One of the things that I’ve noticed in working with various companies on a freelance basis is how businesses distribute finances and allocate for expenses.
Unfortunately, the biggest thing that I’ve noticed is the show of favoritism especially with small businesses that are family owned. Because, there are several individuals who might be a family friend or someone who’s worked with the company for a long time (10-20 plus years.) Unfortunately, this means that these individuals end up getting overpaid hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars more to do what anyone can do. And let’s not forget, others can probably execute and deliver the product or project at a fraction of the cost. It’s like companies play favorites with long time family friends, which wind up causing further complications in the end. Read the rest of this entry »
Have you ever had a stress-free travel situation where everything just went absolutely perfect? I doubt that anything flows in perfect order, especially when it comes to traveling. I recently had to travel for a freelance gig and started at home attempting to gather my dogs before the work trip, only to find out that they both had fleas. Again. So, I had to get them both in the bath tub, wash them in special flea shampoo and then drop them off to relatives, that would watch them while I was gone. Then, I forgot where I left my car keys and I was scrambling to find them. Ugh.
The airport was sooo crowded as well and so was the airplane. I was stuck on a Southwest Airline flight that doesn’t assign seating. So, I ended up squeezed in a middle seat between two, let’s just say, very large people. In general, traveling can be really stressful. Unexpected situations and scenarios erupt unexpectedly. I didn’t expect my babies (my dogs) to suddenly have fleas. I didn’t expect to have to rush and get everything together at the last minute. Read the rest of this entry »
True friendships are hard to come by and the ones that really are your friends will be honest with you. If you have someone in your life that can be brutally blunt with you, then count yourself lucky.
Some friends come across as always happy. They’re all smiles and they’re always complimenting everyone. If you’re the type that will sometimes criticize yourself, the overtly nice friend will be the one to tell you that you’re being ridiculous and your criticism of yourself is simply not true. But, what if it is? Sometimes people really enjoy surrounding themselves with “yes” people. It’s almost like having your own little posse, an entourage. They’re always giving you such wonderful compliments. Read the rest of this entry »
Upon introspection have you discovered that there are things about your personality that you’d like to change? Has anyone tried to give you unsolicited advice on your character and how to improve it? They might say that you should smile more, speak softer or be more assertive. You might be told to stop interrupting people when they talk or that you’re too quiet and you need to speak up. Read the rest of this entry »
Do you remember falling in love for the first time? Recall how quickly the feeling intoxicated you, basking in the sheer new glow that your new love showered over you. It’s as if the sky was suddenly bluer, the grass and the trees were greener, and flowers more lush. Everything around you seemed to come alive with more vibrance than ever before.
It’s like you took some sort of drug; you felt so high on life. As a matter of fact, according to Psychology Today, falling in love is a lot like smoking crack cocaine! Research conducted by anthropologist and relationship researcher, Dr. Helen Fisher found some outstanding results in her illuminating studies on how love affects our brain chemistry. According to her findings, feelings of love elicit exceptionally high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which are the same chemical compounds activated during a cocaine-induced high. There is a clear euphoric effect both drugs and being in love exhibits in our bodies, as our bodies know very little the difference between an illegal substance and falling for your “one and only.” The stimulation is said to sharpen focus and allows one to feel as if they can conquer the world, do anything, and be anything. Read the rest of this entry »
It is during our relationships and interactions with people, regardless if they are friends, relatives, co-workers or distant associates and strangers, that we learn the most about ourselves. If we live like a hermit, no one can push our buttons. However, this requires a life of misery and isolation.
From personal experience, I have found that the biggest upsets in our lives often teach us the biggest lessons. Family members and close loved ones can especially get under our skin, and for the longest time, I have taken things quite personally. Selfish, ego-centered individuals tend to be born from their wounded inner child and how we were raised.
