Shop Therapy

Am pretty psyched about developing my new wardrobe.  Am seeking to present a more professional (and at times “fun”) side of myself.

 

I tend to come off as unapproachable if am not smiling.  This has been a problem since I can remember.

 

The curse of the introvert!

Shop therapy helps me at least (and probably a few of the ladies out there) deal with current stress.  Yeah, I know it’s not the panacea cure-all but it does help.  KNOWING that I am trying to better myself professionally and slowly changing my habitual ways will get me off my duff and hopefully into a better mindset.

 

According to the following article: Retail Therapy, 1 in 3 stressed Americans shop when stressed. Guess am included in that number. (Uh-oh):

 

 

Forget meditation and yoga: For many stressed-out Americans, the best remedy for a stressful day at work or the sting of a painful breakup is the smell of brand-new clothing, the feel of a silk dress and the sound of a credit card being swiped. If you turn to retail therapy in times of anxiety, you’re not alone — according to a recent survey, nearly one in three recently stressed Americans (which accounts for 91 percent of the general population) shops to deal with stress.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the survey — an online poll of over 1,000 U.S. adults commissioned by the Huffington Post — found that women were twice as likely as men to use retail therapy as a way to cope with stress (40 percent vs. 19 percent). And in turn, men were more than twice as likely as women (34 percent vs. 16 percent) to say that they had never shopped out of stress and would never consider doing so in the future.

But gender aside, there is one trait many “stress-shoppers” have in common: They tend to seek distracting, temporary fixes to alleviate their stress. HuffPost’s survey found that those who shop to deal with anxiety (versus those who do not) were also…

  • 46 percent more likely to exercise to cope with stress
  • 86 percent more likely to eat to cope with stress
  • 76 percent more likely to worry about their weight

In other words, the stress-shoppers are also “stress-eaters” and “stress-exercisers.” Those who used retail therapy tend toward the “flight” side of fight vs. flight, distancing themselves from the stress with an unrelated activity rather than facing it head-on. In contrast, the respondents who said they never shop to deal with stress were more likely to cope by finding the root of their anxiety and confronting it.

And yet stress-shopping is still an appealing coping mechanism — and it helps that it’s super convenient. Many of us shop online using our iPads, laptops and even cell phones. “It was so easy to lose track of how much I was spending,” Darleen Meier, a self-described “Gilt addict,” told HuffPost Women in 2011. “At the high point, I was getting boxes delivered to my doorstep every single day of the week. It was time to stage an intervention.”

 

(read more here)


One of my favorite online shopping outlets is Zulily.

Of course, the best thing is to shop when NOT stressed, and when your pocketbook can handle it.  If you are trying to create a new look, or update your wardrobe, do it a piece at a time and always ensure your most important bills that canNOT wait (mortgage, car note, insurance, utilities etc) are taken care of 1st.                           😉

 

Shopping Bags Show Retail Store and Buying

Self-awareness

My unit is conducting resilience training.  Given the current military climate (especially what sadly happened at Fort Hood), now more than ever soldiers need to become cognizant of themselves and their surroundings.

The following website is useful to those individuals wanting to learn more about Master Resilience Training and what the Army is currently implementing through all components:

 

Master Resilience Training

 

T
      he U.S. Army Master Resilience Trainer (MRT)
course is a 10-day program of study that teaches
resilience skills to noncommissioned officers
(NCOs). Since the NCOs will teach their soldiers these
skills, this course also teaches the fundamentals of how to
teach these skills to others. The course serves as one of the
foundational pillars of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness
program. The course includes three components: prepara-
tion, sustainment, and enhancement. The preparation com-
ponent was developed at the University of Pennsylvania’s
Positive Psychology Center and is presented in the first
eight days of the course. This component teaches resilience
fundamentals and is based on the Penn Resilience Program
(PRP) curriculum as well as on other empirically validated
interventions from positive psychology (Seligman, Ernst,
Gillham, Reivich, & Linkins, 2009; Seligman, Rashid, &
Parks, 2006; Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005). The
sustainment component was developed by researchers at
the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and focuses on
deployment cycle training. The enhancement component
was developed by sports psychologists at the United States
Military Academy at West Point and teaches personal and
professional skills that maximize individual performance.
The MRT course is intended to serve primarily as a foun-
dation for training resilience skills (preparation) but also to
introduce other resilience concepts that soldiers will en-
counter at other points in their deployment and life cycles
throughout their careers (sustainment and enhancement).
Therefore, this article focuses on concepts included in the
preparation portion of the MRT course, as this information
represents the majority of the material covered in the
course.

Venting is a new hobby

iStock-000001624654XSmallThere is so much negativity in the world and our local/national news takes the cake when it comes to spewing forth toxic information.  With that being said, all of us who have a 9 to 5er are “used” to dealing with negativity whether that be co-workers or our bosses.

It is unconscionable dealing with certain individuals who think it’s there God-given right spreading either rumors or putting down fellow team mates.  What gives these people the right to either ridicule or spread lies about the work ethnic of others?

If you are not part of their “crowd” then God forbid if you step out of line…though the same favorites who do the exact same thing (and worse) always smell like a rose.

If you are unsure whether or not your boss has issues check this info out and leave me a comment about your own horror stories:

7 Signs of a Dysfunctional Boss

The game has rules, but the rules keep changing. It’s a relatively common but insidious game I call “chaos and control.” If they sense you becoming disloyal, too comfortable, or too powerful, they’ll want to knock you off the pedestal they’ve put you on. By bringing you down, it boosts their position relative to yours. One day you’re the golden boy, a trusted advisor who can do no wrong. The next day you’re a bumbling idiot.

Major focus on minutiae. One Fortune 500 CEO was obsessed with my clothes and appearance. He wasn’t alone in that peculiarity; it’s a sign of a controlling person. And whatever details get their maniacal attention, whatever the object of their obsessive compulsion, it’s really just a way to distract their brains from facing their own sadness, fear or depression. That’s why it’s often triggered by stress and bad news.

A “man of the people.” I just saw “The Last King of Scotland” about Uganda’s former President Idi Amin last week and nearly fell off my chair at how common that particular mantra is among dysfunctional leaders. In reality, they thrive on attention and adoration from the masses to feed their deep-seated insecurity but are rarely capable of any true emotional connection with others.

Hypersensitive and vindictive when rejected. Everything’s about them — you’re just a tiny little asteroid revolving around their planet-sized ego. Anything you do that they perceive as rejection, even if you’re just not letting them be the center of attention, is a personal affront. There will be repercussions. Some are direct, bullying or verbally abusive; others are more subtle, underhanded or passive-aggressive.

Failure is not an option. They’re always pointing fingers, making excuses, and blaming others because they can never really be wrong in their own eyes. They will say they’re not perfect, that they make mistakes, but you’ll never get them to admit to one in real time. To do so would potentially fracture that fragile facade of being special and Godlike. Deep inside, they’re really frightened children, which is why the pretense is so critical to maintain.

Loves distraction, hates surprises. They revel in the tiniest distraction. They can be entertained or even entertain themselves with surprisingly silly diversions. Anything to take them away from the depressing reality of boring, mundane, day-to-day life that mere mortals must endure. But surprise them with serious news, especially bad news in front of others, and you’re in big, big trouble.

Sees conspiracy everywhere. Since the world revolves around them, they see conspiracy in coincidence and deep meaning in incidental remarks. That’s why they so often overreact or even panic over what appears to be nothing. Little things become life-threatening. Why? Even though it’s stressful for them, it also affirms their self-importance and makes them feel big. Grandiosity is often a response to depression.

Where do I come from?

My sister decided to delve into our past and discover our ancestral ties.  She ordered a DNA kit from Ancestry.com and these were our results:

Ethnicity

Regions: Europe West, Ireland, Iberian Peninsula, Native American
 
Trace Regions: Italy/Greece, European Jewish, Scandinavia, Great Britain, Africa North, Africa Southeastern Bantu, Benin/Togo, Polynesia, Nigeria, Finland/Northwest Russia.
These were broken down into various percentages, largest being from the British Isles and the Iberian Peninsula and 6% Native American (from South America) I was pleasantly surprised. I am also having my DNA analyzed through National Geographic.   You may access both types of tests below to satisfy your own curiosity regarding your origins:
    

Being Puerto Rican and la familia

I had previously posted on this very subject in the past regarding the Puerto Rican or rather the Hispanic view of the family.  We Hispanics tend to be a very tight knit bunch.  Our family, our blood means everything to us.  I cannot describe how wonderful it feels to be the recipient of so much devotion.

Interesting Facts

Puerto Ricans consider themselves American but are fiercely proud of their island and their culture. They don’t usually call themselves Americans or “Americanos”, but “Puertorriqueños” or “Boricuas”. To most Puerto Ricans, “my country” means “Puerto Rico”, not the United States.

Criollo (creole) is a word used today by Puerto Ricans to describe things native to the island, such as: music, cuisine, language, arts, people, religion, and other aspects of the island culture.

It is known that Puerto Rican descendants call themselves Puerto Ricans. “I am Puerto Rican, but I wasn’t born there.”

The term “Nuyorican” is used to identify New Yorkers born in Puerto Rico or of Puerto Rican descent who live in or near New York City. The word Nuyorican derives from a combination of the words “New York” and “Puerto Rican”.

My mother was the best example of a mother’s love.  She loves us unconditionally and always has. Sure, she had that infamous Latina temper but we never once doubted how much this mother loved us.

I sometimes feel I pale in comparison to how I love my daughter but then I think about the sacrifices made in order to ensure my daughter was brought up well, never had to worry about a roof over her head or food in her belly. She saw how dedicated I was to being educated and I instilled these values along with hard work into her.

For those of you men who find Latin women erotic and ache to date/marry one of us I beg you to try and understand the concept of La Familia and to keep this in mind if you wish to be involved:

                 Puerto Rican                                                          American

Family is the foundation of the Puerto Rican social structure. The word ”familismo” is a Puerto Rican word that means close family connections, and it emphasizes the concern for the well being of the family. Friends and peer-aged acquaintances are often seen as the foundation of U.S. social structure.
Communications by telephone, as well as visits among families, are signs of being caring and are strongly encouraged and valued. Communication by telephone is common, but family visits are often reserved for holidays and special occasions.
“Interactions between family members and others are expected to be courteous, honorable and considerate” (Giammanco & Bartolomei, date, page ?). Interactions among family members reflect the independence that is expected and highly valued among individuals in this culture.
Family honor is of primary importance to Puerto Ricans, and they value an extended family, or modified extended family, which is the basic support system for first- and second-generation families in the U.S. (e.g.: cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, godparents (padrino/madrina), and close friends. The family unit is very diverse but, generally, it tends to be small and nuclear.
Individual achievement is not considered as valuable as family loyalty. Individual achievement is highly valued.
It is quite common to find three generations living under the same roof.Married couples tend to live in a house or apartment near their parents. Family members such as the grandparents, parents, married children and other relatives may live in different parts of the country.
Children are brought up as an integral part of the family unit. “Each [family] member has interdependent responsibilities, which validate their position in the family” (Giammanco & Bartolomei, date, p.?). Children are not expected to contribute to the welfare of the whole family.

click here for the source

Interesting Fact
Puerto Ricans are known for their warm hospitality, often considered very friendly and expressive to strangers. Greetings are often cordial and genuine. When people are first introduced, a handshake is usual, however, close friends and family members always greet you hello or goodbye with a kiss on the cheek or a combination hug and kiss. This happens between female friends and between men and women, but not between male friends.

Puerto Ricans are best known by speaking using lively hand and facial gestures, as hand and body language are important forms of communication.

Clipping those coupons

A lot of Americans are tightening their belts. Gas prices are high (when you remember filling up your tank for $12.00)–it’s high…consumer goods are on the rise, as a federal employee my salary is frozen…so as you can see someone like myself can become a little frustrated at the turn of events.

I never have been one to clip coupons. I find it time consuming and frankly boring but a friend of mine introduced me to this website which contains massive amounts of deals I simply could not pass up. I also passed this along to my coworkers because we all are struggling to keep our head above water, and now I have passed on the savings to my readers.

