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About the U.S. Supreme Court's Ruling on the Affordable Care Act...And a Study Guide!!!



Greetings Divas and Gents! Some of you may be wondering about what is going on in Washington D.C. today. Well...today the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a federal statute supported and signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The Affordable Care Act has been the topic of much debate over the past couple of years, as several of it provisions have been challenged and debated many.

The most controversial provision of the Act is what has come to be known as the "Individual Mandate," which requires all non-exempted individuals to sustain a minimum level of health care insurance or pay a tax penalty. Both parties involved in these cases argued the constitutionality of this provision, among others. Supporters argued that the Individual Mandate is a valid exercise of Congress's power under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution...the opposition disagreed.

Now, I won't bore or confuse you with a bunch of political and legal jargon, but here are the key points that you should take away:

1. The Court held that the Individual Mandate is a tax; and

2. The Court held that enacting the Individual Mandate is a valid exercise of Congress's power under the Taxing and Spending Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

For those of you who are wondering why President Obama has supported the Affordable Care Act, check out his response following the Court's ruling today:



I encourage and challenge each of you to be informed about this very important law. Review the entire law and then decide whether you are for or against its provisions. Ask yourself meaningful questions on how it affects you and your family, and how it affects the country as a whole. Then decide!

Too much work you say? Well lucky for you, the Professional Diva has got you covered! I am so glad I paid attention in National Government at Spelman and Constitutional Law at Seton Hall Law! Special thanks to Professor Marilyn Davis and Professor Michelle Coleman, respectively!

And now without further adieu, here is your Affordable Care Act Study Guide!Enjoy!

1st - Review the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I am warning you that this is not everyday reading. If you want a crash course, review this summary of the law!

2nd - Familiarize yourself with the issues that were the subject of the challenges to the law by reviewing this awesome blog, which discuss all litigation relevant to the Affordable Care Act.

3rd -  Review the full opinion from the Court. Again, not everyday reading! If you are pressed for time, and would like to read an excellent, quick article on what went down today, check out this post on Pharmaspective. It will literally take you 3 to 5 minutes to read it!

So.....what do you all think of the Court's decision? Let's have an informed discussion!


Pedicure Protocol!


Fact:
June 20, 2012, is officially the first day of summer.

Fact: 
Peep-toe pumps are awesome, and are a great addition to any summer wardrobe for the office.

Fact:
Sling-back pumps are equally as awesome as peep-toe pumps, and they make you legs look long and lean.

Fact:
Not presenting well-pedicured toes while wearing awesome peep-toe and/or sling-back pumps in the office is unprofessional and anti-sexy.

Greetings Divas! Please allow me a moment to discuss proper pedicure protocol for the office. I am usually not concerned with the status of one's feet during the winter and fall months, as they are usually hidden under amazing, closed-toe shoes. I am concerned, however, with foot presentation during the spring and summer months when toes and heels are being displayed for everyone to see.

I think we all can agree that there is nothing worse than heading to the office donning beautiful peep-toe or sling-back pumps with unkempt feet. Now, I am a firm believer that we should all take care of our feet year-round; but when the warm weather hits we must preserve our Divadom at a more fervent rate. This means smooth heels and tidy toes. With that being said, I have compiled a mini guide to keeping your feet fresh, fancy, and fabulous during the summer months. Enjoy!

Pedicure Perfection

Think SEMPP when attempting to achieve pedicure perfection, whether in a nail salon or at home:

Soak - Soak your feet in warm water and your favorite foot soak for at least 10 minutes to soften your feet and cuticles. After soaking, use cuticle oil on each nail bed to further soften your cuticles while pushing them back. You should also take this time to remove any dead skin that may have built up around the outer parts of your toe nail.

Exfoliate - Use foot scrub and a pumice stone to soften your heels, remove callouses, and tame those rough areas around your big toe.
Moisturize - Treat your freshly-exfoliated feet with a thick moisturizer. Be sure to moisturize your ankles as well...and don't forget the skin in-between your toes.

Prep - Use nail polish remover to get rid of the excess moisturizer on your toes. Break out your toe separators and get ready to apply a base coat to your toes.

Polish - After applying a base coat, apply one coat of your polish of choice to your toes. Let the first coat dry, and then apply another coat. Apply your top coat, and let your toes dry completely.

Pedicure Maintenance


Now that your feet look and feel amazing, your new purpose in life is to maintain this feeling. Maybe it's not that serious, but here are a few things you can do to maintain your pedicure for two weeks.

1. Moisturize you feet regularly. For extra moisturizing, rub a petroleum-based product onto your feet before bedtime, and wear comfy socks while sleeping. In the morning your feet will feel silky smooth!

2. Use cuticle oil on your toe nails to keep that area feeling smooth.

3. Use a foot scrub at the end of each week to further soften the bottom of your feet. 


Pedicure Protocol

Here are a few tips for ensuring that you are always putting your best foot forward while in the office...pun intended!

1. During the summer months, be sure to redo your pedicure every two weeks to ensure that your feet and toes are continuously fabulous.

2. In my experience, jazzy colors are generally okay in the office environment...funky designs, however, are not as readily acceptable. This is a general rule, and I am sure there are plenty of exceptions that vary from office to office. Be aware of your company's rules and culture when deciding on a color. And remember that a French pedicure is always a favorite!

3. Chipped or smudged polish is a no-no! Be sure to completely dry your toes after polishing, and go for a polish change if it begins to chip.

4. Take the pledge! Please raise your big toes and repeat after me:
 

As a member of the Cute Girl Sisterhood, I pledge to follow the Rules when I wear sandals and other open toe shoes:

I promise to always wear sandals that fit. My toes will not hang over and touch the ground, nor will my heels spill over the backs. And the sides and tops of my feet will not pudge out between the straps. 

I will go polish-free or vow to keep the polish fresh, intact and chip-free. I will not cheat and just touch up my big toe.
 
I will sand down any mounds of skin before they turn hard and yellow.
 
I will shave the hairs off my big toe.
 
I won't wear pantyhose even if my misinformed girlfriend, coworker, mother, sister tells me the toe seam really will stay under my toes if I tuck it there.
 
If a strap breaks, I won't duct-tape, pin, glue or tuck it back into place hoping it will stay put. I will get my shoe fixed or toss it.
 
I will not live in corn denial; rather I will lean on my good friend Dr. Scholl's if my feet need him.
 
I will resist the urge to buy jelly shoes at Payless for the low, low price of $4.99 even if my feet are small enough to fit into the kids' sizes. This is out of concern for my safety, and the safety of others. No one can walk properly when standing in a pool of sweat and I would hate to take someone down with me as I fall and break my ankle.

I will take my toe ring off toward the end of the day if my toes swell and begin to look like Vienna sausages.
 
I will be brutally honest with my girlfriend/sister/coworker when she asks me if her feet are too ugly to wear sandals.Someone has to tell her that her toes are as long as my fingers and no sandal makes creepy feet look good.

That's all for now Divas! Be sure to pass this along to your fellow Divas!


3 Things You Should Not Do At A Professional Happy Hour!

Greetings Divas and Gents! And welcome to a brand new work week! As the summer solstice is rapidly approaching, many companies and professional organizations are gearing up for their annual summer social events. If your company and/or profession is anything like mine, the summer social events calendar almost always includes one or more happy hour events. As I am sure many of you will agree, happy hour is awesome! It is a fun event that gives you an opportunity to network with other company employees or members of your profession in a light, casual atmosphere. And if it's sponsored by your company, it may present a chance to leave the office at a decent hour. What can go wrong?!

Plenty! We all have experienced or heard the horror stories of happy hours gone wild. I personally know of someone who lost his job because of shenanigans that occurred at a company-sponsored happy hour. I will spare you all the gory details...just know that your behavior at a corporate or professional happy hour is important. 

So how do you ensure that you are not the subject of tomorrow's conversation at the coffee machine? You can check out my list of three simple things you should NOT do at a professional happy hour event. While there may be others, I believe these three tips are the most important. Check them out and fee free to add more in the Comments section below!

Do Not Overindulge


This tip is the most obvious and should go without saying, but I'm saying! A professional happy hour event is not the time to overindulge in the available happy juice.  Yes you are at this event to have a good time, relax, and let loose with your colleagues, but you are still in a "professional" environments...at least you are in spirit. Getting sloppy drunk is not only raggedy, but it is a great way to kill your career. There are several ways in which you can play a professional social situation where alcohol is involves...here are a few suggestions:

     1. Don't drink alcohol at all - This is my option of choice. I usually stick to a Diet Coke or a cranberry and orange juice mix.

     2. Have one drink and babysit - Order one drink from the bar and make it last. If you find that you have finished your drink and you are still happy houring, order a non-alcoholic beverage to finish the evening.

