Jul 25, 2017 - Rants    1 Comment

The Perils of Sensitivity

Okay, I’m going to need everyone to stop being so sensitive about EVERYTHING all the GOTdamn time. We have somehow found ourselves in a society of paranoia.  Can we PLEASE just give each other the benefit of the doubt???

If I make a decision about my life or how I spend my time, and you’re adversely affected, I’m sorry and it’s not intentional. I’m not doing anything AGAINST you. I’m doing something FOR me. There’s a difference.

If I don’t invite you out to hear my dad’s band play, I promise that I’m truly flattered that you would like to join me and support the band, but I don’t always get advance notice on his gigs and I can’t stop to make 100 phone calls before I go out. I try to post on social media as soon as I learn that he’s playing, which is right now the best I can do.  If you learn about the gig, just come.  I’ll be happy to see you.  But I won’t be happy to hear you bitching about why I didn’t call you.

If I don’t call you back immediately, it’s not because I hate you, it’s usually because I’m legitimately busy and trying to wait until the moment where I can give you my undivided attention.

If we work together (which none of us do, because I’m not social media friends with any colleagues, but it’s worth mentioning anyway), and I refer to you as, say, a Research Analyst as opposed to a Research Associate or whatever, MY BAD!  Please don’t get caught up in titles in general.  I don’t even know what my OWN title is, and I don’t really care. As long as I respect you and your work, it’s really not worth getting all wrapped around the axle.  (When I don my recruiter hat, I have a very different opinion, but for social purposes, this opinion holds true)

If you feel that I don’t support your cause, your charity, your crowdfunder, your situation etc, enough, please don’t take that personally either. Nobody is being selfish, cheap, uncaring or unfeeling. We all have causes that we care about and we get behind them in our own way. We’re also overstimulated by too much content. If I contributed to everything that tugged at my heartstrings, I would be broke. And we all know how much I hate being broke.

And finally, if you have my phone number, PLEASE don’t call and ask if I’m talking about you in this rant.  Don’t email either.  If you think this is about you, Carly Simon, it probably isn’t.

Please know that, if you’re my friend, it is not my interest to hurt you, make you feel badly, neglect you, etc.   I promise that I have neither the time nor energy for sabotage. Get out of your own head for a second, and enjoy your day.

Thanks for entertaining this rant.  I had to get this off my chest. Does anyone else ever feel this way?  Just me?

XOXO

 

Jun 29, 2017 - Holidaze, Rants    No Comments

Chosen Few Picnic Survival Strategies!

Alrighty, so a few weeks ago, I provided a few festival behavior guidelines, but I feel the need to release an addendum, especially since we’re almost upon July 4th holiday weekend, which means the hottest party of the year in Chicago — The Chosen Few Picnic!! 
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Now . . . if you’ve never attended this event, this post will likely be wasted on you because many of these items are specific to the Chosen Few Picnic.  My apologies for the regional focus, but this post might actually inspire you to come to the event to see what all of the fuss is about.

That said . . . here goes . . .

  1. The first rule of the Chosen Few Festival — don’t complain about the cost of the Chosen Few Festival.  Yes, at some point the picnic-turned-festival did not have an admission fee, but that was also before tens of thousands of people were in attendance, and what was once a cute little get together has turned into an event that probably wouldn’t even fit into the space of most stadiums. The free days were also before international exposure and the addition of an impressive roster of entertainers and world renowned DJs.  You spend more money on well drinks in a weekend of socializing at bad clubs with worse music.  You’ve also given lots of money to people that you don’t know, so support the people you know and love, who have built an amazing brand, quit yer bitching and enjoy the weekend.
  2. This event is an outpour of peace and love.  Leave the weapons at home.  You won’t need them.
  3. If you’ve never been to the Chosen Few Festival, it’s all about HOUSE MUSIC.  Don’t come to the Festival and complain that there’s no hip-hop.  There will be no hip-hop.  You knew what you were getting yourself into.
  4. Dress for comfort . . .  and good taste.  The Chosen Few Festival is the time to be cute . . . but not TOO cute.  By the end of the day, you will be covered in dust, dirt, your own sweat, other peoples’ sweat, barbecue sauce and spilled drinks.  Wear your favorite gym shoes.  Also?  Just a gentle reminder that if you wore it in high school, it might not fit properly today. If that’s the case, have your clothing flashback in the privacy of your own home rather than at the Festival.  Because that’s too much . . .
  5. If you have a tent and want your friends to find you, make it stand out.  Preferably something aerial — like a flag. Describing your location by saying that you’re in “the gray tent, due south of the stage” is tantamount to telling someone that you’re somewhere on the lakefront and expecting them to locate you.
  6. If you’re a “stroller” — meaning you don’t have a home base and prefer to wander around the festival all day — don’t just assume that you’re going to tent surf, eat everyone else’s food and drink their liquor.  First of all, it’s rude.  Second, you should probably concern yourself with who made the food, how long it’s been sitting out, and who’s been hovering over it all day.  Bring your own stash, or prepare to patronize the vendors.
  7. On the flipside, don’t bring an abundance of food and chafing dishes, and then complain that nobody contributes. Festival day is NOT the day to complain. If you wanted people to contribute, you should have coordinated with them well before the event. Also, if you don’t want to be hemmed up in a tent with 20 overserved friends who are gobbling your burgers, don’t invite them in.  Find them on the dance “floor” instead.
  8. Don’t try to move through the crowd in a large entourage.  You will get lost.  Spend more time partying, and less time coordinating with your 12 friends.  In fact, mentally prepare yourself NOT to see 1/2 of your friends who are in attendance. If you see them, great.  If you miss them, you’ll see the pictures on social media the next day and say: “How did I miss you!?!”  There are 20,000 people in a park, half of which are in tents.  That’s how.
  9. Bring several external batteries for your phone.  Because thousands of people are jamming the signals in a small area, your phone is working extra hard, and will suck through your battery in 1/4 of the normal time.  If you separate from your friends and your phone dies, there’s a good chance that you might never see them again.
  10. Think twice before bringing your children.  I realize that you want to show off your spawn, and while it’s a lovely thought that you will expose your infants and teenagers to your old friends and the music that served as the backdrop for your coming of age, I promise you that it’s not a good idea.  Your baby doesn’t want to be pushed in a stroller in a sea of thousands, with the view of the backs of everyone’s sweaty legs, and your toddler will get lost in the shuffle when mom and dad get stopped every five minutes to talk about what they’ve been doing since high school or reminisce about that legendary night at the Power Plant.  Your kids don’t really want to be there anyway, and it will be disappointing to you that they don’t care for the music.  And unless you would like that degenerate friend from high school to offer your teenagers a hit of weed and tell them about when he and their mom used to date, you might also want to leave the older kids at home.
  11. If you DO bring your children, don’t enlist anyone else to watch them while you go dance. Nobody is in the frame of mind to be a responsible babysitter at the festival, and God only knows what your kids will have learned upon your return.
  12. Manage your consumption according to the facilities.  This is a porta-potty environment, and the event lasts for several hours each day.  If you’re like me, you would sooner insert a catheter than use the porta-potty if you can at all help it.  I’ll let you in on my Economy of Liquids rule, which means that I will be trying to consume the smallest amount of liquid that has the maximum desired outcome.  Specifically, this means that I will be sipping whiskey from my flask throughout the day, rather than drink 5+ beers.  First of all, I hate beer.  Second, that would be setting me up to consume over 60 ounces of liquid, forcing me to hit the porta-potty multiple times during the day.  Be mindful of mixed drinks, which have a sugary base and will cause a headache before the day is over.  Also?  It’s probably not the best day to try out new foods (like Ree-Ree’s special collard greens)  if you have a questionable digestive system.
  13. Festival weekend is NOT the time to experiment with edibles.  Some of you have prescriptions for medical marijuana in the form of candy or other deceptive treats, and others of you are anxious to try it.  You will be in a very bad place if you eat an entire “special gummy bear” in general, but definitely if you try it for the first time at the festival.  I’ve seen the results.  Take my word for it.
  14. Don’t get hands-y with someone else’s significant other.  You’ll probably run into a lot of people with whom you have history at this event, but that gives you no right to pretend that you’re back on the floor of the DJ booth in the Warehouse.  You don’t have to reminisce about it either.  Everyone has moved on.  Keep your hands off of your ex-hookups and the Festival will remain a weekend of peace.
  15. Read the previous post about general festival etiquette, and pay special attention to #3 and of course #6.
  16. Have a GREAT time, enjoy the music, and dance your ass off!!!

 

For more info about the event, visit the Chosen Few DJs website.

 

Jun 4, 2017 - Rants    No Comments

The rules of festival season

Who doesn’t love a good outdoor festival?  I’m a Chicagoan, and once the weather gets right, I and my fellow Second City residents love nothing more than to party outside like we’re getting paid.

But some of y’all get a little excited and forget your festival flow manners.  Don’t worry, though.  I’m here to help.

Festival Behavior Guidelines

  1. No serious conversation.  So, here’s the deal . . . everyone at an outdoor festival is happy that the weather is warm enough to actually be outside without the threat of double pneumonia.  Do NOT kill my sunshine-induced high by trying to embark on a conversation about business, meetings or quite frankly anything that doesn’t involve drinks or music.  Just don’t.
  2. The answer is “I’m fine.”  Generally, I love an honest answer to this question, but when you’re at a festival, the answer to “How have you been?” is something like “I’m doing great”  And keep it moving.  When we’re having lunch, I can hear all about your in-laws, your bad-ass kids, your bunion, the gory details about your coworkers who make you work life hell.  But festival day?  IS NOT THAT DAY.
  3. Don’t play the “guess how we know each other” game.  Nothing is more aggravating than someone who enjoys quizzing people they’ve met one time at a dark party on how they know each other.  While it’s great that you have amazing recall, ain’t nobody got time for that.  Just remind them, if you must.  And keep it moving.
  4. Manage your bodily fluid.  Granted, I’m not so much a hugger in general, but I do enjoy a hug from my friends — if you’re clean!  In short, if you’re sweaty, a bear hug is NOT necessary (or welcomed).  I have on my summer fashion, which can be ruined by your sweat.  So, if you rode your bike to the festival, or you’ve been walking around drinking all day, maybe a nice air kiss on the cheek would be appropriate.  But engulfing me in your sweaty armpits is a no.  A hell no.
  5. Pace yourself.  If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably well into adulthood, and if you’re not, you’re probably one of my younger relatives who could stand to benefit from this information (AT SOME POINT).  That said you know damned well that, when you start drinking at noon — in the sun — there’s a good chance that keeping up that pace will have you passed out behind a tent, in a pool of your own vomit, by 3:00.  This is NOT a good look.  To avoid embarrassing yourself (and ultimately me, if we’re friends),if you plan to be at a festival all day long, divide your drink tolerance by the number of hours you plan to be there.  For example, if you can only consume three cocktails before making out with a stranger, and you plan to be there for 8 hours, you are allowed to drink only .375 drinks per hour, and THAT’S IT.  If you want to increase your tolerance, drink lots of water and eat a meal.  For the record, funnel cake and churros are not meals, and in fact due to the high sugar content, will exacerbate your stupor and cause a ridic headache the next day.  Grab a nice grilled chicken sandwich or burger and keep it moving.
  6. Do not ask for a sip from my flask!  Yes, this is how I roll.  I had the foresight to manage my own cocktail situation.  I suggest you do the same.  And I also don’t want you wrapping your nasty lips around the mouth of my pristine whiskey-filled flask.  There are bars everywhere.  Find one of them.
  7. You are responsible for your drunk friend.  If you have a friend who is out there, falling all over herself, and one second away from doing her best Exorcist projectile vomit impression, puh-leeze take it upon yourself and get her drunk ass out of there.  I say ‘her’ because there’s always some woman, drunk out of her gourd, flashing her underwear in public due to the over-consumption of frozen margaritas.  It sucks that she’s curtailing your fun, but if you didn’t encourage her to follow rule #3, this is the price you pay.
  8. Have a supply of gum or breath mints.  This should be self-explanatory, but nobody wants to smell your gyro while you’re violating rules #1, 2 or 3.  Keep it minty.  And moving.

 

 

I’m going to reserve the right to add to this list at a later time, but in the meantime, enjoy your festival season!

 

XO, G.

Nov 26, 2016 - Holidaze    No Comments

Small Business Etiquette . . .

kiss my ash in box

 

If anyone has money leftover after hitting the door-buster sales on Thanksgiving night and Black Friday, we small business owners ask that you think of us on the Saturday following Turkey Day.  I am fortunate enough to have a solid group of regular and loyal customers.  I appreciate each and every one!

We all know small business owners, as this is the age of the entrepreneur.  There are many small businesses in my life. I have Naturals by Gina B., my dad and I have a music publishing company, I dabble in freelance writing and video/film production, and the BF has an audiovisual company as well as an experiential marketing agency.  By now I’ve see it all.

Before we start our shopping, whether the small business that you’re patronizing provides products or services, there are guidelines of how to deal with us:

  1. Treat us as “real” businesses, because we are.  Every business began as a small business, born in basements and garages everywhere. Your friend might have created the next great thing.  Give us a shot.  We will work very hard to earn and keep your repeat business.
  2. Don’t expect the “homie hookup.”  If you have a friend who owns a business, support the business the way you would a business run by a stranger.  We do feel guilty charging our friends full price for our products/services (and we do try to sweeten the deal with the occasional free product or surprise discount), but those feelings fall by the wayside when we think of our narrow profit margins and what it costs to run our own show.  Between product creation, marketing, web presence, social media, etc., most of us don’t take money from the business for a number of years.
  3. You don’t care about our budgets, and we honestly don’t care about yours.  Not to be harsh, but if you can’t afford us, you can’t afford us.  If you visited Walgreen’s to buy body butter, would you approach the cashier and say “this product is $15, but I only have $7, can you work with me?”  Nope.  Forget happy and healthy.  You would have found yourself on the corner of ashy and shit out of luck.
  4. Don’t ask us to do things merely for “exposure.”  Sure, marketing is necessary and expensive, however most of us are pretty clear on how to expose ourselves if that’s the objective.
  5. Don’t limit your support of small or local businesses to one day per year.  Personally, I love nothing more than being able to shop with my friends and find the next big thing before it’s the next big thing.

My hope is that on this Small Business Shopping, many will shop with me, and that I will find new people to support.

That said, all people who are reading this blog can enjoy a 20% sitewide discount on Naturals by Gina B products.  I look forward to dazzling you. Use promo code IREADGINASPOT

Dec 31, 2015 - Uncategorized    2 Comments

Gratitude and Latitude

This is about the time of year where I look back on my life and accomplishments and start grousing about how I should be farther along, in a different position, etc.

Well, that’s really not working for me anymore.

There are definitely things that I wish were better, stronger, and more profitable, but I’m also making a point to practice gratitude more than usual because I have a lot to be thankful for.  It’s all about spin.

I have a newish corporate job, and although it has been a transition and there are many differences that I don’t care for, there are also opportunities for me to get involved, bring something to the table and make the organization a better place. There are people who are interested in my thoughts and contributions, which is something to be thankful for.

I’ve been working through a trademark issue with my own company, Naturals by Gina B., which has been annoying and debilitating.  But the flipside is that I do have my own company, and I continue to create what I consider to be great products. Time to forge ahead and make limoncello from the lemons that I’ve been handed.

I’m far from rich, but I’m not financially strained.  I could have more, but I do most of the things I want.  The Universe has been kind to me.

I’ve unfortunately lost a few friends this year.  Very sad, but I have many more remaining who greatly contribute to my life. I am rich in friendship and memories.

The end of 2015 finds me roughly 4 lbs heavier than normal, and about 16 lbs heavier than my ideal.  However, the 4 lbs recent gain means that I truly enjoyed myself on my amazing Winter vacation, and I’m confident that I will still fit into my NYE dress, and that I can drop the excess quickly.  At least I hope so.

If you know me, you’ll understand that I hold onto youth for as long as possible and enjoy defying my age. Although we all get older by the day, I’m happy to report that I maintain a youthful spirit and that I can still party with the best of them, and turn the head of the most important man in my life — as well as those of some men who are several years younger.  ;-)

Speaking of which, I have a great significant other who proves – daily – why he is truly the better half.

My father is reaching a very good age, and has more and more chronic ailments that are rather concerning, however, he is able to continue to do what he loves for a living.  He is the original youthful spirit that I emulate.  I’m grateful for each additional healthy day.

My house is not as clean as I would like going into the new year, but I guess that gives me something to do over the weekend?  (Honestly, no real silver lining to this one, but I’m going to let it slide.)

Finally, each day I get closer to figuring myself out.  One day soon.

I wish everyone a safe and exciting New Year’s celebration. Let’s give 2015 a great sendoff.  Be kind to yourself . . . be grateful.

Sep 29, 2015 - Rants    2 Comments

White People’s Guide to Hiding Your Racism At Work

Before we get started, I will say that there are plenty of my corporate colleagues who are not racists.  Some of them are perfectly lovely people whom I count among my close friends.  This post does not apply to them. My musing of the day applies to the quasi undercover racists who make offensive comments that many of us feel that we have to ignore and/or absorb angrily (because hitting someone in the head with a stapler is a quick route to arrest and firing.  Ain’t nobody got time for that)

Having been in corporate America for a while, I’ve encountered many of the archetypes of corporate racists.  Instead of just dealing with their remarks quietly, I enjoy finding ways to apply my inappropriate sense of humor to . . . well .  . . fuck with them in much the same passive aggressive manner that they employ (or aggressive aggressive, depending on my mood).

That said, if you’ve stumbled across this blog and you are an undercover (or overt) corporate racist, I’m here to keep you from being victimized by people like me.

  1. Eliminate the belief that any black person in the office automatically works in the mail room.  You would be much better off asking “Are you the new SVP?” rather than saying “Are you the new girl who works the copy machine?”  
  2. We don’t always look the way you think we should based on how we speak, and there’s no need to call attention to that. For example, staring at me incredulously when we meet face-to-face, after having spoken on the phone, while continuing to say “Wow.  You look NOTHING like I thought you would,” only tips your hand that, had you seen me first, you would have assumed that I didn’t understand the proper conjugation of the verb to be.  Keep that shit to yourself.
  3. Per #2, many of us actually speak the Queen’s english.  That said, don’t even THINK about referring to any black person as “articulate.”
  4. Don’t ask too many questions about our hair.  In fact, ask no questions at all.  The workplace is not a forum for your curiosity about our hairstyle strategies.  If you’re so goddamned curious, use your downtime to watch Youtube videos dedicated to the topic and say nothing to us at all.  (Warning, touching our hair might make some of us forget that hitting you in the head with a three-hole-punch would get us in trouble.  I speak from experience)
  5. All brown people do not resemble one another. If you screw up and call me by the name of the only other black woman in the office, she and I had better be identical twins. You won’t like it when the retort is “I know . . . we all look alike.”  (Again, I speak from experience)
  6. It is not appropriate to volunteer to fix one of us up with your only other single black friend simply because we’re both unattached and of color. It doesn’t really work that way.
  7. While I think that Michelle Obama is a beautiful woman, I do not look “just like her.”
  8. Don’t assume that my predominantly black neighborhood is “the ghetto,” and ask if I “feel safe” there . . .  unless you would like for me to inquire about your experiences in the trailer park.
  9. Don’t violently express your disdain for rap music, and proclaim that it’s “noise.”  A) I don’t care, and B) well . . .there really doesn’t need to be a B.
  10. I’m probably not the right audience for your claims that diversity efforts are unfair for white people who might be “the best person for the job.”  In fact, sharing this opinion with me or anyone who looks like me (although not JUST like me, as we covered in #7) will only further our thoughts that you’re an idiot and probably not the right person for any job.
  11. The office is not the place for your paltry attempts at urban colloquialisms. You don’t get extra points with me by saying that something is “the bomb.” In fact, your use of slang is only an indication that any card-carrying black person should remove it from the vocab.
  12. Here’s a bonus tip:  I realize that holiday season is approaching.  It is completely inappropriate for you to have 3 glasses of wine and 7 healthy pours of scotch at the Christmas party and, at around midnight, wax endlessly about your secret physical attractions to black people. Guys, it isn’t as though any of the women are going to find your slurry words and excessive drooling to be sexy and complimentary, or reciprocate the sentiment. Ladies, your fate will likely result in providing gratuitous parking lot oral to the man whom you’ve previously mistaken for the janitor (per #10, you’re clearly the right person for this brand of job). In any case, those of us who look alike will get a great laugh out of it in the office the next day.

 

I hope I’ve been of assistance.  Now carry on, and remember . . .if you think it might be offensive, it probably is.

More Life Rules

Inspiration comes from everywhere — sometimes the most surprising places.  Today’s inspiration comes from having spent time with one of my 16 year old cousins whom I haven’t seen since he was a tiny child.  He has grown up to be a really nice kid and incredibly handsome young man, and I hope that I can be in his life a little bit more – as much as he will allow or tolerate — and teach him anything I have to offer.  Even though some of my lessons are a bit off-kilter (and many have to do with cocktails), here’s the second installment of the tidbits of information that I feel are worth sharing with young people.  I’m continuing this list not because so many people were interested, but just because it’s fun.

I hope some of these inspire thought, at very minimum.

  1. There are reasons why you need to excel in school.  Elementary or grammar school prepares you for high school.  It’s important to do well in HS so that you can get admitted to the best Universities — not just for the programs they offer, but because of the network to which you’re exposed.  When you become an adult, you will want to have a good network of smart and successful people to leverage for connections to great jobs, business partnerships, or even just informed opinions.  Those relationships are developed in college and continue throughout your life. A reasonably smart person with a great network will go a lot further than a genius who operates in a vacuum.
  2. Take a genuine interest in getting to know the people in your life.  Make a concerted effort to know them — what makes them happy, their motivations, their goals and anything they’ve learned along the way.  Especially your parents, who are so focused on raising you that you might look up and realize that you don’t really know them at all.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  You will hate to have missed the opportunity.
  3. Get a good handle on the basics.  Know how to load a dishwasher, unload a dishwasher, do laundry, iron a shirt, remove a stain.  Life hacks will get you through.
  4. Understand that, by and large, people just want to be heard. It’s worthwhile to listen, even if you don’t take their advice. You might learn something that will change your course, or not. But you’ll never know if you don’t listen.
  5. Err on the side of formality until you’re invited to do otherwise.  This includes manners, the use of nicknames and business attire.
  6. If it’s introduced, it has to be addressed.  Your job is to keep things that you don’t want addressed from being introduced.  Sometimes it’s best to fly under the radar.
  7. Pick your mate for the right reasons.  It’s great that she has an incredible body, or that he has a nice car.  But look for personal traits — signs of integrity.  Watch how he/she treats the important people in his/her life.  Is this person determined and deliberate?  Goal-oriented?  Examine the family before making a true commitment.  And always remember that how you align is how you’re defined.
  8. Make a valiant effort.  Life is much more fun when you actively participate.  This rule is one that I learned the hard way.
  9. Have a signature dish that you  master and enjoy cooking.
  10. Find an older person in your life who cares about you, in whom you can confide.  This can be an aunt or uncle, a godparent, a cousin or an unrelated person who you connect with.
  11. Don’t be mad at your friends for being themselves.  They might not show their love for you in the way that you expect or hope.  Sometimes you have to adjust your expectations to accommodate what they have to offer.  If you try to change them, you will only frustrate yourself and alienate them.

 

That’s it for now!  I welcome all comments, questions are rebuttals!

bigsecret

Jul 2, 2015 - Rants    No Comments

Life Rules

I don’t really have a lot to teach — just random bits of info that I’ve picked up along the way.  This list wasn’t created for adults.  My peers understand these rules all too well. But because I have no children, at some point I thought it might be interesting to put together a set of life rules for my godchildren and younger relatives who might like a perspective that doesn’t belong to their parents, and since I’m reluctantly allowing some of them to follow me on social media, I feel a responsibility to impart good information every now and then (as opposed to my endless selfies with wine).

So, my little people, these aren’t absolute truths, but they’re things that I’ve found pertinent to my life.  Some of these might be a little crazy, but consider the source.  :-)  Here are the first 20 (it was going to be 10, but I got carried away):

  1. Your parents are meant to be frustrating, but they always mean well and they’re often trying to keep you from making their mistakes (or the mistakes they’ve witnessed during their lives).  Just listen to them with the understanding that your parents have the most honest intentions of anyone you’ll ever encounter.  You might decide to take another course of action, but realize that they only want to be heard and considered.
  2. You might not be excited about iambic pentameter, but there are a lot of life lessons buried in the words of Shakespeare.  My favorite is “Neither a borrower nor a lender be” from Hamlet.   Borrowing and loaning money — or anything really — will go wrong the majority of the time.  Decide if potentially losing your friendship is worth it before entering into such an agreement.
  3. Since we’re learning life lessons in poetry, check out The Ten Crack Commandments by the Notorious B.I.G.  I’m certainly not suggesting that you sell (or smoke) crack — or any drugs whatsoever — but he does make a few good points when it comes to business in general.  And as a bonus the song has a great beat.   Enjoy.
  4. While driving or biking, stay away from the following drivers:  a cabbie (especially one without a fare), a U-Haul truck driver (they are generally untrained and don’t know how to manage their blind spots), a Zip Car driver (they don’t tend to drive frequently enough to be good drivers).  There are others that we can discuss offline, but staying away from the big three will be a great start when it comes to road safety.
  5. Whether you’re a male or a female, know how to cook and clean.  There is not ONE good argument for filth and the inability to feed yourself.  Also, nobody is excited about dating a dirty dependent person.  And if they are, you don’t want to date them.
  6. Driving is 30% skill and 70% managing everyone else’s lack of skill. Similar ratios apply to life in general.
  7. Options are everything.  Try to have as many as possible, and then learn to properly choose among them.
  8. If you are the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.  Look for opportunities to learn, and always make sure you’re in good company.
  9. Money doesn’t solve all problems, but it determines your level of problem.  Life is much better when you’re not worried about keeping the lights and heat on.  You would much prefer to have trouble choosing investment accounts than trying to figure out how to pay your rent.  This is realism rather than materialism.  Know the difference.
  10. Enter each relationship with the thought of what you are able to offer rather than receive — whether it’s work, friendship, or romance.  Don’t be influenced by takers, because nobody wants to be around those who seek to suck the life out of everyone they encounter.  Call to say hello without ulterior motives and do nice things just because.  Sure, you will encounter a taker along the way and you might learn hard lessons, but those people are only sent to show you who’s worthy of your gifts.  Ultimately, givers reap great rewards.
  11. Embody the qualities of the person you want to attract.
  12. Don’t get caught up in other peoples’ opinions of you.  If they’re not paying your bills — or enabling you to pay your bills — their opinions are generally biased and irrelevant.
  13. Life can be a game, but everyone has their own style of winning. You won’t win at someone else’s game, but you can be expert at your own.
  14. Don’t talk about yourself; allow others to ask.  That way you’re certain they’re interested.
  15. You’ll spend a good percentage of your life figuring yourself out.  Get started on that as early as possible. You’ll spend another percentage of your life trying to determine the motives of others.  This will be a waste of time.  Focus on yourself instead.
  16. In school, study for the CLASS rather than the TEST.
  17. Try to avoid being judgmental, but definitely be discerning about whom you choose to have in your life.
  18. Per #17, stupidity and laziness can be contagious.  Don’t get infected.
  19. If you don’t want to get in trouble, stay away from places where trouble resides.
  20. Be beyond reproach at all times.  If you’ve performed well and checked all of the boxes, nobody can criticize your style.

 

If there is interest in more, I’m happy to continue this list.  I welcome any questions.  Within reason.  :-)

Feb 4, 2015 - Health, Vacay    2 Comments

Happy New Year — And Why I Already Need a Break from 2015

How long has it been since I’ve blogged here?  Well . . . let’s just say that I had to get a password reminder.  But, apparently I need to do this more often because I realize that it gives me peace.  And what I need right now?  Is peace!

I’ve entered 2015 completely backward.   I’m edgy, and last night after expressing dissatisfaction about my computer (in my mind, the entire point of a computer is to have a machine that moves FASTER than your brain), the unreliability of my corporate VPN, why my new DirecTV DVR can’t serve the primary function of consistently recording ALL EPISODES of a series, the fact that I couldn’t locate my corporate cell phone, how I can’t spend more time marketing Naturals by Gina B. (and what in the hell was I thinking when I launched that company, anyway?), why I’m not in great shape,  how I can never seem to get ahead of my housework (laundry is my life) — all in FIVE MINUTES, I arrived at the realization that I’m irritated about something at least 50% of the time.  And after going on a verbal tear about all of this, I look over at the BF and inform him of my constant irritation (as though this is news to him).  Nonplussed, he calmly replied, “yes, I’ve noticed,” before quietly going back to play a video game on his iPad (another irritation, but also the least of my worries at this point).

After a night of restless sleep with intermittent rumination, I wondered why I’m the one who always seems to be struggling.  Most of my friends are overachievers (WAY busier than me — I’m the slacker of my friends) and manage to just keep it moving without being crabby.  Is it just my disposition (maybe)?  What are they doing that I’m not?!  Granted a percentage of my friends feel the same way that I do, and think that irritation is a part of being an adult.  Others manage it very well.

And then I came to a realization.  They relax, and they take vacations.  A novel concept, right?

Rewind to earlier last night.  Having dinner with friends, we were talking about travel and how most of our travel is work-related and while we might go to interesting places periodically, they’re really just momentary changes of scenery.  Our friend Bianca asked when we were taking a vacation.  My answer, in short?  Probably never.  Why?  Well . . . that’s yet another source of irritation.  But it has to do with scheduling and planning and how I can’t plan if we can’t schedule.  The more I thought about it, the more my mood went downhill.

