Daily Life · Work

How to Become the Best Employee in Your Work.

Working as a manager has been a really enlightening experience. Not only did it teach me a lot about myself, but it also taught me a lot about what managers look for in employees. Accumulating this knowledge was a bit of a painful process. This was my first job as a manager and it really was very difficult learning to deal with all the different facets and interpersonal relationships. The way you interact with employees is different from the ways that you interact with coworkers who share the same status in the work que. All this being said – at the end of the time frame that I worked there, I really sat down and thought about what made a good employee. I want to define a good employee as: someone who you as a manager continue to want to work with, mentor, encourage, and give opportunities to. That being defined, I want to talk about the qualities that I as a manager look for in an employee, an acrynm that I like to call “ACTING PROWS”

  1. Attitude – Attitude makes a huge difference. How many times do you want to be around someone who has a bad attitude? A clue – 0. This goes for work as well. I know that everyone has bad days but please think of it like this – Your manager is dealing with a lot of stress, having to wonder why someone isn’t acting appropriately or stomping around their work space shouldn’t be among it. When you get to work – drop whatever outside baggage you are carrying at the door and walk in with confidence and a great attitude. One of the best workers I have had and one of the few people I really really enjoyed working with was a young girl who was always “Great”. Every time you asked her – she found one positive thing to talk about. You could ask her what was new and she would find something to think about. I watched her walk through a 4 inch puddle of water to provide customer service – her favorite shoes got soaked and the comment she made was “I have others at home I can wear tomorrow…. They will dry.” Her attitude made everyone love working with her.
  2. Communication – Everyone has always heard “Communication is key”. Ok – yes this is true, but so the way in which you choose to communicate. It’s very very important to remember that honesty when you communicate is great, but so is learning to phrase your words so that you don’t place blame on another person, sound aggressive, or being short. I have watched as two seperate people have become their own clique. They were so ademate about being “clear” communicators that they ostracized themselves from the rest of the team and did more damage then good. Please understand – it is important to clearly communicate what you need (both with your manager and your teammates), it is also important not to over communicate. Telling people what they need to do, being short in the effort to be clear, and oversharing what they think about their jobs.
  3. Timeliness – The thing that really drove me nuts was timeliness. When you are scheduled for a certain time – show up for that time. Yes occassionally running late happens. I had several people who would either call-in or show up late on a regular basis. This is frustrating for a manager because guess who is covering your job and theirs? We are. Let me be clear – If you are going to be late – communicate it prior to that timeframe. If you are going to call in – sooner rather than later. I strongly believe that calling in more than 3 days a month – you better bring a doctors note to cover your job. Regularly calling-in or showing up late is unacceptable. It shows a lack of commitment or an amount of burnout for your job.
  4. Integrity – Integrity is more than just honesty. Integrity in the work place while it refers to honesty it also refers to completing your commitments. Honor your word. This goes hand in hand with respect (Point 8) and Timeliness (Point 3). Think about it this way – if I as the manager tell you that I will send in your request for use of Sick Hours in this payroll, and then I don’t because “I had plans” or “I changed my mind” how would you feel? You would feel like I’m not dependable and untrustworthy. That is how managers feel when employees change their plans last minute. It provides them with the sense of not trusting the employees to actually do their jobs. The basic memo – fulfill your commitments and have some integrity.
  5. News reporter – Unless you work for CNN, ABC, FOX, Or BBC News – it is not your job to be a reporter. I’m not talking about telling your manager when something goes wrong or someone does something that is out of line. I’m talking about gossip. Let me tell you – I have heard so many horrible stories about the people I work with. All from the coworkers of that person. I have had gossip spread about me. It creates a disfunctional and toxic waste environment in which to work. Do NOT gossip. We all remember highschool. Gossiping about someone is exactly the type of behavior that puts us right back in the toxic, bullying environment that highschool created. Come in, do your job, don’t create drama. If you need drama watch shows at home like “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”.
  6. Guidable – Guidability is similar to teachability. The best employees are the ones that are willing to learn new tips and tricks. One of the girls I liked to work with was the one that I could sit down and talk to about how to change and do things better and it would be done. She would ask for advice and would take what she learned and impliment it. This type of employee is the one that will go far because she is moldable.
  7. Problem Solving – Helping your manager is the best thing you can do. The employees that become close workers with your manager is the one that not only sees the problems within the workplace but searches for solutions before bringing it to the managers attention. I’m not going to lie – I hated having problems brought to me because I would have to find a solution on my own. I did however have one person who would bring a problem and 2 solutions each time. Maybe I didn’t use her solutions but it brought a starting point to the conversation – one which we could bounce around and then find a solution. She was one of the best employees I have worked with ever.
  8. Respect – “Respect is earned not given” – Yes managers must be respectful, they have to earn the trust of their employees. However, respect should always be given to those in power. I have had people refuse to do their job. If they talked to the owners that way – they would have been fired. This really goes back to the attitude point mentioned. When you have a bad attitude you start to be disrespectful. Watch carefully that you don’t follow that track. At the end of the day – you are paid to do your job. If you don’t like it – quit, if you refuse – you run the risk of being fired. There are simple ways to show respect to your boss – don’t interrupt, do your job, be on time. These are simple ways to make a great impression and leave your boss more inclined to give you opportunities for growth.
  9. Organization – The best of employees are organized. They have organized work spaces and they have great time management. They keep lists of things they need to do and they take notes. Taking notes and being organized is a good way for you to start, keep up throughout, and end your day. I’ll be honest – I use Wunderlist on my phone. It’s a great app that allows you to keep multiple checklists as long as you want.
  10. Willingness – This goes back to respect and being teachable. A willingness to being teachable, learning a new way of saying things, or doing your job goes a long way. Like I’ve said the best employees I’ve worked with are the ones that impliment new strategies and show respect in the process.
  11. Service Oriented – When you are working in customer service – that person who is always on top of things. This really comes down to time managment, attitude, and organization. It is important to really focus on your customers when you are with them and pay attention to the little details that will make their experience better. Simple things like making sure that you can substitute an item out for them is important. But having that attitude and making sure they feel that they are the center of your universe is very important.

