@trapkaraoke, bridal shower, bachelorette party, brunch
A weekend well spent brings and week content!
Super excited for my coworker's new chapter! We decided to take a day trip to DC to map out her work commute. Ready to witness this season of favor. She deserves it!
Write it down so you know it's real! Inner peace is the focus and here's what you can do to achieve...
This past Friday I attended a mindfulness training. My original thought was, "oh great, this will be an easy time-kill on a Friday morning." Turns out, the training was just what was needed. You may (or may not) know that I work full time in addition to being a freelance graphic designer. Working 40+ hours a week, then coming home to 20 hours of additional work per week can be very stressful.
Over the past few weeks I've been reading up on ways to elevate my thinking and live a more peace and joy-filled existence. That's lead me to the following activities:
- A "happy inventory" (where I take an inventory (of course) of what makes me happy)
- Sage burning (a cleansing practice that you can read about here)
- Walking bare foot in grass (call me crazy but you'd be surprised how therapuetic and recharging this can be)
- Sitting outside in the sun (all living organisms need the sun)
- Mindfulness practices (see more below)
Here are a few things you might want to consider (lessons from my mindfulness training). The prompt states:
When you are feeing tense and hurried, pause and notice which of these keys speak to you. Taking several intentional slow, deep breaths, celebrate this time spent caring for yourself with stillness and mindful awareness.
- TASHI DELEH (I honor the greatness within you) - How can seeing myself or another from this perspective change what comes next?
- BEATHE EASY - Bring attention to the rhythm, texture and pace of each breath. Notice what this breath is like... And then the next.
- STOP (stop, take a breath, open & observe, proceed) - After exploring each element in STOP with friendly and curious attention, inquire how this pause can help you act with kindness and intention.
- IT'S JUST A THOUGHT - Noticing your thoughts as they come and go, can you let them pass by like clouds in the sky.
- SLOW DOWN - Invite yourself to move at an unhurried pace. What does it feel like to relax the rushing?
- SILENCE (Is what I'm about to say an improvement on silence?) - Is your comment true, helpful, kind? Or is it better left unsaid?
- SWIRLING MIND? (breathe into stillness) - Can your breath help your busy mind settle down? Invite stillness, focus on your breath and find out.
- KNOW AND LET GO - Can you sense where you're tense, then breathe and release?
- CELEBRATE GRATITUDE - Right now, who or what brings you joy? Feel the warmth of gratitude throughout your body, and savor it.
*tips provided by the S.H.I.N.E Center for Mindful Awareness
It's also important throughout your day to think through the 7 additudinal foundations of mindfulness.
- Non-judging - Judging, we all do it! BUT the reality is, we have no idea what people are going through. Think before passing judgement. You wouldn't want someone to do it to you without knowing your circumstances.
- patience - We all need a lesson in patience. Learn to enjoy the moment instead of anxiously waiting for the next. Life is about the journey and appreciating each moment at its appropriate time.
- beginner's mind - Approaching situations, people, circumstances with child-like innocence and understanding. Try to imagine a child's first time experiencing something. No preconceived notions, no distrust –just willingness to appreciate and learn.
- trust - Allowing situations to prove themselves. Think of how much stress we endure by over thinking and not trusting. Too stressful!
- non-striving - I forgot what this one means. Let me get back to you! Lol
- acceptance - You might not agree with certain things; you might not understand; but accepting takes a huge load off and allows you peace of mind instead of overthinking. Great segue into letting it be...
- Letting be - specifically not "letting go". Letting go requires action. Letting be is the conscious decision to accept things and allow them to work themselves out.
Make the conscious effort to be mindful, and make decisions that will push you toward peace!
I made a few versions of the #vibratehigher social media post if you'd like to grab and repost (see above). And see the 10 ways to clear your energy below.
A SURPRISE ANNIVERSARY TRIP FROM DARLING HUBBY!
Road trips are ALWAYS a good idea and a weekend well spent!
A Friday walk filled with sunshine produced a clear mind. Discovered some hidden gems and had the chance to enjoy this city I call home. 8.6 miles round trip
it's eye opening
it makes me angry
it makes me not trust
it hurts my feelings
it drains me
Meetup at Price Modern! Look at this space.
