Jul 25, 2014

Wine

I recently went on a trip to South Carolina to visit one of my bestest best friends and I had quite the memorable adventure at the worst concert ever, no exaggeration.  But, I'll save that story for another day so that I can give you all of the unbelievable details. Nonetheless, I had an amazing weekend, cuddled up with her cute little dog, Izzy, and I don't even like dogs, spending time catching up and just relaxing on a mini-momcation! 

Top Left: BFFs | Top Right: "Izzy" | Bottom Left: Downtown Charleston
Bottom Right: Amazing Shrimp & Grits from Pages Okra Grill...so good!

During the trip we visited downtown Charleston, so beautiful, had dinner at Pages Okra Grill, the best okra EVER, and visited Irvin-House Vineyards & Firefly Distillery.  The wine tasting ($5) consisted of all five of the wines they carry, which changes each year, and included a complimentary wine glass.  At the distillery we got got a choice of six vodkas ($6) from a long list of options and it included a complimentary shot glass.  Needless to say we were, uh, 'right' by the end of it.  Good stuff, folks, good stuff!


One of the wines, the Magnolia, was so good, and sweet, just like I like it! The hubs and I enjoy a glass or two of wine on Friday nights so I couldn't resist snagging a bottle for him to try.  He loved it, of course!  We usually take a couple of days to finish off a bottle so I was thrilled to see the cute little wine caps and purchased those in addition to a burlap wine carrier. I so didn't need the carrier but wanted it just because, so whatever. Cute, right?!

Cheers,

Jul 10, 2014

Potty Training Success

Madison has mastered the potty! Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but she’s definitely on the way. She’s been doing such a great job keeping her diaper dry and informing her teacher that she needed to go at daycare for the past couple of weeks. She’s been doing so well that last week they asked that we send her in panties only this week. 


 The hubs and I thought they were lying to us about her using it. Seriously, folks!

Every day we’d come home from daycare put her in panties and fill her with fluids. Then you know the routine; ask, ask, ask, offer treat after treat, sit on the potty for forever and nothing happens. Usually RIGHT AFTER she’s been asked for the 100th time and has left the potty for the 50th time she would have an accident because she just couldn’t hold it anymore and going on the potty at home was somehow not her thing. Frustration doesn’t even describe this process!

I wanted to believe that she just wasn’t ready yet but knew that wasn’t the case since she wasn’t having the same problem at daycare. Nonetheless, over the weekend I silently resolved to just give up…again. And just like that, as soon as I decided that I didn’t care anymore (at least for right now) she says “Mommy, I have to go potty”. I of course, figured this would be a false alarm as usual, but she went. She actually went!!!

The screaming and praising and running around the house I did was ridiculous! 

Ice cream was a must so we headed to Cold Stone soon after (with her panties on at that…yeah, we’re brave)! She ends up going to the potty the rest of the day, no accidents. Pampers at night still, of course!  

The next day was Sunday and we had church. Decisions, decisions. "Should we try it?!", I asked. “Yes”, says Mario, “I trust her”! 

What?!? She's not going on a date...but o-kay.  You’d think she heard him though and didn’t want to let him down because she made it through the service, no accidents. She asked to go a few times during the service, of course, which yielded a few false alarms; however, she did go on one of the occasions. The same happened during our outing to the park later that evening!  What an accomplishment!

I’ve said all this to say, she’s got it, and I couldn’t be more excited as it’s been quite the journey. It's like something just clicked for her.  Do I still expect accidents here and there? Of course! She’s still young and it’s still a new process for her but she's definitely got the concept now.  

I'm so, so proud of her, guys, so proud :)!!! 

One milestone down, a lifetime of milestones to go (as we all know teaching/coaching ones child(ren) never really ends)!

Cheers to potty training success,


Jul 5, 2014

Little Black Girls

We only buy brown skinned dolls for Maddie to play with and I love that they are all different shades of brown.  We also don't allow others to buy her dolls of any other color either.

"Baby" as she calls her, is currently her favorite.  She goes wherever she goes (e.g., to daycare, to sleep, shopping, etc.), and she hugs, kisses and calls her pretty.  I so love to watch all this.

I understand that this might seem strange, and to someone outside of the African American race you might feel like I'm setting my daughter up to have issues with other races by only allowing brown skinned dolls in the home; but, I assure you that is not the case.  Please understand that this isn't about how she is to feel about and interact with other races, this is about establishing a sense of self-worth within her as a person of color.

Representation of African American women in media is scarce and oftentimes we're portrayed in a negative way (e.g., "promiscuous", "angry", "bitter", "baby mamas", "uneducated", etc.) further feeding into stereotypes.  Since we can't pretend like the media and the things we are exposed to outside the home don't play a major role in how we view ourselves, self-love MUST start at home for little black girls.

So no matter the tone of her skin (or the texture of her hair), I consistently remind her that she is beautiful. She is talented. She is intelligent. She is worthy. She is loved. And I show her positive images of African American woman doing incredible things, accomplishing much.

I show her that brown girls do ballet, and so many other positive, fulfilling things...


I show her that black girls are more than capable of obtaining higher education (and excelling at it, I might add)...

{My BFFs:  Left to Right - Two Masters Degrees, Engineering Degree (me), Law Degree, Law Degree.}


I explain that long, flowy hair and lighter skin is beautiful, but short, natural hair and darker skin is JUST as beautiful.


