Archive for July, 2012

July 31, 2012

Introducing Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York

I wanted to share a special blog with you all that is was originally posted in my DA Weddings blog, but because the subject is a successful wife and “momprenuer” I knew she’d be a perfect fit and inspiration for you all.  So now I present to you: Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York!

Today I’d like to introduce to you Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York.  Hopefully, this isn’t the first time you’ve heard about her, although this is her first debut on DA Weddings.  Since 2004, Ceci has been building a fabulous empire of charming sophistication, bespoke (custom made) pieces, and all-around luxury that no one can deny.  Her empire–namely as it concerns invitations–is built on creations that will absolutely have you in raptures over the beautiful, bespoke designs.

About Ceci

Ceci is stunningly beautiful, refreshingly original, and amazingly multi-faceted individual without whom the world of weddings, fashion, and design would be lacking that certain something that only she can offer.  As a contributing editor and blogger for many sites such as Style Me Pretty and frequently featured in various publications such as Town & CountryBRIDESMartha StewartElegant BrideElleInStyle, and many others, Ceci has very decidedly created her own voice in the creative industries as a trustworthy name, luxury brand, and true designer.  To learn more about Ceci Johnson, please see here.

About Ceci New York & Ceci Weddings

Ceci New York was the artiste’s first venture.  The company, founded in 2004, is a one-of-a-kind luxury invitation brand catering to royalty, A-list celebrities, corporate clientele, as well as other high profile individuals and brands.

Her techniques are fresh breath of air in a sea of designers who rely heavily on templates and other cookie-cutter type design processes.  All of the designs created by Ceci New York are high-end, ornate, “things” of beauty that any bride or other stationary-seeking individual would be thrilled to have.  To view her exclusive line of Ceci Weddings invitations, please visit her site.

About CeciStyle 

CeciStyle is a weekly “style letter” absolutely brimming with inspiration, education, and always—sophistication.  In it she utilizes her graphic design and visual styling experience gives expert advice on style, entertainment ideas, last-minute gift ideas, and much, much more.  From fashion and décor to invitations and weddings, CeciStyle is a place for you the be enthralled by it all.  Subscribe to CeciStyle today!

Awards & Accolades

Ceci’s vast industry experience and reach has allotted her some very much deserved awards and accolades, some of which include:

  • “25 Top Trendsetters” by Modern Bride
  • “Expert Stationer” by New York Magazine
  • “Invitation Innovator” by WEtv

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Ceci also serves as a spokeswoman for several networks, a panel expert for Wedding Central, a frequent television guest, as well as globetrotting speaker on branding and style to brides and industry professionals alike.

Ceci Johnson’s incredible taking of all that is wedding, style, and sophistication is truly a testament to her unique, creative abilities.  Be inspired by Ceci’s incredible and decorative abilities today, you won’t be sorry!

For more information and inspiration by Ceci Johnson, please visit her website or follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

For Ceci Weddings Pricing, see here.

Original DA Weddings Post: “Introducing Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York

Previous Post: “Your Cake & Eat It Too!” (Of Marissa Mayer)

If you would like to use this post, feel free!  Just be sure to include this blurb with today’s blog:

Desiree M. Mondesir is the CEO and Founder of Desired Assistance or “DA” virtual writing and editing company which also encompasses DA Inspires, DA WeddingsDA Luxury and her self-titled authoress blog.  As a dedicated writer and entrepreneur, Desiree seeks to inspire the imagination, educate her readers, and challenge the toxic mindsets of individuals all over the world.  Sign up for a FREE subscription at www.dainspires.wordpress.com

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July 26, 2012

Your Cake & Eat It Too!

I’m sure many of you have heard of the new Yahoo CEO, Marissa Mayer: the former Google exec with a new appointment and a new addition—or at least a new addition on the way.   She seems to have it all.  But is it really possible?  Can she really have it all?

