Self-Made Success

Style and Savings Reads: This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe

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This may not be the typical type of book you think of for a book discussion, as it’s been marketed as a humorous celebrity memoir, but keep in mind – there’s something to learn from everyone’s story!

The following is not a book review or synopsis, just a list of book discussion questions inspired by what I read:

1. Growing up, Gabby used to be teased, but look how successful and accomplished she is now! What is something that you’ve achieved that would surprise your teenage self?

2. Should Alice (Gabby’s mom) have known that her green card marriage would fail?

3. Tola (Gabby’s dad’s new wife) is a psychic, do you believe in psychics and their ability to know things about others and predict their future?

4. Gabby went to therapy sessions when she was suffering from depression. How do you handle life’s obstacles?

5. Gabby describes her love/hate relationship with Twitter: she often checks it in the morning and posts funny updates on her account but says “it’s vain to think people want to know everything you’re thinking all the time, Twitter is for saying dumb stuff as soon as it pops in your head”. What do you love or hate about social media?

6.  Gabourey Sidibe is a Senegalese name, many have struggled to say correctly. “Americans are lazy, kind and condescending….they only want to say names they can pronounce.”  If you could change your name would you? If so, what would your name be?

7. Gabby was prescribed an appetite suppressant, but it didn’t work because she ate in response to her feelings, not only when she was hungry.  What’s your favorite comfort food or celebratory dinner & drink?

8. For a celebrity, Gabby seems surprisingly introverted. She doesn’t like talking to strangers and she says she’d prefer not to be famous, just rich. Which would you choose – either, both, or neither & why?

9.  On the day of her audition for Precious, Gabby was literally at a crossroads as she walked out of her front door – she could cross the street one direction to school or cross the street the other way towards the audition. A film crew had blocked off some of the sidewalk outside of her building and directed her where to cross the street, which happened to be in the direction of the audition. Do you believe this was coincidence or fate?

10. Gabby had the opportunity to visit the White House and was recognized and greeted warmly by the Obamas. What public figure or celebrity do you dream of meeting?

I enjoyed reading this memoir. It was funny, but also had sad and serious moments — such is life! I’m glad Gabourey was brave enough to share her ups and downs. In a world where many women feel pressure to appear perfect, it’s refreshing to see someone share darker times in her past and how she currently faces her challenges.

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Be True to Your School: 5 Ways to Give Back to Your Alma Mater

This weekend is Homecoming at Purdue University.
Homecoming is a time when alumni return to campus to reunite with friends and reminisce about their college days.

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Photo Credit: Trevor Mahlmann

Oh….and go to the football game

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Photo Credit: Trevor Mahlmann

 

You may be picturing alumni clubs and alumni donors as rich retirees, but recent grads – the truth is….It’s not too early to give back to your school. 

You can volunteer your time and make use of your connections to impact current students in the following ways:

  1. Job Shadow

  2. Mock Interviewer

  3. Resume Reviewer

  4. Guest Speaker or Mentor

  5. Monetary Donation

Job Shadow

Career exploration is important as some students are still figuring which industry would be the best choice for them. If your company will allow it, a job shadowing opportunity can help a student to experience a typical day in your role.

Resume Reviewer

The first step on the path to an internship or full-time career opportunity is creating a resume. As a resume reviewer, you can assist students in making sure their resumes are polished and professional.

Mock Interviewer

Resumes and interviews go hand in hand. You can help students prepare to make a good first impression by participating in a mock interviewing program. Using a list of standard behavioral interview questions, you can simulate a typical job interview so that students can practice communication skills.

Guest Speaker or Mentor

Student organizations are often looking for professionals to speak at various club meetings and conferences. If you are willing to talk about your company or share your success story, this is another great way to share your knowledge and experience.

 If you are willing to meet students one-on-one or in small groups for coffee or be contacted by phone or Skype, students who are looking for some direction and advice would be grateful to benefit from your mentorship.

Monetary Donation

Whether you can contribute a little or a lot, every dollar adds up. If you make  donation, most contributions are tax deductible and often you are given the option to designate whether you want your contribution to go to a specific student organization, program, or school within the university. To increase the impact of  your contribution, find out if your company offers a matching program.

Also, don’t forget to leverage your connections inside and outside of your workplace. Many corporations are involved in philanthropy and are willing to sponsor student organizations and university events. You can act as a liaison in helping to coordinate a company sponsorship.

For more information on how you can give back, contact your school’s alumni office or career center.

Ever Grateful, Ever True

Have a Happy Homecoming Week

Style and Savings Reads: The Perfect Find by Tia Williams

I first read about this book in Essence magazine book reviews and added it to my Want to Read list on Goodreads.

When I got the email about the Goodreads giveaway, I entered the giveaway and won!! Now I always enter Goodreads giveaways – who knows, I could win again : )

#Goodreads drawing winner! Happy to have an autographed book for my collection! This should be a fun summer read 😎☀️📖

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Between wedding planning

Wedding day nails after a relaxing salon trip with @wandiitastic & wandiitastic'smommy #becomingmrsu👰🏽 #bridetobe #weddingday

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and international travel

When in France, eat French Fries #france🇫🇷 #pommefrites #goldenarches

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I was having a busy summer and didn’t get around to reading this book.

