Thursday, January 20, 2011

My #MnNice Encounter

Hop on over to my Tumblr & find my heart pumping #MnNice experience from earlier this evening.

I came home tonight super excited because the last of the materials for our mini...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Taking Back Control

We're already three weeks into the new year.  I stopped making resolutions long ago. Goal setting on the other hand has been very important to me over the years.  It's been a little over two years since my career life dramatically changed due to this recession and it hasn't been the same since, although I emerged a changed individual.

You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive...I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

image from
Where in years past my goals have been focused on what I perceived would make me happy - financial security - this economy & the circumstances that followed has made me place emphasis elsewhere.  Financial security is still very elusive for most & I don't foresee it truly being within our grasp for a few more years to come.  The choice I made was to shift my energy inward - onto anything & everything entirely within my control.

"We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline." 
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Building on achievements in a tough 2010 are the building blocks for my 2011 goals.  How many times do we say to ourselves, "I'm going to work to build better me?" It's not all about the physical, although a more fit body contributes to a more positive thinking mind.  I'm talking about traditional & non-traditional learning opportunities.  Continuing education is a major key to ongoing happiness & future successes. As we age, learning, whether in a classroom setting or not,  broadens your perspective, helps you problem solve more effectively & ultimately keeps your mind active & healthy.

A couple of my goals for 2010 were completed at the University of St. Thomas, my alma mater, though the Opus College of Business.  I took the leap with an Internet Essentials class & once I got the bug, I completed a Mini Masters of Medical Technology Management.

For 2011, I have another list of related courses to fit into my busy schedule. My non-traditional learning comes via my massive reading list, which continues to grow by the day.

Two new books, which I've pre-ordered & am most excited to read are: 

aka @TheBrandBuilder

Goal setting & taking back control of one's life seems to be a common theme among people in my circle of influence.  The best part of making realizations that you can take leaps & bounds towards improving your work or other personal situation is the high that you get knowing that you can move the needle & make a huge difference in the quality of your future. 

Being off of work for the 1st time ever on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so many people were reflective of the sacrifices & struggles that finally allowed both African Americans, and to an extent - women, to have freedoms, opportunities and dreams never before believed possible. We must continually look forward to a better future, while not dwelling on the bumps & hurdles once thrust into our way in the past. Our responsibility is to continue fanning the fire that fuels the legacy that Martin Luther King Jr. left for us - to make strides to change & improve ourselves & our communities... ultimately for our children.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy: My Lens Into The First Ever MN Blogger Conference

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Finally Post #100... A Blogger Tradition

So I did it in less than a year.  I made it to my 100th post.  So much has changed in my life since I set up this blog & decided to take this journey & in my mind I know  it's only just begun.  

In true Blogger tradition, I've been told I must write the obligatory "100 Things About Me" post, so after days of noodling about what secrets to divulge I've decided to cover many bases.  Hopefully you'll learn a lot about the chick you've known for years, tweeted with daily or even met once in person. Above all, you've got to promise to stick with me through the end... this is going to be a long one!
 Food & Beverages:
1. My favorite foods growing up were Eggs Benedict, French Toast & Shrimp. 
2. I've literally eaten those foods all around the country. Still love them today.
Lunch recently at Manny's
3. I don't like Brussel Sprouts or Peanut Butter.
4. I don't like Indian Food.
5. I love Thai, Italian, Mexican, Carribean, Cajun & Creole Foods.
6. I love Sushi & all other types of seafood.
7. I'm not a Chardonnay or Merlot fan, but all other wines are fair game
8. I don't drink beer & can honestly say I don't enjoy the taste.
9. I don't drink Diet Pop & only drink regular Pop a few times a year - usually at family gatherings.
10. I don't drink Coffee.
11. I love Tea - especially Chai Tea
12.  I don't like Shredded Wheat.
13. My favorite hot cereals are Cream of Rice, Cream of Wheat & Oatmeal (In no particular order)
14. I won't eat chocolate cereals, but I will eat plain old Dark Chocolate (at least 70% Cacao)
15. I do eat & like Grits (After all, my Dad is from Louisiana)
Photo from
16. I love to cook & bake & have since I was a child watching my Dad cook.  My parents gave me lots of leeway to practice my skills in the kitchen.
17. I own 4 crockpots & endless service pieces & a buffet server since we host very large family gatherings a few times a year. 
18. I collect cookbooks.
Travel & Heritage: 
19. I am a Northwest Airlines brat.  My father worked there almost my entire lifetime.
20. My 1st flight was when I was 2 weeks old from Chicago, IL to Minneapolis, MN.
21. My last flight was to NYC back in the fall of 2007. (I know I need a vacation.
22. I've traveled by plane, train, automobile, bus, & ferry, but have never been on a cruise ship.
23. I've traveled to over 24 different states in the USA.

24. Outside of the USA, I've been to: Mexico, Nassau & Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago, St. John's, St Thomas, London, Paris, Hamburg, Negril Jamaica, Winnipeg Canada & British Columbia Canada.

25. I would love to travel to Greece, Italy, Australia, Ireland & back to France.
26. I have a fear of snorkeling - can't keep my head under the water with goggles & the snorkel mask on.
27. I've taken an ride on an elephant in Tampa , FL.
28. I've fallen asleep on a raft & floated out into the ocean in Florida - floating far, far from shore & woke up to people screaming wildly & waving their arms to get my attention. Luckily no hungry sea creatures dined on me while I briskly paddled back to shore.
29. I've never been to New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
30. I have Native American & Irish Blood on my Mom's side of the family - most African Americans are usually Multi-racial.
31. I love and have been researching/building our family history for a couple of years.
  The Two Northwests in my Life:
32. My 1st job (where I payed taxes to Uncle Sam) was with Northwest Airlines as a file clerk for Central Baggage Services.
33. I typed lost baggage claims on Rolodex Cards and filed them in order of airline hubs.
34. I also inventoried contents of lost baggage & saw the results of people packing food in their suitcases & it wasn't pretty (rotting food = bugs).
35. I'm paranoid to check bags to this day even though I've only lost baggage once & it wasn't lost by NWA.
36. I worked for Northwest Athletic clubs & held various jobs & met a lot of people over my 13 years tenure.
37. One of those jobs: Group Fitness Instructor & I still have an extensive collection of custom aerobic music mixes to show for it.

 Random Facts:
38. I've only been bitten by a bee once.
39. I have a fear of falling from high places - but not a general fear of heights.
40. As a kid I had a fear of jumping off a diving board - fortunately that didn't last too long.
41. I'd love to have a new car - the one I drive is 13 years old.
42. I've only colored my hair once & hated it.
43. I'm not afraid to rock gray hair one day.
44. I had a fear of the dentist as a child & am hoping my child doesn't take after me in that regard.
45. I was my own wedding planner.
46. I love interior design & remodeling our home has been a labor of love.
47. I designed custom windows to go into the 1st custom townhome that I owned.
48. I am very sentimental.
49. I've saved every writing journal I've every had.
50. I love shoes, especially heels since I'm short - you'll rarely see me not wearing heels.
51. I've always wanted to be tall.
52. I hate camping - I am spoiled - It's either a cabin or a hotel room, or I don't go.
53. I don't like swimming in lakes, but the ocean is fine.
54. I remember 45 records & LPs
55. I remember 8-track tapes
56. I was in the sixth grade before I was allowed to wear jeans (nothing resembling Pajama Jeans either)
57. I got my ears pierced for the Jr Prom - I was 15 yrs old.  
58. Since the birth of my son, I rarely wear earrings, but pull them out on special occasions.
59. I loved the sense of accomplishment the morning after promoting a successful bodybuilding/fitness competition.
60. I always wanted to have 5 kids - What was I thinking?!
 Music & Theater:
61. I played clarinet for 5 years.
62. I recently took a guitar I've had since my 6th birthday to get re-strung so I can re-learn to play & then pass the guitar on to my son one day.
63. I love all kinds of theater & have seen a tremendous number of productions in my lifetime.
64. Some of the more memorable were: Yul Brenner in "The King & I", Nell Carter in "Ain't Missbehavin", Matthew Broderick & Nathan Lane in "The Producers" & Donny Osmond in "Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" & 6th row seats to "Rent".
65. My favorite local production was "Fiddler on the Roof" during my childhood at Chanhassen Dinner Theater. We saw it 3 times.
66. I was in a traveling performance singing group in high school & our favorite music to perform was from "The Sound Of Music".
67. I learned to swim at the Blaidell YMCA as a child - It wasn't a scary part of town to be in back when I was growing up.
68. I hated playing basketball & quit after 1 year and became a cheerleader instead (Don't hold it against me - It was a ton of fun.)
69. I competed in Track & Field for eight years & competed in all of these events at some time over the years:
  • Hurdles ( 100m, 200m, 300m)
  • Long Jump
  • 200m Open
  • 4x100 relay
  • 4x200 relay
  • 4x400 relay
  • Heptathalon (100m Hurdles, Long Jump, 200m, Shot Put, Javelin, High Jump, 800m)
70. I learned to play Tennis as a child, but don't ask me to play today as I much prefer to just watch the game.
71. I learned to play Golf as a 1st set of clubs were powder blue.
72. I still love to play Golf today - I've met some awesome friends through Executive Women's Golf Association leagues.
73. I do not play games on Facebook - please don't ask me to join in.
74. The longest road race I've ever run is a 10K.
75. I have no desire to run a marathon.
76. I would like to compete in a Triathalon one day.
Allergies & Pets:
77. I am allergic to cats & first discovered it in college. I was never around cats growing up.
78. I love dogs, but have no desire to own a dog again.
79. I once saw a rat on the subway tracks in Chicago that was the size of a small cat. (Not Kidding) I called it a cat & my Dad quickly corrected me.
Famous Encounters:
80. I met Prince's mother years ago at the Riverview Supper Club.
81. I wish I had met Prince himself instead of his mother.
82. I was asked out once by Evander Holyfield at the downtown Arena Club & of course I said no.  I knew he was married & I was also married at the time (True Story)
83. I was in a music video with The Commmodores (Brickhouse '94 - A Remake on the Commodores XX- No Tricks album) - the experience was a blast, but the single, however never got any air play.

84. I've met Alex Haley, Rosa Parks & Carl Eller - they all came to speak at the College of St. Thomas while I was attending. 

85. I was in a Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) Readathon movie in the 3rd grade with crazy Mn Viking Carl Eller & the photo I had of the kids who were in the movie with him is what he signed the back of for me. 
More Random Facts: 
86. I love almost every genre of dance & love watching professional dancers.

87. I do not enjoy watching "Dancing with the Stars".
88. I do enjoy watching "So you think You Can Dance"
89. The Biggest Loser is one of my favorite network TV shows.
90. I love HGTV - period.
91. I love being a Mom , even more so at this late stage in my life.
92. I love being a Wife.
93. I am very competitive, but also very compassionate & empathetic.
94. I love volunteering at the Crisis Nursery (Cook For Kids) - even if I have to wear the "Lunch Lady" hair net.
95. I love the feel of real hard & soft cover books.
96. I love Coach handbags.
97. The 1st Coach handbag I ever had was only $45, bought from the Powers Department store on the Nicollet Mall.
98. I am a great listener & have a nurturing personality.
99. I don't show my munchkin's face on my blogs.
100. I realize after 11 months of blogging how difficult it really is, but I'm looking forward to the next 100 posts.