Night Life Suave

Happy Thursday folks! Hang in there just a few more weeks because summer is just around the corner. Summer is my favorite time of the year because it allows for reconnection. People seem to have more free time, they take a little extra time off from work to enjoy the nice weather and reconnect with friends. Restaurants and bars become busier, sidewalks are a little more crowded, and a few more cars fill the streets. The world becomes completely alive once again- it’s a great feeling.

I don’t know about you, but in the summer I feel like hitting the night scene a little bit more (I will admit it, in the winter I’m usually a bump on my couch). But going out to bars and dance clubs isn’t always a pleasant experience. I often ask myself, “Why am I here again?” Some people don’t know how to act appropriately in public- they are inconsiderate, rude, and totally oblivious. The bar is the perfect recipe for disaster. Mix alcohol with poor manners and well… you know what you get.

Fortunately, the bar scene doesn’t need to be disaster zone. There are many quick fixes that every bar-goer can do to make everyone’s life easier. The next time you hit the bars with your friends try to follow the suggestions below, couch potatoes everywhere will thank you:

*Always have your ID ready when you enter a club/bar or approach a bartender. Don’t assume that they aren’t going to card you, having to fumble through your purse/wallet for your ID wastes unnecessary time. Also, it is a good idea to have your credit card/cash ready as well.

*Be polite/patient while getting the bartenders attention. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, the bartender knows you’re there (they are trained to handle large crowds), there is no need to wave your hands franticly and shout “Hey you!” Your turn will come, I promise.

*Know what you want to drink before the bartender gets to you, don’t waste his/her time with your indecisiveness. If you are ordering more than one drink at a time, order all your drinks at once. Don’t wait for the bartender to come back with your first drink then tell him/her you want another one too.

*Drink with the atmosphere. If the bar is really busy you should probably stick with a simple drink so the bartender can help as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.

*When ordering your drink, put down the cell phone. In fact, put down the cell phone period. You probably can’t hear the person on the other side anyways.

*Don’t leave your drink unattended on the bar or table. Not only is this a good practice for women to follow for obvious reasons but if bar hops or waitresses see a drink sitting by itself they are most likely going to spill it out and throw it away to clear the space for someone else.

*It’s really important to know your limits- don’t embarrass yourself (it’s NEVER worth it).

*Don’t stay at the bar beyond closing time. Just because you are having a good time, the wait staff/bartenders really want to go home- they deserve it. As closing time draws near, promptly pay your bill and start heading home.

*If you don’t open a tab, tip the bartender after every drink. If you did open a tab, leave a 15-20% tip at the end of the night.

*Try to leave your table/bar area as clean as possible. If you were the one that had to clean it, you would appreciate the effort.

*I really wish I didn’t have to say this one but please don’t drink and drive. Arrange for a friend to be the designated driver before you get to the bar. If you find that all your friends have had too much to drink just call a cab (you should always keep your local cab company’s number in your cell phone). Your life is worth the little extra cash it costs for a safe ride home.

Now go ahead, live life, have a little fun, and practice your ‘lipstick confidence’!

(Follow me on Twitter too! @lconfidence)

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Building Bridges of Hope

In lieu of my recent college graduation I feel the need to get a little educational on you all so bare with me but I promise you won’t regret it. In one of my history classes this semester we talked about Ruby Bridges (now Ruby Bridges Hall). Ruby was an exceptional little girl and still continues to make a difference in people’s lives well into adulthood. While I was sitting in class, listening to my professor talk about Ruby, it suddenly hit me- Ruby Bridges Hall is a lipstick confident woman. I knew then that I needed to do a blog post about her for those of you who already don’t know who she is.

