I Have A Dream!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Good Morning! With all of the disrespectful and ignorant uses of Dr. King's image on club flyers and such, I thought it only right to put a more appropriate image on display. Maybe it will inspire someone today...maybe. Enjoy!

Winter Makeup Inventory!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Greetings Divas! Let's talk makeup! A few weeks ago, I executed a complete overhaul of my makeup case. I threw out products that were old and expired, and I purchased new items to replace them. I even purchased a new set of makeup brushes...mine were getting a little old. So what prompted this makeup purge? Well, I like to take inventory of my makeup twice each year: once in the Spring, and once in the fall. Guess what...I forget to take inventory both times last year (gasp!). But wait...let me explain! Last year was super busy for me both at work and at home, and I just...forgot! Now, I don't want you all to think that I was using old makeup all year; I just purchased new items when the old ones ran out. But I still had a bunch of expired products that were still hanging around past their shelf life. 

If you are a veteran Chronicles reader, you know that I am a true believer in maintaining a fresh and clean makeup bag. I like to take good care of my skin, and using old and expired makeup can adversely affect the health of our skin and eyes (the worst offender by far is old mascara). As such, I needed to right my wrong and get rid of my old makeup. And that's what I did!

In the spirit of maintaining our health and youth, we should all take regular inventory and toss out old makeup that may be damaging to our skin and eyes. Here are a few tips to ensure that your makeup case is fresh:

1. Commit to taking inventory of your makeup in alternating seasons (i.e. Summer and Winter, or Fall and Spring).

2. Once you toss out your old makeup, make a list of the replacement products you need and head out to your favorite department store and/or pharmacy to snag them.

3. Make a note of when you purchased the new product and give it an expiration date based on its shelf life. Using stickers or a marker to make expiration labels are easy options.

And now for the shelf life list! Here are the shelf lives of the most common types of makeup

Foundation (Oil Free) – 1 Year
Foundation (Cream or Compact) – 1½ Years
Concealer – 1 Year
Powder – 1½ to 2 Years
Blush – 1½ to 2 Years
Eye Shadow – 1½ to 2 Years
Mascara – 3 Months
Eyeliner – 1½ to 2 Years
Lipstick – 1½ to 2 Years
Lip Liner – 1½ to 2 Years
Lip Gloss – 1½ Years

Be well Divas!

21-Day Challenges...Kind of!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Well...we are already 4 days into 2015...which likely means you are on Day 4 of that 30-day challenge (or 60 or 90) that you signed up for at the end of 2014. You know the challenges I'm talking about right? The 30-Day Squat Challenges...the 60-Day Clean Eating Challenge...the 30-Day Workout Challenge...there are a bunch of them out there with accompanying social media hashtags. To be honest with you, I really like these challenges; they're all really motivating, and encourage you to do something beneficial for you mind and/or body. The one thing about these challenges, however, is that they often have an expiration date. As I accepted a few invites for challenges, I decided that I would do my best to incorporate the challenges' objectives into my daily life extending past the stated time limit. And then I started thinking that I could take other every day occurrences and turn them into a challenge that would inevitably become a habit. Since science has taught us that it generally takes 21 days to formulate a habit, I have put together a list of seven 21-day challenges that you may be interested in completing. The goal is to do the challenge for 21 days so that it becomes a habit going forward. As an extra bonus, I have included a suggested hashtag...just in case you need it for the social mediaverse! ;)

My skin savior!!!
1. The Wash Your Makeup Off Every Night Challenge - This is something that I've been working on for a while, and I've been getting better at it. Even when I am completely exhausted, I make the effort to wash my makeup off before going to bed, and you ladies should do the same. Not doing so can lead to a variety of skin problems, including breakouts and rashes. Believe me when I tell you it is quite anti-sexy to walk into a business meeting with a huge zit on your nose due to clogged pores...don't be that girl! Take the "Wash Your Makeup Off Every Night for 14 Days Challenge," and give yourself, and your skin, a healthy boost in the new year. #WashYourFace

