It’s true! Everything you know about tea is wrong—or at least, if you’re me. I grew up on tea bags; I can still see them right now, a yellow box of Lipton tea bags, hanging out in the back of the middle shelf of the bank of cupboards in my mother’s kitchen. Maybe this article should have been titled “Everything Jordan Knows About Tea Is Wrong”—I apologize for making assumptions by using the royal you.

Until a very short time ago, tea was this very ancillary, secondary, overlooked thing in my life. I usually drank it (if I drank it at all) served as iced tea, sweetened of course if I was in the American South, or served dry as a bone over great hulking chunks of ice with a lemon wedge on that rare hot day in the Pacific Northwest, where I grew up. I didn’t take tea seriously—I ignored it on coffee shop menus, I didn’t make it for myself at home, I couldn’t really tell you anything about the various styles and varieties. I didn’t own a gaiwan or any tea-making gear, even at the entry level. I was oblivious to its many cultures and subcultures and rich history.

I was fucking up and I didn’t even know it.

And then very suddenly, everything changed. It started, like literally every major event over the last decade in my life, because of coffee. More specifically, because of a story I was assigned to write for Sprudge. We had noticed an uptick in tea quality at high-end cafes, specifically here in Portland, where the San-Francisco-based tea company Song Tea was showing up on the menu at a couple of the good local coffee bars. We started following Song and realized they were being placed in several well-respected cafes around the country. A hypothesis emerged.

In the early days of Sprudge you could tell if a coffee shop was any good just by the gear. If you walked into a coffee bar in 2009 and they had a La Marzocco and a Mahlkönig, you knew they likely gave a shit. Nowadays it’s harder to tell quite so easily, as the third wave coffee movement has exploded and things like gear and interior design have become more copycat. But maybe this tea brand was on to something; maybe Song was sort of like a third-party quality control vetting system, and that by only going into good coffee shops, we could look at them as a kind of hack. “If a cafe serves Song, they must be good.”

Photos from our 2016 interview with Peter Luong by Zachary Carlsen.

And so I went to San Francisco and interviewed Peter Luong, Song Tea’s founder, who grew up in his family’s tea shop and has been traveling for tea sourcing since he was a kid. You can read the interview here—it’s an okay interview, I think, and it helped turn more people on to the good work Peter is doing. But the subtext of that interview is what leads us here today. Because throughout it, while I asked Peter rudimentary questions about Song’s approach to tea in a coffee context, he was making tea the entire time. Teas like I had never, ever tried before—wonderful buttercream oolongs and chocolatey roasted tieguanyins, Cypress smoked black tea like a campfire jujube and endlessly complex Sichuan greens, all of it served in a procession of simple, stunning, utterly pleasurable teawares. Peter was serving me his own personal take on gong fu cha as I interviewed him, and honestly, it changed my life.

I left high. Floating. Tea drunk, tea stoned, whatever you want to call it. (Although if we really want to get into what psychotropic most mimicked by a sizable consumption of tea, I think it’s closest to a gentle microdose of psilocybin.) Blowing like a feather in the wind around Pacific Heights, with a laptop full of notes and no particular place to head next, clutching my backpack now full of teas for steeping back home.

And steep back home I did—pot after pot, with a strict 10:00pm cutoff so as not to mess with my sleep schedule, chasing the sensory memory of that incredible experience in San Francisco. I love a rabbit hole, a new world to explore, and tea—like coffee, and like natural wine—offered a vast and never-ending beverage culture to soak up like a sponge.

Tea quickly became a daily part of my creative and personal life. I found myself writing better, or at least writing more voluminously (which I know should not be mistaken for “better” but often feels like it) while consuming an ever-growing raft of teas. I started exploring different brands, seeking out interesting tea accounts on Instagram, pouring through websites big and small, from tea purveyors based in China to tea purveyors based a few blocks from my house. I started collecting teawares, began following talented ceramicists from around the world, and started—slowly at first—to begin making tea for others, as a form of expression for this new passion.

I also began traveling with tea in mind, seeking out tea experiences in different parts of the country and digging out time for tea alongside Sprudge’s busy travel schedule. An hour here, an hour there, ducking out of a festival on my lunch break or landing with an extra day to explore tea shops across a city. Along this path I started talking with the people who run these tea shops and bars, asking them about their own journeys with tea, their own perspectives on the drink and the multitudes it contains.

And through it all, I learned a couple of surprising things.

First, tea people are by and large kind to each other. I learned this first by haunting the Instagrams and Reddit forums for tea drinkers, and by taking on some local tea writing for the alt-weekly here in Portland, which got me into more and more local tea bars, begetting more and more happy, sunshiney, tea-stoned conversations. On the internet, and IRL, tea conversations appear at least to this outsider to be mostly full of positivity and kindness. It’s one of the nicest Reddits, which is really saying something, and on Instagram you have to look hard to find tea people being shitty to each other. I can assure you this is not always the case in coffee, and it is really not the case in wine.

Tea scoop and rest inside Floating Mountain. Photo by the author.

The notion of tea’s inherent kindness landed while I was sitting in a tea bar on New York’s Upper West Side called Floating Mountain, whose owner, Lina Medvedeva, escaped the world of Manhattan finance to open a serene, meditative, beautiful little second floor tea bar and gallery above W 72nd Street. Over a single pot of Phoenix Dan Cong (I can still taste its warm red comforting flavors now, months later writing this) we talked about her past life, her upbringing in Russia’s far east, near Vladivostok (“We grew up drinking tea like water”), and how Floating Mountain came to be. It was once a tailor shop, and today is imbued with the most glorious Manhattan light, streaming in through floor to ceiling windows, like an oasis of energy and calm in the middle of the city, just blocks from The Dakota and Central Park.

Lina’s gong fu cha is minimalist, with everything just so—nothing extravagant, nothing loud. A tea scoop from the Czech Republic, made from vitrified bogwood. A simple porcelain gaiwan. A glass water kettle. An hour became two, and I was then hopelessly late for my next appointment, but I remember asking: “Is it just me, or do tea people seem rather content? Like as a culture, it seems to be a pretty positive place…do you agree?”

“You can never know the inside of another mind,” she replied, “but the tea speaks. There isn’t much left to say.”

The house of Liquid Proust. Photo by the author.

A few weeks and a thousand miles later I sat for another tea experience, where I learned a lesson on tea’s power to transform our very souls. This time it was inside an unassuming house, on a nondescript street amongst a row of clapboard little boxes in suburban Columbus, Ohio. This is the home of Andrew Richardson, who goes by Liquid Proust on Instagram and runs a fast-growing digital tea company of the same name. His focus is on rare and aged teas, typically from Yunnan but also some truly remarkable oolongs from Taiwan and eastern China. His entire business and network of tea community happens online, and walking up to the house, you would never in a million years guess that inside it dwells one of the foremost young American collectors and distributors of vintage single-origin tea.

Nearly every surface inside of Andrew’s house is covered in tea: tuongs, satchels, bags, parcels, caddies, ceramic resting jars, wooden commemorative chests, boxes and boxes and boxes with China Post shipping labels affixed (oh, what the mailman must think!) and enough shipping material to ensure safe passage between here and Mars and back, Express Class. There is more tea in this house than one person could drink in a thousand lifetimes, though I suspect Liquid Proust would die happy trying. In his cluttered office (tea, tea everywhere) across an industrial minimalist metal tea table, Andrew brewed me a procession of increasingly rare and fine teas, and talked to me at length about his growing business.

Liquid Proust began as a side hustle from Andrew’s full-time job, which is as a business advisor and student in a corporate MBA program. He fell down a particular sub-section of the tea rabbit hole, chatting with tea purveyors in China and Taiwan and Malaysia using auto translate programs, assuming financial risk by purchasing lots–large and small–of vintage tea, and documenting all of it on Instagram. Today his website is an ever-changing array of tea offerings, collaborative buys and special lots, handpacked from his home in Ohio.

Tea has been a transformative force in Andrew’s life. “Tea has taught me to be accepting,” he told me. “I grew up in a very conservative religious family, and without tea, I think I be like… somebody totally different. A Christian conservative Trump supporter, most likely.” He grew up drinking Bewley’s tea bags with his family, he tells me sheepishly, and I can relate. As tea gained more and more prominence in his life, the old vestiges and relationships of his past life fell away. He fell into a new world of tea drinkers and tea lovers—diverse, international, accepting, kind. His doors are always open to fellow tea heads on the same journey.

“People come to this house from around the world,” he tells me, as we look over jar after jar, bag after bag, an entire living room given over to boxes to ship, every square inch of kitchen counter overflowing with tea from his remarkable collection. “We just start laughing together, and talking. It’s almost like drinking beer—if you drink enough tea you get silly after a while, and then you get to really hear about people’s lives, their views on religion and love, and who they truly are. I would have never had this conversation before—I would have never known you.”

Too soon I was back outside in the Ohio chill, waiting for a Lyft to take me back into the city, my bag and mind and heart crammed full to bursting with tea. I started crying in the back of the car.

As a Western tea drinker, tea doesn’t need me. Not economically, not culturally, and certainly not spiritually. Indeed, there is something almost comically absurd about obsessing over tea here in America, thousands of miles from where it’s cultivated and revered, separated by a vast ocean both literal and cultural, although I’d like to think it’s kind of modern and cool too—bridging language and culture gaps digitally over a shared love for something truly good. But the economy and language of tea is quite happily percolating along in the countries where tea is produced, a brisk market of sales and consumption and obsession. Tea is not, like coffee, primarily an export crop. It’s more like wine—the cultures that grow it most revere it, and typically keep all the good shit close to home.  Indeed, as I understand it is only relatively recently that truly great teas from China and Taiwan have even been available for mass consumption in the United States. General access to premiere quality tea in America is a fairly new thing informed by the opening up of China’s flexible take on communism vis-a-vis small business growth, the linking of our world through the towering modern marvels of online shopping, international shipping (thanks China Post!) and global free trade.

Tea prices, trade wars, globalism: all of this is made possible by international commerce and the free movement of goods and services and ideas through international markets. Like coffee, tea is an unexpectedly and explicitly political product to consume in the best of times. And today? When these trade freedoms are imperiled by tariffs and racism and shudderingly incompetent political leadership? Drinking good tea in America right now is a profoundly political act, more so than at any time since the American revolution.

Tea doesn’t need the West but I think we need it. I think we could all stand to sit with this stuff as a regular part of our lives; not to replace coffee in the mornings, or instead of wine at night, but as a bridge and a complementary force alongside the other drinks we already love. Tea is a vast, bottomless, endlessly complex world of styles, producers, history, modern expression, accoutrement and idiosyncrasy. It is a lifetime—indeed, many happy lifetimes—of culinary inquiry. Drinking good tea can make your life better. Drinking good tea has definitely made my life better, made me a happier person and a more creative thinker, a better friend and colleague and partner. It has comforted me in times of sadness and tragedy, and I have celebrated good news with it, and it has been there for me as alacrity fuel of the highest order on plain old boring work nights.

I strongly recommend drinking a lot of good tea to anyone who wants to better know their own mind. Bathe your brain in theanine any possible chance you get. Think of it almost as like a performance-enhancing drug for your life.

I will end this essay by telling you a secret. I’m “the guy from Sprudge” which means that every so often at an event (be it family or promotional) someone expects me to make coffee. And I can do it serviceably well enough. I’m okay at it, but I don’t think I’m particularly great at it, or that I approach it with the easy confidence and muscle memory of a champion barista or anything. My coffee brewing prowess is nothing special, and I always kind of dread being asked, because it comes with a lot of expectations that frankly I’ve done nothing to deserve beyond stringing lots of flowery words together.

But I love making tea. Adore it, really. I love making it for myself, for my friends and family, for guests at our Sprudge offices in Portland, at parties or brunches or pretty much wherever. I love (and I mean love) the ceramics; I love the tactile change from dry to porous; I love the flavor variation across a long session; I love the steeping rhythm; I love the intimacy it creates, the way you really get to know someone somewhere between the fourth and seventh cup. Some of the very best conversations of my life have taken place over the last two years, with friends new and old, across a gaiwan.

My dream is that someday I will be able to give my own personal expression of gong fu cha to someone else and change their life, too, by opening their eyes and mind up to what tea can be, just as Peter Luong and Lina Medvedeva and Liquid Proust have done for me.

It’s the least I can do.

Jordan Michelman (@suitcasewine) is a co-founder and editor at Sprudge Media Network. Read more Jordan Michelman on Sprudge. 

Editor: Liz Clayton. 

All photos by Anthony Jordan III (@ace_lace) unless otherwise noted. The top image for this feature depicts a ceramic teascoop “chahe” from Russian ceramicist Anton Filonov, distributed in the United States by Liquid Proust

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Sprudge Tea Week is presented by Breville USA.

The post Everything You Know About Tea Is Wrong appeared first on Sprudge.

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Got job candidates you can’t afford, but you know they’d be a fantastic fit with your business? Don’t be so quick to assume they are out of your reach when you’re thinking about hiring candidates.

Say you’ve decided your company needs a superstar engineer, IT professional or C-suite executive to fill a void. If you’re a smaller company of 10, 25, 50 or even 75 employees, chances are it’s going to be tough to compete on salary alone with bigger companies that are able to offer bigger salaries.

