Greetings Divas and Gents! Thursday has finally arrived, which means the weekend is almost here! For reasons that I won't mention, this week has been especially trying...but I am happy and blessed to have been here to experience it. After all, there can be no testimony without a test...
Now, I know what you all are waiting for...a brand new martini recipe! This week I present the Lime Drop Martini. It's like a Lemon Drop with an extra burst of goodness! It's also refreshing, which is perfect for the approaching warmer weather. Try it, and let me know how you like it!
2 oz of Lime-Flavored Vodka
1½ oz of Triple Sec
½ oz Rose's Lime Juice
Lime Wedge (For Garnish)
1. In a shaker, combine Vodka, Triple Sec, Rose's Lime Juice, and Ice. Shake!
2. Strain mixture into a chilled martini glass.
3. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Easy as pie! I hope that you all enjoy your Lime Drop Martini. Have a great weekend! And Drink Responsibly!
Wait a minute! College debt is more than credit card debt? Seriously!?! Can that be right?
Well...many of you supported me in my Open Letter to My Student Loan Company. Guess what...they didn't respond! I guess this means I have to continue paying off my student loans...crap! Since many of you share my pain, I decided to search around for different ways to attack the beasts that are our student loans. In doing so, I came across "Student Loans: Your 5-Step Plan to Pay Them Off"...I stopped and read of course! And it was pretty good!
In this article, the author suggested the following steps to attacking student loans:
1. Assess the Situation - The article suggests that you gather information regarding all outstanding loans, including the date the loan enters into repayment and the company servicing the loan.
2. Update Your Information - Make sure you keep all contact information up to date so that the loan company knows how to reach you.
3. Set a Repayment Strategy - Choose the amount of time you would like to pay off your loans (10 years, 25 years, etc.), and arrange payment dates and amounts. In sum, plan how you intend to pay the loan company back.
4. Make it Automatic - Set up automatic payments so that you're never late with payments.
5. Focus Your Efforts - Set your sights on paying off your loans. If you have some extra cash, redirect it to the loan with the highest interest rate. Be aggressive!
I encourage you all to check out the entire article, as it does offer some good advice and there may be some great takeaways.
Happy Earth Day Divas and Gents! Everywhere you look, individuals and businesses are looking for ways to go green, and for companies there is a valid business case to do so. Not only does it help the environment, but going green can also save the company a good amount of money in the long run. As such, it's not surprising that companies are not only looking for ways to make their offices greener, but they are also implementing policies that require employees to conform to "green" initiatives. Even if your company has not hopped on the green train, there are a few simple ways for you, individually, to contribute to the cause. In honor of Earth Day 2012, here is a list of 8 Simple Ways to Go Green In Your Office. Check them out, and let me know what you think!
1. Dump Screen Savers - This is probably the easiest thing you can do in your office for the planet. Instead of using screen savers when you are away from your computer for a period of time, switch to a power-saving mode that allows your monitor to power down during periods of inactivity.
2. Turn Your Lights Off When You Step Out - Okay, I lied....this is the easiest thing you can do in your office for the planet. If your work days are anything like mine, you spend a good amount of time meeting with colleagues throughout the day in conference rooms...rooms that are not your office. Do the planet a favor and turn off your lights when you are not in your office. Make it a point to do it...soooooo easy!
3. Eliminate Wasteful Printing - When possible, try to review and/or read work-related documents and articles on the computer screen instead of printing to avoid wasting paper. Especially when the document will inevitably find its way in the trash. If you absolutely must print out a document, change your printer setting so that pages will print on both sides of the paper.
4. Use Natural Lighting in Lieu of Lights - If your office happens to have big windows that illuminate your work space just as well as power lights, use natural lighting instead. If you have this option, crank up the blinds and turn off the lights!
5. Drink From Reusable Cups - A couple of years ago, my bosses gave all of their employees reusable coffee cups for Employment Appreciation Day...genius! This simple gift allows employees to enjoy their daily cups of coffee or tea, and eliminates the use of disposable coffee cups. I'm sure this initiative saves companies hundreds of dollars in coffee cup expenses, and it does its part to help save the planet. You can get these reusable cups at any drug store (CVS, Walgreens) and also at Target, Walmart, and your local coffee shops.
6. Use Greener Office Supplies - Recyclable printer paper, ink and toner cartridges, and other re-manufactured office supplies are another great way to greenify your office. It also saves the company money. And yes I am aware that greenify is not a word!
7. Decorate With Plants - Not only are plants a great office decorating piece, but I hear they "absorb airborne pollutants" and "emit healthy negative ions and oxygen into the air" (see Article). All of this, and they're pretty...get some plants!
8. Create or Suggest Creating a Task Force - Create or suggest that your company create a Green Task Force. What's the purpose of the task force you ask? To brainstorm about different ways to make the office greener. And don't just create a dictatorish type of task force...create one that gets the entire office excited about and involved in making the office planet-friendlier. Initiate "go-green" contests, or present rewards for employees who are dedicated to the cause. Make it fun!
These are just a few great ways to go green in your office, but their are plenty more may be beneficial to individuals and businesses alike. If you would like to read more, check out this article from American Express Open Forum entitled "30 Easy Ways to Go Green in the Office."
Can any of you think of additional ways to Go Green in the office? Please share in the comments below! And have a great week!
Divas....have you embraced the color of the year? If not, then you don't know what you're missing! Tangerine Tango is officially the hottest color in fashion, and there are so many fabulous ways incorporate the color into your existing work attire. A blazer or dress here...a purse or pump there...and don't forget about the make up and accessories! Tangerine Tango is hot, and I encourage you to find a few pieces to sprinkle throughout your wardrobe. Check out some of the pieces I've found around the Internet.
1. Blazers - Easy add to neutral-toned outfit. 2. Dresses - Perfect color for the Spring; add pumps and go! 3. Skirts - Neutral top or color block! 4. Tops - Make a statement with a bold, tangerine tango sweater, blouse, cardigan, or tank.
1. Make-up - Nail polish, lipstick, eye shadows, and blush...go for it! 2. Purses - No need to discuss...purses are a necessary part of any outfit. You might as well get one in the color of the year! 3. Shoes - Even less of an explanation needed! 4. Accessories - Make a statement with stand-out pieces in this bold color.
Have you embraced Tangerine Tango ? How are you incorporating the Color of the Year?
Greetings Divas and Gents! And welcome to the beginning of what I am praying will be a productive work week. As I sit here to prepare for another busy week, I find myself reminded of an episode of one of my favorite television shows of all time...Sex and the City! In addition to the many thought-provoking conversations that have spawned from the life events of its characters, Season 4's "Ring a Ding Ding" offered an interesting money lesson. Let me back up for a second and explain....
In "Ring a Ding Ding," Carrie Bradshaw finds herself in a position where she can either purchase the apartment she had been living in for about a decade, or move out in 30 days. Once she decides that she wants to purchase her apartment, Carrie needs to find the money for a down payment. She goes to a bank with the hope of obtaining a loan, and was told that she was "not a desirable candidate for a loan." It turns out that Carrie had only $700 in her checking account, and $957 in her savings account. Combine this with the fact that she had no other property, stocks, or bonds, and it's not hard to see why the bank was unwilling to take a risk in loaning Carrie money.
In the next scene, Carrie is discussing her "financial messiness" with Miranda in a shoe store. It was during this conversation that that Carrie realized that she has about 100 pairs of shoes at about $400 a pop...which comes to $40,000...which, coincidentally would have been enough for a down payment...ouch! So now what? At the end of the show, Charlotte gives her old engagement ring to Carrie to use for a down payment on the apartment, and Carrie promises to pay her back. Everyone's happy!
So now for the money lesson...is the down payment for your new home in your closet? Or maybe your children's college tuition? Or is it your retirement? These are the questions I began asking myself as I watched this episode. I started wondering what my bank accounts would look like if I said "no" to a new pair or shoes more often than I said "yes." Honestly, the thought is quite unsettling. Now, I have recently become a firm advocate of rewarding myself, especially since I work very hard for the things that I want. But how much rewarding is too much rewarding?
Unfortunately, Carrie rewarded herself with scores of gorgeous shoes, but her checking and savings accounts were suffering. Aside from the dire fact that she needed to find money for a down payment in order to stay in her apartment, I found myself wondering what Carrie would do in an emergency situation. Interestingly enough, this is quite a common conundrum for many professionals. Sure, we have good jobs with meaningful salaries and excellent benefits, but are we aggressively saving for a new home, or tuition, or retirement? As easy as it has become to use a credit card to purchase a new purse or a new computer, are we inadvertently living above our means? You see what I mean! This episode had me all in my thoughts!
After going back and forth in my mind about how to not put myself and my family in the same situation as Carrie, I resolved to do a few things:
1. Budget Rewards - I will include my rewards into my household budget, and will stick to it. I will also ensure that these rewards do not exceed what I can actually afford.
2. Avoid Using Credit Cards - The amount of money I spend making credit card payments can easily be tossed into an interest-bearing money saving account.
3. Continue Contributing to Retirement Plan - This one is easy to do, and I don't plan on stopping!
4. Create and Maintain Financial Goals - Paying off my student loans and car notes, and saving for our dream home are two goals that motivate me to make good financial decisions...like buying 2 pairs of shoes instead of 4.
5. Save, Save, and Save Some More - No explanation needed...right?
I'm so glad I had a chance to revisit this episode of Sex and the City, as it forced me to think about how I spend my money as an adult. The first time I saw this episode I was a broke law student with no money to spend or save, so I had a different outlook on Carrie's problem. As an adult, however, I realize that it's not all about Manolos and Louboutins...I'm not saying that it can't be about them a little bit...just not all about them! In sum, I realize that I cannot spend away all of my earning on shoes, clothes, electronics, vacations, etc...it is also important to save, invest, and work towards a debt-free life. Comment if you feel me!
Well...it's Thursday and the work week is coming to a close [insert the cabbage patch here!]. And like most Thursdays around here, I have another delicious martini recipe to share with my wonderful readers. Today's recipe comes all the way from Boston's Legal Sea Foods restaurant. I had the pleasure of visiting Boston this past weekend to see the comedian Kevin Hart. After the Stud and I laughed until our stomachs ached, we ventured over the Legal's for dinner...the Pomegranate Lemon Drop Martini was on the menu! I immediately scouted out the ingredients and decided that I would share the recipe with you all. So check out the Pomegranate Lemon Drop Martini, and thank me later!
2 oz of Citrus-flavored Vodka (Like Absolut Citron)
2 oz of Pomegranate Juice
1 Lemon Wedge
Orange Slice For Garnish
1. In a shaker, combine Vodka, Pomegranate Juice and Ice. Shake!
2. Strain mixture into a chilled martini glass.
3. Top of martini with the juice from a Lemon Wedge.
4. Garnish with an Orange slice.
There you have it! I'm sure you will enjoy the Pomegranate Lemon Drop Martini. If you're ever in Boston, don't forget to check out Legal's....the food is excellent! Have a great weekend! And Drink Responsibly!
So...you woke up super early to get ready for work. You had a long 9+ hour work day. You pushed through a 1 hour workout. You fought traffic to make it home. Now what? It's dinner time!
But wait...your dinner didn't prepare itself, but you're hungry...and tired! What do you do now? Well, you can hit the drive-thru of your favorite fast food restaurant (no good!). Or you can order pizza or Chinese takeout (a better option!). Or you can prepare a quick meal that is healthy and satisfying (win!).
Welcome to a brand new feature on the Chronicles...Quick Meals For a Busy Diva! Every now and again, I hope to share a few recipes with you of quick meals that I make when I'm in a time crunch...which happens more often than I would like to admit. Each featured meal will take no longer than 30 minutes to make, and are great for the entire family if necessary. Also, each meal veers on the healthy side, which is perfect for all of you Divas out there who are watching your figures!
Up first, the Peach and Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza! This recipe is one of my favorites from Cooking Light magazine. It is deliciously filling, and surprisingly low in fat and calories. And get this...prep time is only 20 minutes...I swear! So check out the Peach and Gorgonzola Chicken Pizza, and let me know how you like it!
1 (10-ounce) pre-baked thin pizza crust
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 cup shredded cooked chicken breast
1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 medium unpeeled peach, thinly sliced
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Place pizza crust on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil evenly over crust. Top evenly with 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, chicken, Gorgonzola cheese, and peach slices. Top with remaining 1/4 cup mozzarella. Bake at 400° for 11 minutes or until crust browns.
3. Place vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons (about 5 minutes). Drizzle balsamic reduction evenly over pizza. Cut pizza into 8 wedges.