My perspective has recently changed; I opened up to a new way of seeing my situation and hopefully you can do the same. I really feel sorry for people who cannot see how hurt they really are from their childhood. When one doesn’t face how hurt they are, or were as children, they become damaged adults in damaged relationships. Read the rest of this entry »
When unexpected disaster occurs, we’re often caught at a loss for words. You can be driving the speed limit, minding your own business and in your own lane. Suddenly, someone runs a red light and careens into your vehicle hitting you head on. Aside from fractured ribs, a neck brace, whip lash, and a really sore back; you are lucky to get out alive.
You’re coming home from a dinner and a movie, still laughing as you recap the funniest scenes with your spouse. You open the door to discover that you’ve been robbed and all of your expensive electronics and jewelry are now gone. Little do you know that the thieves were escaping out the back window as your keys hit the front door lock, and they were armed with guns. Read the rest of this entry »
Is there ever a good reason to take a human life? If one of your relatives were murdered, what would justice look like to you? Is it wrong to take an eye for an eye? Or is it more painful, and just, to let the guilty individual rot in prison for the rest of their life?
According to U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney, today more than 900 individuals in the state of California have been sentenced to death row since 1978. But only 13 of them were executed.
This afternoon’s Los Angeles Times article reported on how Carney scrutinized this apparent flaw in administering the death penalty. He ultimately ruled that lengthy delays and resulting uncertainty as to when or even if an inmate will be executed are in violation of human rights regardless of incarceration. Carney declared the state’s death penalty is “dysfunctional” because sentences have been reduced in essence to “life in prison, with the remote possibility of death.” Read the rest of this entry »
Deception can be cloaked in silky smooth motive, but behind what may sound exceptionally convincing is the desire to do just what one said they’d never do. It is in our DNA to make mistakes, but being human is not a “get out of jail free” card. Some of us are lucky to have never been confronted with hypocrisy, while others have faced it more times than we’d like to admit.
Hypocrisy is often linked to religion, or at least heavily associated with it, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be. We are faced with hypocrisy everyday from how our government operators to our careers to our family and friends. Politics really seems to get our collective goat. Regardless if you are on the right, left or prefer to consider yourself somewhere in the middle, there is plenty of blame, finger pointing, and “caught in the cookie jar” scenarios for just about every political party. Read the rest of this entry »
There are some people who just make life look so easy. Nothing personal against men, but the super humans I’ve known have mostly been of the fairer sex.
In interviewing both male and female tattoo artists during my various ink binges, I was told that women could stomach some of the most painful tattoos on the most sensitive places of the body. Women could even withstand hours upon hours of pain without even flinching. Meanwhile, I have heard testimonies from some of the oldest tattoo shops and highly talented tattoo artists in the business that they’ve had male clients actually cry or even stopped the tattoo artist because the pain was too intense. Read the rest of this entry »
All you have to do is Google “Second Guessing” and you’ll find a host of articles about how to stop questioning yourself. For example, experts say that it’s better to go with your gut when taking a test. But can second guessing yourself in certain situations be a good thing? Read the rest of this entry »
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.” ~Reinhold Niebuhr
You might recognize the above serenity prayer by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, and although it was adopted by Alcoholics Anonymous in 1941, it might have been used as early as 1934. Though, the three-line stanza is a modified version of the author’s original, a prayer that was 16 stanzas in length, Niebuhr didn’t know how popular his mantra would become. It circulated throughout the United States Armed Forces, thanks to the FCC, and would become the signature theme for the AA 12-step program.
But it was the philosopher, Epictetus (Ancient Greek: Ἐπίκτητος; AD c. 55 – 135) who wrote:
“Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens. Some things are up to us and some things are not up to us. Our opinions are up to us, and our impulses, desires, and aversions. In short, whatever is our own doing. Our bodies are not up to us, nor are our possessions, our reputations, or our public offices, or, that is, whatever is not our own doing” Read the rest of this entry »
Sunday morning, I woke up with the worst stomachache and nausea. When your body isn’t well, it’s hard to do anything much less well. That’s why they say you have to take care of your physical body so that your spiritual, emotional and mental state can function properly.
Needless to say, I felt sick all yesterday and was grateful I felt better today. When you slow things down and take one moment at a time, you discover the little details of life. These details become newly discovered treasures that teach new lessons that cannot be quantified by the triviality of anything tied to human monetary means, labels or definitions. This morning I walked without my brain plugged into my iPhone, no listening to my favorite podcasts. I decided to be in the moment and what a gift an hour walk with the doggies would bring. Read the rest of this entry »
Remember the stories your parents told you when you were growing up? These were stories of how they had to walk miles just to go to school or the grocery store. Barefoot. In the snow. They had to wake up really early to tend to the farm, and chores in those days were much more labor intensive. Now you are an adult and you look back at your own life. The way we were raised often influences how we will raise our kids. What we will choose to do differently and what we will teach our kids?
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of America’s independence, it was John Adam’s attempt to actually make July 2nd the day to celebrate America’s independence from Britain. That was the actual date in 1776 that the Second Constitutional Congress voted to declare its intentions. The Revolutionary War officially ended on July 4, 1783, and it wasn’t until 1938 that the Fourth was declared the actual federal holiday. Ironically John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe all died on the 4th of July, making the day even more memorable.
Another fact that most do not know is that the United States is not alone in celebrating the 4th. Because so many Europeans immigrated to the United States in the 1900s Denmark, Norway, Sweden and, interestingly, even England all celebrate the Fourth of July. The first barbecue grill also made its way to American backyards in the 1950s, thanks to Chicago native Don McGlaughlin. Most American’s will congregate around the grill this weekend and, of course, watching fireworks. Contrary to what some believe, Americans were not the first to invent the barbecue. Anthropologists say that mastering the fire during our primitive years is precisely what today draws man to grill outdoors over flame. Read the rest of this entry »
There is never a better chance to truly understand yourself than when you are being ultra-critical about someone else. Both joy and anger are two emotions that can be easily impacted for better or worse. Think about it. Have you ever been elated at having such a marvelous day that you tell yourself there is absolutely nothing that can ruin your mood? Or, conversely, you are having the worst day of your life. You are so angry, there is nothing on earth that can take away the wrath you feel in your heart.
What if on your happiest day you receive news that a friend you lent your brand new car to was in an accident? Or you come home and find out you’ve been robbed? Your home and possession are not insured, so although you file a police report you cannot salvage the loss. Read the rest of this entry »
According to the Cambridge online dictionary, the English definition of “quirk” noun [C] /kwɜrk/ › is an unusual habit or type of behavior, or something that is strange and unexpected:
a personality quirk
It’s just one of the quirks of living there.
quirky /ˈkwɜr·ki/ adjective [-er/-est only]
› a quirky, offbeat sense of humor
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary quirky <adjective › means different from the ordinary in a way that causes curiosity or suspicion.
While there are many, many ordinary individuals on this planet there are quite a few with idiosyncrasies, and let’s just say these extraordinary individuals might be considered, well, peculiar. Google breaks down idiosyncrasy and its origin best: Early 17th century (originally in the sense ‘physical constitution peculiar to an individual’): from Greek idiosunkrasia, from idios ‘own, private’ + sun ‘with’ + krasis ‘mixture.’ Read the rest of this entry »
Ever check out the U.S. debt clock? The national debt continues to rise and rise with each passing second. Trust me, I bet you’ll find it more frightening than your favorite horror movie. Read the rest of this entry »
Anytime we are told to wait for something we truly anticipate, you want to throw out the window any ounce of patience you have left. Especially in today’s 21st Century, as quick turn-around times for just about anything is an expectation that most of us now have. Remember books, like real books and not e-books?
Remember something called an encyclopedia? Recall homework, pre-Internet, where our elementary or middle school teachers assigned reports we had to write? We were instructed to use the encyclopedia provided to us by the school library. It was a time consuming process. We had to ensure that we had an updated library card, check the book or books out on the given subject and then research further to start putting together our notes for the topical report or essay. Now, we can search the web for nearly everything in an instant. Researching topics have never been easier, as we are in the information and technology age where our gadgets are faster and smaller. It’s also become more challenging to weed through fact or fiction. Read the rest of this entry »
You’ve got a friend who goes to church, he’s got kids and a family but he’s a wee bit rough around the edges, and that edge is another side of him just waiting to come out. You’ve got a girlfriend who’s a little loud, maybe a little animated, but she’s your girl and is always there for you. She is all smiles and friendliness, but she, too, has an edge about her that you know is waiting to be unleashed. You’ve got a sibling that is a tad outspoken, a little East coast, brash but palatable. She, as you’ve witnessed, also has a side to her that is barely hidden behind her curtness. It’s a side of her that can easily be unleashed, as it doesn’t take much.
