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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

3 Reasons Why I Resigned After Just One Day...

I know, I know, you're very confused.  Girl, so am I!  I take a lot of pride in being clear during the interview timeframe when looking for a new job.  Not only do I ask a lot of questions, but I negotiate quite a bit once an offer is made.  All of this was done, same as always, so how did things end up so far left?!  HOW?  HOW?!

Lack of communication from the employer side.  During the interview and in subsequent communication, I asked if I had my own office.  You may wonder why would I even need to ask about an office at this point in my career.  The reason I ask is because having your own office is not a standard in the hotel industry.  Occasionally, you may share one large space with your sales team or even just have a cubicle.  Not asking will definitely have you playing surprise surprise on your first day of work.  Anyways, I ASKED.  "Do I have my own office?!"... To which they responded "Yes, of course".  So you would understand how perplexed I looked when I arrived on my first day to find out that I was sharing my office with the Maintenance Staff.  Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of hotels were there may not be separate spaces for departments.  Many times there are multiple departments in one space separated by cubicles.  This was not even that situation.  There was no separation and the entire office was open for anyone to walk through.  As a Hotel Sales professional, this was something I just knew wouldn't work for me.  Immediately, I addressed my concern with the General Manager and his response was that he didn't realize me sharing a space would be an issue.  To him, "technically" I did have my own office... it was just being shared.  BULLSHIT.

As if the Maintenance Office Sharing debacle wasn't enough, I looked up at the ceiling towards the end of the day and saw a security camera right above my desk.  Now this makes sense because of the open space in which the camera is placed.  It's not an area where privacy is to be expected.  Hence, why your Director of Sales shouldn't have a work station there.   So to recap, not only do I not have my own office space BUT I also have a security camera on me all day.  How exactly am I suppose to scratch my ass, adjust my bra or SnapChat?!  That's not gonna work!

Heading out of the office, I still was hopeful that just maybe I could go home and think of some sort of resolution.  What that resolution would be, I don't know.  As I said goodbye for the day, the General Manager looked at his watch and mentioned that I would need to work a full 8 hours from the time I arrived that day.  *blank stare*  Now, don't get me wrong, I know working 8-9 hour shifts are normal but that's not what we discussed during negotiations.  In fact, I accepted less pay than what I requested so that I could drop by daughter off at school in the morning (9:15) and come in to the office after that.  Less pay for more flexible hours.  So why are we now trying to adjust what was already agreed upon?  Are you offering me more money?  Is the salary I initially requested back on the table?  This was the literal straw on my back for the day.  I didn't bother arguing with him about this at all.  I simply looked him the eye and told him to have a great evening, turned around and walked out the door.

This was a lesson that I learned a long time ago.  Never let anyone make you feel like you don't have any other option.  Like you're backed into a corner.  When I sat down to talk about the office space, one thing I noticed him saying repeatedly was "now that you're here and you've accepted this job, try to make the most of it".  You see sometimes people know that your expectations won't be met but they're literally betting on the fact that you have no other choice.  What if I had quit a job to go there?  What if my family truly needed that income now?  Would I still have quit?  Probably.  Until I found another opportunity, I would rather work at my local grocery store than allow someone to take advantage of my situation.  Because at least I know what to expect there.

I couldn't have been more clear about my standards or expectations during the interview phase.  Sometimes it just has nothing to do with you.  So, I will continue to apply + interview until I find the right opportunity.  Hopefully, me sharing this with you will empower all of us to open our mouths and ask for what we deserved.  Don't let anyone take advantage of you honey!!
Until next time.  XOXOMCS
Thursday, February 23, 2017

Covergirl Custom Blend Foundation

Yes, you read that title correct.  CoverGirl has released their own "custom blend" foundation that is available to EVERYONE!  I am still in shock about this because this type of service is usually reserved for higher end cosmetic brands.  Needless to say, I'm not complaining AT ALL.

Let's start from the beginning.  I found out about this new new through an ad I spotted on Facebook!  Not sure why it seemed to be so hush hush but as a Blogger that played right into my park.  The ad specified that you needed to download an app called "Covergirl Custom Blend".  I have an iPhone so I am not sure if it's for all phone models but I can't get caught up in that right now.  Moving on... Once you download the app, it takes you right through the process of selecting the right shade of foundation.  In fact, this is the only thing you can do when you click on the app.  There's literally no other options!  This alone had me about to delete the app altogether but I figured Covergirl isn't a rookie in this game so I pushed forward.  The process is similar to trying on glasses at home via your computer in that the software performs it's assessment using your front facing camera.  I did this over and over again but the lighting in my house seemed off but finally I just said, eff it!!

Finally, after accepting that my shade was high yellow (or so it seemed LOL), it took me another hour to decide on my bottle label.  You really don't have many options (I'm sure this might be expanded eventually) but I couldn't decide if I wanted all uppercase or lowercase.  Then I couldn't decide on which color label I wanted.  Once I was done with that, FINALLY the price was shown.  $25.  I went through so many different emotions about this because a bottle of regular Covergirl foundation is only $6-8.  First I compared it to the Custom Lancome Foundation which is $80.  Compared to that, this was appropriately priced!  Or was it?!  LOL.  Obviously, I bit the bullet eventually all in the name of Blogging and being able to provide details on this product to you.

So what are my thoughts?  Well, I literally just received the foundation as it took a good week to arrive.  Not too bad, I guess.  The ordering process leaves a lot to be tweaked because theres no way to track your order.  If you go back into the app, you're only able to start the process over from the beginning.  If you have questions regarding your order, there's a number you can call but you're only able to leave a voicemail.  There's an email you can use as well which is what I did and someone did follow up almost immediately.  This part of the ordering process left me a bit annoyed but clearly not annoyed enough to cancel.  LOL.  Moving on... Of course, I applied the foundation and it's an exact match!  Like I've never had a foundation match so well.  Honestly.  Truly.  It's about Medium coverage, has a Natural, almost Semi Matte finish and is the standard 1 fl. oz.  Bottom line, I wish I had ordered two bottles.  Once I've worn it longer, I will definitely update on my thoughts then.  This is just first impressions stuff!

Have questions?  Ask me below but in the meantime go ahead and grab your bottle girl.  You know we all love "custom" ish!


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Get You a Girl That Can Do Both

You're probably here because you heard my announcement and want to get ALL the deets!  It's true, I'm heading back into the corporate sector and for the first time ever since I started working, I'm actually a little excited.  Why?  I think it's because it's more of a choice right now than a necessity.  For months now, my husband has been asking if I'm going back to work or going to remain a full time blogger.  With him being an accountant, his question came from both a place of financial security and also just knowing I was getting bored.  I resigned from my job back in 2015 to spend more time with my family.  Well that same family is now off in school all day and they don't really need me as much as they did then.  And guess what?  The Blogger/Influencer life doesn't really fill my day entirely and I'll tell you why...

Being a full time Blogger is different for everyone.  Personally, I wanted to collaborate with brands but didn't realize the amount of value you lose as an Influencer by promoting products non-stop.  This was never a route I wanted take.  Reviewing + Sharing things on my own is one thing but being paid to share something with my audience is very different.  At first it seemed too lucrative to turn anything down and it almost made me feel popular to have so many different brands wanting to pay me to promote their products.  $75 to post a flyer on Instagram, I'll take that.  $750 to create a YouTube tutorial, sure!  Continuing down this path helped pay my bills for the past two years so I don't want to pretend like it's nothing.  What I do want to share is that it's value draining.  Sure, you may continue to grow your following as your pictures and videos are reposted but slowly you will realize your engagement numbers begin to drop.  People will begin to trust you less when it comes to product promotion and before you know it, you're not influencing ANYONE.  You are in fact, working for the brands not yourself.

These days I've limited the number of brands I work with in a week and in a month.  In the past month alone, I've turned down $1900 (exactly) in offers from brands.  If I don't like the direction a brand is taking, then I respectfully ask to withdraw as it does not align with who I am.  While this does limit the amount of money I can make each month, I feel it keeps me honest.  I started doing this at the same time as my youngest began going to school all day.  So literally overnight, I had a ton of time on my hands.  Because my services are priced right, I'm still bringing in the money we need but it's not bringing in the money we want truthfully.  Bills are being paid, we are able to shop and go out to eat frequently but we want more.  We want to travel and even more, we want to buy a home.  Do you know how hard it is to buy a home using the income as a Blogger/Influencer?!  GIRL.  It's like being black.  Everything has to be 3-4 times better than what is normally accepted.  Down payments are tripled and Income is scrutinized like no other.  It's nearly impossible unless you have YEARS under your belt.

Going back into the workforce seemed like the logical decision.  I left my career for my family and my family doesn't need me (as much) anymore.  Hotel Sales has been a passion of mine for years and I've really missed the day to day action that comes with it.  Let's not forget that I left at the top of my game so returning would never be an issue for me.  When I resigned, I had been a Director of Sales for over three years with a yearly revenue responsibility of producing over $900K per year for my hotel.  ON. MY OWN.  I don't mean to toot my own horn (toot toot) but I'm damn good at what I do and it comes really easy to me.  So, why not just do both?!?  I know this Blogger game well enough for it to be a sizable side hustle and my career in Hotel Sales can easily bring in a hefty salary.  Seems like a no brainer.

So on Monday, I will start a new job as a Director of Sales + Marketing for a hotel!  Nothing will change for me as far as Blogging/Influencing goes but I will definitely need to restructure my time and manage it better.  The best part about all of this is that we already know that this job is not required for our family to function financially.  Should I be needed at home again in the future, it won't be an issue.  For now, this is our plan.  Thanks for all the encouragement and kind words left on my Instagram announcement.  I smiled reading every single comment and especially hard because some of you have been with me before any of this.  Guess I'm taking you all on yet another journey with me!  LOL... Let's go!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Show Your Skin Some Love

Year after year Valentine's Day is celebrated as this romantic holiday where we rely on other people to show their affection towards us.  Eff that!  This year I decided to put extra care into the way I love my skin and the results from doing so have been super rewarding.  Some time in 2016, I seem to have given up on taking care of my skin or having a routine altogether.  I was literally doing the least, expecting the most and putting out fires (pimples) as they arose.  Looking in the mirror without any makeup on was all the motivation I needed to change those horrible habits.  Instead of reaching out to makeup companies, I spent more effort reaching out to skincare brands.  While I love cosmetics just as much as the next girl, I have this thing where I want to feel comfortable with naked skin as well.  And GIRL, I was far from that!  A few brands were gracious enough to send products my way.  The rest were investments from Sephora and Marshall's, yes MARSHALL'S!  Don't sleep on the discount stores because I found some amazing skincare products from Bliss on clearance for less than $10 there.  So, instead of falling in love with the way my face looked beat I decided to fall in love with taking care of my actual skin.  In return, it's loving me back by looking amazing.

One of the major components to loving your skin is developing a routine.  This does require a bit of trial and error... oh and some coin!  But don't be foolish.  If you try a product and have an adverse reaction to it then take that puppy right back to the store for a refund.  I suggest purchasing from Sephora, Ulta or department stores like Macy's and Nordstrom.  Target use to be a go-to but they have changed their return policies on cosmetics and each store has the power to accept or deny the return if it's been used.  Personally, I follow a routine for acne prone skin even when my skin is clear because underneath all the great skin is a pimple waiting to pop it's little ass out.  I caught up with Rachel Roff, owner of Urban Skin Rx, who gave me some personal tips on keeping a routine geared towards my skin type.

Currently, my routine consists of a Cleanser, Treatment/Mask, Toner, Serum and Moisturizer.  At first, the thought of using so many different products deterred me from keeping a good skin care routine but when I started noticing a visible difference just after a few days, that was enough to motivate me to keep going.  I've done my time in the trial and error phase so now I know what products/brands work really well for my skin needs.  Some are from Sephora but some are from the drugstore and as I mentioned earlier, some are actually from Marshall's.  Deciding where to buy your products from all boils down to the ingredient list.  Rachel Roff, owner of Urban Skin Rx, gave me some great tips in that department as well...

If you're just curious to see what products I've been using lately, they're listed below with a quick review on each.  My skin type is oily + acne prone which leads to hyperpigmentation issues as well.  Some of these products may work for you as well if your skin type is the same or similar but I highly recommend researching and spending time developing your own routine.  Don't know where to start? If you have a brand/line of products that you currently use and they're not giving you adverse reactions then dive deeper into their product line to develop your routine.  It's not always necessary to have a billion products from a billion different brands unless you know of other brands and products that work for you as well.  Here's a bit about my personal skincare routine:

1. Clarisonic*:  I've been using a Clarisonic for well over 5 years now.  It's definitely an investment but they last FOREVER.  Just recently I did a YouTube video and discussed why every girl needs to own a Clarisonic.  Check it out here.

2. Urban Skin Rx Clear Skin Cleansing Bar*: This is a product that I've been using for about a month now and my skin is loving it!  I like to use it in the mornings to remove all the excess oils on my skin that develop throughout the night but I have used it at night as well.  Just depends on my mood really.  It's doing an amazing job at keep my skin clean + pimple free.  Using this with the Clarisonic is absolutely THE best duo ever.  Thank me later!

3. Bliss Steep Clean Mattifying Toner Pads:  I use this as my toner during the day to prep my skin for makeup.  It's good for clearing out those pores and mattifying the heck out of your skin.  If I go bare skin in the morning but decide to apply makeup later on in the day, I just use one of these pads to wipe my face down instead of re-cleansing.  It does the job!

4. Bliss The Youth As We Know It Anti-Aging Serum:  GIRL.  I don't know where this serum has been all my life but it's freaking amazing.  After sucking the life out of your skin with all the cleansing and toning, this serum brings that glow right back and its immediate.  You don't have to wait at all!  I've learned with research that Anti-Aging products are great for their own benefits but they are also great at combatting hyperpigmentation as well.  Most Anti-Aging products (including this one) contain cell renewal agents which is one of the top performers in getting rid of hyperpigmentation.

5. Algenist Genius Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream:  Let me tell you how I had this item in my cabinets for months before deciding to actually use it.  Between being overwhelmed with the products I receive as a Blogger and moving my family from Virginia to Maryland, it just wasn't on my priority list at the time.  Well when I finally settled into my new home and organized things, I pulled this puppy out and Lordahammercy!  This stuff is incredible and has my skin looking better and better each morning I wake up after using it.

6. Pixi 24K Eye Elixir*:  Admittedly, I forget this step occasionally.  I really don't know how I can even forget when I stare at those dark under eye circles every single day.  But you know when I remember?  During my makeup routine, right before I apply my under eye concealer!  LOL.  The amount needed always reminds me that I should never forget my eye treatment.  This product is super lightweight, almost like a serum but still does a great job at moisturizing that sensitive area.

7. Urban Skin Rx DermShield Sun Protection Daily Moisturizer:  Honestly, I'm on the fence with this sunscreen only because of how thick it is.  It doesn't settle into the skin immediately and requires a good amount of working into.  Then obviously, you don't want to reduce the amount you're using because it IS sunscreen, DUH and that's it's purpose!  Using it on days where I'm wearing no makeup, I absolutely LOVE it.  It's when I try to use it under foundation that I'm not head over heels.  I've been using this product for over a month and applying it in different ways to see if I can find a happy medium.  But I may be in the market for a sunscreen soon so if you have any that you love, I'm all ears!

There are a multitude of different products that I rotate in and out depending on my skin needs or whether it's day time or night time.  Some of the items not listed above that are still regulars for me are: Bliss Micro Magic Treatment* (use a few times a week), Urban Skin Rx Even Tone Night Treatment* (night use only), Alpha H Liquid Gold (night use only a few times a week), Pixi Beauty Sleep Cream* (night use only), Clinique Pep Start Eye Cream (day time use), Clarisonic Radiance Cleanser* (night use only every few days).

So there you have it!  A complete round up of my routine and products I use.  Some of the products I'm currently using were sent to me for review and are marked with (*).  I have tons of products and not all of them work so well but for the purposes of this blog post, I've left those out.  There's a time and a place to throw shade and it's not here and now.  LOL.  So, go on ahead and show your skin some love this Valentine's Day!!


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