#ProductReview - NextRelief Cooling Pain Relief

I received this product for free, in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed in his post are 100% my own! 

With a little time off from school, I got into some things that I've neglected, including doing Zumba and my version of yoga. Long story short, I wasn't ready for that life and experienced some muscle aches that left me questioning life. Now, usually I take a hot bath/shower, throw some topical pain cream on and take a few ibuprofen then call it a night. However, I just received NextRelief's Cooling Pain relief topical pain cream via Intellifluence (cool site that links you brands for sponsorship and partnerships) and decided to give it a go.

According to their site, NextRelief, "harnesses the power of arnica, aloe, tea tree oil, and more to soothe and relax your muscles and joints". I can appreciate that it's made in the USA and contains natural ingredients. A quick search, shows it contains similar ingredients that other topical pain relief products contain, so I decided to give it a go.

I had some knee pain and spread a little of the menthol scented light green cream on my knee.

  • It absorbed well and as with most pain relief creams the scent lasted for about half an hour before it was noticeable. 
  • The scent isn't overpowering.
  • It wasn't a greasy/oily mess. 
  • It didn't sting or provide that immediate cooling sensation, it was more of a gradual cooling. 
  • It provided some pain relief but I still needed to take an ibuprofen. 
  • On a pain relief scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being no relief and 5 being full relief - I would give it a 3
While I appreciate the natural ingredients, the subtle scent and absorbent texture, it doesn't provide the level of pain relief I am looking for. 

If you're interested, you can find NextRelief pain relief cream on Amazon.


"Read Because......." - Inspiration from the Web

Reposting @rotatellc: - via @Crowdfire Read Because.... . . .

#rotatellc #socialmediamarketing #success #business #content #entrepreneur #blog #ceo #marketer #companies #incorporation #smallbusiness #consulting #marketing #irvine #goals #investment #facebook #instagram #inspiration #growth #personaldevelopment #consultants #lifehacks #advice #businessowners #hacks #newyearsresolution #newyearnewme
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Pay it forward this Holiday w/Kiva's #KivaCard

Thinking about #payingitforward this holiday?

Consider @kiva.org a different kinda #charity where you lend money via a #kivacard to entrepreneurs like the Hekima group & others around the world, promoting #socialgood

You can find out more info ⇨here

#socialentrepreneurship  #hbtsp  #hbtkiva #holiday #donation #microlending

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Climbing that Career Mountain - 4 sites to check out!

As a Ratchet Professional, I am frequently looking for ways to improve my professional and interpersonal skills, expand my knowledge base, and basically learn new things that will make me an awesome individual. Part of that, involves networking and exploring sites that offer great advice on professional development, personal growth, and building a career (and lifestyle) you love. I appreciate the advice and suggestions of those who walked a similar path; who overcame significant obstacles; or those who were trailblazers in their fields. There’s real value in advice based on a foundation of experience.

The following sites offer a community filled with those coming up, those who are trucking right along  in phase 2 or 3 or 4 of their journey, and those who have reached the peak and want to lend a helping hand to those coming up the mountain:

Bossed Up is a community of professional and entrepreneurial women, founded by Emilie Aries. Emilie's goal was to create a place where women "can write their own come-up story with a squad of boss women supporting them every step of the way". That sounds BOMB! I've been a member for over six months and the information, resources, emails from Bossed Up has helped to improve my confidence. Each month there's a calendar of tasks and activities to help build professional and personal skills as well as inspire creativity. There's also boot camps held around the country where like minded women get together to support and empower each other while attending professional & personal development trainings. The monthly calendar of activities have been useful in helping me focus on areas where I can improve.

LEVO is a professional development community, that considers itself the "Network for Millennials in the workplace" and provides articles and "arms you with the tools to develop your talent, build connections, and stay inspired day in and day out as you grow and develop. It has a feel similar to LinkedIn and allows you to connect with like minded or similarly situated professionals. The articles have helped build my confidence especially when having to ask for a raise, some flexibility in my work, or even asking for more responsibility.

