Monday, 03 November 2014 14:13

MW University | Eat This! Healthy Cram Food

MW University // November 3, 2014

All nighters -- we’ve all pulled one. Exam seasons and/or procrastination tend to result in long nights spent at a desk, desperately attempting to prepare for the next day’s assessment. During these stressful times, most students turn to caffeine and junk food. Not only are these foods unhealthy, they can have negative effects on studying (increase of anxiety, fatigue, weight gain, etc), and may keep the body from retaining information. There are healthier food choices that can promote better physical health, while also helping to prepare the body for an academic feat.

Check out our 7 top food choices for study nights:

Almonds

Almonds have nutrients that are proven to protect the body against the damaging physical effects of stress. Women’s Health reported that the vitamin E, vitamin B, and magnesium in almonds boost your immune system when your stress levels rise. Vitamin B is used for the production of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that increases attention and awareness. Researchers have also concluded that almonds aid in the restoration of memory and cognitive function.

Plantains (and/or bananas)

Plantains contain vitamin B6, which helps your body create serotonin. Serotonin is our “happy” neurotransmitter, and eating plantain can help to keep depressive symptoms at bay. Plantains have a high concentration of vitamin B6. Bananas and dates are also good B6 options as they also have high concentrations of “happy”.

Protein

The neurotransmitters in the brain are built of amino acids from the foods you eat. A high protein diet will allow the brain to build healthier neural connections. Foods high in protein include meats, cheese, and eggs. For a long night or a study party with friends, consider beef jerky, salami and cheese, and deviled eggs as a snack. These foods will provide the body with the necessary energy for studying, and aid the brain in the production of neural connections for memory.

Blueberries

Researchers at Tufts University have concluded that blueberries can improve short term memory and regenerate neural connections tied to balance and coordination. In comparison to other fruits, blueberries have the highest concentration of antioxidants. Besides aiding the immune system (which is important during exam study sessions), the antioxidants have proven to restore mental health.

Black Tea

Caffeine may seem like a student’s best friend, however, the amounts of caffeine in the coffee and energy drinks tend to cause higher anxiety levels, especially if the body has not had regular exposure to caffeine. Black tea, such as Chai, English Breakfast, and Earl Grey, are great substitutes for caffeine. They do not contain as much caffeine as coffee, yet there is enough to give any student an energy boost.

Bran Cereal (B12) 

Bran cereal and/or muffins are beneficial study snacks because they have Vitamin B12, which is known for its mental clarity and brain enhancing properties. It participates in brain function, blood synthesis, and the nervous system. The vitamin is also partially responsible for the production of melatonin in the body, which helps to regulate the body’s sleep cycle. Increased levels of B12 (and melatonin) lead to heightened awareness during the day and healthy sleep patterns. Raisin Bran, for example, is a great choice for breakfast or late night snack.

Oranges and Other Citruses

Vitamin C is predominantly known as an aid to the immune system. However, it also reduces the psychological and physical effects of stress. German researchers found that vitamin C reduces the release of Cortisol when the body is under stressful conditions. The hormone, cortisol puts the body in “fight-or-flight” mode, impairing the learning and memory processes. A tall glass of fresh orange juice can reduce levels of the hormone: a perfect remedy for the night before or the morning of a big exam.

Published in Lifestyle
Saturday, 04 October 2014 15:22

Fashion | Fall Fashion Ideas For Made Men

Fashion // October 13, 2014

Autumn is my favorite season as a fashion designer and stylist for two reasons. For starters, it's not that hot on the West Coast and not too cold yet for you East Coasters. Second, you can wear a mix of casual summer pieces and winter styles and not look awkward. Running my own clothing line Michael Ferrera Custom Clothing means that I must stay on top of the latest trends. I’m just back to LA from fashion events in Las Vegas and New York so, in the interests of helping out all the Made Men out there, I’ll share the top five style tips gentlemen should have this season. 


