Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Building Your Personal Brand

Be bold. Be real. Be you.

I may not be an expert, but I've definitely learned a lot about building a personal brand over the years. I started my digital journey using an anonymous pseudonym "MorganFreeman7" in 2011. As I quickly gained followers in those first few months, it wasn't long before I realized how important it is to create a strong, authentic personal brand. Rebranding and revealing my true self as "Denise Joyce" was one of the best decisions I've ever made. So whether you're just starting out or hoping to improve with hopes of growing and retaining your audience, here are my tips for building your personal brand.

Be you.
The first thing that I learned creating content as "MorganFreeman7" was that I didn't want to gain followers as someone else. Every time I gained a new YouTube subscriber, I felt ashamed that I was hiding behind an anonymous screen name and referring to myself as "Moe". Don't build your personal brand around a facade. Authenticity allows your audience to get to know the real you. Your brand should be a reflection of who you are, what you believe, and what you stand for.

If you don't come across as authentic to your audience, it's much harder for them to relate and believe in what you have to say. Though I gained a good amount of followers as "MorganFreeman7", I constantly felt disingenuous. Building a personal brand requires developing an understanding of your true self and choosing to share that person with the world. Don't be afraid to take off your mask and be vulnerable! Believe me, your audience will appreciate it. 

Build your online presence.
The way you project yourself online becomes your public persona, so you need to be aware of how you're appearing and coming across to your audience. Be sure to build your online presence in a way that represents your true self and improve upon it on an ongoing basis.

Every so often, take some time out to evaluate your social media profiles. Your online presence should accurately reflect your persona as you continue grow and change. You will always be your best PR, so be sure to interact with your audience as well as other creators in your industry. Even if you get anxious and shy interacting with new people like I do, just go for it! You never know what opportunities await you if you just take a risk and put yourself out there. 

Keep learning.
Industries are constantly changing, so depending on your niche/area(s) of interest, it's important to stay relevant and up-to-date with new trends. It's easy to get lost in the shuffle if you can't keep up with any new changes within your market. 

Even if you're not actively creating content, I encourage you to keep learning. Read books, read blogs, listen to podcasts, or watch videos. Your next exciting burst of inspiration can come from a variety of outlets. I've always been an advocate of learning, developing new skills, and expanding your knowledge. I refuse to be complacent.

Be kind to yourself.
Especially if you're just starting out, understand that it takes a lot of time to build your personal brand. Don't beat yourself up and compare yourself to someone else who much further along on their journey. As long as you keep moving forward at your own pace, you'll eventually find what works best for you. 

It's also good to recognize when you need to take a step back and relax. (Don't worry - even I have trouble doing this!) In the past couple of weeks, I've been told that I'm "overly ambitious" and "addicted to the hustle". Despite the sincere concern from my peers over my well-being, I usually brush off these types of comments, because I like being driven and ambitious. 

I prefer to wake up each day with purpose and determination, but like they say too much anything is bad for you. Be sure to pay attention to your mind and your body. You're not going to accomplish much if you end up exhausted mentally and physically. Taking a break doesn't mean you're giving up on your dreams, it just means you're human. 



Monday, October 24, 2016

Soul Pose | The Happiest Yoga on the Planet!

When it comes to working out, I'm all about intensity. There's nothing more frustrating to me than spending 30 minutes to an hour feeling bored as if my heart isn't pumping nearly as hard as it should be. Time is very precious to me, so I don't like feeling as though I've wasted the hours I've dedicated to fitness, not having even broken a sweat. Because of this, when I workout the more excitement and intensity it involves, the better! I love HIIT (high-intensity interval training), martial arts, cardio kickboxing, running, and Bikram yoga.  

This past Saturday, October 22nd, I attended Soul Pose, a blacklight yoga party with glowing bubbles, UV body paint, and all around good vibes. Knowing that I usually get bored easily from practicing standard Vinyasa yoga, I was a bit hesitant to sign up at first, but the "party" aspect of the event made me curious, and I'm happy to report that it was well worth the registration fee. 

My participation kit included a yoga mat, a glowing "Soul Pose" bracelet, an embroidered towel, a namaste bracelet, and a packet of confetti. Upon arrival, I checked in to receive my namaste bracelet and do my UV body paint. My yoga mat and other goodies were waiting for me inside the venue. The yoga practice was a great mixture of Vinyasa, Bikram, and core work. Plus, the dance breaks, inspiring words, and confetti throwing made it  such a fun experience from start to finish. 

Before starting our yoga practice, we were told to write one word on our yoga mats that we love about ourselves. (I wrote "ambitious") Then, we were told to write one word that represents the quality that we give to the world. (I wrote "inspiring") This one act was so empowering to me. For the past few days, I've been starting my mornings with Surya Namaskar aka "Sun Salutations" and meditation each morning. I've even added this to my morning routine as well. Any small reminder to love myself and reflect on what I give to the world is incredibly important for my self-confidence. :) 

If you're interested in trying Soul Pose yourself, be sure to check out the website here. If there's one in your area, I'd definitely recommend registering ASAP. 


P.S. If you have any intense workouts that you love, please leave a comment down below! I'm always looking for new ways to stay fit! 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Last-minute Halloween Look | Masquerade Snapchat Filter

Follow me on Snapchat: morganfreeman7

I've always loved any reason to get dressed up and feel fabulous. Unfortunately, Halloween is on a Monday this year, so I've been getting my Halloween invites sporadically throughout the month of October. If you're in the need of a last-minute Halloween costume, look no further! 

Last week, my ipsyCare team and I re-created our favorite Snapchat filters for our weekly Theme Thursday at ipsy HQ. As pictured above and below, I chose to do the black masquerade mask and red lip filter.

To re-create this look, all you need is a black masquerade mask (I bought mine from American Eagle Outfitters here.) and your favorite red lipstick (I'm wearing Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Certainly Red. Check it out here.). Feel free to add winged liner, smokey eye makeup, and false lashes for some extra drama! 

This Halloween look is super quick and easy to do, if you're stretched on time or money. It's easy to pair with anything you already have in your closet as well. You can dress it up with a lace dress and some killer heels, or you can dress it down with jeans and sneakers. Just do whatever fits your style the most! Have a fun and safe Halloween everyone! :) 


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

Don't define your world in black and white, because there's grey in every story. Be who you are, but aspire to be better!

The Jedi Code
There is no emotionthere is peace
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. 
There is no passion, there is serenity.
There is no chaos, there is harmony. 
There is no death, there is the Force.

Even though I've always identified with the Dark Side, I've been told on several occasions that I'm a Jedi when it comes to controlling my emotions. Not that I am an emotionless robot with no feelings, but I rarely let my emotions affect my behavior or my decisions. In my recent years as a young professional, I've learned that emotional intelligence is far more valuable in the workplace than IQ. It's not enough to be smart anymore. Emotional intelligence helps you connect to others in the workplace and in your personal life, ultimately helping you maintain a successful work/life balance. 

My sister recently had a "Lunch and Learn" at work discussing emotional intelligence, and it absolutely fascinated and inspired me. I couldn't help but engage my sister further in the topic, hoping to gain more insight. Emotional intelligence has always been something that I value highly and work toward improving every day. 

Too often, we bring the emotions at home to work and vice-versa. When an individual isn't able to control their emotions it can impact their ability to communicate and throw off their work/life balance. Emotions are a key driver of day-to-day behavior, so it's important to become more self-aware of your feelings and keep them under control.

As a child, I was bullied, which created residual emotions that I still struggle to control every day: depressionfear, and insecurity. I didn't always have a high EQ (like IQ, but for emotional intelligence), but it's definitely something that I've developed over time and continue to work at each day. Learning to be more self-aware of my emotions allowed me to deal with them head on, despite adversity. 

It doesn't have to be full blown depression, but simply "feeling down" on most days doesn't feel good. There will be days when your energy will be lower than normal. You'll worry too much, feel distracted, and just not feel "up" to doing anything that you normally would enjoy.

Whether it's as simple as introducing yourself to a stranger or skydiving, it's okay to feel anxious and scared. More often than not, your dreams and desires will scare you. Every important thing you want in life will require you to take a risk at some point or another, because the most rewarding entities exist on the other side of fear. 

