Monday, April 30, 2012

The Happiest Companies for Young Professionals

Do you envy those who go to work every day truly cheerful and eager? You can be that happy, too. Just land a job at Nordstrom, GlaxoSmithKline or FedEx.Of course you’re not guaranteed to be satisfied at these places—but the odds are in your favor. These are three of the happiest companies for young professionals, according to career website
CareerBliss compiled a list of the 10 companies where young employees are happiest, based on analysis from more than 223,500 employee-generated reviews between March 2011 and March 2012.
“As college graduates make the transition from academic to work-life, the transition can be scary and intimidating,” says Heidi Golledge, chief executive of CareerBliss. “Knowing which companies have ranked well with recent graduates can help others identify what companies might be best for their new career path.”
Young professionals, defined by CareerBliss as employees with less than 10 years’ experience in a full-time position, were asked to rate the company they work for, in terms of happiness, on a five-point scale.

[More from In Pictures: The 10 Happiest Companies for Young Professionals]
GE Energy, a division of General Electric, leads the pack as the happiest company for young professionals. Headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., the firm has over 100,000 employees in more than 100 countries. It earned an index score of 4.528.
“I believe strongly that people want to work at GE Energy because being here means working with highly motivated, highly talented colleagues--and that brings out the best work in each of us,” says Sharon Daley, vice president of Human Resources there. “From next generation wind turbines, solar panels, engines that run on biogas, smart grids and the latest subsea oil and gas technologies, GE Energy employees are working on things that matter to the world.”

[Related: Overrated Careers]
Why are young employees at that company so contented? “With GE Energy one of the largest parts of GE, our employees know they are working at a company that has the size and scale to change things,” Daley says. “At the same time, we run the business as if we were a small company or a start-up. That means that young professionals joining GE Energy have high levels of responsibility early. They are actively encouraged to think and act like entrepreneurs. And they are out there talking to customers and working to understand and anticipate their technology needs. That mix of freedom and accountability means our employees can see the effect their efforts are having immediately. Each person sees that they are making an impact – and that’s rewarding. So, yes, there is a lot to be happy about when we walk into work each day.”
No. 2 Nordstrom, the Seattle-based upscale department store, earned an overall index score of 4.441. “We are humbled to hear that our employees think we offer them a great workplace,” says Tara Darrow, a Nordstrom spokesperson. “We have a great group of hard-working, talented and diverse employees and we appreciate that they've recognized us in this way.”
[More from The Happiest Cities For Young Professionals]
Darrow says Nordstrom believes in empowering its employees and creating a competitive environment. “We want our people to have the ability to solve problems and be heroes to their customers, and we want them to treat the business as if their name were on the front door,” she says. “We spend a lot of time listening, but we also strongly believe in taking action. Our success is dependent on bringing each person’s thoughts, ideas, suggestions and perceptions to the table, and we value that collaboration. And we believe in recognizing success. We encourage fun and camaraderie, and we have a longstanding tradition of recognizing hard work and strong performance. This culture of empowerment, respect and competition creates an environment that our employees thrive in. Everyone enjoys being part of a winning team, and the company's recent performance can certainly be attributed in large part to the contributions of our people.”
Fluor, United Space Alliance and AstraZeneca round out the top five.
“What we see for young professionals is a desire to find a company culture that fits with their personal work-style,” says CareerBliss’ chief technology officer, Matt Miller. “They want a company that values their ideas and provides the growth opportunities and leadership to help shape their career.”

Here are the happiest companies for young professionals:

No. 1: GE Energy
Average Score: 4.529

No. 2: Nordstrom
Average Score: 4.442

No. 3: Fluor
Average Score: 4.419

No. 4: United Space Alliance

Average Score: 4.393

No. 5: AstraZeneca
Average Score:4.391

No. 6: Centex
Average Score: 4.342

No. 7: GlaxoSmithKline
Average Score: 4.322

No. 8: Wipro
Average Score: 4.313

No. 9: FedEx Express
Average Score:4.304

No. 10: Kaiser Permanente
Average Score: 4.301
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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Too many people put off something that brings them joy just because they haven't thought about it, don't have it on their schedule, didn't know it was coming or are too rigid to depart from their routine.
I got to thinking one day about all those women on the Titanic who passed up dessert at dinner that fateful night in an effort to cut back.

From then on, I've tried to be a little more flexible.
How many women out there will eat at home because their husband didn't suggest going out to dinner until after something had been thawed? Does the word 'refrigeration' mean nothing to you?

How often have your kids dropped in to talk and sat in silence while you watched ' Jeopardy ' on television?
I cannot count the times I called my sister and said, 'How about going to lunch in a half hour?' She would gas up and stammer, 'I can't. I have clothes on the line. My hair is dirty. I wish I had known yesterday, I had a late breakfast, It looks like rain.' And my personal favourite: 'It's Monday.' She died a few years ago. We never did have lunch together.

Because we cram so much into our lives, we tend to schedule our headaches. We live on a sparse diet of promises we make to ourselves when all the conditions are perfect!

We'll go back and visit the grandparents when we get Steve toilet-trained. We'll entertain when we replace the living-room carpet... We'll go on a second honeymoon when we get two more kids out of college.

Life has a way of accelerating as we get older. The days get shorter, and the list of promises to ourselves gets longer. One morning, we awaken, and all we have to show for our lives is a litany of 'I'm going to,' 'I plan on,' and 'Someday, when things are settled down a bit.'

When anyone calls my 'seize the moment' friend, she is open to adventure and available for trips. She keeps an open mind on new ideas. Her enthusiasm for life is contagious. You talk with her for five minutes, and you're ready to trade your bad feet for a pair of Roller blades and skip an elevator for a bungee cord..

My lips have not touched ice cream in 10 years. I love ice cream. It's just that I might as well apply it directly to my stomach with a spatula and eliminate the digestive process The other day, I stopped the car and bought a triple-Decker. If my car had hit an iceberg on the way home, I would have died happy.

Now...go on and have a nice day. Do something you WANT to......not something on your SHOULD DO list. If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?

Make sure you read this to the end; you will understand why I sent this to you.
Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry go round or listened to the rain lapping on the ground? Ever followed a butter fly's erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night? Do you run through each day on the fly? When you ask ' How are you?' Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head? Ever told your child, 'We'll do it tomorrow.' And in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch? Let a good friendship die? Just call to say 'Hi?

When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift....Thrown away..... Life is not a race. Take it slower. Hear the music before the song is over.

To those I have sent this to... I cherish our friendship and appreciate all you do.
'Life may not be the party we hoped for.. but while we are here we might as well dance'
Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Realtor!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

White Anglo-Saxon Protestant
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White Anglo Saxon Protestant
Regions with significant populations
All parts of the United States
Major: American English.
White Anglo-Saxon Protestant or WASP is an informal term, often derogatory or disparaging, for a closed group of high-status Americans mostly of British Protestant ancestry. The group supposedly wields disproportionate financial and social power.[1] When it appears in writing, it is usually used to indicate the author's disapproval of the group's perceived excessive power in society. People seldom call themselves WASPs, except humorously; the term is typically used by non-WASPs.[2] The term excludes most minority groups such as Catholics, Jews, Slavs, Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asians. The term is also used in Australia and Canada for similar powerful groups.[3][4]
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

“A leader on the playground!”  Those were the words that were carefully written on a thin line at the bottom of a pink carbon copy of my second grade report card (and believe it or not) those words have helped me hang on to my sense of self ever since.  My childhood consisted of the classic Midwest ingredients: Start with one conservative medium sized Catholic family, (stir in one idealistic homemaker and one ambitious salesman) then add in a large colonial home in an upwardly mobile subdivision, sprinkle across the prairie then bake in the average daily grind until mediocrity occurs.  We never talked about our dreams; we never talked about my future because mostly we didn’t talk about anything that could be considered even remotely interesting or daring (lest it could become controversial) because that’s just how Catholics from mainly German heritage did things back then.

Most of my childhood days were filled with daydreaming and creating scenarios and competitions, but when I reached fourteen years old, my grades started to plummet and the crying spells began.  I had a sense early on that my parents weren’t really interested in spending time with us kids, and we weren’t the only family where I saw that happening. It seems that it was a part of the evolution of the 1970’s and of the women’s movement ~ the 1970’s were pretty traumatizing to me.  What were they thinking?  The rampant divorces and remarriages of  my neighbors (creepy!) the lady I babysat for who ran off and joined the military and announced that she was a lesbian and left her loyal hubby and two adorable little boys. Crocheted bikinis, marijuana bongs and twenty year olds taking teens to the roller rink on dates? Seriously, now that I’m an adult I can ask, “What the hell happened?” There is one super trauma (as I like to call it) that stands out among the rest and it consisted of a very scary man that we called the “butt slasher”.  The B.Ser  as we nicknamed him, was a guy who rode around on his motorcycle slashing young women in the rear end with a machete for wearing their jeans too tight.  A vigilante for the moral majority 70's style! My friends and I walked everywhere and we were so freaked out hearing the sound of any motorcycle approaching. I’m not sure if that guy was ever caught, but wow, the 1970’s were messed up in more ways than one.

Honestly, I cannot remember most of my life from 14-20 due to a thick fog I found myself walking through daily.  When I turned 17 my father was fired from his job of 20 years (as a successful publishing salesman) and that’s when the fog went from thick to black.  My father had a complete psychological breakdown; my parents divorced and then lost their dream home to foreclosure. Dad disappeared and mom (who still had two teenage children at home) started working two jobs to make ends meet.  I ran away to NYC to find something.  I don’t know exactly what I was looking for, but looking back, I now can see that I was just trying to get as far away as possible; to disassociate from the pain that looked like a giant boulder pinning down the back legs of a donkey at the bottom of a desert canyon. My time spent in NYC was a blur too, jumping from job to job with (sometimes) intentional and intermittent homelessness wedged in the open sores of my pain that would sting me back into reality.  I did not do any drugs, even though I was offered them daily.  Instinctively I knew I was already in a darker place than a drug addict; for I had no home, no family, no friends, no guidance, and not a soul to talk to or lean on. I had no hope. I was alone in a city of millions of people.

I managed to make it out of the Big Apple and back to my city ~ the small city ~ the Mini-apple. I returned to find an emotionally empty and despondent mother, a desperate and destroyed teenage sister and a mentally ill homeless father. I took a job at a downtown furrier because my friend told me that they were hiring.  What a weird time for me, fetching twenty five thousand dollar mink coats from cold storage when I only owned the clothes on my back. One of the store managers gave me some money to buy a nicer outfit for work, so I bought a purple cotton knit skirt with a matching purple and white horizontal striped top, I loved it and I wore it to work every single day for an entire summer.

I had three co-workers that were old ladies, they were: Gertrude, Helen & Mrs. Booth. Gertrude was a ninety-something socialite who lived in a downtown loft, walked to work every day and still wore every piece of Italian gold that each one of her suitors gave her; on each of her gnarly bent fingers an 18k gold ring represented a man who chased her, fell in love with her, tried to buy her and eventually gave up. Gerty lived her romantic history by pointing at each piece of jewelry and telling the tale of each love, she was hunched over and stood about four feet tall, her hair was a thin soft cloud ~ a barely gold nest piled right on the very top of her head. Mrs. Booth was the buyer of the store; she was built like a linebacker and always wore a stiff tight two piece tweed skirt suit. She was the teacher of the three, always explaining the difference in the fur coats, the makers of the fine accessories and always making sure we knew that she routinely mingled with top designers at trunk shows in NYC.  So at nineteen I didn’t know how to cook or how to balance a checkbook, but I could point out the difference between mink, chinchilla, fox, seal and beaver coats. Helen was the hater.  Back then it wasn’t even a term, but I know she was the bitterest human being I had ever met.  I guess you could say Helen was a rule monger, task master, a perfect schoolmarm. She would watch my every move and comment on what I was doing wrong. If I bent over without bending my knee the right way I was scolded, and if I sat down without crossing my legs the proper way, she would whisper ‘hussy’. Helen had real issues with my refusal to wear pantyhose (which were a requirement) she would report me daily to the boss but he just blew it off. He was a small mild mannered Jewish man who knew I simply could not afford to buy them.

There have always been moments of complete clarity and vision in my life; even in my youth (and in my vulnerability) I knew that there was something better.  I knew that attitude shaped these women and I knew I had youth on my side.  I never forgot how each of them made me feel and have always made sure to reach out to younger women and try to be a positive role model whereever and whenever I could.  I always believed that one person could make a huge impact; each one of those old broads left an indelible impression on me. One thing I knew for sure was that wearing a tight synthetic fiber on the largest organ of your body was just wrong. I vowed never to wear pantyhose again as my opposition to what Helen stood for: empty, bitter and angry. Mrs. Booth, well she taught me to put your heart and soul into something and to give it your everything no matter how small (to give it serious consideration) and in Gerty I learned that I should not fear making commitments, because it was the one thing she just couldn’t seem to do.

To make matters even more difficult and awkward; my homeless father had a knack for finding out where I worked.  I could see his reverse reflection in the store front glass as he briskly approached the door; his hair was wild like classic Einstein and he was wearing the navy blue quilted brewery jacket that my uncle Zig gave to him years ago. I quickly hit the floor behind the counter and told my friend Roohi to tell him I no longer worked there. That was just one of the many colorful and uncomfortable situations he would put me through, and over the next ten years my sisters and I spent countless hours in the local court house having him committed to the VA hospital so that he could receive proper treatment for his bi-polar disorder.

I like to refer to those days as my sockless phase. I took the Miami Vice trend of sans socks with loafers all the way through a Minnesota winter. Nothing and I mean NOTHING can compare to the blistering misery of sitting at a frozen bus stop (several times a day) for 15 minutes at a time in negative -30, -40 and -50 temperatures. Freezing temps that were so cold you literally felt like your skin was on fire. It’s not that I wanted to nearly freeze to death every day, but I told myself that I was fine because it was the only way I could cope with not having the money to buy a pair of socks. And when I made friends with a rich girl in one of my college classes, I would play it off that I enjoyed driving around with her in the convertible that her parents bought her, I pretended to enjoy the countless trips to the high end department stores where she would try on multiple pairs of shoes and endlessly ask me which ones looked better. She would always say, “You should buy some.” and I would say, “Nah, shoes are not my thing.”

Push pain down, keep pushing the pain down.  That’s what I did most of my adult life. I knew I was hurting, but I came from a family that didn’t talk about such things. I was trained not to whine. “Get over it.” I could hear my mother’s words loud and clear and so I did. Or so I thought I did, but deep in my heart I knew something was very wrong with me, but I chalked it up to poverty and walked forward into my life to make something of myself. With hard work and a college education, good things started to happen for me, but my life still felt the way molasses looks when you pour it from the jar.  It was dark, slow, thick and by itself, inconsumable. I got married and had a son and for several years this adorable little creature enticed the sun to follow me wherever I went.  My handsome loving husband and my new baby boy brought me joy that I had never experienced before; Joy that could split a watermelon in two with the sound of its laughter.

As the years marched on, the crying spells became less frequent (but so did the temporary joy) they morphed into something different.  Now I was simply numb. I was without feeling, like a lifeless octopus that washed up on the beach ~ each tentacle representing a dead appendage of my life. Here’s the equation: Marriage = huge struggle + Children = even bigger struggle + Career = a walk of emptiness on the moon. From about twenty five to thirty five, I bounced without feeling in my oxygenated suit, working fifty hours a week (insulated from emotion and from the world) as I walked on my own personal empty planet.  My thoughts were jumbled, my words were twisted and my actions bewildered all those with whom I interacted. At 35 years old I had a complete breakdown.  I tried to tell my Mom (and in her classic German way) she shut me down. She said, “I worry about you.” And this translated into, “I worry that you will go down the same pathetic road as your father.” It was at this point that I realized I had hit bottom and could no longer wish and hope for things to get better, so I decided to go to a Dr. for help.

The meeting with Dr. Z. was uncomfortable and weird because I was embarrassed to admit that my thoughts, actions and words just didn’t make any sense. I began to tell him the story of my life and he listened intently.  I could hear my words coming out crammed together and I became more and more nervous and self conscious. I wanted to smooth it over and just give him the abridged version but as I searched for more words, (and my eyes wandered from corner to corner on the ceiling) I heard him say. “Two Rats.” This tiny Middle-Eastern psychiatrist had a very thick accent, but I immediately got what he was trying to say. I think he meant I had two problems. I was like, “Huh?” “What did you say?” “Tourette’s, it’s a syndrome and I believe you have it.” “That combined with major depression and general anxiety.” I sat there silently stunned looking at the cheap paneling in his dumpy office.

Finally I can begin to understand me. I’m not the only person in this world who feels this way, struggles with these issues; there’s a name, THERE IS A NAME!  I was bewildered and silent, I wanted to laugh and to cry at the same time and I was both relieved and worried too….this little girl, the leader of the playground who was always called goofy, crazy, wild, zany and defiant could (maybe?) now take back her power.  She could reclaim her self esteem that had been slowly whittled away through the years like a lone piece of drift glass lying on an empty beach.

With my diagnosis I was completely liberated.  My diagnosis allowed me to know what to research and the knowledge I acquired opened doors that lead me on a personal wellness journey of self discovery and of taking back the power of my life.  My life is a glowing ball of pure light and energy now.  Every day I awake and thank my lucky stars for me and then I go about my day making sure to spread good charma where I can…and every night as I lay in bed I think about my own beating heart and my last thoughts are always the same.  “Wow, I’m so lucky to be here; this is such a miracle.”  

I wouldn’t change anything from my life (past or present) because now as I live in the moment, it’s as if every day is Christmas to me. I’m the little girl who breaks the rules and sets her alarm early to get a sneak peek of the Christmas tree and all its bounty; because for me, seeing the world through rose colored glasses is a big beautiful velvet and glitter wrapped gift.

Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Realtor!

Pizza Hut Unveils Cheeseburger Pizza


Several years ago when visiting Paris, I thought I’d stumbled upon a culinary freak show when I found a street vendor that sold french fry-wrapped pizzas. Little did I know what mongrel of a pizza concoction would someday be the brainchild of my own country’s quick service restaurant industry.

It wasn’t enough that Pizza Hut started putting hot dog-stuffed crust pizza, topped with a mustard drizzle, on the menu in its UK restaurants this month -- and apparently has been doing so in Thailand and Japan for years. But the YUM! Brands, Inc. (YUM) subsidiary has completely outdone itself this time. The bastard child of all things fast food has been born.

“Hail Pizza Hut’s royal masterpiece! The new Crown Crust Pizza!”

This horrifying, everything-but-the-kitchen sink pizza has a crust filled with grilled cheddar cheese burgers and topped with shredded iceberg lettuce, thick tomato and onion slices, a slathering of what looks an approximation of McDonald's (MCD) Big Mac special sauce, and a random assortment of plain ground beef balls. It’s named for its supposed likeness to a crown. A crown worn by a raging psychopath with a stomach made of steel.

Not a red meat eater? No problem. Pizza Hut also offers a version filled with chicken nuggets, green peppers, and barbecue sauce. Really, no blue cheese option?

The only bright spot in this story is that this Frankenstein creation is only available in the Middle East and, it appears, Pizza Hut has no plans to unleash the monster on our shores.

Read more:
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!
1) Responsibility is squarely on your shoulders! You cannot blame
others or society for who or where you are. You must constantly be
ready to change for the better; your closest friends that you spend
the most time with will have the greatest influence on who you are and
where you're going.

2) You must have the ability to let go! You will not be open to the
opportunities of the future if you are clinging to regrets or hurts
from the past. Let go of the negative thoughts.  Positive seeds reap
positive crops! Change your thinking and you can change your life.

3) You must understand your consciousness! The power of thought and
awareness is huge. Your perceptions will effect your imagination which
will effect your expectations and then your results! Remove self
judgement and the judgement of others.

4) Have positive energy! You've heard of IQ & EQ, what about AQ? The
attraction quotient will cause you to get back what you put out.
Positive energy attracts great things.  Negative energy attracts
garbage. Positive energy starts with positive thoughts so if you're
struggling with mindset use a lot of affirmations!

5) Utilize the power of intention! Keep your thoughts on what you want
to create.  Be purposeful in your thinking, expect to accomplish your
goals, be purposeful in your actions and trust the results will come!
6) Know and use wisely the power of choice! The choices that you make
today will determine what you have, what you do and who you are in the
future. Make good choices daily!

7) Fill your heart and life with Love! Love is an essential ingredient
for success. If you fill your heart, mind and being with genuine love
for yourself and for others then you will automatically come from
contribution and there will be no room for negativity or failure.
People will naturally like you and want to do business with you. 
Love people and use things (not vice versa)!

From MAPS Coach Dianna K.
Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Realtor!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Top 10 Nelson Mandela Quotes Of All Time

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    The Top 10 Nelson Mandela Quotes Of All Time

    South Africa is celebrating the 93rd birthday today of its most prized national figure, anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela.
    Close to 12 million students sang “Happy Birthday” to Mandela before school began today.
    But one of the many things African students — and people all across the world can look towards to for inspiration — are the many quotes Mandela has provided us with.
    Here is our list of the “Top 10 Nelson Mandela Quotes of All-Time.”
    1. Nothing in this world is impossible and Mandela makes sure to remind us of that.
    “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
    2. A lot of people find it easy to be pessimistic and think of the negatives that can arise out of a situation. But in this quote, Mandela shows us that thinking positive is the only way to go. The more positive you think, the more positive the outcome will probably be.
    “I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
    3. Living isn’t just about doing for yourself, but what you do for others as well.
    “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
    4. An ode to the fact that racism is not passed on genetically, but passed on through teachings.
    “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”
    5. Life is a course with endless obstacles to hurdle.
    “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
    6. We are too quick to give up and refuse to get up from our failures. If we don’t fight to get up, we are giving up on something bigger — life.
    “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
    7. Sometimes you can leave a place and find that the only thing that has changed after all the years is yourself.
    “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
    8. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
    “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
    9. Be brave!
    “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
    10. From the poorest of countries to the richest of nations, education is the key to moving forward in any society.
    “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

    Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Realtor!

    You Have No Idea.

    Vanessa Williams Says She Was Molested as a Child, Had Abortion in High School

    PHOTO: Vanessa Williams and her mother Helen Williams talk about their remarkably candid memoir, "You Have No Idea," with ABC's Juju Chang for "Nightline"