The little things like these are the ones that are going to make you stand out to your manager. They will bring you more opportunities because people will notice what you are doing. It’s rare to find someone who fits these qualities so when you do – it may take a moment for them to realize that it’s real but then they will reward you.

 

Have questions or a comment? Share with me!

Daily Life · travel · Uncategorized · Work

Basic Restaurant Rules For The Hungry Diner

Let me tell you, having worked in the industry for a while, I have learned that there are somethings that should never be allowed to fly in a restaurant. Unfortunately, most of these are items that the diners shouldn’t be doing. I’ve written some previous articles on how to improve as a dining attendant/mixologist. This one is for the hungry guest that appears at a restaurant door seeking a table at a nice sit down restaurant. I have started with 5 items but I assure you there are plenty more :).

  1. Know the difference between a preference and an allergy. When your dinint attendant comes to take your order and you ask them to hold the onions, the dairy, the wheat – you should always mention whether or not it’s an allergy. It sounds like oversharing but I assure you it is very very important. A preference is because you don’t like it. An Allergy is because it will cause you physical harm. Your dining attendant, the manager, and the culinary staff all need to know this information. When your ticket for food goes to the culinary staff it tells them whether they need to sterilize their tools and station before making your dish or wash them. It allows the leadership to understand how serious any mistake could be and how much attention your table will be needing. I cannot stress how important this bit of communication is and how it will change the experience you have at the restaurant.
  2. Do not let your children run around the restaurant. Parents who have children, aunts, uncles, grandparents who are bringing children in – do not let them run. Restaurants are not play grounds. It is inappropriate and unsafe for you to allow the child to roam the restaurant. Staff are constantly carrying sharp objects, breakable glass, and hot plates to and from places. They are moving fast and they are not looking for something below their normal line of sight – it’s uncommon in the restaurant industry and deemed unsafe (any boxes would be moved before the shift begins for safety). Children do not have fast reflexes or the knowledge of the place to know where is and isn’t safe. Running around will cause them to be harmed and place the staff of the restaurant at risk as well. Keep your child in their chair or don’t bring them in.
  3. Tips – This seems to be one of those issues where people tip poorly now days. Especially around the holidays. Let me tell you a secret – most of the staff there lives off the tips. They make minimum wage (at least in SF, CA) hourly but the tips make the difference between eating cheese and crackers or eating a burger. Many restaurants do not give their staff free food – they must pay for it. In Michigan servers only make $3-4 an hour and then tips. That is half of minimum wage. My point is – don’t skimp on the tip just because you didn’t order your food correctly. It’s hard understanding what a customer wants from the word go and yes good service should be rewarded higher than bad service. However, think about this – many of those employees do that for a living and are working atleast 2 jobs to get enough to pay for life. You are lucky to have a salary and stability – share a little. Great service should be tipped 25-30% of the total bill; good service 20-25%; ok service 18-20%; decent or minimal service 12-18%; and anything that’s considered poor service should be 10%. You should never EVER tip below 10%. That is just rude.
  4. Know that being Vegan or Vegetarian is a life choice. Let’s talk about diet restrictions. Like having allergies or preferences – many restaurants can accomodate vegan or vegetarian requests. However – this doesn’t mean you are allergic to animal biproducts. If you are vegetarian but ok with eggs – please say so. If you are vegan due to allergies – state that. It is common knowledge that these are lifestyle choices and not typically due to allergies. Again – allergies will change the way the food is prepared and handled in the culinary world and is very very important.
  5. Move your hands/dishes/phones out of the way. When someone comes carrying your food to your table – please move your items. The food is hot and so are the plates. Just because they aren’t using a hotpad doesn’t mean their fingertips aren’t burning. It is extremely rude to keep everything where it is and act all put out when they have to move stuff. SHIFT YOUR SHIT. Be kind and move some glasses. Move some silverware. Move a plate. At the end of the night we do need your cooperation to make the experience as nice as it is. Like wise – do not put bags or feet into the aisleway. If you are tall ask for a high top table. Leaving your items in the aisleway will create a hazard and you are likely to end up with wine or food all over you.

While there are many other things that need to be addressed in terms of what the “societally acceptable” behavior in restaurants is becoming – these basic items will help. Be respectful of the restaurant and their staff. They work very hard to make it a great experience and simple things like this will help enhance that for you. Don’t be that customer they talk about for the rest of the year.

Daily Life · Relationships · School tips · Work

Socially Acceptable?

Lately I’ve been thinking about social norms. Mainly because I was asked by a customer the other day what I think the biggest challenges facing women in the management workforce are. It’s a good question. Great actually. I really had to stop and think.

He and I continued to have a discussion about what the differences between men in management and women in management are. I’ve always enjoyed sociology and psychology when I take those classes. However the reality is that it doesn’t just permeate our society when it comes to management, it’s embedded into our thought process.

Gender stereotypes are weird when you think about them and heaven only knows when they started or where they came from. A great example: Pink is considered a feminine and girly color, while blue is considered a manly color. Interestingly enough these colors began as the opposite. Red was considered a manly color because it mimicked the color of blood and blue was considered feminine as it mimicked the color of flowers.

There have always been small gender stereotypes that we have allowed but the big ones are the ones I want to address today.

Guy Land – is a great example of how far we have allowed boys to fall within our society. Back when America was first being settled men were younger and more mature. They had to be. Now it is considered acceptable for men to stay in the mindset of drinking, partying, and having no responsibilities for a longer period of time. Many people love to watch the movie “Failure to Launch”. The reality is that it simply sums up what our society tolerates and calls “Men”. Like wise it’s become acceptable for people to say that if you cry, if you show any emotion besides anger, you are not a man – you are weak. However if you are a woman and you show anything like this – you are considered to be nothing more than a bitch.

It’s interesting to me how it is easier for men to get promotions, respect, and others never question their emotions in a situation or decision.

If you have ever heard the song “The Man” by Taylor Swift – you will understand what I mean. While I know society is changing and things are becoming better for women in the workforce, they are still very much opposed to women being in power. This song does a great job pointing out the differences between men and women.

Within our society it is thought that women are weaker due to being more emotional, though in all fairness i’m not sure that’s true. Society tells men to bottle their emotions – to be emotionally constipated. While a man might be considered being “strong and manly” by his friends for that, it makes it harder for women to relate to him. Yes there are times where it is nice, but lets be honest, people need relationships – they need to emotionally connect with each other. I’ve copied the lyrics for “The Man” by Taylor Swift and put them down below.

“I would be complex
I would be cool
They’d say I played the field before
I found someone to commit to
And that would be okay
For me to do
Every conquest I had made
Would make me more of a boss to you
I’d be a fearless leader
I’d be an alpha type
When everyone believes ya
What’s that like?
I’m so sick of running
As fast as I can
Wondering if I’d get there quicker
If I was a man
And I’m so sick of them
Coming at me again
‘Cause if I was a man
Then I’d be the man
I’d be the man
I’d be the man
They’d say I hustled
Put in the work
They wouldn’t shake their heads
And question how much of this I deserve
What I was wearing, if I was rude
Could all be separated from my good ideas and power moves
And we would toast to me, oh, let the players play
I’d be just like Leo, in Saint-Tropez
I’m so sick of running
As fast as I can
Wondering if I’d get there quicker
If I was a man
And I’m so sick of them
Coming at me again
‘Cause if I was a man
Then I’d be the man
I’d be the man
I’d be the man
What’s it like to brag about raking in dollars
And getting bitches and models?
And it’s all good if you’re bad
And it’s okay if you’re mad
If I was out flashin’ my dollas
I’d be a bitch, not a baller
They’d paint me out to be bad
So it’s okay that I’m mad”
The Man by Taylor Swift
Here’s my total ending – we all have stereotypes that are residual in our minds due to the way we have been raised. Society permeates everything. If you take anything away from this, learn to ask questions for why you do what you do and why you think what you think.
As Always – I would love to hear your feedback!

Daily Life · depression · exercise

5 Reasons to Exercise When You Are Depressed.

I had an interesting conversation yesterday with one of the regulars that comes into work. He and his friend come in almost 3 times a week. I know them by name and we always have a fun time visiting. This particular friend asked me yesterday how you know when you are depressed. I turned and looked at him and said – “You know you are depressed when you get good at pretending you aren’t, when even you believe it but when you know that there is nothing inside. You are a void – one that can’t be filled. You don’t feel anything anymore – not overwhelming sorrow, joy, anger, or love. You feel empty. And with that emptiness you feel incredibly tired and it’s hard to even fake something but somehow you do it.” He looked at me and simply said “wow – and how do you know this?” I told him – I’ve struggled with depression everyday for the past 15 years. When he asked me how I’ve dealt with it – My number one answer is exercise. While I do seek treatment for it – exercise has helped me a lot.

