Work From Home Tips

Working from home became huge as the pandemic began. Yes, a lot of people were working from home prior to the pandemic. However, the pandemic introduced a lot more people to the work from home environment and changed the dynamic of many working cultures. Still, many don’t know and understand what it means to work from home. Today I want to share a few of my tips for working from home.

One of the first things you need to have is a pretty good work ethic. Let’s be real, you can get real lax and lazy. Afterall you have your bed right there and it’s just a few steps away. You do have to have the right mindset to get up and to work and to stay focused each and every day. If you can’t do that, then you may not need to work from home. Trust me, it’s tempting each and every day to slip, but you can’t.

A dedicated work space is a must. I do suggest not doing it in your bedroom if at all possible. Why? Seeing the bed would be too tempting for anyone. My sister would testify to that. Plus with your dedicated space it doesn’t feel like you’re at work all the time. This also will come in handy if you have a webcam and/or camera. Some companies will force your camera on to ensure you are at your desk working. Can you imagine if you’re in your in your bedroom getting ready for bed and your boss is watching you through your camera? Yea, that has actually happened. Nope, not to me because I keep my work space separate. This dedicated space should be free of other family and friends too. This is especially important if you are working with HIPPA information. You want to keep their information confidential.

One of the most important factors is the quiet work space. I know many people have kids and that’s the entire purpose of many people working from home. However, if you are on the phones, you still need it quiet. Think about when you call and you’re trying to talk to the representative has a crying child or a screaming child in he background while you’re trying to conduct business. How would you feel? What if you’re already agitated and you hear it? Doesn’t make for a good experience does it? Think about that when you are looking for a work from home job.

Your internet service, how is it? I asked this question because working from home you must have good internet service. Yes, there are times when it will go down. That shouldn’t be a normal occurrence. Most companies do require a certain speed too. You may can get away with using Wi-Fi, many you need to hard wired for safety reasons. If you can’t get reliable internet, you may want to rethink working from home as well.

Can you follow directions? You can? Great! Working from home you have to be able to follow directions really well. In the time I’ve been working from home, there’s always about three or four in EVERY training class that can’t even follow the simplest directions. This shows your lack of respect for the instructor and the rest of your co-workers. There will be times you may not understand or get lost, that’s okay, that happens. I haven’t met a supervisor that didn’t understand that. The problem comes into play when you are never paying attention and following directions. I’ve seen where the trainer, IT rep or supervisor, say something simple like “Do not go any further. Stop and wait.” What happens? Some fast person trying to move ahead and gets stuck and ask about it when they could have waited and they would know what to do.

This is not an be all, end all list of working from home tips. This is some of the basic tips that is required or needed by most companies. Plus it makes your job easier when you follow all of these tips to the best of your ability.

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My New Health Journey #1

I don’t mind being transparent with you all. The last few health posts I made were related to me having covid and my knee replacement journeys. This one is a bit different. I don’t have a timeline on how often I’ll update you just yet. However, I will do when it is most appropriate.

So here we go. I recently went to the doctor to because I needed to get my medications refilled. It was not in my plans to get anything added or new. So before we go any further, let me tell you what I was doing prior to going to this doctor visit. I’ve been working to loose weight, strengthen my knees and come off the inhaler completely and use my cane at minimal. I’ve been working out more, eating less and drastically cut my snacks down. The results? I lost about five pounds. I’m not upset about that. It’s progress. So I’m okay with that.

What has me upset? Even with all that, I’m now at a diabetic level now. My A1C was 7.3. Not too high, but high enough for them to put me on Metformin. In addition to that my Vitamin D is extremely low. This caused them to add a high dose pill for that too. During the visit we talked about my weight loss journey and what I’ve tried. So she gives me sample of this injection (non insulin) with a month supply. Great right? No, the refill, WITH my insurance, is still $1,200!!!!! When I got the call about my blood sugar, she wanted to change it. It’s still non insulin. Guess what? It’s still $1,000! Let’s be honest here though. As of today, I’m five days in with this one. It greatly suppresses my appetite. I normally eat breakfast and snack all day until dinner. Sometimes I’ll eat a full lunch. Not often when I’m working. I also snack when I’m watching movies. Sunday I watched two long movies and didn’t snack one time. So progress in that department!

Now I know you are asking what my plan is, what is my next steps. This plan is still being worked on. Before I tell you this first step, let me tell you this and why this will be hard for me. I’m a very picky eater. There’s more things I won’t eat than I will eat. While I can cook, I don’t like to cook. I don’t like being in the kitchen long. This has gotten worse with the back pain I have. You see my dilemma already? I did some research and plan to look up some stuff as well. I decided to try this one meal plan to see how it works. My first box will have four separate dishes and enough for 2 meals. I did this in hopes for finding other things I may like. Now to finish the food I have filling up my refrigerator without making things worse. I need room for all the new food. Changing my diet is the first hurdle and the hardest.