This summer, my plans were pretty open and I wanted to make sure I made the most of the summer by creating a Style and Savings Summer Fun List and a Style and Savings Summer Reading List.

Of course this book was on the list –

The Perfect Find was the perfect summer read

It was fun and romantic, and better than the usual rom-com because its plot is not predictable.

The main character Jenna, is in a similar situation as Liza of TV Land’s Younger, being a 40-something woman working in a youth – obsessed industry (although Jenna is honest about her age and experience), trying to keep up with millennial culture and falling in love with a younger man, Eric.

I liked that the story began with Jenna’s current situation but later covers the backstory of her college days, rising up in her career, and her previous long-term relationship with her college sweetheart Brian.

Unlike Younger

The Perfect Find has diverse characters!

If the book is made into a movie or TV show (I wish!) it would have a Shonda Rimes-esque cast. I can see Vanessa Williams as Jenna’s “queen of mean’ boss. The handsome leading men  chosen to play Brian and Eric must have looks, charm and personality worthy of attracting a beautiful, unique, and accomplished yet down-to-earth woman like Jenna (and worthy of being my new celebrity crush!)

The New York backdrop and fashion culture are both integral to the book and would translate well to the silver screen or flat screen.

Without giving away any spoilers, I was satisfied with the book’s ending. It ends with a five year jump into the future. It was a nice stopping point, but still leaves room to for follow up stories in the form of a sequel or series.

Thank you Tia Williams for writing such great book and allowing us to peek into your glamorous life!

 

Style and Savings’ Summer Reading List 2017

Summer is quickly approaching and now is the time to plan how I will make the most of these beautiful days!

As a kid, we would always participate in the summer reading program at the local library. Now I’m older and won’t get a free Dairy Queen Dilly bar , a beach ball, or a slinky, my incentive is the pure enjoyment of reading.

Here is a list of books (all of which are by female authors) that have been on my To Read list for a while that I plan to finally read this summer:

The Perfect Find by Tia Williams

I first saw a review of this book in Essence magazine, then added it to my Goodreads “Want to Read” list. I entered the sweepstakes to win a copy of the book and was lucky enough to win an autographed paperback. I now follow the author Tia Williams on Instagram @shakeyourbeauty, where she posts adorable photos of her daughter, her book signings, her fashion and life in New York.

#Goodreads drawing winner! Happy to have an autographed book for my collection! This should be a fun summer read 😎☀️📖

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Why Not Me? By Mindy Kaling

I have been a fan of Mindy since The Office and have been catching up on The Mindy Project on Hulu lately. I took a break from it for a while – but now that I am giving it another chance, I’m glad to see Mindy as a working mother with a successful practice who is launching her own business.

I read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? a couple years ago and I hope this book is also as funny.

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Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps  by Kelly Williams Brown

I added this book to my Goodreads “Want to Read” list back in 2014, when I may have still been experiencing a quarter-life crisis. During that time, I also liked to read the very relatable blogs Twenty Something Living and When Life Gives You Rubi. This book seems like it will fall in the info-tainment genre and I think it will be comforting to see how far I’ve come since then.

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps

The Frugalista Files: How One Woman Got Out of Debt Without Giving Up the Fabulous Life by Natalie McNeal

No one really wants to be in debt, but through budgeting and reducing spending there is a way out. Some examples of this are too extreme for my taste (see: tiny houses, junk cars, ramen dinners). Style and Savings was created on the principle to “live stylishly without spending your savings”. I want to maintain a level of comfort, while still living within or below my means.

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That wraps up my book list for the summer (in addition to the magazines I subscribe to).

What’s on your Summer Reading List?

Book Discussion: The Mothers a Novel

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The Mothers a Novel by Brit Bennett is one of the best written books I have read in a long time – maybe ever. I would place it among the ranks of The Secret Life of Bees. If you enjoy this book as much as I did – it will stay in your mind after the last chapter closes.

Thought provoking topics provide the foundation of the story which also has unexpected twists and secrets that unravel slowly. Brit Bennett didn’t take the easy way out by writing in detail about the milestones a reader would expect, which makes this novel so interesting.

The following questions are intended for book discussion and may contain spoilers:

1 – Why is this book titled The Mothers?

2 – Why didn’t Mr. Turner keep Nadia closer after her mother’s death?

3- Why wasn’t Mrs. Sheppard more compassionate towards Nadia?

4- Both Pastor Sheppard and Mr. Turner dedicated lots of time to the church. Is it good to serve the community as an example for  children or bad to take time away from raising them?

5- How were Luke and Nadia affected by their decision ?

6- When Aubrey first started visiting Luke, why didn’t Nadia tell Aubrey about their past? Would you have told your friend if she started dating your ex?

7- Why didn’t Luke tell Aubrey that he used to date Nadia?

8- Why does Luke treat Aubrey better (in the beginning of their relationship) than he treated Nadia ?

9-What made Nadia & Aubrey’s friendship last after the day at the beach when Nadia admits to hooking up with Luke in high school?

10 – Nadia imagines what her mother’s life would have been without her. Do you think Nadia gets married and/or raises a child one day?

11- Why did Aubrey desperately want to be a mother?

12 – Should Luke and Nadia have ended up together?

After reading this novel, I wanted to learn more about Brit Bennett. Through various magazine articles, I found that she grew up in Oceanside, California where the novel takes place and like Nadia,  also went to college at the University of Michigan.The Mothers is her very first novel and she was 27 years old when the book was published in 2016.  It is inspiring to see a young black woman author with so much talent and I look forward to reading more of her work.

 

 

Self-Made Success: Kenny Kendall’s Gourmet Popcorn

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If you’re a popcorn fan, you’re familiar with Garrett popcorn – the Chicago based gourmet popcorn retailer. While Chicago is a 2 hour car ride away from Lafayette and a popular weekend trip, you don’t have to venture even that far to get freshly popped, delicious popcorn.

Thanks to LaTarsha (Tarsha) Hendrix-Johnson & family, Lafayette has its own gourmet popcorn kingdom.

Photo of Kenny Kendall's Gourmet Popcorn - Lafayette, IN, United States. "FROM THE SEED, TO THE SERVICE!"

Before getting into the popcorn business in 2015, Tarsha successfully operated the Virtuous Woman Salon and Beauty Spa located in downtown Lafayette. After 20 years of bringing beauty and confidence to her clients, Tarsha had an idea for a new business inspired by her sons Kenneth Jr. and Kendall.

Kenny Kendall’s is conveniently located in Tippecanoe Mall near H&M (one of my favorites). As we approached the Kenny Kendall’s kiosk, I was impressed by the variety of popcorn flavors offered. With 12 flavors ranging from Strawberry Cheesecake to Spicy Smokehouse Cheddar, there’s something for every popcorn lover.

On a recent visit, we were greeted with a warm smile and offered samples to taste. I also had the opportunity to ask Tarsha a few questions about her experience as an entrepreneur to share with the readers.

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What is rewarding about being an entrepreneur?

Tarsha Hendrix-Johnson: As an entrepreneur you have the ability to lead others in the right direction. Leading by example is the one of the most important factors in leadership and entrepreneurship. The  most rewarding (accomplishment) would be able to establish a business for generations to come. My husband and I are planting seeds now for them to grow into something great in the future for the next generation which would be to leave inheritance and generational blessings for my children and their children.

What do you like most about what you do?

THJ: Being able to serve others.

Your family pictures are beautiful, do you hope for your sons to be involved in the business?

THJ: Yes I do. Actually my 17 year old is already involved. He works for the business and actually operates a shift by himself.  We are learning and growing together. My 3 yr old just eats all the cheese popcorn he wants, so I guess you can say he’s involved too! 🙂

Where do you see Kenny Kendall’s in the near future (1 – 5 years from now) ?

THJ: Within the next 5 years I see Kenny Kendall’s with 3 locations and serving others  with love, patience, gentleness, meekness, temperance, goodness, kindness, and joy “from the seed to the service”!

 

We wish the Hendrix-Johnson family the best and hope that Kenny Kendall’s is here for years to come. My new favorite flavor is the Boiler Mix – you’ll have to taste it !

For more of the Self-Made Success series: 

Self-Made Success: AMPsConnected

Self-Made Success: Simply Wright

Self-Made Success: ShopLauren’sPlace

February Friday Faves 2.2.2017

Welcome to the first Friday of February 2017!

Here are a few of my favorites from this past week:

Soap & Glory Gift Set

I have been a fan of Soap & Glory for several years now. This gift set was a Christmas gift from my sister.  I love the pink packaging and the fresh, clean scent. The shower gel lathers into lots of bubbles and the body butter is a thick moisturizer – perfect for protection from the cold winter weather.

 Sample Size 12 months

Speaking of soap and glory, 12 months Soaps is continuing to grow. These sample soaps are an adorable size and are made with natural ingredients.

 Thrifted Cardigans

I recently purchased  a dress and needed a cardigan to go with it. I found the black cardigan with the flower embellishment at a local resale shop. The brand is The Limited (they were pricey, but still sad to see it go out of business) and only cost $8.00! The red cardigan is Ann Taylor Loft from Poshmark for $13 plus shipping.

The Minimalists

The Minimalists is a podcast that I just discovered – they started in January 2016, so there are already 52 episodes that I can listen to. I’m still deciding what I think about it. I just want to live in a healthy balance somewhere between TLC’s Hoarders and HG TV’s Tiny House Hunters . For now minimalism seems extreme, but I am interested enough to keep listening and add it to my podcast rotation which also includes Gilmore Guys & AMPsConnected

Happy Friday – Enjoy your Super Bowl Weekend!