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The Dress Boot

This is a style trend that ladies have used for years but through GQ, Esquire and all the other gentleman mags the dress boot has become more acceptable for men in the professional world. Hugo Boss, Allen Edmonds, and John Varvatos do a great dress boot, but you can find a bunch of comparable options.


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Scarves

Quite frankly the skinny tie is becoming the norm and a tie is always appropriate in corporate America. But if you really want to showcase your style opt for a scarf. Ditch the tie but accent your suits and shirts with cashmere, silk and wool scarves instead. A bit of unexpected flair is sure to turn heads.


Burgundy

Burgundy is a color that we in the fashion world have been exploring for a while now and it seems like it is here to stay. It adds some color when you wear ties, hats and accessories but you can also wear it this season in large pieces like suits and overcoats. It’s a bold statement but definitely can be pulled of by a confident gentleman in the fall.



Layer your style.

This is not a new trend for the season but many gents just forget about it. Rather than keeping it casual on a date, rock an overcoat or a vest. Going somewhere fancy? Go for it with a three piece suit that will show how polished and grown up you are. Put in some effort to your wardrobe and layer your style this season.




Drop-crotch sweat pants

Drop-crotch has been a stylish buzzword the past few seasons and it’s definitely a cool edition to your casual wear. This is not your first date outfit, but it works for your quick run to the mall, the market or your Saturday brunch date. Add some cool sneakers, a nice T-shirt and beanie to the drop-crotch sweats and she’ll think that you stay fresh for every occasion.



Published in Fashion

MW University // August 18, 2014

Sixteen years of sitting in a classroom, and you’re almost there. College is almost over, and soon every friendly face will ask you about your future plans. Some of us can answer the “what are your plans after college” question with grace, charm, and confidence. Others will stumble through our answer, desperately trying to finagle our way around their judgements and our own confusion. This necessary life transition can seem intimidating and it is easy to be fearful of the unknown. But as you hang on to the last days of student life, there are a few things you should do to ensure the easiest transition into “real world adult life” when all of the college fun is over.

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Check out our “Surviving Senior Year Checklist”!


  1. First and foremost, senior year requires a highly organized calendar. Whether you use your phone, an organizer, or Google calendar, it is important to have easy access to your calendar so it may be constantly updated. During the year you will have classes, numerous meetings with mentors and counselors, career fairs, interviews, deadlines, etc., and it is important to stay organized.
  2. Perfect your resume. Now is the time to take a look at all of the jobs, activities and accomplishments you have had while in school, and connect the dots. You want to show employers and admissions personnel how your overall experience as a student allows you to contribute to their organization. Your resume should be tailored for each position that you apply to, but it is good to start off with an exceptional skeleton.
  3. Meet with your academic counselor. You should confirm with your counselor that you will complete all of your required classes before graduation. This meeting is also a good time to review your transcript and resume with your counselor, in case you require a recommendation at a later date.
  4. Meet with mentors, professors, and past employers that you may want to list as a reference or ask to write a recommendation on your behalf at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. During your first meeting of the year, you should ask any questions you may have regarding your specific industry, go over your resume, and ask if there is anything additional you can do during your last year. In the beginning of the spring semester, you should update these individuals on your progress and request anything you may need for your job quest or graduate school applications (unless you are submitting your applications in the fall).
  5. If you are considering graduate school after college, take your standardized tests and complete your graduate school applications, aiming to submit in the first round of applications, which is usually in November or December.
  6. Take some time to do a thorough search through your social media accounts, and delete any media that may be interpreted as “unprofessional.” That means the albums “beach day with babes” and “red cup function” must disappear. Personal branding is incredibly important at this time. Make sure your brand reflects the person on your resume.
  7. Develop your LinkedIn profile, and add your connections from college and internships. Your peers will be beneficial for your job search now and in the future, and although you want to create new connections, don’t forget about the ones that you already have!
  8. Visit the Career Services and Alumni Office on campus. Believe it or not, it’s their job to keep you connected, and they want to see you succeed! Take the time while you are on campus to introduce yourself. Career Services is also a great place to get feedback on resumes and cover letters--take advantage!
  9. NETWORK! Attend job fairs, resume workshops, panel discussions, profession-related events, and anywhere else that you may make a valuable connection. You may not see the value in some connections now, but all connections may benefit you down the line. Build professional relationships now, and you will be glad you did later.
  10. SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR FRIENDS. After graduation, things will change. Some friends will move across the country; some friends will be unemployed; some friends will be so employed that they disappear off the face of the earth; and, some friends will get married and start families. All in all, you will never have the opportunity to hang out like you do now. Go on vacation with your BFF! Take advantage of your last spring break! Party like a rockstar with your gals! Because pretty soon responsibility will take precedent over friendship--that’s just adult life.
  11. HAVE FUN! You have the rest of your life to be an adult, and only one year left of college. Take advantage of the events, free food, and resources! You might as well go out with a BANG!


