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




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

            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

Thursday, May 02, 2013

High Fashion Meets High Savings

Yippie! Nordstrom has the Alice + Olivia Charla leopard-print trench coat in large for $317 instead of $478.  The only reason how I learn this is because the Alice + Olivia store is having a 20% off Friends & Family sale.  The company already has the trench coat on sale for $478 so I do a Google search and learn that Nordstrom has it for $317.  Even though I checked before and large was sold out, I check again.  When the site says large, I put this in my cart ASAP! I am saving $161!  The secretary’s words hit me upon buying the coat. When I told her that I wouldn’t buy the trench at Nordstrom Tysons two weeks ago because booking my fashion week Cleveland trip was the priority, She told me that it would be cheaper.  Now it is and I’ll probably receive it by Wednesday, May 1st. I will be rocking it!

Alice + Olivia 'Charla' Leopard-Print Trench Coat

One-Third of 2013 Is Gone. Now What?

The best news of today: I’ve stepped out on faith submitting my PMP.  I thank God that I had the presence of mind to keep my old 2011 PMP application with all of the old reference names and numbers in it else I’d be scrambling.  I pray that PMI approves it either Friday or Monday because I want to board the United plane for Cleveland knowing that I’m approved.  I arrive at this decision because 1/3 of this year is gone and I need to do something; therefore, I apply to sit for the PMP certification exam.  Now it becomes real.  I’ve put it all on the line!
            Earlier this morning I gave our secretary my updated PMP verification spreadsheet because this is what the instructor has used in his course.  Her thanking me makes me realize how much I’ve done on my own.  While she is sitting in a classroom learning from an instructor first, I jumped feet first into the online ed2go project management courses. I took every one then enrolled in the USDA Graduate School PMP exam prep twice in order to pass the CAPM. Now I’ve re-enrolled in the PMP Certification 1 and 2 courses to prepare for the exam. Furthermore, I’ve developed my own certification project summary form streamlining the process.  I’m adamant about making a way out of no way because I won’t be denied anything just because I haven’t tried.
I’m not stopping at PMP either because I’ve been studying for the Project Management Institute- Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) certification test for over one year. I work in disaster management. Agile fits perfectly. I have the Rita Mulachy (RMC) ACP study guide, Fast track software, and several other practice exams.  After resting from the PMP a wee bit, I’ll restart studying for the PMI-ACP by accumulating the 21 credit hours needed to apply for certification.  Since (PMI) is keeping the fourth PMBOK for this test, that’s an added incentive because I don’t have to master the fifth edition. Another bonus is that no one in workplace has PMI-ACP.  The one who does is a contractor and not in the applicant pool. Since this certification is less than 2 years old, I can position myself to be the subject matter expert. I think that I can complete this certification before October 1st.
Finally, I’m considering the business analysis certification because it’s an up-and-coming certification and I possess over 10 years’ experience.  Since it’s gaining currency, I might as well, earn it in order to enhance my competitive advantage. I know that I will complete this around February 2014.