Pretty Blue Rose

life musings, fashion, and inspiration


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Wednesday Wisdom: Wrestling with Pigs

“Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

― George Bernard Shaw

I first saw this quote on twitter last week, and in full disclosure when I did my research, I found it attributed to several different people, but Mr. Shaw had the most votes, so he’s who I ended up going with.

So when I saw quote it spoke to me loud and clear. When someone is going through an injustice (that’s small to them, but big to you) everyone likes to say “pick your battles”, but that gives me little consolation when I know I am being wronged/mistreated and it’s making my everyday very challenging.

However, this quote shifts the focus from being wronged to avoiding joining a mess. It gave me a palatable alternative to jumping in there and setting the record straight (or really telling someone off, let’s be honest). If I don’t engage in gossip and backbiting, my character stays in tact, but if I chose to engage with challenging people, I will inevitably stoop to their level and I will reek of their character. So by “picking my battles” I’ll stay out of the mud and stay clean. Although I won’t have a (fleshly) satisfaction of engaging with certain people the way I’d love to, I’ll also be able to wear a super cute white outfit and keep it clean, in other words, keeping my integrity and character in tact.

Pretty Blue Style: All in white

Also, this quote helped me to realize that there is no way I could engage with challenging people and stay clean. I may start out clean (with good intentions), but by the nature of who they are, and how they play, I am bound to get really really dirty. And I don’t want that.

Trying to stay clean,

A. Genise

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Wednesday Wisdom: Use it or Lose it!

I’m one of those people who reads several books at a time. So one of the books that I’ve been reading is called Think and Grow Rich (A Black Choice) by Dennis Kimbro and Napoleon Hill.

(Long, but important background:

Napoleon Hill (co-author of the book I mentioned above) wrote the original Think and Grow Rich -a book that I am also in the process of reading. Think and Grow Rich is a 1937 motivational personal development and self-help book inspired by a suggestion from businessman Andrew Carnegie. While the title implies that this book deals only with how to get rich, Hill explains that the philosophy taught in the book can be used to help people succeed in all lines of work and to do or be almost anything they want. It is noted in the book, that an individual with desire, faith, and persistence can reach great heights by eliminating all negative energy and thoughts and focusing on the greater goals in hand. (Source: Wikipedia)

So Dr. Kimbro (co-author of the first book I mentioned) comes into the story because he was seeking to write a book about African Americans achieving wealth. As it turned out, Napoleon Hill had started writing a book about how African Americans could utilize his insights and develop wealth and greatness for themselves, but he died before it was finished and the manuscript sat unfinished for several years Fast Forward through Mr. Hill’s foundation finding out about Dr. Kimbro’s research, negotiations, and you have the book I am referencing for my Wednesday Wisdom. Hill’s book is a must read and there are several free electronic versions. I strongly suggest you read it. )

OK, so…back to Wednesday Wisdom.

I found a passage from Dr. Kimbro and Hill’s book that really changed my thinking:

“Like physical effort, thought control is entirely a matter of intelligent practice. You must use your courage or it will desert you. You must use your determination or it will leave you. You must use your power of decision or soon you will find that you have none.” (page 29)

Wow, right?! I fully understand that concept for muscles–think astronauts and the extreme care they take to exercise their muscles so they don’t atrophy. (digression: if I don’t work out for a week, the next week, when I resume, my heart and lungs feel like I hadn’t used them in years…yuk!!)

Until I saw this passage, I hadn’t thought about courage, determination, or decisiveness in a “use or lose” kind of way. But we all know, once in a comfort zone, it’s hard to get out. Once you quit on one goal, it’s much easier to quit next time. Once you make a decision and then back out or change it several times, it’s easier to be wishy washy next time and the time after that. But the same idea is true in reverse. Once you leap and make one courageous move (even if it’s unsuccessful) it’s easier to be courageous next time, etc.

So I encourage you (and me) to do things that require courage. Not only things like sky diving and rock climbing (that’s a no for me!), but little things like wearing a non-traditional nail polish color to a conservative work place

(You’re thinking it’s a small thing– I know, but hey it’s my way of asserting myself—and it does take courage. And no judgement on the 3 nails painted, I was only testing it, but I’ll finish. )

Also, be decisive and determined on a daily basis. I know we are all about being accommodating to everyone and everything, but every now and then stick with your decision no matter who opposes.

Stay inspired and enjoy the journey,

A. Genise


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Wednesday Wisdom: Why I cannot and will not quit.

“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”  

(Shout out to my sister for sending me this quote, I loooove it)

With all that’s piled on my plate with work, the holidays, home life, traveling, etc., I’ve really questioned continuing on with my blog.

I’ve second (third and fourth) guessed my challenge to post every week day for a year.

I knew it would stretch me in ways I couldn’t imagine. I wanted to challenge myself to step totally out of my comfort zone. (I think I jumped rather than stepped, but hey that’s me!!)

But growth and stretching is sometimes painful. (and I am feeling it now)

I’m proud that I now know a little about HTML.

I can think up a topic and write about it with very little prep work. (increased creativity)

I’ve become more confident, I have greater perseverance.

I’ve gotten better at marketing myself and my talents. I’m thinking like an entrepreneur!

I’m learning not to expect success overnight, all good things take time. (realistic, yet hopeful expectations. Y’all know I want everything done yesterday!)

My lens of life has changed.

Photography has become something that I love again.

I’ve revived my love of style, home décor, DIY, and cooking.

I’ve enlarged my networks, I’m more open to meeting new people.

But I have far more to go…and I don’t want to stop learning and growing now. (It’s like quitting a diet when you lose 3 lbs—keep going!!!)

But most of all, the reason I cannot quit is because I need to keep this door of creativity open, it keeps me alive.

If I quit, I will figuratively wither away and become engrossed in/consumed with my day job.

I will revert back to my old ways of being too concerned with that everyone is thinking. And stressed about things I cannot control.

I’ll come home after work replaying conversations I had throughout the day rather than spending time with my family being present.

I’ve become a better wife, mother, and employee because I have something all my own to look forward to. With everyone telling me what to do all day, no one can tell me what to blog about.

I don’t want to go back to pre-blog me.

I’ve learned too much (Wednesday Wisdom—hello!?), I’ve come too far.

I believe I will look at this post in the future and be glad I didn’t quit….

Olympians don’t quit (and they push so much harder than I do) and neither will I.
I think of Gabby Douglas begging her mom to come home, she technically did quit—her mom just wouldn’t come get her!

I hope you continue on with whatever seems tough in your life.

You have a lot of greatness to achieve and so do I 🙂
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going” -Jim Rohn


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Wednesday Wisdom: Don’t look down!

Members of my family are going through some rough times health and job wise. Some days are better than others, but it’s frustrating to watch.

What is interesting is how when I am down about my family’s situation, my sister will cheer me up and visa versa.

What is even more interesting is that our focus is what drives our perspective, which in turn drives our mood and ability to function.

If I am standing on the edge, looking down in the proverbial trench/valley, the darkness and the fact that I cannot see the bottom, is overwhelming. It only takes one peek over the edge before I am totally dejected.

But when I change my focus and look to the other side of the valley, I see the beautiful horizon, my spirit is lifted, and I can encourage others.

Look out, not down. It makes all the difference.

And when you get to the other side, be sure to glance back at the enourmous leap you took.

Keep that glance stored away as a reminder when the next valley presents itself. Remember the last hurdle you jumped.


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Wednesday Wisdom: Keep on keeping on

About a month ago my prettybluerose.com website crashed for 9 days. So not only was it unavailable to readers, I had about 30 or so draft posts that I couldn’t access.

Initially, since my web host said it would be fixed in about 48 hours, I waited patiently. I was calm.

Day 4-6 I started feeling sorry for myself. I would just mope really missing my website. I’d call my website host company incessantly to check in…(they give no insight at all. no time frame for fixing, no reason for taking so long, nada)

Then anger and frustration set in. I find this emotion is helpful if I channel it correctly. Once I get sufficiently angry and frustrated, I start to think outside the box and this time was no different.

How would  a business deal with this problem? How would a CEO work around a crashed website? And after a nap I came up with the idea to re-launch my prettybluerose.com website through another web application and it worked. It got me back up and running. I was elated!

But the “high” from thinking outside of the box was short-lived when I remembered I still didn’t have access to my 30+draft posts.  I had to start writing from scratch. There were no draft posts were waiting to be finished, I actually had to work harder than I did when I first launched.

So I was moving forward, but I still needed to keep moving forward.

I also faced needing to rebuild my reader base since I was unexpectedly gone and had no real way of communicating that. Out of sight, out of mind.

Most of us can deal with a set back or two, but when multiple setbacks occur, do we keep moving forward? And do we maintain a good attitude while moving forward?

I believe when you face great opposition, it’s because something great is just around the corner. But will we hang in there long enough to see it come to pass?

Will you keep knocking on doors, keep looking for answers, keep expecting, keep dreaming in the face of many set backs? Will you keep asking after the 5th no or even the 25th? Will you make sure you don’t let others talk you out of your dream when the 25th no comes around? (They will be plentiful by then).

Thomas Edison failed 2000 times when trying to invent the light bulb. I know the Wright brothers’ first airplane prototype wasn’t successful. Tyler Perry lived in his car because he was so broke and Donald Trump’s companies filed for bankruptcy multiple times. (no endorsement of Mr. Trump, just a fact). But they never quit.

You may have had some setbacks or disappointments, but you are being prepared for your future. Each light bulb prototype that failed provided valuable information for the next time. Just continue on. Not only after a few setbacks, but after many.

Sometimes I feel the last one standing, although not the smartest or strongest, wins. I want to win!

Do you?

stay in it, enjoy the journey.


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Wednesday Wisdom: Lessons from the movie “The Women”

After all of the Thanksgiving sickness, my daughter now has an ear infection…fun!

When she gets sick she tends to hang all over me, which means I get sick too.

This past Monday was a sick day where I actually sat still. When I was awake I ended up watching TV– usually HGTV, but even that got old.

I stumbled on the movie The Women, and I recalled that I liked that it when I saw it in the theater, so I watched it.

The Women Poster

Quick synopsis for those who haven’t seen it:

The Women tells the story of Mary Haines (Meg Ryan), a clothing designer who seems to have it all – a beautiful country home, a rich financier husband, an adorable 11-year-old daughter and a part-time career creating designs for her father’s venerable clothing company. But when Mary’s husband enters into an affair with Crystal Allen (Eva Mendes), a sultry ‘spritzer girl’ lurking behind the Saks Fifth Avenue perfume counter, all hell breaks loose. Mary and her BFF Sylvie’s relationship is tested to the breaking point while their tight-knit circle of friends, including mega-mommy Edie Cohen (Debra Messing) and author Alex Fisher (Jada Pinkett-Smith), all start to question their own friendships and romantic relationships.

So at the end of the movie, after Meg Ryan and her BFF made up, after Debra Messing’s character has a baby boy (the only male in the entire movie!!), and Meg Ryan starts to move towards reconciling with her husband, this amazing song comes on as the end credits are rolling. After feverishly searching for the song (imagine googling “song during end credits of The Women movie” didn’t work!? ), I found the song.

It starts out: “Yesterday wasn’t easy…” and that just had me!

The next verse starts out: Suddenly it gets clearer….better days are drawing nearer. There’s nobody to stop us now.

It’s called Count on Me by a talented artist named Lucy Schwartz. (Click here for lyrics to this song)

Here’s Lucy just singing plainly. No flashing lights, no drama, just a voice and a piano. (no judgement on the xylophone playing, my sister and I would joke and say that’s what we’d have to do–with no singing if we were in the video.)

It’s just an uplifting song. (Digression: I am always surprised at how such great talent is not more popular. Oh well, she has a new fan in me.)

The song is basically about friendship, about having someone to lean on when it’s hard to move forward. But it also talks about how storms clear up so quickly. The day after a snow storm is usually sunny and clear. It’s just hard to remember that when the storm in right on top of you.

Watching Meg’s character come into her own was so empowering and inspiring.

I know for me, I am making alot of empowering decisions that I just think are crazy, totally counter to my risk averse personality. I feel like I am at a fork in the road like Meg’s character was. The safe path I’ve been on is to the right, and the entrepreneurial risk taker, dreamer, go-getter path is to the left. Watching how Meg’s life went from a hot mess to magnificent is a great reminder of how life works when you hang in there long enough to pursue your dreams.

In the meantime, it’s just one foot in front of the other, one day at a time and sometimes, (to be honest) I’m counting the hours until my dreams manifest. I am grateful for the lessons I am learning now, because they are ordained and will carry me through to greatness–as your lessons will for you.

Thanks to my sister and my good girl friends who are supporting me, to those I “can count on.” You will be blessed greatly.

And in true pretty blue fashion, here are some outfits inspired by the movie:

The Women

 

Alexander McQueen dress, $3,865 / Hervé Léger body con dress / Cutout dress / Black Ruche Detail Shrug, $16 / Tabitha Simmons platform high heels / Giuseppe Zanotti stiletto heels / Schutz heel boots / Long chain earrings / Kenneth Jay Lane chunky jewelry, $86 / Sorrelli vintage earrings

Best,

~A. Genise


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Wednesday Wisdom: Contentment

I had this whole post ready about why being discontent was a good thing, how it pushes you to do better and move forward. I listed all sort of reasons why being a type-A policy analyst gave me a reason to be discontent because I am paid to think critically and find what’s wrong in situations…my eye is naturally drawn to the imperfections…yada yada.

It was a good post, but then I scrapped it.

Really, thanksgiving is about being content and so that should be my focus. A type-A person like myself isn’t very fond of the word content because to be honest– I hear resting or being lax. I am always looking to improve, to succeed, to forge ahead, and to do that you need to think about how to improve where you are now.

But there is a balance. There is a place I need to learn to spend a little more time and that’s the land of contentment. In my life, there are very few times that I stop to  smell the pretty blue roses. I am always doing a post-event analysis to see how I can improve next time, but that is tiring and can be demoralizing.

So this Thanksgiving, I am purposefully trying to spend more time being content and satisfied. Because our human nature is such that we always want more. I want it all and I want it yesterday. Maybe it’s a function of being the first born, who knows, but once I tend to meet a goal I’m on to setting the next three.

Ultimately balance is what I’m after. Being forward-thinking without being discontent. Being satisfied without becoming complacent.

I’m still trying to find the happy medium of being present, being content, which ultimately leads to being thankful everyday, not just on Thanksgiving.

stay inspired and enjoy the journey,

A. Genise