Monday, December 30, 2013

Not Waiting Until 2014 to Clean My Financial House

            I transferred some money from my savings to my checking to payoff my Perkins student loan. I figured that I had the money why wait until 2014 to pay it off.  Furthermore, it would decrease my indebtedness, increase my creditworthiness, receive a payoff letter that I can send to all three credit bureau, and help my 2013 tax situation. 
The momentum I created today won’t stay in 2013. It would continue well into 2014 because I aim to payoff another student loan.  I have already decided to pay money each paycheck to accelerate my repayment. I will be done by July 1, 2014.  When I receive my state and federal tax refunds, I will use these funds to pay down my debt. Improving my finances are a 2014 resolution.  Even if it means my missing NBA All-Star then so be it because my credit rating matters more.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Instant liquidity

                This morning I ate breakfast at the Four Seasons using the leftover cash from my hair appointment.  At my waitress’ recommendation, I tried that shrimp and grits. I paid in cash.  Stunned she asked me if I needed a receipt. I told her yes leaving her a cash tip.  Later this afternoon, I ate dinner at Doi Moi where I left my waiter a $5 cash tip.  His response was immediate upon seeing the $5 bill. This reminded me that cash is king especially among service workers.  They don’t get paid the standard minimum wage due to tips but need cash to support their families.  That $5 can be spent as soon as possible for food or medicine or even rent.  In this era of credit, debit and Bitcoin, the public must never forget that service workers still prefer cash.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Reppin' My City

            Even though I spend most of my time in Washington, DC, I always represent my hometown Cleveland, Ohio. I must because I spend 28 years there and always return. I patronize Cleveland clothing companies showing my pride. Below are my Homage’s Cleveland is the City t-shirt and the Cleveland Clothing company’s Fashionista t-shirts.

Homage Cleveland is the City T-shirt
Cleveland  Clothing Company Fashionista T-shirts


Yes Virginia There Is a Santa Claus!

            Santa Claus is my Mommy who mailed me these red Christmas pajamas.  I love them because red is my favorite colors (hers too!).  Even though I  am an adult, I still love getting presents from  my Mommy!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Don't Complain, Make a Plan!

            Yesterday something urgent popped into my brain out of nowhere. Instead of letting fear consume me, I decided to start working (through the USA Network’s Indiana Jones marathon which took dedication because I loved Indy!).  Once I gained a rhythm, the fear dissipated.  Before leaving for dinner at a restaurant, I completed most of it. While awaiting my meal, I whipped out my notebook and started jotting down my plan. The fresh air helped because I no longer felt confined to my apartment.  There was an energy of fear permeating that place. It didn’t seep out into the open so getting out of my apartment let my brain decompress.  I wrote down everything I fear and created a plan to overcome it.  There were no complaints, excuses or obstacles. I just wrote down my own timeline of how I would accomplish everything.  Calmly writing down everything and making a plan eliminated all of my fears allowing me to push forward. Exiting the restaurant, I felt better ready to face next week with a plan. I didn’t waste any time or energy on fretting, I decided to plan making my shorten Christmas holiday week more effective.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Happy for Someone Else's Success

            Today a friend of mine notified me that she received a White House Christmas card. I was so proud of her success because she worked hard for it.  Her announcement made me remember my 2011 White House Christmas visit.  It was awesome! Next year I will return to see the Christmas trees (and Bo again).  Also knowing that someone has received a White House Christmas card motivates me to put this on my 2014 to-do list. I was in the prestigious Vote Corps, a founding member of Organizing for Action and long-term donor so why not? Aim high here.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

If You Want to Come At Someone, Please Use Spell Check!

            Someone was reading my blog entry highlighted to www.dcblogs.com and sent me an email telling me not to listen to certain people. Okay, cool. What wasn’t cool was that this person included people who did nothing to her and failed to use spell check.  So PSA: When you want to come at someone, please use spell check else you look foolish giving the other person a whole lot of ammunition!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Ask and Ye Shall Receive

I have a Wednesday interview but I know nothing about the industry. I need to get out of my current workplace because it is zapping my energy. There is too much toxicity and ego. I am very happy to humble myself pushing mine aside to ask someone more qualified for advice.
It is amazing how much help you can receive when you ask and have good energy.   I am a big believer on karma which is why I emit positive energy even on negative days. Why be down when I can be up? Also as a Type A, I employ my research skills to solve problems, however, this time, I don’t know anything about the consulting industry and since I know someone who works there, I’ve decided to ask.

 I am preparing for a consulting interview and I email a contractor who works at my current agency.  We’re LinkedIn connections so I drop her an email.  She supplies me with so much information and insights like pay structure, career track and proposal writing. I have googled the firm finding a contract and am considering taking some Foundation Center grant writing classes to improve my skills.  It is essential to think beyond the ground floor with me.  The phone interviewer tells me that not having a consulting background so it’s necessary to acquire these writing skills to make myself the best candidate. Also she tells me that it is okay to ask about the possible government shutdown coming in January (My life coach was against it but since the professional confirmed my original line of questioning, I will ask that question. I am disaster-funded so I’d still be working if not hired by the consulting firm).  

