Create your balance. Design your life.

Dear Cell Phone User,

Dear Cell Phone User,

Mar 23, 2015

Over my next few Monday-Funday columns, I will write about things that get under my skin and bug me. I am serious about the things I am saying and hope I have said it with enough humor to make you smile.  Alexandra xoxo We live life day by day, doing our jobs, taking care of our families, doing our weekly (and sometimes) daily chores. Life at times can be very stressful. There are so many things that can distract us from our daily routine. I am feeling like Michael Douglas in “Falling Down”. I doubt very much that I will go and shoot up a fast food restaurant like he did in the film. Instead I am going to use words. There are some distractions in this world that we could do without and I am calling people out on it. Dear Cell Phone User, There is a time and a place to use your cell phone whether it be for a call or a text message. There are many places where it is not okay. I did not pay $12.00 to go to a movie and have you sit one row behind me and take a call. I understand that sometimes those calls can be important, however, set the phone to vibrate. If it does vibrate please leave the theater to take your call. This is called good manners and quite frankly I don’t give a shit if your kids are fighting over the last Twinkie. If I was the babysitter I’d eat the Twinkie and then the fight would be over. When I am behind you in the drive-through at Burger King (or any other fast food restaurant) do not hold up the worker trying to take your order because you are on your phone. You can stop talking to the caller for 30 seconds and order your Whopper and fries. Have it your way, but for the love of Pete get off the phone to do it. You are being rude to the worker, me and everyone behind me. If your best friend just called to tell you she is pregnant guess what? She will still be pregnant 45 seconds from now!...

Where Does Balance Begin?

Where Does Balance Begin?

Mar 19, 2015

A couple of months ago I posted about finding balance, and how I like the “surfing” concept of balance more than the “scales of judgment” idea. To share an inside peek into the life of Jen, I’ve been struggling with balance and time management recently in my life, and for a multitude of reasons it’s been hard to see a solution that I can really get behind. And then I saw a recent video from my friend Dr. Melissa West, founder of Namaste Yoga, about balance for beginners in yoga, and I had a real face palm moment (have you heard of “A ha!” moments? Mine are often more like “Oh, duh!” moments. For realsies). I view experience in this world in a very embodied way. Your body lives with you throughout your life, and parallels any experience you are having in your mind or emotions. Sad? Your body is too. In love? Bet you’ve got some butterflies! Your body can have a lot to say about your life situations. Likewise, things that happen to your body (like an injury, illness, or super awesome massage) can impact your thoughts and emotions as well, but that’s a post for another day. So when I’m stuck, it has never failed me, to start my exploration with body connection and exploring the topic from a physical standpoint. Are you struggling with balancing work, home, fun and relationships? Then try exploring the physical aspect of balance, and take it ‘to the mat’. This particular video offering is yoga, but it doesn’t have to be…you could ‘take it to the surfboard’ or the balance beam, or simply to standing up in your living room and shifting from one foot to the other and seeing what it takes to find ‘balance’, and paying attention to what all is happening while you’re doing all that. You can check out the (free) video here.               In the introduction page to Melissa’s video, she talks about the components of finding balance: observing, interpreting, and responding to stimuli. The same pieces apply to finding balance in life. How do you observe what’s happening around you, particularly the things in life...

Branding Tips For The Small Business Owner

Branding Tips For The Small Business Owner

Mar 18, 2015

Small businesses often overlook their branding efforts because of the perceived cost of having a cohesive look. In reality, it’s a small investment with high return potential. Branding is the first thing a customer sees and also the last thing a customer feels. My best tips to help you strengthen your brand: 1. Describe Your Brand’s Personality – What does your brand look, taste, smell and feel like? Are your current efforts evoking this personality? Every company should have a personified brand and those characteristics should come out in everything you do. 2. Fix Your Font – If your company is modern, new, fresh and clean DON’T pair it with Times New Roman. And please don’t ever use Comic Sans, Curlz, Brush Script or Papyrus. That’s a big WTF (Why The Font) in my book. Once you’ve described your brand’s personality, pair it with fonts, colors and verbiage that convey. 3. Be More Than The Business Suite – A cohesive business suite of collateral is standard. Well-branded companies look the same over e-mails, invoices, thank you cards and social media. Here are a few great resources for inexpensive logo’ed products: Pakible – Online packaging products with a variety of colors and sizes to pair your logo with. Take advantage of the current 10 for $10 special. Sticker Mule – Another low minimum (50) online print shop with a fast turnaround. Choose your final sticker size based on multiple uses.  Campaign Monitor – User friendly e-newsletter templates that you don’t have to know code to customize. The best thing about Campaign Monitor is the option to test out one campaign without the commitment of a long term contract. Canva – This free, online photo-editing site offers small business owners a place to edit their branding with built in dimensions. Templates from facebook ads to pinterest posts are readymade with no pixel x pixel guesswork. 4. Establish Your Standards – Once you’ve settled on your branding, set the standards. At minimum, your business should have a guideline of colors, fonts and logo to adhere to.  A simple brand standards guideline would look something like this example from University of Connecticut: http://brand.uconn.edu/sites/default/files/BrandStandards_Guide0913.pdf. Don’t let the entire document deter...

