November 2015

His Dreams, Her Dreams or Both?: Success, Sacrifices and Relationships

omarion and apryl 2

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I was recently watching the infamous VH1 series, Love and Hip Hop Hollywood . Maybe I should restate that. The tv was actually watching me as I was cooking. Now before you anti-reality tv folks stop reading, stick with me here. I can understand your resistance as I’ve weaned myself off reality tv over the years. Somewhere between the alcoholic beverage tossing and unnecessarily flashy events, I too could do without it. At least the ones filled with drama. But the scene I am about to describe was particularly interesting in regards to success and relationships.

So there was a scene between cast members Omarion and Apryl. The two have been in a relationship for a few years and have a son together. From what I have seen of the show, they seem to be one of the happier couples. Probably the happiest compared to their drama-ridden cast mate’s relationships. But as they were driving from a radio interview, in this particular scene, they began having a pretty heated discussion. Apryl found herself in a ball of frustration as she expressed to Omarion that she felt he was putting her dreams on hold. Omarion, a R&B artist and former member of the 2000s boy group B2K, has experienced his own share of success over the years. So Apryl, being the supportive partner through a significant portion of his success (at least the more recent years) is questioning when she will be able to see the same in her own musical career. Omarion assures her that they will commence working on her music and continue developing her as an artist but Apryl doesn’t look too sure.

This brought up an interesting question in my head. (Cause there are always a plethora of challenging questions being asked up there.) Especially for men and women who may have sacrificed (or put on hold) his/her own dreams for that of their mate. Should it be his dreams, her dreams or can both coexist?

I’m sure being the partner of a music artist has its perks – the spotlight, money, cars, clothes, etc. But what about (using Apryl as an example) when you go to bed at night dreaming of your own singing career while your man is out on the road touring and getting money to support your family? Gotta be some type of feeling. Now remember this could go the other way as well. A man could also find himself in the shadows of his very successful woman. Take for instance the classic Stedman and Oprah example.

Might I point out that this concept of sacrifice in careers and relationships is not only limited to celebrities. It can very well be seen in the everyday lives of us common folk as well. Consider the man starting his own law practice. Perhaps this new venture will require his wife to be a stay at home mom in order to save money that would be spent on daycare to instead go towards the practice. Or on the flip side, the actress who flies across the country on a regular basis to pursue her craft while her husband must hold down the fort at home. Now these are hypothetical situations but as you can see they could very well mirror the challenges that couples face when it comes to success and careers.

This post does not imply that my opinion stands firm in either direction. But watching the scene between Omarion and Apryl really got me thinking about success, careers, relationships and sacrifice. Curious to hear your thoughts and experiences.

Coughs, Colds and Coconut Oil


[Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil: Target; Picture Frame: Home Goods]

So here in Southern California we’ve officially entered our “Fall” season. After 90 degree days that ended somewhere around Halloween, we’re now getting down to the 60s. I know…blur!! As a native I think it’s safe to say that we’re very spoiled.

Though the temperature change is not drastic, it’s still significant. Especially when it comes to our immune systems. When you go from crop tops and cut off denim to pants and sweaters, your body is bound to get confused at some point. And don’t let every body (literally) in the household and/or office get confused all at once. At that point, it’s over and we’re all finding ourselves scrambling in the medicine cabinet for cold rx’s.

For me, that moment happened earlier this week. I could feel the onset of a cold and decided I wasn’t signing up to be in bed with a cough for the next week. So I reached for my handy list of cold remedies instead of the usual cold meds.

I recently read online that Coconut Oil can work great magic for colds. Take 1 teaspoon of Coconut Oil and enjoy. Actually, a mouthful of oil isn’t that enjoyable. But it works! Swish (is that a word outside of the dentist office?) it around your mouth. Then spit out the CO. The reasoning behind this remedy? Coconut Oil is known to kill bacteria. Much of the bacteria from our colds are hanging around in our mouth. It may not be an immediate remedy like grandma’s famous 5 liquid ingredient steamy hot potion. But it has a great long term effect.