When you have depression that is the best time to exercise, and here is why:

Endorphin Release: 

Exercise stimulates your brain to release endorphins. Endorphins are happiness chemicals. This means that when you are feeling down and depressed, your brain will make more of what you need if you stimulate it. It will releave some of the depression (I won’t say it goes away completely) and will allow you to start feeling a bit better. Ever watch the movie Legally Blonde? “Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy, happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!” This is one of my favorite quotes and it’s so true. Go get that endorphin release!

Self-Confidence Boost:

Exercise does a great job of giving people a self-confidence boost. Let’s just admit between you and me that a lot of us fake it til we make it. Especially women. I struggle being comfortable in my own body. That being said – I am not the best looking woman in the world but I know I’m decent looking. However I find that after I have worked out – I feel so much more comfortable in my own body. Even if I do it when I’m feeling depressed – I finish and find that I can successfully look in the mirror and say “Damn I look Good”. I’m sure part of that is the workout “high” but I’m also sure that by working out – I start feeling more comfortable with who I am.

The Pain:

I know this is going to sound counter intuitive but as a person who struggles with depression, I always just look to feel something. When you are depressed you simply want something to fill the void. You want to know that you are still human – that there is a pain deeper or something to make you more aware of being “life-like”. Versus turning to something like cutting or doing self damage – I find that this works for me. The pain draws me out of my shell and makes me feel normal. It reminds me that I’m alive and hey – this pain – it’s a good thing! It’s because I took time to take care of myself. Which rotates again into the endorphins and self-confidence point. I can enjoy the pain without guilt or any negative emotion! What a relief.

Self-Focus: 

Again – a seemingly counter-intuitive point. Many people think that when you are depressed you need to be drawn out of your shell. Keep the focus on other people. Yes this is true – you do need to spend time with others. If you are struggling with depression the best way to forget is to do some volunteer work. But it’s also worth noting that you need to self-focus a bit and really get your own crap together. I’m not encouraging staying at home. I am how ever saying that I go exercise and focus on the negativity – I find it fuels my workout. But I make it a point that when I leave the mat or the gym – that negativity stays behind. My brain works overtime in the gym. I figure things out because the exercise gives me clarity, but afterwards – every negative item I feel must remain in the gym. I cannot take it with me. Sometimes running outside does the same – imagine running away from all your problems. The idea has a similar concept.

The Plunge:

There are days where getting out of bed is a challenge for me. I have learned though that if I never move – I never challenge myself – I feel worse. The days where you just want to crawl into bed or curl up in a ball – those are the days you need to exercise the most. Spending time – even if it’s simply for a walk – can cause you to see things you wouldn’t have noticed. You will feel better about going to bed and maybe less depressed. It’s worth a try. Take the plunge.

Conclusion:

In closing I want to note – I am not a doctor or a therapist. Consult them before you do anything drastic or crazy. But I will state that exercising has some great benefits and no doctor is going to tell you that you shouldn’t do something active based. If you struggle with depression this is a great way for you to help yourself outside of medication or even with it. Trust me the burn is worth the pay off.

Daily Life · Hygge · School tips · Work

5 of The Best Ways to De-Stress

It seems like stress is always surrounding us. I’m not sure about my readers but I always go through a phase where every so many weeks – I feel more stressed than I should. Yesterday was that day. What happens is that I feel overwhelmed, over burdened, and generically insane. I get cranky and end up biting off my husbands head. In short – I become the “Queen Of Hearts”. Inevitably in this cycle of crazy – the next phase to follow is me de-stressing. I’ve found a five ways to do that and that’s what I’m going to share with you today.

 

Hygge- 

If you are familiar at all with this term than you will know it is made for relaxation. I come from a state which tends to be cold 6 months out of the year. For me – this practice is more nostalgic than anything. There is something very relaxing about curling up in a fluffy blanket with a cup of something hot in hand. I also recommend a book – something that you don’t need to think about.

Baking – 

For me baking is an outlet. I find that I need to be able to create something that I can control in order to feel relaxed. It’s like finding a hobby. Everyone should have at least 1 and for me – it’s baking. I enjoy food, and I enjoy creating it. (PS – Check out my baking business at http://www.sweetstoriesbakery.wordpress.com )

Exercise –

While I don’t particularly love exercise, I do find that I enjoy the endorphin release it gives me. I have found that with exercising it allows my body to expell all the negative energy it has and it allows me to focus on what’s at hand. It also helps me to remove all the thoughts in my head and become more at peace. The days that I haven’t been super stressed out – I will do yoga. The days where it’s been harder I tend to do more spinning, running, or kick boxing. I find that this allows me to keep the peaceful feeling flowing when I’m having a good day and to expell all the anger and resentment I may be harboring on the other days.

Candles and a Hot Bath – 

Hot baths can do wonders for the body and soul. I highly recommend this one especially before bed. I have found that a hot bath with a soothing candle can create an atmosphere of peace where one can feel completely rested. This allows the mind to relax and the body to let go of any stress. If you are like me – you come out ready for a nap.

Avoiding Social Media – 

To be honest – I’m rarely on twitter, instagram, or facebook. I find that they harbor so much negativity that my life is far less complicated or stressful when I’m not on them. I have also found, mainly because I manage a restaurant, that if I’m at home – I need to put my phone down. I also set it on silent so I can ignore any work messages until a certain time frame has passed. I will tell you that being on your phone 24/7 is unhealthy and creates a need for more drama than you can fill. It will cause your mind to never be able to shut down and really – not everyone’s issue needs to be ours. This is the one thing that my husband has to remind me of constantly and it’s the continual source of my frustration. I’m working on trying to put down my phone more often and I recommend you do the same.

 

Honestly,

It’s hard trying to de-stress. It’s hard trying to avoid certain habits that we have created and it’s hard starting new ones. I’m not much for exercising but I have found I need the outlet. I’m always attached to my phone – and I have found I need to put it down. If you have tips and tricks that you find help you de-stress I would love to hear about them. Everyone is different and so each item is going to suit people differently. Please feel free to share your thoughts below.

Daily Life · School tips · travel

The Art Of Learning A New Language

When you think about it, what’s one of the hardest things to learn? Languages. Now granted some people are naturally born with the gift of tongues, which allows them to naturally learn languages quickly. Not all of us are gifted like that.

The hardest part for me about getting married into a new culture and family was that when they are all together they speak spanish only. Now if you went to a standard highschool you were required to learn a language of some sort. That being said – I’m going to talk about the best way to learn a language outside of a school setting.

I’ve picked up a few tricks – firstly when I learned some Japanese from my coworkers in Hawaii, and secondly when I married into this family.

  1. Duolingo.com – I swear by this website. It’s better than Rosetta stone. This app connects words with images and also teaches you the difference between verb conjugations without making you recite things like you did in highschool. It gives you a better sense on how you should speak in a sentence.
  2. Music/Radios – The best way to learn things is through listening. Music is great at that. Songs in different languages tend to be sung slower than when people normally speak. It becomes easier to hear and understand things in songs.
  3. Watch Movies – Watching movies in another language. It again slows things down. It teaches how to speak in a basic sentence structure. It is also great if you can watch them with subtitles in the same language. This helps widen your vocabulary.
  4. Practice, Practice, Practice – The phrase “practice Makes Perfect” is very accurate. The more you practice something the more you become fluent and the easier it will become to speak in that language.

The best way to learn new languages is to always practice. Always keep notes, and always allow someone to help you/teach you. I have also found that if I talk to myself I improve because it becomes easier to pronounce the words.

Have any tips? Let me know!

Holiday · Reviews · travel

“4 Best” Buffets in Las Vegas – A Foodie’s Review

Working in the restaurant industry is hard. It’s time consuming and really drains your energy. This is a review of the buffers on the Vegas Strip that I have heard called “the best”.

I have rated them on a scale of 1-5. 5 being the best and 1 being the worst. They are rated on culinary options, food quality, customer service, prices, and cleanliness.

1. The Bacchanal Buffet –

My husband and I have eaten at this buffet several times. This is easily the largest buffet that I am aware of in the Las Vegas Strip. It has multiple options and in my humble opinion, the largest seafood and meat selection of all the buffets I have experienced. The food quality has always been stellar (It has the best and largest sushi selection) and it tends to be the place I find myself craving when I think of Las Vegas. The customer service has always been decent. They tend to be the most attentive though I did have an experience where the server asked my husband and I to leave due to her needing the table. Working in the business, I understand needing the table, however, the way it was phrased definitely could have been better. That being said we have always enjoyed our experiences. The prices are the highest at this buffet but it is always worth it. You do need to go hungry to get your moneys worth though. I do have to give The Bacchanal a high five for cleanliness. They have always done a great job clearing tables and keeping the food areas clean. This is super important because no guest wants to eat next to a dirty table or pick off of dirty forks. The overall rating I would give to The Bacchanal Buffet is 4.5/5.

2. The Wicked Spoon Buffet-

This is one of my personal favorites. While it isn’t as large as The Bacchanal Buffet. It has great flavors. The items that are features in the buffet are well seasoned and flavorful. The customer service has always been really good. Drinks have been consistently refilled and the server was always there when needed. The price for the options and the quality of food is not unreasonable by any means. The tables and food buffets have always been clean when I have attended. Overall this buffet has always impressed me, my only qualm is that it is a bit off the beaten path and can be hard to find. The overall rating for The Wicked Spoon Buffet is 4/5.

3. The Buffet at The Bellagio-

This buffet is one of the smaller ones. While it has a decent size carving section, it has always impressed me with the amount of vegetarian options. They have more vegetables that have been cooked and a salad bar than some of the other buffets. The quality has always been great and I haven’t had a bad meal there once. While the customer service is good, you are in charge of getting your own drinks and for the price it kind of leaves the customer wanting. This particular buffet is probably the one that always has tables cleaned and reset the fastest. I attribute this to the fact that it’s the smallest and the “servers” do the least amount of work out of all the buffets. The overall rating of this buffet is 3/5.

