Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Each year, almost every news outlet pays homage to the celebrities lost during the year. In this regard, B.A.F.F.L.E.D. is no different, but will put a twist on things. Being a blog about Business, Fashion, Law and Entertainment, the notables in this posting will be from these categories.
Michael Jackson - King of Pop, Entertainer
Solange Magnano - Former Miss Argentina, Model
Natasha Richardson - Actress
Naomi Sims - Supermodel
Ted Kennedy - Senator
Bea Arthur - Actress
Walter Cronkite - Journalist
E. Lynn Harris - Author
Farrah Faucet - Actress, Charlie's Angel
Yves Rocher - French Cosmetics Tycoon
Alaina Reed Hall - Actress
Brittany Murphy - Actress
Patrick Swayze - Actor, Dancer
Irving Penn - Famed Fashion Photographer
Rest in Peace to each of them and ultimate comfort to their families. They are missed more than they could ever know.
Fashion in Review - 2009
Like any other year, we’ve seen a slew of new and repeated fashion trends. The last 12 months had provided us with some unsightly attire in the media, and I’m sure some to each of our eyes close to home. We’ve seen everything from animal print oneness, to fitted velour sweats....on men.
On a positive note, we’ve seen elegant dressings at award shows and premiers and have timeless styles to take us into the new year. Skinny jeans have continued to be staples in our closets, oddly enough for men and women. Calf height boots have grown to the ever-popular knee boot, and leggings have resurrected their way from the 80s and made a place in the 21st century. Ugg boots have gotten mixed reviews; you either love them or hate them. According to us at B.A.F.F.L.E.D., stilettos will never die and ballerina flats are not only a hurting foot’s lifesaver, but the touch of elegance we all need here and there, especially at after work events.
Traditional royalty maintains it’s position in current fashion as well. Empire waists and big belts are mainstays in our closets and can take almost any outfit to the next level.
What were some of your favorite trends of ’09? How many will be the biggest fashion mistakes ever by mid 2010?
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Cat eyes on the Catwalk
Over the years, the fashion industry has been well-known for using paper-thin models on the runway. It’s been made clear, the sample size is an uncommon fit to most consumers, Fashionista or Fashion Victim. Not so many women are over 5’7”, still a size 2, with not a curve in sight. From what a number of men say, curves are preferred; at least a little meat in some places.
Fashion industry notables have even spoken against this tradition, as Tyra Banks has had a number of “plus sized” models on America’s Next Top Model. Sienna Miller spoke recently about preferring thicker women on the catwalk http://nymag.com/daily/fashion/2009/12/sienna_miller_thinks_plus-size.html?mid=fashion-alert--20091214. Famed rappers, Salt N Pepa even said the industry needs “more booty on the runway!”
Let’s face it, you don’t have to be too “thick” to outweigh most traditional models. There is definitely not a thin line between model size and overweight; the spectrum is wide with variety. Sure, obesity is a rampant problem in our society and it absolutely needs to be addressed. However, there is no need to appear malnourished to rock the designer originals.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
2 Must-See Productions!
With the weather being a bit colder, we must find warm entertainment. Below are 2 productions, providing warmth and deserving ultimate support!
For those of you in the Chicagoland area, be sure to check out “Shades of My Skin”: A Celebration of the Black Experience -A new play by Evin Marie Rayford
Monday, December 28, 2009 and Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Malcolm X College
1900 W. Van Buren Street
Doors Open at 6:45pm - Show Starts at 7:00pm (both nights)
Tickets are $16 in Advance $20 at the Door
For group rates email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Purchase Tickets Online at http://www.blogger.com/www.blacknoiseproductions.org
*Special shouts out to Stephanie Jackson, this Chicago actress is constantly doing big things!! Check her out this Monday or Tuesday!
For play patrons on the east coast, you gotta check out Platanos and Collard Greens, an Off-Broadway must-see!
Platanos & Collard Greens is the hit romantic comedic play that tells the story of Freeman, an African-American man, and Angelita, a Latino woman, who are both forced to confront and overcome cultural and racial prejudices, while defending their bond from family and friends. Platanos will remind you of your family, your love and your life.
Take a look at the website and book your tickets now!!
*Special shouts out to Nehanda Loiseau, an amazing actress and model taking over the scene!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
By Contributing Writer, Michael Harrington
Happy Holidays! I was going to write up a big article about greening your holidays, but this site says it so much better: http://www.greenamericatoday.org/programs/shopunshop/buyinggreen/HolidayTips.cfm(courtesy of GreenAmericaToday.org).
During the holiday season, waste disposal increases 25% in the United States, causing an extra 5 billion pounds of waste in the landfills according to the Medical University of South Carolina. Plus, travelers will be logging tons of miles and creating tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Here are tips to help you plan ahead to reduce your waste and green your gift giving this year:
1. Don't Buy Wrapping Paper
Reuse old wrapping paper or put your gifts in reusable bags or boxes. Be creative about giving old materials new life -scraps of fabric, magazines, or calendars make great patchwork bags or collage wrapping paper.