I even show her that the media doesn't ALWAYS get it wrong...

I consistently show and tell her that African American woman can be smart, driven, amazing women who can do anything they put their minds to.  She should never feel diminished due to her gender or race, never feel that she is inferior to another, and never use it as an excuse to not strive to reach her full potential.

Ultimately, #blackgirlsrock too and it's my job to make sure she knows it :)!


Jun 29, 2014

Taking Stock

My blog presence has been a bit scarce since I've become a working mom.  August will make a year that I've been back at work and I feel like I've found a work-life balance that works for me and my family; however, blogging just hasn't fit into that equation as much as I'd like.  I've been at this for two years now and plan to keep it up as long as my heart is in it, which it still is, so I imagine that there are seasons of plenty (i.e., full of time and ideas for blogging) and seasons of lack (i.e., no time, no ideas, etc.) just as there are different seasons in real life.

Ultimately, I'm very content in this season of plenty in my life so I'm totally okay with this season of lack in this space.  And just know that when I'm falling behind on posts and responding to comments (so sorry, friends) you can always find me interacting on Instagram or Twitter, so definitely stay in touch that way!


Just to give you a feel of what's what in my life at present...

 Making : Time for blogging, for once :)!

Cooking : Nothing tonight, we've got leftovers. Yes!

Drinking : Lots and lots of water. It's hot this summer.

Reading: CQA Primer, to become a certified quality auditor.

Wanting: Some Cold Stone ice cream.

Looking: At Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

Playing: Mali Is...over and over.

Wasting: The day away, as usual.

Sewing: Nothing. I really need to use my sewing machine.

Wishing: I could reduce my sugar intake.  I just ate eight cookies :(.

Enjoying: This season of my life. #content

Waiting: For the hubs to get home, he's working late tonight.

Liking: Polka dots this season.

Wondering: What new recipes I can try this week.

Loving: My family and friends and the great things that are happening in their lives.

Hoping: We'll get Madison potty trained soon, it's driving me wild.

Marveling: In Madison's comprehension. She's so smart.

Needing: My hair washed by someone else.

Smelling: Laundry. It's laundry day!

Wearing: My pajamas w/ my girl.  We're in for the day.

Following: Some neat people on Twitter that really get me thinking.

Noticing: That Mario is being more and more helpful and I appreciate it.

Knowing: That I must enjoy life instead of rushing through it.

Thinking: A lot about our debt and our plan to get rid of it.

Bookmarking: DIY projects that I REALLY want to do (using Pinterest for the rest).

Opening: Mail. I really, really like receiving mail.

Giggling: At all the clever things that Maddie says.

Feeling: Loved (always)!

Being: Happy,

Post idea from Meet Me at Mike's


Jun 9, 2014

Networking


If you're searching for a job and you're not using LinkedIn regularly then you're missing out on a large network of professionals that could help you make your next career move.

If you were to look back at every job you've ever received can you say that you've gotten every single one on your own merit and qualifications alone?  In my case EVERY single job I've EVER received was due to the fact that I knew someone who could vouch for me and my abilities, and help me get my foot in the door (i.e., an interview).

Please know that this in no way diminishes my engineering background, qualifications, intense work ethic and a desire to do an extraordinary job and exceed expectations. Type-A much!  Basically, I've always excelled at every job I've worked in spite of the way I may have obtained it.

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Founded by Reid Hoffman in 2002, LinkedIn has grown to 225 million members in over 200 countries, making it the world’s largest professional network on the Internet (by comparison, Twitter has more than 500 million registered users, and Facebook has surpassed one billion). Currently available in 20 languages, LinkedIn remains a relevant platform the world over.

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Just for fun, to show you how powerful the whole "it's not what you know but who you know", networking deal is, here is a list of EVERY job I've EVER worked from age 16 to present:

  • Rightway (3 yrs) - Two of my best friends, Mionna and Doroth,y worked there.
  • Ambleside (1 yr) - My best friend's mom, Tracy, worked there.
  • New Student Orientation Counselor at NCSU (2 yrs) - My aunt, Tasha, worked there.
  • Bruegger's Bagels (4 yrs) - I worked w/ the general manager daily as they donated to New Student Orientation.  When the job at NCSU ended he had a job waiting for me at BB.
  • Hospira (4 yrs) - My aunt, Tasha, worked there.
  • Current - A friend that I worked with at Hospira started working for my current employer.  When I was ready to return to the workforce I gave him a call and he put me in touch with the hiring manager.  
After having been out of work for 18 months as a SAHM, I was able to find and start a job after only two weeks of searching all due to networking.  If that doesn't tell you what networking can do, I don't know what can!  And keep in mind that I'm an introvert, folks. Networking scares me! But, I recognize it's power and I recognize that I need to treat my LinkedIn account better than my Facebook account, if you get my drift.

Again, the saying really is true that it's not always what you know, but who you know.  You just have to make sure that when that someone opens the door for you that you have what it takes to walk through it and knock the employers socks off with your talent(s)!

So, update your resume, get your "elevator pitch" together (according to my coworker -- I need to create one) and be sure to use LinkedIn to it's full potential to network, network, network!

You can find me on LinkedIn here:  Nicole Pharr <-- shameless plug

Happy job-hunting,

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