4. The Buffet at The Aria-

While this buffet had the largest seating possible and was in one of the newest hotels, I was disappointed. If you go before 12 am you will not find many options. It had the smallest food options and for the options given it was probably the priciest. The quality was decent but lacked flavor. The customer service and cleanliness of this particular buffet was poor. While the food buffet area was clean the tables needed desperate attention. I watched the table next to us remain dirty for close to 20 minutes. I also had to ask our server for a drink 3 times prior to getting it. This happened not only on our first visit but on the second one as well. The overall rating for this buffet is 2.5.

Over all, I would highly recommend The Bacchanal Buffet or The Wicked Spoon Buffet. I would say the best one for breakfast is The Buffet at the Bellagio. I would not recommend The Buffet at The Aria.

Holiday · Reviews · travel

Top 5 Las Vegas Hotels To Enjoy

As you all know – I work in the customer service industry. Have done for 8 years now, well my husband and I love to travel. We frequent Las Vegas quite a bit. For this reason I’ve compiled a list of the More popular Hotels that we have stayed at and what we thought of them. These hotels include: The Cosmopolitan, Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace, Aria, and the Wynn. I’ve listed the hotels in the order of the ones we liked the most to the ones we weren’t overwhelmed with.

**as a note to my readers – I do not get any affiliate payout for these reviews. Meaning they are strictly based on my experience and unbiased or “bought”**

1. The Cosmopolitan- (9/10)

We had a great experience here. We were able to check in early and the front desk staff was super friendly and attentive. We were offered the option of an upgraded room that had a view of the Bellagio fountains and a Japanese bathtub. Let me just say that it was worth every penny! We had a beautiful balcony. The tub had a huge window facing the fountains which was a great perk for me – I was able to relax in the tub and watch the show! They also were able to accommodate our request for a later checkout – super pleased about that. The pool was a great experience. They have these nice wave chairs where you can drag it into the shallows and lounge in the water for no extra charge. The pools are wading pools – meaning there are no stairs they come out via a ramp. While the lower pool was very popular due to the bar – the upper pool was more relaxing, it also had umbrellas to provide shaded areas in the pool.

2. The Aria- (8/10)

To begin the check in area was very clean. Details matter and their area was clean and decorated appropriately. The minimalistic flower arrangements did a lot.

The room was spacey- not as large as the room in the Cosmopolitan or the Wynn, but equally as nice. It was a fully automated room. Everything was controlled by and iPad, including the curtains. They gave us and early check in but were unable to give us a late checkout – little bit of a let down. However, their online checkout system was very user friendly and you could access it from multiple devices. Their pool systems were more traditional. The pool side attendants really were lacking however. They seemed to not care and lack gumption- all except one. Carly saved our pool side experience. Her 4 seasons of working as a pool side server shone through and her guest service game was on par! She was able to explain all of the menu to us and had a great attitude – super approachable. She was someone we searched out which pool she was serving before we sat down. While the Aria has many great things to offer – due to our pool experience and the size of the room it really just fell flat and cane second on our list.

3.Caesar’s Palace- (7/10)

Caesar’s palace has many great things to offer. While we did end up getting married in their chapel and I would highly recommend shu as a wedding coordinator because she saved my sanity multiple times. Caesar’s really only ranks 3rd for us. Their wedding chapels are gorgeous and worth using. The wedding suit was huge. About the size of a medium sized studio apartment. The rooms here are definitely older, but they are clean and the staff is always friendly. Caesar’s also many options of things that their visitors can do (the shops, restaurants, and endless games). The room had many windows which for me is a huge deal – I always want more light in my room (comes from living in a winterized state for so long). We have not experienced the pools in Caesar’s except the winter and it was too cold to do much swimming. But in the summer they have a secluded European pool system and American pools. Everything is influenced by Roman architecture and is gorgeous. Due to it simply being an older hotel – this ranks as 3rd on our list.

4. The Wynn- (7/10)

The Wynn was the first hotel I stayed at on the strip and so because of the memories there it holds my heart but as a rated hotel it falls to the fourth on our list. The room we received was clean and spotless. It was a suit. The view lacked but that was ok. We didn’t get in early and it took longer for us to check in than it has anywhere else. The bed was perfectly fluffy and yet still firm enough. The entry area was stunning. They change the flowers regularly.

The next day they were different. It’s still one of my favorite hotels to walk through due to the flowers alone. The pool side service was excellent. Our attendant was very attentive and gracious. There was plenty of entertainment within this casino. While there are great memories the customer service was simply sub par to other service we received.

5. The Bellagio- (6/10)

The Bellagio is known around the world. Due to being featured in movies like the Oceans movies – it has built up a reputation for itself. I was disappointed. We had a decent check in and they gave a later checkout. However, the room was tiny and in completely dark tones. It only had a few windows and felt like a prison on some level. The decor was nice but very dated. They are known for their fountains – which I didn’t get a view of. It was very clear that The Bellagio really only provides rooms for crashing purposes because the casino part is huge. There’s plenty of games and it is evident they want you to only stay if you are gaming. This only disappointed me and I was very underwhelmed by my experience there. We did not experience the poolside service, perhaps that would have been our saving grace.

