A manifesto worth reading

As I was strolling through my favorite blogs, I happened upon The ZBA Manifesto written by Marc Lessor (the author of Z.B.A., Zen of Business Administration). Thanks Hip Tranquil Chick for alerting me to this creed. I absolutely heart this manifesto. And I don’t think you need to be Buddhist to glean its value. Check it out below.


ZBA Manifesto

ZBA Manifesto

  1. It’s okay not to know. It’s okay to be vulnerable. No one has all the answers. We value and learn from the questions and the asking.
  2. We are learning to appreciate the mystery and sacredness of our lives and the mystery and sacredness of life.
  3. Life is short. There is no escape from old age, sickness, and death. Death is a great teacher. Recognizing the shortness of our lives provides motivation to live fully in each day and in each moment.
  4. We understand the importance of taking regular quiet time for ourselves. Through reflection and by slowing down we develop an appreciation for life and we increase our capacity for understanding.
  5. We are learning to trust our inner wisdom. Our bodies and minds are amazing, unexplainable, and unfathomable.
  6. It’s okay to be uneasy, to be uncomfortable, to grieve, to feel pain. Recognizing when something is off, feeling the depth of loss, experiencing pain, is the first step toward change and growth.
  7. Practice active listening — listening deeply to yourself and to others. Listen to others without formulating your own ideas. Listen to yourself before speaking.
  8. We all seek balance in our lives — balancing work and family, balancing our inner and outer lives, balancing what we want to do and what we must do.
  9. We are learning that we can be fully ourselves in all situations — at work, as parents, as children, as friends, as lovers.
  10. Being ourselves at work is vital to our health and happiness. Our time is too valuable to sell, at any price.
  11. Each moment is precious. In every moment we have an opportunity to discover, to grow, to speak the truth.
  12. Each moment is ordinary. In every moment we can realize we are fine, just as we are. Nothing else is needed.
  13. We appreciate what is paradoxical. What may at first seem contradictory or beyond our understanding may be true. After all, who is it that is breathing? Who is it that dreams? How is it that these hands effortlessly glide along this keyboard?
  14. Age is a state of mind. We have the opportunity to grow to be more like ourselves every day.
  15. Developing intimate relationships is a vital part of our lives and our development. Intimacy requires openness, honesty, and vulnerability.
  16. Real, honest open communication is highly valued — and takes real skill and effort.
  17. When we slow down and learn to trust ourselves, joy arises naturally.
  18. When we slow down and learn to trust ourselves, creativity arises naturally.
  19. Self-knowledge and understanding require persistence and perseverance. Developing awareness and balance is an ongoing, unending process.
  20. Self-knowledge and understanding require discipline. Whatever path we take requires structure, guidelines, and feedback.
  21. Self-knowledge and understanding require courage.
  22. Diversity is essential. Our differences enrich our lives. There is no “other,” just as our right hand is not a stranger to our left hand.
  23. A simple rule to follow is do good, avoid harm. Of course, this is not simple or easy.
  24. There are many paths and many practices toward developing awareness and personal growth.
  25. Our everyday lives and activities provide fertile ground for developing growth and understanding.
  26. We can learn to appreciate the gifts we’ve received from our parents and to forgive them. We understand on a deep level all we have received from the generations that have come before us.
  27. We feel a deep responsibility for our children and for the generations that will come after us.
  28. We can all act as change agents. We can choose to take action in improving and healing our environment and our society. There is no shortage of issues to address, of healing to take place.
  29. We are all change agents on a personal level — we either create healing amongst those we live and work with or we create stress.
  30. We can choose to act as change agents in relation to our communities.
  31. We can choose to act as change agents in relation to our society or on a global level.
  32. Everything we hold as dear will one day change and disappear. Every business that now exists will one day cease. Every person now alive will one day die.
  33. At a deep level, we realize that we are neither in control nor not in control. Our task is to paddle the boat, with awareness and integrity. The flow of the river is outside our doing.
  34. We all have the power to find peace and happiness in the midst of change and impermanence.
  35. We have the power to heal ourselves, our communities, and our planet.


The Caramel Bella

Shorts for studs?

Shorts for studs?

Shorts for studs?

Apparently, there is a new trend in office wear – shorts for men. In an article published in today’s New York Times, men are now showing off their knees and ankles at work. To this Caramel Bella, this increased degree of male bareness at work looks a bit scary. I was wondering what the rest of you think. Check out the pictures and weigh in on the poll.



The Caramel Bella

CB Thought: Dream Wildly

Dream wildly. Would you rather have a “rational” life that makes sense and works for everyone else? Or an “irrational” one that is just what you dreamed of?

Erykah Badu in White Patchouli ads

Tom Ford is launching a new fragrance called White Patchouli. And the beautiful, Grammy Award-winning singer and neo-soul diva, Erykah Badu, will grace a series of black and white ads for the product. Patchouli is a hippy, bohemian ingredient that will match Ms. Eccentric herself. The perfume will be available in September.

