event planning

DACA Latina student turns event planning hobby into business venture

Georgeth “Geo” Sanchez is a Latina small business owner whose event planning venture arose from a hobby to support her college finances. Her business Geo & Co. specializes in chocolate dessert bowls, arranged fruit and candy buffets, handcrafted pretzel rods, and banquet chair covers and props to rent.

event planningGeo currently attends USC under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program where she is studying to become a social worker. While DACA provides many opportunities such as the ability to obtain a driver’s license, enroll in college, and legally secure employment, there are still hurdles, such as financial aid for students. Under DACA, students are disqualified from federal financial assistance which means all school related costs must come out-of-pocket. This can be incredibly difficult when college tuition is constantly rising.    

event planningDue to her financial need, Geo decided to turn her event planning hobby into an actual business to raise funds for her graduate school studies. With the help of C.P. Krishnan an Ann  Krishnan of CAK International, LLC, a 2017 Small Business Champion, Geo gained the courage and motivation to officially file her business name on March 8th, 2017, in honor of International Women’s Day.   

As someone who is studying part-time and working full time at a homeless women’s shelter, managing her own business is not always easy, but through every challenge she manages to find solutions.

One major obstacle has been working with a limited budget for her inventory. She explains how “in the event planning business, trends and styles are always changing and it’s difficult to house all the Pantone colors in overlays, napkins, chair covers” etc. And due to her financial need she cannot always purchase inventory in bulk or splurge on rare hues and prints which retails at higher costs.

Despite this, she has found ways around the challenge by sticking to classic colors and finding combinations that are timeless, clean, and sophisticated while allowing her customers to save money.

“As a small business entrepreneur in the event planning industry, I feel my bilingual skills and budget friendly approach to event planning has allowed me to gain the trust of customers. In our Hispanic/Latino communities, milestones (quinceaneras, baptism, weddings, birthdays, and graduations) are the cause of great celebration. That gives me the opportunity to offer my services while ensuring that my customers get the best deals possible.”

event planningShe also feels that much of her success has come from her faith in God and her grandmother’s watchful eye from heaven. Her grandmother was a successful business owner herself for over fifty years in South America and undoubtedly has been a great influence on Geo. She even incorporated her grandmother’s favorite flower the “flor de nardo” into her business’ logo in her honor.

Throughout her journey so far as a business owner, Geo has surmounted obstacles and fought for her dreams. This mentality is what she encourages other aspiring Latinas to have when pursuing their own dreams.

“Think outside the box, ask for help, and fight for what you dream of,” she says. “We are often paralyzed with fear and although quite normal- what defines us is what we do with that fear. Today, I choose to fight for my DREAM!” And she hope you do too!

Latino traditions

Janny Perez Mi Legasi keeps Latino traditions alive for moms and kids

Latina entrepreneur Janny Perez is the creator of Mi Legasi, a bilingual subscription box and shop that brings the vibrant Latino culture to moms who want their children to learn and cherish their Latino traditions. 

Janny Perez Mi Legasi at the 2017 Latina SmallBiz Expo in Newark NJ keeping Latino traditions alive.

Mi Legasi strives to empower families and connect children with their Latino traditions and culture. Each box comes with a variety of items such as bilingual Spanish books, toys, games, craft projects, and family activities along with special gifts for mamá such as beauty, home, office, or accessory items.

The idea for Mi Legasi came after Janny had her daughter, Victoria, in 2015. “I felt the need to ensure that she understood where she came from and what it meant for her to be Latina,” Janny explains. “I wanted her to experience the music, foods, language, culture and stories that were passed down to me.”

In May of 2017 Mi Legasi was officially created as a way to empower moms and families to connect with Latino traditions and culture, focus on quality family time, and create their own legacy.

Mi Legacy keeps  Latino traditions alive

Latino traditions

Janny Perez’s daughter Victoria was the inspiration for her company Mi Legasi

Mi Legasi is Janny’s legacy, which she dedicates as tribute to her immigrant parents and to her daughter Victoria as a reminder that anything can be accomplished through hard work and dedication.

Janny credits her father for much of her spirit and dedication. “He is my hero,” she says. The youngest of many siblings, her father grew up poor on a coffee farm in Colombia. “He had dreams of flying and seeing the world. Without any formal education and lots of hard work, sweat, and determination, my father accomplished this.” It is this dedication and example that has influenced Janny to strive for her own dreams.

