Archive | Uncategorized RSS for this section

PLOT TWIST: When Things Just Work Out

plottwist

This is a little story about serendipity.

Months ago, a friend emailed me with details on an upcoming project being run by one of Canada’s largest companies. The company sought proposals for events to be run during Black History Month 2014, and would grant funding to the successful applicants. “Get on it,” my friend wrote. “You don’t have much time, but I’m sure you’ll come up something dope!”

I had exactly 1.5 days to conceptualize an idea, come up with a funding proposal, and complete the specifics of the registration, but I thought to myself, “Shoot – I work well under pressure!” I took a day off of work, holed myself up in a downtown workspace to get through the process, and got to it.

Luckily for me, I already had an event idea bubbling in my mind. Even luckier, I had a bit of experience with submitting funding proposals. I was still somewhat stumped at certain points in the registration process, and the hours seemed to taunt me by speeding up faster and faster as I worked. The butterflies in my tummy weren’t quelled until I did my last proof-read, said a prayer, kissed my fingers and touched them to the computer screen – then hit SEND. In the months that followed it seemed like my proposal made it through various checks and balances, so I waited with bated breath for the day that the final acceptance or rejection notice would be sent.

Finally, the day came. I checked my email like a fiend, alternating between refreshing my inbox incessantly and logging out completely in attempts to not lose my mind. I checked back in one last time, and there it was: THE EMAIL. I said another prayer, opened it up…and read my rejection letter. For one reason or another, my proposal didn’t make the cut, and I won’t lie – I was crushed.

I wish I could say that I didn’t take no for an answer and convinced the company to accept my proposal, or that I was motivated to push forward with my event idea anyways. I did neither. I allowed myself a moment to sulk, then simply moved on with life.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. 

Long story short, I was contacted by two different parties who were indirectly associated with the same project I had applied to. They both requested my services in various ways, and after some back and forth and careful consideration, I agreed to work with both. Talking to HomieLuva about the turn of events, I realized something. It’s likely that if all current circumstances in my life were the same and I was approved for the project, it may have been WAY too much for me to manage. Considering all circumstances in my life now, taking on these two projects and still being affiliated with the project is a much better look. There are benefits in place now that wouldn’t have been there had my project been approved – and it took me being rejected then being given these opportunities to see that.

Moral of the story? Quite simply, sometimes things just work themselves out. I admittedly did nothing after receiving my rejection letter, which isn’t really my modus operandi. Normally, I would have been driven to make my dreams become a reality, but this time I kind of felt like I had to take my lumps, get comfy with the feeling of rejection, and move on to something different. For whatever reason, life decided to bring this opportunity back around, albeit dressed in a new outfit – and I surely jumped at it. Just a reminder that sometimes we’re not ready for things or things aren’t ready for us – however, once the stars align, we may be gifted with another chance to receive what we hoped for in the first place. I’m grateful to whoever/whatever it was that looked out for me and said “Babygirl, you won’t want THAT. Give me a minute and I’ll give you something even better.” All I can say is thank you, and now I’m ready to put my best foot forward and make the most of what’s been given to me. I’m glad it all worked out.

SAY YES: A Cinematic Gift From Ava DuVernay & Fashion Fair

avaduvernayhiresheadshot

Ava DuVernay has done it again. With near impeccable timing in the social media landscape (at least for me), she has offered us another piece of work that flies in the face of other, uh, recent artistic endeavours (Russell Simmons, I’m looking at you).

After giving us The Door - a sleek and lush short film done in partnership with fashion house Miu Miu earlier this year – she has given the world 7 minutes of beauty with Say Yes.

Say Yes was done in partnership with African-American makeup company Fashion Fair, and is a seamless vehicle for showcasing their new lip colour of the same name. “The film explores the power of the affirmative, and the beauty that blossoms from embracing life,” states Fashion Fair. “Sundance award-winning filmmaker, Ava DuVernay worked on this vision of what happens when you welcome the unexpected.”

Welcoming the unexpected is exactly what I did when I pressed play, and in true Ava DuVernay fashion, she gave me my entire life. Something about her work speaks to me as a young Black woman in 2013: feelings I’ve felt, things I’ve experienced, things I’ve wanted to experience. She portrays images of Black women that speak to the woman I am, and gives me versions that I devour, ingest, and try on for size in my waking life. Her works often pique little parts of me that say “have more fun!” or “treat yourself!” or “walk a little taller!” or “love a little harder!” – and in a world that often hurls rocks at Black women to test the theory that we’re strong enough to handle it all, I welcome her artistic alternatives.