My second hurtle is to get my exercise in on a more regular basis. The hurtle? Sticking to it. I often get to the point where I just stop. Sometimes like most recently, I’ll stop because of an injury. This time it was my back. Typically the infinity hoop helps my back and I’m only at 13 minutes a day. I want to increase it to 30 minutes a day, even if I need to break it up. Again the challenge is sticking to it and not giving up.

Those are the biggest challenges I will have going forward. I do have my family support, which is very awesome. I have a few close friends that keep me encouraged and motivated as well. Hopefully that and my own personal determination will be enough to keep this up. This is the beginning of my journey. If you are following a similar journey or did it previously, I’d love to hear from you and your suggestions.

Movie Review: “Wakanda Forever”

****THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS!!****

I was able to see “Wakanda Forever” the weekend. I was excited to see this movie finally released this weekend. I had to clear my mind of what I personally wanted to and watch the movie without any preconceived notions. I was glad I did this.

One thing I love about any action movie is it having good special effects. This movie has amazing special effects. I had to keep reminding myself to focus on the entire movie. The movie invoked a range of emotions starting from the very beginning as they paid tribute to Chadwick Boseman. If you are an emotional person you will find yourself crying a bit. If you’re not, you may still cry, so be prepared. This movie takes you on a further roller coaster of feelings. You may feel shocked and even angry throughout the movie. My most impactful feeling was proud. I was proud of Shuri’s finally coming into who she really is by “showing them who she really is” when dealing with Namor.

While I originally expected Shuri to take on the Black Panther mantel a little earlier in the movie, but I understand why it was later in the movie. Now, I didn’t read the comics, but I understand a lot of people are upset by her becoming the Black Panther. Me, personally, I’m okay with it. It’s okay to make reasonable adjustments from the comics. But that’s just my humble opinion about it.

I really appreciated how they introduced Namor to the MCU and the movie itself. It was very climatic to me. Let me very honest here. I didn’t know who Namor is. I did research him a bit after and it really pleased me with how they bought him in. I also appreciated this ‘truce’ at the end with Shuri and Wakanda. Do I like him? I don’t really know that yet. I need bit more information to build with. I understand his need to protect, and even though it wasn’t right how he went about to protect his people, I appreciated the determination to protect his people/family.

Angela Basset as Queen Ramonda was a beast. She did such an amazing job in the movie that I agree with social media when they she deserves an Oscar. She showed power and the exact emotions needed to make the movie rise to an even higher level. She showed that you can be classy and powerful at the same time. For me, that was a quality that could be adapted in real life as we make moves to grow.

I appreciated the growth in all the characters in the movie. There’s no lack in options for amazing characters to pick as a favorite, outside of Shuri and Ramonda. Even as good as the movie is, I do feel like it could have been trimmed a bit more. Maybe 20-30 minutes of unnecessary information. Still, it didn’t take away from the impact of the movie.

Overall Overview. Great movie. Great special effects. Amazing acting. Good story line. A touch too long.
Overall Rating:

How I Reset My Mindset

There’s always a point you brain is in overdrive and you can’t think straight or figure out the next step. At that point it’s time to step back and do a mindset reset. Depending on the situation and you personally this can vary greatly. What I’ll share are a few things that work for me personally through trial and error.

Over the years one of the things that help me the most is sleep. Normally when I get to feeling anxious, overwhelmed and frustrated is because I haven’t been getting enough sleep and it’s starting to catch up with me. At that point nothing will go right and I also become a total klutz. I start hurting myself. The last time it happened I bumped my toe on the table and the same toe one the bed frame. I had both doors open on the refrigerator putting up food and bumped my head on the freezer door, then followed that up by bumping my head on the wall as I literally fell in the bed from exhaustion. Needless to say I went straight to sleep after texting my mom. How I didn’t have a concussion, I don’t know. What I do know is that sleep was my awesome friend. A great nap and an even better nights rest did wonders for my thought process. So, yes, sleep refreshes and resets the mind.

Another thing that works for me is prayer. Not just a quick, help me prayer, but a nice long deep prayer. During this time I express my concerns and feelings about what I’m going through. When I through my burden onto Him I feel so much better and can always think better and clearer too. I typically sit and meditate on how I can work in harmony with what I just prayed for.

