Learning the power of “no”

Raise your hand if this sounds like you: I have a habit of saying “yes” to everything that is asked of me, because I am a people-pleaser and chronic do-gooder.

Count me among that group. Is it me, or do women have an especially hard time with this? 

One good thing about moving down to Orlando is that I was able to start fresh as far as networking and volunteering goes. And going forward, I’m being very careful about what I say “yes” to, and learning the power of “no.”

I found a great article recently on Shine from Yahoo: How To Say No.

The article says to follow these 5 steps:

1. Find Your Yes. My ‘yes’es include time with my husband and dog, and going forward, time to get healthy. I also have to have time on a regular basis at my Happy Place — Disney World. If I can come home from work and have time for a jaunt to the dog park, dinner with hubs and a workout session, then I’m a very happy girl — which means leaving work by 5:30 each day. And if on the weekends, I can get out and enjoy a local event, some time at the pool or at my Happy Place, then I am also happy and fulfilled — which means turning down some events or parties that I feel obligated to go to just because I was asked to.

2. Buy Some Time. This means don’t respond right away to everything that is asked of you. I was asked about a month ago to speak at UCF’s SPJ chapter. I took a couple days to decide on my time commitment, because I was in the middle of transitioning jobs. Ultimately, this was a ‘yes’ for me, as it was a chance for me to visit a new college campus and possibly get to know some college students, which I love interacting with. But definitely from now on, I am going to ‘sit’ on decisions for things I am asked to do — nobody really expects you to answer right away!

3. Deliver Your No With Grace and Resolve. I delivered a ‘no’ recently to an acquaintance who was interested in having us rent their house. And while it was a great house, it didn’t fit our need of having a garage. Being the people-pleaser that I am, I hated to deliver the bad news! But guess what — it was no big deal. They’ll find a renter soon enough, and we need a house that fits our needs.

4. Have a Plan B. Luckily, I can’t think of many situations in which I said ‘no’ and someone reacted badly. But if someone does, I plan to listen and repeat my ‘no’ in a firm but gentle manner.

5. Cut Yourself Some Slack. I always, always feel guilty when I say ‘no.’ But it’s always a bigger deal to me than it is the other party. Basically, I just have to Get Over It!

Have you learned to say ‘no’? What are your ‘yes’es?


Orlando: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

It’s been about 9 months since we relocated to the Orlando area from Birmingham. Here’s a few thoughts on the good, the bad and the ugly on our time here so far:

The Good:

Much more to Orlando. Orlando has a vibrant food, arts and music culture completely separate from the tourism industry. Every weekend, there are events aimed at locals. I’ve begun to discover some great local restaurants, and I’m becoming more tuned in to what the locals are up to in their downtime.

Our community. We lucked out in finding Hunter’s Creek, a planned community south of Orlando. One reason we chose it is because there are two dog parks just for residents. We make frequent use of them. We hope to be able to find a rental house here. It’s a clean, safe community with good schools, and one I would recommend for anyone moving in from out of state.

My job. OK, so sure, I’ve already switched jobs since we landed here — I left local news in my first job here in Orlando after 8 months, and began a new digital content manager position in March. But it’s a good fit for me at a good company, where I think I can learn and grow as a leader. And I have an office! And a budget! And maybe even a company AMEX!

The Bad:

The traffic sucks. It’s not as bad as say, Atlanta, but I-4 is a mysterious and unpredictable thoroughfare. And unfortunately I can’t avoid it on my commute to work. While we live close to Disney World — great for hubs’ job — I work in Winter Park north of downtown Orlando, so the commute is I-4-dependent, to say the least.

“The magic is gone.” My husband said this to me after a recent trip to the Magic Kingdom. What he means is that as locals, we go to Disney World so much that it starts to feel commonplace. So if you’re the type who loves Disney World, planning your trips, and the anticipation of a trip, then being a local might not be the best choice! I hope to be able to check into a deluxe resort for a weekend at some point later this year to rekindle the magic for us, because we truly are Disney nuts.

The Ugly:

Apartment living sucks. We had to move here quickly last summer, and I didn’t know enough about the area to find a rental company or Realtor to help us find a rental home. So while our apartment complex is fine as far as apartment living goes, the hubs, the dog and I are all a little stir-crazy and eagerly awaiting the end of our lease in August and move to a rental home.

The night shift sucks. My husband and have barely spent a full night in bed together or a full day together since he started his night shift chef job in October. We have opposite off days, too. But we’re being patient, because there’s a very good chance he’ll have a new job with the Mouse in June. Wish us luck, because this is the absolute worst part of our adjustment to Orlando.

Despite the ups and downs, the hubs and I remain resolute in pursuing our dreams here in Orlando for the foreseeable future. A lot of the bad and the ugly for us now will be remedied within the year — hooray!


My first home is for sale


Source: kw.com via Kristen on Pinterest


Let’s talk about my first home. It’s for sale. It’s a cute little 3/1 in historic Bessemer, Alabama. 

I bought it in 2007, at age 24, all on my own. My then-boyfriend (now husband) helped me fix it up. We installed new plumbing, new electrical plus wiring for ceiling fans, new bathroom fixtures and new kitchen appliances. He also built a shed in the backyard.

This is the house we lived in when we got engaged, then married. It’s where we brought Mango home as a 4-lb. puppy. We created a lot of memories in this house.

Now, let’s talk about how I’ve ended up on the short end of the stick with this home. I closed on this house in February 2007. Back then, anyone with decent credit could get 100%-plus financing. Back then, housing prices were up. Back then, buying a home seemed like the smart thing to do — a good investment in the future.

It’s all about timing. And the timing, back in February 2007, was bad for me to buy — but how was I to know? If one were to buy this house today, payments would be roughly HALF of what we’ve been paying for the past 5 years.

Now we’re in Florida, and we need to sell this house. So capitalize on the good timing. Buy my house. (:




What I’m reading

I’m a little all over the place with what I’m reading and using these days.

With the proliferation of social media, I’ve struggled on how to best digest the content I want to read — I follow so many people and entities on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. that it can be hard to keep up!

I used to heavily use Google Reader, and still do, to an extent. But I’ve also gone through all the sites I follow and have subscribed to good old-fashioned e-mail alerts and newsletters, so I don’t miss a word from my favorites.

Here are some of my top recommendations for email newsletters:


Lee Cockerell Lessons in Leadership Blog – No newsletter per se, but I subscribed to get his latest blog posts via email. He’s the former VP of Operations for Disney World. His book, Creating Magic, is on my “to-read” list.

Birmingham Blogging Academy – Run by my pal Wade Kwon, his tips via newsletter prove useful to anyone running a blog or website, not just folks in Birmingham.


Search Engine Land – I’m subscribed to their SearchCap daily email newsletter that goes out a tthe end of the workday. It’s a great way to keep up with the ever-changing trends in SEO at a glance.

SocialFresh.com – A quick glance at some social media success stories and trends. They also have an e-learning series.


Disney Food Blog – I’m not able to keep up on a daily basis, so the weekly newsletter is great! I always have something to try on my next trip to Disney World.

allears.net -The weekly newsletter always brings a smile to my face with its featured story. Great reader-submitted tips and updates on attractions closures/refurbs as well.

TouringPlans.com – In-depth reviews, news, updates and of course the home of the great Lines app for iOS and Android. I subscribe to blog updates via email.


And while we’re at it, here’s some great books that have proved really useful to me as of late:

Enchantment by Guy Kawasaki – Read this last year, and deserves another read, especially as I begin my foray into niche digital content.

Linchpin by Seth Godin – Reading this now. Discusses a new breed of employee who is not a cog nor a big boss, one who gets it done and is not easily replaced. Inspiring.

Content Strategy for the Web by Kristina Halvorson – Bought this in late 2010 and skimmed through it, as I was interested in the idea of content strategy as a career path. It’s now proving to be an incredibly useful tome. The second edition is out now.


What are some of your favorite newsletters/websites/books you’ve been reading lately?