GirlBoss is a "community of strong, curious, and ambitious women redefining success on our own terms. Founded by serial entrepreneur Sophia Amoruso, GirlBoss hope to inform, entertain, and inspire action through the content and experiences we create." The newsletter offers great advice and tip weekly and there are various events the occur around the country.

TheSkimm is "a membership company that makes it easier to live a smarter life by integrating in the routines of female millennials by breaking down key topics, bringing interviews with the people you need to know, and making you smarter throughout your day on everything from tax policies to how to fold a fitted sheet". I love the daily newsletter that's delivered to my email daily, that keeps me abreast of what's happening in the world from a perspective I can appreciate (a little bit cheeky, yet honest & relate-able). It instantly gives me something to talk about during those awkward small talk sessions.

Check out the sites and tell me what you think. Know a site that offers great advice, send us an email & we'll check 'em out.


Keep Being You! - Inspiration from the Web! via @Crowdfire

Reposting @cvsfitness: - via @Crowdfire

I just wanna say that you guys got this! There’s not much time left in 2017 but that doesn’t mean it’s time to slack off! Keep pushing. Keep killing those goals. Keep being you! . . . .

#fitnessmotivation #grind #workout #workoutmotivation #fitgirl #trainhard #girlswithmuscle #fitlife #active #activewear #fitness #fitspo #fitfam #gymshark #strength #instafit #weightlossjourney #gym #weightlifting #cleaneating #cardio #squats #gymrat #mealprep #gains #fitfluential #fitnessmodel #training #eatclean #girlswholift

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I decided it was time to #bang it out since its getting #BRICK out in these streets. Pic 1 #mac lip in cyber @maccosmetics
Pic 2 #urbandecay in rock steady
Pic 3 #urbandecay in Amulet

#AmazonInfluencer #beautifulness #theratchetprofessional #winning #lips #melanin #blogger #harlem #bossing #whoistrp #brooklyn

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Influencer Tips!

I used @CreatorCollabs and reached 2.68K new people. Join here and let's regram together. Use my link (https://goo.gl/YkC6PD) or the link in the bio (@CreatorCollabs).

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Holiday Gift Ideas - Apparel & Accessories

Looking for some gift ideas this holiday? Check out our curated holiday lists, updated weekly until Christmas.

This week, we present "Apparel & Accessories"

---> Click Here <--- For awesome products regardless of budget!

Let us know what you think! Hit us up on FB or IG or Twitter!

Holiday Gift Ideas - Home Decor

Looking for some gift ideas this holiday? Check out our curated holiday lists, updated weekly until Christmas.

We planned to present Apparel & Accessories, but received a request for Home Decor (S/O Alyssa J.)

---> Click Here <--- For awesome products regardless of budget!

Next week's topic: Apparel & Accessories! - FRRFR!

Got an product that should be listed, looking for a hard to find item? Send us a line or hit us up on FB.


I've been going thru a lot of emotions this week. Lots on my mind. I think I need a change of pace, or something....... feeling real blah BUT the semester is almost over!!!!! #theratchetprofessional #lawstudent #grinding #winning #bossing #tired #ineedaneweverything

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#smood as I start this work week. Still recovering from two wisdom teeth extractions, a paper done under the effects of anesthesia, and a whole MEAL made on Thursday in a kitchen with power on one side #grinding #winning #bossing #thequeen love me some @therealmaryjblige

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Holiday Gift Ideas - Tech Gifts

Looking for some gift ideas this holiday? Check out our curated holiday lists, updated weekly until Christmas. Starting with Tech Gifts:

---> Click Here <--- For awesome products regardless of budget!

Next week's topic: Apparel & Accessories! Got an product that should be listed, looking for a hard to find item? Send us a line or hit us up on FB.

Mail Call - Free Sample of TRIDENT

Aye just when I was bout to head to the store for some gum...... #trident & #711 came all the way thru. #freesample #blogger #chewinggum

Yes, I know the coupon been expired! The struggles of snail mail.