It's hard to cope when you feel like you're not meeting the goals and expectations you've set out for yourself. No one wants to feel inadequate. Sometimes we feel intimidated by the abilities of others, making us question our self-worth and affecting our self-confidence. 

By being more self-aware, I'm able to recognize my feelings as they occur. Over time, I've learned to identify triggers, such as situations or certain people, and I do my best to avoid them. I accept my emotions for what they are and try to maintain composure while considering how my irrational behaviors could potentially affect those around me. One impulsive action may feel justified in the moment, but it can also turn into something that you deeply regret later on. 

It's important to be kind to yourself and stay motivated, despite any setbacks. You have absolutely no control over the actions of others, but you have full control over yourself. I love the saying by Wayne Dyer: "How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours."

When it comes to dealing with the emotions of others, I choose to be as sensitive, compassionate and understanding as I can. If someone is angry or frustrated, I do my best to not take what they say or how they act towards me personally. If someone is sad or upset, I listen to everything they want to share and acknowledge how they feel and why they feel that way. 

Rather than passing judgment, I prefer to listen and do my best to fully understand their dilemma. I empathize, show remorse, and ensure they know that I'll always support their decisions and be there for them. It's always been important for me to approach life with a level head. I'm not afraid to take initiative when needed. I can identify what's important and make informed decisions. I do my best to connect with everyone around me in a way that nurtures and empowers them.

The most important thing is to show your support and to validate their feelings. I only offer advice or help when asked. I do my best to show empathy and remorse, without over-stepping my boundaries. This helps build rapport, trust, and respect. 

This is my personal take on the qualities you should be aware of when dealing with your emotions as well as the emotions of others, whether you're at work or in your personal life. I know that there are other important emotions that people struggle with in their day to day lives, such as anger or guilt. 

I'm generally a happy and positive person, so I'm very sorry that I don't have any insight for other emotions. Hopefully, I've given you enough to identify the emotions you currently struggle with to find new ways to be more self-aware and control them. 

If you have any additional insights on emotional intelligence, please feel free to comment below. I'd love to discuss this topic further and gain more insight, especially concerning any other emotions that I'm not particularly familiar with. 


Monday, October 17, 2016

EAT | Austin, TX

As I was going through my Instagram feed late last night, I found myself pausing once I reached my posts from last April when I was in Austin, TX. I was immediately inspired to create this 2nd post as part of my "EAT" photo series from my personal food adventures in various cities all over the world.
In mid-April, I flew out to Austin, TX for Elevate Summit Austin 2016 (formerly known as "UserConf", a Customer Support Conference). It was my first time in Austin (as well as Texas), and I was incredibly eager and excited that I had the opportunity to explore the city. 

My first night in town I had a blast listening to live music followed by mini donuts, drinks, and dinner (Al pastor tacos from a food truck, "Art of Tacos", which I was to hangry to take photos of... LOL) on Rainey St. We also later met up with other Elevate Summit conference goers at a cocktail bar downtown, Whisler's.

The Crystal & The Whitney - Icenhauer's

Pistachio Lavender Vanilla with chocolate dipping sauce - Little Lucy's Mini Donuts

The next day at the conference, I had catered breakfast tacos, (not documented) and Salt Lick BBQ. After free beer and wine at the wrap party, we all met up with others for more drinks at The Ginger Man and more drinks and dancing at Coyote Ugly.

My last full day in Austin, I had brunch and more BBQ for dinner. I also ended up at Oilcan Harry's where I attended to my first Drag Show, and had the pleasure of seeing Naomi Smalls from RuPaul's Drag Race perform. I ended the night back on Dirty Six again for karaoke at a place that I cannot recall. I only remember that one of my new friends bought me a shot called "Unicorn Cum" that tasted like Skittles. LOL 

Fried Egg Sandwich - Hillside Farmacy

Cappuccino - Hillside Farmacy

Besides the amazing food, I had so much fun exploring Austin. I only wish that the rain had let up, so I  could have seen and done everything else I wanted. 

Barton Springs was closed due to the heavy rain and wind. The Lyft drivers I had also told me that there's usually lots of people kayaking and stand up paddle boarding along the river, which I would have loved to do. I also didn't get the chance to see the bats rising from beneath the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge at sundown. 

As much as I enjoyed dancing and drinking indoors, where my hair was safe from the rain, wind, and humidity, I'll definitely have to go back one day. 

Have you been to Austin, TX? What fun things have you done there, and what delicious foods did you get to eat? Please leave me a comment below with any and all recommendations! :D


Friday, October 14, 2016

YOU are my inspiration

Inspired by the amazing individuals whom I have inspired and support me unconditionally. You give me and my content purpose and meaning. YOU INSPIRE ME TO STAY INSPIRED!

Have you ever been asked a question that you were completely unprepared to answer? It's weird how your mind reflects on what you should have said in the moment for days, weeks, months, or even years afterward. 

A friend of mine recently asked me "What inspires you?", and I was surprised to discover that I didn't have a ready, clear, and concise answer for him. Now that I've given the question more thought, I've found that it's not necessarily "what" inspires me but rather "who". 

When I'm not focused on a specific task, I find that my mind is in a constant stream of consciousness, flowing endlessly from one thought to the next until I'm suddenly reflecting on something stupid and embarrassing I did when I was in the 5th grade. LOL

The most minuscule thought that crosses my mind can inspire a single blog post, but once I forced myself to think beyond that fact, I realized that my main source of inspiration comes from wanting to inspire others on a grander scale. 

Last Summer, during a 1 on 1 check in with my boss, I was asked "What work are you doing that's most in line with your long term goals?At the time, I felt a rush of panic wash over me. I knew that persistence and discipline in your every day routine brings you closer to your goals. Because of that, I found myself worrying if anything that I had been doing routinely up until then was actually worthwhile. 

I've always known that I wanted to be a successful leader in a field that I was passionate about. It was also imperative for me to help guide and inspire others to do the same. Little did I know that with the time and focus I was already dedicating to blogging and vlogging each day, I was already well on my way to achieving that goal. 


Since starting my YouTube Channel and blog in May of 2011, I've been astounded at the influence I've made upon the lives of strangers. It's empowering to see how my outlets for creativity and self-expression have impacted my family, friends, and several individuals I've never even met before.

It's surreal to think that my content can influence individuals to dream, learn, and believe in themselves. I started vlogging and blogging in my early twenties, desperate to give my life more purpose and meaning. I'm honestly just sharing my thoughts and reactions to everyday life, but I'm so grateful to hear that my epiphanies can make such a positive impact. 


And for that I want to say thank you... I'm so grateful to even have an audience. Without you my thoughts would remain in my head. You make me feel happy and free to express myself without fear of being judged. I wholeheartedly embrace my unique story, because you make it feel worthy of being heard. You inspire me to keep improving, and in turn, I want to do the same for you. 

I promise to keep creating content and sharing my thoughts with you. If you ever need your spirits lifted, just remember that you are enough. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to live a life that you're excited about. Don't let anyone make you forget that! 


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tips For New Managers

Everything that I am, I've worked hard to become. Don't be afraid to be ambitious!   

It's been a little over 3 months since being promoted to my first management position. Though I was eager to make my transition and take on new responsibilities, leading and motivating my team, I knew that I still had a lot to learn. 

Up until my promotion, I was solely responsible for my success in my role. It's always been easy for me to identify how to fulfill my expected tasks and responsibilities, both quickly and efficiently. 

Now as a leader, I know that my success is dependent on the performance of my team. Their ability to exceed expectations reflects on me as an effective leader, and I can't feel confident as a "GOOD" boss without seeing them happy and thriving. 

I did a lot in the days prior to my new role to ensure I was ready. If you're currently stressing about your transition into a management position, here are some tips to hopefully inspire you and get you started in this next chapter of your career:

Define your personal definition of a "GOOD" boss 
Think about every boss you've had in your career. Over time, I'm sure you've developed a clear vision of what a good boss looks and acts like. Use your former bosses as a guideline into who you want to become. Focus on the positive qualities you want to develop as well as the negative qualities that you want to avoid. 

