Chocolate Vent’s Question of the Day – Which movie has aged surprisingly well?


#MondayMotivation: Every Year Needs a Plan!

The year has already taken off like a bat out of a cave!

I keep hearing from people who feel overwhelmed by crazy schedules, unrealistic deadlines, intrapersonal drama, and an endless stream of demands.

Because of that, I would like to:

1)    Focus on the biggest mistakes people make that exacerbate their stress level

2)    Suggest strategies to avoid those mistakes

3)    Challenge you to take a few small steps forward to start gaining some control over your time & productivity.

Pinpointing these mistakes should be helpful to everyone, no matter where you are in life. Once you identify these mistakes, you can avoid them and become much more productive in your career.

The beginning of the year is a great time to start with the first mistake many people make: assuming that the time management & strategies that worked for you in a previous stage of your career will continue to be effective in your current stage. For example, the workload, responsibilities, and pressures you had as a college student are different than those facing you as a full-time employee. I know that sounds pretty obvious, yet there are still people who don’t own an actual calendar. They are trying to keep everything they need to do in their head, have no concrete plans and their entire life strategy consists of waiting for large chunks of uninterrupted time to materialize so they can go on a productivity binge.

While this may have worked in college, large blocks of uninterrupted time are highly unlikely to come by as an adult. As a professional, you are expected to participate, perform, AND be productive – all at a high level. But without a proactive strategy, productivity is often the first thing that DOES NOT happen.

In order to accomplish all of these things, you must be absolutely clear about what work needs to get done to move your professional agenda forward, and you must be ruthless about making time for the one thing that matters most. I’m talking about strategically creating the space each week for activities that contribute to your long-term success (whatever those may be). In other words, busy days/weeks can easily fly by without much progress towards your long-term goals unless you do three things at the outset: 1) create a clear work plan, 2) commit yourself to daily activity towards that and 3) connect with a community of support and accountability.

Three Steps to a New Year of Success:

Step #1: Develop A Clear And Realistic Strategic Plan

Before the year really gets into full swing, set aside 30 minutes to develop a strategic plan for the next 4-6 weeks. Creating a strategic plan is easy — just start by listing your goals for the month and the tasks that are necessary to meet them. Then map these onto your calendar so that you know which blocks of time you will devote to each one. There’s a finite number of weeks in every month, so it’s critical to determine what specific weeks you will devote to each project on your list. A strategic plan will help you to clarify WHAT needs to be done and WHEN you will do it.

Step #2: Commit Yourself To At Least 30 Minutes of Productivity Every Day

I know I may sound like a broken record on this point, but I know that you can have an incredible breakthrough by simply committing to daily productivity, blocking that time out on your calendar, and showing up every day. If you haven’t tried it, all I can say is that this will not only consistently move you towards the completion of your goals, but it will also reduce your anxiety by aligning your daily schedule with your goals & personal mission.

Step #3: Connect With A Community of Support That Will Keep You Motivated And Accountable

While it is critical to have a clear strategic plan and execute it by working at it every day, the most important factor for success during a busy period is connecting with a community of support and accountability. Too many of us try to do everything alone and expect ourselves to be perfectly motivated and disciplined at all times. Not only is this unrealistic, but it’s also a recipe for isolation, alienation and frustration. To be honest, I love writing my blogs but a lot of times, I just don’t make time for it as much as I should. There are lots of different ways to create accountability structures, just pick the one that works best for you.

I hope the rest of this year brings each of you the clarity to define your goals, the persistence to work at it every day, and the joy that is found in making true progress!

Get Back in the Game


Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1, NIV)


Are you going through a tough time today? Are you sitting on the sidelines of life? God is saying, “Arise and get back in the game.” If a friend betrayed you, don’t go through life lonely. Go out and find some new friends. The right people are in your future. If you lost your job, don’t sit around complaining. Go out and find another job. When one door closes, God will always open another door. If you’re facing a health issue, fighting that sickness, don’t give up on life and start planning your funeral. Arise from that discouragement!

When God sees you do your part, He will do His part. He will give you a new life. That means He will restore your health, give you new opportunities, new relationships. He will give you a new perspective. You will see that even though it’s painful, it is not the end. Even though it was unfair, it is not over. There is still life after the sickness, life after the divorce, life after the bad break. A full life is still in front of you. Today, arise and let God’s glory shine all over you!


Father, thank You for Your grace and mercy on my life. I choose to rise and put my trust in You. I choose to get back in the game. Thank You, Lord, for accomplishing Your purposes in my life in Jesus’ name. Amen.