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We're Featured on MIX's #TheBloggerProject

We're excited to announce that our ratchet, stylishly street chic professional style has been featured on MIX - a site that lets you curate lists of things you love and explore others' lists of things to discover.

We are a part of their #theBloggerProject contest & won for our habit of making sure our clothes/outfits do double duty, taking us from work to the club to twerk, with the minimal amount of effort. Our carefully curated mix contains tons of options.

On Facebook

On Twitter

On Instagram

Give em a lookie and let us know what you think? Got some suggestions ...... hit us up, we'd love to hear from you!


Fashion - #Sophistiratchet Chic

When you touch 3 boros a day.... throw some of that #sophistiratchet in there... hat & shirt - #newyorkcompany

skirt - @express

#Harlem #lic #brooklyn #lawstudent #blogger #ratchetprofessional #1L #nycfashion #irunthesestreets #Lawschool #dynamictrinityπŸ’ͺπŸ’•

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#Thanksgathering - Its THAT time of the year!

This post is #sponsored by SC Johnson and Daily Break as part of my participation with Blog Meets Brand.

It's that time of the year ya'll. “Thanksgathering.” When families gather, things get messy. *SC Johnson can help.* When distant relative become a little less distant; your kitchen gets more use than it's had ALL year; and that guestroom that doubles as a home gym/home office/pet's room will finally be used for actual guests!

To help out with all of that holiday prep, SC Johnson and Daily Break are giving us the chance to test our Thanksgiving knowledge with their trivia, turk-ify your family, and get a $5 Mastercard® when you upload a receipt for participating SC Johnson products. 

Loving The Skin you're In!!

When I have a few minutes to myself, I like to check in on the various online communities I am a part of. One of them that I adore is L'Oreal's C Space Beauty Community. Its' a great place where beauty and skin-care lovers discuss, suggest, review, and participate in all things beauty. 

Image source: Balancing Beauty & Bedlam

One of the activities really resonated with me. The activity requested we write a letter to our future female relatives about beauty - what I've learned about beauty, what I consider beauty and how my cultural upbringing influenced ,my idea of beauty. As a mom and an aunt to some of the most awesome, intelligent little melanated women, I wanted to learn to love and appreciate the beauty in themselves, regardless of the opinions of those around them. To take pride in their blackness. To know that their Black is Beautiful!!!!

Image source: Pinterest.com

I really wanted to share this with all of you. It's up to us to instill confidence, self love, and appreciation of individuality in our children.
To my Daughter, Nieces, and future Grand-daughters & Nieces:
If you remember one thing I tell you remember this: YOU ARE UNIQUELY BEAUTIFUL. Your brown eyes, broad noses, full lips, dark gums, tightly curled hair, curvy shapes, and beautiful skin filled with melanin is a beauty unappreciated yet fully desired. Know that society and the beauty industry do NOT define you. They don’t necessarily understand the specific and unique needs of African American women, & honestly some don’t want to. But true beauty is deeper than trends and a small groups of people. 
I want you to find inspiration in those who not only look like you but also those who push the boundaries of what beauty is, those who appreciate the uniqueness in what makes us individuals. Appreciate the beauty in your surroundings. I want you to love and appreciate you, your journey, your differences, and your individuality. When exploring your beauty options, do what works for you. Let your soul, imagination, and preferences drive you. Trends are cool but they aren't for everyone. Experiment, experiment, experiment. Expensive is not always Best! Be open and vocal. If something works or doesn't let it be known. Trust me baby, there are others in your predicament. 
It took me well into my 20s to appreciate who I was and who I was becoming. It took for me to realize that I define what I find beautiful. Appreciating your beauty, your individuality brings about a freedom that builds unbelievable confidence. Loving who you are is beautiful! 
To know that my features are the features of generations of strong, determined, and resilient women, brings pride. A pride I want you to know and own. My nose is your nose, my eyes are your eyes. You are me and I am you. 
And Baby, You’re Beautiful! You are a Legacy Bound!
Gma & Titi

How do you define beauty? What would you tell the young women in your life about beauty?


