 12 hours a day 3 days a week with a Limbaugh Lunatic. Thank God we could at least agree on Rock and Roll. That was almost 2 decades ago and things have gotten worse instead of better. Had I known then that our political affiliation would become the thing that defines us and determines the length and breadth of our friendships, I would have made the effort to only friend Democrats and Left leaning Independents (and yes that is laughable so go ahead chuckle).

I thought I had friends at the job I worked for 10 years. We did lunch, hugs, Christmas presents, and talked about our husbands, wives, kids, and money issues . But all the while, they were being groomed by talk radio too, or maybe it was Fox News, or maybe it’s already in your DNA? I dunno. Two years ago I happened on one of my “friends” in an elevator, I was so happy to see this friend that I rushed over to give them a hug – they actually physically cringed and shrank into the back of the elevator, the look on my friend’s face was priceless, and the moment is stamped in my consciousness like a bad dream that I just can’t shake. I didn’t know what I had done to create whatever animosity, dislike, or disdain that this person felt for me  – but when I saw some of their more recent Facebook  posts I got what some folks would call “a clue”.

Then there are my other besties who no longer call or respond to emails, or even interact with me in any way shape or form on the public forum we call Facebook.

They say that politics is polarizing America, but I don’t believe it not even for a second. We used to be able to agree to disagree and then go get drunk together. Heck we even used to (gasp) marry outside of our Party.  It’s all the angry (probably white, but sometimes not) men that’s really pulling us apart (did I say that out loud? Ok I went back and amended it) . So tell me, former friends of mine – if you have a roof over your head, a good job, food in your mouth, and the kids are alright- what are you so effing mad about? And why are you mad at me?

And one last question – you keep telling me you “want America back”, but since you also say that it’s not about the President being Black and it’s not about him not being Black enough, and since back assumes that there has been forward movement to some place that’s undesirable to you- then what or whom do you want your country back from?

And another question (sorry this one baffles me so much I gotta ask it twice)- what are you so mad about?

I sure wish you’d turn the radio off, stop reading blogs that offer affirmation rather than information, mute the TV and put some music on, it will calm your nerves.

I’ve Got An Orange Crush

I’ve always loved bright colors, it’s a given where I come from, but once we got to America we had to tone it down. This year I’m happy to see that orange has made a come back(orange – tangerine tango whatever). I bought a shopping bag full of a beautiful vibrant orange from Bernat and made two hats and an infinity scarf.

If you are color shy and don’t know what to do with orange, I created this collage just for you.

The infinity scarf, orange slouchy , and cloche  can be found on my Etsy site .
I am not affiliated with any of retailers below.
Pencil skirt from Express.com
Black Metallic Skinny Jeans from JC Penney (laugh if you want to but I love my JC Penney)
Orange Skinny Jeans from SexyDresses.com
Orange and black Fergie Womens Suede pumps from Heels.com

What’s your favorite fall color?

 

My Jaco Pastorius Beanie Issue

you really can't see the hat in this pic but thought I'd provide it for context and all that

I don’t know that I’d call it an issue exacly, maybe fixation is a better word, or obsession i dunno. Last week I was in my bathroom and saw that my husband had a book called “Bass Heroes ” on the counter. There were pictures of three bassists looking all rock and roll and everything on the cover there, but the only one I noticed was Jaco because (oh you’re wondering why I knew which one was Jaco? read on I’ll tell all in a minute) he had this  colorful beanie thing on and us hookers are trained to spot crochet like from across football fields.

I’d been thinking about making some stuff for guys because I never seem to make it into the Etsy Dudes email  LOL – and anyway I like guys -I did raise 3 of them after all. Well 4 if you count my husband the bass playing rodent (and yeah that’s why I know who Jaco is).  Not only did I want to make some guy stuff, but I have like a boatload of yarn remnants and am in a “no buy” zone until I can bust that stash.

the colors here were inspired by the "other" Jaco beanie

substituted gold for orange

It was very frustrating for me because I worked late the entire week and vowed to spend no-crochet time with the kid and grandkid before they headed back to school. Finally, it was Friday and I was free  – to crochet that is. My husband requisitioned (stole?) the first one that I made so I had to go make some more for my shop. I am terrible with color (go figure) so each one took a little while as I tried to match colors in a way that wasn’t totally fugly. Luckily I started out with some really happy colors like orange and turquoise and yellow, but they’re all gone now – I guess this is what you call a challenge…

Excuse typos, misspellings and lack of punctuation, it is so way past my bedtime. Tell me what you think though.