Long story short, at the age of six Ruby was the first African American child to attend an all white elementary school in the South (more specifically the William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans). Many white parents withdrew their children from the school and all the teachers refused to teach a colored student. This alone leaves Ruby to be one of the most lipstick confident women I know. At such a young age of innocence and naivety it takes a lot of confidence to be able to walk into a place you aren’t wanted with your head held high. The Deputy Marshal described Ruby’s sense of purpose and determination on that life-changing day, “She showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn’t whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier, and we’re all very proud of her.”

The school hired Barbara Henry to teach Ruby since all the other teachers refused. For a year, Mrs. Henry taught Ruby alone. The public continued to harass Ruby and her family- threatening to poison her, protesting daily outside the school, her father lost his job, and her grandparents were driven off their land. But the Bridges never gave up on what they believed in- they had each other and that was all that mattered. The little support the Bridges family did receive from their community encouraged them to continue as well. Some families sent their children to school despite the protests in support of the family, a family friend gave her father a new job, and neighbors took shifts protecting the Bridges household.

Ruby turned her childhood experiences into a life mission. In 1999 she formed the Ruby Bridges Foundation to combat continuing racism in schools and communities today. Ruby particularly focuses on the use of children as a tool to spread racism. Ruby works to connect students, parents, and educators with the realities of racism and its effects. The foundation works to involve students in service projects that encourage community responsibility and team work. From these projects, students learn skills needed to participate in meaningful causes. The Ruby Bridges Foundation starts at the bottom, focusing on children in order to inflict change on the society as a whole. Children can educate their parents just as much as parents educate and influence their children. Ruby also travels around the country on frequent speaking tours and has received many awards and recognitions such as the Presidential Citizens Medal by Bill Clinton in 2001.

Ruby Bridges Hall has seen a lot of ugly in her life but instead of giving up she pushed through the negatives to make a positive. Not everyone is capable of doing this, but to a lipstick confident woman there is no other choice.

Find something your passionate about and get involved (no matter how small a contribution) and practice your ‘lipstick confidence’!

The Shopping Cure

Every girl likes to shop- it’s inevitable. Shopping is a great stress reliever and a successful cure for a bad day. But sometimes shopping induces even more stress than you had before you set foot inside the store. Some shoppers are just plain rude and inconsiderate. They act as if the store belongs to them and their needs are the only ones that matter. They can quickly turn a happy outing into a nightmare that you never want to relive again. When you are in a public space there is a lot to think about (it’s not easy to be polite), I couldn’t possibly mention it all here. Below I have outlined a few simple shopping guidelines from my personal experiences that I really wish more people would follow. You never know, you may have a part in turning a fellow shopper’s bad day into a good one.

*If you are in a store in which you are using a shopping cart- use it wisely. Don’t block the entire aisle with your cart (yes, other people will be walking down that same aisle). Most importantly, don’t walk too close behind the person in front of you or take sharp turns. You never know when that person is going to stop short and being hit with a shopping cart actually kind of hurts.

*If you run into a friend, don’t stand in the middle of aisle and gab. Move over to the side or in a corner where traffic flow is lighter.

*If someone isn’t following proper shopping etiquette (i.e. blocking your pathway) that doesn’t give you a free ticket to be rude back. Politely say “Excuse me,” don’t just push your way through. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

*Please, please, please be polite and considerate to store associates. Their job is NOT easy and most of them are getting way under paid to put up with rude people. Just because they work at the store doesn’t mean they know everything little thing about it, so if they don’t know the answer to your question don’t get agitated (they will ask someone who will). Also, if they don’t have something that you are looking for then they don’t have it. Your complaining is not going to make the object appear.

*Be aware of and obey posted signs such as cash register express lanes. If you have more than the item limit for the express lane then don’t get in it!

*If you have a cart full of items and there is someone behind you with one or two things, let them go ahead of you. Whenever someone does this for me I think it’s the absolute nicest thing ever- you could really make someone’s day a whole lot better just by one simple act.

*Try to have your money/credit card ready before it’s time to pay. No one likes to watch the person in front of them dig through their purse for five minutes trying to find their wallet. Everyone has hectic schedules so anything you can do to expedite the cashing out process would be appreciated by everyone.

*If you are in a clothing store, try not to mess with the piles of neatly folded clothes. It takes a long time for the store associates to make these piles and I could only imagine what they feel like when they see people wrecking them. Usually they leave the tags in a pretty accessible place so there is no need to unfold every shirt in order to find your size.

*Even if there are no signs, don’t eat or drink in stores (especially clothing stores)- there is just too much room for error.

*If you want to try something on- go in the dressing room. Not only do you look crazy when you are trying on a shirt over your other two shirts you are already wearing in the middle of the store but you are also stretching out a shirt that is not yet yours.

*Put stuff back where you found it. Everyone does it- we think we want something and after walking around the store a little bit we decide that we can do without it (props to you). Don’t just lay it down wherever you are, put it back where it came from. It’s unfair to the store associates to have to clean up after your mess.

*As in all public places, keep cell phone use to a minimum. If you have a phone call you must take, step outside or tell them you will call them back later.

When shopping, follow the golden rule “Treat others how you want to be treated.” We were taught that lesson in kindergarten for a reason and it’s really pretty simple. If something makes you mad when other people do it (such as blocking aisles or talking loudly on cell phones) then maybe you shouldn’t do it either.

What’s that you said? You really want a new pair of summer sandals? Well then, go get’em and practice your ‘lipstick confidence’!

The Nightmare before the Vacation

Hello from Sunny Florida! Yes, I am in Florida this week with friends celebrating the fact that we have survived four years of college (I can’t believe it’s really over). But before we reached our final destination we had to face the ultimate nightmare: the airport. There is so much that can go wrong at the airport. They are usually overcrowded and people are just plain mean. Everyone hates the airport, so why don’t we try to make it a little easier for us all? Here are a few quick fixes that travelers could easily do to make everyone’s airport experience a hell of a lot better (not speaking from experience or anything – wink, wink):

*Before you even get to the airport, in fact before you even start packing, look up airport guidelines for carry-on luggage (i.e. what you can/cannot bring). Security is the worse part of air travel so anything you can do to expedite the process would be appreciated by everyone (and even the grouchy security personnel- just remember, they are only grouchy because they deal with so many people who don’t follow the rules).

*Before you leave your house to go to the airport- shower. It’s really that simple. You are going to be in a small space with a lot of people for a long time and you might not even notice it yourself but the tiniest of odors is much more noticeable in a crammed airplane.

*If you opt to use a moving walkway (and they are pretty awesome) and you want to stand rather than walk, simply stand to the right. Most people use the moving walkway because they are in a rush or need to be somewhere soon so make sure to leave room for these people to walk (or run) past you.

*In the terminal, don’t hog space in the seats in the waiting area around you. Despite what you may believe, your laptop bag does NOT need a seat of its own.

*Make sure to board with your assigned zone. It really just makes the boarding process go by so much faster and the people who are boarding first are doing so for a reason. Plus, who really wants to get on that airplane before they have to?

*Put small stuff, like purses and small bags, under the seat in front of you rather than in the overhead bins. Other people need as much space as possible to put luggage that actually won’t fit under the seats in those bins.

*Get everything that you need from the luggage you are storing in the overhead bin before the flight takes off. It’s really annoying to watch/maneuver around someone rummaging through the overhead bin during the flight.

*Let’s face it- the middle seat sucks so let that unlucky traveler get the arm rests. It’s only fair.

*If you want to recline your chair (and you do have the right to do so) it’s polite to look behind you first. Make sure the person behind you knows that you are going to recline so they can brace whatever is on their tray table or move their legs so they don’t get jammed.

*Try to be polite and friendly to the airplane staff. They have to deal with so many complaints and nasty people every day that I don’t blame them for being a little feisty at times (so don’t take it personally).

*Let the people in front of you off the plane first. If people from the back of the plane start jamming up the aisle rushing to the front of the plane, the exiting process will just take longer for everyone.

*Last stop: the luggage carousel. Try to find the least crowded spot to wait for your luggage and stand back from the carousel a little. There is no reason to stand right up next to it until you see your luggage coming. If you have my luck your luggage will probably be the last one anyways.

Going on vacation is great- once you get there. The airport can be a complete disaster and a bad experience can really ruin your entire day. Let’s try to make everyone’s day a little happier one vacation at a time.

Go practice your ‘lipstick confidence’! Now, I’m off to the beach!

Watching the Ditched Kids (With Style)

Surprise! This week is for all those babysitters out there. Babysitting can be a very rewarding job, but there is no denying that it’s not for everyone because it’s freaking hard! Unfortunately, it’s even harder to find a family that treats you right and when you do find that family- you want to stay there. The bad news, your list is a little longer than the parent’s (see last week’s post for tips on how to keep your babysitter happy). The good news, everything on this list is totally doable, simple, and if you follow these guidelines that dream babysitting job is a guaranteed keeper.

*Just like any other job, don’t be late. The parents might be going to a wedding, a party, or have a reservation that they need to be there on time for- if you are late, they are going to be late.

*Most importantly, make sure the children’s parents leave emergency contact information. It’s usually pretty hectic around the house while they are getting ready to leave, so they may forget to leave the numbers so before they walk out the door make sure you know where that information is. If you don’t see it, ask!

*Ask about any special rules they have such as bed time, forbidden snacks, a certain amount of television watching, etc. Just because the parent’s are going out for the night does not mean the children can disobey their parent’s rules.

*Make sure that the house is as clean (or cleaner) as it was when you got there before the parents get home. Don’t make more work for them- clean the dishes, wash the counters, etc.

*Ask whether they want you to answer their house phone or not. If they do, make sure that you take full messages with names and numbers of the people who call.

*If the parents allow you to take the kids out (and only if), keep the receipts. You want to have proof of what you spent on the kids, you don’t want to be accused of lying (and keep the amount within a reasonable total).

*Always have a positive attitude. No one likes a babysitter that complains. If the kids are misbehaving (which is bound to happen at least once), stay calm and handle it yourself. Don’t immediately call the parent’s and whine- let them enjoy their night out.

*If the kids do misbehave, don’t try to be the cool babysitter and not tell the parents. You NEED to tell them- it’s not alright for their children to misbehave, especially in the care of other people. It’s just disrespectful. If the parents don’t know about their child’s ill behavior they can’t fix it.

*Really important: follow the same bedtime routine as the parents. No matter what the kids say, their parents do not let them stay up until midnight.

*Remember to complete any other tasks the parents ask of you such as bringing in the mail, etc.

*The less television you watch the better- plan activities to do with the kids a head of time, such as arts and crafts or outside activities. Also, if you give them a snack try to keep it as healthy as possible. The better role model you are, the better habits the kids will develop. Let’s face it, most kids idolize their babysitter. If they see you doing or eating something healthy they will most likely want to do it too.

*I wish I didn’t have to say this but I do: dress appropriately. You are spending a day/night with young children. You need to be comfortable and able to move around quickly. Jeans and a lose t-shirt are your best bet. There is absolutely no reason to show cleavage or your entire leg (no matter how cute the husband is- you’re only going to see him a few minutes, he’s married, and too old for you!).

*Don’t talk on your cell phone, even once the children go to bed. You are still at work and its never appropriate to talk on your phone at work.

*Don’t use their home computer unless the parents tell you that you can.

*Lastly, don’t let the children go anywhere with anyone else unless the parents gave your prior permission, even if you know who the person is.

Just use your common sense. Try to imagine what you would want your babysitter to do and how you would want her to treat your kids- go with your gut instinct, you’re probably right.

Now, go practice your ‘lipstick confidence’ and make some money!