Wedding Planning Season Begins…Now

9 Sep

Friends and family lure me into planning things I do not want to plan.  I can tell how I interact with my friends because of their reaction to my “no.” smh.  No.More.Weddings. However, if you can pay me several, not a couple thousand to do it and you have a large budget, I am in.  Otherwise, I can’t.  People don’t understand what an effort it is and how meticulous I am, until they work with me.  If you’re a friend, you can call me to discuss it over lunch.  I’ll outline everything and answer any questions you may have in a maximum of two meetings. That is all.

I don’t care how long you give yourself to plan a wedding.  Although the further out the better, everything is about planning. 

Rule #1

Don’t have the wedding of your dreams or think you can have the wedding of your dreams, if you can’t afford it. 

Scale back!  Sacrifice!  Your wedding should be funded via CASH. Cash makes you think thrice times before spending.   If you can’t pay in cash, wait.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with getting married legally and later having a wedding.  Is credit card debt/loan really the way you want to start your married life? Fastest way to cut cost is cutting people. *karate chop*

Rule #2

Don’t ask family members to provide their services

Unless they will be an usher or help setup, I would not advise they cater, do decorations, anything an outside party can do.  If you’re strapped for cash, go ahead, but they are trying to enjoy the ceremony as well, so they’ll be distracted.  Plus, I hate the feeling of anyone believing I owe them for doing me a favor.  When you give, you give.  End of it.

Rule #3

Keep everyone that is of any importance to your wedding in your phone with detail as to what they do.

There will be many many many names.  Store people with what they do, who they are, and their company name.  Google Sync twice a day.

Rule #4

You need a binder. 

How else will you organize everything?  Take it everywhere you go.  Mine is either in my car or in the house with me.  I never leave it.  Use dividers for easy flipping.   Even if you do not use a vendor, keep their information just in case you need them later.

Rule #5

Make a custom day-by-day calendar

You need to be focused and always know what you are supposed to be doing.  Stretch a task over 3 days.  There may be stumbling blocks, so allot time to handle them.  I know this sounds ridiculous, but schedule days off.  Use checklists available on the internet to create your personalized calendar.   Use more than one source.  There are always differences between each.  Combine them.  Eliminate what you will not use or need.  Personalize your checklist!

Rule #6

Budget for a Rehearsal Dinner. 

Reward your wedding party for coming out.  Really show that you appreciate their time.  Send a real invitation, please.

Rule #7

Buy the wedding party a gift, a thank you for their time. 

They really go unappreciated for the time and money spent to participate.  They are doing YOU a favor.

Rule #8

Communicate

Stay in regular communication with everyone involved.  Make sure everyone has had a chance to get to know you.  No surprises.  I am a stickler about how things are done and how long it is taking.  I will fight for you and against you, depending on what’s going on, but we’ll work it out.  The photographer told his friend before I called, “She’s nice, but she’s no joke.  She’s extremely professional”

Rule #9

Be confident and honest about what you do and do not like

This is your wedding.  Balls to the wall.

Rule #10

Budget

When budgeting use your budget efficiently by weighing what’s most important to you.  No.  It can’t be everything.  Reception (food) is where you will spend the bulk of your money.  Do this first.  Then, do everything else.  You will know where you stand after this.

Tips:

    Use Voicemail Depot and a gmail account for people to call in or email to make reservations.   You do not want this being forwarded to a personal phone.  Headache! Neither do you want to spend all the money on stamps for a rsvp card.

    Create a wedding website. 

    Wedding Wire – fun youthful site that wll track your checklist, if u update it.

    The Knot – an old timer with tons of info.

    Checkout a wedding show/convention before planning

    Know whether you want a formal or informal wedding.

Here are two sites I love for FREE (don’t pay for this stuff):

Pash Weddings  – Free Printable Wedding Planner

Perfect Wedding Day – Reception Timeline, Ceremony Timeline/Processional, MC Script for ceremony. This site is soooo good.

Last, but definitely not least, pray, attend pre-marital counseling, and still do couple things. Don’t have everyone asking why you’re getting married. People should see why.

Signing off,
Misch
“Know how to flip that money three ways” 

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Meeting His Mom

9 Aug

Meeting mom makes me jittery until I get to the door and say my first hello. I mean some moms are heavily engrossed in their sons’ lives (*coughs* momma’s boy), so I get bogged down in my thoughts: I hope I don’t talk too much. I hope I’m not a mute. Don’t smile too much that can be received as phony. Arghhhhhhhhh!!! So here are some tactics I’ve used to be personable and polite, your biggest players.

    Wear something “mom” appropriate.

    Nothing you’ve heard Luke Skywalker talk about in a song. No stomach out. No lower back. Not too much cleavage. Even if you dress like this in front of your parents, you should not as a first encounter or your outfit will become the focus. It will be what she and others remember.

    Read the news.

    Older women for some reason, heavily watch/read the local news. Although I find it ghastly, update yourself.