2. Send Tree-free Holiday Cards
Search the National Green Pages for cards made from kenaf, hemp, and other tree-free resources. Or, send e-cards and avoid the wait at the post office for stamps.
3. Hold a Zero Waste Holiday Party
Host a zero-waste party. Minimize the garbage by asking people to bring their own cups, plates and utensils if you don't have enough of your own. Use fabric tablecloths and napkins. Then be sure to recycle any post-party cans and bottles and compost food scraps.
4. Consider the Lifecycle of Electronic Gifts
Some of the most popular gift items for children and teens are electronics like computers, video games, and music devices. But the manufacturing and disposal of these items creates significant human health and environmental hazards. To learn more about the environmental impact of computers and electronic devices, check out the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition. The Recycled Video Games Network is a great resource to dispose of old equipment or buy recycled games and systems for less, reducing the amount of new materials made.
5. Give Gifts from the Heart
Instead of spending money on commercial goods, give the gift of your time and talent to loved ones this year. Offer to make dinner, walk the dog, help with gardening or home repairs, or invite friends over for Fair Trade coffee and tea.
6. Give the Gift of a Better World
Make a donation in honor of a loved one. Choose a cause that addresses an issue that you and your friends and family members care about and support. Green America offers gift memberships at special rates during the holiday. Green America gift memberships are a great way to support our work for a green future while introducing more people to the ideas of just and sustainable purchasing and investing. Give gift memberships »
7. Green Your Holiday Travel
If you are one of the many people planning to log a lot of travel miles this holiday season, don't forget to look into green options for getting around. Better World Travelers Club can help you offset the carbon emissions from your travel through their Travel Cool program. Plus, Green America has partnered with Native Energy to help you offset your energy impact, including travel impact, fund the production of more wind energy, and generate support Green America's Green Energy program.
8. Buy Green Gifts
If you choose to give presents over the holidays, shop with green businesses listed in the National Green Pages. This year, a number of green businesses are offering special discounts to make green gift giving even easier. Check out our Green Gift Catalog.
9. Avoid Toys Made with PVC plastic
70% of PVC is used in construction, but it is also found in everyday plastics, including some children’s toys. Vinyl chloride, the chemical used to make PVC, is a known human carcinogen. Also, additives, such as lead and cadmium, are sometimes added to PVC to keep it from breaking down; these additives can be particularly dangerous in children’s toys. PVC is also the least recycled plastic. Find safe toys in the National Green Pages™ »
10. Recycle Packaging From Gifts
To reduce environmental impacts, it is important to recycle all cardboard packaging and peanuts or other Styrofoam packing that comes with gifts or purchases as these items will not de-compost in a landfill but can be used over and over again for packaging and shipping. The National Green Pages contains several listings for easy drop-off centers for both types of waste.
A few other things you can do are not to buy an actual or plastic tree (if that is your thing), but try to think of other ways to decorate without promoting the cutting and temporary use of trees or plastic. Also, since it is a bit colder and buying all those gifts can take a chunk out of your wallet, weatherizing your home and taking small steps (such as lowering your thermostat by 3 degrees or an optimal 68 degrees and lowering the temp by 8 degrees when asleep or away at work) will save you a lot!
Having a green holiday does not take a lot of work, and will not put a damper on the spirit of celebration; in fact, knowing that you’re keeping our planet cleaner should brighten your mood even more!
Enjoy, and have a happy green holiday!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Walt Disney studios debuted the first African-American Princess last Friday and grossed $25 million on the feature. B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Is excited about the new Disney royalty and is sending major thanks and recognition to the cast and crew.
Check your local Disney Store for merchandise.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Thanks to your voting and her amazing talent, Kimberly Matthews won Chicago radio station 92.3’s Remix the Runway competition http://www.remixtherunway.com. Kimberly not only has modeling talent, but has been in a number of plays, too.
Keep your eyes open for this upcoming mega model; she’s on the move!
Monday, December 14, 2009
Guest Posting from an Environmentalist:
One year ago, if anyone would have told me that I would become an environmentalist, I probably would have thought they were joking. Sure, I knew that pollution was running rampant, our emissions levels were not likely going to be reigned in before irreversible climate change set in, and a lot of the refuse in landfills won't break down for thousands, if not millions of years, but I did not think that I would be able to do anything about it. In fact, I felt that there were more pressing issues, such as joblessness, poverty and violence, especially considering the neighborhood and environment that spawned me. With only a passing interest in these issues, and my focus on trying to obtain a position in which I felt that I could directly benefit my community, I could never have seen myself as becoming an active crusader in the fight to preserve this sole planet that we humans need for sustenance. I felt like this even leading up to my appointment as the lead person at my placement through Public Allies at Uptown United, slated as the person in charge of creating a recycling program for neighborhood schools.
