Sugar Rush

By games, hokies, memories, roommates No Comments


When the Hokies played the Sugar Bowl in 2000, I was there. =)

Sugar Bowl fun

When they played the Sugar Bowl again in 2005, Allison and I hosted a sweet party at 304. =)

This year, I’ll be watching the Sugar Bowl in my new favorite Ralph Lauren flannel pajamas, cuddled up on the couch with J, the puppy, and a delicious lasagna I’m about to take out of the oven.

Go Hokies!


By mortgage, roommates 2 Comments

I found a new roommate. He seems really nice. What happened to the days when finding a new roommate brought nothing but the excitement and anticipation of making a new friend? This time it just feels like at least I can take a six-month break from calling my mortgage company.

I do hope he likes it here though. Like I said, he seems really nice. I’m lucky to have found someone so quickly.

Here’s to new friends.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: nostalgic
And I’m singin’ along to: The World Spins Madly On – The Weepies

A Decade Under the Influence: Ten Years of Trickin’ & Treatin’ in my 20s

By don't waste the pretty, fashion statements, holiday fun, memories, partying like a rock star, roommates, ruling at life 4 Comments

Over the years, I’ve really come to enjoy celebrating Halloween. Many people my age have kids, so their Halloweens revolve around cutesy costumes and candy, which is awesome. Unfortunately, I can’t convince my cats to dress up as hula girls, so I’ve had to make due. At times, I feel as though I’m a little too old to be parading around in Halloween costumes, but then I remember that Halloween is a holiday, and I like holidays. And also, I’m fun. And fun people dress up for Halloween, right?

So now, as a tribute to…well, I guess myself — oh, and all the crazy roommates I’ve had over the years — I present to you a 10-year time line of Halloween adventures.

2001: The Beginning of an Era – Josie & The Pussycats
Halloween 2001

Ah, 2001. I was 20, living in the Chi O house with 31 of my sorority sisters. I can’t remember how Andrea, Jess and I decided on Josie & The Pussycats as our Halloween costumes, but I’m pretty sure it involved me suggesting it 97 million times until my suite-mates gave in and agreed that it was the most spectacular idea ever.

I can’t say much for the creativity of these costumes. We found some coordinating shiny shirts, wore similar color jeans, black boots, ears and fake tails (that we made out of a cut-up pair of old sweatpants and safety pins). Oh, but those were official Josie & The Pussycats ears…from when the movie came out. We went to a party at the German Club Manor and then some other party the next night.

I had this crazy plan to create a collage out of these photos and frame them in CD jewel cases for Jess and Andrea as Christmas gifts, but I never got around to it.I still have the ears though, and 2001 was definitely up there on the list of cool Halloweens.

2002-2003: The Devil Years
Halloween 2002-2003

I don’t really know what to say about these pictures. As if I didn’t learn well enough that devil was just not a good look for me in 2002, I made another attempt in 2003, and again failed miserably. Maybe it was because I didn’t have the confidence to don an entire costume or something. 2002’s red Abercrombie t-shirt, black skirt and knee-high boots were pretty awful. In 2003, my first costume didn’t work out, so I re-did devil a little better with this cheap, sparkly shirt and red glittery belt, but…seriously? No.

Let me tell you the story of the long lost pineapple costume of 2003, though. I was visiting Blacksburg with my mom, and I had this wild idea that I wanted to be a pineapple for Halloween. Yes, a pineapple. I bought green sweatpants, a huge yellow t-shirt, some fake foliage, a lampshade and a piece of ribbon. I drew brown details on the shirt, and then I colored the lampshade yellow and brown and cut two slits through either side of it. I stuck some leaves in the top and tied it to my head. Then I completely chickened out for two reasons: first, I was visiting school after college and I wanted to look hot — not go out partying in sweatpants; and second, the leaves on top of my head were tall and top-heavy, so I figured after a few beers I’d be falling over and crashing into door frames. Hence, devil. Oh well.

2004: Pleats, Plaid & Pink
Halloween 2004

In 2004, I was 23. I had just moved into my first apartment in Virginia Beach, gotten my first job, died my hair red and I was skinny. I wasn’t planning to dress up for Halloween until The Big A decided to come visit, so when I left work that afternoon, I headed straight to the mall to find a costume. I ended up squeezing myself into this skirt I found on clearance in the girls’ department at Dillard’s. That skirt was not a girls’ 16. Nor was it a girls’ 14. That skirt was a size 12. Score. Oh, and it was actually kind of like a skort — it had shorts built into it, which was a major selling point for me because even though I’m prone to occasionally wear something inappropriate, I’m never trashy. (Does something need a major selling point if it’s on clearance for $7.99?)

Add knee-highs, Mary-Janes, collared shirt and a sweater, and I was good to go. Andrea went as a biker chick, and we had a fun night on Granby Street.