That's all! Quick and easy, and perfect for busy Divas. This recipe serves 4 and is only 384 Calories per serving. If you would like to see this and other great recipes, check out Cooking Light Online.
So, what do you think of this new feature? Are any of you interested in sharing some of your quick meal recipes with everyone? If so, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)!
Greetings Divas! How was your holiday weekend? Mine was fabulous! So fabulous that I failed to publish this post to start the week. As you may recall, last month I began a series entitled "Business Blunders." In the first installment, I discussed 7 business blunders that occur prior to one being hired, some of which may contribute to one not being offered the sought after position. In Part 2 of this series, I hope to focus on 9 business blunders that occur after you've been hired. Check them out, and let me know what you think!
Blunder #1 - Consistently Showing Up Late - So, you were ecstatic to receive the call offering you a position with your desired company. You've showed up for work 10 minutes early every day for the first month. Now that you're "in," you start showing up 10 minutes late...often! Not only is this unprofessional, but it is also quite raggedy. It is also a quick and easy way to get fired...one that has nothing to do with your actual work product. Being on time for work is one of the easiest categories on your evaluation to control, so control it! As I learned in college, to be early is to be on time...to be on time is to be late...and to be late is unacceptable. My rule of thumb is to arrive at work at least 1o minutes earlier than your start time.
Blunder #2 - Frequently Leaving Early - If your company is paying you to work for 8 hours, working for 7 hours and 45 minutes is not cool. What's worse is when your supervisor starts noticing that you're skipping out of work early. Unless there is an absolute emergency or unless you are excused by a supervisor, be sure to work your entire shift. And just so we're clear, working your entire shift does not include knocking off 15 minutes before quitting time to get ready for quitting time. You get me?
Blunder #3 - Wearing Inappropriate Attire - What is your company's dress code? Is it business apparel? Is it business casual? Is it casual? Whatever it is, be sure that you are aware of the do's and don'ts of your company's dress code, and steer clear of the don'ts. If there is no official dress code, head over to the human resources department and ask.
Blunder #4 - Inappropriately Handling Personal Affairs During Business Hours - Pissed off with your significant other? Catching up on the latest gossip in your neighborhood with your best friend? Looking for a sitter so you and your spouse can go out to a movie? Nobody else in your office should know that! It's not appropriate to handle personal business during work hours. Now, I completely understand that things come up...it's a natural occurrence. The appropriate and considerate way to handle these things is to step out of the office area to handle your business...no need to interrupt your colleagues.
Blunder #5 - Missing Assignment Deadlines - In most businesses, time is money...it's just that simple. Missing assignment deadlines is beyond raggedy...way beyond! In my experience, missing deadlines usually translates into losing money. It follows that your blatant disregard for assignment deadlines may signal to management that you don't care about the success of the company, which is the wrong impression to give. Unless you have discussed and arranged for an extension on a deadline, get it done on time...earlier if possible!
Blunder #6 - Doing Your Personal Shopping in the Office Supply Closet - Office supply closets can be exciting....no, seriously they can be! Whenever I go into my office's supply closet, I feel a semblance of the thrill I typically reserve for a trip to Target. In spite of this feeling, don't be tempted to pilfer office supplies to use in places other than the office. No shopping for school supplies for the kiddies. No stashing of paper to use in your printer at home. And don't even think about absconding with that a box of envelopes. Either way you spin it, it's stealing, and it's grounds for termination. Don't do it!
Blunder #7 - Surfing the Internet Excessively - If using a computer is a huge part of your job, it's natural to stray away from work to check out the Internet. Checking sports scores, shopping for a new pair of shoes, catching up on the latest entertainment news...it happens! And for the most part, a little straying is not a problem. It only becomes and issue when you spend more than the appropriate share of your work day surfing the Internet. My suggestion is to learn up on your company's Internet usage policy and follow it to the letter. If a policy does not exist, head back over to human resources to see if they have answers. If not, limit your non work-related Internet time to 30 minutes per day total...excluding your lunch hour of course!
Blunder #8 - Taking Unplanned Vacation Days - Unless there is a real emergency, it is really unfair to your colleagues to take unplanned days off. This can really become an issue when you are working on something that requires all hands on deck. If your colleagues are depending on you to be at work, it can really put a strain on your team to unexpectedly be minus an extra team member. In short, be considerate of your work mates...and don't draw unnecessary attention from your supervisor for being inconsiderate.
Blunder #9 - Constantly Complaining - This one is simple...it's probably not a great idea to constantly complain about your job while you're at your job...never a good idea! If it's that bad, find somewhere else to work where you'll be happy.
That’s all for Part 2 of the Business Blunder series. What are some additional post-hire business blunders? Please share in the comments section below!
The power dynamics between men and women are shifting.
For every two men that receive a college degree, three women will do the same.
Over 50% of managers are women.
In the 15 professions projected to grow the most in the next decade, all but 2 are dominated by women.
Women are getting college degrees at a faster rate than men.
Men are the new ball and chain.
These are all claims made by Hanna Rosin in the video below. Diva Rosin, who was born in Israel and raised in Queens, is a journalist and co-founder of the website DoubleX. She is best known for her controversial article entitled "The End of Men," which claims that the era of male dominance has ended, and that women are gaining power in the postindustrial economy.
In the video below Diva Rosin, a Standford University graduate, reviews new data showing that women are actually surpassing men in several important areas, such as college graduation rates. Another interesting and quick video that I felt obligated to share with my fellow Professional Divas! Now, the video is a little under 17 minutes, but it's definitely worth a view.
Check it out and let me know if you agree or disagree with her claims.
Greetings Divas! Quick question: How many of you have a LinkedIn profile? If the answer is "Yes," are you maximizing its features? Confession time! My LinkedIn profile is awful! Absolutely dreadful! Now, by awful I don't mean there's anything inappropriate on my profile. I actually have quite a bit of good information on there. The reason I label my LinkedIn profile as "awful" is because it is not complete and I have not fully utilized its capabilities. I recently had a discussion with one of my colleagues who had given his LinkedIn profile a face-lift. In doing so, his profile views have increased dramatically. This got me to thinking how beneficial ones LinkedIn profile can be for personal branding. Additionally, a completed and thoughtful LinkedIn profile gives you an edge if you are using the network as a job search mechanism. Based on this conversation with my colleague, I have compiled 5 Quick Tips to Maximize Your LinkedIn Profile. Check them out and let me know what you think. Enjoy!
1. Complete Your Profile - So, LinkedIn is supposed to be a professional social media site. Having a profile is pointless if it does not adequately portray your current and past professional stature. You should take the time to complete your profile as completely as possible, including the Summary, Experience, and Education sections. Also be sure to complete the section outlining your contact information. You should at least have an email address and a work telephone number. If you have a professional Twitter and/or Facebook account, it can't hurt to have it in this section as well.
2. Upload an Appropriate Picture - Just so we're clear, appropriate does not include that picture you took before you headed out to the club with your friends. I understand that your hair was laid and your makeup was beat, but LinkedIn is not the forum for this type of pic. Your pic should be tasteful and professional, and should readily identify you. This is especially important if you have a common name...your picture with differentiate you from another like-named person. Now back to the pre-club picture...I truly believe a fabulous picture should never go to waste, so upload the club picture to Facebook!
3. Nail Your Headline - Did you know that when you search your name on Google and your LinkedIn profile profile appears in the search results, so does your headline. In fact, the words you use in your headline serve as key words for many search engines. Use this section to quickly, succinctly, and specifically describe what you do. Quickly and succinctly because you don't have much character space in this section. You want to be specific so that when your profile comes up in a search, the searcher immediately sees who you are and what you do. In completing this section, don't use you actual job title...instead, use words and terms that describe your professional capabilities. For example, instead of "Attorney at the Law Offices of Martini Chronicles, LLC.," use "Attorney Specializing in Martini Recipe Creation, Talented Blogger, Connoisseur of Fabulousness." See how descriptive that is!
4. Maximize the Skills and Expertise Section - This section is your chance to show anyone who ventures to view your profile just how fabulous you are! So have a seat, and make a list of your top five skills and expertise that are related to your past and current positions. And don't just list them...explain why the specified skill or expertise makes you the best at what you do. Brag a little bit! But also be informative. Makes sense?
5. Get A Few Recommendations - They can't hurt! I suggest you have at least one recommendation for each position listed in your Experience section, and at least three for your current position.
There you have it! Five quick tips to maximize your LinkedIn profile. Can you think of any additional tips to share? Please do so in the Comments section below! Have a great week!