 

The Quick And Dirty Guide to Getting What You Want


  1. Begin by asking for forgiveness – everybody needs forgiveness and a clean slate, including you.
  2. Remember that what you think about you bring about – so if all you think about is debt and you’re trying to manifest money – guess what?- that’s right you’ll be receiving some bills but they won’t be greenbacks.
  3. Know that what you wish for others you also wish for yourself – so wash your mouth out with soap and speak nicely to and about everybody
  4. Maintain an attitude of gratitude – be thankful for what you’ve got, what you’re going to get , and all the things you used to have.
  5. Remain in the present because (whatever your circumstances) right here, right now is exactly where you are supposed to be(and honestly is the fact that your parents may or may not have loved your brother really relevant to your current situation?)
  6. Realize that you can’t always get what you want (after all you’re not 5 years old anymore right?), but (as the song says) if you try sometime you might just find that you get what you need

 

Building My 4-Hour Body via The Slow Carb Diet

I am returning home to New York after a six-year absence and would like to dress in something other than a muumuu. I feel as though I am always on a diet, but strangely enough I have gained 15 to 20 odd pounds since this time last year. I stumbled on The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman when (in a moment of panic and desperation) I Googled “lose 20 pounds in 30 Days”.

“So Denise” (you might ask) “do I really believe that I can lose 20 pounds in 30 days?”
And I would respond “I dunno Sunshine, but I’m sure as heck gonna try.”

Today was day one of thirty. I woke up at 5:30 and did the Monday walk from the Leslie Sansone: Ultimate 5 Day Walk Plan. I had 2 eggs, black beans, salsa,zucchini and squash for breakfast. I omitted the eggs and did salmon for lunch. And I have a class with Jordana over at Discipline Pilates this evening.

My end goal is 30 pounds, 16-20 total inches, and getting off my BP meds (I believe it can be done, some say it can’t).

Wish me luck! And if I have time I’ll tell you about the book next post.

And if you’ve tried the plan, tell me about it, I’m all ears!

The First Half: Life ,FootBall , Whitney Houston

Life is like  football (a game I don’t know squat about) you get two 4 quarters and two halves; you can screw up the first quarter, bounce back in the 2nd quarter, rest on your laurels in the 3rd quarter, and come roaring back in the 4th with a Hail Mary that brings home the win. Of course there are alternate scenarios but my point is that you get a lot of chances in life and as some famous guy once said “It ain’t over till it’s over”.

Nothing yanks my crank more than someone who thinks that life has a three strikes and you’re out rule.

Someone in my FaceBook stream asked why is it that we mourn celebrities more than we mourn ordinary people? The answer is obvious – we don’t. I can offer my condolences on the passing of your loved one, but chances are that I (and others) don’t know anything about your loved one – what they looked like, who they married, how many children they’re leaving behind, their favorite movie or song. So while we mourn your loss we don’t really feel it the way we would if it were our own loss.

Celebrities on the other hand –well if something they did or said ever affected our lives  in any way shape or form then we can really feel that loss.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about, and after a conversation with a friend of mine I’m feeling some kind of way about what I was going to say but I’ll say it anyway:

If you’ve ever been active in MLM/network marketing and/or read a lot of personal development books then you’ve probably heard in passing stories about Grandma Moses (who did not start painting until she was in her 70s) and Colonel Sanders of KFC fame who at age 65 had to start over when an interstate put an end to his roadside business. What these two lives illustrate is the idea that it’s never too late to start over and life really does have a second half.

Which brings me to Whitney Houston and how saddened I was by her death. Back in 2007 I had a huge fight with a co-worker because I said that Brittney Spears was going to be alright and he said that there was no way in hell that she could come back from all the craziness. Obviously one of us was wrong, and I should’ve put some money on that.