Without giving away too much of Say Yes, just know this: it looks like everyone in it said “yes” to everything good in life. The film takes place at a dope house party where dope Black folk are having a dope time. Drinks are flowing, music is bumping, and throughout all the revelry, a gorgeous girl is looking for something…or someone. What she finds is directly related to the ideas of embracing life and welcoming the unexpected.

OK. Enough with the long talkin’ – check out Ava DuVernay’s short Say Yes and let me know what you thought of it.

P.S. – I’m LOVING that Say Yes lip colour on the female lead!

 

Let Me Upgrade You…

Photo source

Welcome to the new ’83 To Infinity!

I decided it was time to move towards improved functionality and flexibility with the blog, so I’ve been up and at it for a few days now. I can’t even gather my thoughts on how mentally exhausting the process was (I am NOT tech-savvy at all), but I’m finally at a point where I can leave it alone for a while, put the laptop down, and go live a bit of life without thinking about HTML codes and plugins. Lol.

P.S. – I learned (a bit too late) that my email subscribers did not seamlessly transfer over to my new platform. If you had previously signed up to receive email notifications of new posts (thank you!), please do so again – see the Subscribe box on the right side of the page!

Let me know what you think of the new look – I’m still making changes here and there, and if you can help in any way, it would be greatly appreciated! 

Spreading My Social Media Wings: Where You Can Find Me!

Photo via madamenoire.com

Hey y’all! Hope you had a great weekend! I’m spreading my social media wings, so you know I have to keep you all updated!

Your girl Bee is the newest guest blogger on Three Naturals! Three Naturals is an awesome site and resource for natural hair care, and is based in Toronto! After chatting with the ladies via Twitter and email, I learned that we had similar motivations behind creating our respective sites: being an Afro-Canadian voice for natural hair care, and representing North of the border. There’s strength in numbers, so I’m happy to be collaborating with the ladies! Check me out every other Friday – to kick things off, Three Naturals reprised my “In-Between Length” post this past Friday, but going forward I will be sharing brand spankin’ new natural-haired goodness!

While you’re killing time on Facebook, find your way on over to the brand new ’83 To Infinity Facebook Page! Hit the cat daddy on that “Like” button, and stay connected! You’ll get my latest posts, plus and other goodies from the mind of Bee :) See you there!

If you’re a Twitter fiend, you can find me there too! This is my personal Twitter account, so don’t expect purely blog-related topics ;) Don’t chalk Twitter up to be a time-waster – I’ve interacted with some incredible people and learned a LOT on Twitter. Just like life, it is what you make it!

Are you a social media junkie? What is your favourite social media site? I do a little bit of Tumbl’ing, I’m still trying to figure out Klout, and recently got an invite to join Pinterest..hopefully I don’t burn myself out!

Intuition, Shmintuition: Do You Trust Yours?

Photo via http://opheliaexplainsitall.blogspot.com

So, I’m still off with the flu, but feel like I’m finally on the upswing now. I only woke up once through the night. I haven’t thrown up in 24 hours. I have one fully functioning nostril. My head only feels like it’s half full of cotton balls. I feel like standing on my balcony and belting out “Feelin’ Good” a la Jennifer Hudson. With sick days at home comes back-to-back viewings of The Maury Povich Show, one of my guilty pleasures. I was watching one of the “Is My Man Cheating With My Best Friend’s Baby Sister’s Lesbian Girlfriend?” shows with the lie detector test that’s really not necessary. Every man or woman who comes on these shows already has enough proof of infidelity, yet still believe they need Maury’s lie detector man to tell them what they already know. Which led me to ask, “Why do we do this to ourselves?”

Maya Angelou once said “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.” I find that in today’s world, this quote is leaned on as a crutch after someone has received the proof of whatever was tugging at their intuition. Is it possible to begin referring to it at the onset of a problem? Can we save ourselves from unnecessary pain, or do we need to doubt our intuition in order to learn how to trust it?

I’ll admit. It’s hard. You want to trust your intuition, but you want to give them the benefit of the doubt. And how can you really be sure that something untoward is going on? Those questionable signs you’re seeing might be able to be attributed to something valid, and at the end of the day, no one wants to jump to conclusions and be accused of overreacting. So you swallow those nagging feelings until the day things blow up. And while you’re sitting there wondering what went wrong, a well-meaning friend tries to console and empower you with that same Maya Angelou quote. Maybe you’ll arm yourself better the next time, or maybe not.