2005: New Hotness – Lisa & Allison Take Over the World
Halloween 2005

Okay, 2005. Now we’re talking. Allison turned 21 on October 30th of 2005, so we obviously celebrated Halloween two nights in a row (which pretty much became the norm from here on out).  This was the year we discovered scandalous Halloween costumes and MySpace groups — I was a referee and Allison was a sheriff. When our costumes arrived, we modeled them in the living room for photos. (This was also right around the time that Allison convinced me to dye my hair dark brown if you couldn’t tell.)

We thought we were so cool, so we started a MySpace group called “Allison & Lisa Take Over the World” and encouraged everyone who joined to post a profile pic in their Halloween costumes in order to win our giveaway. (I’m not sure what we were giving away or if we ever actually sent a prize to anyone, but it was a pretty innovative concept for gaining popularity at the time.) Our group grew to over 300 members! (Actually, I can’t verify that. That might be my imagination running away with me. I know it was more than 85 though.)

We spent Allison’s birthday night at a big Halloween party. The following night, we decided to go out again. Allison’s friend Candice was in town, so she wore the referee costume on Halloween. I wore my schoolgirl outfit again — remixed this time. Halloween of 2005 was officially the one and only night I ever went out in public with my stomach showing (not counting the beach). It was a fun night, but ended a little crazily with a bunch of drama, people making out, and Mark ending up on the Cut Off Wall, but that’s another story altogether.

2006: So Much for the Sailor
In 2006, I dressed up as a sailor, and I didn’t take enough photos. Unfortunately there are no photos of me in my sailor costume that don’t involve either my ex-boyfriend trying to remove blue latex and cotton balls from his face because he thought he should paint himself as Papa Smurf or my friends in various unflattering poses and angles that I just don’t want to post because I’d kill someone if the posted a picture like that of me. So, we’ll leave it at that. I was a sailor in 2006. It was okay.

2007-2008: A Lisa in Wonderland
Halloween 2007-2008

Um, hello BEST HALLOWEEN EVER. 2007 was awesome. I grabbed this Alice in Wonderland costume from Hot Topic, and it was sooooo cute. Heather dressed up as a mermaid, and we went to Town Center. It was a pretty awesome time. Memories of the night include the dick-in-a-box dudes, “The Big Green Monster,” and…you know, I really wish I could remember more of that night. Oops.

The following night, I headed to Granby Street with Tara, Michelle, and a bunch of other friends for a costume contest at Baxter’s, and that was fun, too. I had a blast in this costume.

I wore it again in 2008, but that year was kind of lame. Heather and I spent two hours getting ready, and then we just sat in a booth at 501 all night. Yeah. Lame.

2009: The Pirate & The Peacock
Halloween 2009

Okay! Last year I started planning my costume early. I knew for a fact that I wanted to be a peacock and that I wanted to make my costume. As you can see, I ended up going out twice again — Friday night for Alli’s birthday and Saturday for Halloween.  I borrowed Tara’s pirate costume to hit up Granby Theater on Friday night, and I had fun with my makeup, using eyeshadow to create some dirty-looking cheeks. But, on to the peacock.

I found this electric blue dress at Plato’s Closet and used a little Stitch Witchery (that’s a product — I didn’t make it up) to shorten it. Then I found a matching piece of fabric and some brown and turquoise chiffon at the fabric store. I ordered a crapload of peacock feathers off the Internet, and invested in a glue gun. I cut jagged edges into the three pieces of fabric and pinned them to an old elastic belt. Then, using hot glue, I bustled up the top piece of fabric and stuck peacock feathers into the folds and underneath the bottom. I topped this costume off with peacock earrings, feather necklaces and a tiny hat complete with a few feathers glued on. Oh, and lots of sparkly eye makeup.

J decided he wanted to dress up kind of at the last minute, so he actually went as Colonel Mustard and I went as Mrs. Peacock. Heather was a cave girl, and I’m pretty sure it took her three weeks to comb all of those bones and sticks out of her hair. Another successful Halloween.

2010: Last Halloween of my 20s
Halloween has become a really fun holiday for me over the last 10 years. I never thought I’d still be dressing up in silly costumes six months shy of 30, but here we are. J and I have a cute idea planned for this year, but you’ll have to check back for photos because it’s a surprise.

I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween!

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: festive
And I’m singin’ along to: A Decade Under the Influence – Taking Back Sunday

My Attempt at a Short Refi

By condo, drama, financial wisdom, hazards to my well-being, home improvement, life-changing purchases, mortgage, really great money-making ideas, roommates 13 Comments

It’s nice to have this blog back up and running, especially on days like today when it’s cold, windy, rainy, and I’m in no state to be taking photos of myself twirling around in a pretty skirt. I like the fashion blogging, but some days I don’t have the motivation to dress up and take photos to post online. I had a free day off from work today (in return for working all those ridiculously long hours that last two weeks), and now that I’ve run all my errands, my main goal is to put the final touches on my short refinance package that I’ll be sending to the mortgage company.

I know I’ve written some ranting posts about the mortgage company recently, so I thought I’d share some interesting things I’ve learned over the past few years that I’ve been arguing with those idiots.

You’re probably already aware of the fact that I purchased my condo in 2006 with my friend/roommate at the time, and she’s since moved out, gotten married and started a family. We financed 100 percent of the value of our condo when we bought it, and since we had hardly any credit established between the two of us, we’re paying a ridiculous interest rate on our loan. (Ridiculous.) We’re obviously updside down in the property — just like everyone else on the planet — and we’ve been trying to figure out a way to get her name off the loan for almost two years now. She’s not interested in owning the condo anymore, but I live there, so I’m not really willing to sell it or give it up any time soon.

Of course, the bank won’t assist us in any way because we’re current on our payments, and unfortunately, since we’re upside down, there’s no refinancing unless we want to sink a bunch of money into the black hole we refer to as “negative equity.” The government loan modification programs won’t help us because modifying a loan doesn’t remove a borrower from the note — it only modifies the terms of the loan, like possibly the interest rate and the monthly payments. (And I’ve heard lots of sketchy stories about those modification programs anyway.)

After all my digging for options, I’ve only come up with four ways to get my co-borrower off of our loan:

1. Refinance, which would cost tons of money (see above).

2. Short sale, which would ding both our credit reports and most likely result in me being unable to buy another home in the next few years.

3. Foreclosure or deed in lieu, which, again, would ding our credit reports and definitely result in me being unable to buy another home for a few years.

4. Short payoff refinance, the best option yet. This process is similar to a short sale, but instead of the property being sold, it is simply refinanced with a new lender. Well, 97.5 percent of the current value of the property is refinanced with a new lender, and the remainder of the principal is forgiven by the previous lender.  In our case, it would be refinanced only into my name, removing her obligation from the old mortgage and leaving me as the sole owner of the condo. Doesn’t that sound perfect?

Before I learned about this program, I had been asking for years whether it was possible for me to short sell my condo to myself, and everyone kept telling me no. Why not? I’d wonder because it always seemed like a great idea to me — kind of like a price adjustment for my house.

A few months ago, a short sale officer with my current lender suggested a short payoff refinance to me. He explained how it works, and sent me on my way to find a new loan. It took a few calls to locate a bank familiar with the FHA Short Refinance Loan. Apparently the program is pretty rare — there aren’t really any incentives to encourage banks to let homeowners do this, and it’s a huge pain in the ass to convince them. Besides, you have to be current on your loan and have decent credit to qualify for the program. I’m sure a lot of people are already in too much trouble by the time they reach out for help to take advantage of something like this.

When I say it’s a pain in the ass, I’m not kidding. The program was first brought to my attention in June, and it took me almost three months to get another person on the phone at LBPS (the servicer of my current mortgage) who would even acknowledge that the program existed. “We don’t do those,” they’d say. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” “I’ve never heard of that.” Finally, two weeks ago, I demanded that someone list off the names of everyone I had ever spoken to at LBPS and the  dates I spoke with them. I caught a date and a name that sounded familiar and waited on hold to speak with that person for more than two hours. When he finally picked up, he remembered me.

I do remember advising you to try that, Ms. DeNoia,” he said. “We really don’t do those, but you’re right. Your situation is a unique one. If you’ll write a hardship letter and gather the required information, I’ll try to make a case for you.”

Many say the program is doomed, but I’ve got my paperwork done and ready to go. If they’re going to make and exception for someone, why not me? It’s at least worth a shot. There’s a chance this could save me a lot of money in the long run and decrease my mortgage payment by a pretty significant amount. It would be well worth the two years of bullshit I’ve had to deal with with these freaking mortgage companies (companies, plural, because my loan was sold in April).

I’m sending in my package for approval tomorrow, and in the meantime, I’ve been sending my mortgage payments via certified mail to make sure LBPS doesn’t try to screw me out of being eligible for the FHA loan by marking one of my payments late. I’ve got a lawyer, a lender, and a new loan all ready to go, and if LBPS approves it, it’s possible that I could close on the new loan before Christmas. Score!

If it doesn’t work, then maybe I’ll figure something else out. It doesn’t make much financial sense to pay as much as I’m paying to live in my condo right now because I could give it up and rent one for a lot less every month month, you know? I don’t know about you, but I’m not convinced that a squeaky clean credit report is worth thousands of dollars. I’d rather take the hit, move out, and save the money if I have to make that choice because I’m not sure my property would regain it’s value in the time it would take me to recover and purchase something new for less money.

Either way, for now I’m just keeping my fingers crossed because this could turn out to be a pretty sweet deal.

I normally wouldn’t share my financial information on the Internet like this, but I’m sure there are others out there struggling with housing issues. If all the time I spent trying to get this loan under control could assist others in some way, maybe I wouldn’t feel like it was wasted — even if my attempt at a short refi falls through. I’d love to hear your real estate stories if you’ve got any good ones. E-mail me if you’re not comfortable leaving a comment. I’d be happy to give you some advice on how to get your mortgage company to respond — for me that’s been the biggest challenge.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: persistant
And I’m singin’ along to: Walk Like A Man – Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons