Bloom, I Say, Bloom.

I’m in Nashville. Excuse me, I’M IN NASHVILLE!

The thing about being planted is that like most flowers, you can always be uprooted and planted elsewhere. Just like a flower can move (with assistance, of course) into another pot, you can gather your belongings and move to another apartment, city, state, or country. Maybe one day, I can add planet to that list. Mars, anyone?

bloom

Like a flower, we should also bloom where we are planted. I would think that when a flower is plopped into fresh soil and provided with the right amount of water and sunlight, that it works really hard to bloom. It doesn’t just sit there waiting on the next pot. It leans into the sunlight, soaks up the water, cozies into the soil and it goes at it like a champ. Impressive. The goal is to thrive and not to wither and die. It does not have time to wait on another pot to be a beautiful. The time is NOW.

My thought is that we should do the same. Every year when I have to resign my lease, I have a moment on the couch in which I have to ponder whether I want to move. The continuum spans from moving to the other side of the couch to moving to another state. I spent 4 years in my last state and now that I’m coming up on 4 years in Nashville, I  started to check for the itch that’d alert me that it was time to hit the dusty trail. However, the itch wasn’t happening.

I thought about moving apartments and moving closer into the city BUT I don’t want to spend more money. I actually like where I live and I enjoy having extra money to pursue things that bring me joy. I’m in a great place with my community involvements and I’m feeling better and better about my professional situation. People are lovely, music is amazing, airport is close.

Running to another pot wouldn’t guarantee me anything except starting over, but nothing that irritates me about my current place in life will be solved by moving.

Every flower that blooms has to go through a whole lot of dirt to be beautiful.

So for the time being and for at least another year, I am planted in Nashville, TN, and I’ve done a pretty great job of blooming here if I say so myself. So, I’ll just keep up the good work. This is my now and I’m going to embrace it and continue blooming into the beautiful person that I know God has made me to be.

Wherever you are, own your present. Don’t let it pass you by while you wait on something or someone that isn’t guaranteed. When people say things like, “I mean, that sounds fun, but I don’t want to get too involved because I probably won’t be here that long.” OR “When I lose 15 lbs., I’ll totally go on that beach trip.” OR “I can’t wait to find the special one and then my life will be amazing.” These are missed opportunities to BLOOM. Get involved NOW. Go to the beach NOW. Recognize the current state of amazing in your life NOW. BLOOM where you are planted.

If you need me, I’ll just be out in the sunshine blooming and blossoming and being all beautiful and stuff. Join me.

Thanks for reading.

Why peculiarpearl?

peculiarpearl pic

1. I’m all about alliteration. My name is an alliteration, Krystal Clark. It rolls well off the tongue and I can do that cute Meg Ryan side to side head movement from You’ve Got Mail when she says “Kathleen Kelly”. “Krystal Clark”.

2. Peculiar has a few different meanings for me:

A. unusual, unexpected, atypical, out of the ordinary, and anomalous, etc. Throughout my life I’ve always stuck out in a space. Mostly it was because I was often the “only” African American person in a class, in a gifted program, on my freshman floor in college, or in a group of friends. It could be because of the sheer volume of my voice and laughter or my ability to hold my own when voicing my opinion no matter how popular or unpopular it might be.  I have come to enjoy being in places and operating in spaces where people don’t expect me to be.

B. The other meaning is important because of my belief in Christ and the knowledge that I possess in my heart that I “belong exclusively to Him”. In 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV) , it is explained to us that as believers we are God’s own special people.  We are peculiar in that we believe in Him and because of that belief we belong to Him. Others might also see believers as peculiar as defined by definition A due to our belief and acting in accordance to what we believe.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

3. The pearl is the jewel of my sorority, Delta Delta Delta. Along with that, there is beauty in how pearls are made by oysters. The oyster turns an irritant into what many of us wear as a classy piece of jewelry. Instead of succumbing to irritation or rather negativity, the oyster defends itself and creates a positive outcome. A pearl is something ugly that has been made into something beautiful. I desire to live my life doing this as I persist through every day of my life. I’m in the business of pearls, people.

So, there you go. peculiarpearl. I actually put a lot of thought into this, folks.

Thanks for reading.

Tina Fey To The Rescue

I was presented with an opportunity on Friday. A fantastic opportunity to throw my hat into the ring for a coveted position and one that in the back of my mind I always wondered if I’d ever have the chance to pursue. I still question whether I’m ready for it but I know that I’m more ready than I believe and I have more time to learn what I need to learn. At the end of the day, most of us are just flying by the seat of their pants and faking it until they make it. Sigh…imposter syndrome is real. I thought about it a lot this weekend and I ran across this golden Tina Fey quote.

Tina Fey Quote

That’s about right. I make the commitment and I’ll figure it out. I say a clear yes and I follow through. I know I want it. I know what it means. I know I can do it. Luckily, I’ll have great people around me who believe in me and who want me to succeed.  On a side note, it takes my breath away that people can believe in you to the point that it drives you to tears.

Alright, no need to over think matters as that will drive one mad. You heard it here first, I said, “YES!”– I said “yes” to a possibility and to do the work needed to rise to the top. It is time to silence all of the little devils on my shoulder.

Does this quote apply to any part of your life? What might you just need to say “yes” to and let go of all of the fear, anxiety, and doubt that immediately unleashes itself on your heart and mind?

Oh, you want to know what “it” is? Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading.

Krystal

Feel Good Things

I’m all about including things in your life that just make you feel good. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned the importance of acquiring a simple indulgence in your life.

Three things have been making me feel super great lately:

1. Green Tea-I started drinking it during the #barre3challenge per the advice of Barre3 Founder, Sadie Lincoln. She advised us to try it instead of coffee and other caffeinated beverages. I was hesitant BUT I have totally forgone coffee since the beginning of the challenge in January. When I need a boost, I make a cup of tea. If I’m fighting snack urges, I dive into a warm and, of course, cute mug. There are all types of Green Tea but I found this kind on the shelf for a great price at my local Kroger and keep a box in my office and in my apartment. Tea makes me feel fancy and mature. Pinkies up!

green tea

2. Beauty Counter- I’ve played it pretty basic with my skincare regimen until my friend and fellow Junior League of Nashville member, Cara introduced me to Beauty Counter. I love that Beauty Counter is not just delicious smelling and effective products that have made my skin incredibly soft but that this company is a movement. This one fact should make you think about what you put on your body everyday.

1938 was the last time Congress passed a law regulating the cosmetics industry.

1938?! This was the last year that there was any type of regulation over products that we utilize every.single.day and that we allow our family to use every.single.day. This is frightening. Cosmetics companies are pretty much running with scissors and using thousands of toxic ingredients that are more harmful than helpful. Our bathroom counters and medicine cabinets are full of products that we think are helping us and our children lead more beautiful lives but in the end could lead to a wide array of medical challenges. Check out beautycounter.com and read more about the products and the movement. I’m in love with the body wash and body lotion. Rinse & Hydrate.

Beautycounter

3. The LovingKind– Mattye Woodcock has the most charming blog and shop on the interwebs. I’m lucky to have met Mattye years ago in North Carolina and her sweet husband Woody through my work in the fraternity & sorority life arena. I’m all about supporting businesswomen and ordering a set of Matty’s sweet cards was a great way to support a small woman owned business but also to make my heart smile as I sent off these lovelies to dear friends for Valentine’s Day. My fave is the Good Pickin’ Card. Since I didn’t have a Valentine, it was all about telling my friends how much I love them. Sending cards creates such a feel good loop. I’ve got a bunch to write and stick in the mail this weekend and I love creating a personal and special message for each individual.

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What are the little things in life that just make you feel good? Never feel bad about grabbing those things up and taking time for them in your day. I hope you look into these products and that they bring a smile to your face.

Thanks for reading.

Krystal

I’m With President Underwood.

” Imagination is its own form of courage.” –President Francis J. Underwood

A. I LOVE House of Cards. I really LOVE Claire Underwood.

B. I don’t live my life according to the show except when it comes to Claire Underwood’s fashion.

C. There are some pearls of wisdom and interesting life strategies that make their way between the instances of murder, adultery, dishonesty, and greed.

The quote above is an example of C.

It has dawned on me this past year that some people don’t feel free enough to dream. There is a brick wall surrounding their ability to be creative and innovative. There is a proverbial stop sign that ceases their ability to tap into the depths of their imagination. To imagine has become a risk.

When did we get to a place in which using your imagination is a privilege and not a right?

Some people have been told “no, that’s impossible.” so many times that the thought of going to the next level is frightening.

Having the courage to take your mind outside the box. To “go there” wherever there might be, to take off the coat of restrictions, to push back assumed artificial boundaries, to strip yourself of f.e.a.r* and to concoct a vision is a part of thriving in this world.

We are often the armed guards who pull ourselves off the cliff even though we have a parachute strapped to our back. “Be realistic.” “That will never happen.” “We don’t have the money for that.” “People like us can’t do that.” “What if no one comes?” “What if no one cares?” “I’m not smart enough or pretty enough or rich enough or [insert adjective] enough.”

Now these could all be valid concerns but before you put yourself in a black hole of  “no.” “never.” “not enough.” and “not me.”–do yourself a favor and muster up the courage to IMAGINE all that could happen. Empower yourself to go beyond your current context. Write down or draw what you see.

Let your mind be free. You become your thoughts. If you’re afraid of your thoughts and you imprison them you’ll never be able to make them come to life.

vision

Children have the best imaginations. The worlds they create are magical, beautiful, intricate,  and full of possibility. They yearn to share it with the tall people walking around who call themselves adults. What if you approached your work in that way? What if you attacked your dream in that manner?

We often tell people to live the “Yes, and…” life when working with others but let’s also remember to do that within ourselves. Lose yourself in your thoughts.

Frank Underwood is onto something with this quote. Give your imagination scissors and let it run free.

Thanks for reading.

Krystal

*false.evidence.appearing.real

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

Before you make a big decision, do your best to clear your mind and empty your heart. This might sound nuts but this year has affirmed for me the importance of not making  decisions from a place of temporary emotion. I was incredibly frustrated last year and felt as if I’d been wronged by people that I thought I could trust. I went on a hunt for better–greener pastures. It wasn’t until I allowed myself to take a deep breath, pull out paper and a sharpie, throw on some good music and let myself dig deep into my actions and feelings that I realized I was making decisions from a toxic place. I wasn’t fully aware of my present and I was running away from a station in life that was offering me everything I want but was wrapped in packaging that didn’t meet my level of aesthetics.

decision

I had to let go of what everyone else was telling me, what I’d written on some outdated goal sheet, and get to the facts. The facts revealed that being all up in my feelings wasn’t necessary, warranted, and certainly was not helping me as a professional or person. It also allowed me to grasp what I had the influence to change, what was out of my hands, and the actual–not the imagined impact–those things had on my life. I was going to have to deal with the outcomes of my decisions and not the other people who I was acting towards from a place of spite.

Stepping outside of my feelings provided me with a more realistic view of my present and though there are still things that I’m not 100% content about at this time, I know for sure that if I moved on, there would be many more things that I would be even less happy about in my personal and professional life. I look forward to my days now, now that I’m not trying to run away from them.

Do not make a permanent decision, on a temporary emotion.

My buttons are pushed easily and because I now fully embrace this about myself, I’ve had to alter the way I make decisions. Unless, you’re asking me whether or not I want a cookie–then the answer will always be an enthusiastic, “YES!” It is prudent for me to stop, breathe, and gather all of the stuff that starts swimming in my head and heart before I take action. I strip it all away and think beyond the current moment.  It has saved my life.

What process do you use to make decisions?

Thanks for reading.

Show Me Your Shelf

As you might know I’m a bit of a bookworm. Well, I’m a huge bookworm. Huge is actually an understatement. Though I like to think that I’m tech savvy, there is nothing like owning books. I’m privileged to have full bookshelves in my home and know that this isn’t everyone’s lot. This is why I support Book ‘Em/Reading is Fundamental in Nashville. I have a firm belief that children should own books and we should work to help children enjoy reading. If you enjoy it then you’ll do it as often as you can and that means you’ll become good at it. Our literacy rates need some assistance in Nashville and I want to be a part of progress. Putting books in the hands of children and helping them to discover the joy of reading is a plan I can get behind.

Check out my BOOKS! page.

Here’s what tomes are currently blessing my shelf:

Redefining Realness: My path to womanhood, identity, love & so much more by Janet Mock

So happy to have had the opportunity to meet her at a program sponsored by the Vanderbilt School of Divinity and the Vanderbilt University Office of LGBTQI Life.

Mock

The Best Yes: Making wise decisions in the midst of endless demands by Lysa Terkeurst

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

Too Blessed to be Stressed by Debora M. Coty

Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

Books

Winter is just the best time to curl up with a warm beverage, a blanket, and a good book. Read things that bring you joy and that stretch your mind. I love a good Netflix binge but there ain’t nothing like a book in my hands. Hope one of these speaks to you.

Thanks for reading.

Krystal

6 Things You Need to Have in Your Toolkit to Thrive as a YP

Moving to Nashville in 2011 was the beginning of a whole new life for me. The YP Community in this city is strong and the city takes an interest in engaging and developing the 23-40 year old population that eagerly roams around this thriving metropolis. Check out YPNashville .

B Cards

I quickly had to learn the ropes of navigating Music City to accomplish my ever present goal of being a “mover and shaker” as well as the specific goal I set upon my departure from Durham, NC to “attack the city in which I live”. I’m a firm believer in giving back to the place in which you live and work and have fully embraced the life of being a “residential tourist”. Nashville is blessed to be changing everyday and I haven’t gotten bored even once during almost 4 years. I’m a total tourist, like, I go to the Tennessee State Museum to check out the new exhibits type of tourist.

During this adventure, I’ve discovered 6 things that will give you a better chance of thriving in a city like Nashville. A place that networks, has junior boards, numerous fancy dress pay parties, over 20 organizations solely for YP, and a city you think is big until you find that you run into the same people all the time.

1. Resume. I know this sounds obvious but you’d be surprised the number of people who don’t have an updated resume. I update my resume on a weekly basis. For many things that you apply to be a part of in the city whether it’s a leadership development program, an awards program, a member of a board or committee, oh, and if you’re applying for a new job, you will need to submit a resume. People want to know your skillset, where you work, what you do, and how you spend your time. If you have a great conversation with a person at a networking event and they ask you to “send me your resume”, it’ll make life a lot easier if you’ve already got that taken care of on your desktop. Check out the link above to get some tips from Levo League about how to make your resume pop.

2. Business Cards. If you’ve been issued a standard office B-Card that’s totally acceptable and you should applaud yourself for achieving that professional milestone. There’s something sweet about receiving a box of 500 fresh business cards that confirm you’re a part of the team. However, for my life outside of my office, I decided to invest in cards that showed off a bit more personal style. The cards contain my personal contact information and details about my Nashville involvement and official side hustles of speaker/facilitator/presenter/blogger. These don’t have to be expensive. Check out MOO.com or VistaPrint. People react well and always smile when I offer a warmer and more personal version of the stale and often tossed white and sharp edged business card. More tips at the link above.

3. Social Media. Have a presence. Keep it clean. You don’t have to engage on all outlets but pick one or two that you can commit to keeping fresh and representative of who you are or what you aspire to become. People will check. LinkedIn is great for professional networking, Twitter, because I enjoy live tweeting events and it is an efficient way to get speedy personal and professional development nuggets as you move throughout your day. 140 character sound bites always add fodder to a conversation. Facebook is my place to affirm my brand through daily motivational posts and it allows me to keep up with the largest extended network from college until the present. Instagram is the preferred medium of most these days. Love the visuals. You’ll never find me on SnapChat. 

4. Bio. Yes, you’ve got a resume but you’ll often be asked to submit a bio to be used in an event program, to use as a method to introduce you to an audience, or just as a concise way to get to know you. Here’s my bio:

Krystal Clark, M.Ed. is a native of Portsmouth, VA. Her undergraduate degree in Sociology/Psychology was earned at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA and her M.Ed. in College Student Personnel was obtained in 2007 from The University of Maryland, College Park. Upon graduation, she moved to Durham, NC and worked in Fraternity & Sorority Life at Duke University. Krystal came to Nashville, TN in May of 2011 to work as the Associate Director of Greek at Vanderbilt University. In May 2013, she began her adventure as the Associate Director of the newly created Office of Student Leadership Development at Vanderbilt. Krystal is the Vice President of Membership for the Junior League of Nashville, Reader for Book ‘Em/Reading is Fundamental, a member of the Junior Board of Women in Numbers, a volunteer for the YWCA, a former Big Sister for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee, a past member of the Board of Directors for Girls on the Run Nashville, a member of ACPA (College Student Educators International) and currently volunteering for her 10th year College reunion. Clark was a finalist for the Nashville Emerging Leader Award in the field of Education in 2012 and is the 2015 YP Nominee for the Nashville ATHENA Award. When she’s not working at Vanderbilt she serves as a speaker/facilitator at college campuses across the country. In her spare time, Krystal enjoys partaking in the music scene, blogging at peculiarpearl.com, is a Barre3 enthusiast, and strives to be a residential tourist taking in all that Nashville has to offer.

5. A smile. Seriously, when you’re floating around a big-small town you want to be someone that people are happy to see. I moved here without knowing a soul and a smile coupled with a hello got me through a lot of situations and made me some fast friends. A smile and a handshake moved me through my first networking event. A smile and a hug (this is the south) connected me quickly to a cause. A smile and a willingness to help is everything. A smile and a hand raised to ask a good question. A smile and a head nod to signal authentic engagement in a conversation. Smile. It makes you approachable. It makes you interesting. It makes people feel like they already know you. Smile.

6. Headshot. No better way to show off that smile than in a headshot. No more photos with the hand of a cropped out buddy lingering in the background. Most of our senior pictures at this age already look dated. Some companies offer headshots to employees and with the quality of cameras and camera phones these days a skilled friend could make this extremely economical for you. I’ve had three professional headshots taken and they have made all the difference. I feel confident about my appearance, the lighting is great, and a professional photographer knows how to pull the best out of you. Model or not, you can have a beautiful headshot. It just makes your social media and documents look polished. Try not to wear anything that will quickly date the photos. I’m in the market for a new shot due to my ever changing hair. Stay tuned.

Clark119bw

There you go. 6 items that can beef up your journey through the city as a YP. All of these can be done economically or you can certainly splurge if you have the coins. I promise you that all of these items are worthwhile to add to your life toolkit as you’ll come back to them repeatedly.

What did I miss? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for reading.

Krystal

Exodus 14:14

ice day

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

As part of #wholehearted 2015, one of my goals is to cultivate calm and stillness. Either I wasn’t doing that great of a job or God is fully on board with living a wholehearted life as he gave me ICE DAY 2015. Today was full of rest, just enough productivity to keep me from not being too behind, good warm food from my kitchen, 2 10-minute Barre3 blasts, and lots of West Wing.

Pottering around in my apartment gives me ample time to think. I’m not often at home and when I am here I’m usually sleeping or making plans to leave. Calmness and stillness makes me go inward and to be honest, I don’t always want to be in my head and I certainly don’t want to be in my heart.

ICE DAY was a good forced reminder of all of the “fights” happening above and below my neck. Negative thoughts that do not serve me. Tugs to control the uncontrollable, unproductive worry and unfounded fears. Hurt that doesn’t deserve me.

As  I looked out of my home office window  and took in the stillness of the day, I couldn’t help but realize that all of these battles being fought in my head and heart have already been won. All I have to do in times like this are remember and believe with all that I am who He is and what He has already done. He needs me to be still so that He can do his work. Every once in a while, I would hear a snow plow come down the street and I imagine that’s one of the many roles that God plays in our minds and hearts. He comes through to clear out all of the excess and those things that make us take our eyes off of Him and His goodness. He protects us from danger even though we might complain during the process; the outcome is always what is needed.

Once I tucked into this word, all of the fights melted away because I’ve got nothing on any of them. However, my squad is taking care of all of my light work. #squadgoals

Being afraid of calmness and stillness does not serve me or my relationship with God. This is the time I can utilize to make meaning of my life through His word. This is the time that I can pray to him in a regular conversation the same as I do with others that I love. I can give all of the “stuff” inside to Him. This is the time to realize that I am not in control. He is God and I am not. He’s fighting for little ‘ol me and for that I am eternally thankful.

Don’t run from stillness. Let Him wrap His arms around you. Stop, turn off all the noise, and just be.

Thanks for reading, y’all.

What’s the Word on the Street?

A lot of the reading I’ve been doing lately about resolutions, goal setting, focus, and making things happen in the 1-5 includes a suggestion to pick a word and make that word the backbone of your 2015 adventure. This word will be your theme and your motivation as you hustle to make the best stuff happen.

I love words. I really do. I use more than the average bear on a regular basis. When I’m not speaking them, I’m writing them or listening to them and certainly reading as many as my eyes can manage. When I’m quiet I’m certainly rolling them around in my head as I prepare to speak, write, or when I’m actively reflecting on my day.

For some reason, this exercise stumped me and it took a few days to find just the right word.

As I sit wrapped up in my apartment working through Lara Casey’s Powersheets with the cover of Amy Purdy’s, “On My Own Two Feet” (good read) staring back at me, I had this thought to watch Brene Brown’s Ted Talk, The Power of Vulnerability. You know, the one that over 18 million people have watched. If 18 people come see me, I am floored. 18 million, I’m done.

Why didn’t I think of this word? Of course, what I’ve been wanting to pursue is living a “WHOLEHEARTED” life. Read Daring Greatly and have your mind blown and your heart burst through your chest. It’s like she’s sitting on my shoulder throughout the day and taking copious notes.

There are 10 guideposts for Wholehearted Living:

1. Cultivate Authenticity: Letting Go of What People Think
2. Cultivating Self-Compassion: Letting Go of Perfectionism
3. Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness
4. Cultivating Gratitude and Joy: Letting Go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark
5. Cultivating Intuition and Trusting Faith: Letting Go of the Need for Certainty
6. Cultivating Creativity: Letting Go of Compassion
7. Cultivating Play and Rest: Letting Go of Exhaustion as a Status Symbol and Productivity as Self Worth
8. Cultivating Calm and Stillness: Letting Anxiety Go as a Lifestyle
9. Cultivating Meaningful Work: Letting go of Self Doubt and “Supposed To”
10. Cultivating Laughter, Song, and Dance – Letting go of “Being Cool” and Always in Control

422feae00cd08f6fca5ad9d24242202fSounds like a strong pursuit, huh? Using this word as my theme for 2015 will rebuild and strengthen me in a lot of areas. There isn’t anything on this list that I don’t need to get out my shovel for as I prepare to dig deep.

My blogging for the next couple of months will focus on these 10 Guideposts. Plans, goals, action steps, and results.

So, that’s the word on the street. At least, on Krystal Lane or Clark Circle. WHOLEHEARTED!

 

Thanks for reading.