Life Is Hectic! Get Organized!

If your life is anything like mine, you have a TON of things to pencil into your weekly calendar. This can get super stressful and exhausting, resulting in a total meltdown. My best advice is to stop stressing and complaining, be optimistic and add more organization into your life. Here’s my new method of balancing all of my many responsibilities and obligations.


Work

This one is easy because I have a set schedule and there’s no room for negotiation. I work 8:30am – 5:30pm, Monday through Friday. My position does not require me to take work home or be connected through email or company cell phone so no organization of my schedule is needed, I just need to stay on top of my workload during the day.

Economics Class

As some of my readers may know, I recently started a Microeconomics course which is needed as a prerequisite for the Master’s program I’ll be applying to soon. Now, because my work schedule is non-negotiable, I opted to take this course online as there were no classes available after my work shift or on weekends. Because I am taking the class online, I have to schedule time myself for studying and watching the course videos. This, in my opinion, is more difficult than attending a scheduled class because there’s a higher level of autonomy. I time out how many weeks I have until the next exam and divide that by the amount of chapters covered in that exam. That is how much I’ll read each week and I watch the videos whenever I have a moment. I even listen to them on my headphones at work as opposed to listening to music. I have to watch them again at home but the lessons sound familiar to me because I’ve heard them before. This method clearly works for me since I got nearly a perfect score on my first Econ exam *dusts shoulders off* 🙂 You don’t have to use my method but any organized schedule should work.

Family Time

I have a husband and child at home so I have to make sure I spend quality time with them. My husband is not my son’s biological father so my son spends a couple of days a week with his father. While, of course, I miss my little man, this actually helps me fit in time for studying, chores and working out. This also frees up some time to have date nights with my very busy husband. On the flip side, since I don’t have my son everyday, I make sure that we do something fun together every other weekend when he’s with me and in the evenings, I set aside time to look over his homework and make sure he’s organized for school, bathed and fed. We live in a bungalow so almost all of the rooms are on one floor so we are always in close proximity with one another and I love it for the sole purpose that I have my loves close to me at all times ❤


Working Out

I just started a gym schedule this week because summer is sneaking up on me pretty quickly. I’m really trying to live in a crop top all summer so gym time is essential :-p So this week, I woke up at 5:45am and hit the gym before work on Monday. My gym has classes so Tuesday, I went to Zumba in the evening. I took Wednesday off and went back to the gym on Thursday evening. I’m taking Friday off and going back for a class on Saturday. My schedule wont always look like this as I have to accommodate when I have someone to babysit for me. My plan is to know by Sunday what days I’ll be working out that week and actually writing it down in my planner. I luckily have my husband who will cook dinner for me when I go to the gym in the evenings so that is a HUGE help.

Housework

This has to be my least favorite because I hate cleaning!! But, I make sure that I thoroughly clean the house and do laundry either every Saturday or Sunday.Since I’m off work on those days, I have hours to dedicate to this project. Throughout the week, my husband and I alternate doing the dishes and straightening up. Nothing makes me happier than coming home from work and seeing that my husband already did this! I literally want to hug him immediately and worship him at his feet. This means I only have to shower and then go straight to studying! Score! It pays to have a partner.

Paying Bills

I swear all my bills are due on all random days. It’s so frustrating and hard to keep up with so I only pay bills on pay days. I pay whatever bill is due closest to each pay day. I even write the hard to remember ones in my planner. Bills are my least favorite part of pay days because I can’t get too excited about it when I know I’m also using that money to pay bills. Such a downer! Then I go to Target and cheer myself up with at least one thing! 🙂

Grocery Shopping

I try to shop on Sundays but I get a case of the lazies on Sundays so often times shop after work on Mondays. We don’t eat frozen foods, really, so we do have to shop weekly since fresher foods expire quickly. I need to push myself to shop on Sundays more so I can go straight home from work during the week but that’s easier said than done. 😦

Social Life

I don’t schedule social events because I think it’s fun when social outings are more spontaneous and plans don’t tend to work out the way you plan them for some reason anyway. I really only schedule birthday outings and weekly TGIT viewing parties with two of my best friends. If someone asks me to go somewhere or I have the urge to hit the town, I gauge what I have going on at the time, measure my level of tiredness and just make a decision to go or not. Whatever you do, make sure you pencil some fun into your weekly schedule or you’ll go nuts! I love date nights and girls nights!

It’s good to be busy but without organization, there’s room for error and a cause for going insane. Don’t be afraid to pick up extra hobbies, don’t talk yourself out of that degree you want to earn and don’t set aside family time for work. Simply come up with a plan and try your best to stick with it. Life is entirely too short to be stressed all the time! Happy scheduling, loves!

-D.O. ❤

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Carbs, I Do Adore

I’m pretty sure that when you’re looking to slim down, limiting carbs is essential. Easy peasy, right? In the words of our new president, “WRONG”! It’s hard because they’re SO delicious!

I LOVE Texas Roadhouse solely because of their unlimited rolls and cinnamon butter. Literally heaven in a basket! Olive Garden also has endless bread, bread sticks, to be exact, and they are garlic-y and addicting AF. I can’t even go there anymore because I’ll eat too many of those and then eat all of my pasta. Carb overload!

When someone walks into the office with donuts for everyone, I get an overwhelming feeling of joy. I’m not sure if America actually runs on Dunkin but I know I do! Donuts are life and have you heard of donuts’ tastier distant relatives, beingets? They’re deep-fried dough in the shape of a fluffy pillow, covered in powdered sugar. I ate beignets every day of my trip to New Orleans. EVERY DAY! If we had a Cafe Du Monde here in Cleveland, I would be done for.

Mexican food is another weakness of mine and what’s a Mexican meal without nacho chips and tortilla shells? That’s basically a salad! 😦 And let’s  not even go into too much detail about PIZZA. Pizza is both convenient and yummy! You cannot do a carb-less pizza! That’s just not even right.

So, how can we cut back on the carbs? I can only offer a few tips because I’m struggling with my own carb demons but hopefully these will help;

  1. Burgers without buns are still delicious.
  2.  Mixed vegetables are a great replacement side dish for french fries.
  3. Whole grain bread, noodles and tortillas are a little healthier than the regular stuff.
  4. Chipotle has brown rice…and it’s not bad!
  5. Just don’t even go to Texas Roadhouse or Olive Garden. Pretend they don’t even exist because you will not pass up the bread. It’s physically impossible.
  6. Eat pizza in moderation (Maybe throw some veggies on it so at least feel healthy. 😉 )
  7. Don’t visit New Orleans 😉
  8. And if someone walks into the office with donuts….I’m not sure what to tell you. I’d love to tell you to just say no but I’d be a total hypocrite. I have yet to resist the urge to eat at least one.

If you guys have any other tips or tasty carb replacements, PLEASE leave them in the comments. (preferably a donut replacement because I’d love to kick that habit 😉 )

-D.O. ❤

 

 

“Why you call it Late Registration? Cause we takin these muh’f*ckers back to school”

Kudos to those who get my Kanye reference! ❤

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Me in Clark Kent Mode

Anyway, I’m going back to school! Attaining a Master’s Degree is something that has always been a goal of mine but I was never sure of what my concentration would be. I thought about Journalism or English. I definitely have a passion for writing but didn’t really see the value as my undergrad is enough to pursue a career in those areas. An MBA has much value but my heart isn’t in the subject of just strictly Business. I knew I wouldn’t perform well. I hit a road block. Without knowing what my concentration would be, there was no way to move forward.

It finally hit me after this very confusing election, Political Science!

Now, this does not mean that I’m knowledgeable in the subject but I find myself wanting to know and understand more. We had a huge problem this election year with propaganda which led to misinformation and ignorance in American voters. As awful and confusing as this was, it inspired me. I want to be a resource to people who are looking for facts.

I want to do that in a couple of different ways;

  • Freelance Writing. I never thought Political Journalism would be something I’d want to do. I always thought I’d focus on fashion, beauty and entertainment. I’ll still write about these subjects on my personal blog, of course, but I’m definitely striving to also be a contributor for a political publication.
  • Teach Poli Sci courses. I’d like to teach students while they’re young, high school age to freshmen/sophomores in college. They’re either about to hit voting age or between 18 and 19. I want to influence young voters to think for themselves and research facts prior to casting their votes. I’ll need my PhD to become a professor and a teaching license to teach a high school class so, more and more school is on the road ahead.

Now that I’ve decided on a concentration and possible career paths, a few things need to happen before I even start;

  1. I have to take both Microeconomics and Macroeconomics as they’re prerequisites for the Master of Arts in Global Interactions (MAGI) program at my college of choice. MAGI is their version of Political Science. (I took both economics courses in my undergrad but we’re not even going to talk about what grades I received lol. I was more of a Communications course type of gal!) So, this will be round two for me. I just enrolled in Micro and will start January 17th!
  2. Cross reference the classes I took in my undergrad to make sure I have all other prerequisites. Literally crossing my fingers that I do or else I’ll have more classes to take before I start.
  3. Take the GRE and score in 50th percentile or above. I just got my Kaplan study guide and will be cracking that puppy open very shortly. It’s huge and overwhelming but I’m ready for the challenge.

I’m so excited to get going on this very big goal. I’m nervous as well but I know all of the hard work and stress will be worth it. There are quite a few female politicians right now along with Hillary Clinton, of course, that are so inspiring to me. Politics is male dominated and not to mention, lacking diversity. As a minority woman, I’m excited to add to that diversity. You might not see me running for any political office but hopefully you’ll see my words published and my name on a class schedule 🙂

My experience in deciding to go back to school is proof that it’s never too late. I graduated college in 2009 and here I am stepping back into the classroom setting. If you’ve been wanting to go back to school and aren’t so sure or may feel discouraged, please do not hold yourself back or stand in your own way. You can definitely do it! “Better late than never, it’s orien-tation!” (More Kanye 🙂 )

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please do not hesitate to contact me (My customer service attitude is showing there 😉 ) Or, If you want to share your back-to-school story and/or any advice, I’d love to hear from you.

-D.O. ❤

 

 

25 Reason Why I Love The Holiday Season

 

Yas! It’s December and we are simply haaaaving a wonderful Christmas time! Well, I am at least. Here’s 25 reasons why I am enjoying the holidays this yearpsl-lights

  1. It’s an amazing distraction from the worst Presidential elections in my lifetime.
  2. Every store is decorated
  3. Retail sales! $8.50 3-wick candles, don’t mind if I do!
  4. Local radio stations that play only Christmas music all day long
  5. Christmas shopping for my son (I stood in the GameStop Black Friday line from 3am-5am and I’ve never been more proud of myself)
  6. Visiting my mom’s house and seeing literally every room decorated for Christmas (even the bathroom)
  7. Having a Christmas tree in the living room for a month
  8. Thinking of creative gifts that my family will love
  9. You can wear sequins and glitter without getting questioned
  10. Everyone seems friendlier
  11. Snow is bearable because the holidays just don’t make sense without snow
  12. Holiday rom coms on the Hallmark Channel
  13. The Santa display in the middle of the mall
  14. Christmas music playing in every store and restaurant
  15. Starbuck’s Holiday drinks (including pumpkin spice latte
  16. Holiday themed episodes of my favorite shows
  17. Great Lakes Christmas Ale (A Cleveland brewery)
  18. Holiday parties
  19. Food!
  20. Hanging out with family
  21. Vacation time from work
  22. The “Santa Clause is watching” lie works on your kids when they’re misbehaving
  23. You have an excuse to watch Elf, although, you’ve actually been watching it all year
  24. My son’s Christmas concert. I love watching him and his class sing 🙂
  25. Christmas lights, duh!

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Happy Holidays, Loves!

-D.O. ❤

11 Pictures That Prove Hillary Clinton Is Cool AF

The election didn’t go the way that I, along with 59,814,017 other Americans, had hoped but I still admire Hillary Clinton tremendously. She worked hard, ran a tough campaign that was free of hate and her intelligence is inspiring. Hell, she won the popular vote! You go girl!

She makes me want to know more…to do more. Hillary proved that women can do anything they want to do as long as they put their minds to it and make the effort. #GirlPower

As a Life + Style blogger, I typically try to not speak politics but many who know me are aware of my feelings as I am an open book. Regardless of the outcome, #ImStillWithHer.

Now let’s look at some cool ass flicks of Nasty-Woman-in-Chief, HRC!

Dats Bae

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To The Windows! To The Wall!

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Oh, put your freakum dress on!

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Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of.

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New Phone. Who Dis?

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Ladies Is Pimps Too, Gon’ Brush Your Shoulders Off!

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Girl, Bye.

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Hey, Girl, Hey!

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Ponytail on Fleek

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Big Baller, Shot Caller…

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Uh-oh, running out of breath, but I
Oh, I, I got stamina ❤

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“Don’t give up, I won’t give up.”-Sia

-D.O. ❤

 

 

 

An Open Letter to Women Who Don’t Respect Other Women

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Dear Ladies,

Being a woman is so empowering. We’re strong, ambitious, and wear many hats. I mean, we make humans, take care of them, handle the household and go to work! Impressive! I am so proud of my gender and enjoy every minute of being a woman. We want so badly to be understood and demand respect from men but I think a good fraction of us are missing something. We need to remember to respect each other as well. With that being said, I want to address women who lack respect for other women.

There are a few different types of women who are blatantly disrespectful to other women and I want to confront them here. I want unity within our gender. We must put a  stop to/stop being these girls:

The Competitor

Are you always trying to one-up other females. If so, read this one carefully. I love a little friendly competition every now and then but to never be happy for your friends’ accomplishments and continuously try to show them that you’re better? Not cool. That behavior doesn’t make you a good a friend and it’s telling the other person that their achievements are not enough but yours are. Be proud of other women.

I came across this quote; “Girls compete with each other. Women empower one another”. This speaks volumes as it explains that it’s not only a respect thing, it’s a maturity thing. It’s time for us, as a gender, to grow up and congratulate each other. Support and celebrate other women. If you do this, you will get it in return, thus creating healthy friendships. Nothing but good can come from this.

The Other Woman

Not only is being the other woman disrespectful to the wife or girlfriend, it’s disrespectful to oneself. Motivational speaker, Tony Gaskins stated, “Don’t be the other woman! Why settle for half-a-man? If he’s cheating with you, he’ll cheat on you. Karma is real; so please give the next woman’s relationship the same respect you’d want her to give yours”. That quote is loaded with great points, let’s dissect it;

  1. You’re knowingly sharing a man with another woman. How highly do you think of yourself if you’re willing to do that?
  2. If he’s cheating with you, what makes you think you’re the exception? He is a cheater so there’s a good chance that even if he leaves that woman, he will do the same to you.
  3. Karma is real. Look at Brad and Angelina. Karma does not have an expiration date. If it starts bad, there’s a good chance it will end bad. Do things that create good karma.
  4. Treat others how you would want to be treated. You know you would not want this to happen to you so why are you doing it?

This applies to flirting, texting or calling someone who is taken while knowingly having bad intentions. You don’t have to do “the deed” in order to be considered disrespectful. I urge you not to go this route and do not support friends who are doing it either. Supporting this kind of behavior is just as bad as doing it. Speak up.

The Critic

If you find yourself constantly downing the way another women look, you fit “the critic” profile. Commenting or laughing about other women’s weight, body type, face or style is not okay. Men already do this to us, let’s try not to join them. We have heard Donald Trump, a presidential candidate, on tape calling women pigs and discussing a former beauty queen’s weight gain. He’s said on record, “Take a look at her… I don’t think so,” in response to a woman coming forward about him interacting with her inappropriately. If we are disgusted by him speaking in this way about women, we should be disgusted when we do it as well.

Women come in different shapes and sizes, we come from different walks of life and have different style. If you don’t like the way someone looks, keep it to yourself. You can’t control your thoughts but you can control your words. There is no need to be cruel.

Celebrities get this much harder than we do. Just recently, Chrissy Teigen was criticized on Twitter for the way she was holding her baby. This is quite ridiculous. Chrissy is not one to keep quiet though.

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This is the definition of petty. Stay humble because there’s someone out there who doesn’t like your body type, style or the way you do things. Who are you to judge?

The Non-believer

Times are changing at a rapid pace and it’s for the better. Women can do anything men can do. Unfortunately, there are women out there who don’t believe this. If this is you, stop! “That’s a man’s job,” should never be spoken. I see it a lot more now that Hillary Clinton is running for President. I’ve actually heard women on camera say that the role of the President is a man’s job. Says who?

We have women construction workers, weight lifters, engineers, architects and the list could go on and on. Don’t be a non-believer. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” If you’re a woman who strives to be something that society believes is the role of a man, remember what Eleanor said. When you allow others to shape your beliefs on a woman’s ability to achieve certain goals, you are consenting to oppression. Don’t take that from men or women.

Spread love, show respect and empower one another because only we can truly understand what it’s like to be a woman. Imagine how much stronger we can be when we rally together.

ts-squad

Sincerely,

❤ D.O. & all other women who want respect ❤

5 Ways To Be More Empathetic

My last post, 6 Reasons Why Women Should Stop Apologizing For Their Feelings, got me thinking about ways to communicate with someone who does decide to communicate their feelings with us. How should we react so that they are not inclined to apologize to us. What can we do to help?

It got me thinking about empathy. When we share our feelings with someone or are on the receiving end, the key to a successful conversation is exercising empathy.

This term is not to be confused with sympathy. In our customer service training at work, we watched a simple three minute cartoon narrated by research professor, Dr.Brenè Brown, that explains the difference between empathy and sympathy. They are two very different things and understanding that difference will completely change the way we communicate.

Empathy Defined: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Sympathy Defined: feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.

What Dr. Brown says at the very end of the video is that when she shares her feelings with someone, she’d prefer them to say, “I don’t even know what to say right now, I’m just so glad you told me.” She then goes on to say, “Because the truth is that rarely does a response make something better. What makes something better is connection.”

So how can we all get to the point where we can drive connection in these situations with our friends and loved ones? Here are five ways we can exercise empathy:

  1. Put ourselves in their shoes. We need to try not to respond with only our perspective of things. Everyone is unique and outlooks are naturally going to different. If we genuinely care about this person, why should we make them feel worse by pushing our views on them when they are the ones who are upset or feeling hurt. We can’t let our annoyance with the conversation, defensiveness or sympathetic mindset get in the way.
  2. Listen. We should let this person first, finish what they have to say without interruption. Remember that he or she is the one who is upset here. We should also be listening to understand, not listening to respond. Avoiding defensive reactions will make the conversation go much smoother. Ears open, mouth closed.
  3. Pay attention to non-verbal cues. Is this person fidgety and appear to be nervous? Do they have tears in their eyes? Are they fearfully avoiding eye contact? Pay attention to these cues to determine their temperament and mood. If we don’t show empathy, we could make them even more upset and we don’t want that, especially if we care for them.
  4. Hold back judgement. We shouldn’t make fun or belittle someone’s feelings and emotions. Remember tip one. We wouldn’t want someone to do that to us so let’s show the respect that we would want if we were in their shoes.
  5. Ask them what they need from us. Someone is coming to us for a reason. Either something we did bothered them or they may even just be venting about something unrelated us. Use the statement Dr. Brown suggested, “I don’t even know what to say right now, I’m just so glad you told me,” and follow up with, “What can I do to help?” Again, a response rarely makes someone feel better but offering to be there for them may just do the trick.

My purpose of this post is to encourage myself and others to be the support system that the people in our lives need. We should allow them to be vulnerable with us and try to understand that it took them courage to approach us and open up. We shouldn’t give them even more fear by lacking the empathy and support they deserve.

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Photo via WeHeartIt

-D.O. ❤