Big Brother Takeover: Dressing for Success

Saturday, September 14, 2019



So, I'm currently in Chicago celebrating my big brother's 27th birthday and I decided to let him take over the blog for the day! FELLAS, this post is for you. Here are a few basic items that you absolutely must have in your closet — I’ll let Steve take over from here!

What do you need?

Dressing for success (and to impress) is a lot easier than you might think. Yes, I said EASIER! People tend to get stuck when they assume that flashy is better. Truth be told, the basics have and will always be the way, the truth, and the light of your wardrobe. In my opinion, your professional wardrobe only needs these 7 items:


-a navy blue suit
-a charcoal or dark grey suit
-a light blue shirt
-a white shirt
-a pair of light brown shoes
-a pair of black shoes
  -a variety of ties




The combinations here are endless and these staple items create numerous fail-proof outfits.

Why is it important?
Since high school, I’ve been told “Look good. Feel good. Play (or perform well).” Now, this was relevant to a sports team but the same applies to your everyday, professional life. If you look good you feel more confident, and if you’re confident you perform at your best. When you’re at your best, you're taken seriously. When you’re taken seriously, you're successful. When you’re successful you're happy.



What does dressing for success do for you?

What does it not do? Your confidence will rise as a result of you being intentional about looking and feeling your best despite what you do. Your personal and professional life, and even your alter ego (ya know, your inner BREyonce and Cardi Bre) will thank you. Studies have shown that people who are well dressed are viewed as leaders. So I leave you with this, dress like the person you want to be and the success you desire will follow.




#LiveLaughLive

Yours truly,

SteveDubs


8 Things About Life (and myself) That Prepared Me for My 25th Birthday

Friday, September 6, 2019

Yall. I've been 25 for an entire month and a blogger for a whole year...is this real life?!
I'll be honest, leading up to year 25 I was streeeessed and I couldn't really tell you why. Maybe because I've had this idea of what my life would be like by now since I was 15 years old. Or maybe because everyone had me convinced that after 25, "it's all down hill from here." 
Whatever the reason, it was all lies! 25 will be my year of purpose, endurance and reflection. Let's start here.
I want to share with you 10 things that I've learned about myself and life that prepared me for Chapter 25 (and the rest of my life). 



Everyone has their season, MIND YOUR'S. -- Don't get caught up in the ugliness of comparison. You are exactly where you are meant to be; rest in that. Many times, especially in the age of social media, we are so focused on what everyone else has going on that we miss out on the things that are meant for us. Don't be that person.

"NO" is a complete sentence. -- You do not owe anyone an explanation beyond that. Give one if you choose; but, you are not obligated. I spent a good portion of the last year saying "yes" to things and people because I wanted them to be happy...all the while, I was physically and emotionally drained. Let's be more protective of our time.

Work-life balance doesn't really exist. -- I thought I had it figured out when I had the structured comfort of school. I've tried to find and compare different definitions of balance; however, none of them make sense because that "balance" looks so different for everyone depending on what season they're in. It's important for you to figure out what works best for YOU.

Anxiety is rooted in fear. -- That's it. That's what I learned. I realized that when I start new things that are in alignment with my purpose, I feel at peace; however, anxiety always creeps back in because I am not used to experiencing peace when it comes to change. I have allowed anxiety (fear) to control my life and my heart for way too long. This is the year that I take my peace back...for good.


I love vulnerability, until it's time to be vulnerable. -- It's REALLY scary to open yourself up to people and give the raw and pure version of yourself. I'm constantly Vulnerability is required for relationships to last and thrive. It's required for great leadership. Vulnerability is a requirement if we want to reach out fullest potential because it pushes us out of our comfort zone...this is where greatness happens. 

I'm not as smart and capable as I think I am. -- I'm even smarter and more capable than that. I know that sounds braggadocious; but, I spent a good amount of the last year speaking down on myself and pushing my gifts away because I didn't feel like I had what it took. I was wrong and so are you. You are brilliant beyond measure and you can do anything you put your mind to (that is in alignment with your purpose).

Boundaries are NON-NEGOTIABLE. -- People can choose whether or not they want to stay in my life and abide by those boundaries; however, me setting them is non-negotiable. I have had to force myself to put boundaries in place for all of my relationships and I need you to do the same.  

Seasons change and we should too. -- In order for us to grow, we must be willing to adapt and change along with the different seasons of our lives. Seasons change so that we can be planted and rooted in something that will aid us in that growth process. The Bible says in John 15:2 that "Every branch in me that does not bear fruit, He takes away. Every branch that continues to bear fruit, He prunes..." So, this means that there will be times when we must be pruned and removed from certain people, certain jobs, certain relationships, in order for us to walk in purpose. Stop carrying around dead things!


For my 25 and up friends, what life lessons prepared you for your 25th+ birthday? What do you wish you'd applied before hitting this stage of your life?