I did not think that this position would allow me to gain the skills and experience that I felt I needed to be an asset to my community in a meaningful way. However, as I began to research and learn more about what is considered the “environment” and environmental issues through independent research and training through the Chicago Conservation Corps, a volunteer based training program whose aim is to educate and arm citizens with the knowledge and tools to make Chicago a cleaner and greener place, I began to realize that making positive and meaningful changes to ones environment leads not only to a cleaner street, block, etc., but it also builds communities, can lead to jobs and income streams, and generally elevates the moods of people when they have a clean and safe place that they can call home.
So, I can say with confidence that becoming more concerned and active about environmental sustainability and responsibility can improve all of our lives in unimaginable ways; ways that many do not consider until they actually participate in sustainability practices (such as recycling) with their families, coworkers and communities and witness first hand the power that being an environmental steward puts into their hands and the potential that it brings.
-Michael Harrington, Environmentalist/Project Coordinator - Uptown United
Over the last few months we've solicited the idea of having guest writers contribute to the blog. Our first victim....er contributor :-) is Michael Harrington. He's a Project Coordinator at Uptown United http://www.uptownunited.org/, an environmental conservation agency in northern Chicago. Please take a look at Michael's entry. This spot is likely to be the first of a series, where we can learn and share a plethora of ways to "heal the world we live in".
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Over the last few months, we've seen a number of commercials. In this past week, we've seen numerous interviews. Michael Jackson's brothers, from the famed group the Jackson 5 (Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon), have been promoting their new reality series, The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty. The series premiers on A&E this coming Sunday at 8pm CST http://www.aetv.com/the-jacksons-a-family-dynasty/. It's the first of 5 episodes following the brothers as they seek to cope with life after Michael and the resurgence of their careers as a group.
Don't misunderstand, B.A.F.F.L.E.D. loves the Jacksons, ok mostly Michael, but the family has a lot of talent. The issue at hand here, is whether the 4 brothers will be able to make it in the industry without their little brother.
Are they riding Michael's fame too far? Can they make it without him and create their own niche? This series is going to be beyond interesting. We'll need more than 5 episodes, for sure.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The Barter Business
Do you find yourself having to be more and more creative in today’s economic times? A lot of people are taking this time to find their destiny after losing employment; returning to school or joining the hustle and bustle of job-hunting...again.
In many cases, those who start their own businesses are forced to think outside the box. They must, in order to survive in this economy and fill a niche once voided by a thriving system. One of the many ways to think outside the box is to barter.
Bartering is the swapping of services, leaving money out of the picture and bringing help to one’s fellow man into it. Business owners these days will trade their service for advertising, legal work for web design or referrals for bundling of goods and services. The options are endless. Bartering not only builds greater networks, but also strengthens the economy. Consumers can gain more advantages, as business owners are spending less and passing on the savings.
Do you barter in your business? Would you? What are some of the advantages you see in trading?
Friday, November 20, 2009
Say It Ain’t So, O!
Just yesterday, Oprah Winfrey announced the final taping of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” will air on September 9, 2011. This news has not only saddened her staff, but also the citizens of Chicago.
Oprah is a fixture in Chicago and is almost synonymous with the city, itself. Of course the show will have been on for 25 seasons when it ends 2 years from now, but to many, you can never get enough Oprah! The Queen of Talk has a Los Angeles location ready to go for her upcoming cable network and will hand out severance packages for those not placed within Harpo after the show ends. She also has talks to continue as a mainstay in the lives of her viewers....all anxious to see how.
What do you think Oprah should do with her Chicago location? Is there room here for her future endeavors? What can ever fill the shoes of her coveted place in Chicago’s “West Loop”?
For more details, see: http://www.oprah.com
Monday, November 16, 2009
Can Shoptimism Save the Economy?
With the economy being in such dire straits lately, many consumers have been putting boundaries into full use. Although exhibiting responsibility is the best choice for these times (401Ks, savings accounts, C.D.s, etc.), we all feel the itch to shop and buy those things, giving us the extra breath of fresh air when the bag crosses over the counter.
Shoptimism is defined as “where there’s a will to shop, there’s a way to shop”. According to a recent ABC News report, consumers find this state of euphoria when purchasing such items which transform, unite and relax. Noted examples included hair dye, American Girl Dolls and iPods. Obviously these items do not fit everyone’s fancy specifically. But, items giving consumers the chance to transform their appearance, unite with others sharing similar interests or escape from the pressures of the world are the prime examples of “shoptimism”.
What gets you to the point of “shoptimism”? I know a good shoe or new jeans are always at the top of a fashionista’s list. Video games or other electronics can do it for most guys. Share yours with B.A.F.F.L.E.D.!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Hot New Talent!
