I’m taking the rest of the week “off” from the blog. I have to travel (again) this week for my real job, and we FINALLY list our house on Friday with an open house next Sunday. Instead of being crazy and overwhelmed, I’m simply prioritizing, and the real job and house wins this week. We can’t do it all at once, right?
I’ll be back on Monday with fresh content. In the meantime, check out some blogs I read daily for a dose of inspiration.
Recently, I took on an account that requires me to wear a jacket. What? No dress with sleeves? I seriously had nothing to wear. Usually, the only time I wear a jacket, or blazer, it’s with a pair of jeans. Since I would be living out of a tiny suitcase for these meetings, the best option was a pants suit. The challenge was every time I wear one I feel as if it’s wearing me. Luckily, in my search, I found the perfect, modern, slim fitting suit that looks professional, wears well and makes me fell like a million bucks.
For a less expensive option, I find Limited to have the most similar suits in terms of slim lines and modern silhouette. I like this two-button jacket option ($158), if you would like a pant with a bootcut, they offer a slimmer option that gives a better balance between hips and leg ($78).
Rings are an often overlooked accessory. Most women have one or two in rotation. Some have an engagement ring or wedding band they were all the time, but other than that, rings don’t’ get a lot of attention. In my personal style, I tend to wear my wedding rings on my left hand and my 5 year anniversary ring on my right. (I’ve been married 10 years, so I’m probably due for something new ….)
My right hand ring is by far the most expensive, and precious piece of jewelry I own. I’ve worn it every day, with little exception since I received it. What’s the point of having something amazing if you’re going to save it for a special occasion?
Now, though, I’m thinking I could add a bit of variety to my look. I’m particularly fond of something modern. Something that doesn’t feel as precious as my regular pieces. This ring fits the bill in terms of style and price. For under a $100 you get high style from a coveted brand (if that sort of thing matters to you). I like it in the Green Amethyst. It’s also available in Smokey Quarts.
Are you sick of me talking about our move yet? I know I am. The good news is it’s almost over. We list the house next week and with any luck it will sell quickly, and we will find something we like, in our budget that works within our time frame. Is that too much to ask?
As I was cleaning out our main bathroom, I found a basket with dozens of beauty samples. I tossed most of them, but a small kit, which was beautifully packaged and included a muslin cloth intrigued me. Vogue magazine called Eve Lom Facial Cleanser ”probably the best cleanser in the world.” That’s a bold statement, Vogue, let’s find out …
At first, I thought this was going to be entirely too involved for an already time starved individual like myself. This is a process, but boy, was it worth it. Here’s how it works:
The cleanser is dense and feels more like a treatment than a wash. You need a small, dime size amount for your face and neck. Start with dry skin. If you are in full make up, that’s fine. This removes every bit and more.
Working the cleanser in a circular motion all around your face and neck. I put it everywhere, even over my eyes and eyebrows. It feels like an oil with micro cleansing beads. It’s lovely and indulgent.
Next, take the cloth included in the kit. Depending on what you order you will receive a few, you can also order more on Amazon. Dip the cloth in hot water and run across your face and neck in a circular motion, removing all of the dirt, grime and make up you accumulated during the day. Do it again. Keep cleaning until the cloth is clear.
Finally, run the cloth in cold water to close your pores. Follow up with any moisture you may use.
After my very first use, my skin felt amazing. It looked and felt the cleanest I ever remember. I ordered the kit above thinking I would use it once a week. For a few years now I was using my Clarisonic in the morning and at night and was very happy with it. I still am, but I decided to use it just in the evenings as I worried it was too rough on my sensitive skin. Now, I use the Clarisonic in the morning and Eve Lom in the evening.
I can not believe how much it takes off, and what my other cleansers were missing! I’ve been using this for 2 weeks now and see a definite, though subtle change in my skin. It feels soft, looks dewy and doesn’t feel stripped. While it’s not inexpensive, it it will last a good long time considering how little you need to cleanse your face and next. I highly recommend it. You will not be disappointed.
