Friday, September 30, 2011

Song in My Head

Saw this over on Dooce a while ago and keep playing it:



Lykke Li - Sadness is a Blessing (Director Tarik Saleh) from Lykke Li on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What Recession?

People like to talk about "first world problems," and I was reminded of this reading a recent article on the Quarter Life Crisis. Yes, I do believe it exists (and I've written about it before), but when I think about the turmoil going on in the rest of the world I wonder if my peers say in Mongolia experience the same feelings of disillusionment?

The Global Rich List came to mind. It was shared by my pastor one Sunday, and it really blew my mind. The tool allows you to enter your salary and then see where you fall in terms of wealth compared to the rest of the world. I input my salary from when I was corporate and this is what it showed me:

 
Wow!

We really are a lot better off than we think. 

Growing up I was always getting reprimanded for complaining and as punishment would have to write down this scripture:

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. - Philippians 2:14-15 

Complaining still is a challenge for me (hey, I'm a Virgo and I have really high standards), but I've become better at keeping it inside, being thankful for my blessings and instead of flat out complaining, providing "constructive feedback." 

I look at the news and the economy and realize it's not up to president, congress, "society" or "them" to make us happy and lead fulfilled lives. It really is up to us. 

I can choose to be "rich" despite what material possessions I believe I lack.  Tools like the Global Rich List just help to visualize that, and it keeps me in check too! 

How do you keep yourself in check?
 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Power of Multiple Profit Centers

I tweeted a couple weeks ago about some multiple profit centers I've been working on and wanted to share what's in development. 

I've always been a fan of the concept of multiple profit centers since hearing Barbara Winters lecture at the BCAE. I've mentioned before about how her book Making a Living Without a Job was one of the most influential books I've read about being in control of my life. It is so important to diversify one's sources of income. 

Here are a few projects I have in the works: 
  • Destination Wedinars: this was my business that I submitted for the NYPL's StartUP! business plan competition. I have not given up on it and even Mr. Love Bird has "invested" in wanting to take beyond destination weddings although we're having a bit of debate on niche vs. not. For now I'm just consulting one on one but hope to have launched big time by this time next year.
  • Juice in the City: I am a Local Business Consultant seeking mom-focused group deals to share with other moms. It's hyper-local and I'm giving it a try in my neighborhood. I'm excited to be a part of it and it's very mom friendly
  • Etsy: As I get better at sewing I have an awesome concept that I'm going to be rolling out next spring so I have all fall and winter to perfect my craft. I'm VERY excited about this!
  • Life Coaching: I abhor the title "life coach," but as I've shared before I definitely want to take the role I've started to find myself in as a"go-to guide" for the quarter-life crisis set and expand it further which is somewhat linked to my next profit center . . .
  • Public Speaking: Those of you who follow me on Twitter know I tweet about Toastmasters all the time. I achieved the first level of distinction (Competent Communicator) in January and am now excited to start the next level which is the Advanced Communicator. The series I've selected for the 5 of the 10 speeches for this level is the Professional Speaker. I'm very excited to complete this and have already started seeking out speaking gigs. I'm really motivated by fellow Toastmaster Jonathan Sprinkles' story (you can read it here). Amazing stuff!
So are you looking for multiple profit centers too or do you already have some? No matter which position you're in, here are a few articles/resources I wanted to share that I've found inspirational:
  1. Springwise: I wrote a post about it here, but essentially this is a round-up of business ideas worldwide. I find it gets my creative juices flowing.
  2. Finding funding and a Support Network: besides NYPL's competition, which is unique to NYC, there's Daily Candy's Start Small Go Big competition. There are so many similar funding opportunities and a couple places other places to check out are Ladies Who Launch and Savor the Success.
  3. Articles of inspiration:
  4. This video:
 Dooce: Working from Home video:
How to Work From Home from dooce on Vimeo.

*****UPDATE*****

Another resource I wanted to share: Jon Acuff's blog Stuff Christian's Like is one of my favorites, and his new book Quitter is on my reading list. Check out the promo video:




What are your tips for creating multiple profit centers?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Nia's New Harlem Playmate!

So excited to share that my Wellesley College roommate Maria A. had a baby girl on Friday! They also live in Harlem so I'm very excited for Nia to have a new playmate - especially a little girl. Nia's last little playmate moved to Boston a few months ago so I'm looking forward to next summer when Nia and her new playmate, Alessandra can toddle around together!

Maria is VERY crafty, gardens and cooks exceptionally (her life is extremely blog-worthy!). I'm so excited to visit her and see all the fun things she made for Alessandra. She and her husband didn't find out the gender beforehand and while I thought for months she was carrying a little girl towards the end I started to think it was a boy. Guess my initial gut instinct was right!

Maria had a lovely gender neutral shower in her backyard last month and agreed that I could share a few pics with my readers:

My favorite shot
Nia loves Maria! (Matching colors was a coincidence!)
Maria and I in the nursery - love the wallpaper!
As usual there was yummy food: berry&whipped cream topped grilled French toast, eggs, bacon and sausage
Maria and Greg's lovely backyard
I loved her yellow theme (and the dress she made herself!).

Congratulations Maria and Greg on your precious baby girl!

My "Webify Me"

Totally not a promotional post, but I took it upon myself to take the "Webify Me" quiz on Firefox, and it came up with this collage:


Here's a breakdown of the descriptions for certain items that were spot-on:

Date Book - You know what's next; you have it all written down in your date-book - the symbol of The Organizer. {Make that my BlackBerry!}

Knitting Needles - With your own hands you create that which you desire, and make it purely your own.

Tab Stickers - Go ahead and open up all the tabs you want - there's never a last call for browsing. {This is especially funny since Mr. Love Bird gets annoyed at how many tabs I have open at once at any given moment!}

Buttons - A sign of pluck, resourcefulness and a keen eye.

Have any of you taken the Webify Me quiz? Did you find it accurate too? You can take it here.
 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Birthday Recap: 31 Years Old

I really wanted to post this recap yesterday, but I ODed on Better Than Sex Cake (and a ton of other sweets!) so I crashed hard before I could get the post up.

Anyway, I had a very nice, quiet birthday! It was rainy (like last year's birthday), but it cleared up in time for Nia and me to meet my friend Melinda and her son Jerve, who is 2 but shares the same birthday as Nia. 

The cuties enjoyed playing with each other, and we got some time in at the park. Nia and Jerve had fun "brushing" the playground frog's teeth:

Brushing the frog's teeth
Melinda was a sweetie and gave me a vanilla candle (which I've been enjoying) and a notepad. Jerve even colored the giftbag it was in and told me, "Happy Birthday!" He is such a cutie (Nia thought so too and kept kissing and hugging him!).

The day seemed to fly by from there especially because I couldn't get Nia to nap. We had a lot of playtime and dance time together as well as our usual struggles to eat solids.

Lunchtime (looks promising, but it ended up on the floor)
Mr. Love Bird got home right at 6p.m. and went to work grilling for the delicious chicken scampi he made, and my sister Ariane stopped by to enjoy it with us followed by Better Than Sex Cake. We were all done by 8p.m. Hooray for an early night! Unfortunately, Nia missed the festivities since she didn't get an afternoon nap so she went to bed very early.



I wasn't expecting much else, but Mr. Love Bird had hinted at my present earlier in the week and it turns out it's a 2 hour spa date for a massage and (much needed) facial. He is a mind reader! I was just tweeting about how badly I needed a facial especially because I've been noticing my skin changing.

I didn't look very glamorous on my birthday so I'm not updating that other pic but here's a pic of me with Mr. Love Bird (I realized I should've taken a pic of me and my sister Ariane too but oh well!):


Overall it was a good birthday and as much as I sometimes get frustrated with Mr. Love Bird, he really stepped up for my birthday, and I really appreciate his thoughtfulness!

I loved the dish he prepared so much that I ran out to get another lemon so we can make it again tomorrow (and hopefully this time have leftovers since we KILLED the pot of pasta!).

Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes on the last post!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy Birthday! (or Why 31 is Weird)

On the subway with  Lil Love Bird (maybe I'll replace with a more glamorous pic later!)
I've been really good at scheduling my posts lately (I seriously have nearly  80 drafts in queue; yes, I have a lot to say!), but for today's post I wanted to first wake up and see what 31 feels like.

I'm happy to report so far 31 feels just fine!

As I posted yesterday, thoughts of baby #2 had been rumbling around now that Nia's a toddler and of course, no other Little Love Birds are in sight but I'm now focusing on other things that are going to be important now that I have one year under my belt of being in my 30s.

I was chatting with Mr. Love Bird a couple nights ago, and he told me he thinks 31 is a weird inbetween year and that he doesn't really like it. Well, he doesn't like odd numbered years for that matter. I asked him: "What about 29?" He said it was just a holding cell for 30. Wow. 

I think 31 is cool cause I can say, "I'm in my early 30s!" When I fill out surveys though that break out by demographic I still feel like I want to check the 20-something box.  I'm learning that age is definitely just a number!

I'm not one for resolutions but I do believe in goals. And in the vein of Kaizen, I'm hoping to get better at doing a little bit each day to work towards my goals. I have a post coming up about multiple profit centers but that is definitely where my brain is at right now. I have to get serious about establishing my brand over the next year: 

Brand Quiana

So I guess that is my birthday gift to myself!

Do I have any major plans or celebrations today?

Nope.

Mr. Love Bird made Better Than Sex Cake last night so all the flavors can macerate (that's a weird word especially coupled with a cake that has "sex" in the title!). I'm looking forward to him making dinner tonight followed by the cake. My sister Ariane will also stop by for a visit.

Today though I'm just going to enjoy being with Nia and we're going to visit some Harlem friends for a playdate this morning (praying that we don't get rained on!). 

It's going to be a good day!

And I can't end without saying Happy Birthday to my mom - she and I share our birthdays! I love her so much!

{I'll post a recap of tonight's dinner, cake and family time tomorrow!)


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Time for Baby #2?

41wks and SO over it!
I turn 31 tomorrow and as I had posted about having a baby before 30  of course now everyone's asking about the next Little Love Bird. 

Well a couple weeks ago I had a nightmare: I found out I was pregnant with baby #2, and I woke up angry and in a panic.

Clearly I am not ready for baby #2!

I had always thought I'd want my children a couple years apart, but Nia is quite a handful, and I cannot imagine having another baby any time soon. Mr. Love Bird and I sit in amazement at our moms and dads as we both come from families with four children. How on earth did they do it?

We've decided the key to our parents' success was having family close by who could help out with childcare. Now that families often live so far apart it's not the same for those of our generation who grew up being watched by aunties and grandmothers. 

I came across this funny checklist on Baby Center to determine if one is ready for a second child. Here's a few items that made me laugh:


2. While chasing your overactive toddler around the house as he/she throws pasta sauce on the carpet and spaghetti on the ceiling, you think— this would be so much more fun if done in the company of a crying newborn!

5. You woke up the other day and thought— “These pajamas are really comfortable! Wouldn’t it be awesome if I could wear them day in and day out for the next nine to twelve months straight?”

6. You find yourself with five minutes of free time and would like to fill it with spit-up deflection, poop containment and projectile vomit clean-up.

When I was pregnant a few moms would often tell me, "Oh you're going to miss being pregnant once she's out," and guess what?

No, I don't - not. one. bit.

Of course Nia was worth all the awful things that pregnancy entailed, but I have no desire to go back there anytime soon. 

Seriously, this summer I relished in pulling out my wardrobe and (thanks to breastfeeding) squeezing back into my clothes. I loved every minute of it including being able to see my feet!

So yeah, no baby #2 on the horizon for us. 

Nia has our cup full and running over (and over and over).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mom & Dad: My Apartment is NOT Small!

Now this is a small apartment:

Wanna read more? Click here.







Monday, September 19, 2011

Look Who's Featured on Meet A Wife Monday!

I thought to submit this pic, but it's kinda silly w/Nia's floating head!
Please stop by Man, Wife & Dog today and check me out on the Meet a Wife Monday feature!

It's a feature I've been reading regularly for months, and I'm so excited to be included!