B.A.F.F.L.E.D. knows hot new talent when we see it. Remix the Runway is a modeling contest, showcasing the hottest rising models out there. Check out this runway Pearl and vote for her at the link below. Between her full-time career in HR, modeling and acting, Kim Matthews is the new hotness to watch out for. Look Alive America!
Check her here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oL9tRGAswMo
But definitely VOTE here - http://www.remixtherunway.com
Sunday, November 8, 2009
The Fight Against the Silent Killer
November is Diabetes Awareness Month and no better time to be reminded of the condition known as “the silent killer”. Diabetes is a chronic disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood. It is caused by too little insulin, resistance to insulin, or both.
There are three major types of diabetes:
-Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in childhood. Many patients are diagnosed when they are older than age 20. In this disease, the body makes little or no insulin. Daily injections of insulin are needed. The exact cause is unknown. Genetics, viruses, and autoimmune problems may play a role.
-Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. It makes up most of diabetes cases. It usually occurs in adulthood, but young people are increasingly being diagnosed with this disease. The pancreas does not make enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels normal, often because the body does not respond well to insulin. Many people with type 2 diabetes do not know they have it, although it is a serious condition. Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common due to increasing obesity and failure to exercise.
-Gestational diabetes is high blood glucose that develops at any time during pregnancy in a woman who does not have diabetes. Diabetes affects more than 20 million Americans. Over 40 million Americans have prediabetes.
There are many risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including:
- Age over 45 years
- A parent, brother, or sister with diabetes
- Gestational diabetes or delivering a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
- Heart disease
- High blood cholesterol level
- Not getting enough exercise
- Polycystic ovary disease (in women)
- Previous impaired glucose tolerance
- Some ethnic groups (particularly African Americans, Native Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanic Americans)
*For more information, see:
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
So, it’s been about a month or so since Khloe Kardashian became Khloe Odom. She and L.A. Laker Lamar Odom tied the knot after a one-month courtship, which included their engagement. To anyone following the Kardashian family or watching any of their TV shows, you might share in our being a bit B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Khloe was extremely guarded about relationships and appeared to be one of the most sensible members of the family most of the time. Clearly from the previews for the upcoming Kardashian Wedding Special on E! (Sunday, 11/8, 7pm CST) her entire family was surprised about this drive-thru engagement. No doubt we can’t wait to see how these nuptials unfolded.
On another note, the smoke has seemed to have glamorously cleared for singer, Rihanna. You’ll remember she was the girlfriend beat up in a fight with Chris Brown earlier this year. With her new album set for release, Rihanna is talking with Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America and 20/20 later this week. She hasn't spoken out since the incident, but has been photographed all over the world like a supermodel. In all kinds of designerwear, we’ve seen Rihanna, but will finally hear her comment on her career, relationship and whatever else Diane can get her to divulge. This one will surely be interesting.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
For those of use still in mourning over the untimely passing of Michael Jackson, This Is It is sure to soothe the soul. The film shows the inside story of the making of MJ's long awaited "final curtain call" and provides an inside look at the creative genius.
As promised he performed "the songs his fans wanna hear" and does so like only Michael can. You'll see how he took ownership in every facet of this project, went hard in rehearsal everyday and was certain to keep love as the focal point at all times. Although the sadness of his passing does reoccur while watching, we all get the feeling we were a part of something special.
There's no doubt this concert would have been amazing. From special effects to custom costumes and videos, Michael Jackson was raising the bar yet another notch. This Is It was going to be a tough act to follow; much like the King himself.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Over the past few months, we have heard more and more, and probably more than we’d like to,about Jon and Kate. Now, we know them primarily as reality TV stars, talk show hosts, party-goers and general celebrities of the time. But, don’t they have a more important role at hand?
While discussing their pending divorce, Kate has stated their marriage was in trouble and the cameras are not to blame. She would know best, but I have to wonder a bit about this one. Jon can’t seem to decide if he despises Kate or if he wants them to be friends and after years of treating Jon like the 9th child, Kate now poses as the victim in many ways. Again, don’t they have a more important role?
Regularly, each of them expresses their love for their kids and the fact “I do everything for my kids”, but do their actions say so? Obviously the show was a benefit to the kids, as TLC was paying the family for their series, but the bad-mouthing of one another in the media and taking on project after project and party after party might not be the best means for “doing it for the kids”. The couple’s twins just turned 9, and I have my doubts they haven’t heard anything about their parents from other children at school.
My question B.A.F.F.L.E.D. Readers is, how much media is too much, and when is enough coverage, enough? Not to say Jon and Kate aren’t doing their job as parents, because emotions don’t by food and clothes for 8, but where should the line be drawn? Are you glad TLC pulled the plug??
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The Progression of the Law Practice
Over the last week, one of the many law "blawgs" posed the question of how the practice of law should change over the next 5 years. Many weighed in on the inquiry. Here's my take!
It is clear the practice of law has been affected by the challenges of our economy. For so long, the culture of the profession was somehow exempt from a number of changes in our society, but I am confident this impact has been for the best.
Over the years, the legal profession was stuck in a rut of tradition. There was little force of change, and high degrees of comfort. Today, new lawyers as well as more seasoned ones are in a state of shock about the push to adapt. For the sake of clarity, I must say the traditional condition of law is to be respected and upheld. But, there is always room for change.
Over the next five years, the practice of law needs to take a few things into consideration. Tradition has brought us this far, but we must press forward. First, per-project-fees are the billable hours of the future. They are easier to track, quantifiable and provide comfort to the client. Although billable hours have their place, per-project-fees are a viable consideration. Second, taking advantage of advancing technology is of great importance to the evolving legal world. Smartphones can be a bit addictive, but careful use of these products, along with other bookkeeping and publishing tools, are helpful in the progression of the practice. Virtual offices and satellite capabilities are musts as well, to save costs for firms and attorneys personally. Constantly seeking and embracing new ways to advance this noble profession are paramount.
By accepting the changes impacting the profession, lawyers will be able to filter this progress into law schools. The change will take some time to come alive, but will be worth it.
See more responses at: http://www.abajournal.com/weekly/how_does_the_practice_of_law_need_to_change_in_the_next_five_years
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Do You Use Your Voice?
Your streets are in shambles, potholes everywhere. Your community used to be vibrant, but a number of business have gone elsewhere. You have a number of ideas and suggestions about improving the place you live, so what do you do with them?
Too many people have these thoughts and considerations, but do not make the most of them. Do you know who your legislators are? Your State Representative? Senator? Alderman, etc.? These people are important in you getting the things you think your community needs. You also serve as a check and balance for the job they are doing. They have local offices for you to visit frequently; community events, fundraisers and appearances where you can pick their brains and clear yours.
Now, this is not a call for everyone to become involved or interested in politics or civic affairs. Like everything else, it’s not for everyone and rightfully so. However, what is for everyone, is awareness of your surroundings and the right to use the voice you were given by law. Take the time to know what’s happening around you and stay knowledgeable on how the work of your chosen leaders is affecting you. Maybe the law you were waiting to change has or will. Do you know?
Picture Courtesy of: http://obamaisamerica.blogspot.com/2009/05/article-scant-stimulus-money-for-arts.html
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Do Your Part!
Hey Folks! Don't you always talk about what you can do to make the world a better place? Well, here's a chance for you to make an easy contribution.....and it's extremely easy!!
Help spread the volunteer spirit and view this video! Each time it's viewed, Kraft Foods will donate money to Feeding America to help provide five meals to those at risk of hunger -- up to 100,000 meals through the end of October 2009!
Do your part and click the link!!
For more info on Feeding America, see: http://www.feedingamerica.org/
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Something to Say?
So many of us have questions, concerns, comments, ideas, suggestions and complaints, but don't put them to the ultimate use. We have answers to world problems, talents to sell and share, and things to talk about when no one in our immediate circle wants to hear. Often, our answers, thoughts and comments are critical to the success of others and can help them in achieving their goals. In other instances, what we think, say and feel are important in motivating those around us.
Living in a world where technology advances by the minute, blogging has become a major platform for people to share their insights. This platform is perfect for building businesses, discussing world events and just getting those random thoughts off your chest.
Check out 2 of my favorite blogs; each different in format and content, but useful in their own right. Enjoy!
OneSeventeen Designs - http://oneseventeendesigns.blogspot.com
Real Talk With Felicia - http://realtalkwithfelicia.wordpress.com/
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
A Cause Touching Us All
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and as the years go by, there are more and more ways to show support, gain knowledge and spread awareness. We have everything from walks and runs to fundraising parties to celebrate the progress, honor the survivors and remember those fatally impacted by the condition.
Breast Cancer Awareness is not only for those battling the condition, but for all parts of society. Awareness and prevention are important to all our health and well-being, especially the family unit. Both men and women can be impacted by breast cancer, whether physically or emotionally, and heightened awareness is the best weapon for the fight.
Like many major national causes, Breast Cancer Awareness can be supported in a number of ways. Retailers and designers are lending major support and helping us all contribute in style. Check out some of the ways to stay high in fashion, while lending your support to a great cause. Go Pink and Save the Ta-tas!! http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/beauty-labels-create-special-editions-for-breast-cancer-awareness-month-1798491.html
For Additional Information See:
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation - http://ww5.komen.org/
National Breast Cancer Foundation - http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/
Sunday, October 4, 2009
What’s Your Workplace Like!?
B.A.F.F.L.E.D. is seriously baffled about unsatisfactory attire in the workplace. Do you have an office job you walk into every morning and wonder if you were the only one who put thought into your attire? So often, we find an overload of fashion violations in our office jobs and an overwhelming sense of “I just didn’t care this morning.” This is not good.
Sure, we all can’t be the epitome of fashion savviness, but we can take the time to put a little effort into our appearance. As a former employee in corporate America, I saw, all too many times, a lack of concern for the day’s outfit...everyday. True, we usually are seeing the same few people every single day; they know us, we know them, and feel like we should not have to impress. This is not good.
Ladies: Express, The Limited, JC Penney, Carson Pierre Scott, Marshalls; these are your friends!
Gents: Express loves you, too; as does JC Penney, Bacharach, Carson’s and many more. Dressing each day should not be about who else we’ll see and how many years we’ve been going to the same desk. Rather, it should be about feeling good for self and taking the time to make us look as best we can. Maybe this job is not your job, but one you’re holding for the next person until your dream destination comes. Or maybe you are counting down the days to your retirement. Either way, taking the time to consider your appearance not only makes us onlookers feel better, but it will work wonders for you as well! Take some “me time” and see what a difference a little effort makes. It’ll change your life, in the office and out!
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
America, we really need to take a look at what’s currently going on in our society and just plain ol' get it together! We have work to do in improving our schools, social service programs, and particularly, our community safety.
Late last week, 16-year old Derrion Albert of Chicago's south side was beaten to death on his way home from school. This high school honor student was the unfortunate victim of an all out street fight, where students, and apparently some adults even took part in simply beating the mess out of each other. According to his family, school and friends, Derrion was not involved in a gang; he had unlimited potential, drive and intelligence, which he used daily. On the sad day of his death, bystanders said he had no idea what he was walking into.
Even worse, a number of these fighters have not been caught, despite the ammeter video circulating and the wide news coverage. Of course it’s hard to count on people to turn in the culprits, likely for their own fear, but we must take a stand against such violence. There is no excuse for what happened to such an innocent young man and no further excuse for anyone with information to keep it to themselves.
We must stop this type of behavior and the best way is to work together. We cannot fear gang members and other riff-raff, when we are bonded stronger than they could ever be, to disband them. Please Chicago, Illinois, Midwest, and America: if you have any information on this unfortunate situation, call the Chicago Police. Let’s stop letting the wrong people control our communities.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Go for yours, Girl!
It’s no secret, women have long made less than men in many industries, if not all of them. Even with more women gaining higher education than men these days, there is still a great divide in the salaries women make for doing the exact same thing; maybe more! Recent statistics show women making 80 cents on the dollar, in comparison to their male counterparts; an improvement from years past, but still a concern. This discrepancy has been chronicled over the years and the reasonings are obvious, yet shocking.
Women often find themselves making less than men because of their frequency in leaving the job market. They have children, stay home for years to raise them and miss professional development time while away from the office. More shockingly, women simply don’t negotiate as men do. Authors Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever noted this matter in their book, Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide. The ladies note the many reasons for women banking less than their male counter parts. Included are also tips for equalling the playing field as well as the direct deposits.
Many industries and corporations have tried to remedy this matter. A number of corporations now have work-from-home/telework opportunities, where employees can work away from the office a number of days per week, use satellite meeting capabilities and other nontraditional work environments to get the job done. These solutions have not only helped women remain competitive in the workforce, but save corporate money as well.
Although there are many pluses to the nontraditional work styles and women have benefitted from them greatly, the problem still stands. Women are still finding themselves making less than men, and the reason is somewhat in their hands. Babcock and Laschever were right on point when stating the source of the issue being negotiation. In most cases, gentlemen are more apt to negotiate the salary presented to them when taking a job or promotion. Women, on the other hand, graciously take what is presented to them, despite their overwhelming qualifications and worth. This, too saves companies money, but is nowhere near as fair as working from home. Younger women are finding it easier to negotiate and are taking the needed steps in closing the gap. This is certainly something Generation Y ladies have been great models for and we can share the trait with our Baby Boomer and Generation X counterparts. See, there is some good in that “entitlement generation” label!
So ladies, let’s turn things around. We’ve all heard the song “This is a man’s world”, but we further know it is nothing without a woman! Go for what you know you’re worth in every way. Ask, negotiate, and get yours!
Sources: Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide, Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever; Chicago Sun-Times, http://www.suntimes.com/business/1792044,CST-NWS-women27.article
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Amazing....in so many ways!
Tonight MTV aired their 2009 Video Music Awards. The show began with a heartwarming speech from Madonna about fellow music mogul and our beloved King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Her words were followed by some of the best dancing since MJ, himself - a rendition of Thriller (the King of videos), Bad, Smooth Criminal and finally Scream, his duet with lil sister Janet. Miss Jackson blazed the stage with her presence to honor her brother and remind us of the hit they made hot. MTV did an amazing job of recreating their dance together and even brought in choreography-heavyweights, Laurie Ann Gibson (Making the Band) and Chris Judd.
It was truly a great tribute; well put together and a perfect honor to the King.
