Voyage Dallas Magazine Interview

Here is the interview that I gave to Voyage Dallas Magazine.  I hope that you will enjoy reading it. It was a lot of fun to give.

Interview With Voyage Dallas Magazine

Thank you so much for following thisisyourbestyear“.  There is a lot more in store for all of us.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Enjoy life….. and thanks again!

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At The Texas Conference For Women–Women Rock

It is always great to be in the presence of women, especially smart women.  The Texas Conference for Women has so much to see, hear and do that it is hard to decide which way to go. That is why you see me rushing almost running in the halls of the Austin Convention Center with my two bags, comfortable shoes, and phone. I was off to races.

Texas Conference 2 Photo by Getty

I was able to snag two great interviews with two amazing women.  My first interview came as a surprise.  We just struck up a conversation, and I knew women would love to know about her company “iFundWomen”.  Below is the interview that I did with the CEO and founder of “iFundWomen”, Ms. Karen Cahn. For women who are looking for ways to fund their startup, she is the person to know.

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My second interview was with the Emmy award winner, Ms. Gaby Natale.  She is the host of the Emmy award-winning show Super Latina, and now the author of the book El Circulo Virtuoso.  Her story is one that a lot of people can identify with. She is inspirational.  My interview with Gaby is below.

Both women are successful entrepreneurs who have found their passions and turned them into their careers.  As each would tell you it has been a journey that has taken some unexpected turns.  They epitomize the women that attended and participated in the Texas Conference for Women.  This year there were 7,500 women in attendance from all over the United States.

Each of the women had their own schedule to adhere to and knew which sessions they wanted to attend and why.  All of us were able to hear the three keynote speakers, Ms. Anita Hill, Ms. Sheryl Sandberg, and Ms. Viola Davis.  Their presentations were informative and more.  You can see some of Ms. Anita Hill’s talInstagramFacebook Page–thisisyourbestyear, Instagram–thisisyourbestyear and Twitter–@mariciajohns.

If you have never attended this conference, you should think about it for next year.  There is something for everyone from, pitching your product to QVC, working on your Linkedin Page, coping with grief, fitness and much more.

This is one of the highlights of my year, seeing and hearing the speakers and meeting up with other bloggers, photographers, and other media again.  Hope you will take advantage of this great gathering of women.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

To find out more about how to fund your business go to the “iFundWomen” website.

www.ifundwomen.com

If you would like to know about Gaby Natale, and how to contact her for speaking engagements, book signings and more please visit her website.

www.gabynatale.com

The End Of Time–Be Prepared

Most of us are planners.  We’ve already starting planning for Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas celebrations and even what we will do and wear on New Year’s Eve.  We plan where we will take our next vacation as soon as the last one is completed.

Some of us love planning baby showers, wedding showers, retirement parties, birthday parties and of late yes, divorce parties.  We want to make it as easy for the people we are honoring as possible.  We do all the planning because we don’t want those we love to be stressed out.

What about our final preparations–yes, it’s a topic that many don’t want to think of, willbut it is one that will affect all of our loved ones after we are gone.  This is not a topic of conversation for most of us, but it should be.  It goes along with your will, and how you want to distribute your belongings. Not leaving a will can make it complicated especially if there are a lot of people involved. So why not write it down?  A will can and probably should be updated yearly or at least reviewed.

After burying both of my parents, grandparents and even a cousin I know the stress that it can put on the person(s) left in charge of making final arrangements.  In all of my cases, all of those involved with the decisions were able to decide together how we should handle the situation.

In order to make it easy for your loved ones, you can already have specific instructions for them.  You can have instructions as simple as what you would like to have at your last service.  It would be wise to write it down, and let your family know about it. They may not follow your wishes, but they have some direction as to what you wanted.

Two of my roommates from college and a couple of other friends have made all of their arrangements.  They know that their loved ones can change things, but they have funeral 6made it as simple as they could and have told them of their plans.  In fact, all of them have paid for their last service.  I’m not suggesting that you go to this length, but some may choose to.  You must be careful and read the fine print if you decide to do a pre-need as they can change from state-to-state.

Before you decide to prepay for your last service, please do the research and ask around.  Planning for the end of time is something that takes a while to plan. AARP has some very informative articles on this subject.

Is pre-need right for you–it’s up to you to decide, but whatever you do get that will prepared.  If you are not using something that you are going to leave someone in the will why not give it to them now?

Take time to talk with your family about your wishes, and then make your decision.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.   You have always helped your family so why not continue?

Join me on Instagram!

We’re on Instagram as @thisisyourbestyear. Install the app to follow my photos and videos. https://instagram.com/download/?r=380485317

You can also follow us on Facebook–thisisyourbestyear, Twitter–@mariciajohns and of course our website–www.thisisyourbestyear.com.

          Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.

Enjoy A Great Meal and Make A Difference

I would usually put this post in the What “I” Like section because the food is amazing, but this is more than what I like. It’s about an idea that is not only changing the food scene in Dallas, but it is teaching future chefs and others life skills. It is not a culinary school, it’s not your typical classroom, and these are not your typical educators or your typical students.

Cafe Momentum is a non-profit restaurant and professional training facility that is located in downtown Dallas. Cafe Momentum is in the restaurant business, but more importantly it is in the business of transforming the lives of young people who have been inside juvenile facilities. The restaurant, culinary school, life skills university is the brain child of Chef Chad Houser. Working in collaboration with the Dallas County Juvenile Justice Department, Cafe Momentum strives to teach young men and women that it is possible to break the cycle–the cycle of crime, violence and poverty.

The students rotate through a 12 month paid internship program where they do work in every position from dishwasher to server to working along side world class chefs. In addition to culinary skills, they are taught anger management, money management and other life skills. Upon successfully completing the intense program the interns are placed with partners of Cafe Momentum for employment.

The food was scrumptious to the eye and to the palette. Making the night even more enjoyable was the knowledgeably, friendly, professional and courteous staff. We tried and shared several items, but one of my favorites was King Oyster Mushroom Scallops. I love scallops, but I hardly order them because if they are not done correctly they are not very appealing to eat. The mushrooms reminded me of the best scallops that I have ever tasted. They had the same buttery texture–they were wonderful. If I had not been told they were mushrooms, I would have thought I was eating scallops. It is usually hard to fool me when it comes to taste. You know how they say “it taste like” and it doesn’t–this did.

We started with a pickle plate that contained bourbon pickled green tomatoes, sweet cucumbers, hot, very hot jalapenos, Italian cauliflower and more. it was a great taste mixture of sweet, tangy and hot. Everyone at the table seemed to have their favorite. The next item that we shared was the magnificent Charcuteri Plate–it was magnificent. It featured torchon, duck ham, homemade sausage, two types of goat cheese which they lovingly called Lucy and Ethel, and so much more. To see more about this amazing plate (video) go to our Facebook Page–thisisyourbestyear.

Another amazing dish that everyone wanted to have a bite of was Ninny’s (fried) Okra Salad. I am one person who likes okra almost anyway it can be prepared, and this dish was one of the best ways that I have eaten it.

At this point I was a bit full so I order the Ninny Okra Salad for my entree, and nibbled off of everyone’s plate. Someone ordered the Smoked Fried Chicken with mashed potatoes, collard greens, biscuits and gravy. I tasted it–OMG. The Pork Chop with brown butter, green tomato salad and a 4 bean salad was ordered by a couple of people. I didn’t taste this one, but there wasn’t much left on their plates so I think that makes the point.

The fish of the day was an Opah, yes Opah, not Oprah. Having never heard of it, I was interested in it, but too scared to order. This Opah fish was tasty, not a fishing fish, but a flaky light fish.

At the conclusion we ordered the Olive Oil Cake and the Chai Ice Cream with a chocolate brownie. Everyone at the table got a bite of the Olive Oil Cake while one person hoarded the Chai Ice Cream and chocolate brownie.

Dining at Cafe Momentum is not only an amazing culinary experience, but it is chance to give back to the community of Dallas and beyond. Take some time to learn more about Cafe Momentum and see how you can assist this great endeavor.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Eat, drink, be merry and assist a worthy cause.

Help For The Victims Of Hurricane Harvey

For those wanting to donate financially to help the people of Houston and the other affected areas, you can donate to these sites:

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund (Houston)

YouCaring J J Watts (Houston)

American Red Cross (All areas)

  • Call 1-800-RED-CR0SS
  • Text the word HARVEY to 90999 to make a donation

Salvation Army (All areas)

  • Call 1-800-SAL-ARMY
  • Text the word STORM to 51555

Covenant House Texas (All areas)

Here are some things that we can start to collect to donate to the people in the devastated areas that will assist those in shelters:

  • disposable diapers
  • baby formula
  • water
  • toothbrushes
  • socks
  • soap
  • toothpaste
  • feminine products
  • deodorant
  • shampoo
  • hand sanitizer
  • towels
  • children’s clothing
  • toys (children need some sense of normality)

If you are a member of a Greek organization, check your national website–they will have information as to how you can assist.

Please remember that home insurance does not cover flooding, and most of these people will have lost everything.

If you know of other legitimate organizations offering assistance, please post in the comment section.

 

Interview The Interviewer

I haven’t gone on a professional job interview in eight years, but I do keep my resume recent since it will determine if I get to the next step, the interview. During an interview we all know the answers to most of the standard questions that are asked, but do we know what questions we should ask?

If you have been out of the job search market for a while you will need to brush up on your interviewing skills.  It’s not the interviewing you learned BC (before computers). You can have a face-to-face interview, a phone interview, a video interview and/or a combination interview.

 

The days of the interviewer asking if we have any questions, and we smile and say “no” are gone.  Don’t fret that is a good thing, because we all have unanswered questions after an interview.

First of all you should ask a couple of questions that you have prepared beforehand.   This will show the interviewer that you are interested in the position, and you will get answers to questions that are not on the company website or in their handbook.  It’s a win, win situation.

 

There have been a lot of articles written about this subject. Here are some questions that I think a person should ask when interviewing for a job.

  • What is a typical day for a person in this position? This question is important because you will be able to gain some insight into the structure of the work day for this position.  You will also learn what specific skills that are needed for this job.
  • What is the culture of the company?  This helps you know the company’s values, their beliefs and their working environment. You would be surprised that this question does not get asked.  You must be able to fit into the company to have a great working relationship.  We have all gone places, and thought that this is not for us. We have all felt like a fish out of water.
  • What are the expectations for this position in the next 30 days, 6 months–a year and beyond? This will tell you what the company is expecting from you if you get this position.
  • What’s did the previous holders of this position consider to be the hardest part of it, or what do you consider to be the most challenging part of the position? Even great positions have something that is somewhat challenging.
  • What is the average employment stay with the company?  This will show you if they promote from within.
  • Can you see where the position is housed?  This will enable you to see where you will perform the job duties.  You will also be able to talk with people who will be your coworkers.

If your interview consist of interviewing with multiple persons at different times, you can ask them some of the same questions, and you can also ask others that you jotted down while doing your research of the company.  Asking questions shows the interviewers that you are serious about the position.

Remember to send a thank you note–handwritten. You can also email a thank you letter, but not in place of the handwritten thank you note. Be sure to thank the receptionist/secretary when you leave–they have the ear of the boss, and their opinion counts.

If you really want the position, you will have questions about it?  Remember thisisyourbestyear“.  Interview the interviewer.

 

There Will Be No Paper or Plastic…

I’ve decided that there will be no paper plates or plastic ware in my house.  Yep, you heard me right.  The only thing used for eating and drinking that will be paper will be napkins, and that’s because I hate to iron.

A couple of years ago I decided to give my daughters part of their inheritance so that I could see them use it.  To my youngest, she would get my mother’s beautiful china which I can still remember the day my father gave it to her.  This was something that she had wanted forever, she was beyond excited, she was ecstatic that she could now serve special occasion meals in beautiful dishes.  I was ecstatic too because I wouldn’t be allowed to wash the china–too clumsy.  On those special days we would polish the flatware that was never used, iron the napkins, wash the china and crystal and place them on the dinning room table that only saw food on special occasions.

To my oldest, I wanted to give my china that was given to me by my father.  I remember when he started buying it. I was only a sophomore in college living with my sorority sisters, but I was excited. Visions of special dinners popped into my head.  I would set this beautiful table, and my mother and grandmother would iron the napkins. My father passed away before all the pieces were purchased, and I could never find the sugar bowl and creamer at any replacement site.  On one of my many trips to San Antonio to one of my favorite antique shops I ran across both pieces.  I was ecstatic.

Neither of the girls took me up on my offer.  The oldest one informed me that she already had a set of china which she does use some of the time (mine looks better).  If it didn’t go in the micro wave the youngest one didn’t want it. I tried the sympathy plea– “You will always have something to remember Granny Ruby by”.  It didn’t work.  I was informed they would always remember her.

What was I going to do with two sets of beautiful china, delicate crystal wine, champagne and water glasses?  The champagne classes are not fluted, they are the kind you see in the movies and they stack them. I had flatware and napkins that had nevfer seen the light of day. My husband solved the problem because he had a problem.

One day after a weekend of family as the dishwasher was humming along, he didn’t have a clean plate, and there were no paper plates.  What was he going to do? Stop the dishwasher and remove a half cleaned plate?  Go to the store and buy paper plates? No, just reach up there and get one of those china plates. From that moment on I decided there would be no paper plates or plastic ware used in my house.

That moment made me realize that I was going to use each and everything in my house.  So when you come to dinner you just might have your takeout/delivery on fancy china with paper napkins.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Everyday is special.

Information On Well Woman Exams

Thank you Ms. Ruth Ann Hornbeck-Hatch for sharing this valuable information on free well woman exams.  If you are in need of or know a woman in need of a well woman exam, and insurance coverage is a problem, please have them call or google 211.  It will give outlets to places that do the well woman exams for free.

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Let’s spread the word to our family, friends, church members and others.  There is a way to help save the lives of women.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, let’s help others help themselves.

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