Feeling nervous about your senior year or plans after? Watch these TED Talks.






Published in MW University

Weddings // July 21, 2014

Two months ago, my husband I were married in a small ceremony with friends and family on a ranch by the Carson river in Nevada. It was a balmy day filled with love, laughter and mishaps. I got stranded in a strip mall less than an hour before the ceremony (long story), one of the groomsmen forgot to pick up his tux, and the officiant came down with the flu. Despite these things we had a lovely day, because my husband and I (and everyone helping us) were prepared for things to go wrong and so took things in stride when they did.

“Savor the moment.” That’s a great way to remind ourselves to take in every detail of a special moment, trip, or occasion and file it away in our memory for future enjoyment. But what about those details that you want to forget. That you have to forget, so that the story about your trip to Ecuador is “Remember that time we stood at the equator?” instead of “Remember that time we almost froze to death in the Andean Mountains?” It’s choosing, in the moment, to asses the situation, stay positive and plan to salvage the moment. Then you can have an experience that can be savored over and over again. My new husband and I have had enough whacky moments to get good at this. We’ve also learned some great lessons and established patterns for how to make the most of an unexpected trial. Here’s how we do it.

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Stay Positive and Invent a Motto

In fact, it was looking back on another near disaster in our recent past as a couple that encouraged us to keep positive on our wedding day. It was December, 2012 in Ecuador and we had had a series of unfortunate events: a harrowing bus ride through the Andean mountains; being left on the side of the road at 3:30 AM in the middle of said mountain range; crazy guide; faulty gear; altitude sickness... and the list goes on. We took lemons (scary mountain trip) and made lemonade (impromptu trip to El Mitad Del Mundo, or “Middle of the World,” in Quito). We decided to remain positive about all the mishaps and even gave them a cutesy name “Mitad Del Mundo,” a motto to remind us to laugh in the face of trials.

Assess the Damages

While my husband, Mathias, and I were prepared to be positive during our big day, we did not prepare for all that would go wrong with our honeymoon immediately after.

My husband planned a romantic beachside getaway for us in what was advertised as a “charming” and “quaint, historical” inn. After an eight hour drive (twice as long as we’d planned for thanks to faulty navigation system) we arrive to a quirky, small, old inn miles away from the shoreline of Daytona Beach Florida. Since it was the middle of the night, we ignored the fact that it didn’t look like the post card. The friendly staff escorted us to our room and I immediately went into my habit of inspecting our room for cleanliness and proper accommodations. To my horror, I found broken glass behind the curtains, dirty towels hung in the bathroom, filthy dishes under the bed and a bottle of lube spilling out of the night stand... This was definitely the honeymoon suite, and someone had a good time in it. When we informed the staff that our suite looked like a scene out of The Hangover, we were kindly escorted to a larger suite with an ocean view. The ocean view room came with friends: cockroaches, mosquitoes and termites (oh, my!). It was too late to go anywhere else, so we built a fortress on the bed and stood watch against creepy intruders until dawn.