Thank you Charli for the opportunity =)

Some People Give the Devil Too Much Credit!

Not too long ago I RT this:

 
I could not agree more! Growing up in church I heard too many folks blame everything on "the devil" (and some of these folks still do). It drove me nuts! They would blame their financial state, the reason for their job circumstances or their health on the devil. 

C'mon people!

As I took a closer look at those who continually blame the devil I realized it was a coping strategy to scapegoat him vs. admitting to their poor choices. That's what's so awesome about free will: we can make our own choices. Sure they may not come out how we want them to, but I've learned that no matter what happens they are definitely learning experiences.

I came across this quote that sums up my philosophy:

"When everything around you seems to be getting harder and harder, remember that you have the choice to make you stronger and stronger." 

How awesome is that? 

In the same vein, and a lot less religious, this blog post from Simple Dollar deconstructed another scapegoat: "they:"


No matter what is going on in your life, you can probably find a reason why someone else’s actions is keeping you from what you want. There are many elements of life that are outside of our direct control, and when the people who are in control of those elements make choices that don’t benefit us, it can be incredibly frustrating.

However, it is in that moment of frustration that you decide whether or not you’re going to succeed.


I could not agree more!
 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Special Cause: Gianna's Piggy Bank

A dear fellow mommy-friend of mine, April, shared the news with me 2 weeks ago that her cousin, Gianna, had been diagnosed with with a rare form of cancer called "renal medullary carcinoma" in June of 2011 and unfortunately, it was rapidly progressing. She was 22 and a loving wife, a beautiful daughter and a friend to so many.

Gianna and her husband
I had planned to share Gianna's story here and wanted to make a donation on the page her family set up, and when I went on the website this evening to finally do so I saw that sadly she had passed away. 

I still made my donation as her family is in need of help with her funeral arrangements and I wanted to share her website you you and ask that if you can to contribute any amount: 

http://giannaspiggybank.blogspot.com/

My heart goes out to April and Gianna's family.

You are in my prayers. 
 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Life with Nia: 13 Months

I posted about Nia on Monday without realizing she was 13 months old - this past month has flown by! I'll keep up with the monthly updates so here goes:

Looking like a diva
I feel like time has collapsed since Nia turned 1. She is SO energetic and a lot of fun! She's super affectionate giving kisses and hugs freely - we love it, but are nervous about her being too open with strangers. The biggest challenge for me is getting her weaned. We're going abroad for Christmas, and Mr. Love Bird and I are in agreement that it might be a good idea to wait until after Christmas to wean to make the trip easier. We'll see. . . 

Here's the official update:
  • Toddler's Weight: We confirmed at her 1 year appointment that she's 19lbs 6oz. So lightweight which still makes her a breeze to wear around NYC!
  • Toddler's Height: She's officially 30." Again, long and lean continues to be the trend.
  • What size of clothing does toddler wear? In between 12 months and 18 months; why isn't there an in between size? She has such long legs but isn't quite thick enough to fill out the 18 months clothing. Oh well!
  • Any milestones toddler reached during the month:  
      • Nia can spin in a circle; she loves making herself dizzy!
      • She's even better at repeating after us. For example, she leaked poo on the floor and I exclaimed, "Ewwww gross!" and she repeated it with the same tone!
      • Nia is trying to count to 10 (thanks Sesame Street)
      • She can say her name when you ask her: "NEEEE-ah!"
      • She can point to all her body parts when asked
  • Special outings toddler had during the month: We visited the Natural History Museum with my BFF Van. She has a good time:

  • What are your thoughts about the past month? Even though she's a "toddler" she's still very much a baby. She likes to be cuddled and hugged a lot. Nursing continues to make me think of her as a baby still. When she looks up at me while nursing I still see her as she was placed on my chest when she was born. I know I'm going to see her newborn face when I look at her for the rest of her life! Now I know how my parents feel!
  • What was toddler's routine? Putting Nia to sleep is a breeze! We are so thankful for that. The routine of reading a Bible story is new now that she's 1 and she goes and gets her Bible on her own (love that!). Having her lovie by her side is still important. She goes to bed by 8 and wakes up 1x in the night (usually around 1:30 or 4a.m.) then sleeps until 5:30a.m. Naps are usually around 10/11a.m. and sometimes (if I'm lucky!) again at 3 or 4p.m.
  • Reflect about the highlights of the month: 
    •  Definitely getting "big girl shoes!" As soon as I put her new sneakers on her she took off running. It was adorable. Here she is at the playground (Mr. Love Bird said she looks 5 here): 

    • Nia also got her passport! Woo hoo! Her picture cracks me up (she looks like an orphan):
"For $1 a day you can feed a hungry child . . ."
  • Did any big changes occur? 
    •  Like last month she's still cutting her back teeth. I can see pointy tips coming through her gums, and I can tell it's very painful. She's a good sport about it and gets delirious at times but not too fussy. I give her things to chew on but she still prefers her hands. 
    • She is getting better at feeding herself, and we've introduced cow's milk although most of it goes down the drain. We've mixed in Ovaltine though and tried a myriad of toddler cups but I've found she'll drink most of it if I give her a little glass:


  • What are toddler's favorites - toy, food, person, etc...  
    • Of course she's most attached to "Baba" her bear, but I've been introducing her to some of the toys she received for her birthday. So far these are her favorites:
Hide and Squeak Eggs
Fisher Price Build 'n Carry Birthday

Not sure what she was doing here! (Excuse Mr. Love Bird's massive leg in the shot)

    • Her favorite foods are fruits and veggies: specifically apples, green beans, carrots, berries, watermelon and bananas. I would love to get her to eat more protein but for now only chicken is tolerated.
It's been a fun month!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fairy Godmother Friday

So I just tweeted: 



I'm not a big fan of themed day posts cause I think they can make bloggers lazy (Motivation Monday, Thankful Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday, you get my drift . . . ) but this gave me an idea to start doing a "Fairy Godmother Friday" post of what I'd have my fairy godmother handle if I had one so here goes the first one (we'll see if this series lasts) . . .

  1. Clean my apartment:  More specifically, my floors. Nia is dumping stuff everywhere constantly and as soon as I wipe up a mess another appears.
  2. Do my hair: I need a quick wash and set but don't see time in my schedule this weekend to get it done. My fairy godmother would do my wash and set while I slept!
  3. Fix my building's elevator: It's been out for 6 weeks now and is not going to be fixed anytime soon. This is ridiculous!
  4. Send me on a cruise:  I badly need a vacation (and our upcoming Christmas trip abroad does not count).
  5. Swap out my summer clothes for fall clothes: Of course fall's not here yet (see my last post!), but I know this daunting task is ahead of me. I also need my fairy godmother to take all of our family's old clothes and find somewhere to donate them because I am not lugging them on the subway.
What do you need your fairy godmother to do for you? 
 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Guess What? It's STILL Summer!

Mr. Love Bird bought me new booties, and I won't be wearing them until fall!

I have been noticing everyone mentioning how excited they are that fall is here, but since my birthday falls on either the first day of fall or the last day of summer depending on the year I'm here to set the record straight:

It's still summer!

My birthday is a week from today (I'll be 31), and I always get annoyed at how people try to rush right into saying it's fall right after Labor Day. It was 80-something degrees here yesterday, I just returned from playing with Nia at the park, and it's DEFINITELY still summer!

So I will keep wearing my summer clothes, painting my nails turquoise and wearing open toed shoes until it's actually fall. No need to rush!

Oh and it's waaaay too warm to be drinking pumpkin spice lattes. Might wait until October for that.

That is my rant for today!


Update on I Heart Downton Abbey

Yes, I am an admitted nerd so I'm unashamed to say I was literally squealing with delight when I came across the season 2 trailer for Downton Abbey over on Enchanted Serenity of Period Films (you can read my original post here). 

Check out the trailer (it literally gave me chills!):



It premieres December 18, 2011 on PBS. Will you be watching? 
 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Inspired White Interiors

I've written before about vacillating between keeping white walls and painting, and I'm doing it yet again. Here we go:



Photo credit







Photo credit


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