Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009!

Today is the last day of 2009. I am grateful to still be here through all of my trials and tribulations. I am looking forward to new things in 2010.

This year I realized a few things and I am grateful for those revelations. I am waiting and anticipating great things! I know God has a purpose and a plan and once it comes to pass, people will know it was Him!

Happy New Year to all!!!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

I couldn't make this up if you paid me.

I recently got an invitation to a birthday party. I wasn't sure if I was going to attend or not. As I was riding in the car with my friends, we realized that there was another party at the same venue. At the time, I didn't know that the person who sent me the invite was having their party at someone else's party. We figured it out in the car.

Now my question is, who does that? I mean really. How tacky are you to send out invites for your celebration at someone else's event? That isn't the worst part. The next day, I got a thank you text for coming out to celebrate this person's birthday (at someone else's party). This is just wrong and tacky on so many levels. Have you any integrity?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Am I now classified as a cougar?

I met this guy the other day who is a little younger than I am. I figured he was younger, I just didn't know how young. Anyway, he was very persistent in me calling him. I was a bit apprenhensive, but I did. We went out and I had a good time. He actually seems more mature than what I expected.

I guess my question is, does this classify me as a cougar?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It doesn't end!

The other night I was coming in from class and as I was turning the corner I saw my neighbor walking his dog. By the time I parked the car, he was in front of my house motioning for me to hurry up and get out of the car. I was on the phone with my sister and had already told her what he was doing. So she got off the phone with me and when I got out of the car, I asked him "How do you know I wasn't trying to plan my get away?" Why did this fool ask me "Where are we going?" I said "Three's a crowd!" Then he had the nerve to say, "Oh, I'm three?" Um, you may be number one to your wife, but not to me!

I was disgusted by this and I should have slapped him clear into next week!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's unbelievable

For the people who have been following my blog for sometime, I've often shared the good, the bad, and the ugly as it relates to my experiences dating. Well, I've got some more comical things to share.

There was this guy who was sweating me HARD for a year. I believe he was living with someone and they had a small child, and I guess he thought I wouldn't mind. I was not interested in him for other reasons, but that just added fuel to the fire. One day I saw him out and he kept on trying to pursue me. When he finished talking to me, my sister said" He really likes you a lot".

Well, the other day, I checked my e-mail and he sent me an e-mail to see how I was doing and told me he got married and sent the link to the wedding pictures. I was too tickled. When he was trying to get with me, he was planning a wedding. LOL I hope this means he will stop trying.

Then there is this other guy I used to date who dumped me because he said that it was too much pressure. I'm not sure who was pressuring him, but it wasn't me. When I mentioned this to some male friends they all told me that was a bunch of bullshit!(Which I already knew.) If he's a man and he can't handle you, that's not a real man or the kind of man you want/need to be with. Just imagine what he'll do when things really get tough.

I wasn't too surprised by this guy or his actions. When I met him, I told him that he wasn't ready for me, but he tried to convince himself that he was. He had also made some other decisions that let me know he lacked maturity.

In both of these situations, I believe the males were only doing as they knew. It is unfortunate that so many women will put up with this type of tomfoolery. One of my mantras has always been "what one man won't do, another will." This is true of women and that's why a lot of men do the things they do.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

What I don't know...

Today I went to a conference fr beauty professionals. I have been licensed as a nail technician for quite some time. One of the requirements is to obtain continuing education hours every two years. I originally went to the conference with the intent on getting my hours, but I left with so much more.

This year I didn't take any product related classes. All of the classes were pertaining to the business aspect and not the technical side. Some of the classes I took were actually beneficial to any industry. I left feeling renewed and ready to conquer the world.

There were a few things that had a tremendous impact on me. One thing that I really stuck with me was the following question: What is it that I don't know that if I did know would make a difference in what/who I'm trying to become/accomplish? When the speaker Geno Stampora posed this question, it got me to thinking. I can't say that I have the answer to this question, but it surely has gotten me to thinking. BTW, Mr. Stampora, if you're reading this, you were right about that dinner conversation:)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Is free!

Is glad to be free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Reflections of my life and lessons that I've learned

I have been reflecting upon my life for a few months and some of the lessons that I've learned. I decided to chronicle them after reading a note from one of my friends on Facebook (in no particular order) to share with people and hopefully they will learn from them as well.

1. Love- I am not sure if it's better to have known love than to have never loved at all. I'm still pondering this one.

2. Listening and hearing are two different things. People can hear but don't listen. Listening is active and most people haven't gotten this.

