Thursday, November 30, 2017

Facebook, Family, and the RX-7

You may disagree, but Facebook is fantastic. Over the past 10 years, I've reunited with classmates, planned trips with folks I attended elementary school with (true story!), learned to be a better photographer, and kept up with family. I'm easily aware of reunions, birthdays, weddings, divorces, births, and deaths because of Facebook.

Also, because of Facebook, I've met more than one family member. My dad's last name is Togans, and it's uncommon. So when I bump into a Togans on Facebook, I'm almost certain I'm looking at a cousin I've never met, although most of my dad's family is in Pennsylvania or West Virginia. First there was Chad Togans, who is the son of my dad's cousin, and he lived right here in the DMV! He's a manager at Ruth's Chris steakhouse on Connecticut Avenue in NW DC. I bumped into him randomly at The Park at Fourteenth after becoming FB friends and he was so much fun. We've even gone out partying a few times and now that's my homie.

Chad and I after a Jay Z concert, Verizon Center, January 2014

Then there was Jonathan Togans, another son of one of my dad's cousins, a young guy who was in the Navy and had lived in Japan for a time while in the service. Now he lived alllll the way on the west coast in Las Vegas. But guess what? I took a trip out to Vegas in October to celebrate my birthday and finally met Jon.

Jonathan and I on the Las Vegas Strip, October 2017. We met up at Sprinkles Cupcakes!

Jon's a Fleet Manager at a Helicopter Facility. Doesn't that sound cool? But his real passion is working on import cars, and I can tell by his FB posts. For a long time, I actually thought that's what he did for a living.

In fact, he's so good at it, that this month he and one of his cars were featured in Performance Auto & Sound Magazine (PASMAG). He has this sweet 1994 Mazda RX-7 that he modded over time. Check out the article here:

Jonathan's 1994 Mazda RX-7

Isn't this COOL?  I was so excited to see this article. It's always great to see your family doing awesome things, so I had to share.

Not only have I met new family members, but I'm proud of them! I now call Facebook the Great Facilitator. Meeting my cousins wouldn't have been possible without it.

Insana :)

Monday, April 10, 2017

Money 101 | The Pilot

Sunday, April 9, 2017 | Bowie, MD

This Sunday, my brother Ashté and I hosted a Money 101 class, intended to teach teenagers about money, banking, credit, taxes, budgeting, and investing. All of the things that should be taught in school but inexplicably aren't. We want them to know what we didn't at that age.

But let me stress: we are by no means financial advisors or certified financial planners. We are just adults who, like most of us, learned about money the hard way.  We are striving for generational wealth and financial independence and this class is just the first step.

Parents brought their 17 and 19-year-olds to the pilot class and stayed the whole time.  We talked about different ways to acquire money, both good and bad, how most people start earning by trading time for wages and how there are better ways to earn. We talked about taxes, tax brackets and exemptions. We talked about spending, saving, donating and investing. We talked about building good credit.

It was awesome. The kids listened intently and were amazed at how much goes into budgeting. They asked questions about real estate, learned how to view finances on an annual basis and side-eyed credit card companies for wanting you to only pay the minimum balance. In addition, parents were given the opportunity to share what they wish they'd learned when they were teenagers as well. Everyone learned something new!

Money 101 was initially scheduled for 2 hours but ended up lasting 3 hours because of questions asked and the time it took to complete the budgeting exercise. The kids are already asking for Money 102. 

I'm so, so, so, so happy that we were able to do this and really can't wait to do it again.  People already seem to be interested in another so I'll keep you posted! In the meantime, what do you wish you knew about money when you were a teenager?


Lordy, Lordy, Angel's 40 | Montego Bay, Jamaica | Oct 2015

Celebrating Angel's 40th Birthday in Montego Bay, Jamaica - starring Angel, her cousin Melena, her sisters Felicia and Arianne, myself, and Shinavia.

We checked into the all-inclusive Royalton Sands Resort and seriously felt like royalty from the moment we arrived. Staff addressed us as "madame" and I could've sworn at least one female staff member curtsied to me.

First stop, lunch.

The next day, at the beach. Our rooms were only steps away from the pools, which were only a few more steps from the beach.

Here are our frozen drinks, melting fast. All-inclusive resorts are notoriously stingy on the alcohol, so we constantly asked for extra rum shots to add to our mixes.

I've been on a horse before, but never in my bikini. These guys strolled along the beach offering folks a ride.

We thought it would rain at any second, but it never did.

Looks like we're gonna have a hard time leaving this resort.

Today's a poolside day, for sure.

Chrissy's here!