BUT, the show was quickly tainted, when Mr. Crybaby himself, Kanye West did his best to embarras Taylor Swift, as well as himself! As Taylor accepted her award for Best Female Video, beating out Beyonce, Kanye took the stage, grabbed the mic, and said "Beyonce had the greatest video of all time!" [See Thriller comment above]. The crowd was stunned, including Beyonce, and poor Taylor was frozen on stage. So much for making her first award a memorable moment!
Once again we've seen Kanye behave as a child. Maybe we'll see him being banned from award shows in the future; it seems to be the only way to keep him under control.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Today, we remember some of the most important heroes in American history; those who gave their lives in the tragic events of 9/11/01. We recognize these individuals for their courage, sacrifice, unity, and help for one another whether they made it out alive or not. They showed us what an "American" should really be, and we are forever indebted to them.
On September 8, 2009, many public school children returned to school, starting their new year. This was also the day our President thought it would be a good idea to wish them well in their new grades and encourage them to do their best.
Many students felt inspired by the Boss's message and appreciated watching the telecast during the school day. He told motivating stories and assured them education was the key to their success. Now why would anyone have a problem with this?
Clearly, some did. A number of schools chose not to tune in to the broadcast, finding it unnecessary for the children to see. Some school districts even claimed "technical difficulties". Really? Hearing the president encourage the youth about education is unnecessary? You can't get your television to work on regular network TV? Is this better than allowing them to tune in to watch 911 footage; a tragedy in our history? Some schools don't even have the funding to provide TVs for their students, yet schools with the choice chose against it. This unfortunately says something about the respect we have for our leader, republican, democrat, or otherwise, as well as our nation's views on education. Since when does the President speak to people under 18 about policy?
Maybe he should have spoken to those with their priorities and facts mixed up. But then again, they might have missed that point, too.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Now that’s a Wonder Woman!
Just yesterday, September 8, 2009, Ms. Oprah Winfrey threw her own Block Party on the lovely streets of Chicago to kick off her 24th season. She blocked off a major part of Chicago’s “Magnificent Mile” to host an early evening concert starring the Black Eyed Peas, hometown songstress Jennifer Hudson, and illusionist Chriss Angel. Fans stood in line to see the Queen of Talk and even participated in a choreographed dance with the Black Eyed Peas.
Word in Chicago is O will have a great hand in potentially getting the 2016 Olympics in the Windy City. Now, that’s power, right there!
Be sure to tune in next Monday, 9/14 when she interviews Whitney Houston! I cannot WAIT to see the answers she’s gonna be giving! Oprah stays on her A-game, I tell ya!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
*Celebration of a King*
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I'm sure many of you are facing the same "surprise" I am in finding out your 6 month grace period is over for your student loan repayments. It's such an anti-climax to all the other graduation hoopla, when you're pulling in money cards, gift certificates and free meals left and right, only to be brought back into reality by those ever so "friendly" reminders from Direct Loans, or whomever, about their money.
Something about being done with school just doesn't seem as fantabulous as it did on graduation day. A friend of mine has authored a blog about student loans.....take a look; share what you think!!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The best way to ease the pain of today’s economy is to first and foremost think positive, and keep things in the right perspective. Although times were somewhat less advanced, we have in fact been here before. In order to get out of the regress, we must think progress, then act accordingly. In thinking along the right lines, we must not be afraid to do such thinking outside the box. Traditional thinking is important and has it’s place, but in a time of dire need, we must take on dire straits. Be prepared to examine the economy and understand where the niches and holes are. What do we need? What novel idea will change this circumstance for the better? Think in ways which may seem a bit unconventional, but will be critical and changing our national outlook and more importantly, your personal one.
Networking is also key these days. It’s not always about the great things on your paper resume, but better yet, making them come alive in person. This way, you’ll give someone a video version of your resume and potentially get ahead of the pile straight to an interview. What once worked so well in sending off a couple resumes and cover letters has been quickly replaced with new ways of getting hired. We must not only be patient, but also take the time to do the things one might not have had to 5 years ago. Attend those socials your industry is hosting. Go to the info session you were going to skip for the TV show you can DVR. Find out just how much your expensive degree is worth when you have to put all your thinking to work!
For those not job seeking or looking for other ways to cope, there’s help for us all. Depending on your personal financial situation, seeing a tax or legal expert could save you some grief in the end. Further, actually taking the time to write out your financial plan would prove preventative in avoiding future hardships. After taking the time to ensure your business is in line, take the time to make sure your mind is right as well. We’ve already thought outside the box and found ways to innovate ourselves into a better economy; let’s now get the treatment which will keep our demeanors cool. With trying financial times, find cost-efficient activities which will not only keep your wallet happy, but make you feel just the same.
We may be facing an economy unlike what we’re used to, but taking the right steps and keeping the right mindset will help us through these times and into the upturn we’re waiting for. The economy might be down, but you can turn it up!