Now I’m no doctor…unless they give away MD degrees for Google searches…but this stuff is worth trying. Not to mention its multipurpose nature (cooking, hair and so on) that will make it a great asset to have handy in your home.

Give it a try the next time you feel a cold coming on and let me know what you think!

Pursuing School and Full Time Work

Full time work and school pic

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The year was 2011. It was a warm, picturesque LA day. Just kidding…not so dramatic. 🙂

A little over 4 years ago I started my graduate school program while I was working full time. It was manageable but definitely came with its own unique sacrifices. Trust me, I’ve got numerous hours logged at the library to prove it.

I decided to write this post because I know many working adults find themselves asking the question: “Should I go back to school?”. Whether you’re planning to pursue an AA, BA, MA or any other “A”mbitious educational goal, it’s a huge decision. One of the largest roadblocks is, most likely, financing. From a professional perspective, I highly suggest that you research your options ahead of time. Every person’s financial situation is different so you want to know the assistance you can receive specific to you. In my experience working with students financing their education, I’ve seen a whole lot of “oopses”. Perhaps taking out much more than can be paid back, reaching the borrowing max, relying on student loan refund checks for survival, the laundry list could go on. Trust me, you don’t want this stress added on to the heavy demands of an academic program. So talk to a loan counselor ahead of time. Research student loan programs on your school and state websites. Also make sure to look into any tuition assistance your employer may offer.

Exhale. Now that was a mouthful!

From a personal perspective, I will share aspects relating to my experience with the second possible roadblock – time. Most working adults probably find themselves asking the question: “Do I have the time to go back to school?”. This is also unique to each person as some people may have more demanding obligations than others such as a family or a management position that requires long hours for instance. It’s all about the time you have available and how you manage it. For now I’ll share my personal experience going back to school as a single person with a 40 hour work week. However, I do have some exciting contributors that will be joining us in the coming weeks with more experience on the other more advanced challenges mentioned.

During the work week I would come home from work exhausted so the last thing I had on my mind was reading a text book or writing a paper. I barely gathered up enough energy to make it to class on the nights I had to set aside those blocks of time. So I decided to dedicate my weekends to studying. I would wake up on Saturday mornings and head to the library. The earlier the better because the evenings were reserved for fun time like date nights, dinner with friends…anything but school! On Sundays I’d typically reserve “me time” for church in the morning and get to the library later. On occasion I’d adjust the schedule if I had evening plans. Good thing I’m not a diehard football fan because I would have had to record a whole lot of Sunday games! Whew! 😉

A huge helpful factor was the accessibility of online courses. I think at one point in time people frowned a bit more on online courses because they saw it as less rigorous than the traditional classroom setting. With the growth in online learning that’s becoming less of an issue. Online classes are so convenient. I usually found myself mixing online classes with in person to help balance out the time and commute. And boy did it help in an amazing way!

Speaking of commuting (yes, the “c” word), location is vital when considering going back to school. Even though I endured countless hours commuting from work to school in total, both places were (roughly) within the same geographical location which helped. I typically had time to get dinner after work and briefly work on any pending assignments before class. For those working for employers that bring the classroom to you, consider yourselves lucky and take advantage! If there is a school that has partnered with your workplace to bring evening programs on location be sure to look into it. This way you don’t even have to leave the parking lot. Unless you’re making a dinner run for Chipotle that is! 🙂

I mentioned earlier that I have a couple of special guests that will be covering more on this topic in regards to some specific concerns and challenges. So be on the lookout for those posts. If you have any specific questions for me, based on my experience described, feel free to leave them in the comments.