A day in the life

#tbt when I was πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Cha-Cha-licious🀣🀣 for @msrachel_b epic bday 🀸🀸pole dancing event @poleticjusticeinc #goodtimes #whataworkout #swinging @lset24 @dope71786 @priincess_stushhh.

If you're interested in a fun workout, building confidence, and having a good time with your girls - then definitely check out --> Poletic Justice <--. They offer so much more than pole dancing/specialty classes and it's EMPOWERING frfr!

San-J Tamari Lite Soy Sauce (Sponsored!!)

Thanks to Mom's Meet I got to try #sanjtamarilite πŸ€—πŸ½πŸ΄

Made an Easy, breezy stir fried shrimp & string beans with brown rice.

Used the Tamari soy sauce & Loved that it was low sodium too! πŸ™ŒπŸ™ŒπŸ‘πŸ–’

#momsmeet (p.s. didn't use ALL the sauces!)πŸ€£πŸ€£πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

#TRPSupports - BOSS MOMS on National Boss's Day (Sponsored Post)


(This post is being shared as part of our participation as a SoFluential. The words expressed here belong to Lauren Smith Brody, but TRP supports her vision.)

By Lauren Smith Brody

Did you know that today (October 16) is National Boss’s Day? Here’s my take: The bosses who should be celebrated with the most cupcakes and flowers today are Boss Moms—working moms who do it all and get it done at all hours of the day, and with only a fraction of that time rewarded with an actual paycheck. In fact, according to a recent survey by Total Wireless, 95 percent of moms say that the most stressful part of being a working mom is the pressure to juggle work and family responsibilities to perfection. Do they always get it done without ever losing their cool? Au contraire, ma mere.

In my version of this national holiday, being a Boss Mom means you bless the mess, celebrate the journey that got you to where you are today and realize that a satisfied life is rarely a balanced one...but a happy one. That’s why I’m teaming up with Total Wireless to celebrate Boss Moms and how they do it all on National Boss’s day and beyond.

  1. LEARN THIS TERM: “MENTAL LOAD.” The mental load is the reason that I know how many eggs are in our fridge right now and how high the temperature has to be in order for my boys to be allowed to wear shorts to school (love that dress code). It is also the reason that I occasionally forget to sign a check that I put in the mail (thank you, payment apps for helping me out here). The mental load is the labor we do in our minds keeping track of 1,273,038 things even when we aren’t technically working or parenting. And that work deserves to be acknowledged. 
  2. HOLD THE JUDGEMENT, PLEASE. Here’s something wonderful about 2017 (an otherwise complicated year, to say the least): We are officially no longer living in a society where it is socially appropriate for working moms to judge stay-at-home moms, and vice versa. I’ve interviewed hundreds of moms for my book and company, and the general consensus was this: We are all just doing our best to raise the next generation. And yet, so many mothers still admitted to judging themselves. Enough, I say! According to the same survey by Total Wireless, 95 percent of moms know that the journey to success hinges on having the confidence to make the necessary choices...and often those choices include sacrifice. Do not feel guilty. Instead, celebrate your accomplishments. It’s all part of the journey of satisfaction we’re modeling for our kids. 
  3. SKIP SOMETHING. Want to know the best feeling in the world (better than the candle-lit bubble bath you’ve been meaning to take for three years now)? Open up your calendar and delete one thing from next week. Here, I’ll even give you your excuse: “I’m looking ahead and realizing I’ve overscheduled myself for next week. Let’s please cancel/move our lunch/meeting/obligation/endeavor/commitment.” Another option if it’s something you can’t miss entirely: Downgrade an in-person meet-up to a phone call. Everyone’s more efficient that way, and you can order groceries online at the same time if needed.
  4. CALL YOUR OWN BOSS MOM. Better yet, FaceTime her (because you know she won’t mind if you’re not wearing any makeup...or if you have to leave her staring at the ceiling while you attend to the 2-year-old’s bloody nose). Whether your mom worked out of the home or not, the list of skills you learned from her is surely long and mighty. (The same survey I reference above found more than half of working women consider their own moms the ultimate “total boss.”) Did she teach you to drive (thus ensuring you can do that last conference call of the day while in the privacy of your own car)? Did she force you and your sister to “work it out between you two” (and give you team-building skills that you use to this day?). It’s vital to acknowledge that stuff, not just because it makes her feel appreciated...but because it makes you realize how much wisdom you’re imparting to your own kids that they’ll use one day. Oh, tell your mom that part too! 