There’s good news, though. While compensation is important, it isn’t the only way to win over top-tier prospects. Sometimes the promise of extra experience, a shorter commute or a few extra perks can convince high-level recruits that your business is the best place to work, even if it pays less than another company.

When hiring candidates, admit your limits – and your strengths

Before you begin your search for this highly sought-after new employee, it’s important to first figure out the must-have characteristics of this candidate. Do they need to have a certain certification, years of experience or established contacts in the industry? Focusing on fulfilling these characteristics helps you make a more rational decision once you’ve found the right person.

Next, consider what makes your company different and what you have to offer besides salary. Then, during the interview process, pay attention to what the candidate says. If their discussion tends to focus on salary and bonuses rather than the work and your company culture, then you must be open to admitting this may not be the candidate for you.

After all, it’s likely you will only be able to keep that person 18-24 months at most before they’re lured away by the larger salary they wanted all along.

Still, just because a candidate wants a higher salary, that doesn’t mean they’re entirely off limits. Here are five ways to get creative when you’re looking at hiring candidates who normally command higher salaries than your budget allows.

1. Cater to their ego with a higher-ranking title

Depending on the position and where the person is in their career, you may be able to lure them with a more advanced job title. It can be worth a few dollars to a candidate to get a director or vice president title on their résumé.

Some candidates may be at a stage in their careers where fulfillment is more important than money. You may be able to attract such employees with the promise of more control and authority that comes with a more senior title.

Keep in mind that you may have to add to the responsibilities associated with this job in order to justify the loftier title to your existing employees. But for a candidate considering the long-term advantages of building their résumé, a higher-ranking title may be just the ticket.

2. Woo them with benefits

These days, employer-sponsored benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plans, are more than a perk — they’re a baseline expectation. They show your employees that you care about their well-being both in and outside the office.

Solid medical coverage and the opportunity to save for retirement are the cornerstones of any comprehensive benefits package – and a must for attracting top talent. But a variety of other benefits can often help tip the scales in your favor with job candidates you can’t afford.

For example, the opportunity to work remotely is growing in popularity, a trend that shows no signs of slowing. You also might consider offering additional paid time off, a company car, profit sharing, a shorter vesting period, or a bonus tied to company performance.

Access to technology can be another important draw. While a company cell phone and laptop are practically standard with larger companies, not every company can say that all their processes are online. Most job candidates will appreciate a prospective employer who offers the convenience of online, self-service access to things like their timesheets, paystubs, benefits information, performance reviews and more.

3. Showcase your company culture

For some employees, a positive company culture is more enticing than competitive compensation or benefits.

As you talk to candidates about what is most important to them in a job, sell them on what will appeal to them about your company culture. That may be your dedication to work-life balance, potential for rapid professional growth, or your company’s community spirit.

For example, some candidates may want to work for an entrepreneurial company that’s projected to sell to a bigger firm or go public in three to five years. They want the opportunity to work in a startup culture and may be willing to take a lower salary for that experience.

Highly talented candidates often have multiple companies vying for their attention. They can afford to be choosy about where they work. Spotlighting your culture can help you get noticed and beat out the competition when hiring candidates of this caliber.

4. Tout your management team’s experience

Hard-working, highly competitive candidates aren’t just looking for a job – they’re looking for opportunities to increase their skills and advance their careers for the long term.

By touting your management team’s experience, you’re telling potential candidates that they will have the opportunity to learn from people who are well respected in their fields. Particularly in technical fields, you may be able to entice a young engineer with the promise of being supervised by a senior engineer who already has their P.E. license, which in turn may help that person qualify for their own license sooner.

In yet another example, some IT professionals deliberately seek the chance to work for a startup guru. They want to be mentored by an industry leader so they can learn at the feet of a master before going out on their own to start their own company.

You may be able to attract candidates with the promise of working with a well-known expert, or working on a special, high-profile project. After all, it’s a tried-and-true career formula to work for a successful senior professional in order to burnish your own qualifications and credentials.

5. Highlight long-term career opportunities

In most cases, top-performing professionals are always striving to develop their careers. They don’t want to be stuck in the same job forever. That means selecting a company with potential advancement and promotion opportunities is a must.

If your management team came from a similar background as the candidate and grew with the company, be sure to talk about those experiences during the interview. This will show them that there are opportunities for growth and that your company believes in promoting from within.

Another option: Offer to pay for a candidate’s professional certifications or advanced training.

Particularly if the candidate currently works for a larger organization, it may appeal to them that they can work across an entire project rather than being siloed, as is typical with a big company. Your potential employee may find it attractive that they can work on every phase of a product from concept to testing through launch.

But be aware: While candidates want recognition and appreciation for their work, there comes a time when words are not enough. Eventually, you’ll have to follow through with a promotion or growth opportunity. If you don’t, there’s a good chance they’ll look elsewhere.

The takeaway

Remember, not everyone wants to work for a large company. Your smaller organization may be just the ticket for some candidates, so don’t assume you can’t compete with big business when hiring candidates who seem outside your budget.

You shouldn’t give up on a candidate who wants a higher salary than you have budgeted. Think about what makes your company different from the competition and sell the candidate on it.

Want to win over first-class candidates? Download our free e-book: Talent acquisition: 13 secrets to recruiting and retaining top talent.


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More racers, more enjoyable.

If 12 racers in Mario Kart weren’t currently irritating enough, how would you feel about 24? A computer game modder called MrBean35000vr has actually had the ability to get 24 karts up and running in Mario Kart Wii .

As he describes in the above video, his mod can deal with in between 24-29 racers, however the video game crashes when 30 or more karts are included. Products have actually likewise been rebalanced, so racers now get the much better products in 24th and 23rd location, instead of 11th and 12th. There have actually been some changes up front, so very first location can’t break away from the pack. At the minute, this mod is restricted to offline races with 23 computer system challengers.

Read the complete short article on


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Airline Hotels sets up brand-new accounting software application at 9 homes Hotel Management

Airline Hotels updated its monetary system to Aptech Computer Systems’ PVNG Enterprise Hotel Accounting Software at 9 homes. Airline company Hotels is a …


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How to Get Started With Autonomous Data Warehouse

Our previous post Data Warehouse 101: Introduction outlined the benefits of the Autonomous Data Warehouse–it’s simple, fast, elastic, secure, and best of all it’s incredibly easy to spin up an environment and start a new project.  If you read through the last post, you already know how to sign up for a data warehouse trial account and download SQL Developer and Data Visualization Desktop, both of which come free with the Autonomous Data Warehouse. 

Sign up for a Free Data Warehouse Trial Today

This post will focus on the steps to get started using the Oracle Autonomous Data Warehouse. We will provision a new Autonomous Data Warehouse instance and connect to the database using Oracle SQL Developer.