You see this in all the new reality shows popping up on various networks, banking off of folks from all ethnic origins, cultural backgrounds, heritage, nationalities, and upbringing with one thing in common— they are ghetto-fabulous. Now, ghetto folks just love to brag about their ghetto-ness like it’s their hidden weapon. To be considered ghetto, someone normally adheres to a culture that they are familiar with, and it’s not always gang related. Read the rest of this entry »
According to the Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary the word idiot ( \ˈi-dē-ət\) is a noun and derogatory term for someone with extreme mental retardation; the most common use is to describe a foolish or stupid person. The term is derived from Middle English, old French to be specific with an origin as 60 percent of English has Latin or Greek roots; the word idiot originated from the Latin word idiota (ignorant person).
With well over 7 billion people inhabiting this planet, unfortunately a good portion of these folks are idiots. Regardless of how much you try to avoid them, they seem to be everywhere, and what’s most frightening is that you never know who it’ll be. An idiot can be a technology obsessed gadget-freak who was too busy texting when they crashed their vehicle into yours. An idiot can be the mail man that no matter how many times you’ve spoken to him, how often you’ve called the post office and spoken to supervisors on duty, they still continue to deliver highly important mail to the wrong address, one that you haven’t lived at in over a year. Read the rest of this entry »
So, you’ve gone through a dramatic change recently. You were a whopping 280 pounds and just recently dropped 100. You can’t be prouder of yourself, and you should be. You’ve never felt or looked better in your life. You’ve had to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe. Or perhaps you decided to do something extreme, like shave your shoulder length hair off. You are totally buzzed now, pretty much bald. You died your hair green, got piercings, tattoos or whatever. Read the rest of this entry »
Whether you wear a uniform to work or not, most people regardless of their professions can blend in a crowd when off the clock. But no one can disguise a salesman. You can’t tell if someone is a doctor or a lawyer when wearing everyday gear, but put a salesman in a room and you can spot him in an instant. He’s likely the all-teeth grinning, TGIFriday-peppy, Type-A personality jabber who’s dominating the attention of the group surrounding him.
How does he do it? He remembers the details of the people he meets. This is necessary in order to establish a relationship with them because ultimately everything comes down to locking in a sale. This often involves long lunch meetings, dinners or cocktails after work at some snazzy, overpriced joint. Regardless, what ever it takes to close a sale that is what will be executed. Read the rest of this entry »
The everyday can quickly become mundane and get old pretty fast. Speaking of old, haven’t you observed that it seems the older we get the more cynical we become? When we were children we’d think about relationships in a dreamy sort of way, all stars in our eyes. Maybe falling in love, finding “the one” and finally getting hitched in your mind looked exactly like a fairytale. Then, a few heart breaks and a couple of decades later, you’re a lot smarter and a hell of a lot more realistic. Read the rest of this entry »
You have a friend who has a lead foot. The dude’s always speeding. He’s gone 45 in a 15 MPH school zone with kids crossing but has never been caught, never even been honked at or yelled at by a fearful parent. He’s never going slower than 80 mph on the freeway. During lunch he brags about how his car insurance just went down again after receiving another good driver’s discount! He parks illegally in disabled spots for hours at a time, never pays for the meters cause he doesn’t carry around quarters and rarely obeys any traffic laws. This lucky SOB has never once been pulled over for a ticket and never has been in a crash. He’s even driven inebriated numerous times coming home from all sorts of parties and not once has he been pulled over. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s not a surprise why there have been so many self-help books written on the differences between men and women, from Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus to Steve Harvey’s Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. I am sure there are hundreds more out there and way too many to list. The above books however are two relatively popular examples and, out of both, my vote is with Steve Harvey. The actor, comedian and writer basically nailed it, and if more women were to simply read it, the world would be filled with happier, more successful relationships. And of course, drama-free ones. Read the rest of this entry »
Regardless of where you are at in life, almost all of us can look back at a moment or moments and reflect on all the things we didn’t do but should have. Perhaps you’re going back to school and finally getting the degree you always wanted, but you took a few detours getting there. You started a family, worked while your husband went to school or maybe you were single and just not ready. You wanted to travel, explore your options, live life and have a little fun. Read the rest of this entry »
“It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.” ~Pope John XXIII
Some people believe in luck and others don’t think there’s such a thing. Still, the mind is a very powerful machine. If we believe enough, we can exact an immense amount of power over our circumstances.
Faith can be broken down on a scientific level. One study on rehabilitation and spirituality tracked 88 adults who suffered TBI (traumatic brain injury) from a period of one to 20 years after the injury occurred. The study showed the power behind the faith concept in something more than just oneself.
“The results indicate that religious well-being (a sense of connection to a higher power) was a unique predictor for life satisfaction, distress and functional ability whereas public religious practice and existential well-being were not.” Read the rest of this entry »
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Another senseless crime, it is unthinkable what would lead someone to do this. Just a few days ago on June 5th there was the Seattle Pacific University shooting. Then yesterday a radical anti-government married couple went on a shooting spree in Las Vegas, killing two police officers and an innocent bystander. Read the rest of this entry »
You might be currently shaking your head right now saying to yourself, “But… you have no idea what I am going through right now.” And you are absolutely correct about that, no one truly understands all of your extenuating circumstances, the intricacies, and details that might have already led to one big catastrophe. Read the rest of this entry »
Psychologist, Harvard professor, and father of positive reinforcement, B.F. Skinner conducted numerous studies dating back to as early as 1938 that gathered extensive data on the effects of positive reinforcement. Skinner coined the phrase operant conditioning, which in layman’s terms is basically changing a behavior by giving a reward to elicit the desired response. Therefore, the opposite of positive reinforcement is punishment.
I have but few words….except to say that the escalating violence amongst the youth is frightening. And who is to blame? The mother, the father, the media, the environment, or circumstances? At some point regardless of where we come from and if we were: bullied, beaten, battered, abused and lived in poverty or lack, nothing excuses taking innocent lives.
Everyone wants to figure out the motive and honestly, there is a part of me that does too. Why do people go postal? What makes someone just “snap?” I don’t know. I do not care what you’ve gone through as a human being, there is no excuse for murder.
I have never considered myself to have a “green thumb.” My mother, however, could grow anything. As a child I remember my mother’s huge garden when we lived in New Mexico. We had a half-acre back yard, so it was a nice sized garden, to say the least, and a total pain, too. Mom used to make us kids pull out all the weeds to improve the health of the flowers or vegetables she was growing.
While some people profess to have learned all they need to know, most of us realize that we are far from knowing everything. We are always learning and growing. If you have learned all there is to know, then you are not truly living or evolving. Some of us are more self aware than others, knowing practically from birth what our lives will be like, what we want to be when we grow up, how many kids we will have or not have, sexual preference, our favorite color, flower, food, and etc. Others take a little longer to figure things out. For them it’s a lifelong journey to self-discovery. Read the rest of this entry »
Have you ever heard of the sunk cost principle? It is business terminology that refers to how much time, money and resources one has invested that can no longer be recovered. It’s gone, baby, and there’s nothing you can do about it. So move on.
According to a University of Scranton, research found that just 8 percent of individuals actually achieve their New Year’s goals. The study showed that our brains are unable to process large lists, therefore making them counter-productive to our accomplishments. When you begin making an extremely long list, a Forbes article states that attempting to always knock the ball out of the park can be “psychologically daunting.”