This National Boss’s Day, join me and Total Wireless in celebrating working moms for everything they’ve accomplished—including the choices and sacrifices they’ve made to get where they are today.

With great coverage on America’s largest and most dependable 4G LTE† network, Total Wireless gives you the confidence to plan and celebrate the ‘total boss’ mom in your life—all from the palm of your hand with your smartphone. Learn more at TotalWireless.com.

Lauren Smith Brody is the founder of The Fifth Trimester movement to help businesses and families improve workplace culture together; she is the author of the best-selling book, The Fifth Trimester: The Working Mom's Guide to Style, Sanity, and Big Success After Baby. Prior to launching her own business, Lauren had a 16-year career in magazine publishing, most recently as the executive editor of Glamour magazine. She’s partnering with Total Wireless to share her Total Boss Mom strategies—hectic schedule, two little boys, messy home, and all. Check out TotalWireless.com to learn more about the latest phones and the best deal in wireless. 

*The 30-Day cycle for Shared Data Family Plans begins on the day the first line/device is activated. Any line(s)/device(s) activated later in the first 30-Day cycle will receive only the number of days remaining in that cycle. A month equals 30 days.
†To get 4G LTE speed where available you must have a 4G LTE capable device and a 4G LTE SIM card. Actual availability, coverage and speed may vary. LTE is a trademark of ETSI. Please always refer to the latest terms and conditions of service at TotalWireless.com.

This survey was commissioned by Total Wireless and conducted by Survata, an independent research firm in San Francisco. Survata interviewed 1,069 online respondents between September 29, 2017 and October 4, 2017. For further information, visit www.survata.com. 


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Happy #humpday fam! This week is flying by.... waiting for my #weekendshenanigans . .#lawstudent #Lawschool #grinding #DynamicTrinity

The Importance of Self-Preservation

I'm a big supporter of "Self-Preservation". The idea of worrying solely about yourself, and doing what you want to do for you, is one of the main aspects of maintaining your mental health. It's how you stay you. Staying resilient on this ride called life, means sometimes throwing your self in a bubble and putting a "Do Not Disturb" sign around it.

(Image source: quotefancy.com)

I talk about self-care quite a bit, well self-preservation is the shell to self-care's hermit crab. They need each other to survive - you need them to survive. You're only as good as your best self. Self-preservation is that cocoon that bring you to your best self. I know all the leadership, self-help, professional development books and sites will tell you - self-preservation kills good leadership, stifles progress. Well if you're burnt out, easily agitated, disheartened and jaded, i doubt being a great leader is at the top of your to-do list.

(Image source: pinterest.com)

There are times when I feel spread thin, Making sure everyone and everything is taken care, well except me of course. That's when i notice that i am more irritable, unable to focus, lethargic and most times super petty and outright off putting. When it get to that point, I know its time to withdraw, limit social interactions, stay close to home and do some self reflection. When I am outside my character, I know its time for me to focus on me and figure out what made that sudden shift. When I'm not at my best, everything suffers - relationships, school work, career and professional identity, and more specifically my mental and physical health.