Overall, we have had some great experiences but I would highly recommend the newer casinos to stay in. They have more accommodation perks and were not disappointing at all. I’m sure the older casinos could be amazing but they need to be renovated and up dated.

Books · Reviews · School tips

The Art of Thinking: Truths Found from Poetry

Below I have encluded an explication of a passage that I wrote some time ago. I didn’t have long to write a post this week but I wanted to share something that I’m proud of and something that maybe another student will have to do. Hopefully it will be helpful and if not enlightening. I would recommend you all read the book – it’s extremely good.

 

An explication of a passage in Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

“I was learning the craft of poetry, which really was an intensive version of what my mother had taught me all those years ago – the craft of writing as the art of thinking. Poetry aims for an economy of truth – loose and useless words must be discarded, and I found that these loose and useless words were not separate from loose and useless thoughts. Poetry was not simply the transcription of notions – beautiful writing rarely is. I wanted to learn to write, which was ultimately, still, as my mother had taught me, a confrontation with my own innocence, my own rationalizations. Poetry was the processing of my thoughts until the slag of justification fell away and I was left with the cold steel truths of life.” (pg.51-52)

Throughout his book, Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates informs his son about his internal battle with his social position in the world as a young man. This passage correlates directly to his struggle with finding the truth. While he explains, earlier in his book, that he took time to study in the library for any answers he might need from outside sources, this passage informs the audience that he also looked intrinsically for the answers to the inner turmoil he experienced. Within the first sentence he informs his son that he learned poetry, which he says is an intensive rendition of what his mother taught him as a child. Earlier in the book he states that his mother always had him write down his questions and intrinsically search out reasons why he thought and acted the way he did. On page 51, Coates states that poetry forced him to do the same: to learn the art of thinking. He learned this art by confronting his own innocence and rationalizations, by forming poetry that helped him see the “cold steel truths of life”.

Many believe that poetry is something that is romantic. Something that can be read quickly, quietly, and without thought. Coates states that poetry is something different. He says it “aims for an economy of truth…” meaning that poetry is meant to utilize the truth, to be a stage on which truth is set. The word “economy” in this sentence means “the way in which something is managed” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. What Coates preposes is that poetry, even in its simplest form, is the essence of truth. He says that it discards “loose and useless words” even though they “…are not separate from loose and useless thoughts.” I believe that when he wrote this, the easiest way to understand what he meant is thus: poetry, while fluid and rythmic, is not filled with unnecessary words; even though, sometimes it may be filled by loose and sometimes useless thoughts and ideas. That is to say, on occasion, poetry is simply meant for the beauty it provides and not always to provoke deep thoughts. Coates concludes by saying that “Poetry was not simply the transcription of notions – beautiful writing rarely is.” This statement infers the idea that Coates believed that most poetry was founded on great ideas, profound thoughts, and the cornerstone of the writers beliefs, ideals, or morals. The way in which Coates expresses his understanding of poetry is that of a direct, flowing, and rhythmic way to understand one’s own innocence and rationalizations. 

He expresses his desire to learn to write in a way which he was taught – to confront his own innocence and rationalizations. As he stated in the beginning of the passage “…the craft of writing as the art of thinking…” Coates understands, as most great poets and writers do, that the craft of writing is to think. Anyone can obtain the ability to write, but few can obtain the art of thinking. A craft is something that is learned – a trade that is taught by someone. The arts are something that is a passion, a process by which someone works until they have perfected what they do to make it beautiful and alluring to others. What is to be understood from this particular part of the passage is that, in order to write well and influence others, one must think critically and be willing to challenge everything known to them. Coates states that he wanted to confront his own innocence and rationalizations, he understood that in order to understand the world, and to better understand the way in which he was to function within it, he needed to challenge what he knew. Coates understood that innocence and rationalizations will pass away and he seeks to do it himself through his own intrinsic searching, through the art of thinking, and the craft of writing. 

In the last sentence of his passage, Coates states that “Poetry was the processing of my thoughts until the slag of justification fell away and I was left with the cold steel truths of life.” The implication that stems from this particular sentence is that by leaving behind the “loose” and “useless” words, Coates was able to better direct his thoughts. He talks of the “… slag of justification..” this could be a reference back to his rationalizations that he spoke of earlier and wanted to confront. When he mentions the “slag of justification” falling away, it is easy to understand that he means all his rationalizations came to nothing and from that he was able to move forward to what was left. Slag refers to the substance. This means that all the basis of his justifications fell away. Coates was able to, without his rationalization or justifications, understand these “cold steel truths of life”.

Coates talks about the “cold steel truths of life” that he was left with after his justifications, rationalizations, and innocence fell away in the last part of this passage. While there are many truths to life, due to the context of this book, it could be argued that he understood these truths to be the way in which life would continue for him. He could also be referring to the manner in which society treated African Americans and how he believed it was unlikely to change. Whatever these truths are, he describes them as being cold as steel. A visualization to the reader that these truths are unforgiving and unbending, like steel bars on an iron cage. These are the answers he has been searching for, but it is clear from his description of them – they are not the ones he wants. 