Monday, December 09, 2013

Ridding Myself of Cabin Fever at Doi Moi

            Since I stayed home today due to inclement weather, I RSVPed at Doi Moi for dinner.  When I arrived at 5:30pm, there was virtually no one there. I bet that I was the only person who made a reservation. Anyhow, I sat down asking my waitress if there was anything new on the menu. I saw the Cambodian dish (Doi Moi was Thai and Vietnamese so why not?). The ginger made the pineapple pretty tangy but it was good overall.  Next was the crab fried rice.  The Cambodian pineapple dish filled me up forcing me to take the rice home but I was happy to get out.
Doi Moi Plai Manoah Cha Cambodian Style Stir Fried Pineapple and Ginger

Doi Moi Khao Phat Puu Blue Crab Fried Rice


Taking Time for Me

            After being in the heavy snow flurries yesterday I thought that the federal government would close today. My body was all ready for a ‘snow day’ (DC is a Southern city. As a native Clevelander a couple of inches of the white stuff doesn’t shut down my city! But, I will take it however I can get it!). However, that wasn’t the case: raggedy Office of Personnel Management (OPM) only gave a 2-day delay. Ba Humbug! This was the Christmas season. Why OPM wanted to put a coal in my stocking was beyond me. After checking my leave calculator, I (and my body) decided to stay home today. I took time for me because I needed to with everything that was happening.  I needed a break plus I didn’t want to fall on the sidewalk en route to the metro; fight it out in freezing sleet during the afternoon and the very real possibility of it freezing overnight. Hopefully this time OPM will close the government doing everybody a favor. In the meantime, I am taking it easy.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Not Putting My Life On Hold

             I know that I have not written for over one month due to all of the craziness surrounding my life. I have been in survival mode.  I am fighting for my job so I’ve been busy and booking life coach appointments left and right.  During all of the madness, I’ve poured out all of my emotions to her.  In one session, I talked about how I really wanted a pair of winter boots that I saved for but was afraid to purchase them because of my current situation. My life coach told me not to suspend my life.  I didn’t know what tomorrow would bring. She was right. I bought the Stuart Weitzman tan nubuck 5050 suede boots one month ago, traveled to the Montgomery Mall Stuart Weitzman store to have them sprayed (If they messed them up, I’d get a new pair), and kept on with the rest of my life. At that time, I was finishing up Bits of Thread’s fashion illustration class because I was working on drawing my fashion line. I was proud that unlike this summer, when life punched me in the gut, I didn’t buckle continuing the class. That showed my resiliency. Fast forward one month later and everything is starting to work itself out. I am on the cusp of finding a new job and a new career field. My life coach was right, I couldn’t put my life on hold over a temporary setback.

Below are my new Stuart Weitzman tan nubuck suede 5050 boots from 20th anniversary collection:
Stuart Weitzman tan nubuck suede 5050 boots

Things Are Never What They Seem

             Speaking with my life coach has helped me clarify things. First, I’ll survive my current workplace Second, since I was promoted in August and that should be my FY13 annual rating, I should demand 2 5s and 2 4s. A promotion is the highest award you can receive so why not start there? My supervisor signed it so she can’t dispute it. End of story. Third, tread lightly on asking about the government shutdown. That might bring up a red flag. I ‘ll ask the contractor about this since she’s  worked during the government shutdown. That might bring up a red flag. I ‘ll ask her about since she’s a contractor who worked during the government shutdown. I’ll ask her about starting pay so that I don’t undercut myself. I want to start at $120,000. Also ask about work schedule and holidays off. Fourth, I will make my life coach proud next Thursday by executing on Wednesday’s interview. There’ll won’t be a letdown just to generate a story. This time will be different. The narrative is that I would’ve received two promotions in one year. It’s not the way I want but it’ll due. I will end 2013 on a high note. Remember, life is all about resiliency.

Monday, November 11, 2013

After All of This, I am Still Standing!

            Friday my former landlord emailed me saying that it would cancel my fathom debt. It was liberating because we signed settlement papers in August. But the crooked landlord sent the fathom debt to a collection agency who called me and my family. I filed a consumer complaint with a state agency against the collection agency. Even the state agency’s case worker got on my nerves. Last Wednesday when I emailed the landlord and Thursday she attached a 2-page billing statement. My lawyer friend told me to stick to my guns. Friday morning the landlord said that she would cancel my debt. I felt victorious because I won.  Finally, I would focus on living in my current address instead of dwelling on the past. My home was at peace and I loved it!

Friday, November 01, 2013

Less than 60 Days Left in 2013

            Today is November 1st and less than 60 days remain in 2013. I’m amazed at how fast this year has gone. In January I was attending President Obama’s inaugural ball and now it is November. At least I have earned my PMP and promotion so it’s not like I’m wasting time! The next 60 days, I’m not wasting time either. I will be working on closing out 2013 with another certification, another job and learning consulting. I am considering PMI-ACP (Agile) because not too many people have it increasing my competitive advantage in the marketplace. I will get a new job somewhere else. Regarding consulting I’ve always wanted to go into it but my life always gets in the way. Not anymore because I am going to make time. No more excuses!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Somethings Are Just Necessities

            I am adding up all of the charges for renovating my space.  I have purchased a new Origami shelf, three Winsome fabric boxes, and carpet.  I am fretting over the amount. Then I realized that I need these things to be up to code. This isn’t about wasting money. When I transfer the $800 from my savings to my checking, I need these things. This isn’t a pair of Stewies. I must de-clutter my space and purchase carpet so that I don’t get fined. Somethings are just necessities.
            I pride myself on self-assembling my fourth Origami shelf. It gets a little sticky but after taking off my sweater, it unsticks. I do think that I don’t need the Winsome fabric boxes because I’ll probably put my shoes on this rack. I will await my carpet to see how much space I have to cover up. I am just happy that everything is coming by tomorrow so that I can go and get my hair done Thursday then pick up the rest at Target on Friday.

It just seems like everything is coming together so when Monday rolls around, I will be A okay. The bogus debt collections thing will be over with since DC Attorney General is handling it. I have scanned my fake bill emailing it to my case worker. I will follow up via email asking him about receiving my email and speaking with the compliance officer. I will reinforce the DC Attorney General retrieving a formal letter from bogus debt collector about not having my file and not selling this fake debt to any other collection agencies. I want to formal letter. If my case worker doesn’t respond by Wednesday mail a letter with copies of the correspondence because I want the DC Attorney General to know that I am on the case monitoring them.  I will not rest until I receive a formal letter from the company that I can mail to the three credit bureaus.  All of my problems are going away and just in time because I need some peace at home. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Rededicating Myself to Studying for the PMI-ACP Certification

            I’ve considered rededicating myself to studying for my PMI-ACP certification today. Ever since October 1st, I felt like something was untapped. I needed to adapt to a new situation. Earning my PMI-ACP certification is the answer because there are a lot of IT and agile opportunities out there that I can tap. I already have PMP certification and 3.5 months later it’s high time to start working on earning my second certification. I’ll apply the same schedule of taking one knowledge area practice exam then a full practice exam every week that I implemented while studying for the PMP exam. Furthermore, I am mentally in 2014 mode and earning my PMI-ACP certification is a nice way of ending 2013 and starting 2014. I am thinking bigger and better for next year. I am looking for my GS-15 and armed with two project management certifications, I know that I’ll get one.

            I am all about taking full advantage of opportunities and the PMI-ACP certification is one. I know that employers are starting to demand it and why not position myself? Though many people have the PMP, not too many have the PMI-ACP. Also the PMI-ACP is more rigorous than Certified Scrum Master (CSM). Personally, I am all about the grind. Whenever I see that there’s a pathway leading me to more opportunities, I take it. It’s the reason why I have an MBA, PMP and now a PMI-ACP before December 31st.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Finally a Free Day to Be Free!

            This is my first off day where I don’t encumbered by responsibility. I can just run errands, do laundry and enjoy a Palm steakhouse fried shrimp, French fries and coleslaw. The waiter tells me about this special because I was going to the business lunch.  I’m glad I try the special because it is filling. I have five shrimp, fries and coleslaw. I couldn’t finish all of it still I order warm doughnuts to go. These doughnuts come with whipped cream, chocolate and raspberry dipping sauces. They are sumptuous! I am still full hours later. Below are the photos:
Clockwise: Coleslaw, Shrimp Sauce, Fried Shrimp, French Fries and Tartar Sauce

Palm Restaurant Doughnut Bag

Doughnuts

Clockwise: Raspberry Dipping Sauce, Whipped Cream and Chocolate Dipping Sauce

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Not Waiting for Destiny to Intervene

            I’ve just purchased the COR/COTR Answer book today using my credit card because I couldn’t wait until next Saturday in order to start working on my dream. Using Amazon Prime, it’ll arrive on Monday. In between now and Monday, I will read my ebook and write down some notes. Furthermore, I’ll ask my boss about COTR training but am prepared to foot the bill myself.  I know that by next Saturday I will have read at least 140 pages. I will earn my COTR certification the first time.

            I’ve never been someone who waits for an opportunity especially when there’s a clear pathway to getting it.  Most GS-15s manage contracts and COTR lets me do it.  There’s also managerial encouragement. The deputy director said ‘there was always a need for another COTR’. Well, all the more reason to go for it. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Countdown to DC Fashion Week

            Even though DC Fashion Week starts next Monday, there are some fashion-related events this week which I will take advantage. This Friday is the International Couture Fashion show which I’ll attend instead of a trunk show. Fashion shows are all about looking for trends. Next week are the official fashion shows which I’ll attend. I will take a copious amount of photos posting them online. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Getting My COTR

            I am happy that I have helped my coworker pass her COTR exam. When I return to the office, I will ask management about taking the training because I want this certification.  As a GS-14 I see GS-15 managing contracts so earning my COTR is the pathway towards that reality. I’ve already purchased the ebook and will read 20 pages per day until next pay when I buy the paper book. My goals are to finish reading the COTR prep book by November and earn my certification before year’s end. Regarding her COTR, I hope that she receives her GS-14 promotion especially since all of the COTR in our office are that grade.  I just want her to get her fair share.

Returning to My Old Lunch Stomping Grounds at the Downtown DC Palm Steakhouse

            I’ve returned to my old stomping grounds eating lunch at the Palm.  Working in SW instead of NW reduces how much I can frequent my old haunt. Even the maĆ®tre’s mention this saying that he usually sees me for dinner; but welcomes me anyway. For lunch I order the business lunch menu (mixed green salad, Atlantic salmon [with tartar sauce], linguine marinara, and NY cheesecake). I am so full from the salad and salmon that I have the marinara and cheesecake to go. Here’s a pic:

Palm Steakhouse lunch

Friday, September 13, 2013

Presage

Presage- n. foretelling
                Even with everything that is going on in my life I have a presage that it’ll work itself out for the better.  I have too many irons in the fire for something bad to happen to me. Yesterday I spoke with my father and he asked me if I maintained my social life during this turbulent time. I replied yes because work wouldn’t get me down.

In the midst of all of these problems, I am still keeping my fashion dream alive by attending all the major DC fashion week events (front row of course!). I will also expand my professional network and keep in touch with everyone from the DC Fashion Foundation. Today I’ll do what Elizabeth Taylor has done whenever facing adversity: pour a glass of wine, put on some lipstick and pull it together!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Adapt III

            No sooner than I settle with my former landlord and move into a new apartment, does my work life fall out. There is so more jealousy regarding my getting a GS-14 that people are trying to take it away.  I thank God for earning my PMP certification because now I can find work somewhere else.  Also while helping a colleague earn her Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR) certification, has motivated me to pursue this. All of the other GS-14 possess COTR except for me; and, although I have only received my GS-14 for one month, I am adamant about receiving my COTR. It’s makes me equal and increases my overall competitive advantage.  If the government doesn’t have money then I will pay for it out of my pocket. I have done it with my CAPM and PMP surely I will do it with my COTR. I am all about self-investing. That how I’ve gone from GS-09 to GS-14 in seven years. I’m intent on going further than this in the next seven. Remember, it is all about adapting.

Never Too Far From Home

Tuesday I went to the downtown DC Barnes & Noble to pick up my book. While perusing the magazine stacks, I saw the Cleveland magazine.  I was so happy because even after working in this town for 7 years, I was still homesick. Purchasing this magazine was my way of always staying connected.


Monday, September 09, 2013

Saving Money Where I Can Through Ideeli!

            My Ideeli Escada wool trench coat arrived this past weekend and I was giddy because I only spent $249.99 on a $1175 coat. That’s 21% and saving $926.  This was only the beginning because I also ordered an Escada that should be shipping this week for only $99.  Cumulatively, I saved over $1000 on these two purchases. My closet and wallet thank Ideeli.com!

Escada Wool Coat

Escada Original Price Tag

Saturday, August 31, 2013

My First Cronut

            I know that I haven’t been up on food fads (I don’t religiously go to cupcake stores in DC) so I have no idea what a cronut is.  However, yesterday I had breakfast at the Four Seasons where it had a strawberry cronut.  Though I ordered the lemon ricotta pancakes, I told the waiter to keep the menu on the table because I contemplated ordering it. Well, after telling him that I needed new butter because there was a hair in it, I guessed that the restaurant gave me the cronut as ‘complimentary’. The dessert was delicious! I loved all if its gooeyness. It was so scrumptious and perfect that I would be willing to pay $3 for it again. The Four Seasons Washington had just baked one of the best breakfast pastry I ever tasted!



Two-Thirds of the Way Done

            It is amazing that today is September 1st and 2/3 of this year is done.  I am proud to accomplish a lot this year (promotion, move, PMP certification) because most people only do one or two of these things. I’ve managed to do all three but I am officially in grind mode after realizing that there are only four more months left.  I will earn my PMI-ACP certification, rededicate myself to fashion and creating my line, win Nanowrimo in November and keep saving for a house.  I know that by December 31st, I will possess two project management certifications, know how to make a fashion pattern, sewn four clothes for my line, save over $3000 towards my house and have fun doing it.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Wondering Why

            I don’t know why there seems to be so many unnecessary challenges and obstacles in my path.  It is crazy because I haven’t done anything to anyone. All I want to do is live my life. However, the Devil is busy over here.  I have never seen so much micromanaging in my life; yet, I will rise above the madness becoming a better person because I can always count on my performance. 

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Back to Where It All Started

            On the last day I’m 35, I am officially here in Cleveland and cannot be any happier because I’ll celebrate my 36th birthday here. This past year I have received my GS-14 promotion, a new DuPont Circle apartment, and earned my PMP certification. These are major especially the GS-14 because not too many people get to this level at my age.
I will be with my father all day tomorrow but since my Mommy has moved our lunch to Sunday, I am free for my birthday dinner. This means that I will wear my Valentino dress. I bought it at Gilt City warehouse sale this past spring. I will pair it with Giuseppe Zanotti sandals that I broke in for an event but didn’t wear. I love them especially since I bought them 50% off. Speaking of fashion, I’ve bought the fashion Cleveland t-shirt from the Cleveland store off of Euclid & East 4th. I will rock that with jeans on my birthday. It’s only right since I’ve promised myself that 6 months from now, I will showcase my collection for the 10th Fashion Week Cleveland show. I refuse to let my housing situation deter me from success. I breathe creativity plus I possess the business acumen so I will always make a profit!

            I know what I will continue to do in my next year of life: stand on principle. Okay so people hate my drug free stance. They’ll get over it. I am an epileptic who has nerve problems and I’m not resorting to either marijuana, or any other type of drugs or alcohol to ‘cure’ myself. I work on myself and becoming better every single day. That’s all I can do and do it well I will!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Back for More at the Four Seasons Washington DC

            Free from running errands and running for my life, I sit down for breakfast at the Four Seasons for the first time in two weeks. I ask Maricris, my waitress, about the Belgian waffles. She replies that this is one of the bestsellers. Immediately I order it. Then she tells me that it comes with whipped cream. Add it on please! Whipped cream for breakfast? Most definitely! I move the strawberries away from my plate. When Maricris asks me why, I tell her that my paternal grandmother has always broken out when eating them. It’s genetic. She says that she’ll record that so that the restaurant won’t serve me any. Now that’s customer service! Here is the photo:

Four Seasons Washington DC Belgian Waffles with Whipped Cream, Mixed Berries, Syrup and Butter

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Adapt II

            A lot has transpired since my first Adapt posting. I have been challenged numerous times personally and professionally. I am happy that since then I’ve earned my PMP certification because I’ll be putting it to work to get me out of all of these jams. I want to do more project management and earn more money. I like to write songs, TV shows and scripts. Surely, I can apply project management to punch my own ticket. I came here in DC seven years ago with nothing and managed to quintuple my money. Now it’s time to do it again. I will ask more questions and I’ll be fine. I’ll just be more persistent and pointed because it’s either adapt or die! It’s that simple!

Happy to Have Real Friends

            Though I have been hit with the okie doke this weekend, I am glad to have my real friends surrounding me when everything hits the fan. I truly need them in times like these. I do feel that I will rebound and come out better than before this has even happened. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Something New Comes This Way

            I have learned that I can leave my apartment for another one if I have a good reason. For a time, I’ve been in escrow. Here I’m thinking that I need to go straight to homeownership but there are other available options. I love it because I will move out by Labor Day. I’ve been here for six years. I’ve arrived as a GS-09 and will leave as a GS-14. Not too many people can say that he or she has received a grade increase every year.

            My goal is to manage my money better especially since I’m earning more than the DC median income. After everything that has transpired, I am better off than most. At least I have some options versus others. Since I am making more money, I know that I can save an enormous down payment and stay in midtown DC. However, having earned my PMP I know that I’m capable of making more money so I’ll start looking for consultancy work. I know that I can earn more money. If I can go from GS-09 to GS-14 then certainly I can move up the same. If I truly want something, I just assemble a plan and execute it.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Adapt

            On Independence Day, I receive an email from one of my LinkedIn recruiter connections saying that she’ll check out some PMP-related opportunities. With my current situation in limbo, I must adapt. That means submitting my resume on holidays. Independence Day isn’t Christmas, Easter or Good Friday.

            In the spirit of Independence Day which gives me the freedom to choose how I want to live and where I want to work, I’ve used my free will to earn my PMP. This certification has opened many doors for me and I’m taking full advantage. Presently, I’m one grade below the federal government’s maximum grade. I’ll max out before age 50. Why stay stagnant when inflation doesn’t? Moreover, I feel like the ground is shifting under my feet and seeking out new opportunities attached to my PMP. Remember, at the end of the day. I’m responsible for my career; and, it’s adapt or die!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I Passed my Professional Management Professional (PMP) Certification Exam Today!

            I passed my PMP certification today!  I scored moderately proficient in all processing groups.  It felt great because I want to pass the first time. I never forgot the feeling when I failed my CAPM certification exam in 2011.  I took at least one practice exam per week, wrote down all of the project management process, and keep at it. 

            I will rest for about 2-3 weeks until I decide my PMI-ACP timetable.  I am looking forward to taking the online agile seminar to receive the personal development units to sit for this new exam. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Confessions of an Over-Studied PMP Person

            Confession: Receiving my GS-14 promotion has made me lax about my PMP certification study and logistics regression analysis class.  I have the $100,000. I don’t have to work as hard to get there.  Besides I have a whole year at GS-14 before qualifying for GS-15. I know that I have what it takes to get there. I refuse to be stuck at GS-14 like a whole lot of people.  I know that I am capable of being at the top of the food chain. 

            In 6 more days, I will be PMP-certified.  Saturday I will take my second SuperPMP. This is the harder exam than the regular PMP.  I want the hardest questions available because this means that I will pass the PMP exam. Last time I receive 46% which is the worst that I can do.  My goal is to get to 61%.  When I get to this level, I know that I will pass the PMP.  Tomorrow I will also write down the PMBOK page 43 and write down all of the project management process definitions and the earned value management formulae. After passing my PMP exam, I will go home, shower and rest (maybe order some ice cream!) then rest for a couple of weeks.  It has been nearly 2 years in the making. I just want it over with!

Celebrating the First Day of Summer

Yesterday I celebrated the first day of summer at Bobby Vans steakhouse in downtown DC.  Initially I was going to order the shrimp scampi but my waitress told me about the chicken piccata. I was glad that I listened because the meal was scrumptious!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Do It Yourself is Always in Fashion

Today I’ve met with the lady at Bits of Thread for my designer mentoring program informational session. I’ve registered after paying for my working with patterns class.  Since DC Fashion Foundation is in disarray (it has taken me over one month to receive my textile class refund) and showing my inaugural collection in next year’s Cleveland Fashion Week is my goal, why not sign up? Though I possess an MBA and 10 years’ business experience, I need to learn from someone already in the game.  I’ve told her that I’ve already taken beginners one, sewing two, copy your clothes, perfect your skirt and will take working with patterns this June so I’ve farther along than most newbies.  Moreover, I want to debut my collection next May in Cleveland, my hometown. She and I work on my 1-year goal dissecting it. I tell her that I watch All on the Line with Joe Zee, Rachel Zoe Project, Resale Royalty and Betsey Johnson to learn about the fashion business. I know that it’s more than clothes.  That’s the so-called creative get things all messed up. This is business and it’s how you make money and pay your rent.

