Posted by: sjraz | September 29, 2013

Descipher learning styles, communicate better, win respect!


Ever been in a situation where frustrations arise because of a gap in communication?

Do you have that one person that you just cannot seem to send just one e-mail to without it spawning a seemingly endless chain of clarifying e-mails, only to finally pick up the phone, say a total of two sentences and suddenly everything is magically clear?

Well my friends, here’s hoping the following tidbit of insight into the human psyche helps to get your point across the first time.

It’s really pretty simple, all you have to do is ask one question, and you will be one step closer to better communication and happier coworkers, clients and personal relationships.

That one question is….drumroll please……

What is this person’s learning style? (How do they best receive and process information?)

Visual Learners

How to spot one:

(Yes, there are quite literally visual clues to the learning style of each and every person on earth! Learn these cues and you will be well on your way to becoming a much better communicator. Pretty neat huh?)

– Typically well dressed

– Neat and tidy desk/car/house or even purse/laptop bag.

– Generally well organized and carries a notebook to most meetings

How to hear one:

(Yes, there are auditory clues to each learning style.)

– They say things like I see what you mean. I can see how that works. I’ll see you soon.

– They describe places they have been by visual clues such as the color of the building or the style of the decor.

– They give directions referencing landmarks instead of distance or street names.  

How to communicate with them:

–  E-mails are a great communication tool, but keep them short and add colors and graphics where possible.

–  Include graphs and charts in explanations.

– Pay close attention to formatting as errors will distract them.


How to spot one:

–  Less concerned about personal appearance.

–  Tend to talk to themselves when problem solving.

–  Good storytellers

– Typically seen as daydreamers because they do not take notes and look away from the person speaking in order to concentrate on their voice.

How to hear one:

– They say things like: I hear you loud and clear. I’ll talk to you soon. What I hear you saying is…

– Describe situations as if they were conversations.

– They are a lot more receptive to repetitive or background noises.

– They describe movies, shows and places by the music and sounds associated with them.

How to communicate with them:

– Phone calls rather than e-mails.

– Minimize graphics, graphs and charts.

– Add sound bites or music where appropriate.


How to spot one:

–  They tend to carry a lot of things with them.

–  Tendency towards messiness.

–  Very sensitive and/or dramatic.  

–  Love to cook and/or are very interested in the texture of things.

How to hear one:

– They say things like: I feel the same way. I will contact you soon. Lets keep in touch.

– They describe the way things feel in textures and sensations.

– They are very in touch with the way others were affected by situations.

How to communicate with them:

–  Provide physical copies of documentation and use different paper weights were appropriate.

–  Provide physical samples whenever possible.

–  Use descriptive words including textures and feelings.


Posted by: sjraz | September 21, 2013

Y’all Spoken Here – A dictionary for “D*** Yankees”

Y'all Spoken Here Image

I like to consider myself a southern girl even though I will proudly admit that I was actually born in the great State of New York. I grew up on horseback and listened to country music before country was cool. (Yes, they have horses in New York, it’s not all a concrete jungle as some may believe.)

As they say, I was not born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could! Needless to say, I was ecstatic when my Mother announced just after my 12th birthday that we would be moving to Texas, where I was convinced that everyone road horses everywhere and cowboy boots and straw hats were standard issue to anyone old enough to walk.

Upon arrival, I quickly learned that not only were horses not a commonality among urban Texas towns and cities, but I now had to learn to speak Texan! So for those of you who may be new to the south, or those that are from here and just want to laugh at how accurate this may be, here goes…


A person from the north that comes and visits the south and then returns to their home state. If you don’t know what the following terms mean, you might be a Yankee!

Damn Yankee

A person from the north that comes to the south and never leaves. Otherwise known as me!


2nd person plural pronoun. (Commonly misspelled Ya’ll) Contraction for you-all. Referring to two or more people. This is a staple of the south. when you start to hear this, you know you have crossed that old Mason-Dixon line.

“Fixin’ ” 

The state verb of Texas. This means that a person is about to do something or is thinking about doing something. (I thought I would never use this in a sentence…. well, fast forward 10 + years and that darn phrase just falls right out of my mouth all on its own!)

“I have a mind to”

This also means the person is thinking about doing something. You have to have a mind to think, so I would guess that is why they feel the need to let you know that they have one! Warning: This is typically used to express that you are about to be in trouble for something. I have heard more than a few times “Girl, I have half a mind to ground you for that!”

“I reckon”

Yet another word for think. Some of us really like to tell you what our thoughts are, whether or not you asked.


Contrary to popular belief, this is not a reference to a brand. In the south, “Coke” is simply a reference to any carbonated beverage. It is completely normal to order a Coke and have your server ask “What kind?” If you just reply with a blank stare to this question, it’s a dead giveaway that you are a Yankee.


Reference to what Yankees would refer to as a shopping cart. (I still have not adapted to this one, I guess I don’t live far enough east in Texas.)

“Bless your heart”

If this comes out of a southern woman’s mouth, you might better run. This is a sugar-coated warning that you have managed to step on her very last nerve and often an unspoken promise to vent to her friends about the stupid thing you did to make that little pearl come out of her mouth.


This is used to indicate something that they should do, should have done or are “fixin’ to” do. Another one that I have not, and don’t plan to adopt into my vocabulary.


A winter hat. (We don’t pull these out until it gets down right cold out and in the deep south, “down right cold” is anything below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.) Yankees typically refer to these same hats as “beanies” because a toboggan to them is a sled because they actually have snow to use them on.

“Tennis Shoes”

Commonly referred to in the north as “Sneakers” or “Running Shoes”. You know, the shoes you wore in gym class back in grade school y’all!

“That dog will hunt.”

This means they think something is a great idea and/or that a plan just might work. This one took me a while to figure out, so I thought it was a good one to share with the masses. We all know how southerners can be about their “fur babies”. Which by the way I believe “Fur babies” may be a Yankee term, but don’t quote me on it.

“Gag a maggot!”

Reference to something absolutely disgusting. If you have a weak stomach, you may want to turn your head!


Reference to a bar. Sometimes used as a verb; You’ve been out honky-tonkin’ too much! You need to start going back to church! ….Usually followed by bless your/her/his heart.

….And my personal favorite. This one has even inspired a song!

“Well, slap my Grandma!”

Don’t you fret! This does not actually mean that anyone is going to get into a physical confrontation with their next of kin. It simply means that something is exceptional and calls for excitement.

Feel free to share any words or phrases I may have omitted. Also, I am aware that some of these phrases are used elsewhere on the planet, not necessarily just the south and this post is meant to be humorous, so please take all with a grain of salt before you feel the need to correct or defend in comments. 

Y’all have a great day now, ya hear?

This was too cute and helpful not to share!

Click the image or the link below to view the rest of the helpful hints!

After reading this and browsing through the oh so memorable images, I would be willing to bet that you will never have to think twice about whether to use who vs. whom in a sentence again!

Reposted from:

Posted by: sjraz | February 1, 2012

Do what you love, and love what you do!

We have all heard the saying “do what you love and you will never work a day in your life” but does anyone stop and think how true that really is? If everyone really loved their jobs just think of how much less stress, and problems from stress the world would have.

In America most working adults actually spend more time at work then they do not working, so why in the world would anyone want to be in a career that they didn’t absolutely love? I realize that there are those who hold jobs out of necessity because they really need the money or because it is a “placeholder” until they can finish their education or gain experience. (Believe me I have been there, and done that, and Lord knows I have so much respect for all of you!)

Dr. Seuss - I love my job poemThe ones I am talking to are those that are simply content to be unhappy and complacent in their profession because whether they know it or not, fear is holding them back. Those that choose to roll out of bed day after day, week after week, and eventually, year after year, dreading the challenges and frustrations that inevitably will come with the daily grind. Why? Who says that just because you have a certain degree and have any given amount of experience in a certain field that you are now somehow branded, and on a run-away train that is slowly eating away the precious number days you have left to live this life, leaving you nothing to show except maybe a nicer pile of bricks and/or a nicer set of wheels, or for my fellow fashionistas, a closet full of the nicest threads which you will probably someday wonder why you ever wore. Have you ever stopped to wonder where those wheels are driving you? Where would you like them to drive you? What would you do if you could have it all to do again?

For many of us, hindsight is 20-20. We hold degrees in something that interested us when we were 18 and fresh out of high school, but somehow now that we are adults, realizing what that chosen profession is really all about, all the rainbows and fairy tales are gone, and we are left with the cold, hard realty and it doesn’t translate well to who we are now, and it definitely does not fit our unique skill set, or stimulate our creative mind. Well my friend, it’s time to ask yourself one question, what is my next step going to be? The new and exciting or the mundane? Monotonous, frustration or exhilaration? Life with purpose or death with regret? It’s up to you, even if you think you are too busy, don’t have the money, or any number of other excuses you may choose to shout at the screen, or quietly in your head. Just remember, all they are is excuses that are allowing you to waste yet another day unhappy. Take a challenge from a stranger, take a risk, step out on a limb. It just may be the one step you need to start your journey toward happiness and a life without regrets.

Posted by: sjraz | January 10, 2011

Stop talking, start doing mile 3…

Well folks welcome to my first post of 2011 and just one part of my stop talking start doing “life decision.” I am labeling it a life decision because frankly, I am sick and tired of making new years resolutions that don’t ever seem to make it must past the new year. So, regardless of the date on the calendar I have decided that I am going to not only make a “bucket list” but start crossing things off of it starting, well, going on two weeks ago.

Throughout my life I have always been one to do for others and make sure they are well taken care of before I get to whatever may be on my to do list at any given time. Although that is sometimes a great trait to have, and it leaves me with a great group of friends, it also, more often than not, leaves me scrambling to find time for the things I really need or just want to do. So I have made the conscious decision to start setting realistic goals. Only one at a time so as not to overwhelm my already crazy schedule, and start taking steps every day toward that goal until it is reached. Well, as you may have guessed by the title of this post, my first goal requires a lot of steps every day both figuratively and literally. It is to run a half marathon on March 6, 2011. For those of you who may not be familiar a half marathon = 13.1 miles! For a person who just two weeks ago struggled to run 1 mile that is quite a tall order! I am currently at 3 miles and counting. The only problem is most of the time I don’t have a good running trail as I live in the big city of Houston so I train on a treadmill. The question is, Can you train for a half marathon on a treadmill? I guess I will find out! Wish me luck and please feel free to post advice or any interesting “life decisions” you have made and stuck to for inspiration.

Posted by: sjraz | October 3, 2010

Best cheap eats in Houston, no coupons needed!

In the Houston Texas area and want to have a great meal on a budget? Here are some of the best places I have found to do so!

The Place:

Brio – City Centre
12808 Queensbury Lane
Suite 100
Houston, TX 77024

The Deal:
When you sit in the bar and buy one regular priced bar drink you get $2.95 appetizers! Monday – Friday, 3pm – 7pm & 9pm – Close

Why it’s so great:
These “appetizers” are gourmet quality and can certainly be turned into a feast! Take several friends (as I did) and have each person order their favorite selection and vuala, you have a meal fit for kings and queens! All for about $10 per person! You can’t get a decent fast food meal for that! (Might I recommend the Brio Burger and the Sliced Steak Bruschetta, to DIE for!!) Not to mention that the restaurant itself is gorgeous and has great ambiance!

The Place:

RA Sushi – City Centre
12860 Queensbury Ln
Houston, TX 77024-4093

The Deal:
1/2 off sushi & appetizers and drink specials ranging from $2 sake to $6 22 oz. Kirin with sake and all wells, beers and even martinis in-between! Monday – Saturday, 3pm – 7pm.

Why it’s so great:
RA is on the second floor and overlooks the entire city centre which makes for a great view away from the crowds in the courtyard when there are live concerts! The restaurant is modern and hip and is great for the young and the young at heart! Don’t care for sushi? There is something on the menu for everyone! May I recommend the Chicken Yakitori and the Spicy Sesame Chicken Wings and for those who are slightly more brave, definitely try the Viva Los Vagas Roll!

The Place:

Matsu Sushi
1531 Eldridge Pkwy.
Houston, TX 77077

The Deal:
30% off your entire bill during happy hour, drinks included! Monday – Thursday, 5pm – 7pm

Why it’s so great:
The rolls are awesome! The fish is always fresh and you don’t have to dress up! The restaurant is small and very laid back so if you want sushi and don’t want the loud music and fancy decor of RA this is the place to be! Might I recommend the crunchy roll or one of the bento boxes! Great stuff!

The Place:

Double Dave’s
Multiple Locations

The Deal:
$0.50 pizza rolls! Need I say more? The hours and days that this happens are not posted online and it has been a while since I have had them so I regret that I can’t share the hours but it is definitely worth it to find out!

Why it is so great:
Really cheap pizza! Need I say more????

Ready for desert?

The Place:

Yogurt Yo!
1809 Eldridge Pkwy
Houston, TX 77077

The Deal:
Frozen yogurt by the .oz all the time!

Why it’s so great:
This place is a little slice of my own personal heaven! There are about 10 different flavors of self serve frozen yogurt and about 40-50 different self serve toppings ranging from fruit to baked goods to cereal! Who knew Captain Crunch with Crunch Berries could be so great on frozen yogurt! I know it sounds gross but just trust me! The best part? There is a long list of the health benefits of frozen yogurt posted on the wall! So this indulgence is actually good for you!

Posted by: sjraz | September 23, 2010

The art of doing nothing

I am currently reading the now infamous Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love after watching the movie which inspired and moved me. (Mostly just fueling my desire to sink my feet into italian soil at some point in the, hopefully, very near future.) Although it is a wonderful movie and, so far, a great book I can not say that I completely condone all of the ideals, but last night I found myself smack in the middle of the India “section” of the book, if you will, (Elizabeth does not have chapters because of the unique and very thoughtful layout of this book that may or may not be the subject of another post.) where Elizabeth gives a very familiar and clever description of her inability to meditate because she tends to have arguments with her inner self making it almost entirely impossible to completely quiet her mind. (By the way Elizabeth, I don’t know too many western born woman that can successfully accomplish a totally quiet mind, even when they are sleeping. I know at any given time, the very least of things running through my mind is a grocery list.)

She goes on to say that since her tenth birthday, she has been at odds with time. Her transition into double digits sent her into a panic that has since plagued her every day of her life. At this tender age, she realized just how precious life was and how fast it was passing her by. It seemed that just yesterday she was celebrating her fifth birthday and now she was breaking double digits. From that day forward, she developed an obsession with time and how she spent it. She more or less adopted a Carpe Diem philosophy, obsessively filling every moment of every day with “important activities” living life to its “fullest” and planning for the future, never realizing that she was slowly beginning to loose site of the present and never truly allowing herself to enjoy the moment and the pleasure that comes with being idol and stationary, even if just for a moment. This time obsession lead her to become somewhat of a control freak and she didn’t even realize it until her new acquaintance from Texas was bold enough to point it out. (Leave it to a Texan to have the gumption to tell it like he sees it right?) Her ex-husband had pointed it out numerous times, but of course, she always saw it as nothing more than an insult.

This epiphany of hers stopped me in my tracks. Thanks to Ms. Gilbert’s brave admission, I had a personal breakthrough and I thought I would share it because I feel that, just maybe, I am not alone. I too have an obsession with time…. and I too can be a bit of a control freak when it comes to the passage of time. There….I said it. (Too bad there is not a 10 step group for that one! Even if there was, I don’t think I would have time to go!) If I had it my way, I would not sleep because I would be missing something and I have been known to live by the philosophy “I can sleep when I’m dead.” Which is very ironic of me to point out because those of you who know me know that, up until recently, I like to sleep in a little more than most. To all of you I say, I am a night person….and if I had it my way, there would never be a reason to crawl out of bed before 9 am and the whole world would stop for those hours of sleep just so I didn’t miss anything! And I digress. My point is that there seem to be two kinds of people in this crazy, time obsessed culture; the ones that live for today and the ones that live for tomorrow.