     3. Drink water after each drink - This option is only for the folks with a higher tolerance. Have one glass of water after each drink. And pace yourself!

Do Not Be Antisocial


Happy hour is a social event, so being antisocial is antisexy. Use this opportunity to socialize with your colleagues. Allow them to get to know you on a personal level. After all, why come to happy hour if you are going to keep to yourself. 

Do Not Hang With the Usuals


Fan out! Get to know someone who you do not work closely with on a daily basis. Step outside of your comfort zone and allow them to get to know you. Either one works for me! Now, I'm not saying that you should completely ignore the people you are accustomed to seeing...just mix up your interactions so that you are socializing with different people. In sum, do not waste this opportunity to acquaint yourself with other members of your company or the professional organization. Don't forget to be an active listener when getting to know someone new. And don't forget your business cards!

Happy Happy Houring!

Martini Thursday!!!

Patron Lemon Martini

Greetings Divas and Gents!! How was your week? Ready for the weekend? Well so am I! And what better way to prepare for the weekend than with another fabulous martini recipe! This weeks recipe comes courtesy of the July 2012 edition of InStyle Magazine. I found the time to read the July 2012 edition last weekend while I sat on a D.C.-bound bus with 25 of my family members. We were on our way to visit the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial (among other sites), which presented the perfect opportunity to catch up with my magazine reading. 






As we journeyed down 95 South, I came across the recipe for the Patron Lemon Martini....yum! Of course I immediately thought of you all, and knew that I had to share the recipe...and so I will! In honor of impending weekend, check out the Patron Lemon Martini.




Ingredients
1 oz of Patron Silver
1/2 oz of Patron Citronge
1 oz of Simple Syrup
3 oz of Fresh-Squeezed Lemon Juice
Club Soda
Lemon (For Garnish)
Ice

Recipe
1. Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.
2. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass.
3. Top with club soda.
4. Garnish with lemon.

There you have it! Don't forget to check out the July 2012 edition of InStyle Magazine. No, they did not pay me to say this...I really do enjoy their magazine! Enjoy the Patron Lemon Martini. And Drink Responsibly!


About Rocking the Slut Vote...

Divas, let's talk! Last week while I was surfing the Internet, I came across an article in the New York Daily News on the Rock the Slut Vote website. I was intrigued, needless to say, so I decided to do a little research. Well, remember back in February when Rush Limbaugh labeled Sandra Fluke, a law student at Georgetown University, a slut? Why was she deemed a "slut" you ask? Back in February, Sandra Fluke testified before the U.S. House of Representatives' Democratic Steering and Policy Committee in favor of mandating health insurance coverage for contraceptives. A couple of weeks later, the ever-so-eloquent Rush Limbaugh made the following statement on a radio program regarding Sandra Fluke's testimony:

"What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic], who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We're the pimps."

Now I am not going to comment on the ignorance that is Mr. Limbaugh's statement, but I want to bring your attention to a byproduct of this statement: the Rock the Slut Vote website. Fed up with the war against women's rights, Susan McMillan Emry launched the Rock the Slut Vote website. According to RocktheSlutVote.com, the mission of RTSV is "to fight the GOP effort to bully, subjugate and silence women. We will wrest the power from the word slut and help women get informed, get involved, get registered and vote."


Courtesy of RockTheSlutVote.com
The RTSV movement is another attempt to reclaim and redefine the word "slut" (remember the Slut Walk Movement?). In a blog post, Susan McMillan Emry notes that "there's a long, proud history of oppressed peoples who effectively reappropriate the very pejorative terms used to demean and keep them in a lowly, disgraced place. By reclaiming the most hurtful, shaming words, groups rise up, unite and fight against intimidation and injustice. Many examples exist in modern America -- from punks to geeks, from gays to rednecks. And yes, now sluts!" 


In all seriousness, women's rights in the area of health care have been under attack for decades in both the state and federal legislatures and judiciaries. Specifically, issues involving a woman's access to contraceptives and a woman's right to abortion have been the biggest targets as of late. As we can see from Mr. Limbaugh's comments, a woman who chooses to use contraceptives and who advocates for said contraceptives to be covered under insurance is essentially a slut. RTSV takes the position that sluts vote, too. In addition to reclaiming the word "slut," the hope of this movement is that women, and male supporters, use the ballot to vote for those representatives who will protect their rights.


The RTSV website allows individuals to "enlist" to fight in the war against women, register to vote, and shop for RTSV gear (t-shirts, bumper stickers, buttons, and yard signs). The website also has an interactive, humorous quiz which help you to decide whether or not you are a slut. Your degree of slutdom depends on your response to select questions. For example, you might be a slut if you believe that criminalizing contraception is wrong...or if you believe that comprehensive, preventive women's health care is a right...or if you believe that the war on women will be settled at the ballot box. 
  
So, what do you all think about this? Is the RTSV a good way to make women aware of attempts to infringe upon their rights? Will this motivate women to get out and vote? Is there really a war against women? How effective will this movement be at we approach the November elections? What are your thoughts? Please share!

Courtesy of RockTheSlutVote.com

For more information on RTSV, check out RockTheSlutVote.com.


6 Easy Exercises You Can Do At Work!!!

Greetings Divas! And welcome to the beginning of what I hope will be a fabulous and productive work week. Personally, I am optimistic about this week as I have issued myself a challenge: to be more active at work. I recently purchased a Fitbit (more about this later this week), which has made me painfully aware of just how sedentary I am at work. I sit at my desk during the majority of the day, and my only source of exercise are my walks to and from conference rooms for meetings, my walks to and from the bathroom, and the walking I do when going to get my coffee, lunch, and snacks. Clearly, this is not enough exercise. Yes I work out almost daily at the gym, but according to my Fitbit and several other articles I have read, this is not enough!

Well, I have issued myself a challenge to be more active during work hours. How do I intend to do this? Check out this list of 6 Easy Exercises You Can Do At Work. My hope is that doing at least 4 of these exercises per day will pump up my activity level at work. Check them out and let me know what you think!

1. Park Far Away - How many of us are guilty of circling the parking lot in search of a spot closest to the door? In an effort to keep active throughout the day, look for a spot in the section farthest away from the door. This will force you to walk a little more than usual.

2. Climb the Stairs - Whenever feasible, take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you work on a higher floor in a taller building, take the elevator to a lower floor and walk up to your floor. Does that make sense? I confused myself a little bit while writing that sentence!

3. Take a Walk - Step away from your computer 2 or 3 times a day, and take a 10 minute walk. If the weather is cool, walk around the inside of the office. If the weather is pleasant, take a walk outside of the building. Be sure to incorporate a couple of flights of stairs during your walk. Not only will a walk pump up your activity level, but it may enhance your mood...simply because you are taking a break from work.

4. Swap Your Chair For and Exercise Ball - If feasible, bring in an exercise ball and swap it for your chair. Sit on the ball in 20 minute increments throughout the day. Many say that doing so could improve your stability and posture, and strengthen your core. For more information on using the exercise ball as a chair, click here! 
5. Do a Few Tricep Dips - I recently came across an article posted on Forbes' website regarding tricep dips in the work place (see article here). This article gives the following instruction on how to properly perform tricep dips at your desk: "Place your butt on the edge of the desk, then place your palms on the edge of the desk on either side of you. Keeping your feet together, bend at the elbows and slide forward off of the desk and dip down a few inches, and then push back up. Dip to where your elbows are bent at 90 degrees. Do this 20 times." 

6. Lunge in the Stairwell - Head to the stairwell for this quick exercise. At the bottom of a landing, take the stairs up two steps at a time. In each step, slowly lunge your way to the top of the next landing. Do this up 5 flights of stairs, run back down, and repeat. Once you're back up to your floor, you're done! In only 10 minutes!

That's all I have on my list! Don't forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day, and don't forget your sneakers!

What other easy exercises are easy to do at work? Share please! And have a great week!


Quick Meals For A Busy Diva!


Burgers With Blue Cheese Mayo and Sherry Vidalia Onions

Photo Credit: Anna Williams; Styling Credit: Pam Morris

Looking for a quick and easy meal to whip together after working hard all day? Well never fret, because I have a delicious burger recipe that is out of this world! I found this recipe last year in my favorite cooking magazine, Cooking Light, and it quickly became a favorite in my home. The best thing about this recipe is that it doesn't take very long to execute. The other great thing is that it is pretty healthy, which I know is very important to many of you (and me too!). Try this burger, and I guarantee that it will become a favorite in your home as well!


In the spirit of full disclosure I must tell you that I always use ground turkey patties when making these burgers, and I always use a George Foreman grill to cook them...don't be judging! Enjoy!

Ingredients (Serves 4)
  
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
- 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise 
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided 
- 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco) 
- 1 pound lean ground sirloin (I use ground turkey!)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, divided 
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt 
- 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil 
- 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices Vidalia or other sweet onion 
- Cooking spray 
- 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar 
- 4 (1 1/2-ounce) whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted 
- 2 cups loosely packed arugula

Recipe
  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Combine 1/2 cup blue cheese, mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon thyme, and hot pepper sauce in a small bowl; stir well.
  3. Divide beef into 4 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Sprinkle beef evenly with 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and salt.
  4. Brush oil evenly over both sides of onion slices; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Place the patties and onions on grill rack coated with cooking spray; cover and grill for 3 minutes on each side. Set patties aside; keep warm. Place onion slices in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 5 minutes; toss with remaining 1 teaspoon thyme and vinegar.
  5. Spread cut sides of buns evenly with mayonnaise mixture. Arrange 1/2 cup arugula on bottom half of each bun; top with 1 patty, 1 onion slice, and bun top.
 If you try this out, please let me know how you like it. To view this and other great recipe on the Cooking Light website, Click Here!


7 Tips for Rocking Your Internship and Possibly Securing a Permanent Position

Greetings Divas and Gents! And welcome to June...or as I like to call it, the beginning of internship season. All across the country college students, recent college graduates, and professional school students are beginning their summer internships. In many cases, these individuals are hoping to transform their internships into a permanent position. Believe me when I tell you that I have been in this position on several occasions. In fact, this post is inspired by some great advice I received from one of my mentors before starting my first internship after completing my first year of law school. In the spirit of sharing, please check out 7 Tips for Rocking Your Internship and Possibly Securing a Permanent Position!


Show Up On Time Every Day...Which Means Arrive Early


I figured I'd start out with an easy one. A no-brainer. You are doing yourself a disservice by showing up to your internship late. Not only are you being extremely unprofessional, but you are sending a signal to your supervisor that the internship is not important to you. Additionally, tardiness is the first cousin of unreliable...and neither relative will get you that permanent position. The rule of thumb remains the same: to be early is to be on time; to be on time is to be late; and to be late is unacceptable.  


Turn In Stellar Work Product Always


You do want a permanent position, right? So do great work! Give your superiors no other choice but to offer you a permanent position. Treat each assignment like your professional life depends on it. Ask enough questions so that you have all the necessary information to complete your assignments, and be sure to hand them in on time. If the company you are interning with is not in the position to offer you a permanent position, your supervisor may be willing to give you a recommendation if your work product is fabulous!


Show Interest In the Company


Ask questions about the company. Learn about its history. Be familiar with its products. Let your supervisors know that you are interested in the company, and that you are personally vested in its success. You do not want to give the impression that the internship is merely a resume-filler...those who approach an internship in this manner rarely get a permanent offer.

  
Adhere to the Dress Code and Other Company Policies


During your internship, you want to be recognized for you stellar work product...not for your inability to abide by company policies. And certainly not for your inappropriate work attire. Make it a point to review your company's dress code and other policies to ensure that you are giving your supervisor the right impression...that you respect the company's culture and that you are willing and able to abide by its policies.



Attend Company Events


Many companies are known to have special activities and events for its interns. Barring any real emergency, you should attend all of these events. Not only is it a great way to network and meet other key company players, but it is also the perfect opportunity for company employees to get to know you...to gauge how you would fit in with the current employees. Enjoy these events, but also treat them like an extension of your internship...remember that you are always being evaluated!


Resist the Urge to Surf the Web
 

I know this is difficult, but you should avoid using the company computer to surf the Internet for non-work-related content. You should especially avoid the Bermuda Triangle of Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, and Gmail. As a general rule, you should review and commit to memory your company's Internet use policy, if they have one, and you should strictly adhere to it.


 Keep in Touch When Your Internship Is Complete


When your internship is completed, keep in touch with your supervisor and other company employees that you worked closely with during your tenure. Be sure to send them thank you cards when your internship is done, and exchange periodic correspondence. If the company is not in a position to offer you a permanent gig at the end of your internship, keeping in contact with company employees is a great way to ensure that you are "kept in mind" if and when a position becomes available.


That's all I got for you tonight! Special shout out and many thanks to Auntie Pam, Esq. for the advice and continuous guidance...it worked like a charm!


What are some other tips for rocking an internship?


 
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