Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Retirement is a long way away...

The first genre of blogs that I became obsessed with were blogs about Personal Finance. I was so interested to see how people save and spend their money. Since I am part of a generation that will most likely not receive a dime of Social Security, I am very conscious of the importance of "starting early" and saving for retirement.

I decided that I should set a few financial goals for myself for 2009. Here are some of my goals:
-Save 6 months worth of an emergency fund. *This meaning that if I lost my job, I would have 6 months of expenses saved up, separate from my savings. Currently, I have about 3 months saved.
-Start at $500 gift fund. I have several weddings to attend this year and will most likely need a cushion to buy all their gifts. In case you didn't know, bridal registries can be outrageous!
-Take the GMAT. Now I know this is not an actual monetary item. However, going to Grad School is proven to increase your worth to employers, thus increasing your salary and net worth. And since the company that I currently work for offers tuition reimbursement, I think it would be worth it to think about Grad School at some point.
-Reduce the amount of money spent on groceries and eating out. Lately my grocery bills have been outrageous. I think it is because I have a problem of going to the grocery store hungry and then I leave the store with a cart full of ice cream sandwiches and Doritos. That's a story for a different day.

On a lighter note, I stumbled across this article for anyone that banks with Bank of America. If you were charged an overdraft fee between '00 and '07, you may be eligible to receive $78 from a recent settlement. Fortunately, I fall into this category. I attended college during a portion of that time frame. And just about every college student overdraws at some point in their college career because they all need to feed their need for pitchers of beer. Read the article here.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Whew! I have to say, for a short week, it has felt like it has dragged on forever! Since this week was a more newsworthy week I decided to title this post “Headlines” and comment on some of the news tidbits I enjoyed reading this week.

-Fortune Magazine released its list of the “Top 100 Companies to Work For.” Nine of the companies on the list are Georgia based companies. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “working here is just peachy” (like the pun). I guess maybe there is hope that the South will rise again? Ha.

-I cannot do a headlines post without commenting on the inauguration. I give the Obama girls the “best dressed” award because they were wearing Crew Cuts, and I am a BIG J.Crew aficionado. All in all, I have to say that I was impressed with the inauguration. Though politically, my views do not completely align with President Obama, I support him as our nation’s leader and am hopeful for the future. There I said it. We can keep track of our President’s work on the “First 100 Days” site on

-The Oscar Nominations were announced yesterday. I realized that I need to get my butt in line and see some of these movies that everyone has been talking about. The 2 movies at the top of my list are The Reader and Revolutionary Road. I love Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet. Slumdog Millionaire looks funny as well. Maybe I just need to spend a day alone at the movies. I have never been to the movies alone before. It would be a big step.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I heart money

You can call me shallow but I do, I heart money. This time of year tends to be the time when you are paying off credit cards with Christmas presents (hopefully you have one with rewards – and you pay it off every month) – bills still stink. Yesterday I was lucky enough to get a reminder of how much money I have earned – will kind of. I would for a public company and in addition to our 401k, we also have the opportunity to buy company stock. Up to 2% of your salary will be met by the company. So naturally I buy 2% and instantly get 100% return on my money – pretty sweet right. I mean who is going to miss 2% - not me. So yesterday in the misted of all the bills and thank you notes, I received a statement reminding me of how quickly that money adds up. Granted – just like everyone else – our stock is down so this year I lost about $600 but there is still more there then I put in and next year I just expect it to grow.

But I many be able to be talked into splurging on a trip. I mean those are good for your mental well being.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Time to be a grown up

I recently received a promotion – well kind of – it is more a new title and responsibilities without more money. I have been looking at it as a resume building opportunity. So now that I have taken over responsibilities I have learned that my old lead pretty much sucked. She wanted to be in charge to say later down the line that she helped out – or that thinks would have fallen apart with out her – but it reality she was only doing what mattered in the moment and all the other things she would brush under the rug until the last second. Well now I am head cleaning up her mess… LUCKY ME!

Lessons learned

1) Ask for help if you need it – better to do it right the first time (or even at all)

2) Leave things completed – or at least with a solid start.

Venting Over.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Warming up my ‘Home’

I think that feeling comfortable in your home is one of the events that must happen before you can call where you live your Home. From one workaholic to another it is very important to me to come home and have a place where I feel relaxed. I want a place where I can continue to work as needed but having my own person time it very important for my emotional well being. Whether it is curing up on the couch to watch The City (I am so jealous I want to live there!!!) or enjoying a glass of wine while catching up with friends or rolling out the yoga mat to do some ‘yoga’ it is important to feel like it is your own. The best way that I know to accomplish this is to put art work up. Now reality check – I am 23 – money to spend on artwork it not a luxury that I have; therefore I find what I like that is simple and I make my own.
So I found this on another blog the other day (I can remember which) and I decided that I would try to make it.
Looks easy enough right… I will let you know how the project turns out. My living room is Brown/Blue/Green so I thought that the yellow would be a nice pop but I may try to make a few different colors and see which I like best.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Winter Blues

This morning I busted out the heaviest sweater I own, because it’s actually getting cooler here in Atlanta. January is always a down month for me. The holidays and college football season are both over, leaving me with nothing exciting to do/watch. In the midst of my January Blues, I decided to Google things that make me hopeful for Spring.....

Don’t Tulips just make you happy….most certainly not filler flowers like Carnations!

I desperately want to find a fabulous maxi dress for Spring/Summer….possibly this one from Nordstrom.

I will vacation in one of these someday...

My January Blues also result in what I call "Make-Believe Travel Planning." I frequently visit Farecast and plan imaginary trips to places I want to go. Recently, I planned virtual trips to San Antonio, Seattle, and Costa Rica. One of these days I will get to all my Make-Believe places of interest.
On the bright side, at least I'm not living in a place like Minnesota, where the wind chill is -25. I would most certainly go into Winter Depression if I lived there.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hello, my name is Southern Belle and I am an addict.

Part of my daily routine I stop at the gas station across the street from my office to get a great cup of coffee. Yes there is a Starbucks right next door – but I am being frugal. And spending $5 a day is a lot for coffee. But I do love coffee. I enjoy the ritual and the caffeine. Why don’t I just get a cup from my office you ask? The answer is simple – the coffee at work sucks. People don’t know how to make coffee. Two scoops of coffer per cup of water = my gag reflex is intact. I even asked our office manager to order the coffee that comes in packets so they don’t have to measure. That failed.

Being my frugal self I tried giving up my morning coffee. I mean even thought it is less the $2 those dollars add up quickly. So I made my cup at my apartment before I left for the office but I am too rushed to enjoy it. After three days, I started getting awful headaches which cannot be relieved by any amount of medicine. Does anyone else get blinding headaches when they don’t have enough caffeine? So I am trying to do something health for my body as well and I have been really good giving up my daily diet coke – coffee is my vice. I am trapped into drinking it every day because otherwise I am not worth diddily at work. I want to go back to bed and sleep off this headache.

Friday, January 9, 2009

It's Wedding Season

As I am sure that most of you know, the months of April through August are commonly known as "Wedding Season" here in The South. Mostly because no one in their right mind wants to get married during the fall, otherwise known as college football season. The thought of getting married on a Saturday in the fall while your team could be playing their biggest opponent is just unfathomable. Unfortunately, since I am 24, I have several friends that are starting to get married. Bitches. Just kidding. I really am happy for them. It is just not the kind of thing that I want for myself.

I am in a wedding of a childhood friend in May, and this week I got the most inappropriate/tacky email I have ever received. This week, the future sister-in-law of the bride (whom I will call X) sends an email to the ENTIRE bridal party to enlighten them on a brilliant idea. This brilliant idea is to do a Biggest-Loser Wedding Edition. Yes, that's right, I said it.

Now I am sure that some of you working girls out there are familiar with the biggest loser office edition. It is becoming quite popular in the corporate world. In a short description, it basically is a pool and whomever loses the most weight gets the pot of cash. The rules are that you must weigh in with a witness and weigh in every week.

In an office setting, I feel that the biggest loser is a little more acceptable because you are not competing with people that are your best friends. In a wedding setting, I feel that it is completely inappropriate.

Weddings can be a little caddy because most of the time the bridesmaids know each other. There are always some bridesmaids that want to go out of their way and there are some that just want to show up in the heinous dress that is picked out for them and call it a day. In this situation, I looked like the bridesmaid that wanted to show up in the heinous dress because I chose not to participate in the biggest loser. I don't like the idea of everyone competing to get skinny for someone else's cause. I should be getting skinny so I can fit into that fabulous pair of jeans that you hope to wear again, not for a wedding.

I also feel like it Bride X's way of trying to get her bridesmaids to get skinny before her wedding. Tacky, tacky. I kinda picture this little contest to be like the episode of The Office when they participated in the biggest loser. Bride X is definitely going to be Kelly Kapoor because lets face it, she can't imagine anyone looking skinnier than her on her wedding day.

I am going to continue my workouts because lets face it, bathing suit season is coming up and I really do not want to sport the one piece with a skirt. But, if I had a trainer and could lose weight like Jessica Alba, then I would be eating Krispy Kreme doughnuts up until the hour before her wedding, ...just to prove the point that you choose your bridesmaids on the person they are on the inside, not what they look like on the outside.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thou shall not burn bridges.

Thank goodness I was raised in the south* where we tend to have an obsession with thank you notes to the point where it is essential to our pure breed make up. Even though I may be very late sending the sentiment it is still sent – which is the most important part. Right?

So tell me – in the business world is it normal to give a gift to your coworkers when they leave? Well I have been. I don’t know if it is ‘normal’ or acceptable but I did. As I mentioned before – I am a consultant – and I have learned a lot in the past year and a half. The one of the most important bits it to not get attached to anyone because people are going to change projects and I will be left to deal with it. One of the main attractions to this job from college was that I would be moving and traveling and figuring out where I fit best. With that being said, I didn't take into consideration that the people I would be working with would also be traveling and moving. My parents aren't in the ‘business world’ my mom is a mom and dad is a doctor, therefore, they have very little insight into what is customary business behavior (if there even really is such a thing).

Why am I somewhat compulsive about gift giving and thank you note writing? I want to build a good work relationship with the people who can write me recommendations and who I could possibly work with later. I also don’t was to come across as unprofessional or naive. But for now I am going to keep on going – writing some bull on a note to those that have more experience and connections then I do.

And then there is this one team lead, she to is a GRITS and while I took over her responsibilities when she left (post on that to come- let me tell you there will be some bitching) she can make people think she is the best at what she does – without actually do anything. It has been almost a month and I finally got around to mailing her gift – just a small piece of pottery from a southern artist that I have been collecting for a while. You have a year after a wedding to send the gift – how long do you have to a thank-you-for-all-you-contributed-to-the-project gift? I took a month.

*For those of you who don’t know…GRITS = Girls Raised In The South

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Belle of the Blog

Hey Y’all!

I will begin my first ever blog post by introducing myself. I am Belle2. I am a twenty-something gal from Atlanta that enjoys southern cooking, having a nice glass of wine (or six), socializing with friends, and being outdoors…all while trying to figure out what my next and hopefully fulfilling career move will be.

My work life is one that MOST people would love to have. Please notice how I emphasize “most.” I work from home a couple of days a week for a major beverage company in the supply chain industry. I am still in my first job out of college because like Belle1, I wouldn’t settle on graduating without some sort of post-collegiate plan. Whereas in this economy I should be thanking my stars that I actually HAVE a job, I can’t help but feel a little discontent. I think it is just typical of people my age or at least I’m telling myself that. J

Belle1 and I started this blog as part of our year of change. I just had a birthday in December and decided that 2009 was going to be the year of ME. It is time for me to take on the typical role of a millennial and be a little selfish this year. My New Year’s resolution is to discover new things in both my city of residence and in my life. (AKA trying to get my life together. JK. Sorta.) I am being a bit vague when I say city of residence because along with figuring out my life, I really want to move to NYC. Most probably think I am crazy for wanting to move to that concrete island in the North, but I want to move there basically so I can say I have experienced it. Other than studying abroad in college, I have never really lived anywhere outside of the south. I think it would teach me a few things, like how to drink unsweet tea. I am going to spend this next year trying to figure it all out and invite comments and suggestions (hopefully constructive).

Can I also mention that I never in a million years thought that I would start a blog?! I discovered blogging while I was bored at work and have been hooked ever since.

WOW... we are starting a Blog

Hi…. I am southern belle one.

Ok, introductions aside and on to the ‘get-to-know-you’ portion. I am a twenty something, Dave Ramsey following, self proclaimed do it your-selfer, make-up loving, slightly design-obsessed southerner that is trying to loss the ‘consulting 20’ (and avoid the next 20) while keeping my sanity by taking life one step at a time. I can honestly say that I truly under-estimated how much I was going to miss my care free college days. Working allows me to be independent to a fault – which I love. While Mom and Dad will always be there for me if I fall flat on my face, I have leaned enough on them in the past 20 some odd years. This brings us to the job – the treasure that allows me self -sufficiency.

The job. I was determined to have a job lined up by the time I graduated. The last thing that I wanted to do was graduate college and move home. While I love my parents very much, for my own sanity I could never move home. Believe me it is oh so tempting when you add up all the money that I could have saved, but no reason to dwell on the past. I digress. While interviewing, I really had no idea what I wanted to do. So I went to the career fair and walked up to as many of the tables and landed as many interviews that I could fit into my schedule and prayed. I was offered the perfect job for someone who doesn’t really know what they want to do. Consultants. I don’t even know what to say about us. Sometimes you can move from project to project in a matter of months and other times you settle into a project for a longer period of time. I have been working for the same project since I started. It has been nice to adjust to the working world in one place but I am getting restless. Since June I have been waiting on the edge of my seat to be told where I am going next. I am dying to move to NYC. After a recent breakup after 4 years I realized that today is the day. If I don’t get the ball rolling now to pursue my dream of living in The City then it will never come true. I have told HR that this is the only place that I would relocate. So now I wait and wait until I am about to leave the current project.

Now let’s move on to what is more interesting. Why a blog? Do I really have time for this? Shouldn’t I just talk to my friends and families about my issues? Well let’s face it – sometimes it is just easier to tell a stranger about your problems. Plus you can solicit advice and receive and honest unbiased opinions. This is also a great place to come and not be judged.

Chat Soon,

Belle One