To me, a good boss takes a genuine interest in everyone around them and wants to see everyone succeed. They are effective communicators and believe in the abilities of their team without needing to micromanage. They know how to delegate responsibility and work toward overall success for the benefit of everyone. They give praise and credit when it's due, and they have high emotional intelligence. 

When you create your personal definition of a good boss, you know what you're striving for. It's hard to be an effective leader if you don't have a clear and succinct idea of what a successful leader looks and acts like.

Once you've defined what you need to do and be as a good boss, focus on identifying your strengths and weaknesses. No one expects you to be perfect during your initial transition, but identifying the areas where you can improve will help overtime. 

Self-awareness is the first step to improving. It's always been easy for me to be a good listener. I'm also resourceful, inspiring, and motivating, but I personally have trouble delegating tasks, due to my pride. It's important to identify where improvement is needed, rather than pretending that your leadership style is perfect. 

Learn about your team and take a genuine interest
It's important to know your team and take a genuine interest in their growth. How can you help someone succeed, when you don't even know who they are or how they think? 

I prioritize bi-weekly 1 on 1 check-ins to catch up on my team's personal lives as well as to ensure that they feel supported enough to be successful. I ask engaging questions to hopefully identify any challenges they may be facing. I also strive to instill them with a growth mindset. Just as I'm doing my best to grow, learn, and improve, I want them to believe in themselves and reach their full potential. 

I want my team to be able to talk to me about anything that may be hindering their performance and not be afraid to use their sick days and Vacation/PTO (Paid Time Off) when they're feeling burnt out. Maintaining a good work/life balance is just as important for my team as it is for me.

Create a fun working environment 
No one should be forced to work in a boring work environment surrounded by robots. Majority of my day is spent working alongside these individuals, and I want to create a fun working environment where they feel free to express themselves. I want to keep morale high, so I prioritize positive team engagement. 

I don't shy away from acknowledging success and showing my appreciation for hard work. We dress up according to themes on Thursdays, (Check out the past Theme Thursdays I've featured on my Instagram!) and I plan birthday celebrations, team lunches, happy hours, and team offsites. Work should be fun, because I want my team to be excited to get out of bed every morning. 

Becoming a new manager can be daunting, but hopefully my advice will help alleviate any anxiety you may be currently feeling. Be upfront and honest with your team and ask for feedback. They'll understand while you're learning and still adjusting to your new role. I recently asked my own team for feedback on my management style, and I was pleasantly surprised by their kind words and compliments. I love seeing the growth, improvement, and success of my team members over time. I promise that it will all be rewarding in the end. 


Monday, October 10, 2016

Ride or Die Makeup Tag

In a perfect world, I would have filmed this to be uploaded onto my YouTube Channel, instead of writing a blog post. Majority of you know that I've been busy, from moving to San Jose, CA to focusing in my new leadership role at work. The only time I really have to myself to be creative is during my morning and afternoon train commute.

The Jaclyn Hill Ride or Die Makeup Tag has been out for a while now, but I thought this would be a fun yet easy way for me to reincorporate Beauty back onto blog. 

(I'm sorry if any of you haven't enjoyed my most recent blogs. I'm turning 30 in a couple months, so the focus of my mind and thoughts have changed. As much as I love Beauty and Fashion, I'm growing as a person. My content is changing as I am entering this new chapter of my life. I hope you understand.) 

The tag is simple: If you were forced to go to a desert island, choose ONE product in each makeup category that you cannot live without. Let's get right into it, shall we?

UNDER EYE SETTING POWDERAnastasia Beverly Hills Contour Refill - Banana $14
BRONZER/CONTOUR/HIGHLIGHTAnastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit - Medium to Tan $40
EYESHADOWUrban Decay NAKED Eyeshadow Palette $54
EYELINERSkone Insanely Intense Tattooed Eyeliner $15
MASCARACARGO HD Picture Perfect Mascara $26
FALSE LASHESArdell Natural Lashes, Demi Wispies
LIP LINERUrban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil $20
LIP GLOSSRevlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss 
LIQUID LIPSTICKOFRA Long Lasting Liquid Lipstick - Venice $19.90
LIPSTICKNYX Butter Lipstick $6

What are your "Ride or Die" makeup products? I love trying new products, so please leave me any recommendations in the comments!