Women, true to form, have lauded and lashed out against her, at least verbally.  Some like me—and hopefully you—are thrilled for her new position and wish her God’s absolute best, but others, either afraid that she will fail or hope that she will fail, respond with jealousy and anger.  It’s very likely those in the “old boy’s club” are not too thrilled about Mayer’s appointment, but as women, we should be doing everything in our power to support her.  If she can’t rely on us, then who can she rely on?

Supporting Marissa as Christians

First of all, as women who are also entrepreneurs and writers, we should support Marissa Mayer because it is the godly thing to do.  Jealously and envy have no place in the Christian woman, neither do plotting and scheming against anyone.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God,” (Galatians 5:19-21 emphasis mine).

Paul teaches the Galatians, a sect of Celtic [Gaul] Christians of the time, that there are many acts which will cause us to miss heaven and among them are:

  • Hatred
  • Contentions
  • Jealousies
  • Outbursts of Wrath
  • Selfish Ambitions
  • Dissensions
  • Envy
  • Murders [Slander, Character Assassination]

When we partake in these actions, we throw off the image of God and put on an entirely other and ugly image.  No wonder the men likely don’t respect poor Marissa!  Women don’t, so why should they?

We should be focusing, rather on good thoughts or good “energy” as the world calls it as far as Marissa is concerned.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.  Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:22-26).

We should instead be displaying these godly traits:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Longsuffering [Patience]
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Faithfulness
  • Gentleness
  • Self-Control

The fruit of the spirit is what we should be walking in towards Marissa and others like her.

Supporting Marissa as Fellow Women

We should also support Marissa because her success can be ours as well.  If and when she succeeds, that could mean phenomenal things for women who work.  We can have mom-friendly work environments where women will not have to be afraid to take babies to the doctor’s office, attend school recitals, and even turn the Blackberrys and iPhones off at a certain time.  We can create and support environments where women don’t have to be scared to become pregnant and increase their families for fear of being fired.  Who knows?  Maybe woman, wife, and mom-friendly work environments will cause us to be better at all of those jobs as well as simultaneously becoming better at work and in society as a whole.  Who wouldn’t want that kind of environment?

It’s lovely and very desirable to have a husband who is the breadwinner; however, some of us have destinies to complete outside of our first position as wife and mother so we should do everything we can to support a seamless relationship between home and work by supporting the Marissas of the world.

It is possible to have it all, just like the Proverbs 31 Woman did.  However, it will be easier on all of us if we work together or at least support each other when we are awarded fantastic positions, make new acquisitions, soar to new heights, and yes, become pregnant for the first time at age 37.  Marissa Mayer must already be a phenomenal woman to accomplish what she has, so let’s make sure that her growing baby will live in a world that understands it is ok for a woman to succeed in the home and out.  Let’s bless Marissa and in turn, be blessed ourselves!

Related Post: “How to Balance Motherhood and Career (if You’re Not Marissa Mayer” by FORBES Magazine

Previous Post: “Beauty AND Brains

 

If you would like to use this post, feel free!  Just be sure to include this blurb with today’s blog:

Desiree M. Mondesir is the CEO and Founder of Desired Assistance or “DA” virtual writing and editing company which also encompasses DA Inspires, DA WeddingsDA Luxury and her self-titled authoress blog.  As a dedicated writer and entrepreneur, Desiree seeks to inspire the imagination, educate her readers, and challenge the toxic mindsets of individuals all over the world.  Sign up for a FREE subscription at www.dainspires.wordpress.com

July 18, 2012

Beauty AND Brains

Esther, like Daniel, the three Hebrew Princes, Joseph, and her cousin-uncle Mordecai, found herself in the court of a foreign king.  Her people were brought to the Babylonian kingdom, soon overtaken by the Medes and Persians, and under the rule of Xerxes I a.k.a. Ahasuerus.

Esther’s Dual Captivity

Ahasuerus’ wife, Vashti, embarrassed him in front of his likely drunk princes, government officials, and military men by not appearing and thus bought herself and one-way ticket to former “queendom”.  Beautiful virgins were taken from all over the empire and dragged to the royal citadel to become part of the king’s harem in hopes that one of them would be worthy enough to land the newly vacant role of Queen.  Esther, formally known as “Hadassah”, was among these women.

Now most PG-rated ministers will tell you that the king simply wanted to look at the women, pick who was prettiest, and make her queen.  They would be wrong.  The king spent one night—not sleeping—with each virgin, allowing them to cross over from the virgin’s harem to the experienced women’s harem to remain indefinitely until the king called them by name.

This, as I’m sure you know, is against everything Christians and Jews—especially ancient, traditional Jews—believe in.  Sleeping with a man you were not formally married to or at least not considered married until after the [sexual] intercourse took place; marrying a foreigner, etc.  There were rules against that kind of thing.  And yet God allowed it.  Could it be that the king’s acquisition of Esther was made to mirror the acquisition of the entire people?  The prophet Jeremiah prophesied time and time again that those who gave in to the Babylonian captivity would flourish and be blessed while those who resisted it brought themselves under a curse (Jeremiah 29).  Likewise, had Esther fought the king and his servants or allowed herself to sink into the depths of despair, then she would have missed her blessing and ultimately been destroyed.  But Esther knew her God.

Esther’s Smarts

Another Babylonian “acquisition”, Daniel knew the benefit of knowing his God as well.

“But the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits,” (Daniel 11:32).

Like Daniel, Esther understood that her situation was not traditional or even desirable, but she also understood that she could choose to make the most out of it and allow God to do “exploits” through her.

Esther put on a positive attitude and through her amiability, God gave her favour with the eunuch who ran the entire harem.  It was he that instructed her on what she should wear for her encounter with the king.  I don’t know if the king liked a certain kind of jewelry, perfume, Medo-Persian lingerie or what, but whatever the eunuch gave Esther to wear, she apparently wore it very well and I believe that her willingness to adapt and learn coupled with her optimism and favour was what moved the king to select her.  Of course, God’s hand was in all of this from the beginning; however, Esther played her part in the grand scheme of things very well.

Eventually, Esther won favour that had her king-husband overruling himself, countering edicts, and offering her up to half his kingdom on multiple occasions.  Needless to say, Esther had Ahasuerus in the palm of her hand.  I can imagine that they had a very long, happy life together despite his non-Jewish heritage and religion.  God absolutely used Esther “for such a time as this” and through her position and favour, allowed her to save alive her entire captive people and set the stage for Nehemiah and Ezra to lead the people back to Israel.  Today, Esther’s tomb is still guarded and lauded by the Muslim, sworn enemies of Israel and Christianity in Modern day Persia [Iran] despite her Jewish-captive status.  If that isn’t a lasting legacy, I don’t know what is.

Take a Cue from Esther

What I love about Esther was that she was not religious; that would have cost her her life or at least her favour in the royal harems and court.  Esther was discerning with her faith; she knew when to keep it to herself and when to display it.  She also did not employ manipulation, fear, or mere beauty to get what she wanted.  If she had, her favour and position never would have lasted.  Esther chose instead to use her brains.  Yes, her beauty was absolutely a tool and benefit, but it was not all she had.  I dare say there were other, prettier girls in the harem with her, but something about her caused her to stand out.

What do you have in your possession?  As women, especially in the corporate world, we are encouraged to act or dress a certain way that will attract the desired attention and help us up the corporate ladder.  That is not God’s way; it’s manipulation.  Then there is the other extreme who try to equate themselves to men, take no care for their appearance or even hide it, attempting to force the men around them to see only their work and not their face or form.  This doesn’t work too well either.  It is possible to be a successful female entrepreneur and businesswoman whilst being attractive and well-dressed.

Your appearance can be an asset to you just like it was to Esther, but don’t let that be the end; allow it to only be a means to an end.  Think like this “people notice me because of how I look”, (be realistic, not arrogant), “but I will allow it to be a platform for my true gifts and talents”.

Numerous times in the past when I would apply for particular jobs, the hiring managers would verbalize their desire to hire me because of how I looked.  Even back in high school a guest speaker informed me that she would trust me as a [future] wedding planner because of how I looked and presented myself.  And just the other day, a movie executive interested in helping me publish my first book told me that my “great name” was one of the benefits that place me ahead of other aspiring authors.  And guess what?  I have the knowledge and expertise to back up those beauty and name-based remarks.

So again I ask you: what do you have?  Maybe you’re like me and have a good-looking outer shell in your favour.  This also means that many people have probably underestimated you because of your beauty; story of my life.  Most people have no clue of the God-ideas and depth that are within me.

A few weeks ago I participated in a conference call with Marshawn Evans, marketplace mentor and reinvention strategist, who recalled a time when an ex-boyfriend of hers doubted her ability to write a professional column for a magazine saying, “What are you going to write about?  You’re a pretty short book”.  WOW.  I’ve had a lot of things said to me in my day, but never anything so ugly.  Luckily for Marshawn, she’s written that column, SKIRTS in the Boardroom, had a successful law career, and now has a thriving branding and marketing business; all by her early 30s.  Sucks for him whoever he was.

Marshawn Evans

So for the last time, I ask you: what do you have?  Beauty is a God-given gift from the Father of Lights who desires that you use it for His glory (James 1:17).  That beauty will serve as a “foot in the door” which will lead to a platform to display the full set of gifts and talents God has given you as well.  Don’t be a Vashti and hide behind your religious convictions, false humility, and futile desire for the world to judge you based on your talents and not your beauty.  The world will see your outer shell before they ever give you the time to display what you are gifted to do.  Don’t fight it.  Go with the flow, put your trust in God, and allow Him to make you and Esther in your realm of influence!

For the entire story of Esther, see the Book of Esther.

Previous Post: “Wisdom in the Workplace

 

If you would like to use this post, feel free!  Just be sure to include this blurb with today’s blog:

Desiree M. Mondesir is the CEO and Founder of Desired Assistance or “DA” virtual writing and editing company which also encompasses DA Inspires, DA WeddingsDA Luxury and her self-titled authoress blog.  As a dedicated writer and entrepreneur, Desiree seeks to inspire the imagination, educate her readers, and challenge the toxic mindsets of individuals all over the world.  Sign up for a FREE subscription at www.dainspires.wordpress.com

July 12, 2012

Wisdom in the Workplace

Since we’ve been on a “captivity kick” lately, first with the four Hebrew boys and refusing the king’s negative influence, next with the young princes keeping the God-Factor, then with Joseph’s integrity, we’re going to continue the theme with Mordecai’s wisdom.  When most people think of the Book of Esther, they think of the woman’s fortitude or Haman’s anti-Semitism, but they don’t really think of Mordecai.  Yet he was truly a remarkable man.

Mordecai the Guardian

From the scriptures, we know that Mordecai was Esther’s elder cousin who raised her after the demise of her parents.  Some commentaries even think that he might have possibly been even raising her to be his wife.  Whatever the situation, Mordecai set his face to raise this young girl with godly morals, a level head, and a true sense of family.  He had no idea his little “Hadassah” would one day become the queen of the Medo-Persian Empire.  But Mordecai was not just a good Jew and family man; he was employed by the royal court of Ahasuerus.

Mordecai the Scribe

Mordecai sat in the king’s gate or court which meant that he was a man of intelligence and knowledge; very likely a scribe.  His wisdom of the Medo-Persian culture and palace life gave him the wisdom to counsel Hadassah into taking a Babylonian name, and not disclosing her lineage or religion.  It was also this wisdom—coupled with his palace access—that allowed him to save the king’s life.

“In those days, while Mordecai sat within the king’s gate, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, doorkeepers, became furious and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus.  So the matter became known to Mordecai, who told Queen Esther, and Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name.  And when an inquiry was made into the matter, it was confirmed, and both were hanged on a gallows; and it was written in the book of the chronicles in the presence of the king,” (2:21-23).

Mordecai reported an assassination attempt on Ahasuerus, the culprits were captured, and executed.  This was an excellent example of Mordecai’s wisdom.  And although it took him a while to be rewarded for it, he was when the timing was right.  And my, was it an honour!

“‘What shall be done for the man whom the king delights to honor?’….And Haman answered the king, ‘For the man whom the king delights to honor, let a royal robe be brought which the king has worn, and a horse on which the king has ridden, which has a royal crest placed on its head.  Then let this robe and horse be delivered to the hand of one of the king’s most noble princes, that he may array the man whom the king delights to honor.  Then parade him on horseback through the city square, and proclaim before him: “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!”’  Then the king said to Haman, ‘Hurry, take the robe and the horse, as you have suggested, and do so for Mordecai the Jew who sits within the king’s gate!  Leave nothing undone of all that you have spoken.’  So Haman took the robe and the horse, arrayed Mordecai and led him on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, ‘Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!’” (Esther 6:6-11).

This honour foreshadows the honour God would give him in the form ascension in government.

Mordecai’s wisdom is also shown in his unwavering faith to God—he refused to bow before the enemy of God’s people: Haman.

Haman, a descendant of the Amalekites and sworn enemies of the Jewish people, was the second highest man in all of the empire.  It ate him up that Mordecai refused to bow to him so he sought to take him out.  But God honoured Mordecai and in the end, Haman and his sons were hung on the very gallows he built for Mordecai.

Mordecai the Governor

Mordecai was made governor, a.k.a. “prime minister” over all the empire in place of Haman.  All that Haman had: his position, his authority, and his property was given to the man of God.  His position combined with the wisdom he instilled in Esther to conceal her ethnicity and religion until the right time was what preserved the entire Jewish population of the Medo-Persian Empire from destruction and brought about the Jewish celebration of Purim.  God justly and greatly compensated his son Mordecai for properly employing divine wisdom.

The Principal Thing

King Solomon, like Mordecai, knew the importance of wisdom.

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom.  And in all your getting, get understanding,” (Proverbs 4:7).

This means that whoever you are, whatever you do, wherever you work, you must get wisdom and understanding.  It could be the difference between a new client and a miss; a new business venture and a business failure; a promotion or a demotion.

Wisdom can steer you from bad investments, bad partners, bad employees, as well as bad people to share your dreams and aspirations with.  Wisdom gives you the discretion to temper your faith with your career and professional associates.  Proverbs is full of the promises that can be given due to the hearkening to and application of wisdom.  And just like Mordecai, God can and will prosper you in a “strange land” and you will flourish in your sphere of influence.  But you must exercise wisdom!

Previous Post: “Living a Life of Integrity

 

If you would like to use this post, feel free!  Just be sure to include this blurb with today’s blog:

Desiree M. Mondesir is the CEO and Founder of Desired Assistance or “DA” virtual writing and editing company which also encompasses DA Inspires, DA WeddingsDA Luxury and her self-titled authoress blog.  As a dedicated writer and entrepreneur, Desiree seeks to inspire the imagination, educate her readers, and challenge the toxic mindsets of individuals all over the world.  Sign up for a FREE subscription at www.dainspires.wordpress.com

July 4, 2012

Living a Life of Integrity

In the last two posts, we’ve been discussing Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael—the four Hebrew princes taken captive to Babylon.  We’ve discussed their spiritual resolve to not assimilate as well as the God-Factor, both of which allowed them to excel to the top positions in Babylonian government.

A Life of Integrity

Today, we’ll be discussing a similar prince in a similar situation.  Joseph, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, was transplanted against his will to Egypt, the empire that controlled the world at that time, as a mere slave.  Sold by his brothers to his distant cousins, the Ishmaelites and Midianites, they bought him to Egypt and sold the 17 year old to Potiphar, a chief officer in Pharaoh’s government.  For the full story, read Genesis 37; 39-47.

While in Potiphar’s home, he rose above all the other common slaves and slave masters until he became the governor of Potiphar’s estate.  His power was so widespread that the Bible tells us Potiphar only worried about what he had to eat (Genesis 39:6).  Potiphar did well to utilize Joseph’s talents in his home; unfortunately, Potiphar’s wife took notice of Joseph and believed him to have “special talents” as well.  So she threw herself at him.

This is where Joseph’s integrity and quality truly shined through.  Had Joseph forgotten his God and his integrity, he could have easily become puffed up with his talents and gifts without repentance that are without repentance (Romans 11:29), but Joseph feared the Lord and respected Potiphar, so he ran.

And what did Joseph get for his integrity?  Slammed in jail.  But God looked out for Joseph and even though he was technically a prisoner, he rose to the same position as governor in the prison.  The warden favoured Joseph so much so that he entrusted Pharaoh’s imprisoned cup bearer and baker into his care.

While in prison, both servants had two seemingly similar dreams, but with drastically different results.  God enabled the young man to interpret their dreams, and they came to past just as he said.  And what did Joseph get for prophesying the reinstatement of Pharaoh’s cupbearer?  Forgotten.  But God did not forget him.

Joseph’s integrity, paired with God’s favour, caused him to be brought before Pharaoh to describe and interpret two troubling dreams he had.  His gifts literally made room for him (Proverbs 18:16).  But not only that, his integrity with Potiphar and the prison warden enabled him to rise above his unfair lot in life.

God gave Joseph the description and interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams to Joseph which pleased Pharaoh, intimidated Pharaoh’s courtiers, and caused the young Hebrew to be promoted to the position of governor or prime minister over all the land of Egypt.  Most may believe that this is the end of Joseph’s testing, but that is not true.  The last true test involved how he treated his family after he’d ascended to the second highest throne in the land.

When a famine prophesied in Pharaoh’s dreams came to past, Joseph’s brothers were driven to Egypt to buy grain so their families wouldn’t starve.  He could have had them thrown them into jail without a moment’s thought if he had allowed himself to harbor unforgiveness in his heart.  He could have given them a punishment to fit the crime and it would have been just by man’s law, especially with all of Egypton his side.  But Joseph had integrity.  He tested his brothers, made sure his full blood-brother was still alive, blessed them, and bade them return to Egypt permanently.

In every level of testing, “from the pit to the palace”, Joseph never forgot his God or his integrity.  I would that so many of us were as steadfast!

Are You a Person of Integrity?

Joseph’s integrity seeped into every aspect of his life; in fact that is what the word denotes.  It means to be whole; the same through and through.  And the truth of the matter is, if Joseph did not have good character in one area, it would have eventually seeped into the other areas of his life.  Like a beverage spilling onto a pile of napkins, the liquid will not stay on the top, but seep further and further down until every layer of the pile is affected.  So what does your life look like?

Do you lie to your kids or spouse?  You’ll start to lie to your employees.  Do you list tax write-offs that shouldn’t technically be added to the list?  You’ll likely start mismanaging your company fund or finances.  Whatever your problem area is, you first need to admit that it is a problem or even a sin, depending on what the issue is. God can fix it if you let Him.  And when He does, you have the opportunity to right your wrongs and become true person of integrity.

When you operate in integrity, God will bless and favour you like He did Joseph.  Whether people acknowledge your character or not, God will and He will do it for all to see.  Choose now to live a life of integrity!

Previous Post: “Keeping the God-Factor

 

If you would like to use this post, feel free!  Just be sure to include this blurb with today’s blog:

Desiree M. Mondesir is the CEO and Founder of Desired Assistance or “DA” virtual writing and editing company which also encompasses DA Inspires, DA WeddingsDA Luxury and her self-titled authoress blog.  As a dedicated writer and entrepreneur, Desiree seeks to inspire the imagination, educate her readers, and challenge the toxic mindsets of individuals all over the world.  Sign up for a FREE subscription at www.dainspires.wordpress.com