Reflecting on years past, I always took time off around the holidays.  My very favorite Christmas in life was over three years ago when I dragged the BF kicking and screaming to Jamaica for 11 days.  But I returned rejuvenated, having had time to lay on the beach and do nothing but think and accept cocktails from eager servers.  I received the new year with open arms and determination.

Last year was a very different story.  Lots of stress factors and absolutely no breaks.  For the first time in years, I worked straight through the holidays because, why not?  I used to think that vacation was optional, and now I’m coming to believe that it’s mandatory.  And the fact that I live with a workaholic who as much as told me that he has no desire to stop grinding in favor of a vacation means that I’m going to have to find a different way to build some relaxation into my schedule, at least on a small scale.  This will be interesting, because I’m not really a relaxer, per se.  I used to get regular massages, which were relaxing until last year when I had my neck/back issues and had to get regular massages that were more painful than anything.  Now, getting on the massage table is a reminder of trauma.  Scratch that.

I might have to start working out again, which will also solve the problem of my being in bad shape.  I used to be a workout fiend but I’ve recently been relying on my genetics, which will only carry me so far.  We’ll see how that works.  If I can ever get past the irritation of figuring out what my new plan will entail.  (It never stops, does it?)

 

Sep 29, 2014 - Naturals by Gina B.    3 Comments

The plight of an entrepreneur

Although I’ve spent about half of my career as an independent, I’ve recently learned that there’s a distinct difference between offering a consulting service and manufacturing my own products.   In fact I will quietly admit that if I’d known all that was involved in getting a product off the ground, I might not have jumped in feet first.  That said, I guess there is a benefit to ignorance.

Although Naturals by Gina B. is a burgeoning company that has yet to really take off, I’m tenacious, encouraged, and therefore optimistic.  A few key lessons that I’ve learned so far to share for anyone who is thinking about becoming an entrepreneur in any industry:

  1. Relish in your mistakes.  I’ve made a lot of them, and I’ll make many more.  Some of them have nearly caused me to pack up my materials and take down my website.  I’ve learned to laugh at them, and in most cases just write another check.  My solace is that I’ll never make the same mistakes again (and if I do, I’ll have to laugh again, and write another check).  Enjoy the journey.
  2. Everyone will not love your products.  This is common sense, because everything is not for everyone, however when you spend a long time working on something and create an outcome that you’re absolutely enamored with, you want the world to share in your excitement.  Newsflash . . . most of the world will not.  In fact people think absolutely nothing of making negative sideways comments that will not make sense to you, and make your doubt your creation.  Move on and find your audience.  It’s there.  You just have to look for it.
  3. Marketing is a real struggle, and it takes time.  In this age of information, we are over-saturated with content.  Yours needs to stand out and you must have a strategy.  I’ll let you know when I develop one.
  4. Take the time on the front end to properly set up your organization.  This includes incorporation, solidifying all legal documents, bank accounts, etc.  It’s more difficult to implement a proper structure on the back end than to set up your company correctly in the beginning.  Fortunately, I learned this lesson several years ago with my first business.  Never again.
  5. Here’s a hard lesson — most of your friends will not support you.  And it’s not because they don’t love you, but you can’t rely on your friendship base as your customer base.  Nor should you.  As an example, I’ve penned at least 4 regular columns, and some of my very close friends have never read a word that I’ve written.  Now don’t get me wrong, some of your friends will be incredibly supportive and insist on purchasing your product and becoming true customers.  Others will not and will expect that the benefit of your friendship is endless free shit.  Maybe it’s because they feel that you know they’re in your corner, or perhaps they’ve known you so long that they don’t take you seriously.  Whatever the case, it’s best to set the expectation in the beginning that your friends might be the last to jump on your bandwagon, and be surprised and appreciative when a few gems step up to the plate.  Your friends like you for reasons other than what you do for a living, and you should be happy about that.
  6. Don’t start off trying to make money.  I realize this is counter-intuitive, but if the end game is money you won’t succeed.  Be patient with the business and have low expectations in the beginning.  Focusing on money takes away from your ability to properly structure your business and provide good service.  Focus instead on your love for what you’re providing.  If you think too much about what you’re making, you will become disgruntled and resentful.  Find another way to make a living until your baby grows to become a prosperous adult.

 

That’s all I’ve got for now.  I’m sure there will be more as I continue to stumble through this.  Sigh.

Oh, and if you’re interested, check out my products!  :-)

KMABalm

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