When things don’t go exactly as planned.

When things don’t go exactly as planned.

Mar 17, 2015

Before I get started I want to share something from my personal life with you. For the last two months my husband has been struggling with his panic disorder on a daily basis, seven days a week, 24 hours a day. It has been a struggle for me watching him go through this because I knew there was nothing I could do to make it better except be there and let him know how much I loved him. He has missed work and even the simplest things like driving 4 blocks to the convenience store to buy a fountain drink have been nearly impossible for him. More than once he went full tilt panic at that store. He has been working with his doctor to get his medicine adjusted. She added a new medication to his daily regimen and this weekend for the first time in about 8 or 9 weeks not even a hint of panic. He is stoned as hell while his system is adjusting to the new pills but he felt good….so good that he had me out the entire weekend and that was fine by me because it filled my heart to see him stress and panic free and just enjoying the days without the panic. So my husband is getting his normal life back for which I am thankful beyond words. This brings me here: I have two different columns I have been working on. One will be a couple of weeks off yet because this season of “The Walking Dead” has 2 more episodes and I want to watch them before I complete that column. I have another column that I had planned on working on over this weekend. It didn’t happen. I was out with my non-panicked husband and it was wonderful, however I still have a task this week if I am to bring you the column next week. In order to do so I have to watch 2 movies and a few episodes of a television program to make sure my facts are correct…you don’t get a hint for this one and I am very excited about it. It is now Monday and my column...

Musing #42: Why It’s a Great Time for TWELVE ANGRY [MEN] in NYC, and What It Means to Me (Part II)

Musing #42: Why It’s a Great Time for TWELVE ANGRY [MEN] in NYC, and What It Means to Me (Part II)

Mar 13, 2015

Excerpted from Playing with Fire: How Junk Science Sent Claude Garrett to Prison for Life, by journalist Liliana Segura for THE INTERCEPT, 02/24/15: [One juror] said that “the other jurors hated [Claude], even before his testimony.” [The prosecutor] capitalized on this — he “made sure that emotion controlled the courtroom, not evidence.” [This juror] had tried to argue for a not guilty verdict, he said, but only one other person took his side. As deliberations went on, he was becoming exhausted from working his overnight shift at work and then coming to court. His income was in jeopardy and he did not want to forgo his scheduled visitation with his daughter. So [he] finally gave in, even though “no juror could give a motive” for why Claude would have attacked [his girlfriend], “and then lock(ed) her in a laundry room to die from a fire,” he wrote. For all the [prosecution’s] emphasis on [arson accelerant] pour patterns, in the end, the fire science had not been discussed among the jurors. It had simply come down to “a picture of a drunken redneck that did not deserve a woman like her.” #InverseTwelveAngryMen *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   * Welcome, dearest readers, to Part II of Musing #41: Why It’s a Great Time for TWELVE ANGRY [MEN] in NYC, and What It Means to Me. I’m mostly done with the evasive-but-barely-veiled liberal sociopolitical commentary, I swear. What follows is 95% non-controversial history and personal anecdote. Part I was “why it’s a great time.” This is “what it means.” So, y’all did your assigned Googling (and/or, ideally, screening) of TWELVE ANGRY MEN [1957], right? If yes, good. For we’ll be delving into detail. If no, uh… *** SPOILER ALERT!!! *** You were forewarned. A major plot point of the dramatic work in question hinges on the sights and sounds of a Manhattan elevated train, or “el” — something which has technically not existed since the Third Avenue Line was closed in 1955; uppermost reaches of the 1 train and lowermost reaches of the Metro-North commuter rail, notwithstanding. “A Third Avenue Line train passes Cooper Square in the 1950s, with the Empire State Building in the background.” — Wikipedia The original, Emmy-winning...

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