Photo via http://www.sagittarianmind.com/

I’ve gotten much better at trusting my intuition. If a place doesn’t feel right, I probably won’t go. If a person doesn’t seem genuine, I probably won’t do more than smile and nod. If a request makes me feel like something not-so-good might come of it, I’ll respectfully decline. Have I been accused of “thinking too much”? Yes. Have I been made to feel guilty about not doing something or going somewhere because it didn’t feel right? Sure. Have I ever been wrong? Yes – but never about anything that truly mattered. I may have passed up a night or two because I didn’t have a good feeling about the venue or the company. Sure, the place didn’t get shot up – but I’ve always been told “You didn’t miss much anyway.” It’s taken me a while to get to this point, and sometimes I still doubt myself. However, one of the most important intuition-reliant areas in my life has been within relationships, as I’m sure many of you can relate. Allow me to share a story with y’all.

Summers ago, when I was single and ready to mingle, I used to come to Toronto almost every weekend to hang with friends who lived in the city. One sunny Saturday, my girls and I headed to a BBQ where I planned to do nothing but soak up the sun and eat some chicken and burgers. What I didn’t expect was to meet a chocolate Adonis – a funny, athletic cutie who could BBQ like nobody’s business AND could entertain the gaggle of kids people brought to the park? Sign me up! He approached me, I gave him my number, then next thing you know, I was visiting him in Toronto and he was visiting me in London. It was all fun until I started getting some questionable vibes. I saw that his Hi5 page (yes, I said Hi5) said he was “In a relationship.” I asked him about it, because I didn’t think we were at that point yet – and he said he simply hadn’t updated it since his last relationship. We went to visit a friend of his in the hospital, and all of his boys looked confused when they saw me. I thought I heard one say “Oh, I thought you were bringing….” but when his voice trailed off, I let my nagging intuition fade into the wind too. But here’s the kicker. Like I said, we were doing a long-distance thing. My maiden name is also the name of another city in SW Ontario, and for some reason, a lot of people would confuse the city I lived in with the city I shared a name with. Everytime my boo-piece would say “I have the weekend off – so I’m going to drive down to ______ to see you!” I’d say, “Silly! My last name is ______! You mean London!” And on and on it went, until I started wondering if he had some kind of memory problem. Turns out he didn’t have a memory problem, he had a girlfriend-and-baby-on-the-way problem. And his girlfriend lived in the same city as my last name. And he simply couldn’t keep his calendar straight from if he was driving to see me, or to see her. He was quickly cut loose, but I kicked myself a week later when a friend sent me that Maya Angelou quote, and I promised never to silence my intuition again.

Photo via http://78notes.blogspot.com/2011/06/intuition-needs-your-input.html

The moral of the story? Well, any moral I share won’t be as effective as the lesson you’ll learn when you don’t trust your intuition. So whether it’s something about your partner, or that family member asking for a “loan”, or that new job offer that has you thinking twice, don’t ignore that! You possess instincts for a reason. Utilize common sense, but never deny the power of your intuition. It’s a personal lesson that everyone must learn on their own – but I guarantee, it’ll be a lesson you won’t soon forget.

Do you trust your intuition? Has doing so saved you from something negative, or led you to something positive? Have you learned the lesson of what happens when you don’t trust your intuition? When you get those nagging feelings, do you hold back, or do you react?

For My Fellow Procrastinators & Unfocused Folks: Try The Pomodoro Technique

Photo via: http://zirtual.com/blog/pomodor-technique/

If you’re anything like me, you might be a procrastinator who has a hard time focusing on tasks. I have epic episodes of mind wandering, and unless it’s a task that I REALLY want to do, I end up doing a million other things at the same time. On a good day, I’ll feel like a super multitasker, and on other days, I get a whole lot of nothing done. A lot started, but nothing finished. 

When I recently had my performance review at work, one of my personal goals was to create a better organizational system for myself. Part of that organizational system includes finding a better way to focus, and while wasting time on Twitter today (shout out to Luvvie Ajayi), I may have found something to help! It’s called the Pomodoro Technique.

The Pomodoro Technique was created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo to assist with improving time management skills. While he was in university, he had serious productivity challenges. He’d have the best of intentions to study for that exam, or write that paper, but distractions and interruptions continuously hampered his efforts. Sound familiar? Once he actually began looking at how time is constructed, and how he could make it work for him, he came up with the Pomodoro Technique (named after the Italian word for tomato, for one reason or another).

The technique is pretty simple. All you need is a to-do list created in order of priority (including separate sections called ‘Unplanned & Urgent’ and ‘Activity Inventory’ – more on those later), a timer, and motivation. Time is broken down into blocks called pomodoros, which equals 25 minutes. Take your task list, set your timer to 25 minutes, and once that timer starts, you work on the first task and ONLY the first task for 25 solid minutes.

Once 25 minutes is up, put an X beside your task, and take a 3-5 minute break. This should be a real break – get a drink, go to the bathroom, crack a joke or two with your coworker, but ensure to disconnect from your work. It’s important to do nothing mentally strenuous. Once break time is up, start the next pomodoro and either continue your first task, or move on to the next one. Take a 3-5 minute break after each pomodoro, and after the fourth one, take a longer break (15-30 minutes). Keep it going until you’re finished!

TO DO – Bee’s List Jan 2, 2012
        Organize client reports X X X
        Create next week’s schedule X
         Respond to emails X X
         Read new policy binder X

 

What happens if you get interrupted during a pomodoro? With internal interruptions (ones we create ourselves, like having a sudden craving for pizza or wanting to check a text that just came through on your phone), the key is to ask yourself if it needs to be attended to right now. The answer is usually no – the task can wait until your next break. Put a small comma beside your task to note the potential interruption, and document the task in “Unplanned & Urgent” task list (if it needs to be done today), or in the “Activity Inventory” if there is no deadline. Get to them later, and continue with your pomodoro!

TO DO – Bee’s List Jan 2, 2012
        Organize client reports  ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘X X X
        Create next week’s schedule  ‘ ‘X
         Respond to emails X X
         Read new policy binder X
UNPLANNED & URGENT DUE BY
        Check voicemails  Next break
        Review new emails  In 2 hours

 

What about external interruptions, like phone calls, emails, and other people? Put your voicemail to good use. Mute your computer so that you can’t hear that special ding when you have a new email. Tell your friend, sister, or coworker that you’re in the middle of something right now – can it wait a few more minutes or until later in the day? The Inform-Negotiate-Call Back strategy is always helpful: inform the person effectively (and politely) that you’re busy; negotiate with them to reschedule their needs; and ensure to “call-back” at the negotiated time. Use a dash to mark the external interruption next to your task, and add the external interruption to either the “Unplanned & Urgent” (if it must be done today) or “Activity Inventory” (if it can wait until tomorrow) lists as applicable.

TO DO – Bee’s List Jan 2, 2012
        Organize client reports X X X
        Create next week’s schedule X
         Respond to emails  – – -X X
         Read new policy binder  – -X
 ACTIVITY INVENTORY
        Follow up with Rowena re: Saturday
        Call back Colin and Megan re: Mother’s Day
        Respond to Erin’s email

 

If an interruption MUST be handled, then you have no choice but to void the current pomodoro, handle the issue, then start over. Two things to remember: pomodoros cannot be divided (there is no “half a pomodoro“), and as Cirillo coined, “Once a pomodoro begins, it has to ring!”

I tried this out loosely today while doing some household tasks, and will put it to the real test once I’m back in the office. My problem with focus is that instead of breaking tasks down into chunks of time, I looked at the task itself – this became overwhelming to say the least, and led to my procrastination when the task became too daunting to complete. Using the pomodoro breakdown, having the timer to make my accomplishments audible, taking a real break to disconnect, and having my list to track not only my completed work but also the number of interruptions I have each day – these things all made a difference in how I approached getting things done.

Want to read more on the Pomodoro Technique? Check the official site, and be sure to click “The Book” to download a free copy of Cirillo’s e-book (link near the bottom of the page). The e-book covers much more detail to the technique, but the good thing is that you can tailor it as you see fit. Begin with the basic steps as I’ve mentioned here, and build on the technique once you’re more comfortable. You’ll be an over-achieving work machine in no time!

Bonus: For you iPhone users, there’s an app for that!

Do you struggle with focus and/or procrastination? Do you think the Pomodoro Technique would help? Are there any other tips or tricks you use to stay on track and get things done? PLEASE do share..I need help, y’all! If you decide to give Pomodoro a try, let me know how it works for you!

Career Moves: Take Advantage Of The Perks And The Paycheque

Good news, y’all: In light of this dismal economic and employment situation we’re living in, I’ve got a full-time, permanent job. As of the end of this week, I’m moving from “contract” to “permanent” at my new company! This definitely speaks to the fact that it is POSSIBLE to get a (new) job these days, and it’s sometimes good to take risks. I was extremely wary of taking on a “contract” position, because I’ve only known contracts to end, then you’re @ss out, on the job hunt again. Looks like things worked out in my favour, so I’ll be toasting to that this weekend.

Anyways, this post isn’t about that. It’s about the fact that a lot of companies give their employees access to perks that we do not take advantage of, as I have been learning lately. Seeing the amount of times these things are passed up drives me crazy!

For instance, take vacation and sick days. Now, I’m sure every company doles theirs out differently, but if they’re given to you, USE THEM as needed! I’ve had some staff that seem to think they’ll get brownie points if they come to work sick, and think I’ll give them a cookie for working overtime and never taking a vacation. I’m a huge proponent of work-life balance, so I will not be handing out gold stars for people who slave at work, day in and day out. I like people who work smart, as well as hard. The best thing you can do to avoid burnout, illness (both contracting and spreading), and low morale is to take time off when you’re sick, and use your vacation time to take a break. Obviously, I’m not a fan of people who abuse the system either, but if you’re given those days, use them.

Thinking about going back to school part-time? Does your desired course have anything to do with your work or your field? Does your company offer tuition reimbursement or TAP (tuition assistance programs)? If so, why aren’t you up in your boss’ office, trying to get that course for free (or at a good discount)? A lot of people do not take advantage of this gem – granted, it may not be offered by your own company, but a lot do and keep it in the fine print of the policy handbook. The key is to come up with a great proposal. Explain the course and its relevancy to your work. Express your desire to further develop your skill set, which will improve how you do your job. Perhaps you can even show how your colleagues will benefit – would you be willing to do a lunch & learn presentation on what you’ve learned? If you present your argument properly, you can save yourself a lot of money.

Speaking of saving money – check with your HR department or social teams to see if your company offers any discounts in the community. Deals on gym memberships, movie tickets, CAA or Costco memberships, museum or theatre admissions and more could be right under your nose. Depending on the connections your company has, you may even get free tickets to sporting events and special events! So, if one of these deals comes your way, don’t pass it up.

Does your company offer any extras that you’ve taken advantage of? If you don’t use your given sick and vacation days, why not? Have you ever had your company pay for or reimburse you for educational courses or workshops? Share your secrets!

Bee’s Tips & Tricks For Managing Multiple Hair Textures

I recently had someone ask me what was my least favourite thing about wearing my hair natural. I’ve had a few hair-related struggles over the past 3 years, but the most annoying thing about wearing my hair natural? Having to deal with multiple textures. Ugh.

I remember back when I used to relax my hair, my stylist would always comment on a patch of hair in the back of my head (aka “the kitchen”) that would seem shorter, more coarse, and more fragile than the rest of my head. She gave me all kinds of lotions, potions, and mixtures to apply to the “damaged area” in hopes that I would “fix” whatever I did to it, and have it behave like the rest of my hair. It wasn’t until I grew out the relaxer and wore my hair naturally that I realized – this is just how my hair is!

The reality is, our heads are not generally made up of uniform texture. You can have patches of loose waves, tight kinks, and big clumpy corkscrew curls on the same head – which is what I have. The question then becomes, how do you work with all those textures to get the look and style you want?

My hair is similar to this in the front and back...

...with some of this in the "kitchen"

For me, the easiest thing to do is stretched styles. Braid-outs, twist-outs, and Bantu knots help me to blend my multiple textures. I always have to remember that the same “kitchen” area takes longer to dry than everywhere else. There’s nothing worse than doing a nice set of Bantu knots, unraveling them, and having that kinky kitchen part be damp…just means it’s going to shrink up like nobody’s business as the day goes on! For my braid and twist-outs, I usually pull them into a bun for a day or two…once I undo them, they’re fully dry and stretched – but then I have to be careful of my front and back portions…if I’m not careful, those parts will be TOO loose! Sigh. A sista can’t win. I’ve pretty much mastered the style to get the look I want, but everyday is a bit different.

The bane of my natural haired existence would have to be the wash n’ go. If the hair gods smile down on me, a properly diffused wash n’ go will come out looking wild and wonderful…but if not, I get that supreme ugly reverse mullet. With a not-so-great wash n’ go, or not-fully-dry twist out, I pull out clips and bobby pins and get to work! I can usually create a cool bouffant style and keep it movin’.

For all my natural-haired sistas, did you discover that you also had multiple textures? How do yours work together? What tips and tricks do you have to blend your kinks and curls?

Mid-Week Check In

Yeah, we chillin' just like this...

(source)

Happy Hump Day! Hope the week is going well so far!

This is the perfect time to go back in the ’83 To Infinity archives and check out posts you may have missed! Posting will resume next week, unless I decide not to come back…

~ Bee

See Y’all Soon!

Hey y’all! As you’re reading this, I’m currently en route to my secret destination :)

Enjoy your week, and I’ll be back soon with more fun posts to let you know what I’ve been up to…

In the meantime, check out some of my homies:

Goddess Intellect

Nubiansoulslocks

This Is Your Conscience

Canadian Curlies

I’m sure they’ll keep you entertained!

~Bee

%d bloggers like this: