Sunday, April 28, 2013

Lose to Win

             I’m quitting intro to quantitative risk analysis because the software company wants me to use my work email.  I can only use it at work not home.  I buy the book but cannot use it. I email the online college and the software liaison of my decision because I just want this over with already.  Now my focus is on project management. I’ve purchased the corresponding book but cannot use it which is frustrating.  Therefore, I just might return it. It’s with amazon and the truth is that the book isn’t needed for the class.
            I have to turn down my cousin begging for money. This time she’s asking for $20-$30. I tell her that I cannot because of my rent which is true.  I just feel that it is eerily convenient that she’s asking me first. I tell my father about this. I don’t tell her how I’ve given her $100 for Christmas presents. Personally, I think it’s unfair that she begs me for money.
            Yes! I’ve paid $293 for PMP software but it’s my money and I’ve budgeted for it. I haven’t budgeted to take care of her, her children and myself.  In the past month I have started standing up for myself because I’m not tolerating craziness anymore. I’m paying my bills and focusing on me!
            On a much happier note, today is my mother’s and aunt’s birthdays. I will eat a late dinner at Policy restaurant reflecting on everything.  I have grown enormously this year.  I am learning to work on me more than ever and when to focus on myself.
            I eat dinner at Policy last night because it was my money.  The nerve of my cousin to contact me thinking that I am her personal piggy bank!  I try out the brisket sliders which were delicious!  Chewing every morsel was my personal revenge at her thinking that she could just disrupt my life like it was nothing!  Well, I get the last laugh. Ha!

Policy DC Brisket Sliders and Fries

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

One Year and Counting

            I have celebrated my one year anniversary with my current employer.  I have learned to become more self-reliant since my current agency doesn’t offer clear instructions like my former agency.  Thus far I’ve spent money enrolling in several online statistics courses.  Currently, I am enrolled in intro to quantitative risk analysis to learn more about creating model to predict the riskiest clients saving us millions of dollars.  Even though my agency wants this to happen, it doesn’t have a plan ironed out; therefore, I’ve taken the initiative.  This initiative has helped me become stronger. I admit that in the beginning I was over my head; however, I’ve managed to right the ship acquiring a new level of resiliency in the process.  Furthermore, having taken all of these classes have me contemplating going to doctoral school for either statistics or biostatistics. One year from now, I will have my promotion and a clearer understanding. Most importantly, I will look back at today and say ‘what a piece of cake!’

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pacifico Cantina for Brunch

            I have eaten at Pacifico Cantina for brunch after seeing the restaurant on OpenTable. I want to try something new so I pick it and the breakfast fajita platter. Big mistake because that dish has so much food that it stretches my stomach. (Granted I know that my stomach is a muscle but sheesh, that’s a lot of food.). I haven’t been this full in a very looong time! The hostess arrives inquiring about my experience. I tell her that I like the platter but it is so much food. I tell her that my Puerto Rican grandfather worked at the Ford auto plant and could had eaten the breakfast platter because he was doing hard labor all day. ‘This food was good if you were painting houses all day but I worked in an office.’ Later, I tell the waiter to pack it and order the flan for dessert.  I leave the waiter a $6 tip, take my food and limp back to Eastern metro.  I leave the restaurant at 12:30pm and haven’t stopped leaning sideways until 1:30pm. It is so much food it requires a siesta.
            Below are my Pacifico Cantina photos:

Pacifico Cantina brunch menu

Restaurant Table

Breakfast Fajita Platter with chips and salsa

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Downtown DC Nordstrom Rack Grand Opening

            I sashayed 15 minutes before the 9am grand store opening and the line snaked all the way from 18th and L street to K street where the Bank of America branch.  Regardless of my lateness, I received the Nordstrom Rack mesh bag for being one of the first 1000 customers. Immediately I went for the Kate Spade purses.  This store had a lot of variety. I snapped up the beige big purse and red and black patent leather shoppers. I added one pair of Paige denim jeans. I was the happiest when my receipt said that I spent $528.81 but saved $584. Now that was an accomplishment! Below was my photo of my downtown DC Nordstrom Rack stash:

Paige denim jeans and three Kate Spade purses from downtown DC Nordstrom Rack

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Finally! My Skirt is Done!

Finally, after five classes (the three-session Perfect Your Skirt, the private session and today’s open session), I have finished sewing my skirt. I’m so happy to finish it that I run into the bathroom, take off my skinny jeans, and put it on for one of the instructors to photograph me.  I originally ended up at Bits of Thread because DC Fashion Incubator didn’t have instructors for its textiles and patternmaking courses. I refused to wait for the organization to get them else I’d still be waiting because it is 6 weeks after the Apparel design course ended on March 2nd, DC Fashion Incubator still didn’t have any teachers. However, I’ve soldiered on creating my skirts and learning how to sew. Check it out!

Me in my new skirt that I've sewn myself!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon Tragedy

            I am in disbelief that someone would actually bomb the Boston Marathon.  All those people want to do is run for their charities. Let them live in peace. Then I learn that today is Patriot Day and I feel that the alleged terrorists capitalize upon this local holiday.  It is truly sad that nearly 80 people are injured as of 6:45pm with 2 dead, one an 8-year-old child. These perpetrators must be found and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!  Justice must be swift especially for child killers! However, I am happy and encouraged that running the race, marathon runners start running to Massachusetts General hospital to donate blood.  See, that’s the good in humanity overshadowing the terrorists.  Finally, the bomb must be reconstructed and reconnaissance retrieved in order to ensure that this attach doesn’t happen again.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Countdown to Fashion Week Cleveland 2013

I am very giddy with excitement to book my downtown Cleveland Hampton Inn room for Fashion Week Cleveland.  I’ll be back in my hometown from May 9th through May 13th. I think that I have my fashion week wardrobe assembled because today I’ve gone shopping at CUSP Georgetown, Nordstrom Tysons and downtown H and M.  First, I print the 20% off CUSP coupon, hail the circulator and enter CUSP. Immediately I love the 7 for All Mankind gold snakeskin print jeans (and they are size 31!) and the red Velvet strapless maxi.  I am extremely happy that even the sale is 20% off.  I return home, check the WMATA schedule, then walk to McPherson Square metro.  I board the orange line for Dunn Loring to transfer to the 2C…only to see the both the 2C and 401 come 3 minutes early forcing to pay $10 for a cab ride (Of course, I’ve filed a complaint because even with the long light I would’ve made it.). 
Since I already have the Alice+Olivia floral jeans and I’ve bought a new pair of jeans, I’ve written the Ted Baker London ones off of my list focusing only on the floral dress.  I go to the dressing room where it fits so I buy it.  Next I walk into Via C where I meet the saleswoman who’s held the Alice + Olivia leopard print trench coat.  Wearing black t-shirt and gold Stuart Weitzman Itsybitsy sandals, the trench coat perfectly complements my look; but, at $478 it probably costs as much as my Cleveland room (it is $450 for a 4-night stay.). I return it to the rack and proceed to the Coastal Flats for lunch.

Ted Baker London

The shrimp and crab appetizer and shrimp roll sandwich and fries are yummy! The portion sizes are very big making me carry the sandwich home. Also I make the waiter pack my food because that’s what I pay him.  I don’t wrap my own food because I am the patron. 

Crab and Shrimp Appetizer

Shrimp Roll Sandwich and Fries

Next I travel to H and M to buy the rainforest maxi and shirt dresses.  Since the Tysons Corner location is sold out of the sateen floral capris, I’ve traveled to the downtown DC store to get them.  Finally, I buy the Express purple maxi dress.  All of these floral dresses and this being spring make me think that I have already have my fashion week Cleveland wardrobe.

Express purple floral maxi dress

H and M Rainforest Shift Dress

H and M Rainforest Maxi Dress

The Week That Was

It hit me like a load of bricks to learn earlier this morning that one of my grade-school friends died of hypertension and high blood pressure at age 36! This discovery has angered me so much that it has taken me some time to calm down because I almost curse! I am 35 and cannot envision myself dying over other people’s mess. All along I’m thinking that she is doing well in Los Angeles managing a fashion brand and she dies.  I’m here in DC, in the nation’s capital, and am not letting any of the stress get to me.  I thank God for friends and my mother for instilling oatmeal for breakfast for low cholesterol because I am not going to be her!
            On a much happier note, this Thursday I attended my Hiram College DC alumni chapter event at the Rayburn Office Building.  Though I arrived late I still had a seat.  The two women were very knowledgeable and motivated me to pursue my doctorate in either economics or business administration (My other grade school friend getting accepted into Harvard doctoral education program was very big, too).  The session was very informal with the panel touching upon everything.  Though I agreed with most of the stuff, I thought that the panel underestimated the anti-illegal immigration part. Illegal still meant something. If I committed a crime I would be incarcerated and a felon stripped of my voting rights.  That ain’t passing until legal and illegal immigration were separated.
            After the panel, I walked to Charlie Palmer steakhouse. Even with a blistering headache, I managed to order salmon and the best dessert I ever tasted.  Below was the sorbet and frozen custard. It was the best.  

The ride home not so much because the raggedy cabbie ran the meter up on me because I was a woman and refused a tip. I called and emailed my DC Taxi Commission complaint. I didn’t owe him anything!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Off to a Running Start with PMP Exam Prep Study

            I’ve scored 63.81% on the Rita Mulachy PMP practice exams.  Though it’s enough to pass the real PMP exam, I need to reread chapters 6,7,9,11 and 12.  Just answering 5 more correctly for each chapter buoys my score up to 70%.  My ultimate goal is to score 80% by June 1st which is quite realistic.  Later this afternoon I’ve completed Ed2Go PMP Certification 1 quiz 7 covering sections 5.1 and 5.2. After passing the quiz, an idea pops into my mind: start writing down the corresponding PMBOK sections with every lesson then my notebook will be in chronological order. Brilliant I know!  After completing this class, writing down all of the RMC practice exam wrong answers, and completing the Wiley company book PMP practice D exam, I will submit my PMP certification application.  By then I will have one year on the job, assigned at least three projects and read ½ of the PMBOK.  

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Back to Studying for my Project Management Professional Certification with a Bang!

            I have hunkered down completing all 407 Rita Mulachy Project Management Professional (PMP) study guide today because I will pass the exam on my first try.  Tomorrow I will score it.  My baseline is scoring at least 75%.  If I score this high, then I will cut my timetable from late June to early June.  Earning my PMP certification enhances my competitive advantage against all other competitors.  Though I am working full-time with a promotion on the horizon, I am taking full advantage of this government sequester to increase my personal stock.  Though I may’ve entered without a PMP, once it’s lifted I will have it.  Combining my newly acquired certification with my MBA and 10 years of business experience and I’ll blow the competition out of the water!
            Adding to the camaraderie, one of my former bosses, comment on Facebook that she’s going for her PMP, too.  I love when people better themselves.  I feel that when people go to school or apply themselves, they want to do better.  The same with one of my high school friend’s nephew who is a second year medical student enrolled at Meharry Medical College.  He will graduate next year then start his residency. These stories motivate me to keep grinding working towards my certification because I will get it! 

Monday, April 08, 2013

Cherry Blossoms at the US Capitol

During the first day of spring here in Washington, DC, I took time off during my lunch break to walk to the US Capitol building and snap some more cherry blossom photos. I enjoy the breeze, weather and scenery.  Enjoy!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

2013 Washington DC Cherry Blossoms in Bloom

This Sunday I enjoyed the balmy DC spring weather. While strolling down DuPont and Scott Circles, I started snapping cherry blossoms trees in bloom.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Maya Angelou's Mom and Me and Mom Book Review

            Though this is Angelou’s seventh autobiography but it’s the first time delving into the complex relationship between she and her mother, Vivian Baxter. This book chronicles their 60-year relationship from California to New York City to Europe to Winston-Salem and Baxter’s impact upon Maya as an adult. After divorcing her father sent Maya and her older brother, Bailey, to love with their paternal grandmother in Stamps, Arkansas, for 10 years. Upon returning to California Maya was filled with so much rage that for the first two weeks she didn’t even address Vivian.  The day her grandmother was leaving for Arkansas, she asked Maya how she would address Vivian. Maya replied’ Lady’. The title stuck. Maya wouldn’t call Vivian ‘mother’ until she helped Maya deliver her son, Guy.
            Mom & Me & Mom differs from all of her other autobiographies because of its referential tone.  Having read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings there’s a difference.  Even having celebrated her 85th birthday this past April 4th, Angelou writes as if she, too, is still learning the lessons that Lady dispensed. Mom & Me & Mom showcases Lady’s evolution from reluctant mother, thug and gambler parlor manager to warm, loving, matriarch not just of her family but the entire Stockton, California community.  In the beginning, when Maya was abused by a boyfriend, Lady used her underworld connections to find him.  Later in life when a Stockton city employee arrived on her doorstep telling her about a family forced to sleep in their car, Lady allowed them to shop her garage full of donated clothing and shower in her house.  The city honored her with a commemorative plaque for her charity.
This is what makes Mom & Me & Mom so memorable because it espouses the importance of her parents must change their style once their children reach adulthood. Angelou admits that Lade ways a horrible mother as a child but a magnificent one as a woman. Whether or not your child is a superstar or note, it serves as a map on how to navigate those murky waters. 

Nordstrom Tysons Corner Stuart Weitzman Spring Trunk Show

            Checking out Facebook this morning telling people Good Morning before traveling to my Bits of Thread class, I see that Nordstrom Tysons Corner will have a Stuart Weitzman spring trunk show from 10am to 5pm.  Thankful that I don’t have anything else after my class, I rearrange my schedule to include it.  I love Stuart Weitzman because I have narrow feet.  This is the best designer ever!  It also helps that the metro isn’t doing weekend track work. This allows everyone to get to where they need to be. I arrive at Dunn Loring metro station, hail a cab to Tysons Corner arriving at Nordstrom.  Riding up three escalators to the Salon Shoes section, the department has two tables full of Stuart Weitzman merchandise. This is nirvana!  I meet the trunk show representative who is nice and courteous.  She compliments me on my Prada sandals but I tell her that these are Stuart Weitzman silver Itsybitsy sandals (I have to dress for the occasion especially since it is warming up this weekend.). Below is one of the tables showcasing the jellies and my silver Itsybitsy sandals.

Stuart Weitzman spring trunk show offerings

Friday, April 05, 2013

Marvin Restaurant Boulioubasse Moule Frites Review

            Feeling restless I walked to Marvin restaurant near the intersection of 14th and U streets NW.  On a hunch I asked the waitress about the boulioubasse moule frites. She said that it was very good.  Her recommendation didn’t disappoint because I loved the shrimp, crab meat, and mussels and scallops.  The boulioubasse was so filling that I could not eat my moule frites (French fries). That meal was definitely a winner! Here was a photo:

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Honoring Dr. Maya Angelou and Commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King's Assassination

            Today commemorates the 45th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee by James Earl Ray.  It is amazing how much racial progress has been made since 1968.  America has a black president, school desegregation, you can shop, live, eat and play anywhere you want.
            It is also Dr. Maya Angelou’s 85th birthday.  She is a national treasure for her civil rights advocacy and poetry. Her grace and perseverance in the midst of overt segregation is honorable. She has survived and thrived and if I get to be 85, I would want to accomplish the same level of success. 

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Making Reality TV a Reality

             The WIFV DC reality programming event is insightful.  There are Food Network and Cooking Channel producers on the panel.  A little backstory: Food Network is the parent station. It owns the Cooking Channel which will be 3 years old this May 31st (I still miss the Fine Living Channel). The Food Network is purely entertainment with food serving as the platform. Conversely, the Cooking Channel is the hipper station catering to 20 and 30 year olds.  In addition, the Cooking Channel has converted some webisodes (Bitchin’ Kitchen) into TV shows.  The panel admitted that Bitchin’ Kitchen is too edgy for its more mature Food Network clientele. 
            This event has taught me so much about gaining traction and creating a following.  Everyone is saying the importance of marketing your uniqueness on multiple platforms.  TV is the ‘second screen’ because a number of consumers watch their TV elsewhere besides a screen.  The problem with web content is that it is unedited and niche.  Regardless of format, having a great story is the biggest selling point.  I’ll keep working on my craft by enrolling in the Writer Center’s How to Write A Lot course in two weeks.
            There is only one downside: all of these pushy vegans!  Even when the Food Network executive tells them that vegan audience isn’t wide enough for advertising, people still keep asking about writing TV pilots.  Over 90% of the world eats meat! Next, I am so tired of these people that I run out of the meeting straight to the downtown DC Palm Steakhouse where I order the Prime Steak Burger. 

Palm Steakhouse Prime Steak Burger with Bleu Cheese and French Fries

Suck it vegans!