Thursday, July 31, 2008

Good Money In Bad Times

Maintaining in a rough economy takes planning, consistency and effort. It doesn't happen over night and it won't happen if you don't take the time to try. Last Christmas I received a wonderful gift from one of the parents at the day care where I used to work. It was a book about personal finance, how to get out of debt, save your money and generally live better. Lifting The Burdens of Debt by Lisa Cherry is a wonderful book, not only is it really informative but it's very inspirational. This is the book that kick started my life change towards living debt free and money wise, here are some of the things I learned and basically how I live my life now. It's a real simple formula.

*Make Sure Your Expenses Do Not Exceed Your Income: Obvious, but I see people who find themselves in this situation month to month.
  • If you live on your own, get a roommate to split expenses.
  • Renegotiate your cell phone, insurance, cable etc contracts. I call my companies periodically to check for better promotions and sometimes it works out. You never know.
  • Smart shopping. Do the research before you buy anything. There always a deal or bargain out there. Take the time to look.

*Create Passive Income: Passive income basically is making money with little to no work. That's the best way to make money to me. Some ways to make passive income.

  • Surveys, I've made a pretty good amount of money this way. I usually use the money to buy splurge items like over priced cosmetics and treat myself.
  • Interest earned, this is a slower way but it's still free money. Put your money in a high interest bank account or CD and chill.
  • Sell items you don't need anymore.
  • Make money from your hobby. If you're good at something turn it into a side hustle.

*Create A Budget and Stick To It: A budget is a a tool to help you prioritize your spending and manage your money. A good budget helps you see and achieve your goals. All you need to know is how much you make, subtract your expenses, after that, see where you can cut costs. With this you can visualize where your money is going when you see it on paper, it makes it real. Don't forget you have got to be honest with yourself and your spending. After you know what you're working with budget for saving or debt reduction.

At the end of the day, your success is up to you. As long as you maintain consistency, adhere to the changes and keep pressing forward you will see positive results.

[Lupus] It's Official

Two weeks ago I went to BGMC to have a DEXA scan (bone density test). It wasn't too bad, it was like having an x-ray done. My Rheumatologist wanted this done because I have been having major back pain that would come and go. I had taken some back x-rays prior to the DEXA and he also noticed my a disk in my spine was a little smushed. I was like, damn!

Well, on Monday I went to my PCH to deal with this cough and she got the results from the DEXA and it did show osteoperosis, she couldn't tell me to what degree I had it but she said that I do have it. My lupies know this is due to the prednisone and that sucks cuz I have to take it for my health but it's also breaking me down. My PCH was also telling me that because of the other meds I'm on I may not be able to take meds for it, in her opinion. This is not too bad for me becasue I'm on enff. I have to wait and see what my Rheumatologist has to say though.

Right now though all I can really do is take calcium and vitamin D and try not to slip in the shower, lol. I'm not taking it too hard though because I work out regularly and eat healthy so I will be good.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Eye Candy

Now this is what I've been waiting for. Nelly in his Sean Johns, oooh weeee makes a girl wanna do some thangs.

Monday, July 28, 2008

[Lupus] Cures from the Cupboard

With lupus diet is a HUGE HUGE part of your well being. With chronic diseases you have to eat a certain way, HBP, anemia, everything. I pay close attention to my diet and see a nutritionist, having a restricted diet isn't that bad, it actually opens you up to more foods because you are forced to try new things instead of the fried greasy, processed staples. Anyways, even though this post is for my lupies anyone can benefit. Enjoy.

*Be Nuts for Nuts* Wanna lose weight?? Eat NUTS. Yes, nuts are high is fat but people who eat nuts regularly tend to be leaner than those who don't. Cholecystokinin, a hormone that curbs your appetite is increased when you eat nuts. Smokers could use this tip if they wanna quit I think. Try to keep it as natural as possible, no salted or roasted in oil variety and you will be all good.

*Berry Good* I love berries, blueberries, are my favorite and I read that berries are a natural way to reduce inflammation for people with arthritis. So lupies with RA or arthritis eat up.

*Dude, Where's My Beans* Beans beans good for the heart.... We all know the rest, but it's true beans are wonderful for your diet but it is also said to lower blood pressure down to a normal range when eaten. All beans have this benefit but pinto beans are the best. Chocolate lovers rejoice as well, the flavonoids in this perfect food is also shown to lower blood pressure.

Eat Healthy, Be Happy Y'all

[SpotLight] Vicky Stringer

Now this is an example of having a can't lose attitude that you just have to admire.

Vicky Stringer's story is amazing to me, young single mother wanted to live the good life. Instead of taking handouts she took to the streets and started selling drugs.

We've all seen the movies, and music videos, they make that lifestyle look so easy and glamorous but we all know the real deal . Well, Vicky fell into that trap and ended shooting someone and spending 7 years in prison.

Upon her release, she decided she was through with that life and decided to start hustling the book she wrote on her experience in prison, Let That Be The Reason. Today she is the CEO of Triple Crown Publications the leader in Urban Literature.

This just goes to show ANYBODY can turn there life around, if you have the strength, drive and ambition you can succeed.

I've read a couple books from Triple Crown here are my recommendations:
  1. Sheisty & Still Sheisty by TN Baker
  2. A Project Chick & A Hustlers Wife (excellent book) - Nikki Turner
  3. Crack Head (good too) - Lisa Lennox
  4. Blinded - Kashamba Williams

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Random Click

How Does Your Body React To Stress [Lupus]

I've been observing this for a while now and I'm convinced stress triggers lupus flares.

I'll find myself in a stressful situation, *argument, family drama, health concern*, I would go through it and go on my way, then like the next day my body just falls apart. It's crazy, I'll start feeling just all confused in the head, achy, weak and extremely tired as if I'd been kicking boulders up a mountain. This usually lasts about a day or two.

As you know I recently lost my job, and yes this was a SUPER stressful predicament, but I didn't stress about it. I was actually relieved to be gone, I felt stuck there. So to me it was a major blessing, but even with that state of mind, my body had a mind of it's own. The next day I wake up feeling good, birds singing, beautiful morning just chilling in bed, ah freedom. By the time I got up to make breakfast I was still alright, but by about mid afternoon I felt a shift. My mood had gotten very lack luster, I felt sleepy again and I started having body aches. This lasted two days, and just as fast as it started it just went away.

Sometimes, I just feel as if I'm just overly sensitive to situations, because I know with lupus there will be good and bad days but do you believe stress triggers lupus?

photo:We Need To Stop

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rick Ross, Busted!!

The Biggest Boss used to be a corrections officer ya'll. Aint that some ish for real. I guess he was the boss of all the prison drug cartels. Why you gotta lie Rick Ross.

Read all about it at Rhymes with Snitch.
Publish Post

HSBC Direct 3.50% APY Extended

Yeah, HSBC Direct recently announced that there 3.50% APY savings account is extended to September 15, 2008 (3 days b4 my b-day *wink*). I haven't been with them long but so far so good. It's a great place for an emergency fund, with high returns, no fees and you get an ATM card for withdrawals.

Sweet Deals This Weekend!!

Oh I love getting things at a bargin!! On Friday I went trolling the thrift stores with my mom. I'm walking through the dusty as hell store when I spot it. A yoga mat, strap and DVD for $3.00!!! I was soo excited, you know I had to buy that because I do yoga and pilates and was using a big towel, now I'm official. Yeah baby. When I get home though, come to find out the DVD is cracked, aw geeze. But fortunately for me, I already own the DVD that came with the mat already, so it's still worth it.

After that we go to Walmart and see there selling Cover Girl smudge eyeliner for $2.00, WTF Cover Girl, sweet. Usually one of those eyeliners are like $4.75 but it's like $1.00 for each I had to buy it. I got the black and expresso shades.

Today, I went to the mall to my favorite beauty supply store Buy Wise to buy some ORS Carrot Oil, please I was glad to find KeraCare at Walmart for $11.50 for the 8oz bottle. Buy Wise got them beat, the 16oz sells there for $17.99 and the shampoo was $5.00, that's the place for me from now on. (my keracare review coming soon)

Anyways bargain hunters, tell me your weekend shopping triumphs.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Eye Brow Pluckers Rejoice

Getting my eyebrows waxed is an indulgence I can't live without but since I have no job at the moment it's imperative I find ways to save money any and every way I can. Beauty treatments can be costly waxing, hair, nails so I'll be Cheapy McFrugal and start doing it myself for now.

I gave myself a mini-facial last night and I decided to do my eye brows at the same time. I had 3 choices: Nair facial hair remover, the beauty supply store razor and tweezers.

The Nair got a no cuz it breaks me out and too messy, the razor makes my hair grow back faster it seems, so I looked at the tweezers and cringed. The pain and agony is way too much for me until I remembered reading somewhere that if you put Anbesol on your brows before you wax it supposed to make the whole process painless. Well, it's true, because I put some on left it a minute and started, the hair just glided out, no pain what so ever.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Smartest Advice I Ever Got

Cnnmoney has a great article from the 40 'great' minds about wealth building. It was a good read, I'm always one to take good advice and since all the folks on here are rich I'ma listen to what they got to say. The best ones I thought were:

  1. Be Frugal Not Stingy
  2. Swear off Debt (wish someone told me this sooner)
  3. To Excel at Something, Immerse Yourself (always love to learn)
  4. Live Within Your Means
  5. Stocks Build Wealth with No Work (thanks ShareBuilder)
  6. Don't Follow the Herd
  7. Know Where Your Money Goes
There pretty common sense things but its always good to be reminded.

KeraCare Products @ Walmart

I don't play when it comes to my hair, I only use the best so this is like a dream come true for me. I heard about this on a few hair forums but I didn't think it was real until I saw it with my own eyes today.

KeraCare is supposed to be the one of the best products for black hair, and I've been jonesin to give it a try. So today I saw they are selling the Humecto Creme Conditioner (in the bottle) for $11.50 and the shampoo I forget which one but it was $7.50 at the Walmart Salon. I am soo getting them. I also saw Mizani there. I deep condition with there Kerafuse Conditioner and it kept my hair soft and smooth. The tub is finished so I have an excuse to go out and buy the KeraCare tomorrow.

I'll have a review soon.

My Lupus Journey

For the past 9 years I've been living with Lupus. Most people have no clue what Lupus right. Instead of attacking the bad things in me it attacks healthy cells and organs. This is also known as a is, some even think you can catch it and it spreads. Wrong, basically my immune system doesn't work flair, some can last a few days some can last many months. Lupus, also known as The Wolf truly is a bitch and it's unpredictable as hell.

Last year I suffered a crisis flair, it almost killed me. I went into the ER on January 8th and didn't walk out till March 14th. During this time I had:

  • 2 Heart Failures
  • 3Chest Tubes
  • TTP
  • 3 Cath Surgeries
  • Multiple Strokes
  • 2 Seizures
  • Kidney Failure
  • Daily Plasmapheresis
  • Hemodialysis (thank God that's over with)
  • Chemo Treatments with Cytoxin and Rituxan
  • My hair fell out
  • Near Death Experience
It's been over a year now since that experience and my life is just now getting back to some kind of normalcy. My hair grew back, I'm losing the weight I gained, I'm getting stronger every day so things are going pretty great right now. I've got more than a few battle scars and on numerous of medications and vitamins but it's my life is blessed so I gotta adjust to it and keep it movin.

Right now though I have a terrible cough I just can't seem to shake. My Rheumatologist told me it was my medications, we will be discussing this further on my next visit cuz this shit is getting tired. Below is a pic of my medicine bag, I have to pop these suckas everyday, but I will be coming off some soon so that's a blessing. My energy level is good these days so I'm doing as much as I can right now. When you have a disease like Lupus you have to deal with real life and a kinda of secret life because it is such a confusing and challenging illness you just never know what can happen day to day.

Morning Motivation

Keep ya head up.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What I got In The Mail Today

Hey everybody, I am a freebie and sampling obsessed freak. I hunt the Internet for deals and bargains before I buy ANYTHING. I clip coupons, surf forums, sign up at product sites I use frequently to get insider deals. It's saved my family a ton of money and we are always getting something from free or way less than half price almost every day. Frugal living is my way of life, I actually feel bad when I spend money it's weird especially when it's full price.

Today I only got one thing - Simple Harvest Instant Hot Cereal, Tasty!!

Recently I've gotten:
  1. Neutrogena Makeup $1.00 off coupon in the mail. That product is a bit high priced and I know there will be a sale on it soon so there's a good deal right there.
  2. About 3 different Nature Made Vitamin samples I take a ton of vitamins so this was great free vitamins with coupons for when there done, sweet.
  3. More breakfast cereal than I can eat.
  4. Pet food, Chesterfield never goes hungry.
  5. Cleaning products.
In these tough times how have you adjusted to make ends meet and get more out of your money?

Would you quit your job right now?

UGH and HALLELUJAH at the same time!!!! I cussed out my boss and got fired today.

Hell, I survived 2 heart attacks last year I think I survive not having a job right now and I was like just scraping past minimum wage, so hey it is what it is.

My old company was bought by an anal retentive power freak who needed butt kissers instead of good teachers. I knew she wanted me out from day 1, so today she bought in some warning notice to me about my conduct on the job mind you from infractions that happened earlier last month and were addressed. She would go out of her was to talk to me about things that were about everything else about the job to bait me into inappropriate conversation. No, lady I don't want to hear about the time you got arrested, and no I've never been. WTF!!!! Isn't that unprofessional?

Anyways, with all this new time on my hands now, I'm gonna dedicate it to my new baby (this blog), go to the beach more and look for the right job for me.

I got Jah on my side, and am too blessed to be stressed right now.

Morning Motivation

Only I can improve my situation. Today I will begin to do just that. - unknown

This is how I've been feeling these last couple days, with the job hunt, some family drama and the everyday situations I feel a calling in my soul to up the ante and take my life to that next level. Hey, this kinda reminds me of Kaizen.

Do you have an emergency fund??

In these tough times with gas and food prices killing our pockets and wages going nowhere having an Emergency Fund is absolutely necessary. In my industry (child care), summertime is super slow. Either parents are shipping there kids off to family is other places, summer camps or just staying home. Having that security blanket in place when life gets critical makes a lot of sense.

What is an Emergency Fund you ask, well lemme break it down for you:

An emergency fund is cash that is available to you only in times of an emergency. This is not like damn, I gotta get my eye brows waxed for this date money or big ticket item spending. Nope!! This is money just for emergencies in the event you lose your job, get injured and are unable to work, your kid gets sick, etc.

Most experts say you should have at least 3-6 months salary stashed for your emergency funds. I'm working towards that, but you can cap it at $1,000, its up to you. But you don't have to start with much, little by little and consistency is what counts. Start by putting at least $20.00 per check into a savings account, if you don't have one get one ASAP. You're probably saying it may be hard to give up any extra per check into an emergency fund, but trust me its easier than you think. Try it for a few weeks and see how it adds up, and after a little while you'll adjust and you won't even miss the money. Right now mine is chillin at HSBC Direct.

Remember thought, this money is not to be spent on purchases that you can just save for and get or get on one check, this is to be stashed do not spend it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Plantain Lasagna

So tonight I made plantain lasagna for dinner and it was FANTASTIC!! I basically made a regular lasagna and sliced up a ripe plantain and layered it on. The plantain was a sweet taste addition to a basic lasagna dish.

I really enjoy cooking and it never dawned on me that me you can add new stuff to lasagna until my mom mentioned it to me last week. What are some new twists to classic meals you know?

Allow Me To Introduce Myself

Hey everybody this is your girl Safiya aka Island Spice. I know you're wondering, why Island Spice? Well, I'm from the BEAUTIFUL country of Trinidad and you know we Trini's be too fiesty. plus, doesn't the name just sound soooo sexy. Anyways, right now I reside in Lauderdale Lakes Florida and barely working. The child care industry is super slow in the summer time. So since I have all this x-tra time on my hands I've decided to give blogging a try (for like the billionth time, lol). On this blog, I'm going to talk about cool things I learn about from that day, some lifehacks, frugal living tips, beauty tips and other goodies. Oh and lots of pix of Chester, my baby.