The lucky souls that live for today can find bliss in any moment not worrying about what is to come and how it might change them and if they are ready for it and what they need to pack and who it might affect and …. well… obviously I am not that type of person! And then there are those of us poor, over calculated souls that the “live in the moments” tend to pay to organize them and take care of the things that happen because they didn’t plan ahead. We have a plan for everything and a very busy social calendar and hobbies? Well they are what we do in the 10 minutes between the “living life to its fullest” activities that consume our day. We are the dreamers and the doers, the travelers and adventurers, the ones you know you can count on when you call us at the last-minute to come to the event that you would just die if we missed, but forgot to tell us about. But unfortunately, we are also the exhausted, and time is our nemesis. Maybe, just maybe, we should take a moment to breathe, stretch and just sit and be quiet, totally quiet, without a thought or a care or a list. Breath and hear our breath over the chattering of our minds and if at all possible stop the chattering and just be in the moment….

Posted by: sjraz | September 13, 2010

Introducing.. The Nautical Nots Band

Introducing The Nautical Nots!

My best friend and her husband started a two piece band. Original music and good old-fashioned raw talent! If you like them help me get the word out and re-post the you tube link!

Posted by: sjraz | August 29, 2010

Who put the Co Co in Chanel?

CHANEL  – We all know it as a brand. The finest fragrances, woman’s clothing, purses, scarves etc. If you were to ask any one of the “fashionistas” that don this famous brand about the history behind its namesake would they know? Would they even care about the blood, sweat and ambition, the heartbreak and countless sleepless nights it cost to put that couture scarf around their neck? Or has CHANEL just become another one of the mega-brands getting lost in the shuffle and merely desired because it is a symbol of wealth and power in a world that thrives on just that?

I must admit that ever since the day I got my first nose full of CHANEL No. 5 I was hooked and it has become my signature scent, if only for very special occasions. But as with all things I am fond of, I wanted to know the history behind it. If for nothing more than to know why one of the most timeless, famous fragrances had simply been named No. 5. Was it a happy accident or was there some intriguing story behind it? Most of my creations have a story behind them, they are a part of me and my story, and I firmly believe that every moment in my life, every person I have met and every sacrifice all somehow get poured into my work because all of those things are what lead me to that moment, that idea and that creation. So why would it not be the same for “Co Co” Chanel or any other person behind a mega-brand?

So, you ask who is “Co Co” Chanel? (According to the Lifetime biopic and Wikipedia) Her real name is Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel, born in 1883 in Saumur France. Her mother died when she was 12 and her father abandoned the family soon after, leaving Gabrielle to a Roman Catholic orphanage where she learned her trade as a seamstress. At the age of 18 she left the orphanage and supported herself as a seamstress working 13 hour shifts. (She also pursued and unsuccessful career as a singer where she earned her now famous nickname ‘Co Co’.) She was soon “rescued” from her working class life by Etienne Balsan, a young textile heir. (according to the movie) It was a whirlwind romance during which she took up a hobby of designing hats but the romance ended abruptly when she realized that Etienne had no intention to marry her. (again, according to the movie) So she took over his apartment in Paris and started making hats without much success until she met and began an affair with Captain Arthur Edward ‘Boy’ Capel. He was admittedly the love of her life and his tragic death due to a car accident proved to be “the single most devastating event” in her life. Prior to his death, ‘Boy’ financed her first shops. And the rest, as they say, is history!

‘Co Co’ went on to revolutionize women’s fashion with her simplistic style based on functionality, simplicity and understated elegance. Chanel is credited with the ‘invention’ of the little black dress’. As for the “No. 5” name:


When Ernest Beaux (the scent’s creator) asked her how she would name the perfume, she replied: “I always launch my collection on the 5th day of the 5th month, so the number 5 seems to bring me luck – therefore, I will name it Nº 5” Her intention in launching the scent was to give women a perfume with the scent of a woman rather than the scent of a flower bouquet. “I want to give women an artificial perfume,” said Chanel. “Yes, I really do mean artificial, like a dress, something that has been made. I don’t want any rose or lily of the valley, I want a perfume that is a composition.”

So, the next time you see those famous Cs you may just appreciate them and the woman behind them just a little bit more!

Posted by: sjraz | August 3, 2010

Not your ordinary message

A friend of mine posted this on facebook and I just love it! There are not a lot of people out there that can get a message across that truly means something in a witty, non controversial way with the bonus of humor! Well done! It’s only one minute long and trust me, it’s one minute of your life well spent!

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