Mademoiselle C

I just finished watching the documentary Mademoiselle C about Carine Roitfeld, the former Editor in Chief of Vogue Paris. The documentary shares her journey as she exited Vogue to launch her own magazine CR.

I enjoy watching and reading about other industries and sectors. It’s important because it helps me to think differently about challenges I’m facing. It’s also very inspiring to see the journey of other women business leaders. I always grab a nugget of inspiration.

Plus, Carine always looks so amazing! Her personal style is bar none. Here are some shots of some of her looks that I love:


She is really into accessories, so I always noticed her necklaces & bracelets. I also like her signature skirt & blouse look. 

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Don’t Hurt (or Blame) Yourself…

I’m a serial monogamist. I can count on one hand (or maybe a hand and a half😉 the number of serious relationships I’ve had. In between those relationships, when I was courting, I used to write letters to the guys I was interested in.

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Caption: Me at 17 years old.  I was very Afrocentric. I rocked cowrie shells and an Ankh necklace (similar to the one Bey is wearing in the gif below). 

These letters would basically describe what I liked about the guy, and how I hoped that we could spend more time together.

I remember sending the letters to:

  • At least one popular guy (like, he played on the basketball team, starting lineup)
  • At least two awkward guys (that no one else seemed to really notice)
  • A grown man (who I had no business flirting with)
  • A ladies man (who I just knew I could convince to settle down lol)

I planned whole weddings back then too. I knew what colors our wedding would be (often peach was my primary color of choice), I remember writing my first name with their last names. I was a bridezilla before the word even existed, and in my heart I just hoped that the unsuspecting groom would fall in line.

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Caption: The day I cut all of my hair off and started locking. It was a week after my 16th birthday. 

I never received a response back to any of the letters lol. Now back in those days, it was a huge hit to my self-esteem (and ego). I blamed myself, for these guys lack of interest in me.

Now that I’m older I can look back and realize that what was supposed to happen, actually happened. It’s hard to understand when you’re going through something, that what you’re going through is in divine order.

I thought about this because my husband & I were having a conversation, and he jokingly said “You stay with a man…” “Even when you were on the market, you never stayed on the market long. Guys snatch you up!” I laughed, but then reminded him about those letters and those times when I was interested in someone but couldn’t get a response back or couldn’t get their attention.

Plus I was a little different from my peers. I didn’t necessarily hang with the popular crowd, but I wasn’t a total social outcast either. I was kind of nerdy, and I had also moved to Minnesota from Missouri, and a lot of my peers knew each other and had pre-existing relationships and connections. I think I still had my Missouri accent (which is very distinct from the Minnesota accent). Sometimes, a “no” may not have anything to do with you and I later learned that some of the guys were intimidated by me…

As Beyonce would say, “I’m just too much for you…”

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I just want to encourage you that the no’s you are experiencing, romantically, professionally or otherwise are either getting you closer to your yes, or they are like bullet proof vests, protecting you from a path that’s not meant for you.

 

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Why The West Coast Is Winning in Hip Hop…

Currently listening to Schoolboy Q’s LP, Blank Face. I really like it! The first time I heard Schoolboy Q was on the song “Collard Greens” and I’ve been a fan ever since.

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What is it about the West Coast that’s winning right now in Hip Hop?

(1) Musicality

Historically, West Coast Hip Hop has always been groovy. The artists who have achieved national fame, always have tracks that groove. Strong baselines & full instrumentation. Most of the beats on Blank Face sound great on their own merit. This is probably due to the influence of one of Hip Hop’s greatest producers Dr. Dre. The music is funky, jazzy and at times a little rock-n-roll.

(2) Distinct Voices

West Coast artists have figured out how to use their voices like instruments. Q’s voice sounds at times like a string instrument, and at other times it sounds like percussion. Kendrick has also mastered the use of his voice. For the longest time in hip hop, it felt like everybody sounded the same. They were applying the same technical sound to their voices. The thing that I love about Golden Age Hip Hop (and even Hip Hop in the 90s) is that you can tell by the voice, who is rapping. You know Nas’s voice, you know Jay-Z’s voice, you know Mystikal’s voice, you know DMX’s voice. Schoolboy Q & Kendrick both have unique voices that are distinctive.

(3) It’s Dynamic.

It’s not gangster music. It’s not conscious music. It’s a blend of both and you can appreciate it. They express vulnerability – fear, aspirations, and also classic hip hop bravado. They want to get the money, but the also want peace. They want the girls, but they also talk about love. It’s more connected to our real lived experience. Not some one-sided, inflated, one-dimensional reality.

(4) It Knocks.

A footnote for the musicality. You can feel the bass, which contributes to that hypnotic feeling. You can get lost in the track, and not lost like you have no idea what’s being said (seriously 75% of todays’ rap, I have to have translated for me), but lost like your conscious melds to the track. It has a certain bounce (that can play in the club) but also lends itself to just cruising in the car. It works in various settings.

So yeah, Blank Face, will be on rotation for me and I may even try to go to the concert! It’s rare that you have an album that you can play beginning to end, but this album works.

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How Do You Respond to Pressure? 


Caption: My Lush Bath Products… A nice hot bubble bath with lush goodies is one way I respond to pressure! 

While we are adulting, at some point in our lives, we will experience pressure. The pressure can be either personal or professional.

Here are the different ways we can respond to pressure:

(1) With Anger – Responding to pressure with anger can be either helpful or dangerous. There is the type of anger that we feel when we respond to the pressure of injustice, that keeps our adrenaline pumping and gives us the fuel that we need to keep fighting, or that is that dangerous, warning toxic-gas anger that causes us to lash out against the people we love the most. I usually don’t respond to pressure with anger because it takes a lot for me to get angry and it takes even more for me to showcase my anger. Not really sure what to make of that. 

(2) With Resentment – Resentment is much different than anger but it’s on the same continuum. Resentment is like slow release anger. Resentment is often what we feel, when we feel trapped or backed into a corner. Resentment can also result in passive aggression. Resentment is like a hardened cast, once it solidifies it can be hard to break through, without some hard force. 

(3) Withdrawal – Sometimes when we feel pressure, we just throw up our hands and retreat. We stop trying, we give up the fight, we walk away. Depending on what’s causing the pressure, resentment may be the best option. 

(4) Procrastination – Proscrination is a rebellious response to pressure. It’s basically like we know what needs to be done, we just do it on our own timeline. This isn’t so bad when a project or decision is solely based on us, as long as we handle said action by the deadline.

(5) With Resolve – Some folks welcome pressure or “thrive” under pressure. They see it as a challenge and they enjoy the feeling of accomplishment they get when they complete a task or make a decision that ends the pressure.

(6) Food. I am definitely an emotional eater. When I feel pressure I usually crave soda pop, which is the absolute worse. I’m trying to rewire myself but I believe that this practice really started when I was in college. I remember feeling the pressure of academics and walking myself to the local bakery to have a homemade “treat.” Emotionally I felt better but I also felt a sense of stress and guilt for responding to stress with food. Any tips on how to break that habit are much appreciated! It’s still a struggle for me… 

There are people who respond to pressure in more healthier ways:

(6) With Exercise – I wish that I consistently had the urge to break down into push-ups or to break into a run when I felt pressure. I’d be a whole lot thinner with a much higher metabolism if that was the case.

(7) With therapy. Either formal or informal. Sometimes the best way to handle pressure is to have a conversation with someone about it. A therapist doesn’t have the subjectivity that close friends/family have and they are trained to address emotional stress or crises. A good conversation with a trusted friend is like a glass of cold water (or chilled wine if that’s your thing).

(8) With faith – through prayer or attending a church or reading the bible. This is one way that I often respond to pressure and it makes me feel better and “lighter.” 

(9) With some self care. Keep a list of all of the things that make you feel good and draw from that list. My list includes time at the spa, retail therapy, a mental health day (a day where I don’t leave my house and stay in my pajamas, not doing anything planned or anything that stresses me out).

What are the negative and positive ways that you respond to pressure? What works for you? 

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A Breath of Fresh Air

Earlier this year, I was selected as one of NAMAC’s (National Alliance for Media, Arts & Culture) Creative Leaders. This week, we were all invited to the Sundance Mountain Resort in Utah, in order to participate in a Creative Leadership Lab. We were able to learn new leadership practices, connect with each other and receive medicine from this powerful land. There is something very profound about being able to “elevate” approximately 5,000 feet, to really gain perspective and see the bigger picture.


Here are ten of the quotes I’d like to remember, from my fellow Creative Leaders and our facilitators. You can learn about each of the people listed below and their work here (scroll down about half a page to see their photos and read their bios).


(1) “Strategy is about not doing things so you can decide what to do.” – Melinda

(2) “Reach from the place of injury.” – Jane

(3) “Keep asking the question in different polite ways.” – Pamela (Actually nails a dictator).


(4) “To conspire, means to breath together.” – Gibran

(5) We live in a world of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity). – Gibran

(6) “Vida es arte.” (Translates into life is art) – Marisol


(7) “In the final analysis, when the s*** hits the fan, you do a show.” – Vashti

(8) “As we lose civility, we lose respect.” – Pamela

(9) “It is ok and necessary to take care of myself.” – Natasha


(10) “Who you really are, is all you have to offer.” – Vashti

Here are other things I’d like to remember: 

(1) The comfy linens – I literally slept like a baby!

(2) The crisp (and clean) mountain air.

(3) The love of Colombia (specifically Cartagena, which is a place my husband fell in love with earlier this year. I’d call that confirmation!)


(4) The power of story

(5) The power of solitude

(6) The power of eye contact (and looking at and into a person rather than through a person).


(7) The healing and refreshing power of tears.

(8) The power of breath (I think I am going to incorporate meditation into my daily life).

(9) The importance of community and feeling connected.


(10) The privilege of time and space to step away from the daily routine.

Over the next few weeks, I will delve deeper into my experience and process what I’ve learned on my trip, but I wanted to share.

 

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Filed under Health, Inspiration, Reflection, Work

Moon In Virgo

This weekend, I looked into my astrological chart and learned that my moon is in Virgo. My zodiac sign is Capricorn/Aquarius because I was born on the cusp. I learned that the moon really expresses our needs. 

Here is what I learned about my moon: 

With the Moon in the practical and systematic sign of Virgo, you are likely to be someone who is highly appreciative of structure, organization and detail. You will find your life works better with well-established systems in your personal and professional life. Virgo is an Earth sign, and so pertains to tangible or physical things. It is also known as Mutable, which infers a need for variety and change. When physicality and change are brought together, the principle of refinement is found. Born with the Moon in Virgo, you are likely to have an innate need to improve or refine the circumstances around you – combining practical know-how with the analytical quality needed to achieve specific results. Read the rest here

It made so much sense because I truly do find peace and comfort in cleaning and organizing. Whenever I feel any sense of anxiety, fear or frustration, I immediately also feel the need to organize, clean and purge. 


So I spent the day organizing two areas of my house. My storage room/pantry and my kitchen cabinets! Check out my befores:


Over the years I’ve invested in so many different types of storage containers, so I used those to organize my cabinets. 

Here is the pantry:


I still have some work to do back there but need to grab 2 – 3 large storage containers to finish it up. 

Here is the work on my kitchen cabinets:


I’m excited because I still have room for more wine glasses and plastic cups! 

My next big project will be to organize the papers in my office. My goal is to finish that project before 12/31/16.

I got a lot of inspiration from Pinterest. They have so many amazing ideas for organization! 

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Invest In People Who Invest In You…

I came across this graphic on Pinterest and it inspired a longer blog.

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When people invest in you, it is important that you return the investment, either to them or to someone else. This is what it looks like when someone invests in you:

(1) Time

If someone makes time in their schedule to speak to or support you, that is an investment. You can return the investment by doing some research about the person, showing up on time to the meeting and making great use of the time you spend by being prepared with specific questions, requests and a clear agenda for why you are meeting.

(2) Referrals

When someone makes a referral of you, your product or your services, they are spending “money” out of their valuable reputation account to help you out. A referral indicates that someone trusts you. One way to return the investment here is to do a great job, so that they can earn some “credit” in their reputation account.

(3) Connections

Connections are a little different. This type of investment is similar to a referral, except that there may not be a clear or specific reason why this person is connecting you to someone else. This type of investment could be very helpful for you, or not. The key is to follow-through.

(4) Emotional Support

There are some people that are uber optimistic. These people make an investment in you by being positive and counteracting any negative energy or vibes you may have. There are also those people who make an investment by being honest with a little “truth” serum. They give you a kick in the pants when needed too. The best way to return this investment is to change your behavior (if needed), or let them know how much they helped you!

(5) Basic Needs

There are some people that will give you rides when needed. Provide you with employment opportunities, or even in some cases provide you with permanent or temporary housing. These types of investments are not to be taken for granted. When people bring paid opportunities to our door, we often give them a cut of the paid opportunity as a “thank you.” Additionally, when paid opportunities come our way that we are not interested in or available for, we usually refer those people who have provided such opportunities to us in the past.

Sometimes investments look like cold-hard cash. Sometimes people will give you money to support your dreams or your ambitions. Other types of investments are sometimes just as (in some cases more) valuable than cash, and should be received with the same gratitude and value. Make a list of the last five people that have made an investment in you, and send them a “thank you” text, call them on the phone, shoot them an e-mail or head to Walgreens and purchase a card and mail it to them! Unless someone is morally or legally obligated to invest in you, your “investors” should be treated with care!

 

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Filed under Work