Blessings and Imperfections,
Bre


Don't Brand Yourself: Creating and Sustaining Peace While Building Your Brand or Career

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

So you've started the business. Your blog is now live and you're publishing great content. You've just got the new job...but, you haven't spent much time with your partner, you haven't gone to the gym in weeks..you're easily agitated. What's up?!

Peace. Balance. These are two words that we are all constantly searching to define and sustain as we journey through life with careers, entrepreneurship goals, families and everything else. Balance looks different for everyone because we are all balancing so many different things! So maybe it's peace we should be striving for rather than "balance."

Peace is defined as the freedom from disturbance; a state or period in which there is no war or the war has ended. But, is it possible for us to achieve that same peace in the midst of war? I say yes. Things can get chaotic and hectic pretty quickly, so how do we handle it all? How can we preserve our peace while also seeking success?
First, let's look at the statistics of our attempt to "balance:"
  • 26% of our work is done outside of working hours.
  • 40% of people use their computers after 10 pm.
  • 21% of the workday is spent on social media, entertainment and news.

Honestly, this doesn't shock me. Are the stats a surprise to you? I imagine they're probably not! We live in a culture where we are just expected to keep going and rest later..or never? We don't know how to disconnect! This is not conducive to this concept of balance and peace that we often preach to one another. Part of success is self-discipline - getting an adequate amount of sleep for maximum productivity, eliminating digital distractions during work so you can leave work guilt-free and ready to prioritize YOU when you get home.

So, what steps can we take to ensure that we are not neglecting self as we start and continue our careers and pursuits of goals? Let's talk about it. 


It starts with the mental:


Sis, LET IT GO! -- What things are you holding on to that are keeping you from the next level? We have a tendency to hold on to the way things were "supposed" to be and we get caught up in the when's, how's and the what if's. At some point, we have to take the experience and lessons gained and MOVE. ON.

Start being honest -- with yourself AND those around you (this includes your friends/family, employer, clients, customers and target audience). -- Do you need support? If so, what do you need from those around you in order to feel supported? Check in with yourself!

Be proactive, not reactive. Don't wait until you need self-care to practice self-care.


Now, let's get practical:

Eliminate multitasking whenever possible. -- Stop trying to do everything all at once! Women, especially Black women, have a tendency to think that if we don't do it, it won't get done. As a result, we literally attempt to do EVERYTHING!
Take time for YOU! -- When is the last time that you made time for yourself outside of work/family? Set and KEEP boundaries to your work day so that when you get home, you can truly take care of yourself. We have been programmed to just keep going and to take no breaks for fear of being "selfish." But it is okay for you to step back and tune into yourself! Stop feeling guilty for having rest days. Don't force plans..don't force productivity. TAKE A BREAK (or two or three).
Be intentional. -- Not just about setting goals towards entrepreneurship or your career...be intentional about living your life! Enjoy your weekends and vacations. Leave work at work and REST.

This is a call to action for you to find peace as you grind and hustle to be successful. How do you maintain peace + balance as you build your brand or career?

With Blessings & Imperfections,
Bre

P.S. Here's a Self-Care Checklist to help you be more intentional about taking care of YOU.




One Strong & Imperfect Brunch

Sunday, April 28, 2019

One Strong & Imperfect Brunch



One Strong & Imperfect Brunch seeks to connect, empower and motivate women to fulfill AND exceed their dreams. We offer a unique opportunity to engage meaningfully with an informational and educational workshop-style event on how to build their brands while also maintaining a healthy work-life balance.




Breanna Powell, Content Creator of flawBless with Bre
Jessica Ledbetter, Content Creator of One Heiress Lane
Angelica Alston, Content Creator of  The Strong Suit











Location: Aloft Raleigh
Address: 2100 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27607
Event Time: 11:00am-3:00pm




$55.00 +processing fee
Includes:  Swag bag | Full course Brunch | Access to 3 workshops | Preferred Seating | Professional Head shot and full body photo
Purchase dates:  April 28th, 2019 thru May 12th, 2019


$35.00 +processing fee
Includes:  Swag bag | Full course Brunch | Access to 3 workshops
Purchase dates:  April 28th, 2019 thru May 12th, 2019


$60.00 +processing fee 
Includes:  Swag bag | Full course Brunch | Access to 3 workshops | Preferred Seating | Professional Head shot and full body photo

Purchase dates: May 13th thru July 12th, 2019 

$40.00 +processing fee
Includes:  Swag bag | Full course Brunch | Access to 3 workshops
Purchase dates: May 13th thru July 12th, 2019 





Are you a blogger, a journalist who loves to write intriguing articles, or maybe you want to advertise your business? Our promotional magazine is designed to be visually appealing and worth keeping long after the event is over.  There’s not much to it, we can create it for you or provide you the layout to do it yourself.  If you choose to have, us design it email your information and content to onestrongimperfectbrunch@gmail.com.
You may not have time to meet and greet with a female boss in the room, but you can be seen by every last one of them. Make a lasting impression with your business/brand in our promotional magazine. 







Exploring Raleigh: Natural Esthetics Skincare Boutique

Monday, March 25, 2019
The longer I stay in Raleigh, the more opportunities I have to explore all of  the wonderful places that this city has to offer. Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting Natural Esthetics Skincare Boutique, owned by Amanda Grace, where they were kind enough to offer me a complimentary Lash Set. Natural Esthetics has two locations, in both downtown Raleigh and Cary, where they specialize in enhancing AND maintaining natural beauty by using natural and organic products. 

You all know that I also love picking the brains of entrepreneurs. At the end of this post, Amanda has shared some of the wisdom she's developed in the last several years - check it out!
Those who know me know that self-care in the form of facials and lash sets is something I love! I used to get my lashes done every 2-3 weeks because I was and still am obsessed. When I went to visit Amanda, the owner of Natural Esthetics, she reminded me why I was so obsessed. She was gentle, efficient AND her playlist was BOMB.
It took a little more than 2 hours to get this set done. Now, I know that sounds like such a long time; but, think of the nap you could take in 2 hours...and then when you wake up, you'll have a gorgeous set of lashes that you won't be able to stop staring at. That sounds like the best nap ever. Trust me, it's worth it. I am 2 weeks post lash application and I am STILL receiving compliments on these lashes. You will be addicted! Book your appointment ASAP and tell 'em flawBless with Bre sent you!
Notes from the Owner:

What are the three biggest benefits to your clients when they visit your locations?
  • High quality, non-toxic products. Our treatments and products are designed to work in harmony with the skin’s natural renewal process. We also sell a curated selection of active and natural products that are eco-certified, vegan friendly –– one of them being sourced locally, which is Durham’s very own Lo & Behold Naturals! All of our services including facials, airbrush tanning, teeth whitening and lash extensions are used with high quality products and tools, too.
  • A personal approach with perks. We know that everyone and his or her skin’s needs are unique and we treat them as much! All of our treatments can be personalized to fit your needs. And to thank our clients we love so much, we offer a perk-filled rewards program that allows clients to receive exclusive discounts just for participating in trainings, discounts for online reviews and referrals.
  •  A friendly atmosphere that lets you unwind and feel pampered. Simply put, our team prides itself on being neighborly and giving clients an enjoyable experience. We hope that you leave our doors feeling refreshed, but also at ease working with us!

What are the top two questions that clients ask when they come in for lash extensions? 
How long do they last?’ and ‘Will they damage my natural lashes?’ are pretty standard questions most clients have and, unfortunately, the answers aren’t straight forward. Lash extensions are intended to last through the growth cycle of each individual lash and shed naturally as new lashes grow in so they gradually thin out over a six to eight week period until none remain. To keep a full looking set of lashes, it is recommended that clients come in for maintenance every two to three weeks for fill-ins.

In regards to damaging your lashes: no, extensions will not damage your natural lashes when the application technique is focused on isolation of individual lashes utilizing minimal amount of adhesive and appropriate lengths that don’t extend too far from the natural lashes tips to ensure a strong support and so that the weight and thickness of the lash extensions doesn’t disturb your natural lashes. They do have the potential to damage lashes when the products and techniques are used incorrectly. Lash extensions should not be thick and heavy on the eyes, nor should any product be in contact with skin. The clients also a play a role in maintaining the health of their lashes. For example, if a client rubs and pulls their lashes or doesn’t keep their lash bed clean, damage can occur. A typical full set of lashes should take an hour and a half to two hours to apply and shouldn’t even feel like anything is on your eyes, once completed.


With over 15 years of experience in this industry, what has kept you going? What is your "why?" 
Honestly, I think I’m great at what I do. Seeing the affects of my “magic hands” is incredibly rewarding for me. I see the appreciation of my clients when I’m able to identify concerns and deliver results. The connections you make with people in those moments makes you want to keep learning so you can provide the best service. I was fortunate to find an industry that suited my personality and interest in a healthy lifestyle, as well as my need for flexibility in scheduling, so that I could be involved and hands-on with my kids.

A Letter to Resilient Women - International Women's Day

Friday, March 8, 2019

Dear Resilient Woman,

Thank you for creating life. Your ability to endure through the trials and tribulations that come along with bringing life into this hectic world is so beautiful, and a true testament to how strong you are and have always been. Your ability to find new ways to create life in this world is inspiring to so many. Whether it's through childbearing, dropping a FIRE picture on the 'gram with that light-filled smile of your's, providing scholarships for the next generation of women to secure a better future or pulling up seats at tables you belong at; the life that you give is irreplaceable. Thank you.


Thank you for sustaining life. They claim that this is a "man's world;" but baaaaby, this world wouldn't be NOTHING without you. The way you love, the way you nurture and the way you command the room is an aspiration for so many. Because of you, the world has stood through the test of time. Thank you for creating cultural delicacies out of the scraps you were given and feeding the masses. Because of you, people have a home cooked meal to help digest the pain of a dark day. Because of you, young boys and girls alike know that they can do whatever they put their mind to. Because of you, hugs, kisses and prayers have kept us going. Thank you.


Thank you for living life. They see your strength and they assume you can handle everything..because you can. Trust me, I know it gets hard sometimes. I know you've been through more than the world could ever fathom. I know there are nights you cry yourself to sleep right after praying the sunshine back into someone else's life; but, here you are. Thank you for showing up for everyone else. Thank you for choosing to give life even when all you wanted to do was take your own. Today, baby it's time to start showing up for yourself; so, thank you for choosing YOU. I'm so happy you're here. Thank you.


To ALL of the strong, brilliant, loving, beautiful, truth-telling, creative, praying, listening, business-owning, degree-attaining and phenomenal women in my life..this is for you. I love you

Happy International Women's Day!



With blessings & imperfections,

Bre

Dealing with Post-Grad Depression

Friday, February 22, 2019

If I can be candid, it has taken me months to write this as a follow-up to my very first post on my Post-Graduation Waiting Period. It's not because I didn't want to share my experience; rather, it was because I was convinced that everyone would think I was silly for admitting that I was going through depression as a result of not being in school. Yes, I have been experiencing post-graduation depression for the last several months (it feels like a relief to say that).

Simply put, post-graduation depression is triggered by the lack of structure that a life in academia provides. For those that don't know, I went straight into my Master's program immediately after getting my Bachelors degree; so, I've had the structure of school for my entire life. My identity always included school; thus, despite the excitement of graduation, losing that part of my identity hit me pretty hard.

  
Sure, I was/am relieved to not be bound by deadlines and group projects and evening classes; but, I left all of that behind to step into a world overwhelmed by student loan debt, living paycheck to paycheck and adulting. Sure, I now have the job that I was praying for everyday for 3.5 months after graduation; however, that transition from working and going to school full-time to a full-time career has not been easy.

I no longer have the security that I'd found in school and that makes me uncomfortable and quite frankly, sad. I have been eating non-stop (so I've gained a lot of weight), I haven't yet gotten back into a consistent workout routine (so I've been unable to lose said weight) and, in place of a busy academic calendar, I have continuously added task on task and event on event to my schedule to keep myself busy - I started this blog at what was also the start of Fall semester (that wasn't by coincidence). Because I've been in school for so long, it feels wrong to sit still and I'm constantly questioning "what's next?"
 or "what should I be doing?"


Amongst other things, our professors and advisors neglect to prepare us for the reality that will come for our ENTIRE lives once we graduate. So, I want to share with you a few things that I have learned in the last few months and offer some practical steps you can take if you find yourself experiencing post-graduation depression.

Don't reset, adjust. Don't feel obligated to reset to social standards of time. My supervisor gave me a great suggestion to continue operating in academic increments. Meaning, rather than trying to adjust to fiscal years and such, allow yourself to continue flowing within a system that has worked for you. You might not have the same things to do; but, you can still utilize the structure of an academic calendar. Work with what you know.
Be present where you are. Don't overwhelm yourself with the pressure of "what's next?" There is no need for you to stretch yourself thin as you journey through this season of transition. Take each day as it comes and let tomorrow worry about itself. 
Set short term goals...and celebrate every. single. one. A sister of mine, Lo, told me that right now I have to intentionally take pride in what I've done, and what I am currently doing well. It may not look like the accolades and certificates we got in school; but, celebrate and appreciate where you are. Trust that when your territory expands (and it will), you will have all you need in order to continue doing well. 
Give yourself some grace. You are doing your very best. Extend the same grace to yourself that you extend to others daily. I am constantly reminding myself to do this. Healing is not linear so trust the process. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you've made. Praise yourself for getting out of the bed every morning. Speak love and positivity over yourself constantly and be patient with your journey.
Release. TALK ABOUT IT. It took me months to articulate how I was feeling and by the time I could, it felt silly to say it out loud. Don't be silenced by the pressure of all you're going through and the fear that no one will hear you. You are not alone. Find a therapist, confide in your tribe. Lean into your support system. 
Rest. You have to protect your vessel. This means that you don't have to accept every invitation on your off-days and you don't have to always be doing something. Allow your body to rest without feeling guilty about sleeping in or laying on the couch all day. Sure, I know you're amazing at a lot of things; but, you do not have to be doing those things every minute of every day. You are no good to yourself, or your talents, if you do not allow yourself to rest. Be still.


With Blessings & Imperfections,
Bre




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