Through his passage Coates brings to life what poetry can be for a writer. It can be a way to weedle out the unnecessary words and ideas, and simply come to the truth. It helps the writer to wrestle with questions they may not otherwise think of asking themselves. And it gives direction to the answers and, potentially, to the truth. Poetry is the best form of writing; the best available way to learn the art of thinking, a way to find the truth.

 

Works Cited

 

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me. First edition. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2015.

 

“economy, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2018. Web. 18 July 2018.

 

Oxford English Dictionary

“Islamophobia, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, July 2018. Web. 22 October 2018.

New York Times – “Arabian Knights” song; July 14, 1993

https://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/14/opinion/it-s-racist-but-hey-it-s-disney.html

Daily Life · Family · Relationships

5 Of The Best Relationship Tips

Everybody has trouble with relationships. Most of the best movies or books revolve around this fact – interpersonal relationships.

I would be lying if I didn’t say that I haven’t had my share. I’m not perfect, I’ve failed miserably at times. I won’t lie to you – I’ve been divorced, in failed relationships, fights, remarried and still have battles.

Many people would say that this makes me inqualified to speak on relationships – why listen to someone who couldn’t do it right the first time? I’ll tell you something – something everyone knows but no one says aloud. The ones who failed the first times are the ones we listen to on a daily basis – they know what mistakes not to make.

Think about this – Humanity learned from people who made mistakes: 

Benjamin Franklin found electricity due to a failed attempt of putting a key to a kite.

Thomas Eddison – He had over 1000 unsuccessful tries at making a light bulb. He finally found one.

Amelia Earhart gave her life trying to fly across the atlantic and failed – other people learned, followed, and succeeded.

My point is – I may seem unqualified because of 1 unsuccessful attempt but learning and growing is part of my nature. It’s made me who I am. All this to say – I’ve learned what I’m about to share with you. 5 basic relationship tips to help you succeed.

  1. Not Every Battle is Worth Fighting –

Fighting takes a lot of energy. It drains you dry. I’ve learned that peace is better in my household. There are some battles that I will fight out right but most of them, if I sit quietly long enough, my husband will fight in his own mind. Sometimes it’s more worth it if I simply allow him to figure out he is wrong than blatently saying he is, please don’t misunderstand me – when he asks – I will honestly tell him what I think. This doesn’t mean that I need to vocalize it at every moment though. Save your energy – ask questions that prompt introspection from them and they will figure it out on their own.

2. Basic Respect – 

Everyone wants to be respected. Basic respect comes in several forms – some I’m still learning. Listening instead of talking over, not correcting in public, and following someone elses lead are great ways to show respect. Even when my husband is wrong and I know it – I try to listen and not talk over him. I try not to correct him in public – even in front of his own family, and when he directs me to something – I try to follow his lead (as long as it’s in a decent and correct direction). When he asks for my opinion in public I try to word it as politely as possible so that he can understand where I’m coming from and that I don’t agree with him.

3. Compromise – 

Life is compromise. Give and Take. Yin and Yang. Everything is about balance. When it comes to relationships – it’s important to compromise. Sometimes it’s about housework, sometimes it’s going out. For us it’s about purchases, items that we can enjoy outside of work. My husband encourages my good habits – blogging (I got my own domain last night!!!), I encourage his gaming or collecting of figurines. Everyone has their own hobbies and it’s important to find balance and make compromises so that each person gets to keep theirs.

4. They Only Get One Family-

This may seem strange but I’ve had two mother-in-laws in my life. The first, while I tried to be nice and respectful was a real trial for me. The second (My current mother-in-law) is a fair woman. She is my back up. Many times I don’t need to correct my husband because my MIL (Mother-in-law) does it for me. He listens to her far more avidly than he listens to me (not in a bad way) but she is his mother. Many times I can go to her with the problem I’m having with him and she will interceed and help him understand when I can’t. I try to encourage him to spend time with her and also with all his family. You only get one and then it’s over. Family is important and it’s important to keep those relationships up evern when you are married.

5. Stop Expecting…… – 

This is probably the best advice I can give to you – stop having expectations. Life isn’t built on them and you will only be disappointed. I had a revelation the other day when I was irritated with my hubby. I was mad but I was mad because he wasn’t acting the way I expected him to, he was acting the way he had always acted. At some point – you need to stop being irritated because the person is acting the way they always have and not conforming to what you want. It’s kind of freeing – they might grow and change but it won’t be through your expectations and when you stop expecting than you can start forgiving. Forgiving brings healing and healing brings you closer together.

Conclusion: 

I’m no expert. I have, however, found that these tips make all the difference. I have a happier, simpler marriage than some of the others I see. Following these steps and find a simpler form of living. Enjoy the relationships again and hey – if after practicing all these it still isn’t working – maybe it’s time to think about other things…. But that’s another post.

Have tips and tricks? Drop me a Note: