Saturday, May 26, 2012

Why I didn't sleep well last night

All though my house was technically on the MLA listing since Tuesday, the For Sale sign was installed today. I'm nervous. If someone tells me to "Let go & Let God" one more time, I'm going to head butt the shit out of them. I've done the work to get it on the market, but what "work" can I do to settle my emotions? And where am I going to live? I haven't quite worked that out yet. I'm going to miss the peaceful small town of Woodbridge, that's for sure. I was raised in New York, but I've never been a city girl. How does that happen?

Tomorrow I will be in Brooklyn meeting the family of my sister-in-law to be. I'm always a little nervous when it comes to meeting new people. I'm not shy at all, I'm just introverted. Thank God my new sister-in-law is awesome. I'm so blessed in the "in-law" department. I'm kinda hoping to fade into the background at tomorrow's dinner. I'm also praying that no one asks me any questions about my job, my future plans, or what's taking us so long to have kids? Fifteen years together, almost 7 years of marriage, it's a question I've come to expect.

I want to start filming Friday Night Confessionals again, but since those videos are so honestly me, I'm afraid of what's going to come out of my mouth. Plus, I found out that my mother discovered CandidAnn. She literally stood up all night watching every— single—video. She said, I could be like "Opal". It's cute how she never says Oprah's name right. But then she started crying... loudly. It never feels good to be the cause of your mother's tears. She knows how terribly honest those videos are and it affected her overwhelming. It's nice to have a place to share my life lessons and experiences with others. Perhaps someone might relate to me, perhaps I can encourage, but is it worth making your mother cry?

What is my talent? I'm so use to taking action on the skills I've aquired for employment, I'm not sure I know what my God given talent is. Suppose my talent doesn't yield me any money? That's a major problem for me. I remember what it's like being broke, drinking Kool-Aid instead of real juice, and my only "doctor" was the free one at Planned Parenthood on Third Avenue in the Bronx.

What am I going to where at tomorrow's... actually today's dinner? It's exactly 2:58am. If I was a wealthy woman, I'd have a stylist choose all my outfits. I'd choose my own lipstick though. Lipstick is awesome. And no one would eff with my hair. My days of having a hair stylist are over.

I just ran my hand across my stomach. That stupid fibroid is contorting my stomach. I use to have a really flat stomach, and sometimes you would see my abs. Been thinking about that myomectomy... not happy about that.

Hubby will be home soon. I should get some sleep.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dear Ann: Are Microsoft Office Certifications worth it?

The following question was sent to me by one of my YouTube subscribers.

DEAR ANN: Hello. I hope this message finds you well. I really enjoy your videos and look forward to when new ones are posted. I wanted to ask your opinion on something. I was watching your video where you mentioned what you do at your job and have wanted to do that myself. I researched and found that my local community college (I already have Bachelor's degree and am in a dead-end job and do enjoy learning MS Office products). They have certification course for $1,895 and was curious if I should do that, or use and earn my experience that way. I am not wanting this to be the end all be all to my career aspirations, but it will make me more marketable and it will be something I truly enjoy learning.

Thank you for your time in reading this message. I look forward to more videos. Take care.

– A subscriber

DEAR VIEWER: As you might already know, I have spent the last 15 years of my career working for various Investment Banking firms, creating presentations and various marketing materials. I started off with only Word, PowerPoint and Excel under my belt. Today, I have also learned HTML, Adobe Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver and a few other speciality programs. In keeping with the Microsoft package, I have never been asked to supply my Microsoft Certifications to an employer or agency and neither have any of my colleagues. While I'm sure it looks good on my resume, it has never been a pre-requisite for my job.

Microsoft offers a wide array of certifications. Many certifications have different expertise levels, such as professional, expert, master, trainer, etc. I am Microsoft Certified as an expert in Word and Excel. PowerPoint is so straight forward, you are either certified or not, there are no levels. Since my employer flipped the bill for the exams, I took them. Would I recommend anyone paying for Microsoft Office Specialist certifications on their own? Honestly speaking, my answer would be 'No'. If you desire to become a Master Microsoft Trainer, I can see the certifications perhaps holding more weight on your resume but job related experience and great recommendations always trumps over MS certifications from what I have seen.

Most employers will have you create and/or format a document in an allocated amount of time in order to test your knowledge and accuracy. The skills needed for an Investment bank will differ than a law firm. PowerPoint is the easiest to learn of the three programs, Word and Excel are more difficult. Don't be discouraged, it is impossible to know every function in these programs. I've been doing this for years and I still learn a new tricks from time to time. If you are interested in this field, consider starting off as a desktop publisher. You mentioned, which is a wonderful site. Many of my colleagues have learned additional software applications there.

Instead of getting MS Office Certified, I would work on getting a portfolio together. Below are a few basic skills that I highly recommend you become familiar with as they apply to most fields. This is not an all inclusive list, because every job has specific needs.

I hope I was able to answer your question and best of luck.

– CandidAnn

Microsoft Word
• Styles
• Table of contents
• Table of authorities
• Track changes
• Having both landscape & portrait pages within one document
• Table formatting
• Page breaks vs Section Breaks
• Mail merge
• Pagination
• Inserting graphs from Excel
• Headers and Footers
• Bullets and Numbering
• Linking vs Embedding
• Non printing characters

Microsoft Excel
• Creating graphs / Chart wizard
• Setting up a database
• Freeze pane
• Formulas
• Auto filter and pivot tables
• Importing / Exporting data
• Tables
• Formatting / merging cells
• Headers and Footers

Microsoft PowerPoint
• Master slides
• Slide transitions
• Animation
• Importing from Word / Excel
• Drawing toolbar
• Inserting pictures
• Tables
• Align and distribute objects
• Bullets and Numbering

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Heat that's good for your hair

Since I have become natural, one of the things that I am very cautious of is the use of heat on my hair. Used incorrectly, it can permanently alter the texture of my hair which is also known as heat damage. Does that mean that all heat is bad? Definitely not.

Once a week, usually on a Sunday, I wash and deep condition my hair. The difference between "conditioning" and "deep conditioning " is the application of heat. The use of heat while conditioning helps the product to penetrate your hair shaft, creating very soft and well conditioned hair. There are a variety of ways to deep condition your hair, this is my personal favorite.

I have been using the Thermal Spa Electric Heat CapThermal Spa Electric Heat Cap for years. Weather you have relaxed, natural, color treated, straight or curly hair, it's a great way to treat your hair. This is a universal product for anyone interested in maintaining healthy hair.

Unlike a hooded dryer, it is light weight and portable. You can easily take it with you while travelling. I personally do not like sleeping with a plastic cap and product on my hair so I enjoy the fact that I only need to use it for 30 minutes to get results. Compared to other deep treatment hair devices, I find this to be reasonably priced at less than $30.

I can personally vouch for my heating cap, as I have owned it for over 10 years and it's still going strong. Once, I accidentally left mine on while I walked away and the sides of the plastic melted into each other. I immediately repurchased the exact same one. Once I know something works, I tend not to try other brands.

My only negative thing to say is that after ten years of using it, the elastic band that ties at the bottom has worn out, but that's just the nature of elastic. I simply tie the two pieces together in a loose knot and keep it moving. I love it when a product simply works and this one definitely does.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

It's all about "The Presentation"

I think that it might be worth explaining to you guys what it is that I do for a living as it might be mentioned on during Friday Night Confessionals.

For 15 years I have worked at various Investment Banks including: Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and my current employer. I know nothing about the business of Investment Banking, as I work in a "back office" (non-client facing) environment. Back office employees can range from the copy center staff to our Legal and Compliance department.

The department I work within is Corporate Communications & Marketing. Here is a very brief run down of what that is comprised of:
Internal Communications – communication to be distributed within the firm.
Public Relations – media and press issues related to the bank.
Marketing – assists in branding trade show booths, giveaways, events, etc.
Events and Hospitality – organizes client events on behalf of the bank
• Creative Services – This is where I earn my keep

Myself and two other persons on the creative team, work with all of the aforementioned team members, front and back office staff to assist with the following:
• pitch books & presentations. I am a Microsoft certified expert in Word, PowerPoint and Excel
• posters
• html based invitations
• brochures
• collateral and credentials
• designing giveaways (t-shirts, towels, etc.)
• advertisements

The importance of any design team is that everything to be presented, via any consumable must
1) look professional and 2) maintain the firm's brand identity.

Every company has a specific look and feel. For instance, Playboy uses a playful bunny on their models while in King Magazine you will see someone's badonkadonk scattered every where. Both are are men's magazine that use sex to sell, but they use a different approach.

In our banking environment, branding is stripped of polar emotions and is focused on color and design elements. The team members in Internal Comms, PR, Events, etc all create content, but the design team is responsible for making it palatable for a targeted audience.

The important thing you should know about branding is that EVERYONE is a brand, not just (in)famous celebrities, but YOU! When you walk into an office, everything from your hairstyle, clothing, choice of shoes & purse conveys something about your personalty to your co-workers and to your boss. What do you think you are saying to them?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

No fear, Inspiration, and a good book

It seems like whenever I sit down to write these blogs, way too much is floating around in my head lately.

I intended to write a blog about SOME of the reason why I decided to sell my house, but that would be way too long so I made this video instead.

This is right after work, no makeup, just me and my thoughts. I have disabled the rating and comments. Please feel free to tweet me or leave a comment here on the blog. Straight from my heart to you...


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