How to Use Autonomous Data Warehouse with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure

STEP 1: Sign in to Oracle Cloud

Go to Click Sign In to sign in with your Oracle Cloud account.
Enter your Cloud Account Name and click My Services.

Enter your Oracle Cloud username and password, and click Sign In.

STEP 2: Create an Autonomous Data Warehouse Instance

Once you are logged in, you are taken to the cloud services dashboard where you can see all the services available to you. Click Create Instance.

Note: You may also access your Autonomous Data Warehouse service via the pull out menu on the top left of the page, or by using Customize Dashboard to add the service to your dashboard.

Click Create on the Autonomous Data Warehouse tile. If it does not appear in your Featured Services, click on All Services and find it there.

Select the root compartment, or another compartment of your choice where you will create your new Autonomous Data Warehouse instance. If you want to create a new Compartment or learn more, click here.
Note – Avoid the use of the ManagedCompartmentforPaaS compartment as this is an Oracle default used for Oracle Platform Services.

Click on Create Autonomous Data Warehouse button to start the instance creation process.

This will bring up the Create Autonomous Data Warehouse screen where you will specify the configurations of the instance. Select the root compartment, or another compartment of your choice.

Specify a memorable display name for the instance. Also specify your database's name, for this lab use ADWFINANCE.

Next, select the number of CPUs and storage size. Here, we use 4 CPUs and 1 TB of storage.

Then, specify an ADMIN password for the instance, and a confirmation of it. Make a note of this password.

For this lab, we will select Subscribe To A New Database License. If your organization owns Oracle Database licenses already, you may bring those license to your cloud service.
Make sure everything is filled out correctly, then proceed to click on Create Autonomous Data Warehouse.

Your instance will begin provisioning. Once the state goes from Provisioning to Available, click on your display name to see its details.

You now have created your first Autonomous Data Warehouse instance. Have a look at your instance's details here including its name, database version, CPU count and storage size.

Because Autonomous Data Warehouse only accepts secure connections to the database, you need to download a wallet file containing your credentials first. The wallet can be downloaded either from the instance's details page, or from the Autonomous Data Warehouse service console.

STEP 4: Download the Connection Wallet

In your database's instance details page, click DB Connection.

Under Download a Connection Wallet, click Download.

Specify a password of your choice for the wallet. You will need this password when connecting to the database via SQL Developer later, and is also used as the JKS keystore password for JDBC applications that use JKS for security. Click Download to download the wallet file to your client machine.
Note: If you are prevented from downloading your Connection Wallet, it may be due to your browser's pop-blocker. Please disable it or create an exception for Oracle Cloud domains.

Connecting to the database using SQL Developer

Start SQL Developer and create a connection for your database using the default administrator account 'ADMIN' by following these steps.

STEP 5: Connect to the database using SQL Developer

Click the New Connection icon in the Connections toolbox on the top left of the SQL Developer homepage.

Fill in the connection details as below:

Connection Name: admin_high
Username: admin
Password: The password you specified during provisioning your instance
Connection Type: Cloud Wallet
Configuration File: Enter the full path for the wallet file you downloaded before, or click the Browse button to point to the location of the file.
Service: There are 3 pre-configured database services for each database. Pick <databasename>_high for this lab. For
example, if you the database you created was named adwfinance, select adwfinance_high as the service.

Note : SQL Developer versions prior to 18.3 ask for a Keystore Password. Here, you would enter the password you specified when downloading the wallet from ADW.

Test your connection by clicking the Test button, if it succeeds save your connection information by clicking Save, then connect to your database by clicking the Connect button. An entry for the new connection appears under Connections.
If you are behind a VPN or Firewall and this Test fails, make sure you have SQL Developer 18.3 or higher. This version and above will allow you to select the "Use HTTP Proxy Host" option for a Cloud Wallet type connection. While creating your new ADW connection here, provide your proxy's Host and Port. If you are unsure where to find this, you may look at your computer's connection settings or contact your Network Administrator.

Watch a video demonstration of provisioning a new autonomous data warehouse and connect using SQL Developer:

NOTE: The display name for the Autonomous Data Warehouse is ADW Finance Mart and the Database name is ADWFINANCE. This is for representation only and you can choose your name.

In the next post, Data Warehouse 101: Setting up Object Store, we will start exploring a data set, how to load and analyze the data set.

Written by Sai Valluri and Philip Li

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Travel has actually ended up being an essential part of today’s company. Supervisors, staff members, and even the executives are taking a trip more regularly nowadays due to the fact that more markets are readily available out there that can be tapped to get brand-new clients or customers. Travel is part of the efforts of developing, growing and keeping the potential customers of any market. Canada is rather a simple nation to take a trip from, with lots of alternatives for excellent airports and direct flights. You can constantly enhance things.

Hitting the roadway was and has actually been the standard in operating, however the digital dispensation that avails different innovations has actually made service travel less troublesome. Today, the contemporary organisation individual can go on service journeys and establish distinct travel practices that enable them to enjoy their journeys easily and effectively irrespective of the restraints of the time and location. Below are 9 pointers source from various experienced tourists that can assist you delight in more effective organisation journeys from Canada to the remainder of the world.

.1. Travel Light.

Traveling light is the trick to having a effective and smooth service journey. If you have a lot of baggage, the numerous securities checkpoints you will deal with might see you invest more time there. The less products you have with you, the much easier your journeys; you will prevent waiting at the luggage carousel and head directly for the taxi or waiting for transport when you get here at the airports. Taking a trip light methods that you will not get tired of bring heavy travel luggage around.

.2. Keep The Essentials Ready.

If the journeys are regular, then you ought to have a bag of important constantly prepared for those unanticipated journeys. You can decide to deal with 3 bags each having the important things you require for your journeys so that all you will require is to load your laptop computer, battery charger, and a couple of other organisation products and you are great to address any minute’s notification. If you require a passport renewal prior to then get one – – here ’ s a choice to fast lane it if requirements be – –

The concept of having your fundamentals pack and all set is a perfect choice if you are brand-new to doing regular organisation journeys. Doing it over and over quickly sees this end up being a practice and you will have the ability to load what you require in a matter of minutes because you recognize with the basics you require for your journey.



. 3. Strategy Ahead.

We reside in a digital age where we have all sorts of gadgets and tech that assists make life much easier. You can utilize apps in your phone to make reservations and arrange your journeys from the day you head out to when you return. Such tools secure the requirement for working with travel representatives to aid with your travel plans.


But inasmuch as the apps are a convenient resource for your organisation journeys, it constantly is a good idea to prepare ahead so that you prevent the eleventh hour rush. Making bookings can see you get the finest costs at a deal. You likewise will have more time to compare all the readily available alternatives prior to reserving, and you will look forward to an enjoyable company journey.

. 4. Fly Private.

If you have the dollar for such plans, then flying independently will be well worth the pay. With this alternative, you willnot need to withstand the long lines or flight schedules of the airline companies. A lot of corporations supply personal jet subscriptions to their executives. Paramount Business Jets has a Private Jet Membership Program that permits members to take pleasure in low rates with flights readily available under an hour after reserving.


Flying personal is likewise a chance of delighting in access to a few of the very best jets without owning any of them. It is a paid service and getting the subscription cards is not that made complex. The provider manage all the needed plans and guarantee an airplane is all set within the quickest time possible. For this service, you pay a reduced charge given that you have the subscription card. A few of the personal jet programs consist of a concierge service that deals with travel plans for the customer.



. 5. Gather Mileage.

If you need to take an industrial flight, then attempt as much as you can to adhere to one airline company. The concept behind this isso that you can gather regular leaflet mileage and quickly grants you access to totally free advantages for the flights you make that will make your organisation journeys easier.


For example, some airline companies have different VIP security checkpoints for their most devoted and valued leaflets that permits them to get to the airport lounge within the quickest time possible. At the airport lounge, you can delight in a little bit of rest or perhaps get some work done as you await your flight.

. 6. Gown Accordingly.

You are bound to have various experiences will every service travel. Some journeys will see you begin working from the minute you land, needing to convene manage deals. Other times, the journey might be more unwinded permit you to take pleasure in some individual time of enjoyable and home entertainment in between your service schedules. Whichever the results of your journeys, it is a good idea to dress conveniently for the journey.


Pick a casual-smart attire that is not too official or casual. Due to the fact that it is head delighting in some peaceful shut-eye throughout the flight when in such an outfit, prevent using fits. Airports nowadays have shower spaces where individuals can go to refresh up after their flight as they head on out of the airport. If you are flying personal so that you hop onto the vehicle right away after alighting from the jet, you can take pleasure in the advantages of revitalizing in-flight.

. 7. Bring Entertainment. Since you are taking a trip for work does not imply that it is all company for you, #ppppp> Simply. Discover the time to have some enjoyable and unwind as you take pleasure in the sights and noises of your location. No play and all work makes Jack … you understand how it goes. A break for work will assist you remain all set and sharp for staying service and even prepared for your flight. The home entertainment choices can likewise consist of bringing your own home entertainment. You ought to likewise know the tax ramifications of purchasing home entertainment when taking a trip – check out VAT IT for more details.


For circumstances, you can bring with you that book you have actually not discovered the time to check out and read it throughout the flight. You can have a kindle in your tablet so that you have various books on-the-go at all times. You can too take pleasure in some music –, films or TELEVISION series on your tablet; pre-download them have something to keep you amused when there are spaces in your journeys and company schedule.

. 8. Workout.

Remember to squeeze in some light exercise sessions in between your service journeys and conferences. It can vary from going for a swim after the conference, a vigorous walk around the airport prior to boarding the airplane, or extending and a little bit of yoga when you reach the hotel. Working out will assist keep a healthy metabolizing enabling you to sleep much better andkeep you from illness throughout your journeys.


So, if you have an early morning exercise regimen, keep to it even throughout your journeys. Stay with what gets you going and assists you remain healthy and healthy. And do keep in mind to set the alarm when you are going to sleep so that you can get up in excellent time to do all you require to at dawn, even if it is that early morning run.

. 9. Prepare for The Unexpected.

Sometimes, things will fail even after all the mindful preparation. It is smart to likewise prepare for the unanticipated. Things such as an unexpected modification in the weather condition, traffic congestion on your method to the airport, a postponed flight, poor web connection, bad cell reception, and even inaccurate reserving info can turn a well-planned organisation journey into a headache.


Fortunately, you will never ever miss out on an option any of these obstacles throughout your journeys. You can protect a personal flight if you have actually a postponed industrial flight or go through the reserving apps when you have problems with your lodging; it pays to be gotten ready for such difficulties.

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Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace

Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace

Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace

Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace

Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace


What do you picture when imagining a family run guesthouse in semi-rural Spain? Ornate double doors? Floors paved with handmade tiles? Maybe a stray domestic chicken running around? Located in a wine-growing town in Spain’s Extremadura region, La Hermandad de Villalba is essentially picture perfect.

Madrid-based studio Lucas y Hernández-Gil overhauled the 18th-century building, making design-forward updates while retaining the original features that had become dilapidated over time.

“The project underlines every single original strength lost over time,” says the studio. “Simultaneously it adapts to and adds new uses and requirements from a contemporary perspective.”


See more projects by Lucas y Hernández-Gil on Yellowtrace here.


Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace

Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace

Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace

Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace

Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace


The entrance of the two-storey house opens onto the main square of the town Tierra de Barros, with a small courtyard to the rear. The ground level adjoins all the common entertaining spaces including living room, kitchen, and dining room.

Simple reinforcements such as a coat of raw lime mortar for the walls and lime wash for the vaulted ceilings was all the sprucing up that was required. The original clay tiles were sadly beyond repair, so local potters were tasked with creating new ones, colour-matching them to the surrounding deep red terrain. The same tiles are used for both the indoor living spaces and outdoor courtyard.


Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace

Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace

Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace

Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace


Original timber double doors were painted pistachio green, both enhancing their ornate carvings and paying homage to the abundant vineyards that surround the property. New doorways were also created to let in more light, and allow guests easier access to a small pool in the courtyard.

Originally a larder used to cure meats, the second floor was reconfigured as four bedrooms for guests. The rooms are decorated largely in keeping with the rest of the rustic interior, with rattan furnishings, straw mats, and simple linens. Subtle contemporary touches, such as matte black fixtures in the bathrooms, belie the recent revamp. Perfect for those who are after a rural getaway but want to keep it chic.


See more projects by Lucas y Hernández-Gil on Yellowtrace here.


Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace
Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil | Yellowtrace


[Images courtesy of Lucas y Hernández-Gil. Photography by José Hevia.]


The post Rural Guesthouse in Spain by Lucas y Hernández-Gil. appeared first on Yellowtrace.

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In a current episode of Let’’ s Fix Work, I invited business owner and technologist, Armen Berjikly. Armen works as the Senior Director of Growth Strategy at Ultimate Software, where his know-how in human-computer interactions drives Ultimate’s expert system platform and instructions. Through my own work, I have actually understood that there are many individuals in the work environment, on the planet of Human Resources, and tech that put on’’ t comprehend how Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help us in the labor force. I was pleased to have Armen as a visitor, due to the fact that in my mind he is a specialist in AI.

While Armen and I discussed lots of aspects of expert system throughout our discussion, today I wish to concentrate on how AI can assist personnels specialists make much better choices more relatively and with skills.

