Month: July 2012

Curvy CEO’s Coverage of Curves Rock Weekend – Part 1

This past weekend, I ventured to Baltimore for the first ever Curves Rock Weekend, a three-day celebration of women with curves. This spectacular event included workshops on modeling and the plus-size industry, a fitness dance class, an empowerment brunch and, of course, a fierce and fabulous fashion show! This weekend was a great opportunity to discover new brands, meet twitter buddies (waves to Jazz and Rae) reconnect with fabulous ladies like Chenese Lewis, Jade Greer, and Qristyl Frazier and make new acquaintances like Liris C, Kendra Porter of Honor You and Jovanna Reyes of Curvysta and Skorch TV. Here are some pictures from the event.... [gallery] I have to give a special shout-out to my girl, New Age While Brown for helping me out by taking pictures and such. Mwah!!! Check back tomorrow for videos of the fashion show!

Nominate Me, Maybe?

  As much as I was determined to resist it, I, too, have fallen victim to Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me, Maybe". Since I can't get it out of my head anyways, I figured why not put it to good use and ask for something I'd be too embarassed to ask for outright. Here goes nothin':

  I write this blog just for fun Most days can’t wait ‘til I’m done At my work place so I can Come home and blog for you

It’s just a hobby, it’s true But it began, not a fluke I had just one major dream To win awards from you

I wrote my goal down And the time has come now Black Web Awards – a showdown All the best bloggers, baby!

Hey, I don’t know you And this crazy, But voting’s open Nominate me, maybe?

I’d do it myself But that’s just lazy Please click this link and Nominate me, maybe?

I know it cost three dollars, but I want it so bad I want it so bad I want it so, so bad

I’d do it myself But that’s just lazy Please click this link and Nominate me, maybe?

So, how 'bout it? Nominate me . . . maybe? [caption id="attachment_4508" align="aligncenter" width="525"] CLICK HERE!!![/caption]

Monday Morning Memo – Know Your Beauty

monday morning memo "When you don't know how beautiful you are you will always be in search of happiness." - Ledisi I have had a rough couple of weeks, y'all. Despite my best intentions, a step on the scale showed that recently my weight has reached an all-time high. And, one day last week, a dude walked up to me on the metro and said, "You know, you have a really pretty face . . . would you like to try this diet supplement I'm selling?" *Sherri Shephard voice* Rude. That's why this weekend was a much-needed reminder of not only my beauty, but the beauty of plus-size women generally. Curves Rock Weekend did, indeed, rock. I'm still sorting through all of my pictures and videos and such, but be on the lookout for complete coverage soon!!!

Make a Statement

Clockwise from Top Left: Debra Lee, CEO of BET; Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State; Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo; Madeleine Albright, Former Secretary of State; Andrea Jung, Former CEO of Avon; Meg Whitman, Former CEO of eBay; Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United StatesWhat do these women have in common? [caption id="attachment_4404" align="aligncenter" width="710"] Clockwise from Top Left: Debra Lee, CEO of BET; Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State; Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo; Madeleine Albright, Former Secretary of State; Andrea Jung, Former CEO of Avon; Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States.[/caption] Besides having earned some of the highest achievements in the worlds of politics and business, each of these women is rocking a fabulous accessory. Statement pieces, if you will. That article that gives what would otherwise be a fairly routine business look just a little more oomph...an item that makes a stranger stop her and say, "I just love that necklace/scarf/brooch...." Indeed, in discussing her book Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat's Jewel Box President Clinton's Secretary of State Madeleine Albright revealed that apparel often proved as a starting point for political negotiations: "You think that the heads of state only have serious conversations, [but] they actually often begin really with the weather or, 'I really like your tie.'" I love to use statement pieces to help bring a bit of self-expression to what would otherwise be a tame business outfit. PespiCo CEO Indra Nooyi seems to have mastered this as she works stylish elements from her native India into her corporate looks. Now, just what IS a statment piece? I really like this definition provided by Angie over at YouLookFab.com:
I think of statement pieces as interesting, attractive and relatively eye-catching wardrobe items that reflect your personality. They are usually quite bold and unique, but not necessarily brightly coloured and oversized. They are often, but not always, the thing people notice first about your outfit. Sometimes they become items that people associate with your signature style.
Sounds great to me! Unsure of how to rock a statement jewelry piece? Check out this great tutorial from Jeannie Mai. All set? Here are a few great pieces to get you started . . . . [slideshow] Check out more great options from Refinery29.com!

