How to Deal With Office Potlucks

A lot of people out here just aren’t clean. I’m a germaphobe. I try my best to avoid office potlucks. I’m iffy about people that I know personally. Why would I eat something at a potluck? No thanks.

Potlucks usually happen at work, school, church, or other group settings and I almost always find an excuse to miss out. I’ll stop by and chit chat but if you bring something from your house, don’t expect me to eat that. 

When I had to host the annual potluck at one of my old jobs, I would get most of it catered and ask people to bring sides. Guess who never ate the sides that didn’t come with the food that I ordered... 

If you’re like me and potlucks just aren’t your cup of tea, here are some tips on how to get through them: 

Bring Something For Yourself 

This is number one for a reason. You gotta eat. Bring something that you like and focus on that. I went to a cookout once and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to eat much since I don’t eat pork or red meat. I brought potato salad from Food Lion, ate chips, and a couple of rolls. That was good enough for me. Volunteer to bring what’s good enough for you. 

Make Your Own Plans

This sounds terrible but that’s your business. Instead of having to explain why you don’t want to try Sharon’s green bean casserole because she barely washes her hands, just don’t go. Some reasonable excuses are, “I can’t make it, I have a meeting, “ or “I brought my lunch and I really need to finish this project.” If you’re really bold, simply say, “Thanks for the invite, but I don’t do potlucks.” 

Get There Early 

If you’re a little more trusting with the food selection but still on the fence, be one of the first ones in line. You’ll get to see who brought what and act accordingly. You’ll also get to make your plate before everything gets picked over.

Spare Other’s Feelings

So let’s say you do decide to try Sharon’s green bean casserole and it’s disgusting, you don’t have to run and tell everyone. It’s just a simple gathering, it’s not like she’s your personal chef. Whenever you go to a potluck, people who cook are gonna wanna know what you think. Just say something sweet to keep the peace and go on your way. Next time, if it’s trash, skip over it and go to the next dish. 

Good luck as you navigate through potlucks this holiday season. And don’t bother sending me an invitation because I’m not coming. 

Ghosting Etiquette

If you’re reading this you’ve probably been ghosted, ghosted someone, or know someone who’s been ghosted. If not, and you’re wondering what “ghosting” even means, it’s exactly how it sounds. Ghosting is basically talking to or dating someone then disappearing. It may sound strange but trust me, it happens a lot. 

Why? I think it happens because people simply don’t know how to communicate their feelings. It’s hard to tell someone you’re not interested after you’ve been on a date or two. But it’s necessary. You can’t just leave people hanging. Especially if you’ve met them in person. 

In my honest opinion, if you meet someone through a dating app and you’ve never actually met in person, it’s fair game. The person you’re chatting with may or may not even been who they say they are. However, if you’ve actually gone on a date and decide it’s not the right fit, you owe it to that person to at least say, “Sorry, but this isn’t for me. 

We live in a world where people hide from interpersonal interactions yet we’re glued to our phones. If you’ve lost interest in dating someone, teling them is hard, but dealing with what could happen without an explanation can be worse. Also, it’s not what you say but how you say it. Try your best to be kind and break it to them easy. No one wants to be rejected. On the other hand, you never know, that person might not be into you either! Then maybe the two of you can still be friends.

If you reaize the person that you are interested has officially ghosted you, try not to take it personal. .

Here are some tips to help deal with being ghosted:

  1. Move On: You met a great person. You really hit it off and you figured the feelings were mutual. Obviously they weren’t. What can you do? You can’t make anyone care about you. Hold your head up and keep it moving. If you start blowing up their phone, or trying to convince them that they made the wrong decision, the only thing you’re actually doing is pushing them further away.

  2. Keep Dating: More than likely if you were ghosted, it was by someone you weren’t in a relationship with. Also, if you ghost someone who’s your “exclusive” partner, you’re a terrible person. There’s no rule that you have to be loyal to someone who isn’t loyal to you. It didn’t work out with one, guess what, there’s more out there! Dress up and go out with your friends! And post the best selfies and stories you can take because the ghoster is probably still going to creep on your page. 

  3. Don’t Pass It On: Being ghosted is not a good feeling. So don’t do it to others. The next time you’re in a situation and you realize you’re no longer, interested, let that person know. Being honest is the best way to go, no matter how hard the truth is. . 

My only advice for someone who’s still thinking about ghosting someone is this - don’t do it. 

What are your thoughts on ghosting? How does being ghosted make you feel? Have you ever ghosted someone? I’m curious to hear about your experiences.

How I Relax After Work

When I turn my alarm off in the mornings, I’m already thinking about how great it will feel to get back in the bed after work. Once reality sets in, I start planning my day. Do I have to go to any meetings? Am I scheduled to work late? What do I need to be mindful of and try to accomplish today? So many things cross my mind as I get up to make each day better than the last. The most important thing on my mind, though? What do I have planned when I leave work?

The way my schedule is set up, it could be anything. Working an extra shift. Going to a meeting. Out with friends. A date. Volunteering. Running errands. An event. The possibilities are endless. But if I had to pick my idea of a day of relaxation after work, it would go a little something like this…

First, I would grab something to eat. Doesn’t matter, just whatever I have a taste for. My go-to spots whenever I really want a good meal are Showmars, Zaxby’s, Sabor, Chick-Fil-A, Viva Chicken, or Cookout. Judge me if you wish. I’d get it to go unless I have someone to go out to eat with. Then I’d go home and change into an oversized t-shirt and leggings or sweatpants. What feels better than taking your bra off after work? Not a lot. Once I’m comfortable, relax in front of the TV to enjoy my meal and maybe a glass of wine. By this time, I’ve got the itis, so I take a nap. Who cares if it messes up my sleep pattern later on that night? This is about me and what I like to do.

I try to limit myself to about a 30-45 minute nap though, just to be on the safe side. Then I wake up, and catch up on whatever show I’m watching. Right now I’m watching Married at First Sight and Queen Sugar. I’m also patiently waiting for the new season of This Is Us. Then I’d spend the rest of the night doing something for ME.

It could be reading, writing, painting, doing my nails, or watching a movie. Any activity that simply makes me happy.

When you think about it, we’re usually on other people’s time. It’s important to make time for ourselves. I feel like I rarely get the opportunity to do what I want to do. So when I do, I make the most of it.

If you have vacation time, use it. If life has you down and you need a personal day, take one. Self care isn’t just a hashtag or something to joke about. It’s serious and much needed for all of us. We’re all human. And every now and then, we all need to take a break.

30 Things I Learned in 30 Years

In honor of my birthday, I decided to make a list of 30 things that I’ve learned in the last 30 years. I’m an avid learner who loves making lists. I’ve learned a lot and I strive to learn something new each day. These just happened to be the things that came to mind first. Cheers to more years and more learning!

  1. People change. In positive and negative ways.

  2. Forgiveness is hard but it’s necessary.

  3. Family is EVERYTHING.

  4. Good is just not in some people.

  5. Not everyone wants to be happy. And we all have different definitions of happiness.

  6. People treat you better depending on how much money you have and how you look.

  7. You should always strive to make a good first impression.

  8. Sometimes you just have to say what’s on your mind.

  9. Other times, it’s best to not even respond.

  10. You won’t remember the names of some of the people who pissed you off.

  11. College is not a magical world with “Mr. Rights” and it doesn’t get much better once you graduate either.

  12. Speaking of which, your instincts when it comes to men, are usually 99.99% accurate.

  13. There is power in spending a couple hours over a brunch and mimosas with your girls. If you’re lucky enough to have a group of women as a support system.

  14. Dance like nobody's watching. People around you are probably drunk and not paying attention anyway.

  15. There’s no such thing as being overdressed or overeducated.

  16. Being an adult is not as fun as being young and in college.

  17. Save your money! You don’t have to buy everything you like.

  18. Put yourself first. Everyone else seems to be doing the same thing.

  19. Half of the time when you talk to people, they’re not listening. They‘re simply waiting for you to shutup so they can carry on.

  20. Things that mattered so much in middle school and high school are minor once you grow up.

  21. Sometimes you have to cut ties with friends and family members.

  22. When a man is truly interested, you won’t have to question his intentions.

  23. You can’t please everyone. So don’t stress yourself out about it.

  24. Not everyone is going to love you work. They may hate it and that’s fine.

  25. Everyone makes mistakes. You will too. Forgive others and forgive yourself.

  26. There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun. Just don’t get carried away.

  27. You regret the things you don’t do, more than you regret the things you did.

  28. Coworkers are just coworkers. When you leave a job, you will be replaced and life goes on.

  29. You shouldn’t have to pretend to like people. Especially if you’re not getting paid.

  30. Being intentional about how you spend your time is crucial. It will help you to make each day count.

Are any of these learning lessons on your list?

Charlotte Restaurant Week

Can you believe I’m a Charlotte native and I’ve never been to Charlotte Restaurant Week? I can’t believe it either. Charlotte Restaurant Week is also known as Queen’s Feast. Participating restaurants offer a prix fixe menu for either $30 or $35 per person. It’s a great way to try something new at a cheaper price.

It was hard to pick a restaurant. So I narrowed it down to 10, then developed a top 5. I landed on McCormick and Schmick’s. It was already on my long list of dining spots to try. I ordered the crispy coconut shrimp, crab and shrimp stuffed salmon, and the peanut butter pie.

The vibe was relaxed and romantic. I loved the decor and lighting. The service was nice as well and I appreciated the valet parking. If you’re familiar with Charlotte, you know parking uptown can be a pain.

The appetizer was delicious. I wasn’t a fan of the salsa with the shrimp, but the shrimp was just right. The salmon wasn’t over-cooked. I would have liked it more if it had been cooked a little more. I focused on the stuffing and the sides - mashed potatoes and veggies. Surprisingly, I had enough room for dessert. The peanut butter pie was the perfect ending to a delicious meal.

Where should I go for the next Charlotte Restaurant Week?

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True Life: I Love Giving Career Advice

A student that I work with, reached out to me about a class assignment. She said she had to contact people that she admires for career advice after graduation. This is my email to her:

Hi Ashley!

Here's a list of 10 things are important to keep in mind after you graduate and start your career:

1. Don't get discouraged if you receive a rejection email about a job. It happens, but you have to keep pushing. 

2. Don't stop looking for a job. Even when you find a job you like, always be open to better opportunities.

3. When people gossip at work, don't join them. You may think someone is your friend, but you just work together. You can't trust everyone.

4. Always do extra work. If someone needs to come in early, stay late, volunteer, do it if you can. That way when something comes up and you absolutely can't, it doesn't look as bad. 

5. Dress to impress. You can never be overdressed or overeducated. Your coworkers may come in looking like they’re going to Walmart, but you go in and work it! Make them want to dress better and look like you. 

6. If your goal is to be promoted at your job, and it doesn't happen within 2 to 3 years, start looking for another one. Keep the next level in mind but if they give it to someone else, that means you have to work harder and move on to something greater. 

7. Don't stress yourself out over a job. If it's affecting you mentally, take extra time to focus on self-care and ways to deal. And also, job search. As soon as you leave a job, they're just going to post the opening on the career page. Don't give them too much of your energy to the point that it drains you.

8. Take your vacation and sick time! It's there to be used, so use it!

9. Make the effort to take time for yourself. Once you start working 40 hours a week, you'll realize that you see your coworkers more than anyone else. So make time for you, your family, and your friends. 

10. Take all the classes, training workshops, and professional development sessions that you can, especially if it's free. It's always good to learn more and if there's a certification involved, you can add that to your resume. Speaking of, make sure that it's always ready to be sent out, and that your LinkedIn page is on point. Business cards are good to have, too. 

You got this! I'm always here if you need advice, help with a resume, or a job reference :-) 

Art Museum Etiquette

Anyone who knows me knows that I love art. I started calling myself an artist in middle school. I’ve always enjoyed drawing, coloring, and painting. In eighth grade, I got really into it because I won two art contests. By the time I got to high school, I was painting almost every day after school. During my senior year, I took AP Art History, which ended up being my favorite class. That’s when I gained a better understanding of art and learned to appreciate it.

In my free time, I like going to art museums. Whenever I travel, in addition to finding a spot with the best wings and fries, I set my sights on checking out a new museum. Attending art events and viewing exhibits are exciting to me because no matter what, I learn something new. Most importantly, I’m inspired to develop my own craft.

If you’re like me and enjoy visiting museums, or if you’re wanting to discover more about art in your area, here are a few tips on art museum etiquette.

  1. Don’t Touch the Art:

    This is number one at any museum. Would you want people putting their hands on something you worked hard on? Keep your hands to yourself.

  2. Show Your Support:

    If you find an artist that you like, keep up with them! Visit their website to view more of their work and make a purchase if you find something you like. It’s also great to become a member of your local museum. You’ll get updates on exclusive events and specials all while supporting the community.

  3. No Pictures:

    Always ask before taking photos. I remember not being able to take pictures at all at museums. Now with social media, a lot of museums encourage more interaction. Be sure to ask just in case.

  4. Monitor Your Feedback:

    If you see a piece that you think is hideous, be careful who you tell. A few years ago, I went to an exhibit and the artist was standing right beside me. I was happy because I love her work and it was an honor to let her know that in person right in front of my favorite piece. Can you imagine how awkward that situation would have been if I had said something rude about her work not knowing who she was?

What are your favorite museums to visit? Got any recommendations? Add them in the comments!

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Ten More Fun Facts About Me

I’m back! It’s been a while. So much has happened in the last few months. It’s a new year and I’m ready to start new journeys, accomplish more goals, and simply enjoy life and all of my blessings!

Last year I launched my blog with ten fun facts about me. I decided to share ten more as I prepare to get back to writing in 2019! So here goes…

  1. In high school, I completed three Explorer’s Programs (basically internships) during my junior and senior year.

  2. I’m a member of the Urban League of Central Carolinas Young Professionals Auxiliary.

  3. I’ve never been out of the country. But I’m hoping that will change soon.

  4. I still order kids meals! Unless it states on the menu that you HAVE to be under a certain age.

  5. I won first place in two art contests when I was 13.

  6. I have a small circle of friends that I keep in contact with on a regular basis.

  7. I hate germs. I keep hand sanitizer and wipes on me at all times.

  8. My favorite ice cream is butter pecan.

  9. I paint my nails at least twice a week. I can’t stand chipped nails so I try to keep them up.

  10. If I won the lottery… WHEN I win the lottery, the first thing I’m going to do is take a two week vacation in Paris.

What else do you want to know? Stay tuned for future blog posts!

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Plan It For The Gram

I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase, “Do It For The Gram.” Many IG users can do just that. Take a quick pic and post without much thought. I’m not one of those users. 

First of all, I’m a perfectionist. I overthink overthinking. I’m working on it. I promise. I have a layout that I’m really liking so far. So I have to plan! Plus I love planning so it works for me. 

When it comes time to post something on my social media, I can’t stand it when I don’t have anything prepared. The occasional spontaneous post is cool but I’d rather have something scheduled. Did I mention I do social media for a living? Based on my experience social media is all about strategy.

I have a mini notebook where I draw up a grid and write down ideas for my layout on my feed. I also do what I like to call, content photoshoots. I pick out outfits, hairstyles, and locations for my best friend/favorite iPhone photographer Nina and I to go out and get the best pictures we can get.

The first time we did a photo shoot, I put together five different looks. I used those pictures for content throughout the next seven months! The only thing I had to worry about was crafting the perfect caption. 

Planning for the gram saves a lot of time and it’s a lot of fun. I highly recommended it to anyone working on their personal brand.  

So when you see me @parissmichelle, like it and know I probably spend a lot of time on it.

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How to Deal With Coworkers You Don’t Like

Can you think of a coworker that you don’t like? I bet you can name more than one. We don’t always get to pick who we work with. If there’s someone on the team that isn’t a joy to be around, we have to learn how to deal with it. Sometimes, this is even harder than work itself. Here are a few tips that I recommend to get through it.


Find the Silver Lining

Focus on something that you DO like about that person. I know. You probably can’t imagine anything decent about your work enemy. It doesn’t have to be work related, it could be something simple. So and so wears really nice glasses. So and so doesn’t smack when they chew. So and so always brings snacks. Even if you have to dig deep, find a nice quality to think about when you see that person instead of thinking about all the things that annoy you.

Avoidance

This may sound silly to some but just avoid that person. Don’t make it obvious but if your least favorite colleague has lunch in the breakroom every day at noon, try going at 1:00. You’re going to have to be around that person regardless, so try to find some time away.

Be Prepared

Depending on your reasoning for not liking your coworker, be ready for whatever comes up. If that person constantly talks about politics and you’re not trying to engage in the conversation, have a plan to change the subject. If you’re working with a Negative Nancy, be ready to offer some positivity.

Don’t Tell Everyone

If a certain coworker is the reason for your eyerolls and sighs during the day, it doesn’t need to be broadcasted. You may think you can trust your work friends to keep it a secret, but you never know. You don’t want to risk a public feud with someone that you have to deal with everyday.

Keep Your Cool

Often times, when someone realizes that you don’t like them, they try to make you hate them. If you’re not receptive to certain people, they may get defensive and work even harder to get on your nerves. Don’t allow these types of people to bring you down to their level. No matter what they do to get at you, think before you react.

I have a lot of experience working with coworkers who just were not my favorite people. It’s hard but it gets easier. Whenever it gets tough, I remind myself that I’m getting paid! In the end it’s always best to keep peace in the office. Your reputation will follow you throughout your career. Make sure that what people are saying is good for business no matter where you work or where your next opportunity takes you.

How do you deal with coworkers that you don’t like?

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Summer Recap

Consistency is important to me. I know I haven't been consistent lately with my posts, it's been a busy summer. Let's catch up!

Girls Trip

First of all, I finally made it to New Orleans for the 2018 Essence Festival! This has been on my to-do list for years. I've always wanted to visit NOLA and experience the culture, food, music, and art. I went with a group of friends from college. It was amazing! I would love to go back.

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Etiquette Certification

I made it official. I'm a proud graduate of the American School of Protocol! This has also been on my to-do list for a while. I spent a week in Atlanta and earned my certificate in Corporate Etiquette Training. I learned a lot. It was a wonderful experience. 

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BDAY

I'm a year older! I celebrated my 29th birthday in August. I kept it lowkey this year. As always, it is a blessing to see another year! 

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Ode to Canva

Canva is a free graphic design app that I recommend to anyone for anything. Especially those who do marketing. I manage social media channels and I’m always looking for new ways to promote things online. I started using Canva last summer for Instagram posts and to promote my brand. Little did I know, Canva is great for literally everything.

Whenever I search for templates, I’m blown away. You can create invitations, brochures, invoices, coupons, web banners, posters, and more! I promise you, whatever type of graphic design needs you have, Canva will become one of your best friends. It’s definitely one of mine.

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What Are You Gonna Do After Graduation?

Anyone who’s made it to the finish line has heard this question way too many times. What are you gonna do after graduation? Well, I wanna pass my finals first to make sure it's still a go. Then after that, I’m going to get my outfit together, decorate my cap, get extra tickets for my family, make a hair appointment, get my nails done, put in about fifty more applications, pack my stuff to go home and pray that I get an interview. But after graduation… I’m not sure yet.

I understand it's a general question, but it's not easy. People don’t just graduate one weekend and start a career the following weekday. That would be ideal. But does that happen for everyone? Nope.

When I was in college, I always imagined that I would start my career right away. I’m a hard worker, so I figured employers would be blowing my phone up. It got to the point where I dreaded talking to people about my plans because I knew what they were going to ask. I didn’t know how to respond. Nothing was certain other than the fact that I was moving back home. 

My point is, we all have ideas for what we want. Sometimes those ideas are replaced with reality. There’s nothing wrong with asking someone about their next move. I've chosen to let people tell me because I’ve been there. 

Also, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. There’s a big difference in, "Congrats! What's the next step?" and "Wait, so what did you get your degree in? Oh. Now, what exactly do you think you’re going to be able to do with that?" Pause for a second and read them both out loud. See what I mean?

To all of the students working hard and preparing to walk the stage, I wish you nothing but the best! If I see you out in public, you don’t have to worry about me being one more person asking you what you’re going to do after graduation. Just continue to work hard, have faith and everything is going to work out for you! And if you ever need any advice on getting through it, I got you. 

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First Appearance on Charlotte Today

I visited Charlotte Today to talk about video resumes! This was my first interview about my services. Colleen and Eugene are so nice, they along with the entire staff made me feel welcomed. I was a little nervous, until I sat down on the couch. When it was my time to go on set, I knew I had to just do it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 

P.S. The dress is from Rent the Runway! 

Beyonce is the Queen of Marketing and Social Media

First of all, this is not an opinion post. This is a fact. And just like Beyonce, I can back it up. I was Beyhive before there was such a thing. I’m going to sound biased but I can't help it. You ready?

You know when you’re not paying attention and suddenly something catches your eye and you have to do a double take? I think most of us experience that when we see a new post by Beyonce. Queen Bey has single-handedly taken over Instagram with over 114 million followers. Who else is out here posting gorgeous videos that highlight the whole outfit, the nails, hand jewelry, hair, makeup, and accessories? Whenever I see a new one, I’m inspired to create one but I just don't want to put that much pressure on myself. Whether its a recap video of her latest outfit, an adorable picture of Blue or a date with Jay, she stops us in our tracks and dominates our timeline.

Beyonce has always been a very calculated celebrity. She makes moves with so much grace yet causes the most commotion with whatever she does. When Beyonce dropped her self-titled album, I almost couldn’t sleep. My friends and I had been waiting for her to release a new single. Instead, she gave us more than that without warning. No teasers. No promotion. No nothing. The album sold 828,773 copies within the first few days. 

In a world where everyone is doing the same thing, sometimes you have to think outside of the box and do something different. Beyonce has mastered the element of surprise and keeps her fans and her haters guessing. She doesn’t do interviews. She doesn’t talk about what she’s going to do. She just does it. And I love it!

Beyonce has won numerous awards and broken several records. Most recently, she made history by being the first black woman to headline Coachella. I’m not gonna lie, when she first appeared on that stage, I shed a few tears. I knew greatness was about to happen. Still, I was SHOOK. You can never be fully prepared for a Beyonce performance. Beychella was EVERYTHING. Honestly, that’s the best way for me to sum it up. I was speechless. I’m so glad that I took a nap so that I could wake up at 2 a.m. to witness it!

I’ve been a Beyonce fan since Destiny’s Child. As someone who works in marketing and social media, I admire her creativity, work ethic, and loyalty to her fans. I’ve followed her career for years. I keep track of her moves because she inspires me. I know she puts in long hours with her team thinking of ways to promote her brand. And they win every single time. Someone should start a Beyonce marketing class. I’d be the first to register.

How to Take a Professional Profile Picture

People can tell a lot about you by your profile picture. Sure, it’s not cool to judge a book by its cover, but it happens. If your profile picture shows you with a group of friends drunk, with your tongue sticking out, or sticking up your middle finger, what will a hiring manager think?

I can tell you what they won’t think. They won't think you’re the perfect candidate for the job. It’s not fair, I know, but would you hire someone with a suggestive profile picture for a job?

We all have our own personal lives outside of the office but that’s where privacy settings and Snapchat come in handy. Don’t put everything out there for people to see. Why does it matter? Believe it or not, people will look you up. They check out your online presence before you’re hired. They check when you get hired and they may even try to be nosey enough to see what you’re up to when you leave. Don’t give people something negative to talk about.

Here are a few tips on taking a professional profile picture:

Dress Professionally

If you’re going to take a professional photo, wear a professional outfit. You don’t have to look like you’re going on an interview or to the royal wedding but look your best.

Smile

Who wants to work with someone who looks miserable and unapproachable? A smile will show people that you are friendly and open to new opportunities.

Quality is Key

You don’t have to use a professional camera but make sure it's a clear photo. Posting a blurry photo shows you didn’t care enough to take the time to take a decent one.

Be Yourself

I get the whole fake it until you make it, but not for this. If you’re trying to be something you’re not, you run the risk of it coming through in your photo. Be your authentic self and hope for the best!

 

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I Participated in the Junior League of Charlotte’s Little Black Dress Initiative

Junior League of Charlotte hosted its annual Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) February 26 through March 2. The purpose of LBDI is to raise awareness about poverty’s effects on children and families in our community. The fundraising goal was set at $60,000.

I heard about LBDI through their Instagram. Since participation was open to Junior League members and the general public, I decided to give it a try! I felt that this would be a great way to support the community by raising money and awareness for a great cause.

In preparation for LBDI, I found a black dress to wear for five days and thought about ways to accessorize. I also practiced what to say when people inquired about the campaign since participants were encouraged to wear an “Ask Me About My Dress” pin.

People asked how I felt about wearing the same dress and to honest, it really hit me the fourth day. By then I felt like I needed to wash it and it already needed to be ironed after the first day. But I didn't do anything to the dress. Why? Because people who are living in poverty can't just wash or iron clothing at ease. They have to make do with what they have, and that’s what I did.

Since this was my first time participating, I set my goal at $200. I only raised $145 but I gained a new understanding of poverty in the city of Charlotte.

Here are a few facts that I used in posts to encourage donations:

  • 50,000 children in Charlotte are currently living in poverty

  • Almost 1 in 5 children in Charlotte are currently living in poverty

  • Over 4,000 children in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools are reported homeless

  • 134,000 Charlotteans are living in poverty

The week following the LBDI, I went back to having to plan out outfits for work each day. I had gotten used to wearing the same dress so it felt weird wearing something else at first.

After participating in this campaign, I look at my wardrobe with a new set of eyes. Think about how many times have you found out about an event and said, “I have nothing to wear!” I’m also guilty. But that is a comment that I now know I shouldn’t make. I have enough options to choose from. Wearing the same dress for five days showed me what it truly means to have nothing to wear and limited resources. I’m more grateful for what I have and I’m even more inspired to give back to others. The 2018 LBDI raised a total of $66,425! This was a wonderful experience and I hope to raise money and awareness in the future with the Junior League of Charlotte Little Black Dress Initiative.

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What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

One of the best things about being a child is thinking that your life is going to be perfect. You daydream in class and fantasize about this made up fairy tale. People always ask you, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And you always have an interesting answer because you're young and you've got your whole life ahead of you. Those were the days. 

It's a beautiful thing to hear children talk about their hopes and dreams. It gives you insight on their perspective on life. And for some of us who are still trying to figure out what we want to be when we grow up, it may even give us some new ideas.

When I was growing up, there was always something that I wanted to be. When people asked, I was ready. These are the occupations that I can remember wanting before turning ten years old. Since I'm able to remember them, they must have been the things I wanted to be the most!

The Little Mermaid

At four years old, I was set on being The Little Mermaid. I loved the movies and all of the songs. I had a Little Mermaid t-shirt that I wore all of the time. I thought she was the coolest Disney Princess. 


Fly Girl

Yes, I watched In Living Color when I was a kid. I probably shouldn't have but a lot of jokes didn't register. The only thing I remember was wanting to be like the girls who danced on the show. I just knew that I would be on the set when I grew up in my dope 90's outfit dancing my little heart out.


Ice Skater

I was in awe of ice skaters' elegance and grace on the ice. And the pretty, shiny, glittery outfits, I wanted them all. It looked so much fun to me. I thought of it as the closest thing to being able to fly.

 


Judge

I used to watch Judge Judy every day after school. I admired her because she was straightforward and put her foot down. I guess I thought I would transform into an assertive and witty professional if I too, were a judge. 

By the end of my fourth-grade year, I was set on one career. Writing. I fell in love with writing when I was nine years old. All of my previous career goals vanished once I realized how much I love to write. Even though I decided to go into marketing while I was in college, I will always be a writer first. 

When I think about what I thought I wanted to be as a child, I can't help but laugh at myself. I can't swim, I love to dance but not in public without liquid courage, I don't like ice skating, and it's been years since I've watched court shows.

What did you want to be when you became a grown up?