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Apartment shopping in the jungle pt 3

April 21, 2010

I’m still searching for the perfect DC bachelorette pad. Last week’s hunt was much better than the first week. We actually saw some really nice places in NE and SE, but still haven’t found that perfect place. I learned 2 lessons last week:

Don’t pre-judge a place based on the neighborhood. My friend and I went to see a very cute 2 bedroom condo in NE off of Benning Road stop on the blue line and my friend hated the neighborhood. She already had negative thoughts in her head about the place before we even saw it, but she quickly changed her mind when she saw that master bathroom with a jacuzzi tub. You should definitely feel safe in your neighborhood and like it, but keep an open mind and think logically. Don’t scare yourself and make a big deal out of a small situation.

In my first post about apartment hunting, I mentioned that it’s good to talk to colleagues and friends about your apartment shopping experience because they can offer good advice. One of my colleagues just moved into a place and needs new furniture. He told me about a website called Free Cycle, where people offer things they don’t want for free. There are certain things I would not take for free like a mattress (yikes!), but I’m game for a coffee table or a bookshelf. You can check out the DC Free Cycle group here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/freecycledc/

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Exploring other people’s jungles: Los Angeles (pt 2)

April 16, 2010

I have another observation about LA I want to write about. I noticed that lots of women in the Beverly Hills area were dressed to impress even during the daytime. They had a full face of make up, their hair was done, and they had on their skinny jeans and heels. I’m more than accustomed to seeing African-American women with hair, make up and nails done; but it was a bit strange for me to see white women like this.

I know DC is not know for it’s fashion at all, but I was surprised that women in certain areas of LA were really dressed to the nines at 2PM on a Saturday. But they looked like something out of and episode of “The Hills.” You can usually dress down on Saturdays, especially when you’re running errands, but I guess that doesn’t happen in LA.

This isn’t an observation of how superficial and obsessed with physical beauty people in America have become. It’s an observation of how industries determine how a city dresses. LA is dominated by the entertainment industry and everyone knows American society loves to look at beautiful people. I think women there are just trying to fit in with the glamorous life. DC is dominated by the Federal Government and we all know politicians like to take themselves to seriously to be worried about something as silly as being fashionable. So many women in DC are trying to get ahead in the political game, they don’t probably want to stand out. Well I think I want to bring a little bit of LA glamor to my DC days and pull out the heels in the daytime too. If only they didn’t hurt my feet so bad!

Photo via Essence.com Street Style

The “It” bloggers of DC

April 14, 2010

I like doing different things because I easily get bored with the same routine. So of course I get tired of the club/bar/happy hour/fundraiser scene in DC from time to time and I want to do something out of the DC ordinary. There are so many “it” bloggers in DC that write about “insider” information about events, fashion, and fun in DC. So if everyone from K Street Kate, Pamela’s Punch, District Insider, and The Glamazon Diaries are all writing about exclusive DC happenings, why are they all writing about the same things?

It should not be difficult for me to find about a local art show or when my favorite underground artist having a concert or the best place to get a cheap but delicious meal. Fortunately, MetroMix and  DCist do a pretty good job of writing about events DC’s “it” bloggers seem to forget about. But still, it would be nice to find one DC “it” blogger that didn’t write about all the hottest DC happenings and just wrote about great things to do in the city.

Apartment shopping in the jungle pt. 2

April 12, 2010

I will find my townhouse with a porch, just like the one pictured above.

I’m still apartment/townhouse shopping in the DC jungle. So far, my friend and I have seen 1 place that was an absolute disaster, another that was just OK, one that was just plain odd, and another that was so dirty I had to shower when I got home just to get the dirty feeling out of my mind. Oh and I encountered two different scams last week alone. I’m still pretty positive we’ll find a great place despite the places we saw and the scam artists because I know finding the perfect place takes time. And also because I interned for a summer in New York and if you can survive apartment hunting in NYC, you can survive anywhere. Here are my takeaways from the first week of bachelorette pad hunting:

  • Immediately forget about a place if the person returns your message and says they’re out of the country and they’ll mail you the keys. It’s most likely a scam and never deal with a landlord that’s not close to you anyways.  Plus it’s totally sketchy!
  • Organizing places in a Google Document is very helpful. I’ve been able to keep track of places we don’t like, numbers, and links from Craigslist listings.
  • Take pictures!
  • Don’t compromise or get discouraged. Your dream place is out there, you just have to be determined to find it.

That’s what I have from last week; we’ll see how this week goes.

Investing in the jungle

April 6, 2010

Suze Orman's book "Young, Broke, and Fabulous"

What is a concrete junglette to do when she needs to invest? I’ve come to learn that I should definitely listen to advice from wise people older than me because they have experience and they can speak from those experiences. So when they say that I should start investing in my retirement fund now, then I’m going to start investing now. I work for a nonprofit and I really need to enroll in my organization’s TIAA CF investment fund. It’s like a 401K for, but for nonprofits. I had tons of questions about investing, what I should do, and how much I should invest. My friend suggested that I read Suze Orman’s Young, Broke, and Fabulous; a book about how to survive financially after graduation. I also highly recommend this book because it easily explains everything financial you need to know about buying a car, buying a home, paying off student loans, to investing and saving.

After reading the investment chapter, I had a much better understanding of where to get started. The first thing I need to do is calculate my monthly expenses and decide how I want deducted from each paycheck. Then, look through the retirement fund packet and decide what option is best for me. As much as Suze Orman’s words of wisdom helped me, I can also call the TIAA representatives and they’ll help me if I get stuck. I also encourage all of you junglettes out they to start saving for retirement so you can live a fantastical life when you’re ready to leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. And just think about, you probably won’t miss the money because it will be taken out of your paycheck before you even see it.

Apartment shopping in the jungle

March 31, 2010

My DREAM home in Capitol Hill...oh man what a beauty.

It’s time for me to move into the concrete jungle for real! My friend and I are starting the concrete jungle house search. We’ve decided we want to live in SE or NE and what kind of place we want. And so now the hard part begins; we have to search for the dream bachelorette pad. I’ve realized there are 2 methods I should combine if I want o find the best place; word of mouth and Craigslist/Listservs.

You have to ask people great places to live, especially when you live in a rapidly changing city like Washington DC. It’s good to ask people who already live in the city about the area they live, how they like it, and if they have any friends that live in great places. They’ll also let you know if they’ve heard of any places for rent or the method that they used to find their place. I really like this method because I get a real honest opinion of DC neighborhoods.

As great as talking to people might be, you still have to use Craigslist, so you have a large pool of options to choose from. I’ve had nothing but fantastic luck with Craigslist, so I’ not afraid to use it. I know some people refer to Craigslist as “sketchy”, but I like it. Because I have used Craigslist before, I know that emailing dozens of people can get very confusing and overwhelming. So, I’m going to use a the excel style Google document to keep track of every place, price, location, and contact email.

I’m ready to take on this challenge! I’ll keep you updated in my progress.

Exploring other people’s jungles: Los Angeles

March 30, 2010

I went to LA a to visit a friends a few weekends ago and observed the LA junglette in her concrete. I only saw black people when we went to the T.G.I Fridays in Inglewood (figures). Surprisingly to me, I was definitely the only black female in the entire bar that had natural unrelaxed hair. And I was able to count the number of females in there with real hair on one hand. I have never seen so many different weaves in one place in my entire life! I have nothing against weaves; in fact, I used to wear weaves when I was growing my hair out. But I’m so used to the DC culture and seeing women with natural hair, relaxed hair, and weaves. We have a great mixture of great hairstyles in the district and I guess I thought that was the norm across the country.

I didn’t muster up enough confidence to ask one of women why so many of them there wore weaves. California has beautiful weather and doesn’t have the humidity that plagues us on the East Coast. So why were there so many women with weaves? It was just that area of LA either, when we went out that night, I saw more weaves and also when we went to the famous Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. Point is, I want to know if the way black women wear their hair is a reflection of where they live. Would I wear weaves all the time if I lived in LA? I guess I’ll never know unless I move there.

Next week’s LA observation: The Hills jungle; so many women dressed like they were on a night out, but it was daytime.