image credit: ei1.com Ahhh Fall. It's the season for comfy sweaters, fabulous boots, spiced lattes and ... coming down with a nasty bug. Don't try to deny it - it's the truth! With less outdoor activity happening, and more time spent cooped up without fresh air, the germ game is on 100. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Staples, more than 73% of people catch the flu at work. I wasn't expecting to hear this stat because I was certain that it was our little petri dishes (i.e. kiddos) bringing the flu home from school. Turns out, it's our colleagues and co-workers that are sharing the germy love. The good news is that you can fight back with a strategy that might come as a surprise: Feng Shui. For guidance on how the art of Feng Shui can help keep my fellow entrepreneurs, small business owners and me healthy this flu season, I had the pleasure of speaking to expert Susan Chan of Feng Shui Creative. Susan started out as a graphic designer and also working in corporate event spaces -- it was during that time that she really embraced how our surroundings can affect us. Let me know if you can relate to this: you're trying your best to meet a deadline or create a piece of content, but you're completely distracted by the clutter on your desk or the lack of sunlight or feeling cramped. It happens to me too. Once Susan started implementing the concepts of Feng Shui, she started feeling a change internally and externally. image credit: decoist Here's how we can think outside of the box and take a total wellness approach: It's All About Energy Feng Shui is based on the seasons and elements. This is the time of year when our energy -- or chi -- contracts, and so it's important to achieve that perfect balance of energy flow. I found this tidbit to be so interesting: if the energy around you is moving too fast, you can't absorb all of the good energy; on the flip side, if it's too slow, then the energy stagnates. To help out the flow of energy in your space: Make sure to open windows and doors as often as you can (to allow the energy to move) Practice yoga or Qigong (to keep your energy flowing) Position your desk in a quiet space (to reduce overwhelm) Use uplighting (it pushes the energy upwards) -- even better if you are using full spectrum lights Embrace the Elements This probably won't come as a surprise but nature has a lot of the answers. Bring plants into your workspace (even if you can only swing a small one), since they are natural air purifiers. Susan also recommends that you introduce the colors of green and purple into your office space, which are considered wood elements. Lush and healing, wood elements bring the energy of vibrant health, vitality and growth to a workspace. Adding in some pretty rocks to your decor can also boost the energy as rock are considered earth elements. The Basics Do Work Regular hand washing and disinfecting surfaces really do make a difference. Even actions such … [Read more...] about Feng Shui the Flu Away with Staples
A few months ago, I was attending a parent meeting at my daughter's school where the principal was explaining their approach to academic placement, homework, and the middle experience in general. He said that his philosophy was that children should experience what he calls: "Productive Struggle." On the one hand, we want our children to be challenged and pushed to maximum potential; on the other hand, we don't want them to be challenged to the point of frustration and overwhelm, which can cause them to become disengaged and lose confidence. The happy middle ground, he suggested, is where they are being challenged, but also being successful and making progress. This is what he identifies as "productive struggle." When he said this, bells started going off in my head! I thought it was brilliant, while at the same time, being such a simple yet effective approach to learning. Ever since that evening, that term has stuck with me. I've mentally applied it to my children's participation in sports activities, and even selecting books at the public library. It works when considering troubled relationships too. I surprised myself, however, when I unintentionally applied it to a fellow entrepreneur (and adult)! She was lamenting how difficult keeping her business running had become, and was questioning whether it was time throw in the towel. It made me think: maybe the way to decide when it's quitting time is to determine when the entrepreneurial struggle is no longer productive. Being an entrepreneur is the opposite of easy. The "hustle" is glorified these days and those who are pursuing their passions and are quitting their day jobs and are on #TeamNoSleep are championed through an incessant amount of colorful quotes on Instagram. The truth is, being an entrepreneur is grueling - mentally, physically, financially, emotionally and more. (The ones who are honest will talk about these aspects too - not just that one time they had a 5-figure month or when Usher posted a pic of himself wearing their t-shirt on IG). Let's be real: those of us on the full-time entrepreneur grind probably question our sanity about once a week. Tweet It: Let's be real: those of us on the full-time entrepreneur grind probably question our sanity about once a week. SN: I was joking (sorta) with a fellow girl boss over text last week that sometimes I fantasize about working at the soft pretzel kiosk at the mall. Clock in. Serve pretzels. Clock out. Sounds glorious. But you know what keeps us at it? The fact that our Struggle has definite moments of Productivity. The good outweighs the bad. We have that bang-up month after barely breaking even for weeks. We land that client that we've been courting for months. We finally figure out a sales funnel that converts. We get a book deal. A media outlet asks to interview us. And so on. It's when we are stuck in an endless, fruitless struggle that might be the clue to re-evaluate. What that looks like? Only you can … [Read more...] about Is your entrepreneurial struggle no longer productive? A perspective.
Early last year, my friend Nyasha told me that she was going to her home country of Trinidad for Carnival in 2017. It took me about 11 seconds to decide that I was going too. Playing Mas at Carnival was already on my Life List and I was turning 40 in 2017 - what better time to go? I had lived in Trinidad as a toddler and my Dad was born and raised there, so I've always felt a deep connection to my Trini side. I sent out an email to my closest friends inviting them to go with me and letting them know in no uncertain terms, that this trip was happening - no excuses. As it turned out, my bestest friend ended up being the only one who joined me - The Hubs. I initially was bummed but, in hindsight, the trip was exactly as it should have been. He's my road dog, my adventure mate, my companion - and so, it was he and I that hit De Road for one of the most exhilarating trips of my life. The Music For the last two months, I'd been prepping for Carnival by listening to THE hottest Soca mix of the year - DJ Private Ryan's Soca Starter. The day it dropped, I got about 25 messages from friends sharing the link with me. By the time we touched down in Port of Spain, I was well-versed in every single one of the road tunes for the week! My favorites are (of course) Full Extreme by The Ultimate Rejects - this was BY FAR the winner during Carnival; and Workout by Kes featuring Nailah Blackman; and Big Girl Now by Patrice Robert; and Carnival Good Morning by Peter Ram + KI The Band. I could go on - there are so many great songs. And they alllll made up the soundtrack for our trip. By the trip home, we were joking that we'd have to detox from all the Soca music - please know that it's been 6 days since we've been back and we're still sneaking on YouTube every other day to get our fix. The Fetes LISTEN. The fetes (or parties) during Carnival are no joke! Locals literally start partying after the December holidays and continue through Carnival into March. I spent several weeks lining up our fetes and purchasing tickets to all-inclusive events. There are some that are hot tickets - one of which I was able to snag - but all are big fun. Since TingZNice's blog post about her fete experience in 2016 was so helpful to me, I wanted to pay it forward and share that our favorite fetes were Phuket All-Inclusive and Soca Brainwash Heaven. Sunny Side Up was decent, but I'm guessing ValeVibe would have been more our style. And I would definitely skip ROAST Cruise. The Parade(s) Whew! By the time Carnival Monday rolled around, I was nervous because I was already 75% spent and I knew I had two big days to be on the road in the parades. But because we did J'ouvert Morning [channelling the nation’s history and folklore in what was once a rebellion against slavery] with Mudders International AND HAD THE FREAKING TIME OF OUR LIVES, we didn't get back to the hotel until about 11am (from heading out to J'ouvert around 3:30am), we were exhausted and decided to take a well-earned … [Read more...] about Playing Mas in Trinidad Carnival: Checking a Major Item Off of My Life List!
1. Zadie head wrap by The Wrap Life // 2. Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist by Herbivore // 3. January 2017 Flagship Edition: Palm by Day Designer // 4. French Toast Matte Lip Whip by Beauty Bakerie // 5. The Bloom Beautifully Self Care Box // 6. Pins from Shop Luella Ah, the end of 2016. Such a rough year for so many! Myself included. This was a taxing year, both professionally and personally, but I saw it through. On the work front, I continued to push myself to grow and take risks, which was a good thing but also demanding. And on the personal front, we weathered a move to a new house - while welcoming our first-ever set of tenants at our old house; we gained, and then lost a beloved pet; dealt with getting accustomed to new schools and new friends; and I continued to struggle with health issues (and my favorite Zumba instructor left!). To top it all off, we had an election that dumbfounded and crushed the spirits of many, including my own, and a good friend of mine is in her last days on this Earth. That said, there were many happy moments too: a wonderful birthday cruise; our beautiful new home; work opportunities in LA, OKC, Laguna Nigel, Arkansas, Miami and Chicago; a successful Blogalicious conference; a successful coaching program class; a successful surgical procedure; great seats at Beyonce's Formation Tour; a family hike on the Underground Railroad in Maryland; a family outing to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture; a fun-filled Thanksgiving trip; Middle School (!!), a new product line, and more. This year's Feel-Good Holiday Gift Guide is a combination of things that have brought be joy this year AND things that I'd like to incorporate into my 2017. Here's to a love-filled holiday season and a magical new year. Feel Good for My Fashion Sensibilities: Zadie Wrap Can I make a confession? I can't fashion a head wrap to save my life. And yet I am obsessed with how fabulous they look! I'm determined to make it happen and I bet this gorgeous wrap by The Wrap Life will inspire me to get my act together. I had a fun hair year: crochet curls, crochet braids, dark color and bangs! But every now and then a girl needs to just give it a rest and wrap her hair up in a fly scarf. Thank goodness for YouTube. Feel Good for My Skin: Herbivore Botanicals With all the travel I was doing at the top of the year, I made a decision to gift myself with travel products that felt decadent. I stumbled across Herbivore Botanicals on Instagram and I was hooked. I have their Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist, the Orchid Facial Oil Roller, and Coco Rose Lip Conditioner. It feels great to apply these products after a day of flying that dries out your skin. I also appreciate a brand with a solid mission and meaningful story. Feel Good for My Business: Day Designer I'm a planner addict. There's no denying. And for a long time, I've been hearing about this Day Designer! I loved my Goal Digger planner last year, but I'd … [Read more...] about Fergie’s Feel-Good Holiday Gift Guide 2016
This morning as I forced myself and my aching hips to go on a neighborhood walk, I was listening to the Call Your Girlfriend podcast on the topic of 'Chosen Family'. The girls were discussing their love of Thanksgiving (and Friendsgiving) and all this particular holiday brings (the good and the not-so-awesome). Two things they said that really stood out to me where: That the Thanksgiving holiday can have restorative powers when celebrated right; and There is no law that says that you must subject yourself to the pain that family gatherings can bring for some. I'm paraphrasing, of course, but you get the gist. Let's discuss, shall we? I remember smiling wide during my walk when they made the first point about Thanksgiving being healing in some ways (my neighbors probably thought I was/am looney). I totally get this feeling. For me, Thanksgiving means my family - both nuclear and extended, which is a coup. If I can have my children, husband, Mom and sister sharing a holiday together, I'm winning - no question. The traditions of it all bring comfort as well. For example, I know there will be turkey. And Mommy's peas and rice. My homemade cranberry sauce. And Hubby will have the pleasure of his aunt's sweet potato pies. The kids will gorge themselves on mashed potatoes and Shirley Temples. Everyone is happy. DebListSta (that's the name for my mom, my sister and me) will be in the kitchen, laughing and singing (Mommy and I literally sang "My Favorite Things" while cooking this year). It's good. And of course, along with the good, comes the challenging. For me, that means juggling travel logistics with a family of 5, crashing at my Mom's BF's house, and making time to visit ALL THE PEOPLE. My Dad and Stepmother; My In-Laws; My BFFs; and ALL of Hubby's extended family - there are dozens and dozens. Attending his cousin's wedding. Anticipating the looks and comments because I've gained so much weight. All the while, working like a maniac and trying to keep everyone happy and no one's feelings hurt. No lie - it was a lot. The second point from the podcast - about not having to subject yourself to the pain these gatherings can bring - I see from another standpoint: that of my sister. Because she's Deaf, family gatherings are always painful for her because of the communication barrier. This year she was proactive and had us download Ava beforehand (and she also limited her visit). I'm guessing that was her way of mitigating the pain. For my part, I mitigated (kinda) by planning our Thanksgiving rounds before even landing in Miami. Thankfully my Dad agreed to do Black Friday Brunch to lessen the burden of the actual Thanksgiving Day (where we already had 2 dinners INCLUDING a baby shower to semi-plan and attend). I also made 2 separate trips to visit my BFFs instead of trying to plan a group get-together - it cut down on the coordination and I got to spend different kinds of time with each. Work was definitely the monkey wrench though - I … [Read more...] about The Restorative Powers of Thanksgiving