Monday, June 25, 2012

Life Lessons

I rushed into court this morning a couple minutes early, prepared to ask the judge to evict a commercial tenant.  The tenant usually doesn't show up to these hearings.  Today, he did.  He was a nice old man - reminded me a lot of Ryan's grandfather.  See, evicted tenants don't often show up to these hearings because they know they owe money and I can imagine it's  embarassing.  And I like it that way.  I don't want to look into the face of the person who's hard work and dreams I am about to destroy by asking the judge to sign the order.  It's too personal.  I had to quickly remind myself that I was there to do a job, even if I didn't want to.

Today's hearing was one of the easiest I've ever had.  The judge asked me two easy questions, then asked the tenant what he had to say.  He said he owed the money.  The judge signed my order.  Thank you.  Have a good day.

I walked behind the tenant as we left the courtroom and my heart ached.  As he held the door open for me, he introduced himself.  ARGH - now he has a name - TOO PERSONAL.  Heart sinks a little more.  Then tenant tells me that he's worked for 50 years and he's never had that happen.  I told him out of all of the things I have to do in my job, evictions were my least favorite.  He smiled and said Well, he'd been blessed, and he hoped I was blessed to.  As the tears began to well in my eyes, I wished him a good day and the best of luck and quickly made a B-line to my car.  

My easiest hearing ever had just turned into the most profound hearing of my career.  I was reminded that I want to use my legal knowledge and career to do good.  I don't want to cause people any pain.  This man reminded me of the importance of character in the midst of adversity - I'd just gotten him evicted, yet he smiled, and was even sympathetic to me.  It was an A HA moment for me today - one I had to share.


What a way to start the work week... already emotionally drained.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Stress

No one's life is easy.  We all have good days, but most days are filled with challenges surrounding our jobs, children, money and relationships.  I don't know about you, but I'm always trying to find ways to relieve some of my stress.  I found this a while back on Pinterest and I thought I'd share - there are some good tidbits in here!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What Not to Wear... TO COURT!

I was sitting in court last week waiting for my case to be called and I couldn't help but to partake in one of my favorite pastimes - people watching.  I saw some folks who looked like they'd just rolled out of bed.  A young lady entered the courtroom looking like she was fresh off of vacation in a shoulder-bearing maxi dress complete with hat.  The bailiff asked her to remove her hat and she left the court.  The slouchy pants, the outfits some might wear to the mall instead of the court.  The one lady who gave courtroom attire a try but didn't realize the skirt needed to be longer than a mini.  It kind of shocked me.  Maybe people don't know what you're not supposed to wear to court.  Well, here are some general guidelines:

Would you walk into a house of God with your Fruit of the Looms showing?  I sure hope not.  That teeny dress you wore to the club the other night that might be a size too small but hugs all your curves in all the right places that might be a size too small?  That's not right either.   Like Church, appearing in court commands a certain amount of respect.  Think "church clothes" when you're picking out your court outfit.  If you wouldn't wear it in front of Jesus, don't wear it to court.

What NOT to wear:

Club Attire


Sagging Jeans



The dreaded muffin top

Celebrity Violator:  LindsayLohan

Lindsay's dress is way too tight and revealing for the courtroom.  



Some examples of what to wear:

Remember, you're standing in front of a judge either at a criminal hearing or as a party or witness in a trial.  Your credibility will be determined by a variety of things, including your appearance.  Making an appropriate impression based on your outfit is important.  Think conservative - it's great to express yourself and make a statement, but make sure you're making the right one in court!



 I saw a lot of denim at the courthouse last week.  I actually don't even mind jeans in the courtroom on the parties or witnesses, as long as it looks professional and classy.  Here are some examples:



And finally, my fellow lawyers are not immune from dressing inappropriately in court.  I've seen lots of women in oversized dresses and untailored jackets.  All you need is one good fitting dark suit - I go with basic black but also have grey and dark blue.  Buy a three-piece if possible - jacket, skirt and pants - that way you can mix and match.  I suggesting investing in at least one really good statement suit that you feel amazing in - it will last you a while and can serve you in the courtroom, at an interview or maybe an important client meeting.  The money will be well worth it because you'll feel good, and that confidence will carry over into the courtroom or meeting.

 My favorite suits right now are by J. Crew but I've also found a set at Express that fits well and looks good.  And for tall girls like me, tall sizes are available.


Remember, you're appearance matters at court.  Dress appropriately and conservatively.  


Today's inspiration...

I've said it before - "perspective" is my life's motto.  This pretty much sums up what will get me through today...


Monday, June 18, 2012

Celebrity Waiter Luncheon Patron Party

If there's one thing I've come to appreciate about Dallas, it's the kick-off parties to the kick-off parties to the wrap parties, etc. of the different charity events!  I managed to find some time last week while preparing for two trials to attend the Celebrity Waiter Patron Party hosted by the fabulous honorary chair Faye C. Briggs.  The evening was just the breath of fresh air I needed.  We sipped cocktails and wine in the backyard while munching on Greek fare.  Ms. Briggs' home is beautiful - I always wonder who the people are who live in those "Architectural Digest" homes.  Well, Ms. Briggs, that's who!  The food was amazing, the company even better - it was a fabulous preview of what's to come at this year's event!

Ryan and I will be participating as celebrity waiters at this year's Celebrity Waiter Luncheon benefiting Family Gateway.  When asked to be a part of this amazing event, I did not hesitate to sign us both up!  I attended as a guest last year and had a blast!  Attendees "tip" the celebrity waiters throughout the luncheon - and the waiters have to earn those tips!  Last year, I saw waiters do the splits, plank, sing, dance, you name it!  It was so much fun!  No doubt this year's event chaired by Maggie Kipp and Shay Geyer will be memorable as well!





Do not wait to get your tickets for this event - it will sell out!  The luncheon will be on September 7th at the Ritz-Carlton.  For more information, visit http://tinyurl.com/6mhdqj7.


Photos by Shana Anderson

Saturday, June 16, 2012

True story...

Father's day is always bittersweet.  My dad died suddenly of a massive heart attack at the age of 43.  I was nine years old.  There are a handful of days every year that remind me he's not here - father's day is one of them.

I posted a couple of the few photos of my dad on Facebook yesterday.  I found myself studying his face, his smile.  I wonder what he'd look like now.  I wonder what life would've been like had he not been taken from us so young.  I wonder if I make him proud.  The familiar sadness and emptiness began to fill my heart.  I wished I had more pictures of us together.  This picture is the only one I thought I had of us.  That's me on the left with my mom.



I woke up today and thought about my dad.  Then I instantly concluded that when I got home from the gym this morning, I would clean the garage.  The garage was a mess, and cleaning it in this Texas heat was sure to be an undertaking.  I even tried to talk myself out of it and laid down to nap this afternoon.  I couldn't fall asleep - I had to go clean the garage.

As I threw away old yellowed books and bar exam study materials from 1999, I came across a stack of long forgotten pictures in frames.  There were pictures of Ryan and I at our wedding, of friends and family.  Then I came across this and just stopped in my tracks...




He was listening.  Here was my reason for feeling that intense need to clean the garage today.  I needed to find this.  I also found this picture.  It is one of the last my dad took before he passed away.  It was the picture the accompanied his obituary.  This is how I remember him - happy, handsome.  That's my dad and I know he's still with me.


I believe in coincidence, but when coincidence is a wee bit too coincidental, I believe it is a sign.  I got one today.

Happy father's day daddy.



Friday, June 15, 2012

Cancer Has Cancer Run/Walk 2012

I get asked to do a lot of neat things, and last Saturday was no exception.  Heather Rodriguez, Founder and CEO of the Cancer Has Cancer Foundation, asked me to officiate the foundation's Cure for One, Cure for All 5k Run/Walk at Bachman Lake.  I was thrilled Heather asked me to participate - I would support her in anything she wanted to do!



I met Heather several years ago working on a project for D210.  I immediately appreciated her beauty and spunk.  A fellow beauty queen, Heather was planning on doing some PR for D210 as we all worked to get the project going.



Heather's plans were derailed shortly thereafter when, at the age of 28, she was diagnosed with a very aggressive stage 3 ovarian cancer.  After emergency surgery and aggressive chemotherapy, Heather kicked some cancer butt and she is now a survivor.

As Heather spoke to the crowd last Saturday, she talked about making it to the Cure for One, Cure for All walk in 2015.  You see, there is a 60% chance she will have a recurrence before the 5 year mark (2015).  I cried as Heather talked about "if" she's still here in five years.  Can you imagine?!?!  It is hard to fathom what it must be like to wake up everyday wondering if you're going to get that call that your cancer has come back, or hearing that your 5 year survival rate if the cancer comes back is around 10%.  Well, Heather is a fighter - I have no doubt she will be with us in 2015 and for many more run/walks to come!




Instead of focusing on the devastating effect this horrible disease has had on her, Heather decided to start the Cancer Has Cancer Foundation to help raise funds to find a cure and help provide support for families dealing with cancer.   Please visit www.cancerhascancer.org to learn more about this amazing foundation.



Heather is my hero.   Keep up the good work lady! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Favorite Things/Miss USA Watch Party

I love hosting a good get-together.  This past weekend, I combined two of my favorite things - beauty pageants and gifts - into one fabulous girls' night out.  I hosted a Favorite Things/Miss USA watch party and it was an absolute hit!  

I came across the idea for a Favorite Things party on Pinterest a while back and I couldn't wait to host one.  Here's the idea - invite your friends over and everyone brings three identical items that represent one of their favorite things.  For our party, the value of the item needed to be between $10-15.  The favorite things are divvied up and everyone gets to take a bag of goodies home.  

My favorite thing was the first book in the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy.  I had to share this book with my friends.  Other favorite things included Kate Spade lipstick, nail polish, makeup brushes, Skinny Girl cocktails, chocolate, Starbucks and Target gift cards, Nordstrom beverage cups, even ice cream!  And thanks to one of my friends, I am now the proud owner of one of her favorite things, a beta fish who we named Missy Universe.


I kicked things up a notch by providing the ladies with additional goodies in their favorite things bags.  I asked my Facebook friends if anyone wanted to provide raffle items or gift bag items to the guests.  Offers poured in - people recognized that the goodie bags were a great opportunity to promote their products!  We raffled off everything from spray tans to photography sessions and jewelry.  A super special thank you to the following folks who really made this evening special:
  • My high school cheerleading friend Erica Zetz who provided a cute cosmetic bag for the raffle and items for all guests from Thirty-One - www.mythirtyone.com/ezetz
  • Vita Cooper who not only provided each attendee with a bag full of Arbonne essentials items including fizz sticks and daily power packs but also provided a basket of full size essential items for the raffle.  www.arbonne.com ID:12562982 LadyCBotanicals@gmail.com
  • Venture Watson provided the ladies with a sample of the widely popular Body by Vi shake mix. www.venturewatson.bodybyvi.com 
  • My girl Tanya Lee of Avasiare (www.avasiare.com) provided full size mascaras for everyone.  Tanya's business partner Bonnie Benavidez and Avasiare have sponsored me every year for Mrs. Texas - love those girls!!!!
  • Ken Wesley of Supreme Dream Photography provided each guest with a gift certificate for 50% off of a photography session and we raffled off a gift certificate worth $250! www.supremedreamphoto.com
  • The fabulous Janie Monares provided a copy of her book "Ship Mates" for the raffle - thanks Janie! www.janiemonares.com
  • The super talented Twana Marx of Creative Marx Handmade jewelry sent a ton of jewelry and a bracelet for the raffle.  Here designs were a huge hit for the lucky ladies who had pieces in their goodie bags! www.creative-marx.com
  • Erin Smith, the Sunless Diva, actually set up her spray tan booth in the master bathroom and was ready and willing to provide spray tans for the ladies.  Everyone was too busy watching the pageant to partake, but everyone went home with  a coupon and a lucky lady went home with a raffle prize for a free spray tan! www.thesunlessdiva.com
  • And finally, a special thank you to Keshia Randle who donated an adorable pair of Stella & Dot earrings - we actually had a contest to see who could predict the new Miss USA and the person won the earrings. www.stelladot.com/randle
To finish off the gift bags and raffle, I provided some of my favorite items from Rodan + Fields including the ever popular microdermabrasion paste.








This was an incredibly easy party to host.  I provided beverages and asked everyone to bring their favorite appetizer or dessert to share.  My kitchen island was completely covered with deliciousness ranging from sopapilla cheesecake to buffalo chicken dip.  Have you ever seen pageant girls eat during off season?!?  We threw down.

To cap off the night, we thoroughly enjoyed watching the Miss USA pageant.  I think the element of competition for the party guests really added to the experience!  After the top 10 were chosen, we had to pick our top 5.  Several of us had Rhode Island to win.  None of us thought Miss Ohio belonged in the top 5.  There was a lot of screaming and the t.v. and threats to throw stuff at it had anyone but Miss Rhode Island won.



I can't say enough good things about this party.  Folks are still raving about it, and I'm guessing some of the ladies who decided not to come might be regretting their decision!  Thanks again to the ladies who participated and to the folks who made our goodie bags so special!  


Sidenote: I had every intention of taking pics of all the ladies with their new favorite things, but I was having so much fun I forgot!