Looking Ahead

It’s the last day of the month of October and it’s Halloween. I should be
expecting some children and maybe a few teenagers in a few hours. This
particular month went by quickly. I cannot believe tomorrow begins a new
month. 2013 is that much closer.

I am happy to saythat I did well in achieving my goals. I will have a full report soon. I
think the toughest, by far, was committing to reaching blog post number
forty. I did it, barely. Today’s post is number forty. I wrote a post
almost every day this month. Consistency was key and thankfully, most of
my posts were hearty, had good quality. There may have been a few out
of desperation or fatigue – or both. I have started to brainstorm a list
for November and it will definitely be shorter and more exact in that I
can focus on a few, rather many. Quality versus quantity is sensible.

I am ready to end cabin fever by volunteering at the National Capital
Philanthropy Day in D.C. I was a volunteer last year and will do the
same tomorrow. I have to get up early and head downtown in the morning
via public transit, which I haven’t done since the beginning of this
month. Time flies!

Today I was really inspired by a few sites and articles that I stumbled upon including H.Bloom’s SEED program, Mashable’s 44 Female Founders and a story about Daily Muse’s CEO All three were inspiring and encouraging. Just what I need to start a new month!


Sandy, Sandy, Sandy!

About that hurricane. Wow! Sandy was/is a big deal. So many homes and businesses are under water or completely destroyed. When the New York Stock Exchange shuts down for two days, that is very serious. Thankfully, my family and I are safe and sound. If you haven’t seen the coverage take a look at this video clip.

My prayers are with those families who are grieving for loved ones. My prayers are also with the countless men and women who are serving as nurses, firefighters, police officers and other first responders. You all are heroes!

No Matter the Weather

This time last week I was in Milwaukee and the weather was rainy and cold. Now, instead of being in New York City to make my presentation in front of RachelChris, I’m home waiting for Hurricane Sandy to do what hurricanes do. Heavy rain, strong winds, etc etc.

That reminds me. As I was on the plane last week, I read a USATODAY article about Marissa Meyer, the new CEO at Yahoo! in regards to third-quarter profit earnings. I was happy to read that the company increased its profits under her leadership thus far. It is still too early to decide whether her plan to “grow and redefine” the company will pan out in the long run. Thankfully, the story did not revolve around her summer pregnancy and recent birth of her son. Why is the media fascinated when a women in a high-profile position becomes pregnant? Yahoo! was well aware of her pregnant belly before they hired her. She’s already started making serious hiring moves, so hopefully she is successful at Yahoo!. Speaking of female leaders in the tech world, check out Sheryl Sandberg’s fat paycheck. Winning! If you’ve haven’t seen her TED Talk, do yourself a favor and watch it. Thank me later.

It is very tempting to watch a marathon of Project Runway when your essentially trapped in your home. At least last night, I spent some time searching different topics related to marketing, social media and business school on Quora. This site is pure fun for me. I like to receive feedback and on Quora there is a plethora of advice from professionals, experts, enthusiasts. Everyone has something to say and the whole concept works well, in my opinion. Quora links to your social media accounts. By all means, invite your friends and followers for a discussion.

I finally started a page for profiles of women entrepreneurs. I will be featuring interviews very soon. I am looking forward to the insight they have to offer. If you know of someone or are interested in sharing your experiences, don’t be shy! Contact me.

Brace Yourself

I figure I would write a brief post before Ms. Hurricane Sandy comes a knockin’ out my power! The forecast for this pending storm is serious. Several people have already died and it is expected to hit a good portion of the East coast. It’s a little nerve wracking because you never know the outcome and damages of a severe storm until it hits. I am going to pray that Sandy comes and goes.

In the mean time, I am spending the rest of the day removing the clutter in my room while unpacking some last minute items from my trip. I also have some work to do for all three of my internships and develop a short bio for my online magazine contributor debut. I decided against continuing on one particular project on Friday. Though the project, which mostly entailed research, was exciting, it is not the direction am I going in at this time. Since time is my most valuable resource and asset, I need to be mindful of how I use it. I tried not to burn a bridge but ultimately, I have to move forward for me.

October is coming to a close and I will soon review my monthly goals and my progress in executing them. I am already itching to create a list for November. I have also considered a long-term list that includes quarterly goals. I can appreciate the idea of failing fast, but I certainly what to have a vision as well. I am bracing for Hurricane Sandy at the moment, but I really need to embrace the hectic schedule, preparation and work ethic that comes with being an entrepreneur/solopreneur.

I still have a few more thank you notes to write and I want to jot down my thoughts about the business school visits I had recently. I think a top choice has emerged but I also have options on the East coast.

I really hope the power stays on this evening. I feel motivated to streamline my space and workload for the week. Here’s to motivation and positivity in spite of it all.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Yesterday, I was determined to go the post office and mail a few thank you notes to friends and colleagues who helped me throughout my recent travels. I mailed four postcards and two handwritten letters, with a few more on the way. Thanks to my colleagues and friends, I was able to save over $800 in lodging! I got some home-cooked meals as well.

Aside from using my network, I learned a handful of  valuable lessons “on the road”:

1. Pack lightly. I traveled with two pieces of carry-on luggage. I rarely pay for a checked bag because my carry-on luggage is pretty sizable and has additional pockets and zippers for smaller items. It’s much easier to maneuver with two pieces of luggage that I can carry myself. Besides, I saved fifty dollars round-trip.

2. Cash and credit are king and queen. I carried cash and had credits cards in case of emergencies. When you check-in at a hotel, you need a credit card to cover incidentals. Better to be safe with both cash and credit on hand.

3. Make time for exercise. I tend not to travel with exercise clothes, but I think I won’t make that mistake next time. I stayed in three hotels throughout my trip and would have benefited from using their exercise equipment and swimming pool. When I was in Milwaukee, I scored a pair of Adidas sneaks for five bucks at the nearby Goodwill. They came in handy!

4. Talk is cheap. I left my personal cell phone at home and when the minutes on my Blackberry were low, I quickly found an affordable solution. Google Voice is a free web-based tool to make phone calls. The only problem I had with Google Voice was an echo in the background on the receiver’s end. Other than that,  I really like Google Voice and have continued to use it post-travels.

5. Follow up. I met some interesting folks along the way and reconnected with others. I collected contact information from the new faces I met and sent emails when necessary. Most of my follow up involves handwritten notes. Though it takes more time, it is worth it in the end.

To end this post, I found a quote from an unknown author that sums up everything succinctly.

“What a wonderful thing is the mail, capable of conveying across continents a warm human hand-clasp.”

Beaten Path to Walish Gooshe

I think I’m starting to feel the effects of traveling non-stop for almost three weeks. It most definitely hit me today.

This is how my morning went:

5:30 a.m. Wake up call to volunteer to serve breakfast at a men’s shelter in D.C. I volunteer with GreaterDC Cares.

6:30 a.m. Leave house. Sadly, I had to be patient because the congestion during rush hour traffic irks me to no end. I decided to drive part of the way and then take public transportation.

7:45 a.m. I have arrived! Finally. I just had to jump in because I was late and the staff was about to serve breakfast. Two other volunteers were there assisting, which was quite a relief. Last time I volunteered, I was the only one that showed up.

9:15 a.m. I finished serving breakfast and also prepared peanut and jelly sandwiches for later in the day. The kitchen staff is uber efficient in their preparation, service and clean up. It was nice to just focus on one task at a time and work with the other volunteers to get the job done. I will definitely go back because I had plenty of fun. Next time though, I will come for lunch or dinner since traffic is a no-no for me.

12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. By noon, I was ready to eat. Nothing new of course. I scheduled a lunch with two of my former co-workers. Hey Raj and Cecelia! We ate at a Thai restaurant and really enjoyed catching up with each other. I hadn’t seen them in over two months, so I was happy to share my recent travels.

After lunch, I was spent. I went straight to the Metro to get back to my car. Even with my listlessness, I still took time to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather and the spectrum of autumn colors. I sincerely love the fall season.

I wish I had more time to settle in this morning, especially since I got home late last night. I thoroughly enjoyed myself yesterday evening. I met an array of people with interesting backgrounds, styles and stories. For the past two weeks, I have been teleworking with Jennifer of Walish Gooshe, a woman’s clothing company based in D.C. She is the PR manager for the company and was looking for a volunteer. I dove head first and eventually my ideas and feedback parlayed into a hosting gig. I suggested inviting D.C. area fashion bloggers to preview the collection, visit the WG boutique space and mix and mingle. We nixed a previous contest ideas between fashion bloggers. I am happy that so many bloggers came to event.

With the combination of Jen’s networking and my follow-up emails, we had nearly ten fashion bloggers in attendance. I made sure to introduce myself to each one and encourage them to network amongst their peers. The Walish Gooshe Boutique is a tight space, but it has mighty aspirations. The event itself was a charitable occasion as well as an opportunity to educate women about the resources offered for those dealing with breast cancer. More importantly, the Stand By Her Shopping Soiree, was an avenue for survivors to share their stories. I felt blessed to hear real women express their struggles, passion and persistence to live and to educate.

Collaborating with Walish Gooshe’s founder and designer, Greg Gaten Taylor, and Jennifer was a great experience. I hope to work with them in the future.