Journalist and author of Mind Over Mind suggest keeping resolution lists shorter. While we’re still have more than half a year to go to reach Jan. 1, it is for certain that we all have at least one goal we’d like to have come to fruition next year. There is nothing wrong with having a dozen or so goals on your “to do list,” but have you reached a point where you feel like throwing in the towel? Read the rest of this entry »
Studies have shown that stress can wreak havoc not only on the body but also almost every area of your life. Unaddressed stress can cause sleep disturbances, poor eating habits, health problems, acne break outs, angry outbursts and even addictive behaviors.
One of the healthiest ways to combat stress is through exercise. When you exercise, natural endorphins are released that are said to be as potent as taking Prozac. That is right. According to a London research conducted in 2007, Mycobacterium vaccae, which is a bacteria found in soil, stimulates the precise neurons in the brain that Prozac does. So when out running trails, for instance, our feet kick up the soil and we absorb particles to provide our brains with a positive mood booster similar to that of antidepressant, psychotropic medication. Who would have ever thought? According to the article, when serotonin levels are low in our brains it can cause a number of mental ailments such anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia.
This country was built on the American dream, where everyone is driven by the primary belief that if you could dream it, you could achieve it. And you never want to stop at where you are at. Our capitalistic society has taught us to look upon what others have and allow it to motivate us to want it, too. But, when did we allow things to consume us to the degree that nothing we acquire satisfies us?
Consider gambling. Some people get hooked on the rush, regardless if they win or lose. Once they get a taste, they keep chasing the high. They want it again and again, until either they’ve achieved it or they lost it all. Not to say that dreaming big means losing everything, but the insatiable bottomless pit of need can become a terrible addiction. Greed devours and always destroys. Nothing good can ever come from greediness, no matter how good the prize might look at the end. What greed creates, it destroys. When our monetary hunger is never satisfied, we are driven to achieve at all cost. Competitive people are full of greed, and most competitive individuals function best when they are outperforming everyone around them.
Have you ever dealt with an angry person? Usually, angry people tend to have a track record. They’re the types that have gotten in to arguments with just about everyone in their life. If you ask them, it’s somehow the other person’s fault. If they haven’t gotten into an argument with anyone in their personal or professional circle, they’ll seek an altercation with the mail man or someone at the grocery store or someone in the parking lot. They’ll find someone to argue with because these people are hyper confrontational and critical in nature.
I’m not talking about being lectured by a parent; I’m talking about the angry person who walks around life with a magnifying glass. When they’re at a restaurant, they’ll find something about the food they don’t like and they’ll ask for it to be taken back. If they order food, their order is complicated. Filled with substitutes, the dressing on the side please. No this or no that because I don’t like it. They make Miranda Priestley’s (played by Meryl Streep) character in Devil Wears Prada, look like an angel. Read the rest of this entry »
Our mother wore a cute little apron and smelled like warm vanilla spice because she was always in the kitchen making our favorite homemade oatmeal cookies. She was on the PTA committee at our school; let all of our friends come over to have slumber parties. The neighbors considered her thoughtful for always cooking a little bit more, just to bring them extras. Our friends wished their mothers were like her. Even our father’s friends wished their wives were more like her, a happily content, stay-at-home mother who volunteered her time to always help out those in need. Read the rest of this entry »
Motivated wasn’t enough to describe how you felt come New Year’s Day. Ever watch the Oprah episode when Tom Cruise professed his love for Katie Holmes? That was you. That was me. We were jumping on the couch, making a fool of ourselves for the sake of our beloved new goals, mantras, vision boards and achievements-to-be. Read the rest of this entry »
When the word faith is brought up, you might be the “oh no” type of person who rolls their eyes and grimaces at the recollection of childhood Sundays being dragged to church when you’d rather have been watching football or playing outside. You had to wear that stupid button-up shirt with those pressed slacks, and your mother combed your hair to the side. Or you had to wear that frilly dress and those stockings that you absolutely hated. And those berets in your hair! Read the rest of this entry »
When I had to make a decision to continue miserably living in -37 degree weather so far Upstate New York, that I was 30 minutes from Canada or move back to Cali— the decision was a “no brainer.” Sometimes life is a lot like this.
Major life decisions can often be found in two categories: