Sista's Video List..."What's Relevant from Sistas in Music"!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"A Fresh Approach to Gourmet Style Meals @Home"

Peace and Blessings!


I hope that all that read this article are well and I thank you for your visit!  I want to share with you a company that offers great solutions for dinner.  I don't know about you but as a mom, wife and a working professional that has a family that is ALWAYS hungry and who happen to be finicky about their selection of food, I am always searching to feed and please everyone which is really exhausting and does not always work.  I was introduced to "plated.com", an online service that delivers to your front door all the ingredients required to cook a chef designed gourmet meal.  So in my mind, my first thought was, "take out that I have to cook"?  I was not exactly a fan of the idea, after all the whole idea about ordering is the convenience and one of those would be not having to prepare and cook meals.  So I decided to do some research, after all it couldn't hurt, I could possibly find an option that would work for my picky family and maybe get a winning response from them.  So I went to the site and did some research and found out that  the process involves you to browse their menu, select dishes that you would like to order, each selection consists of 2 plates, servings sized appropriately for 2 people, and lastly you select your delivery day.  So here I go again thinking, I am curious to know what this would cost, after viewing the selections which are all chef designed and made with fresh, restaurant quality ingredients, I created an account and ordered 4 plates for myself, my husband and our two sons.  So I am at the menu going through the selections and I have to say the navigation to the site is awesome because all selections are categorized by "Land, Sea and Veggie", that's a huge plus for me.  How many times have you gone to a food service site and was lost because the navigation was not user friendly, that would not be the case here.  So far so good and it gets better!  As you are viewing the selections on the menu, to the far right of the screen, there is listed for each selection, the Calories, Type (gluten-free, dairy, etc.), Difficulty (easy, etc.) and Prep-Time.  Basically all details of menu selections are laid out.  I decided to try it and I did.  I created an account and began my order, once the account was created I noticed that there was a profile section, in this section I found it was an area to customize your food selections.  This was highly impressive to me, after all  allergens and diet are a major concern for most people.  Besides I don't know of any online food ordering services or fast food places that give you the option to deselect food choices that may be hazardous to your health. 

The menu choices we selected were the "Chicken Tikka Masala and the Coffee-Rubbed Steak with Roasted Pepper Panzanella"

Our order was scheduled to come to us on Friday, it was promptly delivered in the morning before noon.  We received the package from FedEx with the "PeriShip" sticker ensuring the food remained fresh during the process.  Upon opening the box, all of the food was very cold with enclosed cold paks.  I inventoried all items and they were present as promised with large recipe cards that outline all ingredients and step-by-step preparation instructions. 

My husband and I prepared the Chicken Tikka Masala and my sons prepared the Coffee-Rubbed Steak with Roasted Pepper Panzanella.  Preparation was easy and very true to the instructions.  If you can read and comprehend, anyone can do this.  After successfully completing both recipes, we sat down to eat together and just before eating, I mentioned to my sons, "Hey don't eat yet, I want to take pictures for my blog".  Well I immediately got my answer, my youngest son replied, "Mom, this food is absolutely delicious, I am sorry but I am in way too deep to stop".  So I was only able to get a picture of my plate, as my husband had already dived into his as well. 

I would have to agree with my family, the food was absolutely delicious, the ingredients were fresh and of the chef designed quality.  The preparation and time are true to the recipe cards.  It tasted just like we ordered from a restaurant.  With meals of this quality you can expect to pay at least $35 to 40 per plate, maybe more depending on where you go.  You have the choice of purchasing 2 plates at half the cost of what one plate would cost in a restaurant and that's excluding the tip.  The costs are $12 for members, members are recurring customers that have the option to skip as much as they want who also receive discounts on all plates.  If you do not wish to be a member you can pay $15 ala carte with no commitment.  Either way it's priced at a  good value for the quality.

 Oh did I mention that   each menu selection on the site gives you the name, pic and bio of the chef who designed the selection.  My family would like to shout out to Chef Elana Karp for your amazing "Chicken Tikka Masala".

A special shout out to Chef Suzanne Lehrer for your amazing "Coffee Rubbed Steak with Roasted Pepper Panzanella"

If you like good, fresh, chef designed, restaurant quality food I would highly recommend trying "plated.com"as a  replacement to the not so good tasting fast food or food atrium.  And I have a special message for those of you saying, "I don't want to cook, I just want to order", I ask you why? So you can complain how greasy it is or how whatever you ordered that was cooked fast was not to your satisfaction??  If you are that person, just know if you want food cooked to meet your complete satisfaction, you have to cook it yourself"!!!!

May your journey be peaceful....

Sista



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mean Girl Entertainment....Have we sold out our reality for TV?


Television today is slowly owning up to the epigram of  "Channel Zero", as ingeniously noted in one of Public Enemy's songs, "She Watch Channel Zero", from their acclaimed album released in 1988, "It Takes  A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back,   indicating that we, women,  the folks in front of the television are viewing shows that are creating a brainless society wherein the media is depicting what is acceptable in society. 
Speaking specifically to all the so-called "Reality Television Shows" and soap operas.  I get the whole idea behind reality television which is create an environment that you are watching a person walk through their life and life's challenges, which is truly not reality because in reality none of  us has a camera crew following us around and recording our daily activities and to have certain moments edited with  the end result that we see on television is what the show producers' and network deems as "acceptable viewing" for the demographic watching.   In the minds of the network, the demographic of people watching the show are just a group of numbers, numbers that specify how many of us are watching which is measured as an key point indicator of popularity status.  In entertainment, popularity is everything as it is the creation of a brand that can expand outward to its demographic in the media world, marketing, etc.  To put it in layman's terms, the creation of a brand is a venue of money making opportunities for all that support the brand.  I will give you clear examples, on shows like the "The Real Housewives Of Atlanta", which is the highest rated with viewership amongst the Bravo TV Housewives brand according to Nielsen Ratings, a company that measures the audience size and composition of television programming.  So the ladies of this show all have an entrepreneurial spirit, some more than others.  In particular, Nene Leakes, who before coming to show was working on a career and developing her craft in acting.  Because of her part in the creation of the brand, RHOA, doors of opportunities were opened that were not available before to her. 
Personally, I actually love the idea of these women that have created this brand and the opportunities that promote their skills and talents as well as the opportunity for them to venture into new opportunities.  I have specific concerns with regard to what they project on television.  This show in particular is known and popular for intense drama that involves anything from cursing, hair pulling and fighting in a mannerism that totally demotes the image of these women and the initiatives that they support.  Again, I bring up Ms. Leakes, because she promotes organizations that help women, yet if you tune on Sunday night, she is ring leader of drama and chaos amongst women within her circle.  Its a contradiction of what she supports and represents.  The show has a basic theme of the women making an effort of bonding and building their relationships, but the surprise is that season after season, these women just fight, back stab, are simply just "Mean" to each other which is real life for many women.  These are six beautiful African American woman that have talent and poise, the initial thought of seeing them on television is beautiful because you don't see many African American women in a beautiful way on television and in the movies.  What bothers me is that the behaviors' displayed on this show complete a stereotype of the "African American Woman" as being "ANGRY".  As an African American woman myself, what really amazes me about this show and its success that even though many folks agree with the analogy that I have just presented, yet we all still tune in to see the craziness.  Its mostly due to the shock factor of it all and it works, again, this show is the top rated of the Housewives' brand.  What I would like you to think about reader is that for as intriguing as this show is and shows like this, what are you getting from viewing these shows?  Are you learning or trying to accept their behavior or are you standing in judgment of their behavior?  My point to all of this is while we are literally wasting our time watching this show, an hour out of lives, lives that are not promised or guaranteed to continue tomorrow, couldn't we spend that hour on something that could benefit us, that could uplift who we are and where we want to be in our own lives.  Even better yet could we utilize this time to help someone we know or don't know, maybe in a volunteer situation that may need help.  Time is of the essence to us all because we just don't know how much we have and venues like this may support the people that are a part of this, however it takes away a slice of our own lives and with no reward. 

So for any housewives fans that may read this, I am not throwing any "SHADE" at this ladies and their brand, I am just introducing a choice, one that only you can make for your own life, as I make mine.

May your choices be wise and your journey be peaceful!

Sista

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Book List that..."INSPIRES, RENEWS & CREATES A New You!"

With most folks in their "New Year, New State Of Mind", dealing with how to execute their New Year premonitions, I have a list of books that may be able to help you with on your path to success to fulfill or at least invigorate those premonitions.
 

Since reading Stephen R. Covey's - "Principle Centered Leadership", I have discovered some traits about myself that I never really thought about or analyzed before reading this book.  This book gives a detailed analytic approach into an account of what it takes to lead effectively by utilizing principles. If you are familiar with Stephen Covey's work, you will know another one of his books which is another favorite of mine, "7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the principles that are analyzed in this book are directly related.  So whatever career you are in, looking to get in or business that you are thinking about starting, this is a must read for you.


 
Tyrese Gibson, singer/songwriter, actor, author of "How To Get Out Your Own Way", made the New York Times "best sellers" list in July, 2011.  This book has become one of my favorites as I have read it twice, yes I said twice. Tyrese starts his book out with a powerful prayer that asks for guidance and the ability to discern friends from enemies to create a love circle. I cannot express how much this book touched me.  It offers an account of his journey to getting out of his own way, unblocking his blessings to become what we see today, a successful man who is knowledgeable of self and abilities and is able to clearly discern friends from enemies and has created his "Love Circle".  This book will speak to your emotional side, you will cry, laugh and smile after reading this book.  This book is  a must read for ALL.




For you reader, the one with the entrepreneur mind who dreams of starting your own business but due to all the moving parts of starting a business, such as what type of business, knowing the demographics of your customer, etc. and ultimately how to bring it all together, you should start here.  The team at Entrepreneur Media collaboratively put this book together as a roadmap to start your own business.  They walk you through a series of analytics that will help you to start your own business, the series consists of:  Think, Plan, Fund, Prepare, Buy, Market and Engage, this series contains a roadmap to starting your own business. 
 
 

For the corporate manager or future manager, this book is for you, "The Five Dysfunctions of A Team".  This book's title is pretty self explanatory as it explores the dysfunctional aspects of non-productive teams.  It walks through a series of scenarios and offers various strategies to diffuse the dysfunctional behaviors in a team.  It also preps managers on their mindset in dealing with team members who have issues.  Afterall we all have issues and perfection is not prevalent in humans, so we all have work to do.  I think it is a must read self-help book for people who manage teams of people whether in the corporate workplace or in your own business. 
 
 
 
I enjoyed each of these books and have absorbed a huge amount of information that has help me to evolve and that I refer to from time to time as a refresher.  I hope you they help you too in your journey as you design it.
 
May your journey be peaceful!
 
Sista

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Why I Blog and Why You Should!...INSPIRATION TO LEAD

As a blogger,  an atypical question that people ask from time to time, "Why do you blog"?  Then there are the analogies that they give such as, "What's the point in blogging, everyone is on the internet telling their business, what is there to blog about and whose reading or paying attention anyway?"  Well, I have an answer for all you cynical skeptics that believe that blogging is a waste of time and serves no purpose in today's very connected society through the use of venues such as Blog Spot, WordPress etc. and their counterparts that promote blogging and internet writing and photo-sharing: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. just to name a few.

I started my blog back in 2007 based on my daily experiences working in corporate america and balancing my work and family life.  As my journey continued, I took a bit of a hiatus and stopped blogging.  But then the unexpected happened, my readers, you, reached out to me with NOTHING but compliments and expression of how the experiences that  I shared with them touched their lives.  For me, as a writer and a person who is principle centered,  I felt the need to write once again and offer whatever views from my life's journey that could help, someone, maybe you.  I urge and encourage others as well to sit and think about what inspiration they could offer.  For example, a woman who is a stay at home mom who is focused on primarily caring for her family can offer a lot to the unorganized, folks that are not so experienced in childcare, home-care, etc.  We all have gifts.  Another example would be the person that works at a fast food chain such as McDonald's or Burger King.  They could offer their wealth of knowledge on how to deal with customers and their own personal experience of why they work there, we all have a story of WHY.

I realize that there are many blogs out there in cyberspace, there are many that people will say are similar to mine, but regardless of the similarities, I am still unique, just as others are.  Even though we may write about the similar topics, the difference is in the way we write, spirit that moves us to do what we do and more importantly, how what we write is perceived by you, the reader.  I do not believe that blogging should be competitive though I know there are bloggers out there that do this for a living and their competitive edge is driven by money.   In my opinion, when money is involved with an art form, sometimes the art changes shape, the shape sometimes comes in the form of the person who is at the delivery end of the money.  Let me say this that I make no implication to anyone blogger or any group of bloggers.  This is just my opinion.  My point in saying that is because regardless of money being involved or not, the purpose of why I blog will not change.  I promote only POSITIVE ENERGY, it is who I am, it is what I thrive on and it is specifically why I blog.
I am one of the truest forms of OPTIMISM that may exist in a human being,which is a complete degradation of the typical stereotype that Hollywood and other forms of media would predict for an African American woman, especially one that works in corporate america.  I am that "Elephant" in the room that people will look at strangely but will come to embrace me and my quirkiness and respect me.  This is WHY I BLOG. If I have not reached but one person and have put a smile on your face or given you a reason to reflect upon who you are and what you want to do with your life and your gifts, then I am fulfilled and my mission is complete!

May your journey be peaceful!

Sista

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Beauty On A Budget...Great Shoe Finds For Your Dime!

This article is for anyone who is interested in the satisfying their online shoe retail addiction with cost effective buys that are trending that will not break your budget!  The reviews expressed here are based on my experience as a customer.   Shoes in my opinion are a fashion item that I just cannot get enough of and if you are like me then you will appreciate this review.  Some of you may be or may be not familiar with these sites it intended to provide you with my experience.  This is just another part of a day in the life of Sista!  Please feel free to comment and  send questions!
 
I love Shoes! after all upon meeting someone as they approach you in the street or anywhere the first place most people look at is your face, then seconds just after looking at your face their eyes usually do a scan which ends up ultimately looking at your feet!  Everyone does this, women and men to each other. If you are sitting there saying, I don't scan people and what they have on, you are lying only to yourself! So shoes are an important, they are just as much a calling card as your makeup and your hair!  They are the final evaluation in your appearance.  Shoes in my opinion, are the whipped cream with the cherry on top of a hot fudge chocolate sundae, a necessary component.  The thing is that you need a lot of them to satisfy the diversity in your outfits.  What better way than to sign up with a shoe membership, that's budget friendly to satisfy your shoe fetish?  Here is my list, enjoy!

 
 
ShoeDazzle, a Kardashian brand,  that delivers style from every angle and budget. I have watched ShoeDazzle transform and is now one of my favorites.  The brand has employed the  fabulous direction of Ms. Rachel Zoe, Queen Fashionsita! ShoeDazzle delivers to its customer a customized view of the hottest trends in shoes, handbags and jewelry.  At times ShoeDazzle has offered clothing, but currently they are not.  When ShoeDazzle started they offered good shoe designs made with ONLY man made materials, no leather or suede was offered in their designs.  Today some designs offered are available in leather or suede via the fupcoming designers as well as  known designers like : Chinese Laundry, Madison, Beau and Ashe, Leila Stone, Michael Antonio, just to name a few.
 
 
Pros:  Membership is free. Customized style selections based on your input as well as the option to shop all collections.  Membership is free, however there is a paid VIP membership cost of $39.95 that offers a credit on purchases and free shipping. For VIP Members the ability to "Skip this Month" of fees.
 
Cons:  If you pay for the VIP membership and do not take advantage of the "Skip This Month" feature by the 6th day of the month, your credit/debit card will be charged automatically.  This can hurt a budget if not tracked.

 
 
JustFab a brand created by Don Ressler and Adam Goldberg with Kimora Lee Simmons spearheading "FABOULOSITY" as the President/Creative Director of the brand.  JustFab offers its member's customized selections based on a fashion quiz given upon membership startup.  There is no limit to the selections customized for you as you can select which color hues, heel height etc. for your shoes.  JustFab offers trendy shoes, handbags, jewelry and clothing.  The clothing offered are various styles of jeans (skinny, flare, boot cut) that adhere to all body types from the slim girl to the shapely curvy girl.  I absolutely love their jeans, they are a win, win for me!  The shoes are not made or any leather or suede materials but from man made materials.  The designs and quality of shoes are well made.  From my own experience I purchased some boots from them about two years ago and they look as good as the day that purchased them and I get compliments on them all the time.  So the shoes are made with good quality.  I cannot say much to the handbags and jewelry as I have not purchased those, but they have some really good designs.
 
 
Pros:  Membership is $39.95 with free shipping.  Offers trendy customized selections of shoes, handbags, jewelry and clothing.  If you want to "Skip A Month" it is offered.
 
Cons:  If you do not specify that you want to skip a month by the 6th of the month, it could become costly. My personal experience was not the best with customer service and cancelling your membership can be confusing it is not a smooth process.
 
 
 
ShoeMint is an company that was started by Nicole Chavez and Steve Madden with Rachel Bilson as the company's promotion celebrity.  ShoeMint is the shoe side of a conglomerate of online stores that include: 
 
StyleMint:   Clothing line, jeans, etc.
IntiMint:      Intimate Apparel
JewelMint:  Jewelery
 
Initial sign-up membership is free and there is a style questionnaire that creates a profile in the same manner that ShoeDazzle and JustFab do.  After your first purchase, membership fees of $79.98 are applied each month.  You have an option to skip the month as long as you make your request by the 5th of the month.  The shoes offered are made solely of leather and fine made fabrics.  If you are a fan of Steve Madden and know his brand you know they are fabulous!  I personally love their shoes they are timeless designs that far exceed trendy designs which are only hot today and not tomorrow. 
 
Pros:   The quality of the shoes are stellar!  They are made of only the finest leather, suede and fine fabrics.  These are designer shoes!  The styles are timeless and are well worth the value.
 
Cons:  The membership of $79.98 can be a stretch especially if you do not have a plan in your budget for this amount each month.  The other three companies StyleMinth, IntiMint and JewelMint are okay but you will be faced with the an additional membership cost each month which can seriously break your budget.  Be sure to read "How it Works" as posted on their site carefully.
 
 
 
May your journey be peaceful!
 
Sista
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Economic Discovery for the Generations

In today's global economy it comes as no surprise that the numbers of unemployed are at record highs and governments from a global scale are all struggling to provide some relief from its unemployed communities by reducing the statistical numbers and campaigning for job creation.  The fact is that if you are one of the statistical numbers of unemployed, it is your responsibility to seek new venues of employment outside of the traditional 9 to 5.   I know this can be a stretch for some so I have devised some example ideas to help you to strategically think about where you  fit  and  I have categorized by generation so you can start to think about and plan a course of action to secure your economic future.

  Generation X:

Generation X are the folks that have birth years that  range from 1961 to 1981 with the youngest person being 33 and the eldest being 69.

 Generation X is what I like to refer to as the "Socialite Gen", this generation is into socialization, friends, parties, networking.  They are also at that point in their careers where they are ready from some so There is a  well known common trend that most folks usually pursue when they are in they 40's and 50's as they are in somewhat of a transitional state in their careers.  Around this time, most folks are usually expert in their careers, this is that undeniable state of transition when you make the decision to stay with your career or transition out and start a new.  Starting new at this time could really work for some.   If you are person who has a life savings in a 401K, IRA, etc. You can start to reinvest in yourself.  There could be a passion that you have always had and wanted to pursue in the form of a business.  For example, if you simply love to eat, why not look into some franchise opportunities for eateries.  Keep in mind it will take loads of work on your behalf  because the one thing in any business you start, you must know your target audience. Another opportunity would be for those of you that have well connected networks, examine your network, listen to products or services they wish they had and start with that for a business venture.  For example, you may live in a community that wants to have and does not have a proper venue for kids to socialize.  Why not create a venue such as teen cafe, that is designed for teens filled with all the things teens love to do and share with their friends.   If you are in a job that you like but don't love, now is the time for you start, do the research, plan, prepare and execute, there is no time like today, tomorrow is not promised.


The Millennials

The Millennials are the folks that have birth years that range from 1975 to 1995 with the youngest being 19 and the eldest being 39

With the school still on the menu for this group, from first year of college to obtaining their masters, Millenials are the generation that are  technologically savvy and have an interest in entrepreneurship which makes them perfect candidates for owners of start-up companies, companies that are started based on an innovative idea/service or product that has never been marketed before.  For example there have been a record number of Millenials that have been successful in successful, innovative business start-ups.  One of the most infamous millennials is the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg.  One of my personal favorites.   Millenials are a fearless generation that want everything and are always willing and working to get what they want.





Generation Z 


Generation Z are the folks that have birth years that range from 1995 to 2015.  I call them the "Baby Geniuses"! This generation ranges from the high school students to babies. This generation embraces technology as soon as they are able to manage their motor skills to manage a mouse, peck on a keyboard or navigate their way via a touchscreen.  They are "digital natives" and the fact that they embrace technology is wonderful, however there is a downside to their genius.  They are so connected they are disconnecting the use of human face-to-face socialization through the use of smartphones, tablets, etc. In my opinion, this is a problem because the without the face to-face socialization and human interaction, how will we as a race of people, the human race, continue to evolve as we hide behind technology? My suggestion for Generation Z is to take a break from the texting, take your socialization off the internet and go to an event where people actually talk to each other without checking their phones or tablets every 5 minutes.  If you are a creative mind, like most Generation Z's are, and you enjoy movies, think about a career in writing.  Since Generation Z enjoys technology and are a visual generation, a career in writing such as a screenplay writer is an awesome job for a Generation Z person.  A career in writing offers the enjoyment of visualization and innovation as well as the freedom, but does require a certain amount of discipline with regard to commitment.  Parents encourage your Generation Z'r to start thinking about their future because they are the future.

I hope this post encourages you to take a look at where you are currently, where you want to be and plan for how you will get there.

May your journey be peaceful....

Sista

Monday, January 13, 2014

How I DE-Mystified my Family!

"Family", we all have them.  Some we know, some we don't know.  The fact is when it comes down to family, you know the same people you share  DNA, bloodline and/or last name.  We think we know them and are always suddenly surprised to find out that there is so much we don't know.

The one thing that I learned from my own experiences with family is to own my life.  Just like the infamous catch phrase suggests, "GET YOUR LIFE", well its like that, you need to own your experiences..good, bad and different.  When I was a young girl I used to look to my family for acceptance as most young impressionable minds do.  I wanted my family to be proud of me so I sought their acceptance. Being young and not yet knowledgeable about myself I was vulnerable to those that would distinctly tell me who I was and of course it was nothing good.  I used to get upset and always ask, "Why". I wasted a lot of time doing that only to find out these people, my family, the people that I have known my entire life and loved dearly didn't have a clue of what they were talking about when it came to who I was and better yet trying to get me to accept who they thought I should be.  I held a strong defense mechanism that I still have today, but the difference now is that I have learned to forgive. Forgiveness set me free, I am no longer angry at why folks don't understand me and why they are upset because I am not a follower and  my interests don't fit into what they deem acceptable.  I  chose not to be who they think I should be and I am happy with that, I am truly free.  I think I have always been free and people in my life, in particular, certain family members and associates, were literally upset with me because of my free state of mind and their judgement of me was nothing more than a mere form of control, a control used to stagnate my evolution based on their own personal fear that I was or was to become something they could not control. Something that could possibly make a mark of success because of my focus and fearlessness.   I have heard spiritualists and pastors say that this is common behavior in the African American family  it is the very element that hinders many African Americans from their pursuit of happiness or any form of success.  After a while I really became tired of hearing that, it was like some sort of curse that African American families have.  I am here and stand fearless to let you know that this so called curse, if there is such a thing, exists in MANY families that are not African American.  I know because I have many close friends and associates who are from different cultural backgrounds who have mirror experiences  to mine in their childhood and adulthood.
What we all need to remember is that when children are born, all children, human children,  they do not come with instructions and though we have this chemical compound that makes us family DNA, it does not define us as individuals.  Just because I look like my dad and act like my mom, does not mean that anyone can determine who I am because actually I am unlike any person on this planet. DNA from a scientific standpoint can tell us about certain genetic instructions but it still does not define who we are because we are constantly evolving, well some of us are, that's another post.

I hope sharing my experiences with you has brought you that much closer to your pursuit of happiness.

May your journey be peaceful....Peace and Blessings!

Sista

The Sista Chronicles