I believe in comebacks. I love a good redemption story. Nothing makes me happier than to see someone turn to face their demons and then vanquish them (probably why I was such a big fan of the shows  Charmed and Supernatural). In short I believe in a second half  – and I’m always surprised to discover that there are  people who don’t.

Whitney died before her second half and that my friends means its over.

Do you believe that we get a second, third, fourth chance to hit our stride and make  our mark?

Pantone Picks Tangerine Tango for 2012

Pantone has chosen the color of the year for 2012: Tangerine Tango. Besides the sweet alliteration, Pantone says the spirited “reddish orange hue” will provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward in the coming year. Orange has grown in popularity with designers and consumers alike, and now it will get some time to shine.

“Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”

Tangerine Tango Crochet Beret
It will be interesting to see what designers come up with using Tangerine Tango. While it brings a bit of life and excitement to the party, it’s also extremely versatile and can be used in a conservative manner.  I am particularly fond of orange hues myself  and look forward to creating spring and summer items using various textures and shades of tangerine tango. Expect to see everything from hats and scarves to pillows and wedding accessories. Do you plan to add a splash of  Tangerine Tango to your 2012?
via Pantone

I Never Hated Tim Tebow

But I also don’t associate his success with my religious beliefs, ya know? Nice game yesterday young man. Had to get that out…and I have so much more to talk about. Like how grateful I am to all of my friends and customers for the phenomenal success my online shops and my offline sales had this past holiday season. And how my first Jamila Henna experience went ( I love it BTW). And of course there will be a rah rah lets get this 2012 party started right post. But all that will be after I finally finish telling you why I quit network marketing, and why I will probably never go back, and also why that shouldn’t affect your decision one way or the other.

Unfortunately before I can get to writing blog posts I have to make some more character hats for the Homegrown Decatur store (it’s at 100 Church Street in Decatur Ga, right next to the Marta station) and finish working on the latest additions to my womens (and sometimes mens) felted hats collections.

While you are waiting pop over to niseylee.etsy.com and take 20% off any item (even if it’s already on sale) with coupon code FBFRIENDS.

Busy is good!

How a Cardboard Box, a Tripod, and a Digital Camera Made a Huge Improvement in My life

The pictures on my Etsy site were what my son would probably characterize as “meh”. I was aware of this problem for a long time, but didn’t think that I had enough photography know how to make a difference. After reading an Etsy Success newsletter about improving shop photos, I scoured the internet for ideas on light boxes, and white lighting and a bunch of other stuff that I have since forgotten. I learned that:

  1. a white shower curtain placed over  a window  with sunlight streaming through would create nice photos
  2. cropping an image greatly improves the look
  3. a (inexpensive) digital camera and a $15  tripod are a necessity – good pictures require a steady hand and u never realize how shaky yours is until you compare the two versions of your pictures
  4. what a difference a cardboard box can make (thanks to my DH the Woodchuck)

I have had some trouble with lighting still and believe I need better /different bulbs. Mostly I just use my room lighting (I have a lot of overhead lights in my studio).

Now for some examples.

Gray Fedora Before

This fedora is not dark gray

Gray Fedora after

Wow, what a difference

Multicolor cap

Too light, too bright,not focused and way too much going on in the background

multicolor cap after

Now you can see the colors in the cap, the design etc

colorful hat before

I used to think this was a great picture

colorful hat and scarf after

Now I know better

To have good pictures, one must take good pictures- lots and lots of them. I take 10 to 20 pictures of each item even though I only need 5 or 6 for my Etsy and Artfire shop. I use Picnik.com to crop and correct my photos- I don’t have an account or premium membership but I’m thinking about it since I’m on there just about every other night.
I learned how to  make the lightbox :

From Strobist and also Darren Rowse although I didn’t know he was a photographer did u? This is one I have not done but may do a large version of because I want to photograph larger items. I also watched quite a few YouTube videos – it;’s true almost everything you want to know about anything is on the interwebz already:)

Now to fix the pictures on my Artfire site….

 

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