Mommy Bloggers Sound Off on “Having It All”

working motherA few months back, I reached out to some mothers in the blogosphere for their input about how to strike a balance between working outside of the home, parenting, and blogging. But being the over-scheduled person that I am, I never got around to posting their responses - until now! Given the topic of yesterday's post, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to do so! Participants in my completely random, non-scientific virtual mommy roundtable are: Nakia of Vogue & Vintage - a partnered new mother of an infant; Krystal of K-Sea Plus - a single mom of four children, ranging from a toddler to teen; Alison of DC Celine - a married mom of two children under age five (Interesting tidbit - the blog was her husband's idea!); and Alison of Wardrobe Oxygen - a married mom to a three-year-old daughter. All of these women work outside of their homes in government, business, etc. Check out what they had to say in response to the following questions . . . . What are some of the biggest challenges you face in managing your family, household, and career?
  • KRYSTAL: "My biggest challenge is time management. At this point in my career I'm really focus on moving up. This has taken up a great deal of time. I'm now working on a better way to have work/life balance. It’s a constant struggle."
  • ALISON (WARDROBE OXYGEN): "Not having enough time at home. I don't feel as though I know my daughter as well as my husband does (he works part time and stays at home with her during the day). My weekends end up being chock-full of chores around the house and running errands because I don't have the weekdays to accomplish them. As for my career, I am working towards a promotion, but that means the occasional late night, checking my email at home, and sometimes finishing projects on weekends. It's really hard when I HAVE to leave at a certain time (my husband teaches two nights a week so I need to leave on time so he can get to work on time). I am very blessed to have my mother just a few miles away and she helps often with watching my daughter, even helping me with a few errands."
  • ALISON (DC DELINE): "It's no surprise, I'm sure, that finding "the balance" is the toughest thing. How do I provide and serve all of those who expect something of me, including myself? If I go get my brows waxed, I'm using time I could be with kids or job(s). If I cook a real dish for my family, which I love to do, then I'm not blogging, which I also love. If I have late meetings, I miss bedtimes, and rarely get to drop off or pick up from school, never mind going to the playground. What ends up happening is that each area of my life takes precedence for a short while, and the others fall off."
  • What piece of advice would you offer to another workingi parent about managing family, household, and career?
  • NAKIA: "Be patience and have a plan but still be realistic and flexible. This is what I am still learning being 6 weeks into being a new parent and on a new road in my life."
  • KRYSTAL: "Pray & prioritize. It’s my faith in God that keeps me going when I don't have enough money or time for my children. I prioritize what's most important. Going to my daughter's basketball game may be more important this week verses getting one hour of overtime."
  • ALISON (DC CELINE): "Be patient with yourself. It's the hardest thing to do in the world, and probably the most important. You will not be able to do it all, despite what you think you see others doing. Somewhere, there are 'sacrifices' made. Allow yourself the luxury of a breath and stepping back - and not doing everything perfectly, but sometimes just well enough."
  • ALISON (WARDROBE OXYGEN): "Your home is a business - let the emotions go and work with your partner or childcare support to do what is best for the family business. My husband and I are constantly texting, emailing and sitting down with one another to ensure we are on the same page, both equally informed, and make decisions together. You often have to let go of your ego and pride and do what is best for the family unit."
  • Have you written any blog posts that are relevant to trying to be a fashionable and fabulous working mom?
  • NAKIA: "No, but I do write a kids fashion blog which touches on the fashion aspects of being a new parent. Its called Precious Couture."
  • ALISON (WARDROBE OXYGEN): "Yes - Personal Style - How to Make Time."
  • ALISON (DC CELINE): "Here's one about failing to have style - You didn't...? Really?"
  • Anything else you'd like to add on this topic?
  • NAKIA: "Being a parent for me has been very scary but now as I am coming into it, it’s the best thing I have done so far in my life. Being a parent and mother opens your eyes to what really matters in life. Small thing become just that, small things."
  • DC CELINE: "The only things that come to mind are tried-but-true cliches, like believe in yourself, be patient, and wash your face. But they're true."
  • If you are looking for even more discussion of how to be a working mother, check out this great e-book, This Is How We Do It: A Survival Guide For Busy Moms, edited by Tara Pringle Jefferson of The Young Mommy Life. Also, be sure to check out these other great blogs by working moms - SocaMom (a blog by the fabulous Eva about Caribbean-American parenting) and Good Enough Mother by Rene Syler (yes, THE Rene Syler, formerly of CBS News).

    Win a Pair of Tickets to Curves Rock Weekend!

    Curves Rock Logo Well, I've been talking it up for weeks and now the first ever Curves Rock Weekend is just *days* away! And, the organizers want to give away a pair of tickets to Saturday evening's runway showcase to one lucky Curvy CEO reader! To enter, answer the question below and either "like" their Facebook page or "follow" them on Twitter. Just use the nifty tool below . . . a Rafflecopter giveaway This contents ends at midnight tonight! Be sure to check back tomorrow to see if you are the winner!!!