Next, we assessed our losses. Romantic mood: dampened. One night’s pay at crappy inn: lost. Time: one day of our special getaway gone. We were outraged by our experience until we reminded ourselves that we’ve had worse vacation moments and started planning to make our honeymoon a trip worth remembering. In the end, we still had each other and that meant things weren’t as bad as they seemed.

Move to Plan B...or C

During our honeymoon experience, we kept positive and realized the situation could be salvaged. We didn’t want to spend the rest of our vacation at the infested inn, so we worked on plan B: Disneyworld! Until we realized that did not work for our budget or timeline… on to plan C! We quickly mapped a route to the nearest beach, Daytona, and planned to just enjoy the time with each other instead of trying to make the trip perfect. The result was, for us, near perfect. We spent one day sleeping in, eating pancakes and being beach bums. We learned to paddle board with a Hawaiian native who showed us how to go with the flow of the waves; and we enjoyed the local nature and vegan food scene. Finally, we laughed at how everything that could go wrong with our plans did. We had fun anyway.

As we age and start a family there are likely to be dozens of stories that start with “remember that time when...” We knew that this would be a story that we’d look back on and laugh at, but what turned our dud into delight was our determination to laugh now. Who cares that our bridal party wore mismatched outfits. Everyone was beautiful and I think that’s a trend now. Sure, it looked like the set of the Hangover in our honeymoon suite, but so what! At least somebody had a good time in that termite infested chateau that shall remain nameless. We managed to salvage the memories of our first landmark moments as a married couple: time spent with dearest love ones, priceless. Here’s hoping that there are many more to come.

Published in Weddings
Thursday, 26 June 2014 06:50

Business | The Commuter's Survival Guide

Business // June 6th, 2014

If you live or work in Los Angeles or the surrounding area, then you know that life is a trade-off. Yes, you get to deal with sunshine and near-perfect temperatures almost daily, but there is a price to be paid (and I’m not talking about the cost of living). It’s the traffic. This one word is part of a Southern Californian’s daily vocabulary, yet it drives fear into the hearts of all who hear it. According to a May 2013 article from USA Today Los Angeles is the worst U.S. city for traffic. I am hardly surprised considering 84% of the population drives to work and there are 2,646 people per square mile. In fact, I think I see all these people on my daily commute. As someone who willingly and knowingly took a job that entailed commuting and has been doing it for over a year now, I have come up with a few helpful tips to survive being stuck in traffic.

1. Download and Join Audible 

Remember that list of books you have that you vow to read when “you get time?” You’ll think of commuting as a blessing rather than a curse when you download the audible app. Buy a subscription (prices start at $14.95 a month) and choose from more than 100,000 books to download. Use your car’s Bluetooth capabilities to listen to your book through the stereo. Trust me, it makes the drive go by so much faster and I am crossing a lot of books off of my someday list. Tip: If you don’t want to subscribe to Audible, your local library also probably has some books on CD you can check out and listen too as well.

2. Stay Hydrated

You might think “This is only a 40 minute drive, I can make it home without craving any food or water,” only to find out that there is an accident on the freeway and all lanes are closed. When your commute suddenly doubles in time, be prepared, and keep a bottle of water in the car. Water not only keeps you hydrated, but it can quell hunger pains. Since most of us are stuck in traffic while on our way home to dinner, it is important to stay refreshed and not be blinded by hunger, especially on those hot summer days. Tip: You might think coffee would be a better beverage of choice, but think again. While coffee can keep you awake during a commute, it can also dehydrate you. Supplemented waters like Vitamin Water have vitamin B in them which can help restore your energy and keep you hydrated.

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3. Bring a Snack

Sometimes you just have to eat. If getting off the freeway is a near impossibility or you just don’t want to go through a drive thru, keep a snack handy that you can eat on the road while driving safely. I recommend a protein bar or shake, or a pack of carrots. These items are all healthy for you and can be ingested slowly, throughout your drive with minimal interference. Tip: Snacking in the car means not being as hungry when coming home to dinner, so you can consume less calories for your evening meal. I also like snacking healthy in the car because then I am able to head straight to the gym when I get home instead of worrying about not having the energy.

