Archives for July 2014

Closet confessions: Revisiting old fashion and making it something new

Making new finds in your old clothesThere is no bigger terror in the world of planning your daily fashion than being separated from some of your go-to attire.  I am living that nightmare right now as I have much of my closets packed up as I transition from one home to another.  The benefit of the move, however, is that you get to rediscover some pieces that may have store away and forgotten for a long time.  Revisiting favorites of the past remind you of the reasons the piece caught your eyes and can even bring back the old feelings that inspired the purchase in the first way.

This is especially the case when you buy items based on your own personal style instead of trends that come and go.  Clothes can be a great way to show the world who you are, your own personal style and give you the confidence to take on some of the world’s challenges.  When your purchases are made in this light this internal connection still comes through, with or without whatever trend is not at the top of the fashion season.  I recent dug deep into my closet and found a fun and flirty  Catherine Malandrino skirt and my mind was instantly filled with fashion memories of the past.  While finishing my MBA and living in Miami, I chose the skirt because of the ease of the flow and bright color palette.  As adult the colorfulness served as a great remind of my cousins bright spirit at the celebration of his life.  Even in its rediscovery I still love these same elements.  In catching the wave of the Houston summer heat I decided to wear the skirt as a dress to make the legs the spotlight and produce a simple yet attention grabbing outfit for a night out for fun.  As everything old becomes new again the skirt actually matches todays dress trends but more importantly it is still a great expression of my personal taste and personality.

Getting results with daily check ups

Take Control Speedometer Think Big Want ChangeAs the midyear mark quickly came and went I set out to take an inventory on where I was this year to see if I was on pace to meet goals and resolutions I made at the beginning of the year.  With every start that I attempted to get my list done I found myself bogged down with work and travel and other distractions keeping me away from my inventory.  As I sat at my desk weighing doing an inventory or going home, however, I realized that the real question is a daily one, not just a midyear or annual review.

The big results we really want to see in life, whether it is a new job or a desire to improve or personality or position, come if we can successfully check off the box of accomplishment on a daily basis.  Although it may not seem like a big change or difference at the end of every day, those daily actions add up to give us the big success at the end of the year.  Instead of going with an exhaustive review of where I was I decided to challenge myself to asking some simple daily questions to mark my progress.  Every day when I prepare to pack up to leave for work I decided to be still for a couple of minutes and do a self-check up on how the day fit into the vision I have for my life and for myself.

Was I kind to people? Did I let my loved ones know how important they are to me? Could people care I was there and willing and help to help? Was I consistent and provided my highest level of personal service? 

All these things could be answered in minutes with some simple yes or no answers.  The benefit, however, is that in this daily review you can get the insight to change what is not working and ultimately preventing you from getting where you want to go.  You get a chance with a daily check up to ask the big question of why and answer in bite size portions that are easy to swallow and produce some real changes.  If the problem was you were tired, you can go and get more rest and be refreshed for the next day.  If the problem is conflict with a co-worker, you can make a plan to talk to them the next day to discuss or resolve your differences.  The truth is that annual checklist can aid on the procrastination effect because it’s based on the premise that if you did not get it done today, there is always tomorrow.  The bet that you will always get another tomorrow slows down the gusto to do everything you can today to ensure a better tomorrow if you see it.  This balls to the walls approach to developing change results in an increase in awareness of the impact every day and especially today has in you getting where you want to go.

Dress to Impress: Navy Spotlight

Dress to Impress Navy LoveIn business navy is heralded as a power color.  Navy is neutral enough to be flexible in matching any occasion, but provides a little more color and variation then sticking with your basic black.  Outside of the boardroom, however, navy blue is still a power color that provides a great balance of lightness with a stellar foundation that you can base for countless colors and styles.  Last week, before I noticed it, I was pulling out navy over and over and over again and got a lot of wear and variation in this base color.

To start off the week I headed to the Loft Heineken Friends and Family event.  The event showcased some great artist and local trendsetters in pairing with some new and old offerings from Heineken.  To fit the event I wanted to be up for the artsy occasion while balancing with the need to pull out some sophistication required when not completely sure what the proper attire is.  My striped navy and white multi-tie dress offers a lot of variation in style that can be quickly adjusted upon arrival to best match the occasion.  In choosing a top tie and wrap for the top I could pull from the draped skirt to a produce some balance with the edgy tie on the top.

As I prepared for meetings later in the week, a great navy crop jacket took the lead role in balancing roles.  Of course it is important in a business meeting to be professional, but in Houston you cannot ignore the heat either.  Cropped jackets strike this business balance and also provide an illusion of a smaller waist when paired with contrasting colors.  You still get the visual impact navy is known for as a color but in a more youthful and chic modification.

Finally in balancing a light work day with my social calendar I chose a simple navy wrap dress to seal the deal.  Wrap dresses do a great job at accentuating (or creating) an hour glass figure.  In choosing the right style and materials you are certain to grab something that can last the entire eight hours of a work and the following hours of your play in your day.  As the dress was one solid color I mixed up the night attire by adding some fun shoes.  The basic color of navy can really come to life when you turn the conservative background of navy to develop something that convers from day time to night time in a snap.

Elevate your business lunch at Mr. Peeples

Mr Peeples Business LunchBeing successful requires a lot of work and often burning the midnight oil, however, if you are not able to get new business and close deals your business is doomed for mediocrity.  Business lunches offer a great way to engage new clients and seal the deal with old ones in developing two fundamentals in selling your product or services to clients…Likeability and Trust.  People commit their resources to others they fell they can trust to do what they say and deliver a product or service appropriately and those they connect with and think they would enjoy working with.  If not why would they not explore their options elsewhere?  Over a good business lunch you are able to share not just why you think you are perfect for a job, but also showcase a bit of your own spirit and personality that connects with others emotions and gently persuades potential client that the search for the products or services is officially over.

Since opening Mr. Peeples has offered a step up on the sophistication level for a dining experience in Houston.  The chic décor paired with the amazing food offers a chance to really get lost in the ambiance and quality of the restaurant.  As they announced the expansion of this offering to a lunch environment it instantly screamed business lunch to me.  What better way to get someone in a buying mood then delicious offerings such as Lobster and Crab Tostadas, Filet Mignon Burger, Grilled Pork Chop and Chilean Sea Bass???  Not to mention they distinctive location really makes clients feel special and that you value their business enough to treat them to something special.  Business always goes a little easier when people are happy and relaxed and the cool vibrations and libations at Mr. Peeples work to do some of the foot work and take the load off showing just what makes your products or services unique.  If you have not been it is a must, from your walk in the door to the last bite of your desert you are sure to love the indulgent experience.


Classy and Sassy Ladies Night Out

Ladies night at TonysWhen you think of dressing up and heading to a really nice restaurant you normally think of date night.  Life gets so busy that pulling out all the stops (and the big bill that comes with it) is usually reserved for special occasions.  This week, however, I was invited by a dear friend to a dinner that was all about the ladies so that on the 21st of every month we take some time to treat ourselves, hang out with the ladies, and remember the fun and laughs that makes life amazing at any age.

2014-07-21 19.59.42There is something really special sitting down and enjoying a really nice meal with fellow professionals that is heartwarming.  Regardless of how long you have known each other or what your profession’s are you get a great reminder that something’s are universal.  First and foremost, once a mother, always a mother.  The connection through motherhood gives a shared sentiment to almost any other mother around.  It becomes a basic connection so if there is nothing else in common, you can share due to the amazing experience called motherhood.  Before you know it one link produces another and with every step you cross you find another connection that takes you to the heart of who someone else is.

21 on the 21st at TonysThe other universal truth I was reminded of is that good vibes bred good vibes.  The older we get some of the pettiness of youth can be washed away.  Life is much too precious to be concerned with who look, said or did something you would not do or do not care for.  If you are out with someone who treasures moments to just be themselves, away for the jobs of wife, mother, or career women, you can enjoy yourself regardless of how well you are acquainted.  With amazing food and a good friend in my presence I set myself of up to have a great time. As the night progressed I felt I was in the presence of several really good friends as we shared and laughed and even popped a few bottles throughout the night to produce a night even more amazing then I expected.  Tony’s served as an amazing setting (food is fabulous but the soufflé is to die for), but with restaurant week coming up there will be a ton of amazing restaurants on almost any budget for you to indulge.  Take some time out and treat yourself with friends, new or old, and prepare for the amazing fun that can come from it!