Janny Perez as  Latina entrepreneur

Latino traditions

Bilingual books included in the subscription box

As a Latina entrepreneur, she believes her biggest strengths to be her tenacity, creativity, and generosity.

“Tenacity is not just going after your dream, but taking action to get there,” Janny explains. “It’s waking up early or working late while the rest of the world sleeps. It’s the ability to face rejection with optimism because you know something bigger will come.”

Her creativity helps her in many aspects of her business, from design and product creation to photography and social media posts. Lastly, her generosity allows her to use her business platform to help others from sending Latina moms suffering due to illness a Mi Legasi kindness package to donating to impoverished children in Latin America.

She believes the key to facing all obstacles and challenges is to be headstrong and disciplined. “If you let fear drive you, you won’t go far.” She has three key mottos to staying strong. First is to trust in your faith, whatever that may be– “God, the universe or your gut. It’s that spark inside you that keeps you pushing forward.” Second is to be flexible and open to change. And last is to have patience. All things take time.

Never be afraid to speak up

Latino traditions

The box also includes products for mom.

To Latinas looking to dive into their own business ventures or achieve success in their careers Janny says, “Never be afraid to speak up and don’t settle just because it’s the status quo….As Latinas we are afraid. Our culture has at times limited our beliefs that we can. We are the lowest paid of minorities. We need to break the cycle.”

Overall, Janny advises to stay determined and know the realities of starting a business. “Know that you will likely lose money, work day and night, make lots of sacrifices, worry, and that the road is curved and unpredictable but what you learn and the connections you make are far greater than you’d expect. Know that you can and you will, just one day at a time!”

On her struggles as a business owner Janny says, “Being a ‘mompreneur’ has been quite challenging. It’s not a regular 9 to 5 job so you don’t really have days off, but it’s flexible.”

Janny believes in the importance of creating one’s own legacy and following one’s dreams no matter the obstacles. All things are possible with hard work, patience, and tenacity. Her business came from her motherhood and so Janny hopes that Mi Legasi can help and inspire other Latina moms to create their own legacies with their children.  

 

Latino traditions

 

Liliana Marzan Perez

Liliana Perez Latina entrepreneur exploring creativity in home décor

A booming home décor business is stemmed in the creativity of a Latina entrepreneur who applies her design knowledge as well as her financial savvy to improve people’s environments.

Liliana Marzan-Perez, home decor

Liliana Marzan-Perez, founder and designer EventCraftsStudio.com

In this day and age it is easy to get caught up in our hectic lives and sideline our passions and dreams. We tell ourselves there is never enough time while we wait for the “perfect moment” to start something.

This was the case for Liliana Perez, a first generation Dominican-American, who finally began her decor business while working in the financial industry for 11 years. Liliana is the owner of Event Craft Studio, a seasonal wreath and home decor company.

When asked what finally pushed her to pursue her business, she said it was the need for a “creative outlet.” Liliana has a background in design, having earned degrees in Interior Design and Home Products from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology.

Previously in 2013, she began her journey as a side business Event Crafts Studio home decorowner by becoming a licensed wedding planner. However, Perez realized, “as much as I loved planning weddings, I did not want to work in that industry.” She terminated her wedding planning company in 2015.

Meanwhile, she indulged her creative cravings in her everyday life by decorating the spaces around her. This ultimately led to the launch of her present company, Event Craft Studio, after friends and family noticed her seasonal decorating skills.

“I decorated the team’s cubes in the office and I changed the theme [of] my Christmas décor on a yearly basis” Liliana described. The positive response to her decorations were overwhelming and her friends and family pushed her to start her own business.

She now designs seasonal wreaths for all occasions for people’s home decor during the holidays.

You might be interested: Two Latina entrepreneurs simplify sophisticated home décor for Millennials

Liliana commented, “It is such a great feeling to see someone’s home decorated with something I created.”  

In just a few short years her company has grown, along with her prospective client list. Liliana says her greatest challenge as a business owner is “Time! ….I have to meet my demands at work, as a mother, a wife and a business owner,” she explained.

home decor

Spring wreath creation Event Craft Studio

“Unfortunately, my business has taken the back seat too many times so I decided to do something for it every day.”

Liliana says her family has been her biggest strength and support to combat the pressures of time and juggling many tasks at once. From pushing her to pursue her dreams to helping out with her children, she feels “fortunate to have so much support.”

Although time will always be an intimidating force, Liliana’s advice for other Latinas who are aspiring to start their own businesses is to “Just go for it.”

“There will never be the ‘perfect moment’ and it is important to make time for one’s passions and dreams,” she shared. “It also helps to have a mentor. People love to help and there is more than enough business to go around for everyone.”

lower your stress Technology addiction and the smartphone

The insanity of technology addiction and why more is less

Are you trapped in the technology addiction? Here are some facts about our so called “productivity” and why we need to disconnect sometimes to do a better job.


Technology addiction and the smartphone

Having my own business has been the perfect game for my “workaholic-ism”: long hours, little vacation time or restful weekends, or other life activities. Little by little, now that I look back, everything that left me some free time –my children leaving for college, or finding time to do the things I love like dancing and or/traveling– was replaced with good ol’ work, always there to fill a blank in my life.

Launching a digital initiative, however, has been by far the most addictive activity of all and I’m not alone. According to an article from Knowledge@Wharton, our lives have become so intertwined with technology that it is hard to distinguish when we are working and when we are living –not for nothing, the Blackberry is also known as the “crackberry.” Computers are being called “the new cigarette,” an addiction that is killing us physically and mentally.

In this article, Carolyn Marvin, a researcher professor on the social impact of communication technologies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, says: “Technology is just a very efficient way of implementing a view we already have of ourselves. That’s the notion that who we are is our ability to produce in the marketplace and constantly show that we are producing.”

Moreover, the view we have of ourselves is not only related to productivity but deeply intertwined with the ideology of a society that has made the so-called American work ethics the center of its national ethos, the “American Dream.” No wonder why millions of immigrants find it fascinating to land in the “purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain!”

technology addiction

Source: graphs.net

In the ideals that freedom is the opportunity for prosperity, success and upward mobility achieved through hard work, we believe that we can do and become anything and everything we want as long as we apply ourselves to it. However, less and less Americans find these principles to be truth these days. In fact, our American Dream has become the daily nightmare of technology addiction, forcing us to be constantly “connected” to our jobs, businesses, social media channels, and networks in the fear that something catastrophic might happen if we fall short of digital presence.

Something catastrophic is happening with technology addiction

And something catastrophic is happening: not only is our workforce losing productivity but also we are losing the opportunity to live in the real world, with real people, doing real things and regaining control of our lives.

A couple of years ago, my daughter –who lives in Argentina– came to visit. Even with Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook, and all the digital ways in which we connect, it is hard for me to not have a present relationship experience with her. I tried to raise my children in a close family environment, and the family for many years were just the three of us, so when she decided to go back to her country of birth, it was a big punch.

One day, we had planned a special sushi lunch just the two of us to catch up. I was waiting for the confirmation of an article I had pitched to a publication at that time, and had my phone on. In truth, I was a little anxious about getting it for that was a well-paid gig. Of course the confirmation came in the middle of our long-awaited time together, and it distracted me from the conversation.

My daughter was truly upset, and she was right –although I did not acknowledge it at the time. “Can you turn off your cell phone for one hour?” she asked. I felt she was not fair and maybe she didn’t have to. All she was asking was my undivided attention after one year of not seeing each other. Do you think it was much to ask?

So there I was, not having a real boss –I have been my own boss for many years now– being enslaved by the need to be constantly present in a world that only exists in the imagination of all we agree to participate in, a world where real emotions and real people are not always present.

Don’t let technology tell you who you are

I have been on Facebook and other social media channels long enough now to experience the damage that the wrong use of these tools can cause in our lives. I’m not a technology basher, on the opposite, I love using and learning it, and when used to our advantage, it can provide a very fulfilling experience.

What I’m not buying anymore –neither should you– is the invariable bombardment of success stories, the “be all you can be” barrage, and the “work your passion and everything else will follow” stories that berate us on a regular basis. Yes, I’ve used the right verb because… what happens then if you don’t achieve? What if you don’t find your passion? What if “everything else” does not follow? Then you feel like the big LOSER, the one that “doesn’t make it happen” because you don’t apply yourself, you don’t work hard enough or simply “doesn’t have it.”

And here we go again, in this merry go round of lies and pressures, letting the good moments in life pass us by, seeing our children leave home before we were really there for them, and allowing this obsessive need to feel important and powerful in a world that only exists in our willingness to take part in it, and will still exist even when we disconnect from it for a two-week vacation.

finding love during trip long-distance relationships

Tips to find love next time you are traveling for work

Ever feel like you won’t find love because you are constantly on the go? Well, let’s talk about it!

You are on a red-eye to Chicago on business, a flight to South America to meet with a bunch of clients, or just need a vacation so you fly off to the Bahamas for the week. On the back of your mind you wonder, will I meet the one on this trip?

find love while traveling long-distance relationships

Ever feel like you won’t find love because you are constantly on the go? Well, let’s talk about it!

You are on a red-eye to Chicago on business, a flight to South America to meet with a bunch of clients, or just need a vacation so you fly off to the Bahamas for the week. On the back of your mind you wonder, will I meet the one on this trip?

You definitely can.

Make this trip about yourself and what you’d like to feel during and after the trip. Let go of any previous bad experiences on trips and really focus on what YOU”D like to feel this time around. Write all of it down.

What are you looking for to find love?

Whether you decided it is fun, connection, love, romance, or peace you are looking for on this trip, let’s find ways to infuse that in every aspect from the moment you are packing, boarding, flying, landing and on your trip.

If it is fun and love you’d like to experience in this trip, then put a fun song on while you pack. When you start to feel stressed, dance around, karaoke and commit to yourself that this experience will be fun.

If you start stressing about long-distance relationships remember to LOVE yourself through it and be nice to yourself.

When you get to the airport, make eye contact and chat with as many men AND women as you can. BE LOVING and FUN.

If something doesn’t go as planned… FIND the gift in it.

find love during trip long-distance relationships

Maybe a late plane also means you’ll run into someone you were supposed to!

On the plane sitting next to people who are sleeping? Write yourself a love letter, the type of love letter you’d love to receive. Be open to conversations –even if waiting for the toilette– and ask more questions and truly listen vs. talking. This is to really feel a connection with someone.

While in Rome…

When you are in the destination city, make plans to integrate those things you initially wrote in your journal or on the paper. Even if it’s five minutes of fun or a whole night out.   Instead of being on your phone, ask people you pass what’s their favorite part of the city or where they are originally from. You can also check out Meetup.com in that area to find activities that will peak your interests. Try something NEW.

You might be interested: 9 Tips to make long-distance relationships last

I don’t even live here!

When the thought comes into your head, why am I trying to find love if I don’t even live here? Listen to this, you are never really “finding love.” Imagine yourself as a powerful love magnet, love can’t help gravitate towards you, all you need to do is fully open the door so it can see your soul.

And I know that’s the scary part sometimes but that’s for another article. For now, I want you to trust me and believe in the possibility that the right love is in your path. What if he lives in this town now? What if he was planning to move back to your city this summer? What if the woman you talk to introduces you to her brother, friend or great single cousin that same night?

We, independent women, love to control, not from a bad place but because several times in our lives we had to pick up the pieces. When it comes to love -and especially long-distance relationships- we need to let down and TRUST that the possibilities are endless and we don’t have to know how it’s going to turn out.

You are on fire!

love in long-distance relationships

Finally, so now your energy has been so on fire since you followed steps 1-4 you run into a great potential love. Now, you talk to him. You make sure you meet eyes, find your own unique way to let him know you are interested and allow him to pursue.

Women say, “I don’t want to be the pursuer” and I get it. But you have to understand that in old school ways the woman was always the pursuer. She saw someone she liked and she’d drop her handkerchief in front of him to let him know he had permission to approach her.

So go ahead and drop “your” handkerchief my friend in your own unique way!

Give long-distance relationships a chance

Also remember at the beginning I believe in giving him a chance; don’t make it so hard to approach you. When you are getting to know each other is when he gets to know your standards. Too many women put up many boundaries during courtship but then when the relationship is going they don’t have any boundaries.

My advice for you is to make it easy for him to approach you and contact you back home. If you like him, don’t play games and get to know him.

 

Interracial marriage and Latino/a racial identity changing USA demographics

A Pew Research Center report states that the largest amount of interracial marriage between opposite sex couples is that between what it terms “Whites and Hispanics.” Pew discovered that since 1967 intermarriage amongst newlyweds has increased fivefold from 3% to 17%.
By Guest Contributor Tanya K. Hernandez

Credit: Jennifer van Son Getty Images

The Pew Research Center released a report announcing the dramatic increase of intermarriage in the United States. Looking at data since the United States Supreme Court struck down interracial marriage bans with its 1967 Loving v. Virginia decision, Pew discovered that since 1967 intermarriage amongst newlyweds has increased fivefold from 3% to 17%. Examined in isolation the data point that one in six U.S. newlyweds are now married to someone of a different race, appears quite astounding. However the role of Latino/a racial identity is a missing piece of the picture that serves to question the real rate of intermarriage.
The largest driving factor in the apparent increase in U.S. intermarriage rates is the pattern of intermarriage between Latinos/as and White Anglos. Pew reports that the largest amount of intermarriage between opposite sex couples is that between what it terms “Whites and Hispanics.” The White/Hispanic combination represents 42% of intermarriage, while in comparison the White/Asian combination represents only 15%, the White/Black combination 11% , the Hispanic/Black combination 5%, and the Hispanic/Asian combination 3%. Notably, the Pew report neglects to discuss the role of “Hispanic” racial appearance and identity.
For a number of Latinos/as, our African and indigenous ancestry is more prominent than it is for Latinos/as whose European ancestry is more pronounced. In fact, Latin America and the Caribbean have long histories of subordinating those of African and indigenous ancestry (see “Racial Subordination in Latin America” by Tanya Katerí Hernández). Moreover, research shows that darker-skinned Latinos/as are perceived with less favor than their lighter-skinned group members in the United States.
So data about White Anglos marrying non-racially identified “Hispanics” tells us very little about the real rate of intermarriage in the U.S. Are these marriages with Latinos/as who identify or appear as Afro-Latino/a or of indigenous ancestry? Or are they primarily with Latinos/as who identify or appear as White? White Anglos marrying White identified Latinos/as is not quite as significant a racial crossing as the Pew Report suggests. But because the report lumps together Latinos/as of all racial identities and appearances, we have no way of gauging what real racial progress has been made in this country.
interracial marriage

Prof Tanya K Hernandez

Treating Latino/a ethnicity as if it did not also encompass distinct racial identities, as the Pew Report has done thus comes with the risk of extrapolating inaccurate conclusions about the status of race relations today. Disturbingly, the U.S. Census Bureau’s recent proposal to discontinue collecting census data about Latino/a racial identity in lieu of treating the Hispanic category as a race in of itself, will only magnify the challenge of trying to monitor racial disparities. Just as assessments about “race-less” Latinos/as can skew our picture of the racial significance of intermarriage, data about “Hispanic” access to opportunity will veil the extent to which darker-hued Latinos/as are treated differently than European-looking Latinos/as. In short, being more attentive to the specifics of how Latinos/as are racialized in the United States is important not only to gathering an accurate understanding of racism against Latinos/as, but also our nation’s overall racial progress.

Tanya Katerí Hernández is a Professor of Law at Fordham University School of Law and the author of the forthcoming book from NYU Press, “Multiracials and Civil Rights: Are Mixed-Race Stories of Discrimination a New Kind of Multiracial Racism?” She can be reached at professortkh@gmail.com.
This article was first published on The NiLP Report on Latino Policy & Politics, an online information service provided by the National Institute for Latino Policy. For further information, visit www.latinopolicy. org. Send comments to editor@latinopolicy.org.
Swift Decor home decor

Two Latina entrepreneurs simplify sophisticated home décor for Millennials

When I received an email saying, “We are a team of sisters from Colombia who started an online home décor business. We are both moms and decided to take a leap of faith into this business because we want to have the time to be present in our kids’ lives. We both quit our jobs and are fully dedicated and committed to making our business a success,” I knew there was a captivating story behind it.

swift-decor-7

As an exchange student from Colombia who came to the United States for her degree in Finance, Caroline Schwartz’s dream in life was to pursue a career at Goldman Sachs.

Martha Mosquera, her oldest sister, was always “the creative” in the family. After being a US exchange student herself, she returned to Bogota, Colombia, to obtain a degree as an Industrial Designer and teach in college.

It is said, however, that entrepreneurship is shown since childhood when our games are free of outside influence and we allow ourselves to be who we really aspire to be or enjoy the most.

“Since we were little, we used to play ‘grownups’ with two cousins. I was always a designer with play dough, my sister always a banker,” Martha told LatinasinBusiness.us.

The family in Colombia

Martha and Caroline talked fondly about their family. “Our parents and grandparents were a very traditional family but they were always open to let us attend college and choose our own careers,” Caroline said.

Their first exposure to an entrepreneurial spirit came from their mother, who had a degree in Marine Biology but always enjoyed the freedom of choosing her own projects. She worked as a consultant for the government.

Their father, on the other hand, always had a job for several private companies or government agencies. “We saw firsthand the contrast between having a job and being an entrepreneur,” the sisters said.

Swift Decor home decorCaroline

When Caroline stayed in the United States after starting her bachelor in finances studies at Indiana State University Midwest, she was offered a position  as an administrative management position in an architectural office.

“My ultimate financial dream was to be the absolute best out of college and find a career at a powerhouse in Wall Street,” she said. Her eyes were on Goldman Sachs. “They were gods to me,” Caroline said.

She carefully planned her life to prove she was a high-flier, making her life decisions around this idea of achievement. She soon enrolled in an MBA program.

“While in school, I started applying to Goldman Sachs but time after time the doors were closed,” she said. A very rootless culture that finally discouraged Caroline, with her husband they bought a house in Florida.

“The day after we signed the papers, I received a call from Goldman Sachs. They were offering me me a position!” Caroline shared.

Martha home decor Swift decor

“I wanted to be an Art major but I knew it was hard to make a living from it,” Martha said. As a child, she used to love sitting with her grandma to see her doing crochet and crafts; or going to the fabric store to find materials for her dresses.

After she finished her degree in Industrial Design, she obtained a teaching position. “I’ve always been good at talking to people, and needed to be ‘out there’ doing things and finding new opportunities to connect,” Martha shared. Little she knew all these skills would prove very handy later on.

After visiting her sister in the United States every year, Martha finally decided to stay in Florida; her parents had already moved there so the family could be reunited.

Martha and Caroline the power of two in home décor

So now both sisters relocated to Florida, they were reunited to find the power of their relationship and revive their childhood dreams.

“Looking at our own lives and our friends’, we realized that people might want to redecorate their homes every so often without a major expense or hiring an expensive interior decorator,” they said.

On the other hand, they realized people buy expensive furniture but then they do not know how to work around it. “We came up with this idea of Swift Décor, building a basic set of coordinated elements that complement certain styles or type of furniture,” Caroline said.

The sets include artwork, curtains and pillows that coordinate with certain carefully selected objects. Upgrades with supplementary elements can be added to the basic set to complete the desired look. Sets are designed as “limited editions” and renewed every few months.

You might be interested: Mexican roots inspired Adriana Pavon, fashion designer and indigenous rights advocate

Targeting Millennials their best home décor customers

Swift Decor home decorMartha and Caroline realized that Millennials are the largest group right now purchasing home décor improvement elements. As a demographics of renters, they move frequently and like to redecorate their environments.

“Especially Millennial men are best customers because they want to get it done quickly and do not mind the splurge”, Martha said. The set comes with an instruction booklet that explains the options customers have to put all elements together.

“We are now looking to build collaborations with bloggers to promote and review our products and target mobile shoppers,” Caroline said.

A partnership in life and work

Swift Decor home decor

Caroline Schwartz and Martha Mosquera, Founders of Swift Decor

“We have a great working partnership with Caroline because we cover all areas of business. While one keeps an eye on the finances, the other is ‘people-oriented’ and creative. My Spanish also helps me speak directly with people in the trade, as we made a commitment to employ as many Latinos as possible,” Martha said.

The sisters have traveled the full circle; now they have started an entrepreneurial venture in which their skills and dreams have come together.

“Swift Décor was born from our joint vision to simplify home décor; when people shop for home décor, the options are overwhelming. There are multiple styles, colors and trends and very little help or guidance unless you can afford your own interior designer. There is not much in the middle to choose from and that is when we realized there was an opportunity to create a concept in which our customers could afford and enjoy a designer-in-a-box,” Caroline concluded.

What do you think of this business idea? Please leave a comment or question for Caroline or Martha:

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Long-distance relationships 1

9 Tips to make long-distance relationships last

I don’t believe the old sayings that “Amor de lejos es para los pendejos” or “Amor de lejos felices los cuatro” because I know two lovely friends that fell for someone during a trip and after happy long-distance relationships they got married.

Long-distance relationships 1

I was honored to attend the wedding of one of them. The couple actually met on a plane. She was a nurse and he was in the military, both with very demanding careers. But many of these tips I want to share with you were aspects they prioritized.   So now if you meet a great guy during one of your business trips, these are nine tips on how to make long-distance relationships work.

  1. State what your hopes are from the beginning and what your commitment is. Even if it’s one phone call every 3 days at 7pm. Relationships need some sort of routine. Some couples work on anti-routine but it’s still their routine. So you guys develop a routine you can can’t on.
  2. Be open to feeling off sometimes and be ready to communicate.
  3. Don’t think you have to read each other minds; be honest on how you feel.
  4. Be creative. Send them gifts, hand-written letters and videos of you.
  5. The scariest thing usually in long-distance relationships is “will he/she forget about me?” and “what is she/he doing now?” Neither of those thoughts are about LOVING or being there for each other and that’s what you need to focus on. Remember you can’t control them but you can control what you do so send quick videos, Facetime and make sure you stay present and happy in your own life.Long-distance relationships 2
  6. Try to make trips to see each other, not only to your hometowns but to a place neither of you have been to. That way it will create intimacy and trust between each other. You will have something of your own.
  7. If you feel them backing off, back off too, they might need some space to integrate this new change for them it doesn’t necessarily mean they met someone else, so let them know. “I noticed if you haven’t been calling on your usual days, I want to be there for you so I’m just checking in to see how you are?” vs “What the heck is going on, you don’t call anymore, has something changed with you?” because if they do need space, as a good friend let’s give it to them.
  8. By the same token if they are very in your space and constantly calling try not to push back. Just let them know, “I’ve noticed you called 6 times today and I feel like I need my space so can you call me once and leave a message and as soon as I can I’ll call you?” He/she may not even know what he’s doing and she/he’s just excited. No need to get scared and this is a great time for you to learn about yourself and having boundaries. And not running away when things are uncomfortable.Long-distance relationships 3
  9. Finally I’d suggest you both take Gary Chapman’s 5 Languages of Love http://www.5lovelanguages.com/ This will help both of you know how you like to be loved as individuals. This is a great benefit so the things you do to be loving or caring don’t fall on deaf ears. Especially with long distance relationships, it’s about quality not quantity.

And if you are still looking for some inspiration watch one of my favorites, Going The Distance with Drew Barrymore about long distance relationships. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1322312/

Valentine's Day at the office

How to avoid these common Valentine’s Day workplace dilemmas

 

Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest days, full of hope, best intentions and sometimes awkward moments. It wasn’t always this way. Remember the good old days in elementary school where the teacher assigned everyone to bring a Valentine’s Day card for every classmate? That way no one would feel left out. Then all of a sudden high school came and you started get notes and flowers from strangers but your crush was nowhere to be found. Or maybe you weren’t sure whether you should gift something so you either brought nothing or a big white bear with a red bow that someone had to carry around all day!

 Valentine's Day at the office

Now that we are all grownups, not much has changed, Valentine’s Day in the workplace can be just as awkward but that’s what I’m here to help you with. These are the top 5 scenarios you could find yourself in and I’ve given you a plan to come out feeling like a Valentine’s Day s-hero!

 

Scenario 1

Your partner is traveling for work and you won’t see he/she for Valentine’s Day

If your partner is away from home on a business trip, you still have several options to be present for Valentine’s Day. First, make sure your partner is into receiving gifts at work. If they are usually reserved or shy and you think there’s a possibility they wouldn’t enjoy it, then simply give them their gift at home upon their return.   Whatever you do, don’t take it personally. Couples crossing boundaries at work is one of biggest starts to a fight…..and there is NO fighting on V-Day-that’s Jen’ law! Enforce it!