    When Vanessa Williams says "You Have No Idea," she means it.
    That's the title of Williams' new, remarkably candid memoir, penned with her mother and available in stores now.
    In the book, the "Desperate Housewives" actress reveals shocking secrets about her earlier years. The darkest one is that she was molested by an 18-year-old girl when she was just 10 years old, while they were on a family trip with friends.
    "It was definitely a choice, because it didn't need to be [in the book]," Williams said of the incident. "It happened one night where she told me, 'come over here,'… I didn't know that it was wrong, but I knew that it wasn't right because I wasn't supposed to tell anybody."
    The 49-year-old actress said that at the time of the incident, it was difficult for her to understand what had happened and she kept it a secret for years. It was not until many years later, when she was in college, that she even realized the significance of what had happened to her.
    "I think I was highly sexualized because I was in fifth grade and I had this experience," Williams told "Nightline." "Because it feels good, you're like, OK, well this is supposed to be normal. That's not normal for a 10-year-old to be seduced."
    PHOTO: Vanessa Williams and her mother Helen Williams talk about their remarkably candid memoir, "You Have No Idea," with ABC's Juju Chang for "Nightline"
    Heidi Gutman/ABC
    Vanessa Williams and her mother Helen... View Full Size
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    Williams said she didn't even tell her mother about it until they wrote the book together. Helen Williams said she was "absolutely stunned" to find out.
    "[I] had no idea that, that had happened," Helen Williams told "Nightline." "But in retrospect, it kind of put into place some of her reactions during her pre-teen years."
    Vanessa Williams, now a mother of four, said she first got pregnant when she was in high school but decided to have an abortion -- another secret she kept from her mother.
    "Being pregnant is the most frightening thing that happens in your life," she said. "I knew in high school that's something that I was not prepared to do, or fight, or struggle with."
    In college, Williams got into beauty pageants and became the first black woman to ever win the title of Miss America in 1983. But the racist backlash she received over her victory was so intense, Williams said, that at times sharpshooters were stationed on buildings she was visiting in order to protect her. She said she also received numerous death threats.
    "[My mother] wouldn't discuss them with me, because she didn't want me to be freaked out by them the entire year while I was doing my appearances," Williams said.
    But Williams also had a wild streak that may have led to a public fall from grace. At age 19, she agreed to let a photographer take nude photos of her after he promised not to distribute them.
    "I started out on top of a cab and ended up in a studded collar upstairs an hour later," Williams said. "That was my joke, saying, you know, 'How could I go from this trusting, you know, photo shoot, to being in S&M clothing within the same shoot with a guy I didn't know.'"
    The photos ended up in Penthouse magazine – leading to a scandal that ultimately led Williams to give up her crown.
    "I've learned to embrace my past," Williams said. "I embrace the choices that I have been given in my life."
    Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Realtor!

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    $26B mortgage deal: Who gets the money?

    $26B mortgage deal: Who gets the money?


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    There are new details about the massive mortgage settlement reached between 49 states and five major banks to help struggling homeowners.

    The $26 billion deal involving the five biggest mortgage lenders in the country - Ally Financial, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo - is the largest joint federal-state settlement in the nation's history, and is about $1 billion bigger than had been expected.

    Foreclosure pact: Enough help for homeowners?

    Banks in $25B deal to settle foreclosure abuses

    One billion dollars of the $26 billion will go to the Federal Housing Authority. The rest of the $25 billion goes to homeowners.

    On "CBS This Morning" business and economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis outlined how the money will be spent:

    $17 billion will go towards reducing principal on mortgages;

    $3 billion towards refinancing;

    $1.5 billion towards payouts for improper foreclosures (This is the up to $2,000 that the 750,000 homeowners may see as a result of being foreclosed on, and is on a first-come, first-served basis); and

    $3.5 billion will go towards state and federal governments to deal with foreclosures.

    Jarvis says relief for homeowners could be as long as three years away, but banks will receive incentives to speed up the process - and penalties if they miss deadlines.

    "If they can do it in a year, they'll get points for that," Jarvis said. "By two years out, three quarters of all the money must be given out by the banks. "

    © 2012 CBS Interactive Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

    Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Realtor!

    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy;-)

    15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy


    Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go:
    1. Give up your need to always be right. There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

    2. Give up your need for control.
    Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.

    “By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu
    3. Give up on blame. Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.
    4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk. Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.
    “The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle
    5. Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!
    “A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle
    6. Give up complaining. Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
    7. Give up the luxury of criticism. Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.
    8. Give up your need to impress others. Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take of all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.
    9. Give up your resistance to change. Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.
    “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls”
    Joseph Campbell
    10. Give up labels. Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer
    11. Give up on your fears. Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.
    “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
    Franklin D. Roosevelt
    12. Give up your excuses. Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.
    13. Give up the past. I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.
    14. Give up attachment. This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another, attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.
    15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations. Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves. You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.
    Lisa Ekanger Your Preferred Realtor!