Monday Morning Memo – Working Toward Happiness

monday-morning-memo NEW "We must, therefore, pursue the things that make for happiness, seeing that when happiness is present, we have everything; but when it is absent, we do everything to possess it.” — Epicurus

Does it ever seem like it's a lot of work to pursue happiness? I mean there are books about how to achieve it; songs bemoaning the lack of it; we spend billions and billions of dollars on medical treatments fighting for it. And, as today's Monday Morning Memo proves, humans have been striving towards happiness since ancient times. In a strange way, I find this fact comforting. Sometimes when you are just scratchin' and survivin', it can feel like you're all alone in the struggle. At least now I know that it's not completely me just being extra. What are your thoughts on all of this? Are you just a naturally happy person or do you have to work towards happiness?

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Chasing the Crown: A First-Person Reflection on Miss Plus USA

You may recall that earlier this summer, we featured Sasha Ballard, Miss Virginia Plus USA in our ever-popular Real-Life Curvy CEO feature. Well, the pageant took place just a few short weeks ago in Seattle, Washington. Although Sasha didn't take home the top title, she did have an incredible experience that opened the door to new friendships and new opportunities. Let's take a look at her first-hand recap of her experience....

evening headshotDoing a pageant or more so competing for a title of any sort is something I never envisioned or had interest doing. The way it was advertised, I felt like it was a great opportunity and something kept tugging at my heart to do it. More than anything I wanted to check something else off the list of things I had set out to accomplish and things I attempted to try—even if I was not successful. Being able to set an example to my young daughter that accomplishing dreams is possible.

I think what I gained the most from the experience is that pageantry is a sport. I have a new found respect for it that I never had before. The same way I used to practice when I played basketball and volleyball is the same amount of effort people put in to competing for national titles. I am quite certain I did not realize that going in nor did I realize how huge the investment and sacrifice is. I shared a room with Miss Florida Plus USA and we built an instant connection. She has become like a little sister to me. I also met tons of other women representing their respective states who have great things to offer. Each of us has a different personality and a different style. You would think with all that estrogen there would be some major problems, but most of us had built camaraderie with each other. Most of us wanted to see the other do well. I do think one has to understand and remember that there is a time and place for “friendship” and not to lose focus on the one goal everyone is trying to achieve and that, most of the time, is winning. sportswearThe advice I would give to anyone wanting to participate in something like this is to do your research. Make sure whatever you are signing on to do is something that makes you truly happy and that you are comfortable with it. Mostly, make sure you are prepared to work hard and take advantage of every opportunity that may arise. Had I not done that and set a precedent for the platform I represent, I would not have been on the news and had multiple radio station interviews. Also, one of the designers who sponsored me has asked me to participate in some major shows that she is doing and I will be one of the only if not the only plus size model walking in the show. That’s a big deal. The even bigger deal is the things that I have learned and the ability that I have had to impact my community and the purpose of my life to help and change the lives of others. So would I do this again? No, it is not for me. Despite my personal gains, I found that overall, it is not my passion to be a part of the pageantry industry. However, everything in life happens for a reason and if you can take the positives out of negatives and align them to your passion, well then you’re doing better than most and you are positioning yourself to a greater vision and vision for your future success.

If you are interested in learning more about the Miss Plus USA pageant - which is already accepting pre-registrations for 2015! - please visit

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Why Yes, I AM Wearing White After Labor – #WorkwearWednesday

We are well into September, but the weather is still hot and humid. (If you think about it, this actually makes perfects sense because autumn doesn't technically start until September 22.) With the temperatures still in the 80s and 90s, why not dress like it? Even though you may offend a few outdated notions of what is good and proper, why not take a fashion risk and rock a white business ensemble? Go ahead. You'll be fine. Even Vogue says it's ok.

ASOS CURVE Exclusive Midi Dress In Stripe ($45.70); ASOS CURVE Blazer With Cropped Lapel And Split Hem ($79.98); ASOS FOSTER Leather Flat Sandals ($41.89); POVERTY FLATS by rian 'Colorful' Shopper (58.00); kate spade new york 'izu petals' long station necklace ($98.00).

For more info and shopping details, click here.

I plan to squeeze as much as I can out of these last few days of summer, fashion-wise. That means wearing white, open-toed shoes, you name it. What about you, dear readers? How do YOU plan to take advantage of the last few warm weather days before the fall?

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Monday Morning Memo – The Importance of Relationships

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“Relationship is currency. Establish relationship to gain access.”Uneeka Jay

It's often been said that it's not what you know, but who you know. While I wouldn't say that you can rely solely on personal connections (because no person in power would dare recommend someone for an opportunity who isn't trustworthy, reliable, and up to the task), it would be foolish to overlook the importance of relationships. I've learned from my own experience that it's not enough to be the smartest or hardest-working person in the room. You must also emerge from behind your desk, go down the hall, go out to lunch, head out to happy hours, and so on.

Networking not your greatest strength? Check out these posts below for a few tips to get you started!
  • How NOT to Network
  • Quick Fixes to Your Most Common Networking Dilemmas

  • Farewell to Summer – #WorkwearWednesday Edition

    So, of course, as we move into the month of September, Mother Nature decades to tease us with a few outrageously hot last days of summer. But, before we know it, we will be bundling up in scarves, sipping on pumpkin spice lattes, and admiring the colorful leaves. So, for today's Workwear Wednesday look, I decided to present one last summer-y office outfit. The benefit is that once the temperature cools, you can pair the dress with a jacket, some leggings, a scarf and a pair of boots to continue to rock the look!

    Elie Tahari Keyhole Neck Belted Dress ($138.00); Rebecca Minkoff Python Cherish Tote ($136.50); Tory Burch 'Eloise' Ballet Flat ($265.00); Gorjana Taner Bar Mini Stud Earrings ($40.00); ASOS Stone Dial Boyfriend Watch ($42.56).
    For more info and shopping details click here.

    What do you think? How are you dressing yourself these last few days of summer? Personally, I'm trying to get as much wear out of my sundresses and sandals as possible!

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