So what to get them? Stay away from generic heart shaped chocolate or flowers. Go for something more unique and filled with thought –for example do you have an inside joke about mafia movies, cats or Jamaica? Give them something with a flair of that and their favorite chocolate. Want to keep it low key but intimate? Write a love note or send a picture in an envelope that you seal with a kiss and sneak it into their coat, briefcase or purse! Remember to spritz your perfume on it xoxo

Scenario 2

You have a crush or romance at work

Computer keyboard key - Be my Valentine

Valentine’s Day gives an “unspoken” pass for people to bring a gift to someone they may be romantically interested without putting themselves on the line. So don’t be surprised if your crush takes this opportunity to give you something. But let’s just say they are CLUELESS or you are keeping it under wraps, then you can take initiative and bring a little something.

Here’s the caveat, your best bet is to bring something for EVERYONE, like Valentine’s Day donuts, small candy bags or boxes. This way you don’t really single anyone out like in the awkward high school days. BUT you also get to hand deliver them to each person. See where I’m going with this?

Now you get to strike up a conversation with him or her. “The awesome weather today inspired me to be in he Valentine’s Day mood, here’s some candy I brought” which can lead to, “Any crazy Valentine’s Day plans?” –if none you can refer to Scenario 5.

If he has plans with Valentine’s Day already, iIt’s all good, better to know now, than later. If he doesn’t you could say, “Then you have to decide if 2016 is your year to find that amazing partner.” If the answer is YES this is my year, then you’ll say something like, “Me too, want to get some coffee or a bite to eat?” and if they decline better for you. You didn’t spend the night pining on that you “shoulda said” something.

Scenario 3

You receive a gift or flowers from someone you ARE NOT interested in or you don’t eat chocolate

Valentine's Day Candy and Roses

It takes cojones to go to someone you like and give them something special on V-Day. This person has been thinking about it for a day or two at least. Unless they ask you out on a date, this isn’t the time to turn them down. Don’t give things more meaning than is actually there. It’s just chocolate and flowers. Receive. Allow goodness in your life. If this person is being offensive in any way then definitely don’t accept and let someone know. Or if you have allergies just let them know too. If you don’t eat chocolate you could say, “Thanks, would you like to share it?” or just graciously accept and share it later.

Scenario 4

You just AREN’T looking forward to Valentine’s Day at work

You aren’t alone. Glassdoor.com, a community where people share opinions about their workplaces, surveyed 1,000 employees and job seekers about Valentine’s Day. The survey results stated 58% of workers don’t look forward to the holiday. Maybe it’s time to change your view. Maybe get proactive this year and try something new for V-Day. A great team-building activity is put a LOVE & APPRECIATION BOARD, where everyone has access and people write on names of people and what they appreciate about them, they could do it anonymously. This could be up all week before Valentines. This not only lightens the atmosphere up but it builds a bond and camaraderie. Next thing you could try is a Secret Valentine, much like a Secret Santa. This way no one gets left out and it’s out of the box!

Scenario 5

You don’t have Valentine’s Day plans and not sure if you want some

MAKE PLANS anyway. Not sure where to go? Check out www.thedatingmix.com, they are NYC’s & the Tri-State areas go-to-site for all things dating, singles events and meeting someone special! In the event you change your mind or something better comes along you can always cancel. Even if you are waiting for a special someone to ask you out, makes plans on your own, at least you have taken care of yourself FIRST. Make sure you actively decide what to do. Most people end off feeling like crap because they thought something magical was going to happen AND it doesn’t. Don’t you think it’s time to create some magic for yourself! There will also be a variety of interest groups that night on www.meetup.com getting together, so no excuses!

 

As always I am here for you and I’d love to hear what you have to say. Have you ever been in 1 of these scenarios? What did you do? Send your burning dating, love & relationship questions to jen@avconnexions.com. I’ll be sure to answer you within 24 hours.

Our latest QUIZ, Find Out Your Dating Style has been said to be, “Exactly described how I’m dating and told me what I could do instead and what I was doing right.” Find out for yourself at www.getrealgetlove.com