            Returning from my session motivates me to work on it for the next 2 weeks that Jackie goes on vacation.  The one thing that I’m happy about is that I’m not waiting for DC Fashion Foundation to get its act together. I’m going for dolo! Why get mad when I can read the Business of Fashion blog, learn the fashion business and return to my July meeting ahead of the pack? I’ve already expressed my interest in taking the future perfect your pants class because I’ll add this item to my capsule collection.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Don't Make the Same Mistakes, Make New Ones

            I’ve just returned from meeting an author that I'm helping at Busboys & Poets.  I am motivated more than ever to write my book and contribute to hers.  I know that I can write a book.  I’m think about writing a middle to upper management book because I’m a GS-14.  I can tell you how to sidestep all of the mess!  My motto has always been: don’t make the same mistakes, make new ones!

Saturday, June 01, 2013

26 Days and Counting

            Today is June 1st and in 26 days I will be taking my PMP exam. Thus far, I have scored 56.5% on my first PMP practice exam and 62% on my second PMP practice exam. Furthermore, I have scored 65.5% on my framework knowledge area practice exam and 71.2% on my scope management knowledge area practice exam.  Next week my goals are to outline PMBOK chapters 4 and 5, score 70% on my third PMP practice exam and 75% on my third knowledge area practice exam. I scored 86% on the Ed2Go PMP certification 2 final exam so scoring 70% on the third online PMP practice exam is reasonable. Writing down all of the project management process and project management plan and project baseline definitions have increased my knowledge and score. I don’t just want to skate. I want to actually know what I’m doing and that means learning the mechanics.  

Making the Most of the Memorial Day Shoe Sales

            I have taken full advantage of this week’s Memorial Day sales stocking up on shoes. I need more shoes for the summer and what better than Stuart Weitzman, my favorite brand! Neiman Marcus has both sandals ½ off. I snap up the tan and brown ones. Net-a-Porter sale is a Godsend because I love these Giuseppe Zanotti metallic leather sandals. I’ve been waiting for 3 months for them to go on sale. The minute that Net-a-Porter’s summer sale hits the US, I hop on them. It took 2 hours of tweeting Net-a-Porter and refreshing both my desktop and Blackberry to enter my credit card information but I claim victory and the Zanotti sandals! Amazingly, Net-a-Porter ship them the same day arriving to my home on Wednesday. Here is a photo of all of them!

Stuart Weitzman Arriba in Tan and Cocoa and Giuseppe Zanotti Sandals

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Surviving the DC Swelter

            Today is the third day of the DC 90+ degree heat wave.  I slather on as much Banana Boat sunscreen as possible in order not to be burnt. I drink no less than 5 cups of water and wear only cotton because I can’t have my clothes suffocating my pores. I have been managing this hotter than Hades spell way better than in other years because I’ve mastered walking in the shadows that the tall buildings provide and to get to work early. Every minutes matters because the humidity kicks it up a notch every 15 minutes.  There is a huge temperature difference between 7:45am and 8:00am. I am too fabulous to look scorched!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Not Waiting on Forever

I’ve just learned that the DC Fashion Incubator has delayed its pattern making course from June 22nd to July 6th. Immediately I pay Bits of Thread $30 for its pattern making tutorial because I am not waiting around for the Incubator to learn as much as possible of the fashion industry. It’s bad enough that the organization has delayed the textile class two weeks because no one has any money during the middle of the month. I do and arrived there last Saturday on the 18th. On top of this I receive an email saying that the June 1st textile museum plan has been nixed and that we’ll meet back at the classroom. Correction: The newbies will be meeting in the classroom because I’ve already attended orientation.  Besides I live near DuPont Circle and the Textile Museum is right there. The museum has a free day and I will partake in all of the demonstrations to learn more about clothing. In addition, the X2 bus that I board will be full on the 1st of the month.  While riding the bus back from the classroom home, someone says that the homeless man smells like ‘cold piss’ which is one for the record books! I refuse to subject myself to that tomfoolery until June 8th. Moreover, until all of the other classmates, I have the book and will have at least ½ of it read by the eighth. Also I’ll get the textile kit this week since I’ve budgeted for it.  I’m not waiting for non-paying people and the DC Fashion Incubator to straighten themselves out, I am going for dolo! And it doesn’t stop with purchasing the materials and attending the pattern making tutorial.

            This Tuesday evening I will attend the Nana clothing summer event at Bits of Thread.  Until seeing this announcement in the DC Scout newsletter, I didn’t know that Bits of Thread sewing fashion line clothes. Well, why am I learning how to sew if Bits of Thread can do it for me?!  I draw my stuff and throw them a couple of bucks and be done with it!  Next week I’ll attend a Georgetown fashion show accumulating more exposure plus ask Bits of Thread more questions about its rates because it they’re reasonable then I’ll have them sew my designs for 2014 Cleveland fashion week because this is business. My clothes will be at the tenth annual fashion show just you watch; and no one is getting in the way of that!

Taking PMP Preparation to the Next Level

            I have completely written down all of the project management process definitions to improve my PMP score.  Doing this has helped me learn what each process does.  It’s truly a learning experience because there are some things that I’ve forgotten.  I have seen these definitions while taking the practice tests.  Monday I will write down all of the project management subsidiary plans and baselines because I know that these will also improve my score.  Furthermore, I will create my own practice tests. I might even do something with the flashcards because I have not used them.  Even though tomorrow is Memorial Day, I will spend my holiday working on career improvement. No days off because June 27th will be here before I know; and, I will be prepared.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Self-Investment on a Shoestring Budget


            I’ve enrolled in this regression analysis course and the instructor wants us to use either SAS, Stata, JMP or other commercial statistical software. Well. SAS wants $199 for a 6-month license so I check to see if StatCrunch processes the same and viola it does!  This move has saved me $199 and much needed time in learning how to do regression in SAS.  The great part is that I can use StatCrunch for the upcoming logistic regression next June. I truly want to improve my job performance and advance my career and thanks to StatCrunch, I don’t have to break the bank!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Moving Forward Faster


            I refused to let someone’s monkey see, monkey do behavior get to me! First thing this morning I took my second PMP practice exam scoring 62% (passing). These haters weren’t going to hold back! Later tonight I will write down all of the project management process’ definitions to increase my score to above 70%.  I know that by next Friday, May 31th, I will achieve that score. Getting over 70% positions me to pass the actual test. I am ready to tackle the challenge because the MBA/PMP combination raises my competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Haters Are Going to Hate. Don’t Fall for the Bait!


Today I learn from our office secretary that another person in our office has asked the quality manager for a PMP exam application reference.  This is the very same person who has taken project management training money before my arrival to the agency but now nearly 14 months later he decides that he needs to get serious and apply for the PMP July 31st exam change deadline.  All this time I submitted my application, secured my references, and already scheduled my test.  Instead of fretting, I have been studying since May 3rd. I’ve made substantial progress scoring over a passing 61% on the last two knowledge area practice exams.  Thursday I will review my practice study guide chapter 7 and complete cost management practice exam. This weekend I will take my second PMP practice exam scoring over 70%.  I don’t sweat the competitors because I’m on my A game all of the time. Furthermore, with less than 2 months before the PMP change, there is no room for error.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Fashionably Late to My Textile Class


Saturday all dressed in my new Juicy Couture waxed floral jeans for my textile class, I missed the bus there.  Rats!  I would be late for the very first class.  I boarded the 10am X2 bus headed down H street.  It was okay at the White House but once it hit Gallery Place, all kinds of characters started boarding.  There was this one woman who once had a shape but didn’t anymore. That didn’t stop her from wearing stretch pants. That was an embarrassing visuals because her butt wasn’t round but squished together and formless. Then there was this old man selling incense.  He was (probably still is a weedhead) talking about a song that he heard and an affair he had. He lied about earning a store 40 years but I seriously doubt it because it didn’t take much to keep an incense store going. Man just get off of the bus and give me peace of mind!
Thinking that things couldn’t get any worse, I exited the wrong stop forcing me to walk an extra four blocks. Now 25 minutes, I thought I was going to be the last one arriving and chewed out by the instructor.  I signed into Sherwood Recreation Center. Taking a deep breath as I climbed up the stairs awaiting my fate, I opened the classroom door where lo and behold there were two women there: the instructor and the organization’s president. Flabbergasted, I introduced myself breathing a sigh of relief.  That serenity lasted all of 10 minutes because I learned that there were a book and textile kit that I needed but weren’t told. That was more money already out of my pocket which was unfair to me because I just paid $499 for my online regression analysis course and budgeted another $199 for a six-month SAS license.  Now these things were added.  I purchased the book off of Amazon but the textile kit must wait until next pay because I wasn’t going into debt over fashion! I learned some very good tidbits:
·         My instructor was from Columbus, Ohio
·         I was one of two people who paid
·         The class would be delayed until June 1st in observance of Memorial Day and held at the textile museum
·         The three of us had business backgrounds dealing with ‘creatives’ who were brilliant but mentally scrambled (and couldn’t come up with the money by the 15th)
Since my textile class is delayed for 2 weeks, this delays the pattern making class meaning that once again I must go for dolo and register for Bits of Thread’s June 2nd pattern making tutorial. DC Fashion Incubator isn’t putting me in limbo again with its inconsistent schedule and payers! I have my money by the deadline. I am going to be okay.  This missing the bus pattern continues because I miss the return X2 bus forcing me to wait at the bus stop for 10 extra minutes. It also starts raining.  I get back on the bus where this man in a winter coat boards smelling like ‘cold piss’ (a rider’s comment not mine because I don’t know what that smells like).  Once we hit the Gallery Place stop things calmed down allowing me to catch my breath a couple of minutes before exiting the bus. After this commute, I need the three-week break!
Returning home, I order my book via Amazon and start researching the websites that the instructor provides.  Next I go through my closet to see what I can wear for the June 1st museum visit.  The Gilt Groupe’s Haute Hippie knit maxi dress is a winner because it incorporated the whole textile museum theme. This’ll be perfect!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Findings from Fashion Week Cleveland


            Last night I attended Fashion Week Cleveland’s fashion show. I wore my silver-sequined Vince cocktail dress at the behest of someone working for the organization.  Though the event said black-tie, I could get away with a cocktail dress.  Right after hearing that I shopped my closet wearing my Vince.  I switched out my boots for black flats because it was a fashion event and I should shiver for the greater good.  When I left the hotel, the weather wasn’t that bad.  Upon arriving there I was happy at my decision because none of the women wore boots.  I signed in receiving my VIP wristband then proceeded to have my photo taken against the fashion week ad.

Me at Cleveland Fashion Week

Next all of the VIP people were lined up in two directions awaiting for the Hyatt Regency staff to let us in.  Once they did, there was a mad dash for front row seats (I managed to get one!).  The Master of Ceremonies welcomed everyone and did housekeeping then the show began.  As an aspiring fashion designer, I watched with a more professional eye than others. I looked at garment construction and color themes.  My favorite was Sorjet because this clothing line was luxurious yet wearable. Below were all of the photos from each designer in order of appearance:
L.A. Gaitors Shoes

Bae Rae

Lindsay Marie

Art of Cloth

Sorjet

Sorjet

Sorjet

Modern Fashion
Jae Jarell Menswear

Lotty by Lotty Lewis

All Designers
I was impressed by these designers. I learned that the Sorjet designers hailed from Lexington, Kentucky.  That was when it hit me that Cleveland fashion week was a big deal!  My hometown inspired me to keep working at my craft because this time next year, I will be ready or at least further along than right now! Finally, I will be back front and center for the tenth anniversary.








Thursday, May 09, 2013

Get Used to Seeing My Face Lady

Today I sit in 3C on my flight and the stewardess makes this big production over asking the man seated in 4C if I can put my purse underneath MY own seat. Of course, he has no problem. Upon hearing his response, the stewardess exclaims ‘It doesn’t really matters.’ Well, it if did matter why did you mention it? I feel that she did this because I isn’t one of her ‘regulars.’ A US Representative is seated in 4B and I am a row ahead of her. I will be flying back out of Cleveland Monday seated in 1A and don’t need a repeat of this mess. I file a complaint with the airline to have its customer service team discuss the incident with her. When I return back to Washington, DC this matter better be resolved.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Passport DC 2013: Chronicling Four Embassies and Three Different Continents


            I walked to DuPont Circle to pick up my media badge. When I received it, I thought ‘I could automatically skip the lane because I have credentials.’ I sashayed my way to the Embassy of Argentina with my pass swinging around my neck.  I arrived at the entrance only to be told by the lady that I must get in line because the embassy was filled to capacity. So much for the media pass. The Argentine embassy was fun and informative. I learned a lot of the country’s history, culture, and embassy’s infrastructure. I was disappointed that it did have a pope exhibit since he hailed from Argentina. That was the main reason why I went. Upon leaving, the embassy had a sports exhibit highlighting the 1986 World Cup and 2004 Olympic men’s basketball gold medal wins.

Argentine Embassy

Argentina-US Bilateral Relations Placard

Argentine Ambassador to the US


Tango Lessons

Argentina Sports Superpower Placard

            Next I walked to Chilean embassy where the line snaked to the Trinidad embassy’s driveway. The line moved fast and in less than 10 minutes I was inside. The first stop was the arts gallery showcasing the country’s best photographs. Afterward, there was the food gallery where the crowd sampled the desserts.  Upstairs was the fruit and wine.  The staff let people eat the grapes, blueberries and blackberries but not the pears. (Rats! I thought free grocery shopping!). Anyhoo I enjoyed it. Now onto the Australian embassy!

Me in the Chilean Miner Suit Cut-Out
Outside the Chilean Embassy

The Ambassador's Residence Sign
Chancery of the Embassy of Chile

Office of the Ambassador
Ambassador's Office
Living off of Scott Circle, for years I would dread seeing the long line. Some years it stretched beyond P Street! I gulped walking all the way past the church intent on seeing the inside. A volunteer told everyone that we’d receive bags. Put everything in it because we were going through the metal detectors. Whoa! That was new because I didn’t have to do that with Chile and Argentina. At least they fed up while waiting. Once I passed security, the Aboriginal man blew the horn. There were four lines. The left-most was the nation’s top universities. The next one was to the auditorium. The third line was the wine line. The right-most one had the souvenirs. I went right for the souvenirs. The volunteers gave me two kangaroo pens. Next I went to the Armed Forces area picking up stickers and pamphlets then proceeded to the wine line. Afterward, I stood in the auditorium line to see the amphibians. That was a first! I was giddy because there live animals. Seeing zoologist, I secretly thought ‘That was I would had been if I cut dead frog I got for my science kit during one past Christmas.’ Well, I ended up as an economist so I was okay. Upon leaving the embassy, I snapped photos of the tank. I admitted that the Australian embassy was the most impressive (thus far). Onto the Kazakhstan embassy!


Aboriginal Man

Australian Flag

Embassy of Australia Sign
Australian and American flags

Australian napkin

Zoologist with bearded dragon

Tank
            While in line at the Australian embassy. I saw some people in native costumes across the street. Secretly I thought I would go there after visiting the Australian embassy. Fast forward to walking past the tank, I headed down 16th street. There was no line because all of the people were inside. I loved it because the Eurasian country’s culture differed from the other three. I took photos of all the hunter-gatherer artifacts. It was great to have someone on staff (I didn’t know if she was an anthropologist) explaining all of this to us. The intimacy was noted because unlike Chile, Argentina, and Australia, Kazakhstan was small.  The other three countries’ staffs expected crowds to know something about them. Here the Kazakhstan embassy projected genuine appreciation that we showed up! I was pretty happy that covered four embassies on three continents. That was major progress!
Kazakhstan people welcoming us outside the embassy

Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Hunter-Gatherer Artifact
Kazakhstan President with President Obama at the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit