Business Card Refresher

In our paperless age and with the advancement of technology, one thing remains constant: BUSINESS CARDS! You can’t live without them.

Here’s my top 10 business card tips:

  1. Carry business cards with you 24-7. Whenever I’m in a meeting or out shopping, I realize that potential contacts are everywhere. What better way to foster a business relationship than to have a business card to hand them? Put a stash here and there: your car, office, gym locker, etc.
  2. Always carry your business card in a business card holder. NEVER carry them in a sandwich bag or stuff them in your back pocket. I recently placed an order from www.elighters.com. They offered free engraving. That was cool!
  3. When someone gives you their business card, don’t turn it over and write notes on it in front of them. Jot notes on your smart phone as soon as you get a chance about the interaction. When you get to your office, stable the business card to a 4×6 card. On the 4×6 card jot down the date that you met the person and the notes that you put in your smart phone. File them all in a 4×6 card holder.
  4. Keep all the information on your business card current. That includes title changes, email address, phone number and fax number too.
  5. Your name should be the biggest thing on the card. Make it stand out. It should be easy to read with a simple, clear font.
  6. When you give out business cards, give 2 to 3. Ask the receiver to give one to a friend or a business contact. When they do, ask them who they gave it to. Send the initial receiver a Thank You card.
  7. Looking for a tag line for your email? Scan your business card!
  8. Make your presentation stand out. Here is how I present my business cards when I’m in networking meetings. I bought these pre-sealed bags from Wal-Mart the craft aisle. I put my card inside and a mint.

    When I’m in a networking meeting, I present my business cards in individual sealed bags.

  9. Make your card invaluable. Choose double side printing and print the calendar on the back. This makes the receiver keep it a whole year.
  10. Put your business card in every corporate/client gift that you give out.

Put these tips to work for you. They are invaluable and they do make a difference.

 

 

Last night’s dessert was phenomenal…had to share the recipe

Obviously, I love to cook and create delicious items. Last night, I went bonkers and created a dish that I just had to share the recipe for. Read the directions completely before making.

Cream Cheese Fruit Oatmeal Barr’s (Love my last name. It fits everywhere. Haha)

Cream Cheese Fruit Oatmeal Barr’s

Cream Cheese Fruit Oatmeal Barr’s
This is all that remains. It was awesome!

Ingredients

For oatmeal mixture:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups white flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups quick oats

For cream cheese spread:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 c. fresh fruit (blueberries, raspberry and boysenberry) Puree until just about smooth

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch pan with shortening.
  2. Combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, baking soda, salt and quick oats. Press 2 cups of the oatmeal mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until golden.
  3. In small bowl,  beat cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  4. Pour cream cheese mixture over crust.
  5. Spread pureed fruit evenly over cream cheese mixture.
  6. Spread remaining oatmeal mixture on top of fruit.
  7. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until set. Cool on rack.

Enjoy and don’t forget to send me your comments!

Definition of “Going Natural”

I’ve been asked quite often lately about what does the phrase “going natural” mean. I’m going to try my best to clear up the confusion.

See “going natural” does not indicate that you are in rebellion to something or joining some type of secret society or you have a point to prove. It simply means that you are no longer altering your hair with a chemical process.

I’m wearing my hair naturally now because chemically processing my hair was not to my benefit any more (it probably never was). I was in pain and I was extremely frustrated with the process. I never went to a dermatologist to get my scalp analyzed but the proof was in the pudding. Even my personal anxiety that would build up as it got closer to getting a touch up was crazy.

Most people don’t realize that black women get perms to straighten out the hair for manageability, maybe style preference or even to smooth out their curls. My reason was because my un-permed hair is thick, course and untamed. It’s wild!! But it was for those very same reasons that almost aided me to keep on getting perms and enduring the pain for the sake of manageability.

I like to research before I do anything. Before I took the plunge, I spent about 4 weeks researching how to take care of natural hair. I had to figure out what were the maintenance steps, what types of products to use, how to style it, and even what websites offered the most support. I even did some soul searching to make sure I would be okay with the stares that I knew I would get from people I knew and those that I don’t know. People are funny when it comes to change. Not everybody reacts the same to change. I actually had people stop talking to me when they first saw my Big Chop. I was the same person, just shorter hair. But one conversation with my husband, squashed all those fears of what others would think. He supported my decision so it doesn’t matter what others thought. He matters most.