You may feel overwhelmed from balancing the responsibilities of family, work, school, etc; you may feel as if you are putting more into a relationship than the other person and its slowly draining you; you may feel as if you don't have what it takes to get that managerial position you've been "eyeing" for well over 6 months....these are all reasons to self preserve. To limit outside distractions until you can get what truly matters to you right & in order.

(Image Source: google images)

I am not saying shut yourself off from the world. What I am saying is - TAKE TIME FOR YOU - Take time to withdraw from the world to recharge, re-new, and reinvigorate yourself. Learn to say - NO! and mean it. Its okay to not want to save everyone, everyday. It's loving yourself enough to know you've reached your limit. Self-Preservation is not the end all to be all. At the end of the day, we humans are social creatures, we just have to learn to appreciate the solitude. There's beauty in being with just yourself.

Self-preservation is a process. Its something you build upon to adapt to you as grow, as you and your goals change. So how can you start the process of building up you own cocoon......

  1. Distance yourself from toxic personalities. Some people thrive on criticism, harping on others’ flaws and shortcomings. Their criticism is draining, sapping you of emotional energy. Remove yourself from these unhealthy situations. (psychcentral.com)
  2. Mindfully disengage. Read a book. Put your records on. Watch your favorite throwback ‘90’s movie. Take up that painting class you’ve been putting off. Think about how magical you are. Allow yourself the space to take a mental vacay, even if only for 5 minutes. You deserve it. (forharriet.com)
  3. Accept help from others, especially in a time of change. So many of us are adjusting to physiological, medical and emotional issues. During such adjustments, so many think either, “I can do this all on my own” or, “I need everyone to help me.” There's a balance, you'll find it with experience. (lifemattersmedia.org)
  4. Be compassionate with yourself. Be gentle to yourself. Don't be so quick to criticize or chide yourself. Take time to commend and appreciate your journey your successes, overcoming obstacles. (success.com)
  5. Set Boundaries. We all need some boundaries, in our professional,personal and social lives. It always helps to create , maintain and protect your own space,and get others to respect it.When creating  a boundary,either physical or emotional,make sure to be respectful, calm,but firm about it.You don’t owe anyone an explanation about these boundaries, they are necessary for your self-preservation. (sepiadahlia.com)

Please excuse us as we put on our face!

(Image source: kimberlyloc.com)

Hey Ratchet Professional Fam,

We've been M.I.A the past few weeks for various personal and professional reasons:

  • LB is 4 weeks deep into Law School and it's definitely been a transition balancing that Dynamic Trinity. Between family, work, and countless case briefs, there is barely time to breathe, nonetheless sleep, but as the ever incomparable Tim Gunn says "Make It Work" and we damn sure will.
  • The type of content and the focus (more family and lifestyle content) of the blog is undergoing a transition. We are working on creating more original content like images, recipes, & collaborations. We're also streamlining content across all of our sites (FB, Instagram, Twitter) 
  • Unfortunately we lost an admin - Lyrical Movements - for personal reasons. She is no longer associated with The Ratchet Professional but we wish her nothing but success!
  • We are looking for another admin to add a fresh perspective. Are you a single parent looking for a creative outlet; a student looking to improve your writing skills and provide a fresh perspective; maybe you're retiree looking for a way to give your years of experience to a open and willing ear. Regardless of who you are, we are interested in what you have to say, so shoot us an email at whoistrp@gmail.com.
(Image source: Narelle Fasulo)

SO Fam, expect new content in the coming month. And THANK YOU for sticking it out with us! 


"Monday" - I don't hate you as much as I used to.

Image Source: Pinterest.com

I HATED Mondays! Seriously, I am not the least bit of a morning person and Monday's seemed like one big ole morning (YES, the whole day). I was on Garfield's side for the longest (don't sleep on him, under all that petty is a pretty smart feline!!) It wasn't until recently when I started to embrace how truly special Mondays are. Mondays force you to change your perspective, to shift from weekend mode to weekday mode. They are a fresh start to the (work)week and an opportunity for greatness.

Considering that I have more on my plate than a buffet connoisseur, I definitely needed to shift my perspective from having a serious case of the Mondays (every Monday!) to looking forward to accomplishing some real sh!+ for the week. So how did I go from hating/despising/cursing to the high heavens Monday, and now singing its praises?

Well it took WEEKS of routine and change, motivation and determination, and a kick in the a$$ by my boss (because - I am THAT person, who is always 15 minutes LATE to everything!). Oh, and these tip:
  1. Use a Planner. As I said in the previous post, the use of a planner not only helps you plan out your time, but helps you see what you've been doing and motivates you to keep up the momentum. Use some of that free time over the weekend  (or those last 30 mins on Friday,  - lets be serious there is NO work being done the last 45 minutes of Friday!), to review for the week ahead and avoid the Monday rush of trying to plan your week while your week is subsequently happening. 
  2. Get in routine. I now spend my Sunday evenings primping and prepping for the next day and the week ahead. Face masks, ironing of outfits, touching up of nails and hair, etc. I also have a set bed time (by 11:00 pm) but trust me, this was hardest of all to get used to (all the good shows come on Sunday nights, but I digress!!!). However, once I (and my body's internal clock) got in line, it actually helps me move through my days (and weeks) a lot smoother. I don't feel as tired and I am more able to crises  All to start Monday looking and feeling my best, which helps me tackle Monday, #likeaboss.
  3. Maintain Balance. unless you work weekends, keep WORK out of your weekends. Don't answer those emails or calls - in fact if you aren't on call TURN THE WORK PHONE OFF!!!!!!! Not just for your own sanity (and to avoid resentment) but the sanity of your friends and loved ones. Its also a great way to keep your weekend to yourself. Remember the WORK-WEEK is for WORK. You'll feel refreshed and hold less animosity and resentment towards your work, because you would have had a real break, a separation from it for a few days. You'll come into work with fresh eyes, which is helps you solve problems and accomplish task more efficiently.
  4. Make Monday something to look forward to! Wear a new outfit, try a new hairstyle, get your weekly mani/pedi, or treat yourself to your favorite lunch. Changing the atmosphere and your perception of Mondays into something to look forward to instead of dread, shapes the rest of your week. Positive thinking breeds a Positive environment!

Do you LOVE Mondays? What are some of your tips and tricks? Share 'em below or on our Facebook & Twitter 


Balancing the "Dynamic Trinity"

All of my adult life, I've balanced work, school, and familial responsibilities. With a great support system (I see you, FAM!), and a goal to leave something meaningful behind for my children, I managed to obtain both my Bachelor and Master degrees while balancing the "dynamic trinity". It's been exhausting, exciting, stressful, and motivating all at the same time. And it's been worth it. Each degree earned meant personal & professional advancement and an opportunity to relate determination and hard work to my children.  Hence why I am returning to school once again - this time Law School, because  I aspire to have an alphabet soup of letter behind my nameπŸ˜„πŸ˜„, showing the world that #blackgirlmagic is REAL.

Photo Source: CampusClipper.com

Why call this balancing act the Dynamic Trinity, well it takes a certain kind of individual to take on the responsibilities and obligations that entails managing a family, progressing along the career ladder, and embarking on a journey of knowledge, all at the same time. It takes tenacity, determination, resilience, confidence and faith to juggle these three very heavy containers. I mean have you watched a juggler, that skill is dynamic.

Photo Source: DegreeQuery.com

The thing is balancing the Dynamic Trinity seems normal to me. And its actually the norm for so many of us - single dads, working the mid level position while attending online classes for that MBA; the 20-something sister who helps her older sister out with childcare, while attending GED/CNA classes 4 afternoons a week; or the at her prime, career shifter, who decides to go back to school and get that degree in Interior Design because she always aspired to have her own design boutique. The list goes on.

Photo Source: Association for Nontraditional Students in Higher Education

So how can WE successfully balance the Dynamic Trinity? Several colleges and universities offer their students handbooks and brochures on balancing work, life, and school. These are good place to start, because they offer you information specific and relevant to you.  If you're already in school, check with your school's student affairs office.

Photo Source: University of Wisconsin @ Green Bay

Here are a few tips, gained from experience:
  1. First & foremost, you need to identify your support system. This is the group of individuals who understand, support, motivate, and are rooting for your success. They can be your family, your friends, fellow classmates, co-workers, professors & supervisors, anyone that can offer you genuine support. Trust me, you CAN'T do this alone. Remember, to take time to thank your team, keep them in the loop (your schedule, career and school plans) and spread the love. 
  2. Time Management is a MUST! I'm not the most routine individual, so a planner (both print and online) definitely saved me from forgetting parent-teacher conferences, monthly staff meetings, and deadlines for school assignments. Schedule time for you to study, to spend time with family, and some time for yourself. It might seem odd, scheduling your life but being aware of your schedule, whether weekly or daily, helps you stay on top of everything, which decreases stress. The less stress, the better you'll feel and able to tackle everything on your plate.
  3. Listen to your body. If you're feeling tired, overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed, etc., take time out to center yourself. If that means taking a "mental health day" and staying in bed, DO IT, you've earned it. While the journey is long and at times rough, there is no need to overwork yourself. You have to be at your best if you're gonna make it to graduation! 
  4. Set realistic goals, then be flexible. It took me an extra year to get my undergrad degree due to taking time off due to a high risk pregnancy. When I returned, I had a new job and gained experience from a brief stint in AmeriCorps. I was actually better prepared that last year. If I'd let that time off knock me off track, I probably wouldn't be where I am today. Don't let setbacks derail you! Life happens, better to change with it. The end game is the same, the journey doesn't have to be. 
  5. Look at all the options. Is it possible to take hybrid (online classes with some face-to-face days) or online only classes? Is your employer flexible regarding time/schedule or even book or tuition reimbursement? Does your school offer child care services? Explore every opportunity to better support your goals, accepting help and advocating for yourself is one of the main aspects that will get you through the journey. 
I have no doubt that ya'll are out there doing the damn thing, getting those grades, passing those classes, taking your seats at the table, and making those family memories while living life. I'm rooting for you, you amazing DYNAMIC juggler!

Have any tips? Questions? Interested in taking the Dynamic Trinity on? Hit us up, we got you!

"Keep Grinding"

The last two weeks have been CRAZY! I was accepted into Law School (and the joint MPA program!), increased responsibility at work (I asked for it!), and I've been in a Duke's of Hazzard type situation with my local post office (like, come on guys, you have one JOB - deliver the mail!). Through all this, I'm happy to keep going, to keep doing the damn thing, to keep grinding. Like my grandpops used to say, "When you stop moving, stop striving, You die!"

Image source: WeHeartIt

Life is about progression. To live is to be in a constant state of movement, of change. The things that drive you, your passions, your goals and dreams need you to keep pushing and striving for them. That's the grind! Dictionary.com defines "grinding" as "working or studying laboriously". It's SO much more than that.

It's getting up everyday, whether your working two jobs while going to school, so you can get your foot in that door; or taking on more responsibility at work due to staff shortage, with little experience but a heart full of faith; or taking that leap of faith and taking your hobby of photography full time and quitting that sure thing of job that you hate. It doing what YOU need to do to get to WHERE you want to be.

Now the journey won't be easy, baby. There will be bumps, detours, and straight catastrophic events, but you'll get through them - that's the grind! Resilience, determination, and perseverance is what will get you through it, help you while on the grind. You have to keep going, achieve those dreams, simply SUCCEED! I'm rooting for you, luv!

Whatever your hopes, dreams, or passions are, NEVER stop striving towards them. Wake up everyday with a purpose to get just one step closer to that goal. Pound the pavement, knock on those doors, stay home to study and miss the 3rd "party of the year". Trust me, when you're sitting on that throne, that stage, that seat at the head of the table the journey, "the GRIND" would be well worth it!