Joining organizations that support you

ICON Induction CeremonyOver the years I have been apart of a lot of organizations that touted professional development or networking opportunities.  Within these structures there are always opportunities to meet new people and expand the reach of your scope to your market or potential clients.  Although some of these organizations are a must in building your network or exceling in your business, few of these organizations vest a personal interest on how well you fare.  If you are outgoing, chances are you will successfully meet others and if not then you will find who you connect with personally and stay in your lane.  I encourage everyone, however, to also include in their mix organizations that are equally interested in building your own character through a shared purpose with likeminded individuals who you can learn and grown from.

I was recently lucky enough to join the I.C.O.N. Women’s Organization and even at induction I was inspired by the spirit of sisterhood and service prevalent throughout the organization.  While it was my good fortune to stumble upon the organization it can be difficult to really discover an organization that will not just offer opportunities to grow professionally, but personally as well.  Here are some of the criteria I look to when deciding if I want to devote my time, talent and treasures to an organization:

Purpose: Everyone wants to be motivated.  Organizations whose focus is beyond their members always give you an extra boost of why to participate.  We all one to do things that are good for us but that limits the things we are willing to do to those things you like or you are good at or are easy.  When the purpose is bigger than just your need to meet people or share your services, you are able to push past some of the blocks, interruptions and “I don’t want to’s” that can waiver your commitment to an organization.

How are connections built: Throwing you in a room with a bunch of people often results in people sticking to who they know and already like, leaving new comers having to fend for themselves.  Great organizations have members who were welcomed into the fold and likewise see new comers as an opportunity to meet someone new and learn new things.  When these connections are strengthened with the opportunity to get to know members, both new and old, on a personal level you get the most genuine introduction to the spirit the organization stands for.

Participation and Accountability: Let’s face it, if you showing up is just at your option or convenience there are going to be lots of times you just don’t make it.  Organizations that set given participation requirements may seem like a pain but that structure breathes life into the idea that you get what you give.  By meeting the participation requirements you get a chance to really give to the organization and get things you may not have anticipated that add to the person you are on the road to becoming the person you want to become.  By collectively holding people responsible to make an organization great you move from passive participation to actively caring about both the organizational goals and your other members.

I.C.O.N. is a great way to get involved in the community and expand your network through sisterhood.  Check them out and sound off on some other great organizations that work to build its members and its community.


Washing away ones worries with a beach day

Day at the BeachI’m not sure if it is the heat rays or crashing waves or rolling sand but something about a beach demands you take a break from life and relax.  With every step as you make your wave from the car through the sand to the ocean you begin to drop some of the things that are usually hard to let go.   I am always more inclined to leave my computer in the car and blame the wind for my inability to bring papers with me down to the water.  With that I step away from the life whose demands I am always bowing to.  On my trip to Los Angeles at the Santa Monica Pier I was able to eat, laugh, and just enjoy the now.

The feeling of peace and fun that a beach vibrates is contagious.  It surrounds everyone who is there as you see kids play in the sand, adults crashing in the waves or catching some rays and everyone enjoying some of the most precious gifts nature has to offer.  It is a great reminder of just how beautiful and majestic nature is and a chance, if taken, to put the priorities of life in the order that counts.  By looking face to face at things that have stood the test of time, the sun and ocean and sand, you reminder just how temporary things we make important can be.  Troubles at work, problems with bills, fights with family all wash away over time and the waves and setting of the beach is a great reminder of that.  Watching my daughter and family play gave me a chance to sit back and reflect and enjoy the reason for all of the work and hustle and a reminder to be thankful for the blessings each day brings instead of being bogged down with the trouble that accompanies it.

Beach days are a great way to remember that the present is just that, a present.


Moonshine…not for the backwoods anymore

Moonshine reloadedOn a night out on the town in Hollywood, I don’t expect to be surprised by much so stumbling about moonshine was a shocker for me.  Stepping into the Five O Four bar and making the decision of what to have is usually a big one for me so I was more than a little surprised to see that the drinks specialties were cocktails all based with the secret ingredient of moonshine.

What I have known about moonshine to date is limited to something I ran into in a dry county many moons ago and the show moonshiners.  In my mind, however, the liquor is limited to versions of whiskey or vodka that instantly make hairs pop out on your chest.  Versions that have evolved to spirits with a lot of sophistication and an array of flavors have evaded me to this point.  But here on the menu at Five O Four I was face to face with old classics reimagined with moonshine.  With offerings of a refined version of the strength moonshine is known for with different infusions from the process they are a true contender now in the cocktail arena.  Here are some of the drinks and recipes with a moonshine twists:

Louisiana Lemonade: Blueberry moonshine and lemon juice

Southern Peach: Peach moonshine and peach soda

Drunken Watermelon: Watermelon moonshine, lime juice, lime slice

Moonshine Margarita: Pineapple moonshine, triple sec, lime juice

Cherry Coke: Cherry Moonshine, coke, maraschino cherry

Step up to moonshine and check out something old that may become a new favorite!


The List: Getting what you want by deciding what you want to give for it

Woman makng a shopping list in her kitchenChecklists can be pretty easy and detailed when you are listing something you want.  Just think of how quickly the things you need for a big party or a wedding or even all the qualities you want in a spouse pop in your mind when it comes to planning.   I always use lists as a part of my plan to get things done and stay on track and inspired. As good of a tool as lists are, however, when planning something you want to accomplish or to come your way you also have to ask yourself the hard question of what you are willing to pay for it.

A party is a great example as it is fun to plan all of the things to include in a really great party.  Unique invitations, outstanding food, great music, drinks and decoration all pile on the list quickly when thinking of how to create the party you want.  Putting price tags next to those things, however, often puts things back down to reality because everything in life costs.   The perfect party you have in mind requires some changes when the cost is $15,000 and you are only willing to pay $5,000.  The idea is the same when you are planning things you want in other arenas, even if the price for those things are not money.  You may want a fulfilling relationship with someone tall, dark, and handsome who handles you gently and provides abundantly.  The question of what you are willing to pay for it, however, requires some real self-assessment.  Everything in life comes at a price so expecting something for nothing is quickly tossed out realities window.  If you want that perfect relationship the next question is really what you are willing to give of yourself for it.  Are you willing to be kind or gracious or work hard or even swallow your pride to get what you desire?  If all those things cost too much for what you are asking then you have to go back and re-work your list in order to be sure when what you want comes around you are willing to do your part and pay the price to get and keep it.

Being able to list what you what you will pay for something has few better applications then when applied to your career.  Many people can see successful individuals once they attain a certain level of power and money and want to emulate their position.  As nothing is free, however, the questions becomes if they are willing to do what needs to be done to get those things.  Are they willing to take on sleepless nights and frustrating days full of no’s in order to achieve this goal?  If not those things others have are just items on a dream list that you are unwilling to pay for.  By writing down a list of your skills, talents, abilities, and efforts you are willing to commit to achieve a goal you put yourself and the world on notice that you know what you want and what you need to do or give to get it and you are willing and able to pay the price.  Armed with this you are able to check off from the list of things you want into the things you have paid for and are yours because you earned them.


Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Don't Worry Be Happy When I was a kid “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin was one of the wake up songs my mom would blast through the house early in the morning.  The narrow lyrics of the song tells how trouble and problems seem to increase when you spend lots of time worrying about them.  These simple words still ring true even though worry can be an irresistible companion at times when you are knee deep in trouble.  While creeping up in the disguise of being prepared or realistic about problems worry can take over your life and change the movement you have in addressing your problems to being stuck in the mud of troubles.

The worst thing about worry is that its real goal is to eat up our most precious resource: time.  Once you see trouble on the horizon or even when you are knee deep in it, the thoughts surrounding those troubles can quickly eat up tons of time.  If you need to pay the rent and your money is funny the thoughts of the impending trouble can wake you up early in the morning and keep you up late at night.  Worry, as the slippery character it is, looks a lot like you are preparing for the worst.

            What you will do next?  Where do you go?  How do you get there?

As those thoughts fill your mind it can trick you to think by worrying you are working towards a solution.

The problem is that in this deceit of worry you forget one of the most important components of solving problems, ACTION.   With the time you spend worrying you could be working towards a solution.  Even if your idea is not a great one once you put it to action you are actively working to wave away the clouds of worry to get to where you can see things clearly.  Action breeds action and worry just breeds more worry.  Thinking about trouble or problems can be a great thing when you tie it to an action plan on what to do to address those same troubles and problems.  Here are some steps I take to combat worry and turn those thoughts into a plan.

  1. Recognize when your thoughts turn to worry
  2. Accept that worrying does not change the troubles or problems on the horizon
  3. Start a list when you start to worry (action breeds action so think of some things in your control that can start to address the problem)
  4. Accept your plans may not be a complete solution (something is always better than nothing)
  5. Start working your plan (take the first step and trust that further steps will come to you later)

The steps may be simple but they are an easy way to settle your mind about the things out of your control and motivate your mind on the things in your control…YOU!!!