5 Ways to Recharge This Weekend

iPad Charging

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I think Friday is hands down a fan fave when it comes to weekdays. Everyone loves Fridays because it means the end of the work week and beginning of another fan fave…the weekend. (Saturday and Sunday that is…not the music artist!) From Friday at 5:01pm (or the minute after whenever you get off) through Sunday evening should be a time to recharge before the next week. Many times we get busy over the weekend and don’t find enough time to ourselves. I know I’ve had my fair share of birthday parties, baby showers, and just because events over the last couple of months. But it’s crucial we take a moment…or two…to relax and recharge before the infamous Monday.

Here are 5 Ways to Recharge This Weekend:

1) Sleep In!

Okay, somebody probably just stopped reading here because they already got all the ideas needed. Sleeping in is great.

Now I know there are some readers that have kids. And from what I hear, there is no such thing as sleeping in as a parent. If you find yourself in this category, perhaps the little one(s) will agree on a family nap at some point in the day. My fingers are crossed for you!

No matter your category, find some time to get rest somehow. And hopefully that includes ditching the alarm clock this weekend.

2) Do Something Special to You

We all have those little special things that we like to do. Sometimes they don’t make sense to others but bring us great joy. Whether that means washing your car while blasting Drake, pretending to read the newspaper at Starbucks while you secretly people watch or “window shopping” while clutching your wallet at the mall (guilty!)…if it makes you happy then find a way to incorporate it into your Saturday/Sunday schedule.

There’s this fancy hamburger place I love to go to in the O.C. (Orange County for the non-So Cal residents). Not only is the food amazing but the eating area outside is so serene. It’s in the middle of a corporate center of office buildings so the weekend is pretty quiet because everyone is off. I sometimes write or read there because it is so peaceful. Some might consider it boring but it’s just my thing that works for me and helps me to recharge.

3) Connect With Friends

Now this one can be tricky. While it’s nice to get together with friends this can sometimes make for a long, busy day. So just know your limits. If you don’t mind spending all day going from brunch to the mall to the free movie at the park back to the brunch spot for dinner then to the poetry lounge, then go for it. If that sounds too exhausting, then maybe just make it a lunch date. I find that when I get together with friends and even old co-workers I am able to unwind and share a few laughs. Always a treat before the week starts.

4) Get Your Spiritual Gas

My mom likes to say “I get my gas for the week on Sundays. I get my literal gas by filling up my car and spiritual gas by going to church.”. Okay, that might be a paraphrase more than a quote because I can’t remember her exact words at the moment (Friday brain), but you get the point. For me as a Christian woman, I too get my spiritual gas by going to church on Sundays. But I realize spirituality is different for everyone and may not always come in the form of church. And that’s fine. Maybe for some this means yoga and meditation. For others it might be reading an inspirational book. Whatever fills your spiritual tank, tap the source this weekend!

5) Buy Your Groceries for the Week

This is another tricky one because grocery shopping is not always the most exciting thing on earth to do. Despite the blah feeling I get when it’s time to go shopping, I always find that I feel better once it’s done. Especially before the work week. It’s nice to know that I have ingredients for dinner and breakfast/lunch options ready for the week. Otherwise I start hearing that nagging voice that scolds me when I find myself hitting up Subway or opting for the Enchilada plate special multiple times during the week. Sigh.


Whether you use one of the ideas listed or have your own, please make sure to recharge this weekend. Monday will thank you!

Follow The Leader


Many of the posts I’ve wrote so far have been catered toward staff. Tips on how to get through your work day, make the most of your job, etc. Well what about the big guns out there? (No, not literally.) I mean those that supervise staff and act as leaders in their various departments and organizations. If you are currently a leader in some form or would like to hold the title soon, it goes without saying this comes with a new level of responsibility. Now anyone can boss people around…make them copy your board meeting packets, type up the meeting minutes, go on a Sprinkles run for you. (That would be borderline greedy, right?) But to truly be an effective leader takes work. It also takes compassion.

