One of the biggest tasks I had to do after my divorce was to hire a roofing and siding contractor and I must say it was an awful experience and one that I am still feeling the effects from today. This came at a time when I was emotionally drained and bouncing back from a serious health scare, which leads me to my first advice: TAKE YOUR TIME.
It’s shocking to learn that even with all the feminist activity occurring around the world such as the #metoo or #womensreality movement, there still exists a lack of equality for women, but it is our job to educate ourselves. I made a lot of mistakes but I learned a lot of lessons, and if I can help one mother out there to not make the same mistakes, I will have done my job.
- Do your due diligence
Do your homework. Do not go with the first few companies that show up on your internet search. My renovation project was an insurance claim. You do not need a public adjustor to submit your claim. I reiterate YOU DO NOT NEED A PUBLIC ADJUSTOR TO SUBMIT YOUR CLAIM. I was told from my insurance company to find a contractor first before submitting a claim, so I looked for a contractor on a popular online home improvement website. I hired this guy and it was a big mistake. Online reviews are not always reliable. I highly recommend referrals from friends and family.
- Get multiple bids
The consensus is to get at least three bids. Choose from a range of small, midsize and large businesses. Make sure you get three references from each. Review past work. A company not willing to provide references is a red flag! Move on to the next.
- Ask questions (A Lot)
Is this contractor insured and is the coverage appropriate? Ask for copies of the policies and keep them on file.
Is the company a member of any trade or local home builder associations? Does the contractor hold the proper professional license? How long has the company been in business? Does the contractor have a bricks-and-mortar business? If any dispute should rise, how can you be sure they will be around or in business tomorrow?
- Make sure everything is in writing This should be a no-brainer, but you would be surprised to find out how many people still do business with a handshake. Start with a contract. The contract should include when the project will start with an approximate end date, who will get and pay for building permits, who will cover cost of material. Keep in mind that contracts are often written by lawyers and are designed to protect the person/company named in the contract, so make sure you read all the fine print and understand what you are signing.
- Work with your contractor
Be flexible and work with your contractor. Most honest contractors want satisfied happy customers. This will lead to possible referrals and online reviews. During a project, especially if it’s complex, unexpected problems sometimes can arise. Work together to find ways to solve the problem.
After about four months of red tape, I found a contractor who completed the work and I must say I am happy!
How was your experience during your latest renovation project? Please, comment below.
Health and happiness. . .
I had the pleasure of attending this uber cute party called “Favorite Things Party.” Hint, hint, Oprah’s Favorite Things. Well, because I love a surprise, I had to attend!
The idea is to invite different friends, ask them to bring three of their favorite items or in the alternative, bring three items of something that they really like that cost $7 or less, bag or wrap it up pretty, and then everyone when they leave, will have received THREE new finds. Doesn’t this sound like fun? You meet new friends, find out about new items and you do not have to spend a ton of money.
When I ventured out to find my three finds, I must say it was harder than I originally thought. I mean, let’s face it, everything cost at least $10 nowadays. Should I bring my real favorite things like Haribo gummy bears or Wet n Wild lip gloss #553, or how about Lindor chocolates? Then one Saturday, I ran across a fragrance that I totally forgot about but that I truly love and wear.
It’s a body mist spray that I wear when I’m running errands or when I just prefer something light. It can be found at all your off-price retailers like Ross Dress for Less, T.J. Maxx and Marshalls for under $7, and it smells a lot like the actual Vince Camuto perfume. I was so excited!
Some other ideas are candles, hand lotion, a cute thermos, you can go on and on.
How the game works:
- Everyone writes their name down three times on a sheet of paper.
- Tear the names into three pieces.
- All guests put their three names into a hat.
- Mix up the names.
- Then have everyone pick three names out of the hat. (Throw the name back in if you pick yourself)
- One by one, each person pass out the gifts that they brought to the party to the three people they picked out of the hat.
Here is the picture of my three gifts that I received. Yes, wine!
Have you been to a favorite things party before? I’d love to hear the details! Please, comment.
Heath and happiness. . .
I always encourage my mommies to treat themselves regularly. Practice self-care, whatever your self-care consists of. It may be that you enjoy a mani pedi or getting massages, but it should be whatever rejuvenates you and gets your energy back to where it needs to be so that you can serve your children from an overflow. Myself, I love wine! Trying different wines from different regions of the world for some reason fascinates me. Makes me feel like a housewife from Bravo. (lol)
Some say the grand essentials to happiness is “someone to love, something to do and something to look forward to.” Although, I think there’s more to happiness — like being conscious of your spiritual needs — this quote just may be on to something. My sisters and I purchased tickets two months in advance of this event, so we were really excited and looking forward to it.
We had the pleasure of attending Chicago Wine Fest this past weekend at Moe’s Cantina and Old Crow Smokehouse Club located in the vibrant and trendsetting neighborhood of River North. This event offered wine sampling of 35 different wines from all over the world, along with a cheese plate pairing. Upon entry, you received a glass of mimosa, vouchers for freebies from Via, $10 in FREE food at your favorite restaurants like Freshii, Protein Bar and Rockit, and for my dog lovers, 5 free dog-walks from Rover.
The venue space was inviting and spacious.
Old Crow Smokehouse
My sissies and I!
A new wine I tried from the Coastal Region, South Africa, MAN Pinotage. Interesting.
Although I would add some suggestions to improve the fest, like having more information on the wine samples and being able to purchase from vendors, all in all it was a nice experience and not a bad opportunity to escape with my best girls on a rainy Saturday. I will probably attend again.
Health and happiness. . .
I love supporting local small businesses, and I’m always searching for that perfect Black-owned business where I can show my support. As a minority mompreneur myself, I know it’s important to pay it forward.
One of my favorite things to do is eat, and I am proud to say I am a foodie for life. That is why I am always in the gym! But I really enjoy trying different cuisines. I was told about this hidden gem on the South Side of Chicago, Love on the Blu. I guess technically, it is the suburb of Blue Island, and it just so happens I was born in this small suburb, so it is near and dear to my heart and my stomping grounds from when I was a kid. I recommend visiting this new establishment, if not for the food, DEFINITELY for the mimosas.
They specialize in serving specialty brunch. It’s a small quaint location perfect for small meetings and private parties. Their mouth-watering menu includes everything from jerk chicken alfredo omelet (like wow) to a traditional breakfast platter, but I chose to be adventurous. I had the lamb chops with eggs, spinach and cheesy hash brown. It was everything! I also tried the shrimp and grits. And don’t forget to order the Island Punch Mimosa. Enjoy!
If you are ever in the area or want to venture out, you won’t be disappointed.
Health and happiness. . .
Well, it’s spring break time! It seems everyone around me has already had their break, but this year’s spring break is late for my daughters. This is a time where I must be creative. As a single mother, one of the biggest challenges is having enough disposable income. There are just not enough coins to go around for vacation, music lessons, swim lessons, summer camp or just enough money for leisure time.
I sought out the best things to do around town for spring break 2019 that won’t break the bank. Here’s my list:
- TAKE A TRAIN RIDE TO MAGGIE DALEY PARK
This is one of my family’s favorite places to visit especially in the summer. They have stuff for all ages: Wall climbing, roller blades or scooter, and mini golf. And then when they are all wiped out, head on over to get some food at Rink Café. Who doesn’t like a Chicago style hotdog?
- CATCH A FLICK
Tickets for a movie would normally cost my family of three $36.50 and that’s before you even purchase snacks. On Tuesdays at Marcus Theaters, movies are $5. That’s a whopping $21.00 savings! And that includes newly released movies. AMC Theatre also offers $5 Tuesdays for members.
- TAKE YOUR KIDS OUT TO EAT FOR FREE
How come no one told me about this? There are places throughout the Chicagoland area where your kids can eat for free. Click here.
- HEAD TO THE ZOO
Hanging out at the zoo is always cool and it’s educational. Lincoln Park Zoo always has free admission. They have a schedule of fun programs that you can check out and then plan a head. In the suburbs, Brookfield Zoo is a great option. Groupon now has a deal but limited time remaining!
- GO MUSEUM HOPPING
Head to the Chicago Botanical Museum or Legoland Discovery Center. Visit your local library and snag a museum adventure pass to receive admission or a special discount at participating Chicago area destinations.
- VISIT A TOY STORE
I asked my little one what were some things she wanted to do on break and she simply said go to the toy store. You could go to a toy store that you would not normally go to and explore Chicago!
- GO ON A TOUR
If you are a person who enjoys history (like me) take advantage of Chicago free tour options from Chicago Walking Tours and learn something new about our great city.