2. The Create a To-Do-List at the Start of Your Day Challenge - In my experience, creating a to-do list at the beginning of each day has helped me to be more productive and efficient at work and at home. Maybe it's a psychological thing, but making these lists give me focus for the day and allows me to get more things accomplished. Without it, I tend to lose time trying to figure out what I am going to do next. Plus, I'm one of those folks who revel in crossing things off their list. But in all seriousness, creating a daily to do list is a great way to maximize your day, which may give you more time to do those other things that you never get to. That being said, during the work week take a moment before starting work to jot down (on a notepad, phone, computer, etc.) the tasks you plan to complete each day...and then execute! On the days when you are not working, do the same thing. Make it a habit! #MaximizeYourDay

3. The Drink 8 Glasses a Day Challenge - How many of you resolved in 2015 to lose weight? To eat clean? To get healthier? Well, drinking at least 8 glasses of water each day is one of those things that can help you accomplish each of these goals. I won't go into the statistics and all the scientific reasons why you should drink more water, but I don't think I need to...you've heard them all before and know you need to hydrate. So drink up! #8GlassesADay

4. The Make Your Own Meals Challenge - One of the things that I intend to do this year is save more money. One way to save money is to minimize the amount of money you spend consuming food and drinks outside of your home. For 21 days, make all of your meals at home...breakfast, lunch, and dinner (coffee, too!). You'd be amazed at how much you will save. Don't believe me? Take my personal story as an example. I went to the supermarket and spent $80 on groceries for a 1-week period (for my entire household). I made my meals for the week...even my coffee. The following week, I consumed more than half of my meals outside of my home (mostly breakfast, lunch, and coffee). I spent about $100 for that week...and I probably gained 5 pounds...I was shocked! Need more convincing? If you purchase Starbucks coffee and a pastry each day during a 5-day work week, you've spent about $40 for the week. A $5 deli sandwich each day for lunch will run you $25. Convinced? Do yourself a favor and try this challenge. Plan your meals at the beginning of each week, hit the supermarket for the things you need, and start saving. And as a welcomed side-effect, you may lose some weight by making your own meals if you choose healthy options. Try it!  #MakeYourMeals

5. The Walk 10,000 Steps Per Day Challenge - By now we pretty much know that 10,000 daily steps is the number to reach. We also know that there are many ways to get to this goal: parking in the spot furthest away from your destination...taking the stairs instead of the elevator...taking random walks around the office...running or jogging...you've got choices! Over the next 21 days, grab your pedometer or step tracker of choice, and make an effort to take 210,000 steps. #210Kin21

6. The Do Something Nice For Someone Else Challenge - As of late, there has been a lot of discord in various parts of the country. In the midst of all of it, I hold on to the belief that there is still good in the world. In an effort to keep my hope in humanity alive, I like to initiate random acts of kindness. In fact, I try to do it every day...buying coffee for the person standing behind me in line at the Starbucks...putting change in someone else's parking meter if it is about to expire...holding the door open for the FedEx man who comes to the office and always has a ton of packages...sending a random text to a friend who may be having a difficult day...there are plenty of "be nice" options everywhere. For the next 21 days, make an effort to do something nice for someone else each day. Contribute to the #TheresGoodInTheWorld challenge...and then keep it going! Need some inspiration? Check out this post from BuzzFeed...or this one!

7. The 5 Minute Meditation Challenge - Last year, Russell Simmons released a book entitled  "Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple." One of my colleagues purchased the book, and I had a chance to check it out. In his book, Russell discusses the role meditation and stillness has played in his success. I haven't had a chance to finish the book, but I've started doing a bit of meditation in the mornings before I start my work day. Most times I only have 5 minutes to spare, but in that time I sit very still and quietly, my door and my eyes closed, and I meditate. It calms me, and gets me ready to start my work day. When my alarm sounds, I open my eyes and my door, and I get to work on my to-do list. Over the next 21 days, I encourage you to spend at least 5 minutes each day for meditation, not just the work day. Find a nice quiet place, set your alarm, and go! I also encourage you to read Russell's book! #BeStill

So, what do you think? While I am half joking about these challenges, I think that these are all things that we should incorporate into our daily lives. If making them a challenge increases the likelihood of you doing them, then why not! Remember, it takes 3-weeks to form a habit, so 21 days is the key. Maybe on day 22, it will become a regular part of your day. Have a fantastic work week!

Smoothie Packs for Busy Divas!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Problem - You are not getting your daily allotment of fruits and vegetables. You are super busy, and you habitually neglect to make fruits and vegetables a priority during breakfast and lunch. Sadly, you have come to the realization that an apple pie from McDonald's probably should not count as a fruit, even if you get two for $1. And the nutritional value of the lettuce and tomatoes from your Whopper is probably negated by the other ingredients. You need to do something...and you need to do it quickly...your skirt and blouses are getting a little too tight, and you refuse to buy a larger size...refuse! And you just made a bet with your girlfriends to see who is going to look the best in their swimsuit when you all head to St. Lucia at the end of April. Something's gotta give!

The Solution - Substitute at least one meal per day with a fruit and vegetable smoothie.
The Objective - To make a quick, healthy, and tasty smoothie in a short amount of time.

The Set Up - You need to gather fruits and vegetables, Greek yogurt, and other smoothie accouterments. You also need a blender and a really cute on-the-go sippy cup...because the ugly ones make for an unattractive smoothie :) !

The Prep - Create smoothie packs for the week:

- Head out to the supermarket or your local farmers' market and purchase strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, pineapple, spinach, and kale. Also grab a box of plastic sandwich bags, single-serve containers of plain and/or vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt, your favorite fruit juice (I like V8 Fusion), your favorite dairy/soy product (I like vanilla-flavored soy milk), honey, and any other items you like to add to your smoothie (i.e. wheat germ, protein powder, etc.).

- When you get home, properly wash all of your fruits and veggies. In a large bowl, combine all of your berries and mix. Slice and dice your peaches and pineapples, add them to the bowl, and mix. In a separate bowl, chop and combine spinach and kale leaves.

- Grab your sandwich bags. Scoop about one cup of fruit and one cup of veggies in each bag and seal it (be sure to let as much air as possible out of the bag before sealing). Place bags into the freezer.

The Execution - When you're ready for a smoothie, grab a fruit/veggie pack. Toss the contents into a blender with your choice of juice or dairy/soy product, yogurt, and other items and blend. Pour into your sippy cup and go!

If You're A Smoothie Pro - If you intend to make your smoothie at the office, think about purchasing an on-the-go blender. I use the Hamilton Beach single-serve blender (pictured above), which I purchased for about $12. Before you leave the house for work, grab your bag of fruits and veggies and other smoothie accouterments. Throw them in an insulated lunch bag with an ice pack, and head out. When you get to the office, toss your lunch bag in a refrigerator (if possible). When you're ready for your smoothie, grab your blender and go at it. 

So, how many of you will try making smoothie packs? If you're game, let us all know your strategy and how it turns out!

Travel Light, Travel Far!

Friday, January 2, 2015

Quick story...back when I was in law school and actively seeking employment after graduation, I decided to attend a networking event sponsored by a local bar association. The networking event, a meet-and-greet happy hour, was scheduled to last for about an hour and a half and was free. Following the happy hour, however, was an awards banquet that costed $150 per person. Being that I was an unemployed law student, the banquet was not an option...the free happy hour would have to do! I reached out to a few of my law school girlfriends to see who was game to attend the happy hour. After three of my girls declined, I decided to attend the event alone...by myself...yikes

The event was great and I made a couple of connections, one of which was an attorney at a top tier law firm. It turns out that this attorney had an extra ticket to the banquet; her law firm purchased a table, and there was a seat that had not been filled. Guess who ended up at the banquet after all...me!

So what's the moral of this story? I realized two things at the very moment that I was offered the ticket. First, I knew that I would not have taken the ticket if I had gone to the event with my girls. After all, it would not have been cool to ditch them to go to the banquet. Second, I realized that traveling light (without a group) sometimes helps you to travel far (to the banquet). Now, I can't take credit for the phrase "travel light, travel far"...Wendy Williams would always say it on her radio show, and it somehow stuck with me. The truth is that in business and in your personal life, you sometimes have to venture out or stand on your own to make things happen. Don't use the comfort of a group as a crutch...be okay going at it alone.

Makes sense? Thoughts?

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