    Don’t lie

    This is not a time to be phony. Respectfully disagree or decline to say anything. Set the tone of the relationship you want to have. You must practice great etiquette, though. Mothers are extremely critical. Why? They are female and they believe they know what they’re son needs. *side eye*

    Bring something

    flowers, cake, wine, cider, something that somehow indicates you thought about her before coming.

    Never ever enter someone’s home without first saying hello and acknowledging everyone in the room, not that timid “hi” either.

    Introduce yourself and tell her that you are pleased to meet her.

    I much rather hug than do a handshake, but you can feel her out. Ask your boyfriend what she’s like beforehand. Some mom’s are not touchy feely.

    Take note of everyone’ body language and the decor of the home to figure out how comfortable you should be.

    Shoes at the door. Then, this a no shoes home. Don’t put your feet up. Don’t lounge on a toss pillow. Don’t put your cup on the table without a coaster. Don’t eat on the couch unless everyone else is. Don’t request to change the channel.

    Engage in conversation without taking over the conversation.

    Just jump in. If you’re appropriately funny, this shouldn’t be too hard. This is not a time to fight to the death for your point of view.

    See if she needs help in the kitchen.

    or whatever else she may need help with. This is a time to get to know her better. Compliment something very specific. Do not say you have a nice home. That’s a last resort. It’s vague and doesn’t work if it’s not true *shrugs*. Ask her questions. What do you do? Typically, if things are serious you know this, so you can lead saying, “_______ told me you _______. How long have you been a ______?” If you noticed a book or show she’s watching, ask her about it. Answer her questions as she asks them. Embellish your answers. Don’t lie. I’m just saying the story needs fluff. One word answers—->kill me.

    When dinner comes around, serve your guy as well, if she has not done so.

    Mom’s watching. LoL.

    During dinner, continue to engage in conversation.

    Again, don’t run the conversation. Don’t be rude. Eat the food. Somehow, eat it, even if it’s nasty. Don’t scarf it down. Compliment the food when you actually like it. If you lie, she might tell you to get more and take it home.

    Don’t argue in front of her

    or anyone else for that matter. I hate seeing this kind of train wreck.

    After dinner, offer to clear the table and/or help clean the kitchen.

    Remove your boyfriend’s plate while asking if he needs anything. Gently ask him, not for everyone to hear, so it looks genuine. I hope it is genuine, even when no one is looking. Maybe you’re not that kind of girl, then maybe not. Then, ask the rest of the guests.

    Hangout for a little bit.

    Never be in a rush to leave, unless she is. People notice when you’re in a hurry to leave. If you have somewhere else to go that day, say so before going or quietly let her know when you arrive. No big exits.

    When leaving, thank her for dinner and sharing her home with you.

I don’t know. This worked for me. Of course, you don’t have to do this point by point. More than likely, I didn’t. Yet, I do believe this is the best time for your best etiquette. The girls I’ve met through my brothers let’s me know parents are skipping over manners in the manual. First impression is a lasting impression. She’s watching how a follicle of your hair blows in the wind. Left is not good.

Guys, do you have any advice or horror stories?

Ladies, have you met any moms from hell?

Peach Cobbler

26 Jul

No lie. This is one of my fav desserts. I eat in a cup with vanilla ice cream and a tablespoon, not a teaspoon. Yea…real fatty. One of my friends asked, so I decided to post this easy recipe on the fly. Enjoy!

You will need:

    ¾ – 1 cup Sugar

    2 tbspns Cinnamon

    A stick of butter fresh out the fridge (Yes, all that butter ☺)

    1 teaspoon Nutmeg

    1 large can of peaches

    1-2 Pie crust, depending on how big your dish is.  The fresher the better at room temperature.

    Can of buttery biscuits, if you like dumpling peach cobbler.

    Also, I prefer cooking mine in a casserole dish or glass dish.  It browns and cooks better to me.  Anywho…

Making it…

Empty the can of peaches and all of its juices into the dish.  I am guesstimating on the measurements here.  I typically measure by looking.  I just know that I use plenty of sugar to make sure it is sweet and cinnamon to give it a spice kick.  Only a teaspoon of nutmeg, though.  Nutmeg is powerful and too much will kill your cobbler. Add them all: sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  At this point add the biscuits, if you are using biscuits, by tearing them into 1/3 pieces . Cut up ¾ of the stick of butter into cubes.  Mix it all together in the dish.  Put into oven without crust for about 15 minutes, so the biscuits can bake and absorb a little bit of the liquid.  Pull the dish out and cover the entire top with the pie crust.  Cut 4 – 5 slits for ventilation no bigger than an inch.  If there are too many slits or they are too big, your crust won’t rise.  It will sink in the juice and become doughy. Sprinkle a little bit of sugar and cinnamon on the top.  Cut up the rest of the butter into cubes and disperse on top.  Throw it back in the oven and cook until crust is golden brown.  About another 30 minutes.

Refinancing: Run The Numbers

8 Jun

You have an asset you purchased with a loan and would like to change the terms of your loan with your current lender or change to a new lender because they have a better deal, which typically means a better interest rate, refinance.  You move the principal (amount you owe before interest) to another lender.  Loans consist of principal and interest.  Interest is the money you pay the lender for borrowing their money to purchase whatever you needed/wanted.