This topic is going to be an ongoing category for me. There is no way I can explain everything in just two posts. Today I want to share a close up picture of my scalp taken on January 29, 2012.

Snapshot of my hair and scalp before my “Big Chop.” The wavy part is called new growth or un-permed hair. The straight part is chemically processed. The touch up process chemically straightens out the wavy new growth.

If you have questions on this topic, please don’t hesitate to ask. I love talking about this topic. My next post will be about how I maintain my hair and what products I use.

Benefits of Bell Peppers and a Recipe for Stuffed Bell Peppers

Bell peppers are good for your health

I am in love with bell peppers which is why I grow them every summer. Now of course I buy them throughout the year, but there is just something about growing them in my containers.

Here are a few of the health benefits that come from bell peppers:

  • Packed with vitamin A. Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant to boost immunity, can protect you from infection, keeps your skin smooth and help prevent certain cancers and heart disease
  • They provide a high level of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps get rid of antioxidants in our body as well as produce collagen
  • Both the folate and vitamin B6 in bell peppers also help ward off heart disease
  • And lastly, the presence of fiber in bell peppers can help reduce high cholesterol and lower the risk of strokes

I am quite health conscious (besides the chips that I ate today and the Vanilla Pound Cake that I’m making for Memorial Day).  But, with that being said, bell peppers do make a great snack. My favorite is fresh bell peppers dipped in ranch dressing. Yummy to my tummy!

By the way, there is a proper way to cut a bell pepper.

If you are looking for a great way to serve bell peppers, then you need to stuff them. Here’s my recipe:

Shalynne’s Famous Stuffed Bell Peppers

  • 6 medium-sized bell peppers (clean outside of peppers and scrape out the inside membrane. Do not slice up, leave whole. Peppers should be able to stand upright. If they do not stand up on their own, then slightly trim the bottom, being careful not cut a whole in the bottom)
  • 2 lb of ground turkey (ground beef would also work but if using ground beef you must drain it after you brown it)
  • 1 can of tomato paste (8 oz.)
  • 1 cup of whole wheat rice
  • 1 tbsp of Italian seasoning
  • 1-1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of pepper
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 cup of mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups of prepared pasta sauce of choice. (I prefer Ragu)

To prepare: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown ground turkey in the salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Put to side. Prepare rice according to directions on package. Mix cooked ground turkey, cooked rice, mozzarella cheese, sugar and tomato paste in medium-sized bowl. Spoon equal amounts of mixture inside each pepper. Drizzle prepared pasta sauce on the top of each stuffed bell pepper. Place in a baking pan and bake for 1 hour. Serve hot and enjoy!

The irony of you being called normal

What’s the definition of normal?
How can it be defined?
Who has the power to hold you and keep you confined?
Why would you let someone label you; are you out of your mind?
When will you break out of their mold?
When will you break free?
Shatter the glass ceiling and be who you are called to be.

Many people struggle today with not knowing how to take the first step on reaching their goals and achieving their dreams. It will never get done if you suffer from peer pressure. You are a walking bomb if you keep everything bottled up inside of you. Experience the freedom today of being abnormal.

Abnormal people get out there and take a risk. Abnormal people don’t care about what others might think. Abnormal people want to use make good on the gifts and talents that they have. Abnormal people aren’t scared of falling because they know they can get back up again and start over.

Abnormal? Definition: deviating from what is normal or usual. What would you rather be? Normal or abnormal?

Knitting some love

I think it’s hilarious how I learned to knit. My Mom and one her friends used to crochet when I was a teenager but I could never get the hang of it. I was confused with where the needle went after you made so many stitches and I couldn’t figure out how to read the patterns. Ugh! Mom tried to teach me but I wasn’t paying attention, you know how that goes. I decided to just leave that up to them and they could just make stuff for me. Problem solved. Even though I was quite interested in the art of it, frustration got the best of me.

If you know me, then you would know that I’m always doing something with my hands. I’m just fidgety. One of my favorite places to go is Jo-Ann Fabrics. That store soothes my need to keep busy. So, one day while I was there, spending my husband’s money, I came across some beautiful yarn. (It was on sale, so I did save him a few pennies.) It was so soft and bulky; it was just my colors too: brown, rust and navy. On the backside of the yarn was a knitting pattern for a scarf and a hat. Then a light came on! I decided that I wanted to make those adorable items that was featured. It was in my best interest so, I decided to spend some more money and buy the yarn and the needles that it said was necessary to complete the pattern.

Now, the hard part began. Once again to know me is to find me in the library devouring books. I ran to the library that next week and got as many books as they would allow me to take out on knitting. I was overwhelmed with the language barrier. Knit? Purl? Yarn over? All Greek to me. But, I had advanced from a teenager with no patience to a woman on a mission.

With kids in sports you learn to sit and wait. I was sitting at a football practice a few weeks later and lo and behold there was a lady sitting and knitting. I practically fell out my chair. Was this a sign? Was this a confirmation that I was supposed to make good on spending my husband’s hard-earned money to make that yarn into something useful?

Well, that lady became my friend and now I knit like crazy. That very project changed my life. I am now on the ultimate project: an afghan. Our son will be a Senior in high school next year. So, I decided that now would be an excellent time to start a going away present for him when he leaves for college. We worked together on the selection process. I gave him patterns to choose from; he picked the colors and then I was off. It was a lot of trial and error but, I got this thing down pack now!

I’m dragging that afghan all over town, at sporting events, even riding in the car and of course when I’m watching TV. I’m knitting some love. I’m pouring my heart into each stitch. I’m sure going to miss him.

Summer Project (season 2)

I have a love of gardening and I just cannot shake it. Every home that we have lived in, I have found a way to dig in the dirt and get some vegetables out if it. My favorite food to grow is zucchini. It’s the easiest to grow and I can make some zucchini bread that will make you smack the person you’re sitting by! (Recipe to come…)

I found a new twist to gardening. I am now an official “container gardener”. I chose this route because I can manage my growing process much easier than in the ground. The containers don’t produce weeds because I use clean commercial soil.  It’s easier to hydrate the plants because I keep the containers close to my back door. And, I have to mention that I control the bug factor this way too. I was constantly buying organic repellent when my plants were in the ground. I don’t have that issue anymore. Each container has a mixture of Miracle Gro Potting Soil and Miracle Gro Plant and Vegetable Mix with Mulch with a foundation of rocks to provide drainage.

The plants call for full sun and with them being strategically placed in the back of my house, they get between 8 to 9 hours of sun each day. I closely watch the soil to make sure that it does not dry out.

When they begin to sprout additional leaves I insert poles to guide their growing or another term is “stalk them.” I chose not to do this in the establishment stage of the plants as I do not want to interrupt them as they are taking root and getting settled.

As with planting in the ground, I rotate what I grow in the containers. Last year I grew zucchini, eggplant, green peppers, tomatoes and green onions. So for example, the containers that I grew tomatoes in are now on the front porch with a beautiful array of flowers and the containers that I grew green onions in now is home to the yellow sweet peppers and the lilac bell peppers.

Container gardening can be done by anyone. It’s not just for home owners you know. This hobby would be great for apartment dwellers, senior citizens that cannot get on their hands and knees, elementary students in classrooms, the list is endless.

Give it a try. Let me know your results.

On Going Natural

My family and I went on vacation in December 2011 to Myrtle Beach, SC.  I didn’t have time to perm my hair before I left so I decided to take all my supplies with me and just do it during our down time. On December 26, 2011, I put the perm in and it was the worst perm application ever! My head was on fire.

This is not the first time that a perm had had an adverse effect on me but it had to have been one of the worse ones. I had open soars and when I even touched my scalp it was sensitive to the touch. With the state of my scalp, it actually altered my participation with my family. They wanted to go swimming in the resorts’ pool. That typically is never an issue when we go on vacation but after a perm with open soars, that chlorine in the pool would have caused my hair to fall out. It would have just floated away in the water. I was so disappointed that I had to sit on the side and watch them swim. I was missing out on all the fun.

I had thought about going natural before and had even tried it once. My natural hair is really thick and tightly curled. But I didn’t have any other option. I was so mad and finally fed up that I decided to take the plunge.

I waited a couple of months to get some new growth and on February 8, 2012, I went to see my beautician and I got the “Big chop!” It was so hard to make that decision but I was currently wearing a short style so I hoped it would be ok. I walked out the salon with a close to bald head and a new attitude!

This photo was taken February 11, 2012. I couldn’t believe how short my hair was. It wasn’t even enough to comb.