Badu is quoted on the style.com blog as crediting the collaboration to a “mutual respect and admiration” between herself and the former Gucci group designer. “I trusted him to pair my image with a fragrance that was exquisite, and he did that and more,” she says. “I look forward to working with him again.”

Although I am a Clinique “Happy” or “Chanel #22″ girl, I plan to give it a whiff.


The Caramel Bella

New York star sighting – A.J. Calloway

Okay, so I let the cat out of the bag about my other New York city star sighting. Two weekends ago, while another friend of mine was in town, we headed down to Soho for a day of shopping and people watching. After getting our fill of spending money, we noticed a great Italian restaurant, Ciprani, with outside seating – just perfect for people watching. And the food looked soo yummy. After requesting a menu and scanning it for something to order and looking at the prices (We learned to do that in NY after sitting down at a restaurant that not only didn’t take our favorite friend VISA but also had nothing we wanted to eat.), we got a great outside table.

Well, who would you think walked by and requested a table, the gorgeous A.J. Calloway, best known for his previous job as host on B.E.T.’s 106 & Park with fly girl, Free. He left that gig years ago and now works for Extra as their New York city correspondent. Anyhoo, Mr. Tall & Handsome, sans dreads, sat down right next to us and struck up major conversation. He was so handsome that I had to remind myself – you are a married woman (LOL). (And single bellas out there, I think he is married too.) So we spent half of our early dinner chatting away with Mr. TV himself. We even joined in the conversation briefly with his two friends that arrived later on. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day in Soho. It’s funny how conversation and attention from a great looking guy makes a bella feel even more beautiful!

The Caramel Bella

West Coaster turns New Yorker….Danyel Smith of VIBE

Here is a great article on New York magazine’s blog – 21 Questions about VIBE Editor in Chief, Danyel Smith. She is a west coaster turned New Yorker. What an interesting concept! The piece is posted below. (And I must say… 42 looks good on Ms. Smith.)
Age: 42 Neighborhood: Work: Murray Hill; home: Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Occupation: Editor-in-chief, Vibe magazine; vice-president/editorial director, Vibe Media Group; author of the novels More Like Wrestling (Crown, 2003), and Bliss (Crown, 2005).
Who’s your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional? Lena Mary Calhoun Horne.
What’s the best meal you’ve eaten in New York? Fancy? Babbo. Almost always? Salmon cakes and grits at the Usual on Vanderbilt, in Brooklyn.
In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job? Ask and answer questions.
Would you still live here on a $35,000 salary? I did.
What’s the last thing you saw on Broadway? If I hadn’t just seen Terrence Howard in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, it would be Fantasia in The Color Purple. Before that, it was waaaaaay back when Stockard Channing was in The Little Foxes.
Do you give money to panhandlers? Yes, even more, when I’m sad.
What’s your drink? A Jameson and ginger ale. With a cherry if times are happy.
How often do you prepare your own meals? More often than not. I’m from California, so even after fifteen years here, “takeout” remains a phrase for quotation marks or italics.
What’s your favorite medication? Aleve and Turner Classic Movies cure most everything.
What’s hanging above your sofa? We can see Prospect Park. Kinda.
How much is too much to spend on a haircut? When you only get two a year, you can splurge.
When’s bedtime? When does the last episode of any version of Law & Order, on any channel, end? And does my DVR count?
Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square? I know old Times Square only from the movies. But I do like that Dave & Buster’s.
What do you think of Donald Trump? I wish he would call me with some real-estate advice. I’d be able to really see Prospect Park.
What do you hate most about living in New York? That the subway system is not exactly like Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in Northern California.
Who is your mortal enemy? Time!
When’s the last time you drove a car? Everyone snaps on me because I’m from the West, and I should know how to, but I don’t know how to drive. That said, the last time I drove a car was seven years ago in Hollywood.
Who should be the next president? A genius pragmatist with a poet’s heart.
Times, Post, or Daily News? Nytimes.com.
Where do you go to be alone? Walking. From Barnes & Noble to City Bakery to McNally Robinson to Sugar Sweet Sunshine Bakery to … well, on and on like that.
What makes someone a New Yorker? Being cool with not having real space. And knowing, on the morning of September 11, 2001, in the sunny comfort of my parents’ den in California, that even if it’s about Amtrak, it’s time to get — immediately — home to Brooklyn.
The Caramel Bella

Style Icon — Madonna

I’ve always been a BIG fan of Madonna’s. And truthfully speaking, I still am. Ever since the famous songs “Like a Virgin” and “Material Girl” were released, I was smitten. She is a style, creativity, entertainer and powerful woman icon. In the dictionary under the words “not afraid to be herself” would be her picture. Although you may not agree with all of her albums or even all of her behaviors (like is she really dating A. Rod?), you have to admit- the woman is true to herself. And that is the best that most of us can even hope for.

So, if you are a fan like I am, check out Vanity Fair’s slideshow of Madonna. She has graced the pages of this style magazine since 1986. And if you aren’t a believer of her style power now, you will be after checking out this piece.

And here is Madonna (almost 50 years old) with Justin Timberlake in her recent hit, 4 minutes. Enjoy!

The Caramel Bella

CNBC Star – Erin Burnett

As some of my bestest (yes, I know it’s not a word) friends know, I am the star apprentice at CNBC this summer – destined for greatness. Hey, if I don’t say it who will. (This is the subtle art of positive thinking and affirmation at work.) Anywoo, one of our anchors, Erin Burnett, has made to the limelight. The New York Times wrote an article about her on Sunday, July 20th entitled, “Needing a Star, CNBC Made One.” Check it out.

Ms. Burnett has achieved my goal – becoming a TV anchor and reporter success. And she is all that she appears to be – beautiful, smart, friendly and full of smiles for everyone she encounters. I wish her the best and I hope to follow in her fortune-laden footsteps.

The Caramel Bella

Great next step.

While perusing through some of my favorite blogs, I often come across great pics. I stole (read: borrowed) this picture from SoulPretty. Thanks bella!

Anyhoo! Aren’t these steps great? Funky! Classic! Retro. Maybe in my next home.


The Caramel Bella

Ode to Los Angeles…

Today is Fabulous Friday. I call it that because all Fridays are just superb. The weekend plans always look bright. Instead of a usual post, I thought I would talk about missing Los Angeles for a bit.

To be honest, I never thought I would miss Los Angeles or at least as much as I do. I’m not an LA native but definitely a westerner by birth. However, before moving to Los Angeles, I spent 12 years on the east coast. I regress… So, of course, I miss the hubby, the puppy and my home but I also just miss Los Angeles. Here are a couple of things that I miss about LA.

1. The ever dependable sunny day. Need I say more? Gray skies just don’t appeal to me.
2. Dry heat. I am not a fan of humidity although I know it is good for the skin. And it makes my straight hair frizzy and my curly hair puffy! And my face and skin feel like I need a bath on a high humidity day. Give me my dry 80 degrees any day.
3. I never have to look at the weather channel. It is either warm, really warm, or super warm.
4. The laidback nature of almost everyone you come across. (Although this no-rush attitude can be a bit bothersome when you are in a rush or need something quick in a restaurant or store, I have come to appreciate the “no worries” perspective versus the “I have super attitude” ‘tude.
5. People are generally happy. This item piggybacks on number 3. In NYC, many people seem unhappy, bothered and sometimes outright angry. The “F” word is a part of the everyday vernacular. (I hope it’s not contagious.)

6. The LA roads. Strangely, I miss the ability to use my car everywhere I go. Some people enjoy a subway or bus – not this caramel bella. Give me my car any day. Maybe it is something about controlling my surroundings and air conditioning.
7. Along with number 6, I miss the glorious valet. In Los Angeles, parking is never a big issue because there is always a valet ready to take your car upon arrival. It is the little things that make you feel like royalty.
8. Beaches close by. Just knowing that I can get to the beach in less than 20 minutes is a wonderful feeling.
9. Palm trees line the streets. If you squint really hard and look past the LA smog, you might look like you are in the Caribbean.
10. Anything is possible vibe. Los Angeles has this dreamer’s energy to it. People come to Los Angeles with dreams of doing something – acting, modeling, starting a business or just re-making themselves. There is something invigorating and hopeful about that energy.
11. Metaphysical place. Believe it or not, Los Angeles is the spot for all things spiritual. You can find a Buddhist, Mormon, Christian, Jew, Hindu worship centers all in about a 5 block radius. 12. Diversity. Although Los Angeles can be a bit segregated (by neighborhood), the diversity cannot be overlooked. There are so many different types of people by ethnicity
13. Come as you are. There is no need to get dressed up or feel like a certain attire is required in LA. Jeans are welcome everywhere. I love that. No matter where you go or what you do, wardrobe is never an issue. And it also inspires a fashion freedom only found in Europe. (Of course, that is my opinion.)
14. Pedigree not as important. On the east coast, where you go to school and where you work is of utmost importance. Not the case on the West side. Instead of starting a conversation with “oh, so where do you work?” or “what do you do?” The more common question is “do you yoga?” “do you surf?” or “what do you do on the weekends?” Feel free to insert any outside activity or hobby in place of yoga or surfing. Again, Los Angeles is about who you want to be. Your job and education don’t define you. You define you. I love that..

Oh, how I miss Los Angeles but will do my best to relish every single New York day. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Post a comment and enjoy your Friday!


The Caramel Bella



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my luvs

My Maltese puppy; lazy Sunday mornings; a day at the Beach; Yoga; breakfast anytime of the day; my gurls (and you know who you are); my family (I’m a daddy’s girl); making new friends; Los Angeles & Washington, DC; ocean views; Anguilla; healthy foods that don’t taste healthy; politics; "greenie" things; meditating; natural curls and movies.

Things that work my nerves

Bad drivers, cranky and moody people, lack of sleep, crime, filth

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  • profileCARAMEL BELLA: This is my place to write about my adventures and mis-adventures in this thing called life. I discuss my passions: the environment, politics, art & culture, writing as well as yoga, health and spirituality. The one thing you can expect from this blog is that it is not what you expected. Thanks for reading! To reach me email thecaramelbella at gmail.



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