Let’’ s begin with unconscious predispositions. Unconscious predispositions are social stereotypes about specific groups of individuals that people form outside their own mindful awareness. Everybody holds unconscious beliefs about numerous social and identity groups, and these predispositions come from one’s propensity to arrange social worlds by classifying. *

Now let’’ s see how unconscious predispositions can have a function in office choices. Every worker needs to make choices all day. If we’re sincere, we make them under pressure? We have time constraints, resource restrictions, info constraints. We have individual restrictions. These are all scenarios where specialists need to make judgment under less than ideal conditions, day in and day out.

And when under pressure, as HR Professionals, we might lean on unconscious predisposition to assist us make choices. As Armen mentions, ““ That doesn ’ t appear reasonable. It doesn ’ t feel excellent, and it’s truly does not cause the very best office environment.””


These are locations where we have a hard time as individuals, however a maker does not.

A device does not have unconscious predisposition.

Armen states, ““ What we can do with expert system is that we can assist individuals decide they require with more skills. We can assist them make those choices more relatively. We can assist them make those choices with more computer system proof behind it and we can make it customized to their scenarios. That is the basic AI technique, escape judgment [and rather utilize AI to assist us] to make choices at work.” ”


By utilizing expert system to assist us make those choices, we can start to eliminate unconscious predisposition from our choice making, therefore cultivating a more proficient and reasonable environment.

If you’re interested in finding out more about utilizing AI in the labor force, the truth and hope, then listen to this episode of Let’’ s Fix Work, here .


The post Removing Unconscious Bias from Decision Making By Using Artificial Intelligence in the Workplace appeared initially on Laurie Ruettimann .


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Relist Watch

John Elwood reviews Monday’s relists.

With the recent reduction in trusted sources for Supreme Court news, we untrusted news sources must do our best to fill the gap. So even though I have an argument approaching, I will once again try to rise to the occasion. Happily for me, it’s a light week for relists.

First the old business. The court finally resolved that tangle of 56 Armed Career Criminal Act cases pretty much the way I expected. Otherwise, from last week’s installment, we had one denial, one grant and one relative rarity: a summary reversal that didn’t involve qualified immunity, habeas corpus or the death penalty. Although there were those who thought it wasn’t summary enough.

With that, we’re ready for the new business. That’ll be quick this week, because there is only one new relist. Near as I can tell, it involves a lawsuit between the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and Kanye West’s latest persona. Although in the interest of “accuracy,” I should note that I just now made that up. Iancu v. NantKwest Inc., 18-801, involves an oddly named immunotherapy company’s lawsuit challenging a decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office finding its cancer-treatment patent application obvious and therefore unpatentable. NantKwest lost the suit, and the PTO sought attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. § 145, which requires an applicant to pay “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings.” A divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that NantKwest was on the hook for “the attorney’s fees the [PTO] incurred to defend applicant’s appeal,” but the court, on its own motion, reheard the case en banc and reversed course. The majority held by a 7-4 vote that courts presumptively assess expenses under the “American rule,” which requires litigants to pay their own lawyers’ fees, and that Congress did not act explicitly enough in Section 145 to displace that presumption. The federal government now seeks review of that decision, arguing that the ordinary meaning of “expenses” includes attorneys’ fees. As a non-germane aside, NantKwest is represented by the law firm where Andrei Iancu served as managing partner until his appointment to the PTO in 2017.

That’s all for this week. Thanks to Ben Moss for compiling the relists.


New Relists

Iancu v. NantKwest Inc., 18-801

Issue: Whether the phrase “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings” in 35 U.S.C. § 145 encompasses the personnel expenses the United States Patent and Trademark Office incurs when its employees, including attorneys, defend the agency in Section 145 litigation.

(relisted after the February 22 conference)


Returning Relists

Newton v. Indiana, 17-1511

Issues: (1) Whether Miller v. Alabama applies to discretionary sentences of life without parole imposed for juvenile offenses, as 16 states have held, or whether it is limited to mandatory sentences of life without parole, as 10 others have found; and (2) whether an evidentiary hearing is required to assess whether juveniles sentenced before Miller are irreparably corrupt.

(rescheduled before the September 24 and November 30 conferences; relisted after the December 7, January 4, January 11, January 18, February 15 and February 22 conferences)


Mathena v. Malvo, 18-217

Issue: Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit erred in concluding—in direct conflict with Virginia’s highest court and other courts—that a decision of the Supreme Court, Montgomery v. Louisiana, addressing whether a new constitutional rule announced in an earlier decision, Miller v. Alabama, applies retroactively on collateral review may properly be interpreted as modifying and substantively expanding the very rule whose retroactivity was in question.

(relisted after the December 7, January 4, January 11, January 18, February 15 and February 22 conferences)


Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 17-1618

Issue: Whether discrimination against an employee because of sexual orientation constitutes prohibited employment discrimination “because of … sex” within the meaning of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2.

(relisted after the January 4, January 11, January 18, February 15 and February 22 conferences)


Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, 17-1623

Issue: Whether the prohibition in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1), against employment discrimination “because of … sex” encompasses discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation.

(relisted after the January 4, January 11, January 18, February 15 and February 22 conferences)


R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 18-107

Issues: (1) Whether the word “sex” in Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination “because of … sex,” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1), meant “gender identity” and included “transgender status” when Congress enacted Title VII in 1964; and (2) whether Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins prohibits employers from applying sex-specific policies according to their employees’ sex rather than their gender identity.

(relisted after the January 4, January 11, January 18, February 15 and February 22 conferences)


Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders v. Freedom from Religion Foundation, 18-364

Issues: (1) Whether using generally available historic preservation funds to repair or restore a house of worship constitutes a “religious use” that falls outside the scope of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia Inc. v. Comer; and (2) whether the categorial exclusion of all active houses of worship from historic preservation grants violates Trinity Lutheran and the First Amendment as an exclusion based on religious status.

(relisted after the January 4, January 11, January 18, February 15 and February 22 conferences)


The Presbyterian Church in Morristown v. Freedom from Religion Foundation, 18-365

Issue: Whether the categorical exclusion of active houses of worship from a competitive government grant program advancing the secular interest of historic preservation violates the free exercise clause of the Constitution of the United States.

(relisted after the January 4, January 11, January 18, February 15 and February 22 conferences)


Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc., 18-8

Issues: (1) Whether a state may require health-care facilities to dispose of fetal remains in the same manner as other human remains, i.e., by burial or cremation; and (2) whether a state may prohibit abortions motivated solely by the race, sex or disability of the fetus and require abortion doctors to inform patients of the prohibition.

(relisted after the January 4, January 11, January 18, February 15 and February 22 conferences)


Ramos v. Louisiana, 18-5924

Issue: Whether the 14th Amendment fully incorporates the Sixth Amendment guarantee of a unanimous verdict.

