Category Archives: Latest

Murder in the British Virgin Islands? Stay Tuned… EPISODE ONE

By Tracey Parent

What’s a girl to do when she is literally tapped-the-f*ck-out, on empty, drained of every last bit of love, energy, effort and give of any kind? She finds a boat to sail her around islands aimlessly for a week. With strangers who can’t possibly NEED a thing from her. Which is a good thing because honestly she doesn’t have a damn thing to give and is ready to take what she deserves….and if she has to kill someone to get it, well….

Alexander Parent, TraceyI am a single mom, a business-owner, a daughter, sister, friend, neighbor and a thoughtful stranger. Some say I have boundless energy but I would beg to differ. There is nothing superhuman about me, but my greatest assets are my faith and passion. These things push me forward every day. What fills me up on a daily basis is going to work at a business I created that is warm, inviting to clients, and successful because it provides a good life and allows me to live it on my own terms. The ability to do something I enjoy and come home to my little happy family and spend time with friends feeds my soul and allows me to give of myself to others which also feeds my need for my life to have purpose, meaning and impact.

All that said, sometimes all the give is gone, tapped out and a “reset” is required. I have learned in life, whether in a relationship or not, one needs to love themselves enough to know when self-care is needed. A partner, friends, family, they have their place in meeting needs but your self and soul require an inner-connection. Some times YOU need to take care of YOU, and right now, I need to take care of ME.

So here I go to the British Virgin Islands on a very nice 50 foot catamaran for seven days with a boat captain I have become acquainted with through a friend on Facebook (friends of friends can’t be rapists right??) and a handful of strangers…oh and my girlfriend Kristi who is pretty much clinically insane (I meant Republican, sorry)…. I have one carry on, light enough to throw over my shoulder, and other than salt, sand and sailing I have zero expectations. No wait, I have one: That this birth control pill that my GYN gave me to prevent my monthly friend, aka el Diablo Rojo, from coming mid-sail actually works!! (A moment of silent prayer please. Amen.)

So at the gate at Dulles, of course, the flight has been delayed but TRUST ME, my chill has not been harshed just yet… I’m thinking about the other guests on the boat. I will change the names to protect their privacy (and in case one of them ends up overboard… just sayin’). First there is “Pam,” she is from Hawaii. From what I understand she is a super-zen chick who does yoga and reiki. She’s adorable and after stalking her Facebook, I was surprised to see we pretty much share very similar opinions and share almost identical posts. My first instinct is “I like her already,” but my second thought is “usually those earthy chicks can be a little nuts.” Besides, one of my best friends said to never trust a girl named Pam, so I guess we shall see.

Next meet “Joe.” Joe apparently owns like nine restaurants in Hilton Head. He’s older than I am (I stalked his FB too), but looks like he enjoys life. The REAL question is: Does a restaurant owner COOK? And will he be doing so on board because I have zero intention of making anything other than salsa and guac to go with my afternoon margarita.

Which brings us to “Ray”. Oh f’ it, I’m not changing his name… His real name is Ross and I feel like we are old friends at this point (we have, after all have had several FB chats). Ross is the captain of the boat. He is super-friendly, and lives the life we all say we will as soon as our kids are out of the house. He spends his time island hopping on gorgeous boats hanging out with cool people and lounging in hammocks while dragging his feet through powdered sugar-like sand. F’ this guy right? Yeah… but you can’t not like him. Well, as far as I can tell from Facebook.

I know nothing else about the other couple coming but will introduce them to you as this journey unfolds. OK, they’re calling my flight. And so it begins… Come along. And let’s hope nobody goes overboard!

5 Spring Trends to “Work” Into Your Work Wardrobe

by Annette Y. Harris

Spring 2016 SetYou’ve moved your clocks forward. The cherry blossoms in D.C. are at their peak. March Madness is down to the Elite Eight. Political “reality TV” is at its best. ‘Tis the season to shake things up a bit. Why not stir up your work wardrobe with this spring’s newest looks?

There are a lot of fab fashion trends this spring season –  vibrant colors, patterns that pop, sleek new garment designs and shapes and accessories that add just the right flair to round out your look.

Whatever you do though, don’t be a “trend offender,” wearing any and all trends you can get your hands on. This isn’t a good look, especially at work. As the great fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld once said:

“TRENDY is the last stage before TACKY.”

Instead of overdoing a good thing, find a couple of trends that you like and that:

  • are flattering to your body type and personal coloring,
  • fit your style,
  • are appropriate for work, and
  • easily mix into your existing work wardrobe.

Read on to find out five of my favorite trends for Spring 2016. And, don’t forget to like me @showupllc on Facebook and follow me on Twitter!

  1. Color: Orange. Orange really is the new black this spring season. If you feel bold, grab a great orange dress and pair it with your power pearls and nude pumps for a look that’s corner-office chic – but only if orange is flattering to your skin tone, eyes, and hair color. For the less adventurous or if orange isn’t flattering on you: Go for a “pop” of orange – maybe a handbag or pair of pumps – or, mix it with a neutral like navy, gray, beige or off-white to tone the color down (for example, an orange blazer, a navy or beige skirt, and a dressy blouse with a pattern that links the two colors).
  1. Pattern: Stripes. So, here is the thing about stripes – they are always in style. This spring season, though, stripes will take on new life. There will be stripes of every width, going in every direction from diagonal to vertical to horizontal to asymmetrical – and even stripes on top of stripes. The key with stripes is that you want to wear them strategically. Go for a vertical stripe if you want to look taller and leaner. If you are fuller on the top half of your body (larger bust and/or wide shoulders) opt for vertical instead of horizontal stripes or wear a solid top and limit wearing stripes to your bottom half and vice versa, if you are fuller on the bottom half (i.e. hips, derriere) of your body. For a more formal, conservative look at work, keep the stripes narrower, slightly wider than a pin stripe for greater visual impact. If you work in a less formal, artsy or creative environment, you’ve got more fashion freedom to make a statement by wearing stripes on the top and bottom.
  1. Design:Knife-pleats. Sharpen your work wardrobe and add a level of swagger to your step this spring with knife pleats (also called micro pleats) that add precision to your every move. You’ll find this apparel design element on blouses, dresses and skirts alike this spring. For work, balance a feminine pleated skirt or dress with a strong, fitted blazer that says you are in command. Go from day to evening by swapping out the blazer for a cutout shoulder top or an off-the-shoulder top – also two of this spring’s trends- along with a pair of statement earrings and strappy heels.
  1. Handbag: Saddlebag. Saddle up for work with this super-stylish’70s fashion trend. In general, this shape of handbag is more casual and therefore a great option for the less formal workplace. For more formal dress, choose a simple, conservative, high-quality version of the bag (like the white See by Chloe one pictured in the fashion set above). Wear it over the shoulder or go for cross-body if you want a more modern look. Insert your personality into your look by playing with the color, print, pattern and texture of the bag.
  1. Pumps: Block Heels. Block heels made their way onto the scene last summer and are making a comeback this season. You pick your heel height (no more than 3″-4″ for work), design (from lace-up to ankle straps) and finish (from leather to suede, python print to metallic, and in every color you can contemplate). And then, rock them at work with trousers, skirts or dresses. What I love the most about block heels is that you can elevate your height, which has a slimming effect (say what?….yes, you look slimmer!), and at the same time feel steady on your feet when you strut your stuff at work.

IMG_8458-Edit_CroppedAnnette Y. Harris is President & Founder of ShowUp, LLC a one-stop shop for all aspects of personal brand development from identifying and defining talents, strengths and unique attributes; and then activating a personal brand visibility campaign – to elevating executive presence in terms of professional dress, communication, and business etiquette skills.

Prior to ShowUp! Annette spent nearly 20 years managing global marketing programs and leading teams for multi-million dollar Federal government contract proposals for major corporations like Deloitte & Touché, MCI WorldCom and Verizon.

Annette earned her undergraduate degree from James Madison University, her MBA from George Mason University, and was later certified by the leading accreditation organizations in her field, the Association of Image Consultants International and the Protocol School of Washington. Annette is a 360Reach Personal Brand and Social Brand Analyst. She also studied under famed stylist Stacy London (of the hit show What Not to Wear). To learn more, about Annette visit: http://showupllc.com/annette/

Contact:
Email: aharris@showupllc.com
Phone: 703-725-7765
Facebook: showupllc
Twitter: @showupllc

Love hurts

By Davine Ker

I grew up believing that love hurts.

It took me a long time to understand my values. And my values involved learning how to please my future husband. I remember being twelve and in training: I studied how to cook rice, iron shirts and glide across the room like a quiet ninja. I absorbed the art of swallowing my words and my pride and the fine art of balancing between obedience and taking the lead.

When I was fourteen years old, I chose to obsess about this boy named François. In reality, I fell strongly in love with the idea of loving him. I thought by showing him all my skills, he would be interested in me. After all, this is what my parents had taught me. “If you cook rice, make him feel dignified, show him you can manage a home, bear and raise children…he will never leave you”.

François was also only fourteen years old, and couldn’t care less about my jasmine rice steaming skills. He even said I tried too hard. He wasn’t interested. What did he mean he wasn’t interested? I came from a well-respected, extremely traditional Cambodian family, I learned how to ‘wife’ at an early age, AND he wouldn’t even need to spend money on three herds of pandas to have me! I was a real bargain! He made me feel like Pepe Le Pew. I just wanted cuddles, someone to offer me sweet Valentines, hold hands with me, and have make-out sessions at the movie theatre…And then get married!!!

I think I scared him away…

I grew up around arranged marriages. I didn’t know people had to be attracted to each other, have chemistry. Wasn’t it enough that François and I loved speaking to each other? He wasn’t repulsive and I wanted to take care of him. To me back then, it was perfectly enough to become this perfect couple. I thought anyone could love anyone, as long as we both wanted it. Perhaps Francois was my first heartbreak. But it was more of an ego break…and tons of confusion.

Later on, my love life was a sum of one-way stories of “what ifs?” and “why not me?” Would I ever meet this person who would want to wait with me, if I met him then? If I met him later, would he embrace the fact that I waited for him, preserved myself for him? I was raised believing that my entire worth relied on this little fragile part of me—my hymen, in a world that craved for instant gratification.

I went on a few dates, but never got seriously involved with anyone. I thought I fell in love several times. But I mostly just fell in obsession, admiration. I fell for the love story.

Love hurts when you thought it was love. Delusion hurts.

My friends worried I was becoming too picky. That I would find love if I slept around, that I should be more open minded, and more open legged…

They were also concerned about my lack of dating experience, convinced that I would have to learn sexy skills in order to attract men and satisfy them. My parents worried about my cultivating any form of dating experience which would compromise my worth and perceived value to a man.

Everywhere I turned, the world seemed to tell me I would never find love. From my parent’s angle, I had no room for mistakes. From my peer’s, I needed to make mistakes.

My friends would share their love stories and the lessons they learned: “Love hurts, Davine!” Indeed I knew it did. And would. Especially on that wedding night. That night when people would all gather to celebrate the agony of my flesh ripping, to prove to them I honored my family code.

Eventually, I took my love life into my own hands. Finding loopholes to bridge my guilt from the way I was raised with this romance and passion I was yearning for.

One morning, after my mother said, “Clean up your room! Or else you will never find husband,” I cleaned my room. That day, he appeared. In my house. As if he was hiding under all these piles of clothes and mess. All of a sudden, I found my cure for all my heartaches. The Cure. We bonded over their Love Song.

I finally felt someone who saw through me, through my flaws and my charms. And I grew fonder of him and allowed myself to grow fonder of me.

I grew up believing that love hurts. But what I discovered was that love heals. And love isn’t just about holes in our heart…Love makes us whole.


Ker, Devine headshot

Having received the life time achievement award for snappy shoes and dress styles from PC world magazine, Comedian Davine Ker is leading the anti-vaccine movement against computer viruses. Davine makes a point of swimming the Potomac river every morning before performing on stage so her jokes are always clean.  Her motto is “Give a kid spaghetti dinner for breakfast and he’ll never cry at lunchtime.” Be sure to like her Facebook page by clicking here.

So here . . . I am a failure

by Christine Haynes

I’m a failure and I am totally OK with that!  No really, I am. I wasn’t at first but now… I have come to terms with the fact that I’m…a failure.

These things happen and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We all can’t be successful at everything we do. Or, maybe we can be successful at some things and a successful failure at other things. So, instead of getting all up in my feelings, I am just going to embrace my success at failing.

I started Christine in Progress (C.I.P) all the way back in 2012 as a way to chronicle my health and wellness journey and hopefully inspire some people along the way. (You can get a better glimpse into what prompted that by reading my post, I am living in a place of gratitude.)

I was doing really great. I mean REALLY GREAT!!!  I successfully transitioned from a lifetime meat lover to a Vegan!! I even embraced the fully raw lifestyle!  I went from loving sleep to flipping tires at 5 am!! From drinking gallons of coffee to blending smoothies! And I lost over 70lbs in the process!!  In addition to getting control over a chronic illness, high blood pressure, and leaving the borderline diabetic zone, I was motivated, I was inspired and I was… out of my mind obsessed and focused on sticking to “the program.” It’s amazing the lengths one will go to when their life is on the line. I don’t regret it at all. It was absolutely necessary to be all or nothing in this process. My dad always told me don’t ever do anything half-assed… so, I put my full ass into it! :) Seriously, I was sick, I was tired, I was scared, and I was in a position where cutting corners was not an option, period.

I was fully committed to the process for just about three years, give or take. Yep, I said, “Was.” Did you notice that? You, my friend are very observant. Was. I was completely and totally obsessive-compulsive level committed to the entire process. No excuses, no pain, no gain…. Blah, blah, blah all that.

Then…LIFE got in the way.

I work a day job, although early on I was working a day job, running a successful business and teaching at a local college all at the same time. Because of my health issues at the time, I had to let the business go and take a break from teaching. I’m married (though my husband is perfectly capable of caring for himself) I’m just saying… I’m married and there are things that go along with that… like responsibilities and whatnot. We have two daughters at home who also have lives and their lives have quickly become our lives. Our youngest is a gymnast, a singer, and a very cute, very active 10-year-old. And our 15-year old is a smart, beautiful, philanthropist running her own charitable organization, who dabbles in art and is a track star on the rise. Oh, and let’s not forget their super important social obligations.  *insert sarcastic face here*

There were tons of “changes” going on at the day job and it was quite frankly, very freaking stressful up in there! Time became less and less available, my focus was suddenly all over the place and honestly, let me just come right out and say it, people… I got a little lazy.

In the beginning, I was so sure I could do it all!  I could take care of me, them, as well as everyone and everything in between!  If you let me tell it, I was super woman!  Slowly, I started to put myself on the back burner for every other priority in my life. Before I knew it, I looked up and realized I had not been to the gym, on a hike, walk or to a yoga class in like “forever.” Hell, I had a pile of exercise DVDS’s in my entertainment thingy that suddenly started collecting dust!

I was still eating pretty healthy, drinking juices and smoothies here and there but not every day. Fresh fruits and salads were still on the menu but I was definitely not eating as healthy as I could be. Truth be told, there are unhealthy vegan foods, lots of them… trust me, I know. Gingersnaps, for example, I love them things and they are vegan (Nabisco brand). Doesn’t make them healthy!  French fries are also quite vegan… again… doesn’t make them healthy!  There are also a host of “convenience” foods that are totally vegan and in a time crunch, they are quick and easy to grab but… yea… Just saying.

The only constant, my daily meditation practice. I think I keep that in my life because honestly, meditation keeps me from killing everyone!  I’m just kidding about the desire to kill people thing. No killing!  Flipping off, maybe… so yea meditation… that shit keeps me calm!   Yay meditation!

Then… the scale broke… or…something.

I looked up or, down at the scale one day and realized I gained more than 20lbs!  Like 22.5 and rising! What?!?!  How the (****) did that happen? *Looking around asking no one, in particular.* UGH!!  Seriously?!  I mean in hindsight, I totally saw that coming. I mean HELLOOO!!!!   Sigh.

This sucks! 

I got a little down on myself. No one is harder on me than me. Over the course of a few weeks, I had many unproductive talks with myself. It just made matters worse and I become completely unmotivated. Completely. Unmotivated. As in, not motivated. Couch dweller. Comfort food seeker. I would rather do anything than deal with the issue at hand so I am going to avoid it. You get the hint.

So, I stopped blogging about it. Because, well… I was embarrassed. I mean, I put all my bizznass out there! And people were really cheering me on. It was great! I often heard things like, “Yay go Christine you are an inspiration, if you can do it I can do it too!”  And, “I don’t know how you do it all I am so inspired by you.”  And here I am talking about, “You just have to make your health a priority.”  “If you don’t take care of yourself how can you take care of everyone else?”  “Make time for it!”  Oh and this one is a classic, “If it’s important you will make time if it’s not, you will make excuses!”  You get it… I was pouring and drinking all that really good cool aide.

People were so committed to my success, that they not only cheered me on, they joined me. There were friends, coworkers, and perfect strangers and followers of my blog, who were getting on the juicing wagon and even trying meatless Mondays, it was great! It was a movement!  I was part of this movement!  But then the movement kept going without me. I couldn’t keep up with the movement.

No, I didn’t gain ALL the weight back but I didn’t keep all the weight off either. How could I continue sharing my epic health and wellness journey when in reality I was struggling to keep up with myself and the pounds were slowly sneaking back on?  I was so embarrassed!  I felt like this was a colossal public failure. Granted, I am not Oprah so it’s not like it was all that public. But it was public enough for me and I just felt sad about it.

So, here’s the other thing… 

S*@# happens!  And we need to get over it!  It’s called life! I am a real life person living you know… life! Yes, I was totally and completely devastated by the setback. But, that is exactly what it was, a setback. People have set backs every single day. We don’t need to call the National Guard to come handle it, we learn from it. That’s called progress.

The good news, I have not had any health issues in quite some time. I can’t remember the last time I was really sick other than a cold. In the grand scheme of things what’s the big deal, I gained a few pounds. OK, so what?! I can also lose them if I so desire.

It’s about the progress! 

After a much-needed eye-opening talk and come to Jesus moment with a very good friend I discovered something really awesome. In essence, what Christine in Progress is all about is… the exact definition of the word progress:

Prog·ress:

noun/ ˈpräɡres/

  1. 1. Forward or onward movement toward a destination.

Synonyms: forward movement, advance, going, progression, headway, passage

Christine in Progress is about the constant and ever-changing progression of life, my life. Yes, it was started as a way to chronicle my health and wellness journey but maybe it’s about so much more, it’s about life in motion life’s adventures, the success, the failures and all the stuff in between.

So, I’ve decided to try something new. Instead of beating myself up because something didn’t work out quite as planned I will celebrate the successful failures of my life’s journey. There is a lesson to learn in every experience. This time around, I learned I am not superwoman and I need to be kind to myself, take it one day at a time and celebrate every moment especially the successful failures!

Allow me to reintroduce myself…

My name is Christine and I am an expert in the area of “progress management.”  :)  I am also a successful failure! I am a mom who sometimes doesn’t know what the hell she is doing but my children love me anyway. I am a wife that is not perfect but perfectly made for him. I am a really good friend, I am a worker bee, I am a funny girl, I am a drama queen, I am a writer,  I am an amazing shower singer, I hate walnuts, I love red lipstick and I love a good vanilla soy chai latte! (With 6 pumps of Vanilla, extra hot!!)

I am just a woman who is trying to live a healthy, whole balanced life. Sure, I’m stumbling around trying to figure out what that looks like for me but, that’s OK. Aren’t we all just stumbling around trying to figure things out?  I hope you will continue to join me in this judgment-free zone as I continue to share my journey toward a destination.

Welcome to Christine in Progress, destination… forward!


 

Christine is a Mom | Wife | Blogger | Progress Manager| Finding her healthy balance while sharing life lessons and occasional adventures. #judgment-free zone

Blog: www.christineinprogress.com
Periscope: @ThisisCIP
Twitter: @ThisisCIP