Friday, May 26, 2017

TGIF


It's FRIDAY, and for many of us the start of a 3-Day weekend (YASSSSS!), Thanks to ⇨Memorial Day⇦.



Remember to practice some self care - have a cheat day, get that mani, pedi and those eyelashes! Do the BBQ crawl and drop by every person's house who is throwing a BBQ or shyt, just grilling. If its hot enough, grab some Corona's and hit the beach.......Do You, you've worked hard, and earned some playtime. So go get it! 

Or don't:


Either way,


LB

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Why "The Ratchet Professional"?


Although, "SOPHISTIRATCHET", describes us well, it totally ignores that fact that we're BOSSES & experts in our respective fields; it didn't encompass the fact that we've learned to balance the shade with the compromise, the bluntness with the collaboration; or the way we've mastered the ability to "code-switch" ⇐ That's seriously a thing people!!!


As, one of the Admins - LM, so eloquently stated:

"As professionals... It is essential to maintain the balance between responsibility and accountability. Being able to be versatile enough to be understood in any demographic is golden... These are only a few of the principles of being a Ratchet Professional...."

I like to consider us those individuals who remained true to themselves through their journey; who while moving up the career ladder (and glowing in life) were able to take their street knowledge, combine it with their formal knowledge, sprinkle it with their individual experience and create that rare individual with the ability to adapt to any situation without losing the essence of who they are! In fact that essence is what people gravitate to, that essence is the key to your success!


One of the reasons we started this was to have a space to inspire, exchange information and career tips,support the growth and the glow-up, and discuss the world around us, honestly and completely. We've become the people others ask for advice, the people sought out for their opinions, respected for being 100% and speaking what others are thinking. 



So Fam, we're owning all of our Ratchet Professional lusciousness and hope you'll take this ride with us from being just a blog to being a Lifestyle and a Brand! 

Got something to add? Questions? Comments? Concerns? Just need an ear, drop us a line!

Monday, May 22, 2017

#MondayMotivation - Be You, Do You!


Today's #MotivationMonday is focused on YOU! Yeah, you  - You awesome, "sophisti-ratchet" street smart, sensitive savage you.  Believe in yourself, be what you want to be, do what you want to do. Just DO YOU!
Its OKAY to focus on you, Sweets. How can you give to others if you can't give to yourself! Happiness is knowing yourself and accepting all that YOU are! 
Like My girl Mary (J. Blige!) says You gotta love yourself, before you love someone else. You're Awesome for all your trials, tribulations, successes, experiences. YOU DID THAT!
And REMEMBER, If they can't handle you - FU@K Em'

Go out there and make this a GREAT Week Ya'll 

L.B

Friday, May 19, 2017

Random Ratchetivities - You Earned It!


It's been one hell of a week fam - Between the mini-heat wave (in NYC), prepping for the LSAT (you thought I was done?!? - I'm taking this black girl magic all the way to the BAR!!), and being the awesomely ratchet professional I am - planning training activities at work - I [& you by extension] definitely earned the right to drink, laugh, and engage in some random ratchetivities. I mean we have to maintain that whole "work/life balance"(look out for a post next week!).

With that, here are some venues, activities, and events over this weekend (May 19th -21st) for my Ratchet Professionals to get into:
  1. Join Union Hall NYC for a 90's Summer Jam Sing-Along - We all know that music's best time happened in the 90s - (Montel Jordan & the Macarena, you know those were your jams!) " Enjoy all your jams, themed drinks, and a chance to win some Swag. Tickets are $10 
  2. For our Vegan, vegetarian, and plant-based foodies, check out the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival. There will be samples, swag bags, and panel discussions. Tickets run from $30 - $75. The festival runs from Saturday to Sunday. 
  3. Plan to Netflix & Chill: here's what's new on Netflix: 
    • Available May 19
      • BLAME!—NETFLIX ORIGINAL FILM
      • Laerte-se—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
      • The Keepers: Season 1—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
      • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 3—NETFLIX ORIGINAL
    • Available May 20
      • What's With Wheat (2017)
    • Available May 21
      • Inglourious Basterds (2009)
      • They Call Us Monsters (2017)
  4. There are several street-fairs happening all over the city:
The plans for tonight - Hitting the Fat Black PussyCat for drinks with my Tribe! In the area? Stop by and shout us out!



What are your plans for the weekend? How do you like to let loose?









Monday, May 15, 2017

#MotivationMonday - Find your TRIBE!!!


Amy is describing your TRIBE! Those people, family, friends, associates, etc, in your life who push you, support you, love you, and give you the truth all day-every day. These aren't YES people, these are people who've seen you at your best, at your worst, and in-between and still root for you. People you can agree to disagree with and there is NO LOVE LOST!


Your TRIBE can consist of any of the above - friends, family, mentors, co-workers, classmates, etc the list goes on....

I adore my tribe of eclectic, motivated, hustling, and wise mo-fos. They range in age, gender, and background. Some I've known since I was a teen (they've witnessed the Glow-up and constantly remind me how far I've come - and how far I have to go!); some I met during undergrad  and graduate studies or at work; others I randomly met in the course of life and now can't see myself without them. I support them, They support me. We're a family in every sense of the word and without their input, opinions, and perspectives - I have no idea where I would be!

Your Tribe is along for the ride, so choose them carefully:

Finally, remember:

And:

Do you have a TRIBE? Who is in your TRIBE? Who do you plan to do EPIC sh#t with?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Love Free Stuff?...Check out these sites (Updated 5/13)


We love free stuff - freebies, samples, sweepstakes, giveaways, etc., if there’s a chance we’re getting something free - we’re on it! With our time-lines and news-feeds filled with links to various giveaways and free samples, we decided to dedicate an on-going frequently (weekly) updated post to all FREE STUFF.

Free sample offers are ALWAYS available across the web but snagging these freebies and product samples DOES require a little bit of work. Before you begin freebie shopping make sure you:
  1. Have a dedicated email account for samples. Almost all freebies require you submit an email address and agree to receive a newsletter (you can easily opt-out after confirming your sample) and you'll likely have your email overwhelmed with newsletters and confirmations for any samples you requested. Google or Yahoo are great choices. 
  2. Obtain a google voice number for samples that request a phone number. This protects your personal number from spam and other unsolicited calls. You can easily screen calls & the voice mails to the Google voice number are easily transcribed into texts that are sent to your phone/email.
  3. Have a reliable address to receive the samples. Some samples and most product review sites send multiple items/products and cannot be sent to a P.O. box.
Daily Freebies - these sites are updated daily with new freebies, samples, and sweepstakes
  • VonBeau - "provides direct links to companies offering amazing deals, free products & sweepstakes". One of TRP's go-to sites for over 5 yrs., Jamie (the Admin) is a force to be reckoned with as she offers one of the most comprehensive lists (with unique opportunities not found elsewhere on the web) that she updates DAILY.
  • MySavings.com - offers an updated list of freebies, contests, and giveaways that you can request to come straight to your inbox. Great companion to VonBeau, if you'd like to make sure you've covered all the available offers for the day.
  • SnagFreeSamples - provides a curated list of free samples, deals, and sweepstakes from across the web. The inbox request allows you to customize - between one email daily or several emails as offers become available. 
Product Sampling/Review programs/sites - these sites require you to complete profile questionnaires and surveys to gauge your eligibility for products. Active participation on the sites, increase your chances of being picked for samplings.
  • Swaggable - "a platform for users to try new products that they are interested in! Sign-up to try great new products for free! After trying a product you complete a short, honest review and you're on to your next free swag. It's that simple!"
    • New products pop up weekly and vary from personal care, healthy and green living products, gluten, nut, and other allergen free foods and snacks. I've gotten actual samples and at times coupons or vouchers for free products. 
Swaggable
  • House Party -  makes it easy to have a party in your own home & get exclusive access to awesome products, sponsored by the brands you love, for you and your friends. We provide the fun, you provide food, your friends and feedback and promise to have an amazing time. By hosting, you and your guests get to try their products and receive an incredible Party Pack chock full of goodies! You don’t pay anything or sell anything. It’s a no-pressure party. Just tell us what you and your guests think.
    • Competition for parties are stiff and many are geared towards certain states, areas with certain retailers, or interests such as sports or cars. I've gotten 4 party kits since joining in 2013. 
    • There's also their Chatterbox - program, not exactly party kits but free samples or trials of products and services. 
House Party
  • Crowdtap – is a platform for improved brand engagement. Members participates in polls and questionnaires and product samplings, helping Brands to develop products; share branded content and earn Amazon gift-cards and other incentives.   
    • Crowdtap has the most opportunities for sampling with over 60 brands currently active on the site, from pet-food to make-up, to snack bar, to household cleaning products. The more you engage with the site the better your chances of getting picked for sampling campaigns. Content is updated daily and for every 1000 points gained, you receive a $5 Amazon gift card. I’ve been a member since 2014 and have earned over $700 in gift cards and participated in over 15 samplings.
  • Mom's Meet – a community of moms (and parents & grandparents in general) that “offers group opportunities to sample free natural, organic and eco products and services, the chance to connect with like-minded moms online and in person and build your blog’s reach” (for Blog Ambassadors!). So much more than product sampling, Moms Meet is a community and provides information on healthy living.
    • The product samplings are some of the best on the web, sending multiple samples (always enough to share with your group, friends, and family). I’ve participated in over 10 samplings with my group, since joining in 2014, and the support from Moms Meet is very responsive.

  • Smiley360 – “an online community of influential consumers who try products and experiences for free and share their opinions with others. Members receive offers and products from the biggest brands and share their experience with that brand, as well as with friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and other consumers”.
    • To increase your chances to qualify for campaigns, complete your profile in full (this helps them link you to brands) and link to ALL your social media accounts. Having been a member since 2013,  I’ve participated in over 20 campaigns from Mucinex to o.b Tampons.
  • BzzAgent – “a community/network of consumers who voluntarily participate in word-of-mouth (WOM) campaigns for a variety of products and services. Members try products and services, then share their honest opinions about them”
    • Completing your initial profile in full, answering surveys regularly, and actively participating in Mini-Bzz activities (hen not in a campaign) also increases your chances of being picked for a campaign. I’ve been a member since 2015 and have participated in 8 product sampling campaigns from Febreze air freshener to Tropicana Orange juice – all full-sized products shipped to me.
  • Influenster - is "a FREE community of 3 million+ that offers members the opportunity to interact with brands, provide and browse product reviews by real shoppers, participate in sampling opportunities through their "VoxBoxes" based on your social media influence”. I've been with them since 2015 and have participated in over 10 campaigns and VoxBoxes from tea and snacks to Make-up.
    • Completing your Snaps (mini survey/product reviews) increases your chances of being picked for a VoxBox. They also have an app that makes participating easy.  FELLAS – they are actively looking for males to participate…. Sign up today!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

#WednesdayWisdom - Get you a Mentor!!

Yesterday, I mentioned that my Mentor reminded me of how far I've come (here ⇐if you missed it!).


When you're coming up in the game, its important to have someone in your corner, without ulterior motives, who truly has your best interests at heart. A person who has traveled a path similar to yours or who can honestly relate to you situation and show empathy and understanding can provide a level of insight, not found elsewhere. The best advice often comes from those who lived and experienced situations and circumstances similar to yours.

The benefits of having a mentor are priceless:


(Source: MOJO Day Trading)

How do you get you a mentor?
  1. Take a moment to envision where you plan to be in 5 or 10 years and those steps you would need to take to accomplish your end goal. What skills do you need to hone? Is an advanced degree necessary? Do you anticipate a career change, or a shift in your chosen field? 
  2. Identify those people that posses the qualities you admire; who are successful in your field; or who is in a position you see yourself, one day holding. 
  3. Make a list of those individuals and why you would like them to mentor you. 
  4. Reach out to them, explaining why you would like them to mentor you (that list came right in handy!!) and giving them the option of setting up a meeting. 
  5. Maintain a mutually respectful and beneficial relationship with your mentor by always being respectful of your mentors time and do not forget to set your own boundaries as well.  
Do you have a mentor that's helped you to realize your goals?  Have you ever mentored someone, and have great tips to offer? Drop a line below.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

#TransformationTuesday - Appreciate the Glow-Up!

Transformation - "the act of transforming or the state of being transformed, changed, or altered"

Have you ever gone through those FaceBook memories? You know those memories from 3, 5, even 8 years ago, and realized the level of growth & the amount of glow-up you've accomplished!



This might surprise ya'll,😉 but I haven't always been a Ratchet Professional. I've always been more ratchet than anything and it wasn't until about 4 years ago, when I enrolled into the Master of Social Work program, did I learn how to balance the "ratchetness" with the professionalism, ambition, and desire for change, I gained while working through the degree program. Quite literally and figuratively - I worked and attended school both FULL TIME, all while balancing familial responsibilities and the glow-up! 

Through that adventure, I changed. I grew more patient, less arrogant; I started to think critically, focusing on the bigger picture instead of thinking only about the present and the situation at hand. My goals and priorities changed for the better. Surprisingly, it was until my mentor (get you one by the way, they are insightful!) recently reminded me how far I've come, both personally and professionally.

Remember to commend yourself not only on achieving the goal BUT also the journey. That journey helped shape you into the person you are (and are becoming). Each new stage and adventure in life ends in growth, an understanding, a new perspective, basically a transformation. Embrace it, Transformation is good!!!

Have you looked back on your journey? Do you know that moment of Transformation?


Sunday, May 7, 2017

#SampleSundays - vitafusion™ Simply Good Vitamin Gummies (Product Review)


Being The Ratchet Professional 😏 that I am, balancing family, friends, work/career, and side hustles, requires quite a bit of energy and tenacity. Something no amount of Venti Starbucks Iced Caramel Macchiatos can provide. 



Recently, after the suggestion that I consider vitamins and  other supplements from my Doctor, I  began exploring other ways to increase my energy and improve my overall  health, meaning for me being healthy from the inside (taking a holistic  approach to encompass the mental & physical).  



I'm doing it  all - changing the diet (more fruits & veggies, less meat, more fish!), the routine (beginning Yoga & actually grabbing that Groupon  deal for the kickboxing classes!), and the attitude (keep growing &  glowing while maintaining good vibes). 


  The Smiley360 Box Arrives!!!!!

I'm not a fan of chalky pills to swallow (my gag reflex leaves a lot to be  desired) and large tonsil sized capsules are the furthest thing from  appealing, I was happy to know I could get a great multi-vitamin in  GUMMY form! #Winning. When I was given the chance to try out and review,  ⇒vitafusion™ Simply Good Vitamin Gummies™ ⇚, from Smiley360 (info here....) I was stoked!
 


"This post is sponsored by vitafusion™ & Smiley360, however the words expressed in this review are 100% my own".


vitaFusion™ helps you be #YourBestSelf

vitafusion™  sent over 2 full-sized Simply Good Vitamin Gummies, 1 Multivitamin -  Blackberry & 1 Bone & Muscle - Peach. The Bottles are huge, large  enough to hold about a 3 months supply, based on the suggested serving  size of 2 gummies, and are child proof - so little one aren't able to get  in, assuming the gummier were candy. 


  One of Each

The  gummies are made with natural flavors and REAL honey & fruit juice;  and contain "no artificial flavors; no high fructose corn syrup; and no  gluten". While both flavors tasted genuine, without the weird  aftertaste artificial sweeteners leave, the blackberry had a more  appealing smooth taste, it wasn't as overly sweet as the peach. If you're like me and very sensitive to the taste of no calorie or artificial  sweeteners or just prefer real sugar, these gummies are a great option. 

 🎶 MADE IN THE USAAAAAAA 🎶 The Multivitamin

In  just 2 gummies, you get a days worth of essential nutrients and vitamins with the Multivitamin - especially those B Vitamins, which  helps with maintaining those energy levels, we need to continue to win.  For those not into dairy or the Sun (main sources of Calcium & Vitamin D), the Bone & Muscle gives you a yummy option without  having to risk bloating and sunburn!

Try them & put #yourbestself forward. Visit vitaFusion™  for more information & to save $2 on your purchase.  S/O 2 Smiley360 for the #freesample.

Have your tried them? Plan to? Drop a comment below!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Randomness - Work-Week Fashion


So I'm laying in bed this beautiful Saturday Morning, nursing a slight hang-over from an epic #Cincodemayo (shout out to Mexico for their VICTORY over the French!, Just in case ya'll was unsure why you couldn't get a reservation at ANY Mexican restaurant yesterday!), and I come across this HILARIOUS video.

Ya'll Ms. CrazyMaro (⟸) spoke deeply into my soul. Describing my week to a T.  Baby, get into that Beyonce at the end.......
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Thursday, May 4, 2017

#ThursdayThoughts - How do you define Success?


According to our friends over at Merriam-Webster, Success is "the fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame"Apparently, your level of success is contingent on how many people love you, love to hate you, and will pay to see or be near you!

The great Maya Angelou, was a little closer to the true definition of success. Basically, leaving the definition of success on the individual:



The definition of SUCCESS is relative to all of us and manifests differently in each of us based on our perceptions, desires, and upbringing. Success is a very personal thang! What I consider success is radically different from the dude on the #3 train heading to work during the rush hour commute. 



For me, success is doing what I am passionate about, achieving my personal goals, leaving a LEGACY and navigating all that life throws my way, all while maintaining my banging but divisive personality, and somewhat-decent morals. 

I live by this motto:

Some people define success based on fear or lack of failure:

Others on the journey:

And others on how the individual manifests success internally:

With all the varying definitions of success, at the end of the day SUCCESS is what YOU define it to be. 

SUCCESS is what brings you happiness and satisfaction, what makes you grow & glow, its what compels you to wake up each day and make it your greatest. 

So, how do YOU define Success?

Monday, May 1, 2017

#MotivationMonday #MelanatedMay

Happy MAY! 

The Ratchet Professional is officially 1 MONTH OLD!!!! Thank you for hanging in there, with us. 

In  celebration of our 1 month anniversary, and that fact that it's May....I'm just gonna call this whole month #MelanatedMay. I'm dedicating the ENTIRE month of May to the beauty of Melanin, the beauty of my skinfolk!
Today's #MotivationMonday reminds you that you are Special, You are Unique, You are YOU!
Step 1: USE your GOD given Confidence..... your GODFIDENCE...daily

Step 2: Knock out Fear & Self-Doubt!


Step 3: Be so inspired that you are SOMEONE'S inspiration! #payitforward



Step 4: Embrace your Differences....... NO ONE does YOU, better than YOU!



 Step 5: Be IRREPLACEABLE!!!!!!

Are we missing any steps? Whats Driving you this week? Let us know!