I recently read the book Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht. Licht is the Senior Vice President of Global Communications for Donna Karan International and well known as the former Twitter personality, DKNY PR GIRL. Licht’s book is full of noteworthy advice, particularly for those beginning their careers. So when I first began reading I thought this doesn’t even apply to me anymore. As I continued to read I realized that the book contains a wealth of knowledge for those at various points in their career. I particularly enjoyed her tips on networking as well as on “Leading a Team”.

In “Leading a Team” Licht reviews the following questions. As you read, take a moment to reflect on what this translates to for you. Are you currently an effective leader? Do you plan on becoming an effective leader one day? Or do you hope to see these qualities described in a boss or mentor? Keep these questions in mind as you read through Licht’s  list of guidance.

From Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht –

“Leading a Team”

  1. Do people respect you?
  2. Are you a motivating leader?
  3. Do you have a clear vision about what needs to be done and how you and your team are going to accomplish it?
  4. Have you researched anything that might be happening at the same time as your project?
  5. Have you conveyed a clear message?
  6. Are you a good manager? (*Give deadlines but don’t micromanage.)
  7. Don’t assume anything is being done until you ask.
  8. Remember to be appreciative and thank your team.


If you are interested in Licht’s advice, I highly recommend you check out her book. I purchased my copy from iTunes but I’m sure you can also find a hardcopy in any major book store. If you have any additional tips to share on leading a team, please feel free to share!

Maybe It Just Wasn’t For You

Loss Pic

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There is nothing worse than wanting something so bad, not getting it, then having to hear someone give you the “it’s okay” pep talk that only puts you in more of a funk. Or even worse, that no holds barred type friend that gives it to you straight: “maybe it just wasn’t for you”. The imaginary knife then pierces through your side. You, the wounded soldier, then realize – maybe they are right.

From about the age of 8 to somewhere around 21 I knew with every fiber of my being that I wanted to be a doctor. There were no other options. But one day reality (or maybe the daunting science classes) hit me.  Something just felt like it didn’t fit anymore. I was pretty crushed. The world had ended. Okay, we all know it didn’t end because I’m here today writing this post.

Moving forward about eight years later, I found myself with credentials far from a medical degree. I had just finished my grad program and was interviewing for an advisor position. I thought the position would be a great stepping stone for my career endeavors in Higher Education. Not to mention the position was at a very prestigious university (cause a name is everything in our superficial society, right) so I thought it would be a great employer to grow my career with or at least boast on my resume if my experience led me elsewhere. I prepped hard for the interview – researched the institution and department, put my best black pants suit in the cleaners, wrote out questions to reverse drill the interviewers. The list goes on.  To put sprinkles on the cake – I knew a few people at the university and even had a personal connect who worked in the office.

On the day of the interview I arrived extremely early, mapped out my walk from the parking garage and sat anxiously waiting as at least two people ahead of me had their interviews…cause I was that early. Sigh. The interview went well and I was instructed to complete a follow up “survey” which would be emailed to me later. Turns out I had to complete a survey and a 2 page paper. Yes, for a job interview! Guess it was that competitive. But guess what…I did not get the job. I was incredibly frustrated. The world had ended…again. But guess what else? I’m still here…writing this post.

The moral of the story is maybe some things just won’t be meant for you. Life comes with its bountiful variety of disappointments. Maybe you’re like me and didn’t get that job you wanted. Perhaps what you thought would be your dream career is now only an afterthought. Or it could be something even more personal and heart wrenching, maybe who you believed to be “the love of your life” (man, woman, pet…it’s all fair game) got away. Whichever scenario rings most true to you, just know the world won’t end. A much more fabulous job opportunity will come along. And that opportunity will present a chance to do something you’re way more passionate about. (For instance, writing a blog to inspire others through the things you struggled to overcome. Oops…this isn’t about me. It’s about you. Okay, I’m back.) Or if you find yourself a victim of the love example, maybe you’re closer than you think to the true Mr., Mrs. or Rover Right.

Maybe it just wasn’t for you because the best is right on the other end of that road you’re traveling down.  So keep plugging along, you’ll get there!