— Joel & Victoria Osteen

FOR MEN: 9 Gifts That Show A Woman You Have Class

Flowers and chocolates are a timeless hallmark, but don’t you want to get her something that will remind her just how much she means to you every time she looks at it? Here are some classier ideas for what to get that special woman in your life for her birthday, special occasion, or “just because”.

Shopping Spree

Most guys are pretty clueless when it comes to fashion, so unless you are up on the latest issue of Vogue or Runway, it might not be a good idea to buy her any clothes. A great way to get around your lack of expertise is to take her on a little shopping spree. She won’t have to pretend to love that awkward floral dress you bought her and you won’t make her feel self-conscious when you get her the wrong size.


Watches are timeless accessories. A beautiful watch can complement any woman’s outfit and when her mother sees it, she is going to know you are the exact kind of guy she wants her daughter to be dating. Watches for women come in a wide variety of styles and qualities. Be sure to do your homework before you buy and don’t feel like you have to break the bank to get her one that will wow her.

Take Her Out to Her Favorite Restaurant

A romantic dinner is a tried and true classic gift. It gives her a chance to get all fixed up and wear that new dress she just bought. One of the best aspects of a romantic dinner is opportunity to slide that jewelry box across the table before the check comes. The dinner-gift combo is sure to sweep her off her feet and make you look like a perfect gentleman.

Plan a Trip or Experience

Sometimes the best gifts are memories and experiences. Consider planning a romantic getaway even if it’s just a quick trip to the park for a picnic. Or, plan a spa day for her and her best girlfriends; planning an experience for your lady and her friends is a great way to make her happy and score major points with her inner circle. Ask any experienced husband and they will tell you this is one of the smartest gifts you can give.


Music is a universal language and often speaks the language of love. Every woman has a secret crush on a musician. Blow her away when you score front row seats to her favorite singer-songwriter. A gift like this shows that you remembered who her favorite artist is and that you are willing to put in the time and effort to know the real her.


Even if your wife or girlfriend says they don’t want jewelry, they probably do. It’s not uncommon for women to claim they don’t want jewelry because they don’t want you to think they are materialistic. Quality jewelry can last a lifetime and turn into an heirloom. Nothing tells her that you have class more than a new beautiful watch or set of diamond earrings.

Gift Baskets

Gift baskets are a fantastic gift to surprise her with. It’s definitely not something you want to give her on her birthday or anniversary but it makes for a wonderful surprise. Have a gift basket of bath bombs and champagne delivered to her office at work. Even if she is shy, this semi-public display of affection lets her know that you aren’t afraid to publicly express how much you care.

Weekly and Monthly Clubs

Sign her up for a weekly wine club so she has a way to unwind after a busy day at work in the middle of the week. Does she love painting or music? Find a once a week class that fuels her passions and she will surely thank you for it. Just make sure that she is going to have time in her busy schedule for a gift like this.

Art and Books

Gifts that cultivate her mind let her know that you care about her intellectual interests and see her for more than just her beauty. Find out what kind of art or artists she likes. See if you can find an original piece artwork or get her a first edition signed copy of her favorite novel. No matter which classy gift you choose, you’re destined to make her smile, so long as it comes from the heart.

*Originally posted on Bauce.

#ThursdayThoughts: Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead was born in 1969, and was raised in Manhattan.

After graduating from Harvard College, he started working at the Village Voice, where he wrote reviews of television, books, and music.

His first novel, The Intuitionist, concerned intrigue in the Department of Elevator Inspectors, and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway and a winner of the Quality Paperback Book Club’s New Voices Award.

John Henry Days followed in 2001, an investigation of the steel-driving man of American folklore. It was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Fiction Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. The novel received the Young Lions Fiction Award and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.

The Colossus of New York is a book of essays about the city. It was published in 2003 and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Apex Hides the Hurt (2006) is a novel about a “nomenclature consultant” who gets an assignment to name a town, and was a recipient of the PEN/Oakland Award.

Sag Harbor, published in 2009, is a novel about teenagers hanging out in Sag Harbor, Long Island during the summer of 1985. It was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.

Zone One (2011), about post-apocalyptic New York City, was a New York Times Bestseller.

The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky & Death, a non-fiction account of the 2011 World Series of Poker, appreared in 2014.

The Underground Railroad, a novel, was published in the summer of 2016. It won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Carnegie Medal for Fiction, and was a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

Colson Whitehead’s reviews, essays, and fiction have appeared in a number of publications, such as the New York Times, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, Harper’s and Granta.

He has received a MacArthur Fellowship, A Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers Award, the Dos Passos Prize, and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.

He has taught at the University of Houston, Columbia University, Brooklyn College, Hunter College, New York University, Princeton University, Wesleyan University, and been a Writer-in-Residence at Vassar College, the University of Richmond, and the University of Wyoming.

He lives in New York City.