(relisted after the January 4, January 11, January 18, February 15 and February 22 conferences)


Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California, 18-587

Issues: (1) Whether the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy is judicially reviewable; and (2) whether DHS’ decision to wind down the DACA policy is lawful.

(relisted after the January 11 conference; now held)


Trump v. NAACP, 18-588

Issues: (1) Whether the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy is judicially reviewable; and (2) whether DHS’ decision to wind down the DACA policy is lawful.

(relisted after the January 11 conference; now held)


Nielsen v. Vidal, 18-589

Issues: (1) Whether the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to wind down the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy is judicially reviewable; and (2) whether DHS’ decision to wind down the DACA policy is lawful.

(relisted after the January 11 conference; now held)


Kahler v. Kansas, 18-6135

Issue: Whether the Eighth and 14th Amendments permit a state to abolish the insanity defense.

(relisted after the January 11, January 18, February 15 and February 22 conferences; record requested and received)


Kansas v. Garcia, 17-834

Issues: (1) Whether the Immigration Reform and Control Act expressly pre-empts the states from using any information entered on or appended to a federal Form I-9, including common information such as name, date of birth, and social security number, in a prosecution of any person (citizen or alien) when that same, commonly used information also appears in non-IRCA documents, such as state tax forms, leases, and credit applications; and (2) if IRCA bars the states from using all such information for any purpose, whether Congress has the constitutional power to so broadly pre-empt the states from exercising their traditional police powers to prosecute state law crimes. CVSG: 12/04/2018.

(rescheduled before the January 4, January 11, and January 18 conferences; relisted after the February 15 and February 22 conferences)


Lewis v. English, 18-292

Issue: Whether a federal prisoner may file a petition for habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 in order to raise arguments that were foreclosed by binding (but erroneous) circuit precedent at the time of his direct appeal and original application for post-conviction relief under 28 U.S.C. § 2255, but that are meritorious in light of a subsequent decision overturning that erroneous precedent.

(rescheduled before the December 3 conference; relisted after the February 15 and February 22 conferences)


United States v. Wheeler, 18-420

Issue: Whether a prisoner whose 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion challenging the applicability of a statutory minimum was denied based on circuit precedent may later seek habeas relief on the ground that the circuit’s interpretation of the relevant statutes has changed.

(relisted after the February 15 and February 22 conferences)


Delancy v. Pastrana, 18-5773

Issue: Whether a prisoner whose 28 U.S.C. § 2255 motion challenging the applicability of a statutory minimum was denied based on circuit precedent may later seek habeas relief on the ground that the circuit’s interpretation of the relevant statutes has changed.

(relisted after the February 15 and February 22 conferences)


Dusenbery v. Holt, 18-5781

Issue: Whether a prisoner whose motion under 28 U.S.C. § 2255 challenging the applicability of a statutory minimum was denied based on circuit precedent may later seek habeas relief on the ground that the circuit’s interpretation of the relevant statutes has changed.

(relisted after the February 15 and February 22 conferences)

The post Relist Watch appeared first on SCOTUSblog.

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Robert Arnold

Dawn Richard evokes a sense of freedom with her music — it’s always been that way with the Danity Kane lodestar. Ahead of her time in both music and personal philosophy, Dawn (f.k.a. D∆WN) has never been afraid to embrace where she’s from (the 9th Ward of New Orleans, Louisiana), or who she is: A Black woman working in the music industry. On her latest album New Breed, her first full-length solo project since 2016, Richard celebrates the young girl raised in the 9th Ward’s homecoming. According to the album’s track “Spaces,” she lost that little Black girl from JonLee Drive somewhere on Hollywood and Vine.

“I had so many men in power telling me I was too brave, too confident, too Black, too ugly, too thin,” she told me last week over the phone, discussing the song. “That girl believed them. But deep inside, the girl from the nine said f*ck them.”

And on this album, Dawn was able to find that girl from JonLee Drive on the daring and independent ten track EP that radiates a sense of total liberation.

“It took me a while,” Dawn said. “Because in the beginning of my career, I was this confident girl from the 9th Ward. I thought it was normal, the things I saw. The Mardi Gras headdress, Black people with native braids with feathers to the transwomen poppin’ in the middle of the hood with a bounce record. I thought that was normal because that’s what I was used to. The way women talk. This cockiness we have. This air we have. When I came to LA and New York, I wasn’t really prepared for the amount of fear.”

The fear Dawn speaks of is not her own; it’s the music industry’s fear of a Black woman who doesn’t fit its formulaic idea of what society perceives an “acceptable” Black woman to be. Nothing shakes society more than a confident Black woman who openly speaks her mind without tap dancing.

Dawn experienced the industry’s push back as soon as she began her career as part of the beloved pop-R&B girl group Danity Kane, created by Diddy on MTV’s reality show Making The Band 3 in the early 2000s. The multi-platinum group comprised of Dawn herself, Aubrey O’Day, Shannon Bex, and now former members Wanita “D. Woods” Woodgett and Aundrea Fimbres, all representing a diverse group of women with their own stories to tell. Dawn and D. Woods were the only two Black girls in the group and their struggles, because of this, were often highlighted on MTB3.

“The more different you are as a Black person… I didn’t know that was fearful for people,” Dawn said. “So they make you conform and they confine you. They say well, ‘No this ain’t it, do this.’ Before I knew it and the more I was getting into the industry, the girl I knew was being shaped into someone completely different than what I wanted to be. I had played [the game] for so long, that one day I woke up and was like, nah, I’m good on that. I’m tired of it.”

The talented recording artist born Dawn Angeliqué Richard always knew who was before even appearing on the reality show. Coming from a musically inclined family, Dawn was equipped with knowledge of how to utilize the uniqueness of her voice and write really good songs.

It’s why Dawn is a special treat to have in the music industry. Puff knew this — when he disbanded DK, he kept Dawn and put her in a group alongside himself and the lesser-known, yet talented singer-songwriter Kalenna Harper, to become the trio known as Diddy-Dirty Money. Their first (and only) album, Last Train To Paris is an out-of-the-box, eclectic masterpiece that was way too far ahead of time when it made its debut in 2010.

By industry standards, the cult-classic-level of love DDM received for Last Train To Paris is a moot point considering how a powerful guy like Diddy is. The hip-hop mogul knowingly entered into a music group with two Black women, who essentially shaped the album’s sound. As long as Puff’s been in the business, he’s keenly aware of the colorist politics woven into the music industry’s fabric, however, even he wasn’t even prepared for the amount of fear his vision would receive from label heads.

In an interview with Cosmopolitan last year, Richard recalled when Interscope co-founder Jimmy Iovine called her unattractive, as a member of Diddy-Dirty Money, in a boardroom of fifty people then questioned why Puff didn’t have two lighter-skinned girls by his side instead.

“That’s normal for him, for him it’s dollars and I understand,” she explained. “He knew a formula and that’s most music labels. They have a formula and if you get the correct team, for the most part, it works. You force-feed an idea of an artist. People come out and they see this idea of an artist and it’s given. ‘Like ‘these records and ‘like’ these songs. Big budgets are given and it works.”

Unfortunately, Black women aren’t afforded the luxury of speaking up without the “angry” label. On MTB3, Aubrey was often used as Danity Kane’s voice to address issues concerning the group. As someone who has followed Dawn since the beginning, I always found her grace inspiring.

“It wasn’t meant to be disrespectful to Jimmy,” Dawn elaborated. “I think anything that was different was uncomfortable. Puff was trying to pitch something that was uncomfortable for a lot of people. Puff wanted it to work. He had a vision but he was frustrated because a lot of people didn’t see the vision. If you look at that album it was ahead of its time, it was so great. But even visually, people weren’t ready for that amount of chocolate on a stage and doing that kind of music. It wasn’t just the look of us, it was the entire package.”

The music industry has a troubling problem of embracing Black people, especially women, as anything but the negative tropes projected by mainstream media. It protects these deeply rooted limitations by relegating everything musically created by Black people into two categories — R&B and hip-hop — no matter how authentically folk, country or electronic it sounds. It wasn’t too long ago that Billboard used to categorize all music made by Black artists on a chart titled the Black Singles chart before it became the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

“I remember when the wave of electronic music with brown skin was happening, they didn’t want to give us the name of electronic they wanted to give us alternative R&B,” Dawn said. “They saw us, but they were still trying to peg it because it was soulful. Just because we sing with soul doesn’t take us away from the genre. We don’t do that when we speak of James Blake. I love him, but we never question putting him in alt-R&B, we call him an electronic artist.”

In the end, the electronic-infused album Last Train To Paris triumphantly birthed six Billboard-topping hits including, “Loving You No More” featuring Drake and the multi-platinum selling record “Coming Home” featuring Skylar Grey.

With over ten years in the game, Dawn wants Black women in music to unify, and break the debilitating habit of staying silent when wronged by speaking up.

“Start f*cking talking,” Dawn said. “Let’s start being unafraid to say what it really is. The more women step up to the plate and do that, you’ll see change. Viola Davis and Ava DuVernay — they are speaking with no sugar coats. They are saying what it really is and you’re seeing so much change in film. It’s beautiful and I love it. I want us to speak just as powerfully. We don’t have to anger anyone and if we do that’s fine; we don’t have to sh*t on anyone, but I do think we need to start having a dialogue. We need to start saying this is who the f*ck we are, take it or leave it. Once we do that together as a group you can’t stop us.”

Issues Black women deal with as artists in the music industry are extremely rinse-and-repeat. As Dawn went through her own complications while in Danity Kane, similarly, former Fifth Harmony member Normani Kordei opened up about the racism she endured as part of the multi-platinum pop group in a January interview with Billboard. Naturi Naughton, of the now-disbanded early 2000s R&B group 3LW, revealed her experience after bandmate Kiely Williams, threw a plate of fried chicken at her. Besides Dawn, the racism Normani and Naturi experienced while part of their groups didn’t get addressed until later.

“F*ck the mold,” Dawn continued. “I say go hard or go home. I say come fully as you and you take no prisoners. You demand the respect that you want.”

The invisibility can be frustrating, but fierce desire can turn a dream into a reality and can be the catalyst that transforms that kind of pressure into strong, beautiful, effervescent diamonds. That’s what her favorite New Breed track “We, Diamonds” is about.

“‘We, Diamonds’ is special because I came into this business with my weave all f*cked up,” she recalled of times on MTB3. “I had no idea what reality tv was, so I wasn’t prepared for people to see me daily and not have my sh*t together. People saw us at our worst on Making The Band. It’s hard being indie, to compete at a certain level and have people love your music. But I always thought that didn’t stop us from being diamonds.”

The idea of having to be twice as good is merely a mean of survival for women of color. It comes with an immense amount of pressure but at the same time it is everything “Black Girl Magic” is made of.

“Through Danity Kane, I knew what it was like being in an interracial girl group, experience blackballing and being a Black girl in that,” she explained. “Normani speaks of this when she speaks of how hard that journey was. She talks about that now, so imagine ten years before that. We didn’t have Twitter so we were dealing with it on a different level.”

Dawn does the whole “f*ck the mold” thing very well, as that young girl from the 9th Ward makes her return in Dawn’s latest music. Now, she’s creating all the mold-breaking music she wants, but on her own terms. “I made this album and I wanted to make it with that girl and as that girl,” she said. “I promised myself that if I did, I’d do it as who I already was — so this album speaks to that. This isn’t no big, industry, strict sh*t. There’s no one behind me telling me what to do. If it’s good or bad, it’s all me.”

Remnants of her native culture preserved by her uncle are intertwined with the spirit of a futuristic New Orleans sound on the album on the title track, nicely tapping into NOLA’s rich bounce culture with an updated approach. In a way, New Breed is a rebellious expression of Dawn’s rage against the political music industry machine. Still, she has hope things will get better. First, there needs to be an open conversation about the weakening effects systematic racism has on the industry.

In the rest of the industry, Dawn is currently the most excited about Lizzo — a full-figured Black woman, brilliantly bringing something new to pop. She’s also proud of Janelle Monae‘s Album Of The Year nod for her critically-acclaimed Dirty Computer at the 2019 Grammys. Still, more work needs to be done, and Dawn thinks more representation at the top is necessary in order to awaken the music industry new guards.

“It’s no different from the Grammys right… they were saying women need to step it up and we’ll have more women. I think it’s no different from campaigns, when you see them do something extremely racist, and everyone is asking how did anyone not know that was racist? Well, they didn’t know because no one in the room is Black,” Dawn expressed. “I think it’s the same. Whoever is at the top level of these places, awarding artist, for some reason, we’re not seeing as much representation as we should.”

Dawn is relentless in her mission to smash stereotypes by consistently doing her thing, her way. Though a Diddy-Dirty Money reunion is unlikely, Danity Kane as Dawn, Aubrey, and Shannon still exists. “I’ve been writing with them. We’re going to come out with some stuff in March,” she said. “It’s a new chapter and it’s very female.

Furthermore, Dawn has the right idea. Black women in the music industry should start speaking up. As a music fan, I’ve seen far too many talented Black singers get overlooked by their fairer-skinned counterparts, despite possessing undeniable talent.

“I want people to see us beyond just the stereotypical idea,” Dawn suggested. “We are so much more and we can be more in that space. I think everyone can live in the same space together and I don’t want to get rid of what we have right now in the industry with labels and indie. I just want us to be more inclusive.”

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