4. Bring Your Gym Clothes With You

I can’t tell you how many times I had every intention of working out, but after being in stuck in two hours of traffic I went home and just poured a glass of wine and sat on the couch instead. If your health is important to you (and it should be if you are sitting for eight hours a day at a desk and another two on the road), pack your workout clothes the night before and leave them in your car in the morning. This way, there is no excuse for why you can’t drive straight to the gym and squeeze in even a tiny workout.

5. Bring a Change of Shoes

We Made Women tend to wear high-heels to work and maybe even platform wedges out for after-work events. While sky-high heels might look sophisticated in an office or out on the town, they are not practical for driving in, let alone walking in. Think of your shoes like your tires: it is always good to have a spare. You don’t want to risk getting your heel caught in your pedals or slipping if they aren’t broken in. You also don’t want to have your driving impaired because your feet hurt. Whether it’s tennis shoes, flip-flops, or ballet flats, be safe, be comfy, and keep an extra pair handy.

6. Leave a Charger in the Car

Just as potentially dangerous as not having your phone, is having one that has no charge to it. Leave a power cable or charger in your car at all times and plug your phone in. If you have a decent commute then the entire drive should fully charge your battery. You don’t want to risk getting in an accident or missing your exit and not being able to call for help or look at a map. Tip: Although you are a busy Made Woman, remember it’s never that important. Don’t text and drive!

7. Carpool

Even if it’s only for a couple days a week, there’s not better way to save money and stay awake than by having someone else in the car who knows the hell of commuting all too well. Use the drive to keep each other company and hold yourselves accountable for waking up on time and not being late to work. Plus, it’s good for the environment. Tip: It doesn’t have to be your best friend in the office but… Carpool with a colleague you can stand. Find someone who you can get along with who lives in your general vicinity. You can even carpool with a close friend or significant other if they work near by, giving you extra quality time together.

8. Download the Waze App

This super social GPS app can help you join forces with other drivers to outsmart traffic. Waze also helps you find the cheapest gas prices in your area and automatically re-routes you when conditions change. The best part is: it’s free.

Remember, you are the only one who knows your limits and goals. While commuting shouldn’t stand in the way of you and your dream job, it can definitely affect your quality of life. It is up to you to draw the line and know when to start looking for another job closer to home. Commuting isn’t meant to be fun, but it is doable. So long as you are alert and focused, you too can survive. Good luck out there!

Published in Business

Love + Dating // June 2, 2014

Dear Made Woman,

I met this amazing guy on a dating site, he was very sweet, funny, charming, cute, smart and great to talk to. We didn’t live in the same city but every day he would text me and/or call me first, and even send me cute little good morning texts. Two weeks later, we decided to meet up and we finally did, five days ago.

We had a lot of fun on that day, by the end of the night, he was worrying about the distance and how the relationship would work.  I believe I saw him crying.

Then, he decided we should just be friends, but he did say when the opportunity comes, we can try again. He also said that he would text me later that night. So two days went by and I haven’t heard from him. I feel so awful and used.  I decided to step up my game and send him a picture of the day we hung out and he still hasn’t responded. I feel horrible and stupid. Is he trying to tell me it’s officially over? Please help me.

Thank you,

Lost in Love

++++

Hey love,

A truly amazing guy will be very sweet, funny, charming, cute, smart and great to talk to. Every day, he will text you and/or call you first as well as send cute little good morning texts AND continue to do so without disappearing off the face of the earth or crying about a measly 40 minute drive to you. I’m sorry, but he sounds unavailable and (I know this is disappointing) his behavior (especially the crying?) sounds unstable.