Light City Baltimore is always a good time! I was really excited to attend the Labs@ Light City this year. Last year I didn't give it much thought; but this year I'm in a completely different space with my business. I didn't allow expense/cost/budget to be an issue as I recognize entrepreneurs must be willing to invest in themselves and their business. I'm now realizing the benefits of networking and inspiration are immeasurable, so whenever I'm in position to learn and hear from forward-thinking folks, I take the opportunity. That being said, I actually didn't pay a dime for either lab (tee hee hee). I applied and was accepted to be a Light City Luminary which covered the cost of admission. Of the two labs I attended, I much preferred the Design lab over the Social lab.
The biggest gain was being able to take ONE MORE STEP toward my passion and purpose. We all have gifts and talents. It's our job to use those gifts and talents to change the world. Sounds cliche but it's the honest to goodness truth. Check out a few pictures I snapped throughout the week.
"Sometimes not taking the risk is a greater risk!"
Great week at Light City. Check out a few of my pictures.
- Sunday - Walk-through
- Thursday - Labs@ Light City (Design Lab), Lit City Dance Party
- Friday - Labs@ Light City (Social Lab)
- Saturday - Final Walk-through
I decided a couple of days ago to give social media a rest (specifically Instagram). And boy-oh-boy... Let me tell you about how much work I've gotten done. Since my departure (lol it's really not that dramatic) I've made several business advances, including registering for three professional development courses/opportunities. Two of them will take place next week and the third in early May. I've agreed to two networking opportunities (which I'm sure you know are very awkward for me); I've brainstormed some excellent business ideas with a business coach; I've secured two additional clients; and most importantly I've gained a little more clarity regarding my full time job exit strategy. Seriously this all happened in 4 days!
Besides the business benefits, my social media departure has freed up more time for me to do other things like...
- spend time meditating and growing spiritually.
- call people that have been on my mind
- spend time with the folks I love
- be present in the moment instead of fiddling through folks' profiles and a long scrolling feed
- plan... and I mean plan for life (trips, family, job etc.)
- not be annoyed by the excessive narcissistic behavior (selfies and vain videos) of us millennials (who knew we were so obnoxious)
- run my own figurative race and appreciate the pace in which I'm progressing
And I'm hoping this list of benefits will continue to grow.
Want to cut through all the blah blah blah and just get a rundown of my geotags and spots visited? Click the links below:
If you don't know by now, I'm talkin bout Chi-town
My recent trip to Chicago for Ragan Communications's internal communications professional development.
Where should I start?
Ok let's start here...
I found Ragan Communications through a simple google search and stumbled upon a course that was perfectly fitting for some of the internal communications obstacles we're experiencing within my agency. I had to FIGHT (insert appropriate Colored Purple quote here) and do some MAJOR convincing to get my company to pay for the workshop. Anywayz... purchased the course, next booked my Spirit airlines flight (low grumble), then finally got around to booking my hotel (after toiling back and forth looking at options on the Hotel Tonight app) and making sure to pack my ONE personal item (so I wouldn't incur any additional charges).
Finally on my way! Actually it wasn't that simple. Spirit airlines delayed my flight for 3 hours and I ended up arriving in Chicago at 11:30pm Wednesday night. Spirit gave us all a $50 credit. Meh, thanks I guess!
I attempted to check into my hotel only to find Working Advantage secured a stay for 1 night instead of 3. I'm tired and irritable so I whip out my confirmation for 3 nights (completely paid), and eagerly (with minor attitude) await my room key and an upgrade. Because clearly after this inconvenience I deserve a few extra perks.
Despite the inconvenience, the Swissotel is one of my favorite hotels to stay in while traveling to Chicago. Not because it's super fancy or because it's a 5-star hotel, but because it's clean, centrally located, and I get awesome rest. I mean I LOVE a hot shower and some nice, crisp, clean white bedding on a king sized bed. Also, upon check in I was asked if I wanted to forgo house keeping in exchange for $10 toward food and drink for each of my 3 nights staying at the Swissotel. HELL YEA! So, next time you're in Chicago try the Swissotel (tell them I sent you lol).
Well rested and ready for a day worth of teaching and learning, I set out from my hotel room at 7:30am to attend the first morning session on engaging employees through mobile. Let's backtrack. The two-day workshop was held in a lecture hall at The Gleacher Center on the University of Chicago's campus. The campus fit perfectly within the city's backdrop of skyscrapers and architecturally pleasing edifices. A really nice looking building, very close the the Chicago Tribune offices and NBC Chicago.
Now back to the professional development details.
Sheesh. When I tell you people are out here making it 'do what it do baby' (Ray Charles reference for all those who are unfamiliar), I mean JUST that. Some of these companies are seriously leveraging technology in the most amazingly innovative ways to engage staff. What I love most about these sessions are the brainstorming opportunities and exchange of ideas that take place. I've seen and heard some of the most effective, engaging, innovative procedures and practices being implemented by agencies ranging from the Social Security Administration to Hulu. There's nothing (and I mean nothing) new under the sun. Any complexities or obstacles an organization may face around engaging staff, some other company has come up with a system and ways to combat/reconcile/remedy said issues. We learned how organizations are implementing apps, mobile messaging and Thursday "Wind Down" sessions among may other briliant ideas to engage and communicate regularly with staff. For more information about this specific course, click here. For more information about other Ragan Communications courses, click here.
Workshops went from 7:30am to 5pm on Thursday. Toward the end things and ideas started running together. I wasn't quite prepared for an all day intensive lecture format but it was still a great day nonetheless. After sessions the first day, I treated myself to dinner at The Hampton Social. Now if you know me, you know I LOVE brussel sprouts. So whenever there's an opportunity to order some brussels, I do just that. I ended up ordering the sprouts and a crabcake, wrapped up dinner then headed back to the hotel. Shower. Phone calls. Bed. Day one complete.
Day two was only a half day, yet just as informative and satisfying. I left the workshop a little early to tend to some other business. After that, I set out on a walking tour of Chicago. My first stop was Dylan's Candy Bar (see pictures above). I purchased the 18-pack chocolate squares and the cute little candy tool box. Super cute and almost gone (we've been eating the runts candy all day). Next stop, the #blackatwork display at Havas Impact (Havas Chicago). A super unique exhibit displaying some of the common issues African Americans face working in corporate America. After those two stops I headed back to my hotel to recharge my phone and change my shoes. 2:30pm hits and I'm back out of the door. First stop, Millennium Park and the Great Bean. I snap a few photos then get the bright idea to visit the SkyDeck. I start thinking to myself, "can I walk from here to the Sears Tower (walk to cut down on uber costs), take the tower tour, then head over to Sunda Chicago for dinner?" Go for it Brandi! I take off toward the Sears tower only stopping to snap a few pictures of The Paper Source store (a designer's dream), and some beautiful architecture that caught my eye.
The Sears Tower was super cool! Great graphics and displays (another graphic designer dream). Really nice learning about the history of what's now known as the Willis Tower. Raced through the rest of the tour, then ubered over to Sunda for dinner. Here's another major key, when you're in Chicago make sure to stop by Sunda for one of the tastiest new-Asian meals you could possibly imagine.
Dinner at Sunda followed by a hot shower and Dateline NBC was the perfect way to end my trip. I was up by 5:30am Saturday and on a flight back to Baltimore by 6:00am. What a great time!
I didn't do as much networking as I would've hoped. Networking is ALWAYS so difficult for me. But I did leave my freelance card behind at a few places. Yay me!
A few tips...
- Make sure to make reservations at both The Hampton Social and Sunda. You may get there and they won't have availability for hours.
- Carve out at least 3 hours of time for the SkyDeck tour. My visit was a bit rushed because of dinner reservations at 5pm.
- Spirit Airline is a trap. Only use it if you have to. lol And FYI the Herschel Company makes the perfect bag that fits within the "1 personal item" requirement.
- Make sure you're wearing shoes with good support and something that will keep your feet warm. Toes need love too! :)
- Try the crispy brussel sprouts at Sunda and the spare ribs.
- Try Uber carpool to save money. Most times there won't be anyone else in the car.
- Oh and don't run out of foundation on a business trip (see photos above)! Then you have to walk around bare-faced (with the straight-face).
And to top it all off, I entered my business card for a $100 Amex gift card raffle.... AND I WON! Thanks Chicago. I'll be back.
Houston you were yummy and colorful. I needed a break from my dreary day-to-day routine. So I decided to take an inspiration trip to Houston. It rained (what a bummer) but we had a great time. Got to visit the #biscuitpaintwall which I blogged about over a year ago (it's so nice to cross destinations off your list).
We stayed at the Royal Sonesta, only after losing our accommodations at the Houston Marriott West Loop (what a bummer). Shout out to Hotel tonight! If you're not familiar, get familiar. Literally a life saver.
Ate at the Breakfast Klub (a popular brunch spot in Houston) two days in a row. The first day I met a young lady that told us about the SWAC Championship Game at NRG Stadium between Alcorn and Grambling. So we decided to go and fake cheer for whichever team had the loudest fans.
Went for manicures and pedicures at the BEAUTIFUL Milk & Honey Spa. Must go back!
Ate a glorious seafood dinner at Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen. Yum yum Chilean sea bass topped with crabmeat au gratin.
Houston you were wonderful! I look forward to my next trip.
Party and relaxation in the desert!
Last night I supported a friend/coworker at the reception for Johns Hopkins 2016-17 Social Innovation Lab. The Social Innovation Lab is a 6-month cohort funded by Hopkins "that supports promising companies and organizations that are developing innovative solutions to local and global problems." Each of the 10 cohorts in this year's class had to give a 60 second speech describing their initiative/business idea. I was VERY impressed! Honestly, I went to the event not knowing what to expect.
Well let me backtrack...
The event was from 5:30pm to 7pm at the Atwater's Restaurant on Hopkins Hospital campus. Hour and a half networking/happy hour/after work functions are the perfect amount of time. Nothing too long and daunting; but long enough to shake a few hands and exchange a few business cards (sidenote: I had another weird networking conversation. I'm beginning to embrace these *shrugs). We ate sandwiches and drank sparkling water until about 6:15, then each cohort talked for one minute. After that we were free again to mix and mingle. I met a few folks I'll follow-up with today. But what I most appreciate is being around such innovative and forward thinking minds. I was very inspired. I'm also very eager to see the evolution of these initiatives over the next 6 months. For more on JHU's SIL click here.
A few photos I snapped below.
Nikki Villigomez has learned a lot over 16 years as a graphic design professional. In this talk, Nikki will proudly share her failures and triumphs as she takes the audience on a 10-step journey of the lessons she has learned along the way. Nikki has been an in-house designer, a freelancer, a stay at home mom, and an educator. Come listen to Nikki share real-life lessons that she wishes someone had told her when she was an emerging designer! (description from the AIGA Baltimore website)
Today I ventured outside of my comfort zone and decided to participate in one of AIGA Baltimore's Design Week events. The event was held at Gilah Press + Design Studios in Hampden from 9am - 11am.
I ordered my ticket online in advance, got up early, scheduled my uber, out the door and ready to go! Side note: you can always tell how excited I am by how I prepare for events.
Now... I discussed in another post just how nerve wrecking networking can be. So, I find a seat in the second row of chairs and spark up a conversation with another attendee. She tells me she attended one of the other design week events; we start talking about our jobs and local design communities. I think to myself, "Great! This networking thing isn't that bad. I can totally do this." Literally 20 seconds later, a gentleman sits down on the other side of her, interrupts our conversation, and completely takes over the convo. At this point I feel it's just better to act like I'm playing on my phone. LOL
Brandi - 0 | Awkward networking - 1
The program starts and we're instructed to each say our name, job, favorite type and/or character.
"Hi my name is Brandi Mebane. I'm a blankity blank at such-in-such as well as a freelance designer. My favorite type family is Gotham. And I don't have a favorite character." Not too bad, right? Nothing anyone would remember, but also nothing that sounds too silly. I'm fine with that for now.
Next up Nikki. I can can sense a little awkwardness from her which I can completely embrace. It was very interesting to hear a bit more about Nikki Villigomez, her work and experiences. Nikki goes on to list her "10 things I've learned by working hard and being ballsy".
- Set goals. (Long term and short term)
- You can fail but don't forget.
- If you can't find what you're looking for, do it yourself.
- Trust yourself before you can trust anyone else.
- Find out who you are and never let go.
- Work on projects you're passionate about.
- Protect yourself.
- Don't be afraid of the unknown.
I've heard each and every one of these "things" on the list! But amazingly, they've never come together in this way, nor have they ever been this reassuring or insightful. I was so happy to walk away knowing...
- I'm on the right track.
- I'm not the only person that experiences MAJOR fails.
- You can TOTALLY be a mom of two and still follow your dreams.
- Creatives are nomads and I no longer have to feel awful about it.
- Goals may take years and several failed attempts to achieve. (And like Nikki said, "I might reach that goal; I might not. It's ok.")
Did she just say "... I might not [reach my goals]. It's ok."? Oh my goodness. I've been going about this ALL THE WRONG WAY! She stood so firm and seemed so unbothered by the idea of not reaching a goal! Then it dawned on me; people living by this creed are usually the most successful. They set goals, try new things, take risks, fail, set new goals (or modify the old ones), get off track, get back on track. And boom, 2 months (or 2 years) later the goal is achieved. Lesson learned Nikki. Thank you for the inspiration, simple, short-and-sweet guidance. Your journey looks and sounds amazing and I wish you nothing but the best.
A few pics I snapped from the event.