February 7, 2013   1 note
October 10, 2012   2 notes

Is America ‘Glamping’ Its Way Through The Recession?

Glamping is a new trend that I discovered while watching The Real Housewives of Orange County late one evening (Don’t judge). Essentially it’s glamorous camping, hence the name “glamping”. People go into the woods for a few nights of ‘roughing it’, but with many of the luxuries of home such as: electricity, indoor plumbing, a chef, or concierge. Here’s an example of what some glamping tents look like. I thought the point of camping was to get back to nature and enjoy the simpler life, but what do I know. Glamping queen suite

[Photo Credit: WildExodus, Flickr]

It made sense the more I thought about this new trend. So people want to enjoy camping, but not lose any luxury. Sounds a lot like America now. We want/need to get back to the simpler things in life, but not without our luxury. We’re at a point where many of us are struggling financially and instead of going camping, we’re really just glamping. No real sacrifices made. Do you see where I’m going with this? If not, let’s look at a few examples:

We say we’ve cut back and we’re doing everything we can, but the reality of it is there’s a lot of people who still don’t get it. America, to get back on track we’ve got to get back to camping, not glamping. I’m talking about getting back to basics and roughing it. Cooking our own meals, cleaning our own home, spending less on gadgets, driving a car for the function instead of status, stay-cations, and working a job that we may not love. Learning to do more with less is imperative. We are all in this together so lets swallow our collective pride and get down and dirty. Right now there’s no room for glampers, only campers.

Are you a glamper or camper? Should Americans be more willing to do away with certain luxuries until we are back on our feet or is that an unfair expectation?

(Source: perfectgirlquest.com)

October 9, 2012

I Won’t Sleep Outside For A Phone, But I Will Stand In Line To Vote

With less than a month until the election and only a few days until the voter registration deadline, convincing people to vote is every candidate’s goal. According to an article published by USAToday, there are 90 million eligible voters who will not take part in this year’s election. They just don’t see the value in it. I, on the other hand, see it as an honor. The longest I’ve ever stood in line at the polls was about three hours. On November 3, 1998, I had the pleasure of voting in my first election on my 18th birthday. I went straight from school to the polls just as excited as I could be. When I finished they gave me my “I’m a Georgia Voter” sticker. That was it, I was official. In my mind I’d made history. What people fail to realize is that it took two amendments to allow me the right to vote. So it’s not a privilege I take lightly. The 15th amendment gave blacks (men only) the right to vote in 1870, but what about the women? It wasn’t until 50 years later that women, especially black women, became eligible to vote via the 19th amendment. Even after these amendments we could not easily vote. Grandfather clauses and poll taxes still kept us from the polls. So when people are willing to sleep outside for a new gadget or sale, but don’t find it equally important to vote, it really ticks me off. You can debate Apple vs. Android but have no clue about the candidates platforms. Wake up people!

Kanye West said it best in his song “Never Let Me Down”: “You can’t make it to ballots to choose leadership, but you can make it to Jacob’s [jeweler] and to the dealership…”

At some point I hope America really does wake up. Be heard! As an African-American woman there are too many people who fought for my voice. Where will I be on November 6? You damn right…VOTING!

Credit: Kristen_A Flickr Related articles

(Source: perfectgirlquest.com)

September 12, 2012
The Self-Imposed Glass Ceiling
This post serves as more of a question than a statement. Lately I’ve found myself at a crossroads between career and family. I’ve always had high career ambitions and the older I get the more I realize that perhaps running the world and being a mom might require more than I imagined. Though I’m not a mother yet I am very aware of the hard work and sacrifice it takes to be a good mom. The women in the C-suite all travel constantly and work long late hours. How does that work? I’m not getting any younger so now it’s decision time. I need some insight in how to have it all. Read more.

The Self-Imposed Glass Ceiling

This post serves as more of a question than a statement. Lately I’ve found myself at a crossroads between career and family. I’ve always had high career ambitions and the older I get the more I realize that perhaps running the world and being a mom might require more than I imagined. Though I’m not a mother yet I am very aware of the hard work and sacrifice it takes to be a good mom. The women in the C-suite all travel constantly and work long late hours. How does that work? I’m not getting any younger so now it’s decision time. I need some insight in how to have it all. Read more.

September 7, 2012

The Takeover - Reclaiming My Life

I’ve always considered myself to be quite a determined young lady. Failure has never been an option and I know that my best days are always in front of me. I like to call myself an optimistic realist. Imagine this bright-eyed girl’s surprise when I found myself in uncharted territory. I started a new job with big hopes, dreams, and plans. Instead of being the one to absorb information like a sponge and thrive, I found myself struggling to even tread water. How did I go from taking off like a rocket to sinking like a brick so fast. With the demands of my new role I travelled a lot even weekends, worked 12 hour days and lunch and sleep were luxuries. My dream job played out more like a nightmare. Not only was I struggling mentally but physically too. It was time for my annual physical and I was actually looking forward to it. That’s when it was confirmed that my life really was out of control. In three months I’d unknowingly gained 10 pounds and had elevated blood pressure. I’d never weighed this much in my life and have always been very healthy. This was alarming to say the least. They ran blood tests to rule out any medical conditions, but it all pointed back to STRESS. I left the doctor’s office devastated as I drove back to the office trying to figure out what to do. This job will not be the death of me. In the past year two of my former classmates have died around the age of thirty. During that drive back to the office I decided that come hell or high water I am taking back my life.

The first step was reduce my stress at the office. As much as it pained this overachiever I had to stop caring so much. I was physically doing everything in my power to do a job well done and yet it wasn’t enough. Never again would I be the victim of unrealistic expectation. I could have worked all day everyday and still never finish my projects. In that moment I decided that I would work normal hours, take a lunch and put the Blackberry down. That was probably the easiest part. Knowing the possible consequences of going against the culture I had to convince myself that being fired wouldn’t be the end of the world. Once I was able to overcome that fear the weight was lifted. As long as I can look myself in the mirror and know I gave 100% I can cope. Even Peyton Manning got fired. Sometimes it’s just not a fit. At that point I was ready to handle either outcome.

Now that I have a life, attacking those 10 pounds became top priority. I was able to start cooking again instead of eating out. My meals were planned and I started exercising 5 days a week. Nothing or no one was going to take me off of my plan. Between Michi’s Ladder for nutrition and Jillian Michaels and P90X I was a mad woman. I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app to track my food intake, weight, and exercise. This is when I also found my theme song. Within three months I’d lost 10 pounds and boy did I feel AMAZING! I got my swagger back. I check my blood pressure periodically and it is back to normal too. I even ran my first 5k! None of this would have been possible if I’d succumbed to the pressure and stress. This is me pre-race in the black.

After being depressed and down for so long it was time to re-introduce my friends to the Jasmine they’ve always known. The happy girl who’s always looking for something exciting to do and most importantly smiling. I don’t know who that other girl was but she is gone for good so let’s party! It felt great to be able to meet a friend for lunch or make plans after work and know that I would not have to cancel at the last-minute. Finally, my husband and I could have dinner together without me wallowing in negativity or in tears because I was at my breaking point. After volunteer coaching for almost ten years and having to quit because of work it felt good to be able to get out there as much as I could. I was rejuvenated. My fuel is life and my love of it. It’s my energy, my everything. The happier I am, the harder I work.

Since becoming a more confident healthier person my productivity improved. I no longer had to work paranoid looking over my shoulder afraid of being fired. I’m ok either way. You’re probably thinking why didn’t I just quit and find another job. The thought definitely crossed my mind, but I feel like I have something to prove. This job isn’t too hard for me. I want to conquer it and all of the obstacles that came with it. My pride won’t let me quit because someone thinks I’m not good enough. I’m too good. In the mornings I pull up to the office stress free with a smile on my face ready to conquer the world. There’s a lesson in every obstacle and I want to learn all I can. I’ve never backed down from a challenge and I’m not starting today. This my biggest failure yet my greatest accomplishment. Without a doubt I can say that I work to live, not live to work. Remember, headstones really don’t read job titles. Life is too short and too precious. Take back your life! You owe it to yourself.