3. Friends-Most people really don't know what it means to be a friend. Friendship is not something I take lightly and I've learned that most people don't value friendship as I.

4. Words do hurt!- I wish I knew who started that 'sticks and stones' mess. It is a lie from the pit of hell. Words are very hurtful and sometimes it's our 'friends' who spew them out.

5. Standards- I've been told that my standards are too high, especially when it comes to my expectations of a man. If I don't stand for something, I'll fall for anything. I'm still baffled by individuals who will research a car, home, career, etc., in depth but won't do the same for a relationship. I value myself and I deserve God's best.

6. Education- Education has become watered/dumbed down over the years and many people are okay with it. I am not sure how this can be fixed, but don't be mad at me because I hold my students to a higher standard because I believe in them and want them to do well.

7. Class(not the class system)- So many people like to think they possess class, but somewhere down the line this vision/definition has become distorted. When I think of class, I think about Jackie O., Princess Di, Michelle Obama, and Diahann Carroll.

8. Integrity- Integrity is becoming extinct. People are no longer concerned with honoring their word. They'll commit to something and either back out at the last minute of don't show up at all. Sometimes they'll offer an excuse, but most times they won't.

9. Most people truly don't want to see me succeed.- I've learned that so many people who claimed to be my friend and want to see me do well, really don't. Subconsciously, they don't want me to surpass them. I know this because of the comments/remarks that roll from their lips.

10. Seasons, reasons and lifetime.- People fall into the three aforementioned categories and sometimes we try to make them be something they are not intended to be. I've learned to let go of toxic people and toxic relationships. It has not been easy, but I am grateful that I have.

11. Most people who say they love God don't always show it.- If you are a Christian, I don't think you should have to tell people this. Your actions would show who you truly are.

12. Parenting- This is probably the most difficult job and no matter how hard you try to do the right thing, someone will always find fault with you.

13. Parenting- You can't tell other people how to parent their children because they are not always receptive to your thoughts or experiences.

14. Education- It is the key to a better you!

15. Education- It can never be taken away from you once you have it.

16. Truth- Most individuals can't handle the truth. People claim they want honesty, but once you give it to them if often creates a problem.

17. Opinions- Everyone is entitled to an opinion and I have never understood why people get mad about this. People opinions are just that and if everyone shared the same view points, this world would be boring.

18. People don't always do better when they know better.- I believe a lot of people are rebellious. They don't want to follow directions when instructed. There are people who know what they are doing is wrong, but they insist on doing it anyway. It is difficult to change ones thought process when they have been thinking a certain way for years.

19. Perception- Things are not always as they seem. They way one person perceives something or a situation has a lot to do with prior experiences.

20. The past- People always say the past should be left behind, but that is often difficult to do. Realistically speaking, a lot of people may have thought they left the past behind until someone or something triggers that memory and then they are reliving it. Our past is what has helped shape us into who we are today.

21. I'm still a work in progress.- I know God has some more things to work out of me and I am trying to be obedient during this process.

22. It's okay to question God.- I know many people may not agree with this, but I have learned that it's okay to question God. He already knows that we were going to do it because we don't understand His decisions.

23. Spiritual growth/maturity- There are some people who will always play church and that's alright. Don't get mad at me because I'm not doing it.

24. Hell- I am not going to hell for anyone else. No one is worth me going to hell for so don't overestimate your importance in my life.

25. Family- You can't choose your family, but you can choose how you deal with them.

26. Goals- Goals are great to have, but without a plan it is nothing more than a dream.

27. Destiny- I believe God has destined me for great things, I just have to follow His will to accomplish it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Just my 2 cents

I just wanted people to know that my other blog is up and running. It's

This blog will focus be just like the title states. I hope you enjoy it just as much as this one. I'll still blog on both and sometimes the post may be the same.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Nothing much has changed for Black people

I know many people have been in an uproar about Professor Henry Gates recent arrest in his home in Cambridge, MA. For those people who are unaware of who he is, you can google him to find additional information about him. Mr. Gates is an educated Black man who was reminded the other day by the Cambridge police that he is nothing more than a nigger (yes, I said it). Before you all get your panties in a bunch, the way he was treated shows Black America that is what the white officers thought of him.

Many Black men experience that same treatment Prof. Gates received on a daily basis and it often goes unnoticed. Most of these men are not educated, but some are. It doesn't matter in most places because any Black male is an easy target for police.