I know that my country/society consumes a lot of natural ressources, along with goods and services.  It shows in our lifestyle and overall health.  We need to really do an overhaul on how we live our lives and one of them is where we spend our money and what we put in our mouths.  Me, I want cleaner living (stress free would be nice) and simply appreciating the salary I make working for Uncle Sam.

I used to keep a blackboard regarding my monthly expenses and that’s how I was able to buy my home…now with the knowlege that for the next year or so I won’t receive a cost of living raise I will have to become creative with my $$$$.

Army Knowledge Online

ako_logo

It is the largest intranet and supports over 2.5 million users (with me being one of them) 🙂

From the Wiki….stats need to be updated a bit.

Army Knowldge Online: (AKO) is a corporate intranet for the United States Army, and the US Army’s single approved enterprise-class web portal [1]. AKO provides secure access to Army web assets, tools and services to Soldiers, Army employees, retirees and family members worldwide. AKO is a driving factor in the ongoing transformation of the US Army into the agile, network based force that is required for today’s conflicts [1]. As of this writing, AKO has over 2.1 million registered users, and supports over 350K unique logins and 8 million emails daily.

Authorized full accounts include the following:

  • Active Army
  • DA Civilian
  • Army Reserves
  • Retired
  • Army Retired
  • Future Soldiers
  • Medical Retired
  • NAF Civilian
  • National Guard  🙂
  • ROTC Cadets (MS III and MS IV)
  • National Guard
  • Retired
  • U.S. Military Academy Cadets

source

Living with parents after the age of 18

I was brought up mostly Latina when it comes to viewing family and our relationships with one another.

When a child graduates in a Puerto Rican household, 9 times out of 10 they are not “forced” out to live on their own either by college or a job.  Sure we want our kids to succeed but we don’t shove them out the door.

Children would typically stay at home until either 1) Marriage or 2) Landing a decent job.

Why in the world would parents force hardship on their flesh and blood?

Trust me, I understand responsiblity.

I understand the American society can eat you up in a heartbeat with our competitive edge (what makes us #1 in the world and a superpower.)

All good, but when your child suffers because they are struggling to make ends meet what do you do?

Turn a blind eye?

Tell them you invested 18 years into their life and now it’s time for you to get on with yours?

In part I can understand this. At 40 I want to be able to be freer to do things but I know parenthood doesn’t have an expiration date of 18 years.

Why would it?

Why even be a parent in the first place if you cannot look at the long term?

Why?

So, I was reading an article on CNN about older children moving back into their parents’ homes because of the current economics:

In a recent poll of people ages 18 and older, the AARP found about a quarter of them were living with their parents or in-laws; and about one in seven were living with a sibling.

About 15 percent of the 1,002 people polled by the organization said they’re at some risk of having to move back into their parents’ home. And about a third of those at risk said they may have to do so because of job loss.

Overall, the number of multigenerational houses has increased from 5 million in 2000 to 6.2 million in 2008, the AARP says. That trend takes into account older people who move into their children’s homes, but also indicates an increase in “boomerang children” who move back in with their parents after leaving their home, according to Elinor Ginzler, the organization’s senior vice president for livable communities.

Without rent to pay, Jeffrey and Mandi Root said they’ve been able to knock out more than half of their credit card debt. Jeffrey works part-time at his university and Mandi works full time at a men’s clothing store.

They’ve pared down their expenses in several ways. The couple sold one of their three cars and they now carpool to work in a used Chevy. Jeffrey Root is restoring their other car, a 1965 Volkswagen Beetle, and plans to put it up for sale when he’s finished. He also sold a motorcycle.

_____________________________________________________

The world doesn’t owe our children any favors.

But we owe it to our children to be there for better or for worse.

Free things to do in Saint Louis

Anything free these days is a godsend with today’s economy.  Feel free to check out this site:

Anheuser-Busch Tour

St. Louis Science Center

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site and Interpretive Center

 

Craft Alliance Gallery

Grant’s Farm

Laumeier Sculpture Park & Museum

Museum of Contemporary Religious Art

Saint Louis Zoo

Soldiers Memorial Military Museum

Washington University Gallery of Art

World Bird Sanctuary

This site has a search data base to search for free things to do in Saint Louis and other parts of the USA also.