(Source: wp.me)

August 22, 2012

Pet Peeves

August 21, 2012

What Marriage Taught Me About Business

Join me as I walk you through the “business” that is The Easters. Some of you are probably appalled at the fact that I would compare marriage to a business, but in reality they function very similarly. First things first, you have to merge all of your assets. That’s probably the easiest.

Let’s start with Human Resources. Now unless you married the first person you dated I’m pretty sure you’ve interviewed a few candidates. You may have even had to fire a few. Congratulations, you’ve found the perfect candidate! Now you’ll have the ongoing responsibility of goal-setting and performance reviews. You’ll want to be sure to nail down company policies along with roles and responsibilities.

Next up we have Finance. Now I’m sure our operating budget doesn’t have nearly as many commas or zeroes as a Fortune 500 company and that’s what keeps it interesting. There’s the annual and monthly budget to track. There’s even a fun budget. With cash flow management, timing is everything. All of these things take creativity and resourcefulness. We’ve managed to stay out of the red so I think we’re doing ok.

Now that we’ve tackled finances let’s move on to the Operations of it all. This is just as involved as the finances. There are the supplies to purchase, chores to be done, schedules to plan, and maintenance. Most of the time we’re working on ways to reduce the operating budget and run more efficiently.

Last but not least, we have Marketing and Communications. Our name is our brand. Plain and simple. When we leave our house whether together or apart our brand travels with us. Now in no way does this mean we pretend to be something we’re not, but it does mean that neither one of us will act in a way that will damage our name. The brand extends into social media as well. Your tweets and posts all reflect you and your spouse. You don’t want someone thinking your spouse married an ill-mannered crazy woman do you? As we’ve seen time and time again your public image can and will ruin you if you’re not careful.

I think you get my point. This doesn’t move me to the head of the line for CEO, but it’s given me some good practice. What about the single ladies? Well, add in another person that you have to consult with and trust to run their part of the business effectively and the dynamic changes. I’ve been blessed to have a partner and husband who cares as much as I do about having a successful marriage/business and works diligently to make sure we succeed. Team Easter!

(Source: perfectgirlquest.com)

August 17, 2012
August 15, 2012

Headstones Don’t Read Job Titles

Unless you are the President or the Pope your headstone won’t reflect your career. I’ve never seen one that says “Great Administrative Assistant” or “Best Manager”. Your legacy is defined by the memories you make and the lives you touch, not your salary or your status. Here are my top five rules to achieving satisfying work/life balance:

  1. Set boundaries. Let’s be honest, you can’t really be all things to all people. I had to set boundaries with work, family and friends. Unless there’s a hot project I have a cutoff time for work. I have boundaries for personal obligations as well. Instead of working twelve-hour days while trying to take care of home, exercise, volunteer, and spend time with family and friends, I had to create a schedule…and stick to it!
  2. Prioritize. Know that there are days when work and life won’t balance. It’s ok. At the end of the day knowing what it takes to make you happy and making that a priority will make you a much happier person. I found mine in #3.
  3. Disconnect. Being able to check out, if only for a brief time, is most relaxing. Everyday at 4pm I walk outside the office for about 15 minutes. I usually go alone and leave the BlackBerry on the desk. I’m sure the world can survive without me for 15 minutes. When I return I feel so relaxed and rejuvenated. The day goes faster and I have that boost of energy to carry out my personal responsibilities.
  4. "No" is an acceptable answer. Oftentimes we will accept any and all requests knowing there aren’t enough hours in the day to fulfill all of them. Declining a request doesn’t make you a bad person. Sometimes you have to look out for you and make no apologies for it.
  5. Do what makes you happy. Figure out what makes you happy and fulfilled and do it as often as possible. I enjoy catching up with my friends. The great part about that is my friends are athletic like me so not only do we get to hang out, but we also try some new workout craze. I look forward to it and it keeps me going until our next outing.

We all have to establish the rules that work best for our lifestyle. Though my rules don’t always work in perfect harmony, they are always the driving force in my daily decisions. I challenge you to set five goals to live by for your work/life balance.

(Source: wp.me)