My job is offering a great auto loan rate right now.  It’s 3.5%.  Of course, this is for people with good credit (very important to maintain a great credit score).  I get .5% less than the public because I am an employee, so I can get 2.99%.  My first thought was that is 2.5% less than the interest rate I have now.  Time to refinance!  But wait…let me go to an online financial calculator and calculate my savings over the life of the loan.

First, you have to define why you are refinancing.  Are you refinancing to lower your payment because you can’t afford the payment, really need the cash in your pocket, or to increase the amount you pay to principal, thus, paying less interest?  Mine was to pay less interest, which means I am paying more principal.  My thinking—-> I’ll pay my current monthly payment on a new loan with a low monthly payment and interest; I’ll save on interest without feeling a change monthly.  But after my calculations using my handy dandy financial calculator, I have some thinking to do.  This is more than a face value monthly payment.  This has to do with time as well.  These are my thoughts…

How much time do I have left on my loan and the remaining principal?  My car will be paid off in 28 periods and there is not much left to pay off.  Since car loans are typically 36 or 60 periods, their terms push me out 8 more months (28+8=36 months), unless I pay it off.  If I am going to pay my car off, I might as well ante up on the loan I already have, but I am not going to do that.  I have an anxiety attack whenever I spend large amounts of money in one sitting.  Remember when you paid for your courses and that trip.  Saving is a great effort that takes time.  Spending only takes seconds.

If I wanted to lower my payment, this deal sounds great.  I would have $200 more per month in my pocket by refinancing, but I have extended my loan periods prolonging the expense. But hey! I am not going to knock it.  Depending on your situation and circumstances (about to default or barely making it), you might need that $200 for necessities.  If you can save the $200 per month and just pay to principal at the end of the year after starting and maintaining a rainy day fund, do so.  If you will not use the money to pay down the principal, I would advise you don’t refinance.

I don’t need the extra money and my goal is to get rid of this car payment.  So now, I am back at square one, keep the current loan and pay more on it to get rid of it.  When I ran the numbers, I only saved $300 over the life of the loan by refinancing for 36 periods and paying the additional $200 on principal every month with the new loan. So in the end, I’m not going to refinance.

Be careful.  What looks good may not be all that good.

The best calculators of all time and they include amortization tables

Bank Rate

Crippling Caramel Concoction

7 Jun

Yes, it makes me weak in the knees like SWV.  I decided to make caramel cupcakes last week.   I didn’t know they were going to be that good.  And caramel is so simple to make. This recipe allows you to use it as a fondue/sauce.  Think popcorn, granny smith apples, pound cake, vanilla cake, ice cream…(drifts off into a dream)

All you need is:

3 Cups of Sugar

1 stick of butter (room temperature)

1 ½ Cup of Milk (Whipping Cream is better, if you can get to it)

3 tbspns Light Corn Syrup

1 tspn Vanilla Extract

½ Cup Heavy Cream

Besides the corn syrup, these are regular kitchen regulars. Yayyyyy.  Please tell me you’ve bought a wisk.  I listed it in this post.  I’m telling you, it’s one of the best things ever for grits, cornbread batter, gravy, …, and caramel.

Directions:

You will need two pots, a small and medium to large pot.  Warm the milk, corn syrup, and 2½ cup of sugar in the smaller of the two pots over low heat to dissolve the sugar (this will reduce the explosion when u pour it into the piping hot caramelized sugar).  Then, in the larger pot, pour 1/2 cups of sugar.  No butter.  No oil.  Just pour the sugar into the pot over medium –high heat.  The sugar will start to sweat and clump.  Stir it with the wisk to keep it smooth. Make sure it does not stick.   When it takes on a brown caramel color, you’ve caramelized the sugar!  Now, pour in the warm milk mixture.  It will react and bubble up (this is why you need a large saucepan).  Keep it at a boil.  Reduce the heat a little so it does not boil over.  Let it bubble for about 10 minutes.  Once it’s done.  Remove it from heat, drop the stick of butter in (No. it’s not too much) and let it cool for about 15 minutes.

This makes about two or more cups of caramel.  It’s a lot.  I was taking caramel with me everywhere.  Begin with using half the measurements and make more if necessary.  Yummy!

Oh!  To make caramel flavored frosting, pour it into cream cheese frosting or a buttercream.  Frosting is so much better when it’s made from scratch.

THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT WORDS…

6 Jun

When dealing with matters of the heart there are two words that will be the key to maintaining a happy balance. These two words will pull you from the brink of tragedy when you you think your relationship is doomed. These two words have leveled the playing field in love AND war.

I’m sorry.

1) Learn these words. 2) Try not to have to use them often. 3) Don’t hesitate to use when necessary.

How Do You Know?

5 Jun

And I replied, “I’ve seen love. I’m not talking about the movies either. I’ve seen what love does. My entire life I’ve never seen a man in love walk away without trying. He chose to stay and work at it. That’s how I know.”