I am not sure if Black people living in America will ever get treated fairly. There are many people who often like to claim that race relations have improved but I beg to differ. If you have never been in a store and the clerk overlooked you to service another patron when it was obvious that you were next, then things haven't improved. When you are a Black female working in corporate and you are a no nonsense individual, you are labled a bitch. If this same woman is white, she is aggressive. I am not sure why this occurs, but it does. More often than not, a Back woman has to prove herself to everyone before she is given a promotion. Then if she is promoted, she has to worry about others trying to sabotage her career. Does that sound like race relations have improved? When you have educated Black people being turned down for jobs based on their names sounding too ethnic, surely things have changed. When banks enter minority communities and prey on the residents because many of them are uneducated and as a result are taken advantage of, that surely has to be a clear indication that things have changed.

I could list many more, but the reality is this: race relations are pretty much the same. I don't think it will change until more people will wake up and smell the cocoa beans. Michael Jackson challenged us all to look at the man in the mirror. Let us all take heed to his words.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


There are and have been a number of changes in Chicago. One of the major changes has been the tearing down of the Chicago Housing Authority Projects. Most if not all of them have been demolished and new homes have been built to replace them. The new homes include townhouses, condos and single-family dwellings. So what is or has happened to the residents that once occupied these projects? A good number of them has been pushed into various neighborhoods throughout the city and suburbs. As a result, many neighborhoods are experiencing crime that may have been minimal in the past.

When the housing projects were in existence, all of the crime was in a concentrated area. Now they are gone, it has made a lot of neighborhoods seem as if crime is on the rise. What can be done to eliminate the crime that is taking place throughout the city?

It is often very difficult to show people that crime is not the answer. Even if these individuals go to jail, many of them return upon release because they have a difficult time matriculating into society. A lot of critics would argue that the schools and teachers need to do a better job of teaching these kids about the options available to them. Students are only with teachers 6 or 7 hours a day. The majority of their day is spent with family and friends. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the people the students spend the majority of their time with has the most influence over them.

The President has challenged all parents to obtain higher education for at least a year or two. I believe if more parents would do this, more kids would see the possibilities available to them. The oneness is not on the school system and teachers alone. Parents play a big part of this equation. If the parents would take an active role in their child's life, they would know what their precious baby is doing and maybe some of this crime wouldn't occur.

Monday, June 29, 2009


According to The American Heritage Dictionary, integrity means steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical ode. Soundness. Completeness; unity.

I was having a discussion with my summer school class and realized that so many of them do not know what integrity is and they lack it. It is not the child's fault because many of them are doing as they know. I think integrity is becoming obsolete and often wonder how can we get it back?

There used to be a time when your word meant everything, but now it seems like people can't/won't/don't honor their word. I think it's a sign of the times and it has gotten out of control.

I want to challenge all to search their souls to see if they are a person of integrity.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Busy Bee

I've been busy for sometime and have neglected my blog. I am going to do a better job of posting. I promise.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I didn't title this post because I am not exactly sure what I should call it. It is almost the end of the school year and many of my students are failing. They refuse to do any work and when you call the home, the parents often act like something is wrong with you. I gave an assignment where the students had to prepare a 3 page typed report. It should be in their own words. I showed them how to use in-text citations, write a thesis statement, prepare an outline and do a works cited page. Most of the kids didn't even attempt to do the work. What a lot of them fail to realize is this:three pages typed (double spaced, 12-pt font, Times New Roman) comes out to be about 6 paragraphs. It really isn't a lot. It's one more paragraph than a 5-paragraph essay.

What I've come to discover is that the reason I have to fight with many of my students is education is not considered to be valuable. A lot of them don't have real-life examples of people who went to college and made it so they just give up. I also think my students truly believe they are better off than they are. I also believe a lot of feel like they have time to get it together and they don't.

I am not sure what can be done to change this, but I always tell my students that education begins at home. Parents have to instill in their children at an early age the importance of getting an education. By the time these children come to me, they are so screwed up, it's not funny. I am always worried about the future generations but I think I am beginning to worry about the present one.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Current State of Education

A few weeks ago, I was listening to the radio and Rev. Al Sharpton was on speaking about this Mackenzie Report that was coming out talking about the state of public education. This report says that Blacks and some Latinos are functioning at least 4 grade levels behind. Now, I didn't need a report to tell me this because I witness it on a daily basis. It is often suggested that many schools need to be shut down, teachers removed, new teachers come in and the same students return in order to see some change. Well, I have some issues with this concept.

I do believe that if it's broke, fix it. The issue here is not just one or two schools, we are talking about a nation full of broken schools. A lot of the "solutions" are no more effective than a band-aid is on a war wound. Many of the students in public schools often miss the fundamentals needed to be successful and they are often promoted to the next grade when they really should be retained. When these individuals enter high school (9th grade) a lot of them are functioning anywhere between a 4th and 6th grade level.

As it relates to removing teachers, I believe teachers who don't have the child's best interest at heart should be removed. It is not the teachers fault when a student fails, especially at that level. Most times the child is not doing any work or coming to school. When and if a school closes and teachers are displaced, I think it may cause teachers to socially promote students who are not prepared. These teachers may decide that it is better to pass the kids than for them to look for a new job. My main concern is when the new teachers come and the old students with their old habits come back. It seems to me like you would want to make some changes with the students as well. Maybe they can be in a school where the students are performing at or above grade level and have a vested interest in their education.

Another issue that plagues public education is the lack of parental involvement. If more parents were involved in their children's education, many of the kids would not fail. It is not rocket science. The more you put into your child, the more you get out.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


There are a number of on-line 'networking' sites available, people don't necessarily have to get together face to face anymore. I've joined a number of them and I can't really keep up with all of the usernames and passwords. (It helps when the site allows you to use your e-mail address as a username.) I'm on Http:// and on various sites within

I am not sure how I got started on these sites, but they can become very addictive. I've also come to realize that these online sources are a good medium to network, but when people come together, they often don't know how to communicate with one another because of all of the computer networking they do. I was at a networking event the other day and I noticed that many people (including me) were not actually networking. There were other factors that may have contributed to this, but nonetheless, people were not really networking.

After I left this event, I realized a few things. One of them was the person hosting the event may not have been too sure of what type of things should be done at a networking event so people can actually network with one another. In order for a networking event to be successful, you need to have some type of setting that is going to have people talking with one another. It is difficult for people to communicate when there is music playing and it is not playing softly and it's party/dance music. Also, I think when food is served, it should be finger foods. When people are networking, they don't need a full plate of food. Light snacks are better because people will snack and not eat.

After attending this event, I was inspired to do some things on a personal level. I am currently working on them and I'm excited about my new beginnings.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Resurrection Sunday

This Sunday is Resurrection Sunday. Many Christians all over the world will celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I have often thought about this upcoming Sunday and how many people don't realize that Resurrection Sunday should not only symbolize that Jesus is alive, but it should symbolize our personal lives.

During this Lenten season, I purposed in my mind and heart to make some personal changes. I wasn't successful in all of them, but I kept (and continue) to strive to do better. I've decided to kill off certain things in my life. Afterwards I'm gonna bury them and do my darnedest not to resurrect them ever again!

I've decided that negativity has to die. This means negative people in my life has to go as well. Life is too short to be around Debbie Downer and Negative Ned. Some people only know negative things so I guess I have to do like Lauryn Hill did in one of her songs and ask my "Father to forgive them for they know not what they do". I've noticed that people will say some dumb stuff and don't realize they've said it until you regurgitate that mess back to them.

The second thing I am killing is procrastination. I read once that "Procrastination is the thief of time". I've been guilty of this too often. It seems like I don't have enough time in the day to do most of the things I need to do, and some of the things I want to do. I am no longer going to put off today for tomorrow because tomorrow is not promised.

I've also decided that control has to go. I'm learning that there are certain things I will never have any control over and the sooner I realize this and let it go, the better I'll be. I can't change people's attitudes and perceptions of me or life. That is their personal battle that I am not going to try and fight. I know I may have strong opinions about certain things, but they are just that, my opinions.

I have more things that I have decided to kill and bury and never to resurrect, but I really don't have the time to divulge all of that information. I think if more people would take a good look at their personal lives and determine what things they need to eliminate, many of us would be a whole lot better.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What does abuse look like?

Oftentimes many people don't realize that abuse can take may shapes and forms. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, abuse is defined as follows: To use wrongly or improperly; to hurt or injure by maltreatment; to rape or molest; to insult; revile; misuse; physical maltreatment; insulting or coarse language.

I think a lot of people view abuse as something that is visible. I've been thinking about this for quite some time and I had to write about it. Abuse generally begins in the form of words. Sometimes people will say things that they may believe are not harmful but in reality they are. I think all people are guilty of this. If we look at the many definitions given, I don't think anyone can say they have never insulted anyone. Now, I know some people may be thinking they did it in fun, but that is how it begins. Remember that lie we were told growing up about sticks and stones. Well, words do hurt and people don't forget them.

I know I've been guilty of being abusive to others and I've had to go back and rectify that situation. I believe the reason many of us are abusive is it's all we know and have been taught. Hurting people hurt others. We need to learn how to speak words of encouragement to one another and keep our little snide comments to ourselves. In the words of my mother and grandmother "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". I think if a lot of us learn to live by that creed, we wouldn't walk around abusing people on a daily basis.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I quit.

I've been thinking about eliminating this blog. I blog on another site and I get more feedback and traffic on that site. I've had this blog for a little less than a year (I think it'll be a year next month) and it's been slow going. We'll see what happens.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The five-paragraph essay.

Silly me. I thought many of my students would know how to write a five-paragraph essay, but boy was I wrong. Since our school received the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant to improve the quality of education, we are required to test the students 4 times throughout the year. Well, the second assessment was given and after reading the written parts, I realized the majority of my students didn't know how to write a 5-paragraph essay.

The topic they were given was about standardized test. Are they good or bad? So, I started with the basics. I told them before they can write, they need to plan. I told them this will help them with their writing. The first thing we did was created 2 columns. One for the pros (good) and the other for the cons (bad). I told them whenever they are required to write a paper, this is what they should do first. Depending upon the number of paragraphs required, they should have that same number of items listed. For example, if you need a 10-paragraph paper, you will need at least 8 pros and 8 cons (the first paragraph is the introductory paragraph and the last is the concluding paragraph). If they can't think of that many for both, it is a good idea to argue/present based on the side they have the most evidence for, even if they don't agree with it.

Once we did that, I had them to use a graphic organizer similar to the picture.

The circle is where they should list their subtopic. Everything they listed under the pros or cons. On the web extenders, they should write down what they want to say about the topic. For example, if the subtopic is: Test are a waste of time. I would put that in the circle. In the extenders, I would list all of the reasons for stating that. Many of them understood this concept. After they have listed their reasons in the extensions, those serve as the basis for their sentences. One student I'll call "Jack" said to me "It's that simple?" I replied "Yep, just like that. Depending on how many parapgraphs you need to write, that determines how many of the little webs you need." That comment made my heart leap. I was so elated that someone finally got it.

After we went through that, I showed them how to state their position without restating the prompt. I want them to become skilled writers and I explained to them restating the prompt is not bad, nonetheless, they are high school sophomores and we are going to prove to people that we know how to write like we are going to go to college. I also told them that all of their essays should have an attention grabber to get the readers attention. If everyone starts out with "In my opinion" or "I believe that" and my all time favorite "Yes, or No and then restate the prompt", they have not captured my attention.

I worked with a few of them on an individual basis and they seemed to be progressing well. I am excited about reading their revised essays on Monday.

Friday, February 6, 2009

How do I reach the lost children?

I teach in an inner city/urban school. Many of the students receive free or reduced lunch. A lot of them come from less than stellar homes and in addition to poor home lives, they are way behind in school. I don't think many people realize the correlation between poverty and performance. I could name a number of books and studies that outline this, but you can research this on your own time. There is a correlation that children who come from poor environments tend to perform less in school and in life. Now, I know there are exceptions to the rule, but those are few and far in between.

A friend of mine often gets upset when I mention this because she grew up poor and on public assistance. I grew up poor, wore hand-me-downs (from a neighbor on the same block) and ate commodities (government handouts). I know and understand what it's like to not have. I think the difference for me (I don't know about my friend) was i was exposed to people who didn't live like me. I was able to interact with people from all socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnicity's. I was able to know and understand that it is possible to make it out. Many of my students do not have these opportunities and I think this hurts them. Whenever I try to tell them there is a way out, they think I am making it up or acting white.

How do I reach a group of children who's expectations have been lowered or non-existent? How do I compete with parents, friends, and a community that has accepted mediocrity? What can I do or say to encourage these kids? I am not sure if there is a solution. I believe there has to be some type of push from within at this point. The children have to want to have more for themselves. I often pose this scenario to them: Imagine it's twenty years from now,, you are 35/36 yrs old. The only knowledge you have is what you have learned thus far. The only money you have is what is in your pocket today? You have nothing more and nothing less. Is this how you want to live? Many of them say no, but they don't try to change their actions. I don't think many of them have gotten angry enough with their current situation to try and change it.

I often tell my students to listen and pay attention to what I am trying to teach because it will help them in life. A lot of my students feel like college is not an option and they are wasting their time. I try to tell them that it may not make them famous, but an education is something no one can take from them. Once you have the knowledge, it's yours forever.

I often feel like I am wasting my time with these children and feel like quitting. I am tired of being their only cheerleader. Then I often wonder, if I quit, who will cheer for them? But what about me, who's cheering for me? Why do I keep feeling empty, unfulfilled and miserable? I think I like teaching, but I don't like the apathy that I have to deal with.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This is the big one!

1-20-2009, 10:56 CST, 44.
To some those numbers may not mean anything, but to me it means a lot. This tells me that anything is possible if you believe and work hard. Today, I am extremely proud to call myself an American. It is my prayer that America does not disappoint me and the many others who have faith in this country and the great things to come.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Keeping it chic (and affordable) in 2009

This past Wednesday, I was at the hair salon and there was a lady who was complaining about her hairstyle. According to my hairstylist, when the lady came in her hair was gelled down and she had a banana clip in the top of her hair (horizontally). This lady also had some breakage. My stylist had to add some hair to her natural hair to make it look decent. After my stylist was finished, this woman kept complaining about how she didn't like her hair. My stylist and this lady's friend told her that her hair looked better than when she first walked into the shop. One of the other clients asked her how old was she and she replied 46. As I was sitting there listening to this exchange, I began to wonder: How did this woman get to be 46 and not care about her hair or how she looked? I'm sure it didn't happen overnight.

I want to encourage all of my sister girlfriends to keep it chic in 2009. I know there are a lot of people who think they can't afford to get their hair styled on a regular basis, but that's not true. Many(if not all) cosmetology schools/barber colleges
' offer services at a discount price. If you need a wash and trim, this may be the option for you. All the services are supervised by a licensed instructor and you may just find someone who is really good. Some of these schools offer nails, facials, and massages too. So, if you want a spa get-away, seek out a cosmetology school.

As it relates to clothing, buy classic, quality pieces that will last for quite some time. Now is also a good time to find upscale resale shops or thrift stores to buy clothes. If you go to affluent areas (where many people are not feeling the pinch), you may be able to snag some nice stuff at a fraction of the cost. I am not a big fan of Marshall's, TJ Maxx, and other stores like that (they're usually too cluttered and junky)but some people can find some great deals/steals at these stores.

Also, invest in some good shoes that will last. My daughter and one of her friends always sing "Payless shoes ain't got no grip, you gone fall and bust yo' lip." Now, if Payless is your store, then more power to you. Nevertheless, if you get a few pair of good shoes, you can have them repaired instead of throwing them away to buy new ones. Sure, they may cost more upfront, but in the end, it will help. If you purchase shoes and clothes on the off season, you can find better deals. (The down side to this is if you gain/lose weight, the clothes may not fit when it's time to wear them.)

Also, take care of your physical health. If you are laid off and without health insurance, most states have a local Board of Health where the services are free or low cost. You may also be able to go to dental schools to get your teeth cleaned. Some people may be able to get braces if that service is offered. I am not sure if you can get your teeth whitened, but I'd say look into it. You never know what options are available until you look into it.

As it relates to exercise, check your local park district or YMCA. Some of these places may offer classes for a nominal fee. I know in Chicago, some of the park districts have the same equipment as a lot of the big name health clubs and the fees are not as steep. I was looking into working out at one facility and I think it was $30 for 3 or 4 months. I know some of these health clubs charge that much on a monthly basis.

When it comes down to eating right, make it work for you. Try to brown bag it to work/school. I know it may seem like a no brainer, but you'd be surprised how much money you will save. If you place of employment provides free or reduced lunch, take advantage of it when possible. Even if you eat in the cafeteria at work and have to pay, it may save you at least $3 a day. Another lunch saving tip is to buy a reusable water bottle and freeze it at night. If you want purified water, buy a filter to attach to your faucet. I think you can find these for $30. That will prove to cheaper than buying bottled water.

I know some of these things may seem a bit redundant, but in order to keep it chic in 2009, these tips are essential. Make sure you are taking care of the outer shell as well as the inside. Also, make sure you nuture relationships that are nuturing to you. Go where you are celebrated and not tolerated! Happy New Year!