Sometimes I need to just get away and traveling isn’t feasible at that moment. So I what I do at that point is jump into reading. It has to be a good book though. Something where I can enter the world of the characters and exit my own for a little while. This also helps me do a mind reset too. This is better than a movie for me.

The other thing I do is write. Sometimes I write about what I feel and what’s going on, It could be in the form of a poem, a short story, a blog or just random journal entry. Typically either of those routes will help reset my mindset. This can also help write something for one of my books. So this tactic is a win-win for me.

Those are my main avenues I use to reset my mindset. There are other ways that work too, but those are the ones I use most often because they typically work the best. That’s not to say it may not change in the future because things change as we grow and move into different phases of our lives.

I’d love to hear from you and what you do to do a mind reset.

What About Your Friends

Just an FYI, this blog will have a range of emotions and feelings, mostly venting. Afterall my blog is “Lets Talk Life” and this is life. So today I want to take a moment to discuss friendship. The real friends and the fake friends. Yes, I know I’ve spoken on this before, but the actions and words I’ve seen over the past week has shown me we need to have this discussion again. I’m not angry. Okay, not any more. I’ve calmed down a lot before I started this.

I’m just like everyone else, not perfect. So I don’t claim to be the perfect friend. I have moments of being selfish and just want to whine. Sometimes I don’t communicate enough. Sometimes, I just don’t care. Okay, that’s been more so since the pandemic. When I say I don’t care, I’m not saying I don’t care about my real friends, their feelings and what’s going on with them. When I say I don’t care, I’m talking about fake friends attitudes and what they THINK I may owe them and/or suppose to act. When I say you’ve been demoted from friend to associate to acquaintance to ignore to block, do not be surprised. Some of you may have dropped and don’t even realize it because you’re just that selfish and self-centered.

I’m a firm believer in letting your yes mean yes, and your no mean no. Keep your word. I completely get it if an emergency comes up. If you change your mind, be up front about it. For instance, my REAL friend said she couldn’t go on the cruise with me and told me why even though she didn’t have to. And she told me early enough so I can adjust my plans. On the other hand, you say you’re going to get something on a specific day and time and you DON’T. Not only do you not get it or deliver it, you ignore the messages, but you are posting on social media for three days and not once do you contact me. Yep, a problem. Keep your word.

When I say I’m matching you with the same energy I receive, believe it. If I notice I’m always imitating a conversation with you unless you need something, guess what? I’ll will stop being the first to speak unless I need something. When I start a conversation I like to be courteous. You know, a greeting, a ‘how are you?” Again, if you can’t do it, I can’t either. If you can’t hold a conversation without me pulling teeth, there won’t be a conversation. Trust me, with all of these, you’ve already been demoted. Which level you are, depends on you. I will not chase you or force you to talk to me. There’s no need for you to be invited over, no need to meet you anywhere, no need to visit you. I’m over it.

When it comes to my real friends, I need to depend on you, like you can depend on me. I lost fake friends because they didn’t understand the pain from my surgery and couldn’t just hang out because I was scared I wouldn’t be able to get up out of a soft chair. I lost what I realized were fake friends because they got upset I wouldn’t buy their product (that I didn’t need), but I shared it with others. Yet, they couldn’t buy my product or share my posts? I may not need a product, or can always afford their product, but I’m going to find a way to support them, even if it’s just sharing. That’s just who I am.

When it comes to true friendship, you have some you talk to daily and others less often. The one thing that’s the same is the communication and connection. When we talk it’s like we never have things to run out of talking about. If we are quiet, it’s not awkward at all. It’s comfortable. I have some amazing friends that I only talk to on social media until I visit them. Guess what, it’s like we always talk. I’m cool with that. I don’t expect the same thing from each person because that would unrealistic. What I expect is a friend to act like a friend. Don’t think the random message equals I owe you a spot in my life, because it doesn’t. I look at it just like it is a random message.

So there you have it. My random vent and again explanation how to be a real friend verse a fake friend. If you have to wonder which side you fall on, you probably fall under the fake friends. I’m just saying. If it walk like a duck, quack like a duck, it’s a duck. You want real friends, be a friend. I personally understand and get it when you want a demotion and will act accordingly.

It’s Okay To Not Have It All Figured Out

I got it! I have it all figured out! Wait! No I don’t!

Is that you? I know it’s me! Guess what? It’s okay! Yes, it’s okay to not have it all figured out. The short answer: We are not perfect and we are constantly learning and improving. There’s nothing wrong with that.

It’s okay to not to have EVERYTHING figured out, but at some point, SOME things you should have figured out. As stated before we should always be growing and learning everyday. The Mashawn today isn’t the same Mashawn from five years ago, pre-pandemic. When I think about it, I’m not the same from two years ago either. Yep, I’m closer to half century than I’d like to be, but it’s okay. I’ll admit there are some things I should be doing better today then I was doing in my 30s. However, right now, I do have a better direction of where I want to go with the next few years of my life. A few things helped with that clarity. They are when I had surgery and the pandemic.

While I maybe a spender, not a saver; a packrat, not a minimalist, among other things. Guess what? Some of those things have gotten better and others, not so much. Yet, I refuse to give up on some of the things I really want to accomplish. I typically have a hard time keeping a dedication to some things. What typically happens is I start something and something will happen and then I have a hard time getting started again. This isn’t always a good thing, but sometimes it is a good thing when when I get started again. Other things I need to focus and not stop.

What do I do to accomplish my goals? I set goals and then set smaller goals that will help to reach those goals. When I stay on the path or plan I set I find that I’m able to reach those goals a lot easier. Here’s an example. I rarely keep my fitness goals. However, I’ve been determined to to complete the 1500 squat challenge this month as well as increase my workout time with my infinity hoop to 15 minutes 4 days a week. With the squats, I’ve been keeping track of that by having my sisters join me in the challenge as well as doing 50 squats a day. Small goal to reach the bit goal. For my infinity hoop, I increase a minute at a time. I started at 5 minutes mid September. Now I’m at 12 minutes. This week I plan to move up to 13 minutes. So when you set your goals, also set goals to help you reach your ultimate goal. Never loose focus.

So, you see, it’s okay to not have it all figured out. However, mediate on how you want to accomplish it. You may need some time to refill your own cup to help you figure out your next steps. Need to start over, take a pause, it’s okay too. Need to completely change directions, it’s okay too. Don’t procrastinate on working on you and getting it figured out.

4th Quarter Goals

We are currently halfway through the first month of the fourth quarter. Hopefully you have your goals for the last quarter of the ready and actively working on those goals so you can end your year with bang. Ending the year on a high note can have you starting 2023 off on the right foot. Have you started working on your goals? What are some of those goals you want to accomplish these last few months? Always remember it’s not too late to start new goals or finish old goals.

Here are some of my goals to wrap up the year so I can start the year fosuced and ready to go. Of course this is just a few of my goals. I have a list I keep on all my devices and some on the calander so I can get those reminders. I also have a great friend I can share those goals with to ensure I’m working on those goals.

  • Complete and schedule blogs for this year.
  • Write out a suggested list of blogs for next year.
  • Complete at minimum 3 more books in full.
  • Write at least 4 new pieces of poetry.
  • Complete my list of themes and flyers for my photography mini sessions.
  • Schedule jewelry 3 jewelry parties for the first quarter.
  • Complete October squat challenge.
  • Increase my Infinity hoop workout to 30 minutes.
  • Donate 2 boxes of books to the local library.

There you have it. I shared some business and personal goals I have. What are a few of yours?

10 Ways To Simplify Your Life

There are times when the simplest solution is the best route to take and can also be the hardest. When it comes to simplifying it’s not always the easiest thing to do.  There are many ways to do this.  Today I just want to share 10 ways to simplify your life. 

Before we start,  there are two things we need to do first before we move forward.  This will help other things fall into place. 

  • Determine your priorities.  This works be 4-5 things that are most important to you.  Keep these at the forefront as you move forward.
  • Eveulate your commitments and time.

Now let’s get started!!!

  1. Learn to say no.  This will eliminate stretching yourself too thin. You can say NO without an explanation too. After all “No” is a complete sentence.
  2. Limit your communications. I know this can be hard. Remember what you don’t see now will be there later. Cut out communication forms that are not necessary to your specific needs.
  3. Create a simplicity statement.  What do you want your simple life to look like? Share it with an accountability partner,  post it in several places you’ll easily see it as a reminder.
  4. Limit your buying habits.  Another thing that can be hard when most of the time it’s just one click of a button to buy something.  If you’re an online shopper, make it not so easy to one-click items.  Do this by not saving cards unless you load a gift card with a specific spending limit.
  5. Spend time alone, even if you are not comfortable doing so.  This alone time will help you find out what’s important to you.
  6. Simplify the end of your day by creating a routine that really supports you.  This includes preparing for the next day. 
  7. Set simple monthly goals each month that are attainable and will help you reach your long term goals.  1-3 goals should be great.
  8. Declutter your closet.  If you haven’t worn it since before the pandemic started,  it maybe time to let it go. 
  9. Git rid of duplicates.  Consider if you rant need that item or can you get rid of it. 
  10. As you clear out stuff, embrace the empty space. Don’t try to fill it up. 

What ate some ways you keep your life simple?

We Need More Creativity

I’m an avid reader and I read all types of genres and authors. I love to read and always set reading goals every year. I try to do some reviews of the books I read, especially some of my local authors. I don’t know about everyone else, but there are certain things that is required. Even more so if you want me to read a series of books. I don’t claim to know it all when it comes to writing a novel. What I am is a reader who loved English class and now I pay attention to detail. I don’t do edits all the time, but my attention to details have had some authors ask. You can also ask my book club members. If the grammar isn’t right, I won’t read it. If I have to keep stopping because the details don’t match up, I’ll also stop reading. If I can’t see the book playing out like a movie while I read it, I stop reading. Normally I don’t list authors unless it’s an actual review. Nonetheless, as tempted as I am, I still won’t this time either. I don’t want anyone to think I’m just bashing the author, instead use it create better books if you’re a writer.

Recently I’ve started reading Motorcycle Club (MC) books. The series that got me started was AWESOME! A long series. I want to say it was 20 books. I love that the ones I’ve read so far are not Outlaws or 1%ers. Yes, I’ve done research as I started reading to understand. I do love the alpha males in the books and how deep they love their women. That makes it all worth it.

The author I’m currently reading is fairly talented. Much better than I can do right now. Now, I must say I read the current series first (6 books) and now reading the first series of this group (17 books). First let me start off with what I do like about her books. Of course the alpha males. I think that’s the more the normal across all the MC books I’ve read. I do enjoy the strong women in her books. Yes, there is an however, but we’ll get to that in a moment. I enjoy how the other clubs play a part in the books. You’ll always have an appearance from the other club at some point, if not multiple points in the book. The story lines itself are pretty good and catchy. If you enjoy “Happy Ever After” (HEA) endings, then her books are great for those too. She also gives some vivid details. When I tell you I see it all as I’m reading, it’s just like watching a movie on TV. I appreciate that the most about her books. Almost nothing is worse than poor descriptions.

Now this where I think her creativity could be a lot better. I’ve read all six of most recent and finishing up book four of the other series. Again, use this constructive criticism. As stated above I love the strong women and I love the alpha males. What I don’t like is the fact that their stories are almost the same. Okay, let me put it this way, the story lines are repeative down to the erotic scenes. This is how each book unfolds, the first 20-30% (except for the first books) are a rewind of what happened in the pervious book almost word for word from the new guys point of view. This in itself reminds me of the movie “Vantage Point”. It’s great information if you’re reading it as a standalone, but not a series. Percent 30-60 typically deal with the first issue the couple encounter with her questioning his love and how he could want someone as inexperienced as her and her running away. Then we get a little calmness that includes wedding planning and/or pregnancy for 60-80%. Finally when we get to the 75/80% mark the climax really rises again. Again, not a problem if you’re reading it as a standalone.

The other big issue I have is the erotic scenes. I know some amazing erotic authors that strictly write erotica and others that add it to the novels like her. Both are awesome forms, when the creativity is there. Again, I can tell you exactly how it will play out in all 10 books I’ve read. The woman has had little to no sex before him. They go slow, she love it, but still insecure. He proposes toys, and anal sex. She’s afraid but willing to try. He starts off with a finger, a plug, a dildo then himself. Now she loves it. *insert yawn* There’s no way in the world 10 men and women like the EXACT same thing sexual and have the exact same hang-ups and have not tried the exact same things. I understand that writers have preferences, but, we have to step outside of our comfort zone. I thought for sure with the two men it would be different. No. Again as a standalone, or even a few books it would have been okay. However ten books in a no difference, there’s a problem.

The writing the author did was not bad. I just lacks creativity once you’re a few books in. Once thing I have learned from many authors is, don’t force it. If you don’t have the material, don’t force it. End it. No one wants to read extra unimportant words. No one wants to read the same thing over and over again. This is why I don’t write novels and stick to poetry. Yep, I’ve tried, but it would be forcing it and I won’t do it with that or my poetry. I also don’t want to read the EXACT same 10 chapters or so from the last book. Maybe there is a group of people that do like to read it, and maybe it was so people will remember what happened if you are reading them as they are released. So, if that’s the reason, I guess I can understand it, but I might rethink how much I add. Give them a reason to read the previous books if they haven’t. I’ve never read a Eric Jerome Dickey or Nora Roberts book and had to go back and reread something. Again, that’s just me. This author specifically has the potential to do so much more. Yet she sticks to the same script, different cast.

Authors, I said all this to say, change it up. Don’t be predictable in your writings. You can stick to your genre, but 20 books shouldn’t have the same thing happening. Don’t force it if it’s not there. Spread your wings and creativity. Your readers will thank you. 😊