[Guest Post] Why Getting Fired Didn’t Kill My Vibe

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Before I dove deep into this journey of being an entrepreneur, I worked for a small, family owned business.  This opportunity came when I was off to a slow start finding a job after graduating college, and the way the job was presented to me made it seem like exactly what I was looking for. Great hours, decent pay, and plenty of down time in the afternoon for the beach was just what I needed as a young 20-something.

After working as a Hooter’s girl for three consecutive years, I was desperately looking for any opportunity to get out of serving drunk businessmen and hormone ridden frat guys. Waitressing to make ends meet literally took over my life to the point where my son couldn’t even live with me.  Luckily, my Mom agreed to take him in while I tried to grind it out and stack some money.  I was so eager to take this new opportunity because my employer presented the opportunity as filet mignon on a silver platter when really it was flank steak on a Dixie plate.

Wait, not Dixie… Great Value.

Looking back, I realized we were both desperate and easy to convince.  I despised being a Hooter’s girl and they had a high employee turnover rate.  Signed, sealed, and delivered!

To make a long story short, I worked for this company for a year and a half, learned as much as I possibly could, and wore as many hats as they needed me to while dealing with some pretty emotionally damning situations.  Suddenly in September 2014, I was terminated… via text message.  I had no idea what to do because I had just given birth to my second son in April, and quit my part time job a month before.  I wasn’t given a reason for the termination, but I can tell you that I had never been written up, reprimanded, or warned about my position being in jeopardy.  Unfortunately, I live in an employee at-will state, so really, they’re allowed to terminate me for any reason, at any time, with no explanation.  To add insult to injury, I was ineligible for unemployment benefits because I own a company and was “working” towards getting it up and running.


Sure I was embarrassed after getting fired, but what helped me save face was that I technically didn’t do anything wrong.  It wasn’t like I had screwed up a project that cost the company thousands of dollars. There was never any type of analytical process with my employers.  If they had a thought, or an assumption, they went with it and it was difficult to convince them otherwise.  Luckily for me, being fired fueled me and helped me come to terms with several things.

The moment I was fired, I realized that my employer’s couldn’t have cared less about my livelihood at the time of my termination.  They didn’t care about how I was going to provide for my family, and they didn’t care that I had real obligations.  I get it, it’s a business, and terminations happen.  In my case, I had no bad marks on my record.  The company wasn’t cutting back, they weren’t closing down, they just wanted to terminate ME.  It was personal for them.

**NOTE: If you ever find yourself working for someone who easily lets their emotions get the best of them, you might want to start looking for another job.  I knew my employers had no emotional intelligence and made very irrational decisions.  Don’t ever convince yourself that you won’t be a victim of their decisions.  I used to think that, and I was extremely shocked when I was fired.**

Take a minute to think about all the things you have that you work for in order to keep.  Your home, your son’s Taekwondo lessons, groceries… can you really afford to lose your job at the drop of a dime?  How important are these things to you?  Paying your mortgage on time may be on the top of your priorities list, but I can guarantee you that your employer may not be so concerned about it.  These are factors that I had to take a closer look at when reevaluating my life after being terminated.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bad mouthing my employers.  You’ve got to look at the bigger picture here. Do you really know your employer’s personality?  Do you feel safe knowing that you can be fired at any moment, for any reason at all, even if it’s one that doesn’t make sense?

Getting fired helped me to realize that I am the only person who has any real control over my livelihood. My ability to support my family was taken away with no notice, no warning.  Now, I work for myself and I can’t fire myself unless I do absolutely nothing to make my business flourish.  You are only in true control when you allow yourself to take the reigns.

There’s a powerful quote by Bill Gates that my boyfriend and I like to say every now and then for a little motivation: “It’s not your mistake if you were born poor, but it is your mistake if you die poor”.


Let that sink in.

We all have a choice, and there are many ways to declare your wealth.  Some people work for years with awesome companies that really do care about their employees, and they’re able to make bank!  Others are successful entrepreneurs, and some get lucky and inherit their fortune.  Whatever your take on attaining wealth is, remember this: we are only given one life.  Anyone that is living as a free individual of society has the luxury of choosing their path in life.

If you are reading this post, you have the LUXURY of choosing how your life pans out.  You’re not enslaved, you’re not bound to a sub par job, you have a choice!  In my case, I continued to get comfortable in the job market and was eventually forced out.  I was fired because my employers merely thought I was doing something wrong, and that’s when I decided to never let anyone have control of my life again.  I will never allow someone to control my family’s meals or living situation.  I will never give someone the ability to control whether or not my children can participate in extracurricular activities.  I will never allow someone the ability to limit my freedom and my ability to retire at a young age.

To go back to that quote, you have no control of how you come into this world, but the road you travel down during life is completely up to you.  Are you really paying attention to your situation and the cards you’re being dealt?  Don’t short yourself because you’re unsure, just go for your dreams.  I made tons of mistakes when I started my business, but I learned from them and kept moving.



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Literacy on Wheels: Books on Bikes

I’m so excited for today’s guest post from Julia Travers, because this organization is a great one! Read below to see how you can get involved with a great community program!
For some students, a break from school means a break from books. For elementary students, book access is crucial to literacy development. Books on Bikes is a program in which teachers and librarians from Charlottesville City Schools load books into bike baskets and deliver them to local neighborhoods. You can see videos of their work on their site, volunteer, start your own chapter, make donations, and also buy books for them that they’ve requested on this Amazon page. As well as being important, being read to and reading stories is fun and a big part of a kid’s world. Books on Bikes also brings along friendly service dogs and offers Freezy pops, warm, clothes, and cocoa, depending on the season.

books and bikes

Literacy on Wheels: Books on Bikes

Books on Bikes, Image credit: Books on Bikes, 2015 parade, Image credit: http://www.booksonbikescville.org/books-on-bikes-bike-parade-2015/

On Newsplex.com, member Stacy Diaz says,

“Kids love to read, so just to allow them to choose their own book, that they might be interested in and have something to read over break, is great for them.”

In June, they hosted their second Bike Parade, ending at the JMRL Summer Reading Kickoff Hullabaloo at the Central Library downtown, with help from local police and groups such as the Charlottesville Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Committee and Community Bikes.

Books on Bikes, 2015 parade, Image credit: http://www.booksonbikescville.org/books-on-bikes-bike-parade-2015/

Books on Bikes led a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014 and members have presented their work at the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National Conference. They also ran Books on a Bus book delivery in summer 2015 and they have given out hundreds of books. You can find out more about this organizations’ work on their site as well as view their calendar and get in touch on their team contact page.


Julia Travers, 2016

Plank Tutorial [Guest Post via Hello to Fit]

Today’s guest post is from Jess at Hello to Fit! She’s a plank pro and offered to share some tips with us! If you haven’t checked out her blog yet, head on over for some health & fitness inspiration!

Planks can be considered the base or foundation of all core work. While using just our bodyweight, planks can build up our muscular strength from head to toe – literally! Every muscle in the body must be engaged and active in order for us to hold a proper plank.

Why Plank?

When you think of abdominal strength, do you think of sit-ups and crunches? Those can be good to strengthen the abs, but not much is being done for the rest of our core muscles (the back, glutes, hips, shoulders, and chest). Sit-ups tend to engage mainly the hip-flexors, and can be tough on the back (since you are in a “flexed” or rounded position).

According to Harvard Health Publications, planks “recruit a better balance of muscles on the front, sides, and back of the body during exercise than sit-ups, which target just a few muscles”. This is more functional for our activities of daily living, since all of those core muscles have to work together when we do chores, pick up our children, and play sports.

Planks for everyone!

So…you want to be in-the-know about proper “planking”. There are many variations, but we’ll go over two ways you can plank on the floor: modified and full plank.

Correct modified plank

Place hands under shoulders and knees slightly behind hips, so that the hips are in a diagonal line with the shoulders. Elbows are soft, not locked, and shoulder blades should feel “plugged” into the joint. In other words, pull the shoulders slightly down and away from the ears.

Incorrect modified plank

Make sure abdominals are engaged; otherwise, your modified plank my look like this. Which is incorrect. Allowing the hips to sink can put unwanted pressure on the spine – back pain is no bueno!

Plank hands

Plank elbows

For more of a challenge, you can come into a full plank. Safety cues are the same as for a modified plank, except that you’ll come onto the toes. Depending on personal preference (or if there is a wrist injury), you can stay on hands or drop down to the elbows.

Incorrect plank on hands

Hips too high plank

A couple of big things to watch out for when you’re in full plank are hips that sink too low, or hips that are too high. Channel your inner Goldilocks and find that position that is “just right”: hips are in that diagonal line from the shoulders.

Plank better to perform better

Mastering any variation of a plank can help us be better at basically everything in our daily lives. We might be able to sit up a little taller – and with better posture – at work. When we’re at the gym, we can better protect our spine when lifting weights. With a stronger core, carrying our small children can be done safely and more efficiently.

What am I trying to say? If you haven’t planked today yet – drop down and give yourself a minute or two of some solid core work!

Jess Dang of Hello to Fit

Jess is an ACSM certified personal trainer and AFAA certified group exercise instructor from Charlottesville, VA. Through her personal training and blogging, she hopes to share her experiences with living a balanced lifestyle: a lifestyle that includes an emphasis on strength and core training, moving as much as we can for health, while also enjoying those moments of indulgence.


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5 Outfits in 5 Minutes- Guest Post via Juliet Ly

Today’s guest post is from Juliet of Lilly Rose! She’s got some tips for getting ready in the morning. Honestly, who couldn’t use a few extra minutes of the snooze button? Here are her tips! –Liz

Everyone has those mornings where you just don’t want to get out of bed till the very last minute.  Burying yourself under your covers and just hoping with all your might that it was Saturday.  But, it usually isn’t and you have to drag yourself out of bed eventually and get dressed.

There are five outfits that I immediately go to when I’m in one of these situations.  The first outfit is super comfy and super easy to throw on in the morning.  You can even get dressed in the dark and still look fabulous!

My first outfit it perfect for those chilly fall days that are coming our way. I paired my favorite loose cardigan with a long tank I scored during Topshop’s sale for a super comfy, yet cute look!  And who can live without a pair of black leggings this fall? And for a little bit of edge, I wore my outfit with my Jeffrey Campbell Everwell boots.

Can you tell I’m obsessed about them?

My second outfit incorporates a long shimmery sweater that is perfect for a night out in to the perfect day time outfit with the help of, yet, another Topshop tank!  The deal was too good to pass up! And my trusty black leggings are always there for me!  This time I paired my outfit with one of my favorite Dr. Martens.  They are super comfy and take seconds to just slip on!

For a cool, yet effortless vibe, I go with black and black.  This top is originally from Free People and I scored this top from Poshmark for under $20! Leggings and cut out boots are my go to essentials this fall.

There are days where the weather decides that it’s going to feel like summer.  And on those days, I love to rock an all neutral outfit.  They are super easy to put together and they complement each other beautifully.  And of course, I couldn’t leave my cut out boots at home!

This beautifully bold printed dress just screams fall from the great autumnal colors to the elongating vertical pattern.  I am in love with the little poms poms!  Because this dress makes such a beautiful statement on its own.  I just paired it with my Jeffrey Campbell France boots for a quick and easy fall look.  And for a little added warmth, you can always pair this look with a great denim jacket!

The key to getting dressed fast is looking at color and texture.  As you can see, most of my outfits are a mix of neutrals.  But they aren’t boring!  Each of the outfits play with texture and pattern.  For example, the speckled knit cardigan and the shimmery sweater really stood out over my tank and black leggings.  And the monochromatic black on black look stays interesting with the sheer paneling on the sleeves.

For quick outfits, keep your colors simple and the textural element will add the interest or find a really bold piece such as the dress above and play it up by matching the dress or top with some key basics.  With these tips, you can’t go wrong!  Have a great semester this fall!

 What are your go-to outfits?

DC Thrifting Tour with Thrift & Boast

We have a really fun announcement today from Tanesha of Thrift and Boast! She’s got an awesome event planned and we’re hoping to see lots of DC bloggers there! I’ll let her fill you in on the details: 

New to the blogging community, I wanted to formally introduce my blog, Thrift and Boast, and self while extending an invitation to the upcoming DC/NOVA Thrift and Boast Thrift Tour on Saturday, November 15th.

Tanesha of Thrift and Boast

Tanesha of Thrift and Boast

My Self: A lover of thrift shops, finding unique pieces, and putting them together to create distinct looks. I am also on a personal mission to share with anyone I come into contact with the benefits of shopping second hand and how it helps our pockets, public and planet.  There are so many myths about thrift stores and hidden truths. My goal is to dispel the myths and share the truths.  Not only does shopping second hand help our households and the budgets we maintain, but, it allows us to support our local organizations that are helping our communities and keeps our landfills clear. Triple win for all!!!

My blog, Thrift and Boast, is a platform to re-cap my monthly thrift and boast meet-ups at different organizations that make money to support our local communities through different outreach projects; talk about my life experiences with thrifting and a home for my online resale store of beautiful dresses, Discard to Distinct.  Whether you are up for a chuckle, a styling tip or looking for a thrifting buddy, this is a great place to start. Thrift and Boast is a way to highlight organizations that need our donations to continue their outreach in our local communities. Most people only know of the main stores such as Goodwill, Salvation Army and now CHKD but, with my help and the meet-ups this gives people other choices when choosing where to donate and shop.

thrift 4

My Invitation to all:  Sometimes we need a day away, a chance to recharge and what better way to do it then with good people, an in-transit movie, light refreshments and some shopping.  We will be chauffered on a shuttlebus to Northern Virginia to the 2nd Largest Salvation Army, Thrift Store of Virginia, then we will stop for lunch and then in head into Georgetown to visit Second Time Around and Buffalo Exchange. I had a chance to visit all of these stores and each store has something for everyone. Not only will we shop but, there will be raffles and give-aways to include visa gift cards and more. The cost is $50 and is guaranteed to be a good time. Bring a friend or come alone, you are guaranteed to make new friends. To purchase tickets or find out more information go to DC/NOVA Thrift and Boast Thrift Tour.  I hope to meet all of you and make some new friends.

For details or questions, e-mail Tanesahbrown (at) comcast (dot) net.