Monday, November 21, 2011

Today kicks of Money Mondays with Austin the Realtor!

Ever run out of money before the end of the month? Do you sometimes feel like you're robbing Peter to pay Paul? For many people, thinking about their finances and understanding how money works can be a bit overwhelming - they simply feel like there is too much going on, most of which is out of their control. However, it doesn't have to be that way. People looking for help are either buried with too much information or don't trust the people giving financial advice. With Money Mondays, Austin doesn't want to overwhelm, confuse or hoodwink you. He simply wants to try to provide information succinctly and simply, and his advice is FREE.

Financial planning is the art, if you will, of understanding money, how it works, where it goes, and how to keep more of it. Your money is yours, and keeping your money in your pockets (as much as possible) is the goal of financial planning. It doesn't require a college degree, nor does financial planning require a keen mathematical ability. All you have to bring to the table is a desire to gain control over your money, and a willingness to do what is necessary to secure the financial future of you, your family, and your future generations.

Austin's goal for Money Mondays is to teach you how to gain control over your money and make it work for you - not someone else. Today is the first entry of Money Mondays, so we'll take it slow and build from there. If there is ever any topic you want to learn more about, simply suggest it in the comments section or visit Austin the Realtor's site for helpful hints. With that said, let's go!

Savings and Debt Austin the Realtor

Ok, I’ve been asked to provide some insight on what we will call “Money Mondays.” As noted on previous blogs, I’m a licensed Real Estate Agent and a Licensed Financial Representative, so I may some information that can be helpful.

I would like to start off the series by being inclusive of the blog family. Today I would like to focus on Savings and Debt. As we progress, together we will set up tools to assist in achieving short and long term goals. I will also provide some insight on the home buying process which may fall in line with some of these goals.

Let’s go…….

Let’s start off with the fundamentals. Knowing where your money goes is a good way to see where your money went! You would be surprised to see how much is spent on small frivolous purchases that can be avoided. It’s always good to have a record of expenses - and include ALL expenses. Everything from mortgage/rent to that cup of coffee every morning at your local coffee shop. A simple excel spreadsheet would suffice. Once your outflow is determined, record your income. Once this data is determined, you may see why you run a little low just before your next payday. Now it's time to trim the fat. Look at your list of outflows and see what you can do without. Make coffee at home instead of buying Starbucks (aka Four Bucks!). Buy a pack of bagels from the supermarket instead of spending $2.50 at Au Bon Pain. Whatever works for you - see how the numbers start to add up.

Note: Pay yourself just like any other bill. Set a dollar amount that is dedicated to savings and pay that with all of your other bills.

There are many apps that can assist with the record keeping also. For Android users – Tap Money and Budgetroid. For IPhone users – Budgetbuster and CoinKeeper.

Share some other tips you use to “trim the fat” without drastically changing your lifestyle - Go!

-Austin the Realtor

"Like" Austin on Facebook

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Send good thoughts to Ms. Brooke! I love you!

RIP to the Heavster! Today is his public viewing in Money Earning Mt. Vernon.

I'm still in denial that he's gone.

Live life to the fullest will be the motto from here on out.

What's up with the crazy weather! Monday it was 75 and sunny, today its chilly and gloomy! Boo!

Thanksgiving is in 1 week! What are you thankful for?

Interviews went well everyone! Waiting on an offer!

Can a sista get a gift card to Jiffy Lube for Christmas lol!

How about a shopping spree at Ann Taylor Loft! Let's throw in 9 West while we're at it!

Wishful thinking!

Feel better Rameer!

NBA postponed until Dec 15th! Boo!

I hope they burn the coaches statue at Penn State! Shame!

Shots at the White House! Don't they know the Obama's will roll on dem fools!

Hit the dance floor on Saturday and African danced my butt off! I literally think I left my butt on the dance floor lol!

I'm going grocery shopping today! Yeah!!!

Craving Red Velvet Cake!

I want some Juniors too!

If you don't know what Juniors is you better ask somebody!

I have an airline credit that I must use by March 1st! Where should I go?

Loved DMoe's RTT last week!

My son rolled onto his tummy all the way today! Yeah!!! He's getting so big!

I smell shrimp quesadillas and can taste the sangria already! A job offer is coming sooooooooon!

This weeks throw back! Again RIP Heavster!



Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy Hump Day!

I started to make this into a “I call bullshit” blog – but the only thing that’s really bugging me today is liars, lying, mentirosas…you get the picture. I despise liars. But what I hate even more than a liar, is a BAD liar. If you’re going to lie to me, at least make an effort to think up a good one. If you don’t, that’s just wrong…and pretty insulting.

I’m not here to preach on the morality of lying. There are all kinds of lies – white lies, little fibs, slight untruths, lies by omission – and there are a plethora of reasons why people tell lies. Some lie to avoid personal harm, or by wishing to avoid hurting someone else’s feelings or to protect them. And then there are those who lie to actively seek to get something from someone else, whether it’s something material, social, emotional or sexual. The ethical nature of lying is not subject of my post today, but rather how you should lie once you’ve decided that you’re going to lay your personal morals and ethics by the wayside and just go ahead and lie anyway.

So…how do you lie and get away with it? Well, there are no guarantees that you’ll succeed in your deceit, but I do have some pointers on ways you can be a “better” liar so that people don’t suspect you. I’m pretty good at spotting a liar, mainly because I have a great memory and I pay attention to people. I also have a 6th sense when it comes to these things, and I tend to trust my gut. So by recounting the many mistakes that bad liars have made, I’ll help all of you out there with some tips so that those who decide that they want to indeed become a liar can be good at it.

1. Own your decision to lie. Once you’ve made the decision to lie, make peace with it. For some people, namely sociopaths, lying is like breathing. It just comes naturally. But for others, it’s a real struggle. Good lying means you’ve moved past your morals or faith filter and justified to yourself that telling the lie is necessary. A poor liar struggles with the morality of lying, so if you want to lie successfully, you need to reach a place where you feel the reason for the lie is justified in your own mind. But keep in mind: don’t lie so much that you actually become a chronic liar.

2. Consider the likelihood of getting caught. Before launching into your lie, ask yourself what the chances are of being found out. Only you can answer that question, in which case you’ll have to consider the worthiness of lying about the matter. Things to consider include:

- Have I lied about this or to this person before and gotten caught? You’d be surprised how often (simple) people tend to tell the same lies, to the same people...over and over again...even AFTER they’ve been caught before. This takes audacity…but it’s also very stupid. If you’ve lied to someone before and he/she caught you, they're not likely to believe you this time.

- Were there witnesses? If you were making out in public with someone you shouldn’t have been making out with, keep in mind that someone probably SAW you.

- Do you feel confident about revising events to make a whole new story? Some people can’t tell a story worth a damn.

- What are the likely repercussions if caught? Is the person likely to be forgiving, or to feel totally betrayed and toss hot grits on you? Is it a tiny lie the person can get over, or is it something that goes to the heart of trust in your relationship, that once broken, is unlikely to be mended? Think about it.

3. Get your story straight. Once you've made the decision to lie, you will need to come up with your plausible alternative to the facts. As part of this, you need to figure out what you're going to say and what sorts of questions are likely to be asked, so that you can have answers to those questions already sorted out in your head. Women are great at this. Men…not so much. Let me give you the tips to why women are so good at this.

- Women tend to think of some specific true thing (place, person, event, story) that her lie will fit into, and use those details if you are questioned. This gives you a bank of specific details to draw on so you don't have to keep making things up as you go along. Men tend to make up the lie as they’re saying it, and this gets you busted every time.

- Women keep it simple. The more things you have to lie about to support your original lie, the more likely you are to be tripped up. Lying is a bit like chess–you must always think ahead. Anticipate what the person you're lying to is going to ask, and be prepared with a response. Make sure you've thought about who you're lying to. What do they already know? Writing out the lie can help. The act of writing can enhance your memory of it, and also helps you to sort out the sequence and come up with details that can make a big difference between a believable lie and an obvious load of bullshit. This however, should not be confused with being over elaborate or over embellishing. Men tend to tell lies that involve other people for corroboration or multiple events. The more people needed to back up your story, the more likely a hole will open up as soon as one person forgets their "role" in it – and a woman WILL pounce on it. Equally, if something you've said can be confirmed, such as checking dates and/or public or phone records, checking your credit card transactions, etc., then you are going to find it difficult to get out of facts that are there in black and white – because a woman WILL check.

4. Use your imagination and envision the lie. In your mind, enact the lie as it "actually happened." This will create the event in your mind like you’re watching a movie, so you'll be "remembering" it when you begin to retell it to others. In a way, you are convincing yourself of the revision of reality, so when you retell it, it begins to sound as you're telling the truth.

5. Don’t do what liars do. Liars tend to stutter, fidget…they don’t make eye contact. They appear shifty. In a normal conversation your eyes will move and you will look away to think, but otherwise you will maintain eye contact. In all likelihood, there will always be some subtleties that a good liar spotter will notice, but the average person can probably be hoodwinked with careful attention to avoiding some of the following giveaways:

- Maintain eye contact. Liars tend to look away. Appear earnest but not too eager when looking the other person in the eye. Don't look around, but don't stare either. In a normal conversation people do avert their glance from the other person's eyes naturally.

- Relax. Don't fidget, twirl your hair, or shuffle your feet. Again, these are signs of someone trying to deflect the conversation away.

- Keep your hands under control. When people are lying, hands tend to drift towards the face to cover the mouth or fiddle with parts of the face. Keep your hands relaxed.

- Don't use big words unless you usually do. Anything unusual about your language or tone will suggest something shady is up. Dummies mess this up all the time.

- Unless you're known for stuttering, don't stutter and definitely don't get flustered. Some people blush, sweat or begin to stutter, because in some cases the subconscious panics. Keep calm and collected.

6. Bring the lie up first before you're confronted. It's better to lie to the person in advance than to have the person question you first on the subject. If the victim discovers your dirty deed before you explain yourself, they'll have time to deduce what has happened with a fair degree of certainty before they ever even question you, making it much harder to convince them of your innocence. Nine times out of ten, if I get a chance to ask you what you did, I already know the answer before I asked you.

7. Make a truthful admission about something else you did wrong. If you sense that someone suspects you of lying, admit or make them suspect you of something smaller or something else completely. They will take the bait and think that that is all you were lying about in the first place.

8. Play dumb. Coming off as too stupid to lie is a great defense. I actually know a few people who I thought weren’t clever enough to lie, and they proved me wrong BIG TIME. Lie as badly as you can about something small, but never actually admit to doing it. You will be free to lie about much bigger things and never be suspected in the future. Faking memory loss can go hand in hand with playing dumb too, but watch out for this one. By simply saying you don’t remember, that may get you off the hook. But when lying to a woman, she might go ballistic if you appear overly confused about something you should clearly remember. Use caution if you take that approach. You might get swung on.

9. Appear indifferent. Another way to work your way out of an uncomfortable situation is to act indifferent and to avoid responding defensively. Keep your voice steady and don't protest too much, because people who are defensive appear guilty. Act like you don't care whether or not the person believes you. If you're really good at this, you can even make it seem like you're shocked or disappointed by their lack of faith in you – just be willing to be forgiving of them for “not trusting you.”

10. Ginko…and a good memory. Good liars REMEMBER their lies. One of the real reasons why lying doesn't pay and isn't a good means for getting through life is that you have to remember it, in all of its glory, possibly for the rest of your life. You can’t forget about your lie and its details, and you will have to go on treating it like it actually happened.

Bonus: Know when not to lie. Finally but importantly, if you're going to lie, know when it's perfectly stupid to try and do so. There are many moral and faith based reasons for not lying, and those are within your own personal realm of struggle to deal with. But there are some other realities where it has nothing to do with karma and where lying isn't going to help anything, let alone you. So, with this in mind, never lie under these circumstances:

- To officials (government, police, serious job interviews): Unless you fully understand and are prepared to accept the consequences. In the majority of nations, lying to a police officer or in a court of law is a serious, illegal offense. For your own sake, be honest about criminal activity; you may find that the penalty is lessened or that your lawyer can find technical or legal loopholes if you are honest from the beginning. The sooner you get a lawyer and start working on your release, the better; lying first will hold things up and can make whatever honest explanations you do make seem sheisty.

- To your doctor or lawyer: Ask them if you are speaking in the course of a professional relationship (doctor-patient or attorney-client). If they say yes, things you tell them are privileged, and they cannot reveal them even to a court or to the police. This does not hold true if your doctor/psychologist feels you may commit a serious offense, such as murder. Also, some other circumstances may change your relationship with your lawyer/doctor but don't forget that a lawyer is paid to defend you - so don't think with your reptile brain that wants to hide; use your neocortex and think smart defenses instead. And lying to your doctor can keep him or her from treating you properly…so go on and tell your gyno about all the unprotected sex you had last month ;-)

- To defraud: Never lie to people to get their money, life's savings, and other valuables from them. Not only is this an illegal thing to do, it's a really f*cked up way to behave. Ask Bernie Madoff....asshole.

- To an attacker: When you are being held at gun-point and having someone demand your wallet, your life is worth more than pretending you don't have your wallet on you.

- To your kids. Avoid lying to your kids about family deaths, divorce or anything else major. They're going to find out sooner or later and lies just makes things worse. Set a good example for them.

- To cover up for someone else: If someone else has committed a crime, let them pay for it, otherwise you'll pay for it by being an accessory if you know about it but don't tell. I’m snitchin’.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Hola mi gente!

This was too good not to share - Serena's heart bursts through this post :-)

My Life as a Serena Wills

Its been a long time since posting to my blog. Between the tail end of my pregnancy being full of unpacking my new apartment, getting ready for the newest addition to the world and then giving birth I've been busy. My life has changed since Jordan was born 3 months ago...but for the better. Every time I tried to write about my life and motherhood I became stuck. Almost speechless because there aren't enough words to describe how I feel.

What helped me to get unstuck in regards to my writing was watching how short life can be. My family has lost a couple of family members and our community has lost legends. I thought to myself, what if my time was up? My son would have no recollection in writing about how I feel as a mother. So here we go...

Dearest Jordan,

You're the sunshine of my life! I never knew I could love like this until I held you for the first time in my arms. I didn't want to let go of you and when I looked into your eyes I knew there was a God! Now don't get me wrong...I know God is real. But having you confirmed that God can make people love again, He can also show adults like me that love truly exists! After your Grandma Sauti passed away I crawled into a shell...I was at a loss. I didn't think I could love again or open up because I was (and still am) hurt that she had to leave us. Then I reconnected with your father and then came you.

I loved being pregnant with you and now that you're here I love leaning over the crib to say "Good Morning" and in return I get a huge smile!

I pray to God that we have a long life together! There are so many things to show you, dreams I have, stories to tell you and things to experience through the eyes of being your mother. You're so special to me and quite a few people. You're even blessed to have (3) living great grandparents!

We're going to have fun together between taking you to African dance class (I danced with you for 8 months of my pregnancy) to running (you're already practicing with those active feet)! I want you to have a life greater than me and your father's put together! I want you to see the world with those huge eyes of yours!

Loving you is a treasure! Jordan I thank you because one of my life long dreams was to become a mother and now I have you. I love you so much.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

DMoe's running RTT today - let's go!

Random Thoughts Thursday! DMoe.

- What up y'all? The QB (The Queens Brookey) hands RTT off to Dmoe! I got the ball! Watch me run the RTT rock.

- Joe Frazier? Damn….RIP bruh. You had a golden heart and a platinum chin.

- Heavy D? Damn…RIP bruh. Your music was just plain fun when i was in high school and now. "The overweight lover" still rocks it - consistently. Then again, you (and Musiq Soulchild) was the reason people be askin' me whats wrong with my eye, since in all my FB photos (all 2 of them) I got my shades on…."Uh no…It was a sunny day when i snapped this photo. Swear to god!"

- I'm goin to hell dressed in gasoline boxer briefs for that comment. Bright side: Its gonna be sunny in hell, so I'll need my shades. (We do know the sun shines in hell...there's just no sunblock).

- Co-worker asks, "you don't have any candy on your desk?"
Dmoe: "Why do I need to buy candy for my desk when I can just steal yours?"
Co-worker: "You take my candy when i'm not there?"
Dmoe: "Honey, your here asking me about it…Which means you are not your desk. Someone is stealing from you RIGHT NOW. Did you turn the alarm on before you left?"

- Jill Scott's live album (the new House of Blues one) is straight funky.

- Da hell is Maxwell's next album?

- I'm goin back to school. Why? Cuz I'm too good for some of the BS I deal with.

- I know the water snobs are judging me for my store brand water bottles. I got something for y'all azzes. I'm rollin with Fiji all next week. Ballin! (Swish)

- I've decided to "Kirk Franklin-ify" (copyright, Dmoe) any songs I like to listen to from now on.
Scene: You at a party, standing in a group talkin to friends, and LL Cool J's "Rock The Bells" comes on….Instead of rappin the lyrics, SPEAK THEM to the group BEFORE LL raps it. Priceless, and Kirk's got a billion dollars.

- Drake's new song "The Motto" is positively euphoric. Its the kind of song my grown-azz be trying to learn the words to, or add a line from for my status updates.The album is out Tuesday. Gotta cop that. (Insert Rameer here: "Uh….got it")

- Saints/Falcons game this weekend: My fam and beaucoup (Louisiana/french word for "a whole bunch of") friends are on their way to ATL. In an annual pre game tradition, a bunch of Saints foolishness/new swag (tomato/tomato) comes in the mail via Amazon and We goin hard, and we gonna party either way, but um….I need that win. Bad. Who Dat?

- Speaking of the deliveries, I'm borderline (scratch that, I AM) OCD when it comes to "trackaging" (copyright, DMoe)
This is where you give me a tracking number, and I watch the package from the moment it leaves your warehouse, to the second it hits my doorstep.

- Speaking of that game this weekend, another tradition is to go dry the entire week before. Clean…Nothing but water from Sunday - Sunday.

- So, I'm chillin the other night after a long day. I'm all set to relax, and I got a fresh Crown/Sprite made. I'm headed down to play a lil Call of Duty 3 (stress relief - and THE greatest video game ever made) on my PS3 and boom….I miss the first stair. Needless to say, I miss the second, then….the third. At this point, Sh*t! Its official: I'm falling down the stairs. Don't panic Dmoe. Don't. Eventually, I regain my balance with a couple of bruises and some lost cool points. My cocktail? Not a drop spilled! I mean, seriously….that takes talent.

- Wait, didn't I say i go dry the entire week before? Ok, so i screwed up a little.

- Meat with marinara and cheese on it doesn't necessarily make it "Parmigiana"…Hate to be a wet blanket. Just keeping it real.

- Since this is my RTT…and I'm a guest, technically, I get to say "First Beeyotches" right? No? Lame.

- Playlist is on the way...

Your friend and mine,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Good morning everyone.

I'm sure by now you all have heard that one of Hip Hop's icons has passed away at the age of 44 - Dwight Arrington Myers, the rapper known to us as Heavy D.

I have to admit, I'm feeling some kinda way about this one. I've been in my feelings all night and this morning, heart heavy. The Overweight Lover is gone...too soon.

A friend of mine posted as her Facebook status the other day, "You gotta love the people God gave you, because he may want them back one day." He called Heavy D home, and we miss him so much already.

First Smokin' Joe Frazier, now Heavy D. We mourn our legends as we stand on their shoulders. How many of us will be so lucky as to leave the type of legacy they did? They say Heavy D's last tweet was "Be Inspired." That's exactly what he did for us in his life, through his talent and his kind spirit - he's left his mark on us all.

As we celebrate his life, be inspired to make the changes necessary in your life to be the person you want to be, achieve the goals you want to succeed and leave the legacy you want to be remembered for. All that you touch, you change. All that you change, changes you.

I got nothin' but love for ya!

Look for him in the throwbacks tomorrow for RTT!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Good morning folks!

Going to check out the Watch the Throne concert tonight - I hope my lower back holds me up!

Speaking of my back, I was talking to my father the other day about my ailments. I told him if it wasn't lower back pain giving me grief, it was a migraine. The last few days have been unbearable and physically draining, so much so that I'm beginning to wonder if there is something deeper going on. Perhaps stress? I asked my dad what he thought and his answer surprised me.


Excuse me? Did he just say "secrets"?

Yes, he did.

He said there was an old wives tale that states when someone is experiencing severe pain physically, it's because they may be housing secrets.

I'd never heard that before, but it got me thinking...hard. Was there anything I was hiding from people? Am I keeping any secrets that are physically harming me? Good question.

I couldn't think of anything, but subconsciously, sometimes we may keep things to ourselves in order to protect ourselves...our hearts, minds and souls. I know we tend to bury hurtful memories or experiences as a way of emotional and mental survival. I don't believe I'm "actively" keeping a bunch of secrets that have wreaked havoc on my back, but who I?

Keeping secrets is ultimately about trust, or lack thereof. If something is eating at you, or you feel someone is keeping something from you, that can drain you of your energy, and sap your ability to trust if you try to walk around it. It can make us overly suspicious, a little paranoid and give us disturbing gut feelings with no words to wrap around them - making us wonder if something is off and struggling to trust our intuition. One of the worst feelings in the world is not being able to trust the messages that are coming from within us, therefore making it even more difficult to trust someone else.

Secrets demand tremendous energy and erode trust, making relationships doomed never to experience true, long lasting intimacy. This is why extramarital affairs are so damaging. He or she is not so much concerned about the other person having sex with someone else, but more so it's about the betrayal, lack of trust, the secrets, and deception that make you crazy and drain you emotionally and yes...physically. Trust is essential for ANY relationship to work, be it a romantic relationship, parent/child relationship or a friendship.

Now, as far as keeping secrets, I'm not saying that you all should sit down with everyone you know and divulge your top 50 secrets of your illicit past. Everyone has the right to privacy, and we're all capable of discerning the difference between being deceitful and being discreet. If you have resolved issues from your past that no longer affect the present or your future - i.e. forgiven yourself, understand those behaviors, learned from them and were able to use them to make the internal shifts necessary for your personal development - then they do not qualify as a pain causing secret that you must share with the world.

However, if in the course of trying to establish intimacy in your relationships you want to share some of those events as you disclose to your partner where you were and where you are now, you can do so at your own pace. If you feel a secret is taking up room in your mind, heart and spirit, to the point where it's literally making you sick, don't let it hold you back from healing yourself and growing in the many stages of intimacy that lead to meaningful relationships. Talk to someone you trust or a professional and let it all go.

And if you feel someone is keeping something from you, let that person know that your intuition is sending you a message that something is wrong. Make them feel safe to share their secrets with you, be open, and listen without judgement. If your relationship, whatever that relationship is, is valuable to you, you will nurture it. And in doing so, you'll free up space in your heart to trust, release pain and stress from your body...and you'll be free.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Hey mi gente!

Sorry I've been MIA, but a sista has been having bad lower back problems. So while I get acupuncture and electro treatments, I'm taking offers for guest bloggers this week while I'm on the mend :-) Since we missed Random Thoughts Thursday last week, our sisa-friend Serena volunteered to pick up my slack...Random Thoughts Monday...let's get it!

RTM!!! Serena T. Wills

Miss you and feel better Brookey!

Is it me or did 2011 fly by?

I have not 1, but 2 interviews tomorrow! Wish me well!

This will be a good week!

Why is Kim K getting so much dag on attention? Really??? I'm sick of hearing about her!

I'm craving a good old school party!

Also some salsa dancing!

So what it's the holidays! I still want a couple of people tased! Annamaria get the taser warmed up!

The cable guy came on Friday to take away my box (sniff...sniff) I'll get cable again soon!

He was nice to look at though ;) lol!

Happy 3 Months and 2 days Jordan!

Need a vacation!

Hawaii next year? Bet!

Mani and pedi would be great too!

Can someone wash all of this thick hair I have?! Nothing like getting your scalp scrubbed!

Craving chocolate! (Rameer send me some man)!

Shrimp quesadillas and a sangria are on the menu the day I get a job offer!

What are people's holiday plans?

Free gas for a year would be nice!

I'm an undercover biker chick! Can't wait for the National Bike Show to hit DC! I want a maybe a cruiser one day ;)

I love my friends!

Love the fam!

I love being a mom and waking up to Jordan everyday!

Marathons 2012! Here I come!

Congrats to my peeps that ran in the NYC Marathon yesterday!

Here's the double throw back for the week! Me and my crew had routines to these back in the day!

Everyone have a great day and week...and...go!

Sincerely, Serena Wills

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

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