FULL QUESTION: Given all these natural disasters, what would you grab if you had to evacuate your home?


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io

Well, it really depends on how much time I have. For example, it wasn't a natural disaster, but several years ago, a gas line at my house was accidentally cut when foundation work was being done. All I did was run in, grab my daughter and dogs, the cars keys, and got the "you know what" out of there. You hear stories of people taking photos, computers, and perhaps a beloved stuffed animal, but in that moment, all I cared about was saving the lives of my loved ones.

A few years prior, when Hurricane Harvey was quickly intensifying and heading toward Texas, I had about six hours after getting a mandatory evacuation notice to get out of the house. So, at that point, I was able to not only pack my bags but gather important documents and a few sentimental items (and move things to the second floor in case the first floor flooded). Granted, it was all in an incredible rush/panic, but I still had those few precious hours. Now, copies of all my important papers are in a binder, ready to grab. And I created a master "evacuation checklist" based on this hurricane checklist (as that's the most "common" natural disaster in Texas) if I'm lucky enough to have time to pack.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Given natural disasters do not always give you lead time, everyone should have an evacuation checklist. I based mine on this evacuation list (but, the Ready Campaign has lots of great planning tools) as well as experience, since Hurricane Harvey resulted in a mandatory evacuation of my high-rise. (The basement, where all the building's mechanical equipment is located, flooded and left the building without power and uninhabitable for almost two months.)

I have always had digital copies of key documents on my primary computer (a laptop that I would grab), but now I also have them on two portable hard drives – one in a safety deposit box and the other in my "evacuation time capsule". And, what I mean by that is … imagine you were going to lose everything in your home – determine what items would you want to "save" (whether for sentimental or practical reasons) and put them in a small piece of luggage or carry bag. The interesting thing is when you do that, you will most likely find the items you consider irreplaceable are not the most expensive ones (those become your insurance company's problem, anyway.)

We thought this would be the perfect question to run on National Boss's Day.


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io

Oh yes, definitely! Without question, that would be Black. In fact, on more than one occasion, I've been known to refer to her as The Boss (and I'm not talking about Bruce Springsteen). It's usually me kidding around and saying something along the lines of "I'll have to check with The Boss." (Even my daughters have heard me refer to their aunt that way, and they've never questioned me, so there must be some agreement, at least in my family, about who's the boss.)

To a great extent, it may be because if you were to compare our bios, I don't think my background as a mom prepared me to be a businesswoman, although Black has tried to convince me otherwise. On the other hand, Black's bio makes it painfully obvious she's "all business" so better suited to be "the boss."


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


It depends on how you define "boss." If you are referring to who owns more of the company, I hold 1% more than Red, which technically means I have more "authority". And, I will admit that as the older sister, I have more practice being bossy (especially as she has always tried to avoid conflict), but when it comes to business, I value teamwork. Red has a perspective and background very different than mine (that is an understatement!), but the key is acknowledging that – and learning from one another in order to make the best business decisions.

The bottom line is there would be no Red & Black … without Red or without Black. It is truly a partnership.

FULL QUESTION: It's not even Halloween, but is it too early to start shopping for the holidays?


Red's Head assets.rebelmouse.io

Of course not! It's never too early to start, although there's a huge difference between knowing that, planning to do it, and actually doing it. I've always considered Halloween the start of what I call the "silly season," but if you go into any store, it looks like it's already begun. Regardless, I think it's a good idea to get a jumpstart (oh my, am I using a car analogy?) on holiday shopping, but also holiday survival techniques.

These days my holiday shopping list isn't nearly as long as it used to be because my girls are older and now prefer one or two carefully selected items (although figuring those out isn't always easy) vs. lots of "stuff" to unwrap. Although I still get them a few small "fun" things. But your question reminds me of the stress that comes with leaving things to the last minute and has inspired me to try to get my holiday shopping done early.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io

Except for business gifts, which I traditionally order from Zabar's on Cyber Monday, I tend to buy (and give) the gifts for the handful of people on my personal gift list during the year when I find the perfect item.

But, to answer the question, and try not to sound like Scrooge, it will be a challenge to find things this holiday season – not just the latest "it" gift, but even Thanksgiving Day turkey and fixings. Between the global shipping crisis and labor shortages, stores are already struggling to stock their shelves (virtual and brick-and-mortar), plus many items will be significantly more expensive. And, probably fewer "real deals" on Black Friday.

In other words, shop early or risk disappointment.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io

That's a great question, especially as the holidays are just around the corner, which always seems to require lists of their own. Which can be overwhelming since it already seems like my lists have lists. I feel like I've tried just about everything – from Word documents to Excel spreadsheets (Black taught me how as I thought it was just for numbers!) to using a discontinued version of Franklin Planner. I drove myself crazy trying to find a perfect solution and ended up spending more time making my lists than actually doing things on my list.

Anyway, I use good ole fashioned paper and different colored pens to indicate the priority. And because it's still too easy to let a day (or two or three) get away from me, I'll often put a Post-It note on the edge of my computer screen or my desk for those things that absolutely must get done today or the next day.

If I'm out or not at my desk, I'll email myself a note so that I won't forget. I know some people use their phones to keep lists, but I can't imagine ever doing that because I get such satisfaction from crossing things off my list. I know, I need a life.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


I believe it is the thought process, not the method, which leads to productive lists. This may, to some extent, explain why there are so many to-do list apps, as everyone has different criteria, not to mention being used to using specific platforms.

Regardless, keep in mind that anything you can do with technology, you can do with paper. In fact, I find doing it the old-fashioned way – using pen and paper – works best for me as the written list then becomes a "commitment" I make with myself. And, establishing priorities is critical, although how you note them is personal preference.

I keep a monthly paper calendar and write high-priority items and deadlines on it … but in pencil. That way, I can erase them when they are done – as I prefer to look at a clean calendar versus one with items crossed off. However, the satisfaction of completing things on your to-do list is the same independent of the method used.