    My Thoughts on the “Having It All” Debate

    atlantic monthly anne marie slaughter coverSo, about a month ago, the interwebs went wild over Princeton professor Anne-Marie Slaughter's explanation of why women still can't have it all. Reactions ranged from "At last! Finally someone gets it!" to "Uh, excuse me, poor/single/minority women have been forced to DO it all for years and no one has batted an eye!" With respect to the latter point, Slaughter is very clear that she is not speaking for all of womankind and acknowledges that she is operating from a place of privilege:
    I am well aware that the majority of American women face problems far greater than any discussed in this article. I am writing for my demographic—highly educated, well-off women who are privileged enough to have choices in the first place. We may not have choices about whether to do paid work, as dual incomes have become indispensable. But we have choices about the type and tempo of the work we do.
    Holding all of that aside, the piece really resonated with me and several other professional women I know (as evidenced by the constant facebook postings, retweets, forwarded emails and so on). In the days and then weeks following the article's publication, I planned to write a brilliant, ground-breaking response - one that synthesized all of the spin-off articles and came up with THE solution that has alluded the modern working woman for decades. But I didn't. I couldn't. I didn't have the time. Yes. Single, childless Curvy CEO could not find the time. Between working a 12-14 hour a day job, keeping my apartment looking semi-decent, fitting in some exercise and tending to relationships with my family, friends and even a gentleman caller or two, I could not find the time. Even when I did find the time, I felt an enormous amount of pressure . . . like I had to write THE best blog post ever because hundreds (well, tens) of readers were counting on me to come up with a solution. (This pressure - rooted in my perfectionism - seems to be another symptom of trying to "have it all".) The fact that Professor Slaughter's article pretty much obliterates my typical take on the "having it all" debate didn't help either. Up until this point, I felt confident that you could, in fact, have it all . . . just not all at the same time. I believe this so strongly, I even have a little plaque in my apartment that says as much . . . see? [caption id="attachment_4444" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The plaque reads, "Having it all doesn't necessarily mean having it all at once."[/caption] In response to this notion, Slaughter writes:
    Young women should be wary of the assertion “You can have it all; you just can’t have it all at once.” This 21st-century addendum to the original line is now proffered by many senior women to their younger mentees. To the extent that it means, in the words of one working mother, “I’m going to do my best and I’m going to keep the long term in mind and know that it’s not always going to be this hard to balance,” it is sound advice. But to the extent that it means that women can have it all if they just find the right sequence of career and family, it’s cheerfully wrong. The most important sequencing issue is when to have children....A child born when his mother is 25 will finish high school when his mother is 43, an age at which, with full-time immersion in a career, she still has plenty of time and energy for advancement. Yet, this sequence has fallen out of favor with many high-potential women, and understandably so. People tend to marry later now, and anyway, if you have children earlier, you may have difficulty getting a graduate degree, a good first job, and opportunities for advancement in the crucial early years of your career. Making matters worse, you will also have less income while raising your children, and hence less ability to hire the help that can be indispensable to your juggling act.
    Great. So, what then is an ambitious, yet family-oriented woman to do? I think it boils down to acknowledging the different trade-offs you will have to make and being brave enough to make those tough choices. I know that for me, personally, I am constantly being reminded by my friends and family to "slow down" and "not be so busy" with my career and hobbies (of which there are many) that I don't carve out time to meet The One and build a family. Above all, I try to keep the words of another plaque in my home at the forefront of my mind: [caption id="attachment_4453" align="aligncenter" width="300"] The plaque reads: "Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life."[/caption] Tomorrow, I'll share what some mommy bloggers had to say on this issue. In the meantime, here are some interesting books you might want to check out on the subject.
  • Having It All? : Black Women and Success
  • In Her Own Sweet Time: Unexpected Adventures in Finding Love, Commitment, and Motherhood
  • 20-Something, 20-Everything: A Quarter-life Woman's Guide to Balance and Direction
  • Midlife Crisis at 30: How the Stakes Have Changed for a New Generation--And What to Do about It
  • What about you, dear readers? What are your thoughts on the notion of "having it all"?

    Will YOU Be Rockin’ Your Curves in Baltimore This Weekend?

    Curves Rock Weekend, Baltimore, July 27-29, 2012 Ladies, we are just FIVE days away from the first ever Curves Rock Weekend in Baltimore, MD. Starting this Friday, there will be three days of fashion shows; shopping; healthy eating, fitness, and modeling workshops; and an empowerment brunch on Sunday. Curvy CEO will be there covering the event. Can't wait to reconnect with my girls, Jade Greer of K Staton Boutique and model/actress/spokeswoman/icon/diva extraordinaire Chenese Lewis! Will YOU be there? Get your tickets here!