Monday, August 17, 2009
A New Fashion Tip?
Lately we’ve encountered a new fashion statement at our finger tips. A number of celebrities and local fashionistas have started wearing multiple nail colors at once. This style, often referred to as "Skittle Nails" has included shades of blue, various pinks, the occasional silver, and even 10 different colors at a time. Of course this selection may not fare well in an interview or formal business meeting, but is it ok on the runway? Does the red carpet approve? What kinds of offices find no problem with the rainbow fingers?
I’m sure “all of them” is an up and coming response when asked to “pick your color” at the nail salon. The ability to match all your outfits for the week is definitely a plus, but will this trend give your style the upper hand???
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Defeating the Downturn - Part II
Who’s Most Effected?
Our new economic trends are affecting us all in some way, but are hitting some social groups a bit harder. Baby-boomers and new grads, both undergraduate and graduate, are highly impacted by the state of the union. Baby boomers were set to soon be retiring and starting their lives of empty nests and vacations. As Q2 ’09 began, some 27% of older workers have postponed retirement, with a number of reasons to point to. 1) Their new-grad children are unemployed or deep in debt, and need more help from mom and dad after college than anticipated. 2) They’ve been affected by the hurting banking industry, losing money in their 401Ks and stock options. This requires them to put in more time on the job to make sure they can keep ends connected. 3) Social Security is not so secure, with many speculating on exactly how much longer it will be a viable reality in later life.
Despite their dismay, baby boomers are not the only ones feeling the wrath of the economy’s position. Those just entering the “real world” have been up for a “real” awakening. After studying long hours and putting in semester after semester of coursework, new grads are in a place they never thought would become their reality. It makes no sense; you've studied at a great school, have an expensive degree, are thousands of dollars in debt, yet, you have no job? Is this for real? You got to be kidding, right?
No. Sorry. This economy is for real. With big companies cutting back to mend their over spending of the last few years, they are forced to reduce hiring to unprecedented levels. Corporate restructuring has been the “anti-grad”, coercing some to even take on more school as a means for waiting out the tough times. At first glance, things to look a bit disheartening, but there are ways to get over this hump. We have before, and will again.
Stay tuned for solutions in Part III.
Monday, August 3, 2009
The future of fashion may never be the same. Legislators are attempting to regulate the industry through copyright protection, implementing fines and an onslaught of new cases to face the courts. Copyright is the protection given to authors and creators of original intellectual works. Currently, the United States has no regulation over fashion designs, only the trademarks and logos used by designers. As it stands, designs are free to be copied. The positive to this is the opportunity for consumers at all price points the chance own to couture looks. The negative is the saturation of a precious design created by one, and profited by all. The protection would like the States to European laws, which have protected fashion designs for a number of years.
Representative William Delahunt (D-MA) has reintroduced the Design Piracy
Prohibition Act (H.R. 2196), which extends copyright protection to fashion designs embodied in clothing and certain accessories, if certain conditions are met. If passed, the act would afford copyright protection to fashion designs embodied in, among other things, clothing, handbags, wallets, belts, footwear, headgear, and eyeglass frames.
What do you suggest the feds should do??
Monday, July 20, 2009
Part I: Defeating the Downturn
The recent economic times have been nothing nice to various segments of our society. We’ve gone from a thriving economy with heavy spending and producing, to a cost-cutting, output-reducing job-slashing entity, with more and more American’s left in confusion. Many are wondering how a country like America, with such advanced technology and highly educated residents, could be in such turmoil. America in another depression? In 2009? You gotta be kidding, right?
What’s Got us Down?
The labor industry has been hit pretty hard by the suffering economy. In May of this year, the unemployment rate was at 9.4%, with payroll employment down 345,000. As a result, and positive point for stakeholders, employee productivity was up 1.6% in the first quarter of the year. This is clearly due to the rate and mass of jobs being eliminated or postponed in their respective industries. Seeing your counterparts or even coworkers getting laid off definitely pushes you to work just a tad harder, aiming for the “halo effect”, so to speak. Unfortunately, this has been reported to be less of a saving grace than the new hard-workers know it to be. Believe it or not, many of those who lost their jobs were hard-working and likely even more hard-working than those left trying to up their ante in the employment game.
Source: www.bls.gov, Fear of layoffs motivating many workers - http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31143910/
Stay tuned for Part II.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
First of all, we all appreciate our privacy, and I would bet all I have, Michael was no different. Second, looking at those kids, even with the Debbie Rowe-requested veils on, they do not look like they have much African-American in them; let's just be real. More importantly, in our society, what's on the birth certificate is was trumps anything else, so making such a spectacle over whether Mike's dermatologist was the daddy, if the kiddies were created through a random sperm donor, or maybe, just maybe they are MJ's biological kids, let's put this matter to rest and honor Mr. Jackson's request : Leave them ALONE!