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I don’t want to leave the impression he is a bad guy, not at all, I just think he is not 100% ready, for the commitment you seem to be you are looking for. My boyfriend of two years, lived one hour from me up until October, when we moved in together. He would drive to me and I would drive to him. It wasn’t difficult at all.  Sometimes frustrating... but our time together was totally worth it to me and vice versa. He would stay over at least one night during the week and we would spend Friday-Sunday nights together.  It worked well!

This guy’s behavior, no matter how sweet he might be, sounds erratic.

Really hot one day and really cold the other, and that’s a red flag.

On another note, be wary of how much you communicate with your date before you meet them in person. A few short conversations are fine but be careful to not overly invest your heart and energy before seeing them… because you can end up in a situation like this. You grew closer to him in your conversations before hand and it makes distancing yourself from his unstable behavior now more difficult because of the over investment. You deserve and should be looking for a man that is consistent and reliable in his behavior in both words and actions alike.

Otherwise you’ll spend a lifetime beside yourself in confusion + mystery. In dating, I encourage you to observe impersonally rather than taking it personally as much as possible. Be mindful to not attach too much value to anyone until they prove themselves worthy.

Collect these experiences, put them in your tool belt of knowledge, extract the lesson, and throw away the rest.  Most importantly, know when to walk away. And learn to recognize when they are giving you all they have and it is STILL not enough.


xx,
Danielle
Made Woman Magazine


This article was originally published on Danielle-Dowling.com.

Published in Dating

Beauty // May 19, 2014

Beyonce may have “woke up like this” but being cute isn’t as easy for everyone else. Knowing how to correctly apply your makeup, keep up with trends and do it all flawlessly is time consuming. Here are some helpful beauty hacks that will both save you time, and help you put your best face forward.

1. Use Mascara as Eyeliner

In a pinch and only have mascara? Your mascara can also double as eye liner. Take an eyeliner brush and dip it into the mascara. Apply the mascara to the the eye just as you would a gel liner and add some drama to your makeup look.



2. Depuff with Green Tea

Suffering from a few late nights? Reduce under-eye puffiness and redness with green tea. Soak green tea bags in warm water to seep and then refrigerate until cold. Squeeze out excess water and place on eyes for five to ten minutes. The antioxidants and caffeine in the tea will reduce reduce redness and tighten skin.

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3. Use Advil to Zap Pimples

Got a surprise pimple on the day of a big event? Don’t bust out the concealer, use Advil to zap it. Pierce or cut a gel capsule and apply directly onto the affected area. The anti-inflammatory medicine used to treat aches and pains will reduce any redness and swelling caused by unsightly blemishes.



4. Use Toothpaste to Whiten Nails

Are you a nail-color addict? We have all been there where that beautiful dark red has left our nails stained and no amount of nail polish remover can get it out. So how can you change from black to pale pink? Use toothpaste to get stains out of your nails. Apply a small amount of whitening toothpaste to each nail and sit for about five minutes before rinsing off. Do this three times a week for nails to look whiter and brighter.

Bonus: You can also make your own whitening paste by combining 2 ½ tablespoons baking soda and 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide.



5. Baby Powder as Dry Shampoo

Late again with no time for a shower but have greasy hair? No problem! That neglected bottle of baby powder is just as effective as any dry shampoo. The absorbing powder will soak up oils that collect in your roots. Sprinkle and massage powder into the roots and blow dry to absorb on the go.



6. Make Your Lipcolor Stay All Day

Hate a great lipstick that is gone before lunch? Make sure your lipcolor stays all day, and has a flawless finish with translucent powder. After applying lipstick, hold a tissue over your lips and lightly dust on some translucent powder over the tissue. This will help set lipstick to last all day.




7. Hand Sanitizer To Combat Shine

Got a mid-afternoon shine? That hand sanitizer in your purse could come in handy. Rub a small amount on shiny areas of your face, especially the T-zone. Besides the alcohol in the hand sanitizer which dries up excess water, there are also other ingredients similar to silicone that smooth like a primer and give your skin a protective coat that lock in moisture, reducing shine.



8. Remove Makeup With Vaseline

Out of makeup remover? Vaseline works just as good as the best cleanser. Put a small amount of Vaseline on a washcloth or cotton swab and rub on to remove stubborn eye makeup, lipstick or mascara.




9. Use a Spoon to Get the Perfect Winged Eye Liner

Want to get the perfect winged look with your eye liner? Use a spoon to help guide you like the photo above. Hold the straight part of the spoon against the outside corner of your eye and trace the line upwards. Take the round end of the spoon and place above your eye and trace until the lines meet. Fill in and smudge to get the perfect winged shape in no time that is even on both sides.


10. Get Soft Lips With a Toothbrush

Your toothbrush can do more than just clean your teeth. It’s also a great tool to exfoliate your lips. Moisten your toothbrush and rub lightly in circles on lips to exfoliate and remove dead skin. Regular exfoliation ensures super-soft lips.


What are your ultimate beauty tips? Leave us a comment or tweet us @MadeWomanMag!

Published in Beauty

Made Mommy // May 19, 2014

I’ll be honest: Setting up my baby’s nursery hasn’t exactly been as fun as I imagined it would be. Living in the land of the expensive San Francisco Bay Area real estate means baby is coming home to a two-bedroom apartment instead of the large, lovely house I imagined I’d have when I started to have children. But alas, we’re working with what we’ve got, and with a bit of organization and planning, our nursery has really come together—just in time for baby girl’s due date.

Since this isn’t our permanent residence, I didn’t want to go overboard and create one of the adorable baby wonderlands I’ve seen on Pinterest. I have a feeling that few moms really do the dream nursery, anyway. Here’s the approach I took to get my baby’s room ready so that it’s still a sweet, cozy space that will meet our family’s needs.

Clear Out The Clutter

Unless you already have an empty room waiting to become a nursery, you’ll likely need to de-clutter your current space to make it baby ready. This is important: Before bringing any new stuff in, get the old stuff out. Make a few Goodwill donations, reorganize your living space and clean out the closet. That way, when all the baby gifts and goodies start accumulating, there will be space for it all and you won’t get overwhelmed.

Paint

If you plan to paint the room or change out flooring, etc., be sure to do it after clearing out the space and before bringing in new stuff. We can’t paint in our apartment, but if you can and want to, this is the time to do it.

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Set Up The Basics

Before installing fancy window treatments, special lighting or custom wall art, be sure to set up the room with the essentials. Usually that means a crib, dresser, changing table (dresser/changing table combo, in my case), a glider, and possibly a bookshelf or nightstand. Once there’s a place for baby to sleep, get changed and be rocked and fed, you can jazz up the space with accessories. Be sure to allow plenty of time for furniture assembly!

Wash Everything

After all the furniture is in, it’s time to wash all the blankets, bedding and baby clothes. Believe me, there’s more to wash than you might think! Be sure everything that is washable and will touch your baby’s skin gets a run through the washing machine before you use it.

Accessorize

Now the fun part (and also the part that I’ve been putting off). Once you have everything in place, washed and ready to go, you can add those finishing touches that give the room personality and pizzazz! I’ve been checking out cute area rugs, handmade art, decorative mirrors and pretty window treatments. I haven’t totally figured out where I want to take the décor, but it’s fun to work through the process.

So, Made mommies and mommies-to-be, what’s your advice? How did you set up your baby’s room, and is there anything missing here that you’d recommend?


Published in Made Mommy

MW University // April 28, 2014

The best advice that I received during college: when on an interview, ask which books you should read before starting your new position. Self-help books written by CEOs and professional in your industry can be incredibly helpful when starting your new career. Books, such as Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office and Who Moved My Cheese?, are classics for those entering the workforce. Whereas a mentor can share their advice from personal experiences and answer questions, a book can offer a breadth of knowledge on the do’s and don’ts when you’re taking a leap from the classroom to the office. Welcome to the Real World, by Lauren Berger is a perfect example of a book to read when you are getting started.

Reading Welcome to the Real World is comparable to having lunch with one of your younger mentors on a sunny day with a glass of lemonade in hand. Berger’s conversational tone is notable and vibrant, and her advice is easy to implement.

The book takes a holistic approach, explaining what it takes to have a successful career. This includes how to roll calls, prioritize your work, build relationships in the office, manage your personal finances, schedule your time on and off the clock, and dress the part. Berger recognizes that the goal of the reader is personal success and this success is only possible when life is balanced and progressive. She also clearly educates her readers on office etiquette -- advice that may not be readily available on the job.

Berger’s advice is specific to today’s modern woman entering the workforce. For example, Chapter 4, “How to Work Your Personal Brand,” includes how to use social media to your benefit, including how often to post to Instagram, who to follow on Twitter, and how to define your Facebook audience. It also gives helpful advice on how to combat the “generation Y” stereotypes and how to navigate through relationships at work.  

All of the advice that Berger gives her audiences is based on her personal experiences and the experiences of the interns she helped guide with her company, Intern Queen. She has made a career out of her passion to advise those entering the workforce. She frequently references common workplace mistakes with specific scenarios and effective solutions— all very helpful! Berger has a background in the entertainment industry, and most of her clients work in similar fields. So, most of the examples are based on common occurrences in entertainment, and readers in other fields may not be able to relate to every situation. Berger’s workplace rules, however, apply to any entry-level position.

When I started my first full-time job after graduation, I experienced a culture shock. Everything I did and said in the workplace had to be premeditated. I was no longer on my own time and as one of the youngest staff members, all eyes were on me. Like Lauren Berger, I dropped the ball a few times, as is expected, but I may have avoided these small failures if I had Welcome to the Real World by my side. Berger’s vast experience working with entry-level employees makes the book well worth the read, and helpful to the ambitious women that are just getting started.

Happy Spring Reading!

Published in MW University
Tuesday, 22 April 2014 23:57

Health | So Just How Healthy Is Organic?

Health // May 5, 2014

Many of us have heard that we ought to buy  certified organic berries, kale, and fuzzy fruits (remember the dirty dozen?), over conventionally grown counterparts to avoid eating genetically modified or pesticide-laden plant products (the list is updated every year; check out the new one here). The label, organic, has become synonymous with being the better option for selecting produce and other groceries. At what point, however, did it become a catch-all term for everything associated with being healthy?

I know, I know, organic fruits and vegetables are healthy. What I’m talking about, though, are the certified organic meats, cheeses, sugary cereals, and cookies. I’ve overheard some people say in the cookie aisle, “this one’s organic, so I’m gonna get it cuz it’s healthy.” (You can also insert gluten-free or vegan, in place of organic.)  

Sadly,these foods are not necessarily healthy (yes, meats, cheeses, and dark chocolate, in small portions can have health benefits, but read: small portions). You can’t eat as much as you want simply because the food is organic.

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The organic label means that a product is a better option over the conventionally grown/raised food. It’s a good guide for avoiding unwanted pesticides, antibiotics, and other chemicals that may leach into your food, unbeknownst to you. Some research has indicated that organically grown and raised produce and meats have greater nutritional value because they have not been genetically modified. And organically raised animals are fed a healthier diet and are often raised under healthier conditions (not in cages or pumped with steroids or other meds). However, there are other studies that suggest that there is not a significant difference between conventional and organic foods. The Organic Trade Association took a look at the major studies that compared the nutritional value of organic versus conventional produce, and concluding... that more studies need to be conducted. But take a look at their report, and form your own opinions.

If avoiding chemicals in your food is your aim, then stick to organic foods -- if your pocketbook permits it -- otherwise, refer to the list of dirty dozen produce items that you should buy organic and go conventional with anything else. To ensure you don’t gain a few extra pounds, use good judgment and remember that the organic label isn’t a green light to eat as much as you want. Moderation is always the best policy.

Published in Health
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