    Monday Morning Memo – Each Step is a Step Toward Change

    monday morning memo "It is not enough to take steps which may someday lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise." - Goethe

    Last year, a friend introduced me to the concept of "kaizen" - a Japanese business philosophy of introducing slow, small changes over time that lead to high quality results. There is a great post over at The Simple Mom that walks through how this concept can be applied to personal goals, like eating healthier, getting more sleep, or watching less television. As I mentioned at the end of last year, I generally find that trying to do major habit overhauls in broad, sweeping strokes does not work for me. Set a New Year's Resolution on December 31; fall flat on my face by January 3. No bueno. So, discovering this concept of kaizen has been really refreshing for me.

    At first blush, today's quote from Goethe may seem like it's the opposite of kaizen. I mean, if each step must equal a goal, these must be some pretty outrageous steps, right? Not really. What I'm realizing is that because changing a well-established pattern in your life can be such a major challenge, that even accomplishing a small, incremental step is a note worthy goal. Because, if you keep it up, eventually these small changes will snowball into the new habit you've been itching to achieve for so long.

    For me, one thing I've been working on lately is getting more sleep. It's tough working a 12-to-14 hour day and then coming home with only a few minutes to spare before bedtime. My immediate thought once I come home is, "It can't be time to go to bed - I just got here! I need some 'me time' first!" And with that, I'd flop on the couch or hop up on the internet and indulge in a little mindless entertainment. Pretty soon, it's one o'clock in the morning . . . which leaves me only a few hours before I have to get up and head back to work. The result? I end up getting only a fraction of the sleep I need and in the morning, I'm usually super-cranky and running behind schedule. Again, no bueno.

    In order to assist myself in getting the sleep I need while also allowing myself just a wee bit of "me time" in the evenings, I've begun to set my clock for bed. Yes, you read that right. I set my alarm to let me know that it's time to go to sleep. This has proved to be a big help . . . it gives me the freedom to unwind in front of the tv or computer without having to guiltily keep my eye on the clock. And, while it is contrary to my natural tendency to allow myself "just a few more minutes" of web-surfing or reality tv foolishness, each evening that I set and actually respond to the alarm feels like a victory...even moreso in the mornings when I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go. (You have no idea what a shock it was to me to learn that I don't have to feel like crap every morning.) This positive feedback prompts me to keep up this practice . . . and, I daresay, I think I am on the way to forming a new habit.

    [pullquote] Need Help to Kaizen Your Way to Change? Check out These Book Recommendations:
  • 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You

  • Better Each Day: 365 Expert Tips for a Healthier, Happier You

  • One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way

  • Small Change: It's the Little Things in Life That Make a Big Difference!
  • [/pullquote]

    I'm starting to apply this whole kaizen philosophy to my eating habits as well. So, instead of saying that I'm going to do a fast or cleanse to prompt a new vegetarian/vegan/low-carb lifestyle, instead I simply eat the way I always eat, but work to add more fruits and vegetables to the mix. (This idea - of adding to my diet, instead of taking away - is a tip I learned from Erika over at Black Girl's Guide to Weight Loss.) So far, this approach seems to be working. While I can't say that I've lost X amount of pounds (yet ;)) it feels good to know that I'm feeding my body better fuel and discovering that carrot sticks and a fruit smoothie from the health food shop aren't so bad as an afternoon snack, instead of, say, chips and soda from the vending machine. (Don't get it twisted. I still snack on my junkfood . . . just not as much.)

    I know in the past, I've viewed this "small, incremental steps" approach as a cop-out . . . a way of having my cake and eating it, too. But, that's mostly because I never got past the initial steps. Now, my focus is really on trying to maintain the small changes and adding in additional changes. It gets tricky. There are so many areas of my life I want to improve that sometimes it gets overwhelming. I have to remind myself that it's not worth trying to make five different changes at the same time if it will lead me to ultimately fail at them all.

    Over a month ago, I started reading 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You, which is basically is a week-by-week, kaizen-style approach to building better habits. The idea is that each week you focus on a new habit (getting aerobic activity, drinking more water, cutting back your salt intake, etc.) and at the end of the year, you will have mastered each of them and be living an awesome, healthy life.

    For the last month, I've been stuck at week 3 - Keep Off the Couch. (Basically, walk as often as you can to do errands and such.) I'm sorry, but the record-breaking heatwave of the last several weeks has prevented me from walking much of anywhere. But instead of just skipping this week, I've decided to sit tight until I can really embrace the habit fully. I've decided that I'd rather take a year and a half (or even two years!) to really incorporate the changes instead of getting overwhelmed and just quitting altogether.

    What do you think about this concept of kaizen? Are there any particular changes you're hoping to make in your life? Perhaps you've already successfully adopted changes that have enhanced the quality of your life. Please share in the comments section!