People do business with those they know, like and trust. I big part of my success is because I can get along with almost anyone. I don’t say that to boast. It was a learned skill and took years for me to master – master is a strong word – it took years for me to be good at. Now, it’s easy for me to adapt to my surroundings. Regardless of the audience, I can find common ground.
Early on, it was a survival skill. I was bullied in grade school. So much so that I hated going to school. When I entered high school, I was fortunate to have a fresh start and decided to take advantage of it. I was in a new school with a brand new group of girls. I made an effort to be “neutral”. To my great relief, it worked. This new skill allowed me to float in and out of any group. By the time I entered college, and joined a sorority, getting along with my new sisters and friends was my first form of networking. It helped when I rushed, and helped even more as I began to navigate the Greek community on campus. The effort I made was worth it. My college years were a blast. As a result, I found my voice and my true personality was able to come through. Now, as a business owner, I know firsthand that being well liked gets you want you need when you need it. The not to tricky trick is to be genuine. You have to have a true interest in the person you are speaking to. People can sniff out a “fakey-do” as my grandma calls them, a mile away.
This is just about being comfortable in your skin, having confidence, and being open to what the world has to offer. It’s also about stepping outside your comfort zone, thinking about others and going one step farther than what others will do. To get along with just about anyone consider the following:
1. It’s not about you. I hear all the time from coaching clients and it makes me crazy: “I don’t want to talk to someone who can’t help me. It’s a waste of time.” Well, if that’s your attitude you’re only going to go so far. When you are meeting new people, go into it with the attitude of what you can do for them, not the other way around. Even if a person can not advance your agenda, you can learn a bit about them and direct them to possible resources. You don’t have to spend your entire night with them. Being polite for 10 minutes never killed anyone.
2. Read. Read everything you can get your hands on. The only way you are going to be able to speak intelligently to people and find common ground is if you know what’s going on. This doesn’t have to be time consuming. You only need 15 – 30 minutes a day to stay up to date on current events. No matter where I am in the country my morning routine includes a cup of coffee, a few blogs and news sites. I’ll read everything from entertainment to international news. Depending on the clients I’m working with, and industries they are in, I’ll spend a few extra minutes reading about topics of interest to them. I make an effort to regularly read books on the NY Times bestseller list. I make sure I have a current book on my kindle for down time while waiting to board a plane or at karate practice with the kids. At night, I get a few extra minute in – until I finally pass out – and usually read something related to my work and business.
3. Be generous. Share your information, resources and advice, just don’t be a know-it-all. Be thoughtful in what you offer and be sure it is relevant to what the other persons needs. When this is done with purpose, it is a beautiful thing. You are positioned as an expert and are in service to others.
4. Smile. A smile is a simple and powerful way to immediately engage an audience. Many people we work with are perfectly pleasant and happy, but they don’t show it on their face. Be aware of your “resting face”, be open in your body language and positive in your words. You’ll be a breath of fresh air to whomever you meet.
5. Be the first to engage. If you have ever attended an industry conference with its pre-conference cocktail party our dinner, you may also know the dread that is attending alone. Walking into a sea of people you don’t know can be overwhelming. Be the first to introduce yourself to a group or your table. This allows the rest of the group to relax and often puts you in a position of leadership. More than anything, most of the time the others in your group are relieved, and grateful someone started the conversation.
6. Remember names. This one takes effort, but the payoff is huge. Learn how to remember names and details about the people you meet. Leave a lasting impression by remembering a person’s name and what you spoke about. Everyone loves to be remembered.
7. Be yourself, but better. When you are in a social situation, especially when you are meeting new people, be the version of yourself you want others to know. We all have bad days; fights with spouses, stuck in traffic, issues in the office, whatever is distracting you compartmentalize it and show up fully present. The worst thing you can do is be the negative complaining person that everyone is trying to get away from.
8. Stay neutral. Keep your hot button topic opinions to yourself. Period. End of story. And that goes for social media too.
9. Let your natural humor shine. The easiest way to be funny and disarming is to be self-deprecating. Humor can allow you to connect quickly with someone. For this to work, you have to pay attention to who you are speaking to and where they are coming from. For example, I wouldn’t make a joke about being a frantic mother to a male colleague without children. Find your common ground first – then bring in the humor.
10. Stay connected. Follow up with the people you meet. Use social media like LinkedIn or Facebook and send connection requests after you meet in person. If some had a big impact, or you would like to get to know them more, send them a hand written note. Sometimes I’ll send a small gift, like a book we discussed or other small token. Small things done with sincerity are a lost art. In today’s hustle and bustle world, it’s always noticed and appreciated.
What are your tips for connecting with people, even when you think you have nothing in common?
I may be buried in my trench. I love it that much. It’s become part of my everyday look once the temperature hits “perfect light coat weather.” I invested in a Burrberry last year. Since then, I’ve got my moneys worth out of it. It’s simple, classic, and as long as it fits, I’ll be able to wear it. I spent the last few seasons updating my basics with better classics. Now, it’s time to add some personality.
While still keeping the look and feel of a traditional trench, this Colorblock Cotton Twill Trench, from LOFT of all places, is perfection. The combination of classic tan and navy feels nautical and updated. Gold buttons add interest and kicks the look up a notch. One challenge I see with this is it may feel too casual with different outfits underneath. Pairing this with simple, classic pieces will allow it to stand out and become the focal point. I would, of course, throw it over any kind of jeans and a simple top with either flats or heels. I would also put it over a dress, in a solid color or a simple skirt and blouse combination. Pattern will be a distraction. The eye won’t know where to look first, and you’ll lose the effect the coat could have.
As women in casual workplaces, it is imperative that you stay dressed a step above your male colleagues. Men have little choice in what they wear, and while they make mistakes, they are almost always forgivable. Women, on the other hand, are still held to a double standard. If a man comes in disheveled, the assumption is he is putting in long hours and should be commended. If a woman shows up in a similar state, it’s assumed she is overwhelmed and not capable. I hate these stereotypes, and I also live them. I’d rather understand the reality and make adjustments, rather than adhere to the common, “take me as I am” attitude I hear all too often.
A dress can be a simple solution to looking polished and professional while still approachable and comfortable. Dresses come in all categories, from those that are perfect for a highly professional environment to very casual. The dress below is a lovely option for the upcoming warmer weather. It has a sleeve, accentuated waistband and an appropriate length. Keep it simple. You don’t have to execute every outfit with a high level of thought. Some days you just want to throw on a dress, slip into some bright shoes, and grab your everyday bag. If you keep your nails, eyebrows and hair groomed, and some fresh make up – you will look poised without any fuss.
If I were to die and come back a necklace, this is what I would be.
If you like stripes and big bold accessories, this is for you. With the promise of spring right around the corner what better way to start to update your wardrobe than with a fresh new necklace. Since we all know my aesthetic is clean lines and stripes, the beauty brings it all together.
If you are in a conservative environment, this may be a bit much so save it for the weekends. If, however, you are in a casual and/or create office, I would put this in regular rotation.
Exclusively at Birchbox
While I love the look of it, I generally stay away from liquid eyeliner. I don’t have a steady hand or have the patience to learn a complicated technique. Done the right way, though, it looks so fresh and pretty, a modern cat eye without looking retro. My Birchbox this month made updating our eye make up a whole lot easier. In it was Cynthia Rowley’s Beauty Liquid Liner. Apparently, she spent years using a Sharpie (seriously) as an eyeliner to get that perfectly drawn on look. Aside from the obvious issue of drawing on your eye with toxic ink, I would have poked my eye out.
This liner is perfection. It has some weight to it, which makes keeping a steady hand much easier. The tip glides around your eye without having to put much pressure on it, and, unlike other many liquid liners I’ve tried in the past, this liner stays in place, it doesn’t spread all over the place. For a quick and easy way to update your spring makeup, don’t hesitate to pick this up. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to use.
Burn out happens to the best of us. For me, it happens fast and furious. One day I’m on fire. I’m checking things off my to-do list; I’m cranking out ideas, and I feel unstoppable. The next day, I’m tired, lethargic and overwhelmed. Last week we talked about how to manage working from home as an entrepreneur, contractor, or home based employee. What happens, though, when your are already on a good routine? What happens when every file is labeled? When your desktop is clutter free, your emails are organized and ready to be answered, and you woke up and just.don’t. care?
Does that happen to you? It happens to me. Sometimes you’re over-tired, other times you might be a little blue, but you may also be totally burned out. I know I am burned out when I start to roll my eyes at the telephone (even though I need it to ring!) or wish my flight was canceled so I could get one more day at home. I know I’m burned out because I love what I do and have a crazy work ethic, and suddenly, I don’t care at all.
If you get to a place like that, I’ve found a few things really work and don’t involve medication or wine. Sometimes they help you get energized, other times they help the burnout not feel so terrible until you get out of it.
1. Get up and move. When you run your own practice it is too easy to get sucked into work for hours on end. I could very seriously avoid interaction with another human being for days given the right set of circumstances. A good work binge is appropriate if you are under a deadline or are on an inspired streak. Aside from that, get your butt up and go work out. In an attempt to ward off the blues (especially during this unholy winter) and avoid mental burnout, I kicked my workouts up to 6 days a week. I’m working out with my trainer, hitting the treadmill and going to Pilates to stretch and decompress. Not only is it amazing for your health, but also your mind, which is your business’s most valuable asset.
Something else happens to me when I work out: I feel accomplished. I get a jolt of adrenaline that puts life and work back in perspective. If I am able to plank for 90 seconds in Pilates in proper form, I can get my to do list done.
2. Take vitamins. A friend of mine who travels more than anyone I know for her work swears by supplements. She is never sick and has more energy than anyone I know. Most of that is just how she is wired but if adding vitamins to my day would help keep my mood up I figured why not. I take a women’s multivitamin, and vitamin B and D supplements. If you haven’t had an annual physical, go make an appointment. Your doctor can recommend the right vitamins for you. You’ll be surprised what you are deficient in.
In addition to vitamins, try to sneak in as many healthy foods as possible. My travel and work schedule rarely allows me 3 balanced meals a day. Being stuck at an airport doesn’t give you many options and you can only eat so much trail mix. I pack protein bars and shakes when I travel. When I’m home, I keep the refrigerator stocked with green juice so I can force myself to get a few extra nutrients a day.
3. Cut yourself a break. You know that feeling you get when you hit a wall, and you just know you are not going to make it over it that day? Close up shop. Yes, that’s right, quit for the day. It’s better than pretending to work. If you know you have nothing left in the tank, give yourself permission to do something else. Sometimes, I’ll stop my work with the intention of picking up again in the morning and 20 minutes later I’m back at my desk, productive and engaged. Other times, I’ll come to a firm end, and just pick up where I left off the next day.
If you have a job that doesn’t allow that kind of flexibility, can you use a vacation day to regroup? Take a mental health day and just focus on getting yourself feeling better. At home with the kids all day long? Hire a sitter for a few hours and go to lunch alone. You’ll be reminded that you use to be your own person before you became someone’s mom.
4. Have a good cry, fit, yell or kick the crap out of something. When you run a business, especially the kind that I run, you are in your head all the time. You are simultaneously crunching numbers, managing people, selling to customers, writing your marketing, strategizing, planning for the future and worrying about everything (um, why did I think this was a good idea??). Add to that list a family and a house to run, and you can feel threadbare pretty easily. No matter how frantic your life is, you need to keep it together, at least on the surface. All that energy needs a place to go. The other night I watched some sap-filled movie and cried the ugly cry for an hour. I then slept like a baby and felt a million times better in the morning. You do what you need to do …
5. Get inspired. Sometimes, you just need to know that you’re not alone or crazy. When I start to get those, “What was I thinking” moments, I reach for inspiration. That can be a brainstorming session with another business owner, an hour or two in a coffee shop with a great business book or something as simple as watching some inspirational shows. I love Oprah’s Super Soul Sundays where she interviews thought leaders in all different industries about life and spirituality. If you’re not already doing so, I highly recommend DVRing it and keeping them on hand when you need a little pick me up.