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Business // May 6, 2013 

Being an ambitious entrepreneur is a gift and a curse. On the one hand you get things done. You have a vision, you started a business and you’re making a difference in this world (and some money). On the other hand, your schedule is overflowing with client work, networking events and business opportunities. There is always something more you could be doing. The questions becomes: How do you fit it all in?

Here are some tips for managing your schedule as a busy entrepreneur:

Focus on the Big Rocks. Stephen Covey famously spoke about putting your “Big Rocks” first. Look at the mission of your business. What are you trying to accomplish? What is your purpose? Each day, think about the three most important things that will help you move forward on your business – your Big Rocks – and create a schedule to get them finished first. Once you’ve completed your Big Rocks for the day, you can move on to less important activities. And on those days that you’re only able to get one or two things accomplished – it happens to the best of us – at least you know you’ve tackled the most important things on your list.

Bucket Your Tasks. Set your schedule up so that you’re working on similar tasks all day. For example, I schedule all client meetings and coaching calls for Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Mondays are reserved for writing and planning. Fridays are my admin day. Creating a solid schedule helps in two ways: 1) you’re not constantly bouncing from task to task and 2) you know exactly what you’ll be working on each day.

Get Rid of the Fluff. Let’s be honest. There are going to be things that just never get done. If you take an honest look at your day’s activities, you’ll see that there are some activities that you’ve picked up along the way that are no longer serving you. Maybe you had a problem saying “no” or maybe it’s something that seemed exciting when you first took it on. Either way, if it is not serving your bottom line, it needs to go. Does this activity align with your purpose and move you forward? If not, then it is time to place it on the back burner.

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Figure out Your Energy Zones. Take a look at your energy levels throughout the day and schedule high energy activities when you feel the most alive. Are you a morning person? Crank through your to-do list early on. Do you find your stride after lunch? Schedule your tough mental tasks then.

Take It Easy. Part of the fun of being an entrepreneur is making your own schedule. Make sure to schedule breaks and down time so that you can refresh. That might mean hitting up the gym during lunch or simply setting a timer so that you take periodic breaks throughout the day. Don’t get too down on yourself for having an off day – we all need a break sometimes.

Keep it Professional. Full time entrepreneurs can find themselves slacking on the rigid scheduling. Early morning meetings are replaced with nooners. Business professional clothes are replaced with PJ’s... all day long. It’s fine to make your own rules if you are running the show, but try not to let all of your professionalism go out the window. Keep a clear, daily schedule even if you don’t go into the office everyday.

Once you are able to lock in a solid schedule, you’ll be able to focus on your revenue generating activities and really grow your business. Get laser focused on the activities that will move you forward and let the rest fall to the wayside. And when in doubt, take a little break!


Published in Entrepreneurship
Monday, 25 February 2013 04:30

Entrepreneurship | Checklist for Start-Ups

Entrepreneurship // February 24, 2013

If you’ve decided to try your hand at running a start-up, you’re brave. It takes a lot of guts to make a go of it on your own. But you’re not alone. Over seven million people make the leap and start their own business each year. That’s a lot of new businesses!

One of the fastest growing sectors of new companies are tech start-ups, where we’re seeing more and more women in charge. While the numbers right now aren‘t great – currently fewer than five percent of tech start-ups are run by women – that number is climbing rapidly.

If you’re a woman thinking of becoming one of these pioneering tech bosses, kudos to you! But that doesn’t mean you can go out there without knowing what needs to be done. Once you decide to get into entrepreneurship, you need to assemble a Start-Up Checklist.

What’s the Start-up Checklist?

It’s every minor thing a woman must do if she is thinking of starting her own company. It’s easy to remember the Big Stuff: get an idea, get an office, get a loan. (Well, maybe not so easy. )

But what about the intangibles that aren’t required by law? Those are the ones  that entrepreneurs sadly overlook quite often. And it’s easy to do because you don’t often read about them.

Unless they’re on your checklist!

So what are these things that need to go on this list?

1. Decide what entity is best for you.

One of the most important decisions an entity can make is deciding how their company will be structured. Will you be an LLC? A corporation? Perhaps a partnership? Whichever one you pick, it will have serious consequences, both for how your business runs and how it is taxed.

Once it’s decided, then you need to draw up your governing document. For an LLC, this is called an OA. For a corporation, it’s called your bylaws. They’re essentially the laws of your company. And they are a necessity if you want to protect yourself.

Picking the best structure for your needs can be the difference between glory and ignominy. Once you organize, you need to get everything down in writing. Especially from your employees.

2. Get an NDA.

A non-disclosure agreement, colloquially known as an NDA, is possibly the most overlooked document that every start-up needs and so few have. It can save your company from losing what is often its most important aspects: that is, its ideas.

An NDA assures that employees can’t spill the beans concerning trade secrets and other sensitive information. But more than just making sure everyone keeps their trap shut, NDAs ensure that in the event that your intellectual property does get out there, you can be compensated for the damages. Otherwise, you might be left with a super unique, money making idea that everyone else has now too.

3. Draw up and employee handbook.

Employee handbooks don’t just tell employees what the policy  is for replacing the yogurt in the company fridge. Employee handbooks act as a way of ensuring there is zero confusion over what employees are allowed to do and what they are not. It clears the air concerning the rules and regulations in the business. And this can be invaluable if an employee ever sues you.

4. Draft an agreement for independent contractors.

The shift to using independent contractors is a trend that’s been sweeping the tech world for some time now. But the line between an employee and an independent contractor is often a thin one indeed. It’s not uncommon for workers classified as independent contractors to sue for the rights normally given to employees. If you haven’t had a worker sign something detailing what the arrangement is, you could be on the hook for providing all the perks to a contractor that an employee gets.

If you haven’t noticed, a lot of these tasks are in place to protect an entrepreneur from going into the courtroom. It’s because that’s the one thing start-ups never dream could happen but often does: legal trouble. Protecting yourself starts with getting it in writing. Of course there are a million things that a new entrepreneur needs to do before they reach success. But this checklist should help you have a smoother ride on the way there.

Published in Entrepreneurship
Monday, 25 February 2013 03:36

Weddings | How To Be A Great Maid of Honor

Weddings // February 24, 2013

One of the biggest compliments a woman can ever receive is being asked to be someone’s maid of honor. It means that you are the one they trust to make sure their wedding day is the happiest day of their lives. It means that (minus the groom of course!) you are the one they want standing beside them during all of the festivities.  It also may mean that you will need to roll up your sleeves and help out your best friend for the next few months. I recently had the pleasure of being my sister’s maid of honor and a couple months later she was mine. Here are some of the things we feel makes a “MOH” truly exceptional.


Being The Biggest Help

Weddings don’t magically come together. It takes a lot of time, money and DIY projects to get everything how the bride envisions it. As a maid of honor you should be the one offering to help to get things done. Trust me, helping out with the 500 paper cranes needed for wedding favors will take a load off of a busy bride and make her feel like she doesn’t have to do everything alone.

Have a Good Attitude

Bridesmaids dresses can be good, bad or just plain ugly. I have never met a bridesmaid who absolutely loved her dress. I have heard numerous stories about people throwing fits because they hated the color or fit. It’s fine to voice your opinion but it’s really not up to anyone besides the bride and groom what the bridal party wears. As maid of honor its your job to encourage an accepting attitude among the rest of the wedding party. When it’s your turn you can make everyone wear lime green taffeta. It’s only right.

Throw A Thoughtful Bachelorette Party

Bachelorette parties don’t have to equate to a Vegas trips. You are the one who knows the bride the best so you should know how this party should be thrown. If the bride is more conservative, a stripper and jello shots probably won’t be her idea of fun. It’s up to you to plan a night that’s all about her and get everyone involved. Ask for a list of her friends and their contact info and plan something special!

Be The “Go To” Girl

In a perfect wedding the bride should never know if something is going wrong. This means no vendor should talk to the bride or groom on their wedding day. If questions need to be asked or checks handed out it’s up to you to take care of it. Make sure all the vendors have your phone number so they can call you with any problems. It’s also helpful for a MOH to call these people a week before the wedding to confirm all plans. It may be a lot of work but your best friend/blushing bride will thank you.

Make A Meaningful Speech

A bride looks forward to hearing the toasts at her wedding. It’s a time for her to hear the people she loves wish her well as she starts her new life and family. Please don’t get on the mic and bring up embarrassing stories. Make it something for her to remember. Something that shows thought and adds personal touches is a given tearjerker. She will always remember what you said and how you made her feel, make sure you put in the effort! 

Published in Weddings
Monday, 28 January 2013 03:27

Fitness | Best Free Work Outs

Fitness // January 27, 2013

We’ve reached 2013 and I’m sure the one common resolution on most people’s list is to get in better shape. Having been a NCAA Division I athlete, I promised myself that I’d never pay to workout. Why pay to workout when Cal was footing the bill? However, when I graduated, I finally saw what everyone else was doing. They were signing up for Yoga ($35/class), Barre Method ($25/session), and Equinox memberships ($225/mo). I couldn’t believe that people were paying to kick their own butts. $35 for a class isn’t too expensive if you’re just taking the class once. But like anything, to really get results, you’ll need to stick to a routine. That means that you should be following your regimen at least 3 times a week. 3 times a week x $35/class x 4 weeks, rounds out to a cool $420/mo!  If you’re like me, you’re not-so- keen on paying big bucks to stay in shape.  Free is where it’s at, so here are a few free workout routines.

Hill Work

I do my best to stay long and lean. That means I do a fair amount of cardio work, combined with short explosive movements. Hill work is perfect for this. Usually I run/warm-up for 30-40 min before starting my hill routine. Once warmed up, I do the following:  2 sets of five, 40 second hills (run as far as you can for 40 seconds, jog back to the bottom, and repeat. Adjust your rest and intensity as your fitness increases. Beginners should walk down and rest at least 90 sec in between each rep. Take 5-8 minutes in between sets.) 2 sets of five 30 second hills and a cool down. I keep my heart rate up, and my tush in shape.

Hit The Beach

The beach is amazing if you’re prone to impact injuries or if you just want a little extra resistance. If you’re near the sand dunes, I highly suggest putting in an hour of work on them.  No sand around? Go to a park and run on grass or dirt. There’s not a ton of resistance, but they are both easier on the joints than concrete.

Circuits


Find a bench that’s about 2 feet off the ground and start some circuit work. Rotate between dips, step-ups, burpees, box jumps, push-ups, wall sits, and core. Keep moving for at least 30 min.

Hiking

Grab a pair of sneakers and head to a local trail. There are many great things about hiking. 1. You can control the intensity of your workout based on your trail, 2. You get the added benefit of enjoying the scenery, and 3. It’s easy to convince friends to come along. Everyone loves a beautiful hike.

Stairs

If you’re in L.A., you can go to the Santa Monica or Culver City Stairs. If not, head to your local high school. Beginners should walk the first few times, but as soon as you’re ready, start running. I do 3 sets of 10 continuous up/downs. Fill your rest in between with core work.

Trial Classes

Ok, so you really want to take a class, but you aren’t sure that you want to invest the money? Many classes offer free trials. Dirty little secret: Right out of college, a friend and I class hopped, just taking the trial class of each fitness routine. I don’t necessarily suggest doing that, but remember that you can always try a class before you buy.


No matter how you choose to get your workout in, the most important thing is that you have fun and safely test your limits.  Keeping your workouts fun will ensure that you stick to your plan. Be sure to keep track of your heart rate. If you're aware of your resting heart rate, and heart rate during workouts, you'll be able to appropriately manage your intensity. Once you’ve gotten into your routine, don’t be afraid to bump up the intensity every once in awhile (with your doctor’s blessing of course). Your workout will get easier over time, but don’t just settle in your comfort zone. Mix it up!

Published in Health
Monday, 19 November 2012 01:47

Lifestyle | How To Keep Food Fridge Fresh

Lifestyle // November 19, 2012

Are you tired of spending money on food only to have it spoil before you eat it? Me too! Every year, American households throw away an average of 470 lbs. of food because of spoiling and poor storage. I don’t know about you, but 470 lbs. of food could feed me for a LONG time! Here are some ways to save yourself some cash when it comes to groceries!

Produce

Fruits and veggies should be stored separately in the crispers because the gases given off by different types could cause others to rot prematurely. To absorb moisture, lay a paper towel on the bottom of the drawer and replace when wet.

It is best to wrap leafy greens in a dry paper towel and then put in a perforated plastic bag and replace paper towel when it becomes moist. Tip: if you are looking for a lettuce that lasts longer, buy Romaine!

This great site I found lists fruits and vegetables and where they should be stored to last the longest. Check it out!

Dairy

DO NOT store dairy on the door of your fridge. The temperature from opening and closing the door is too warm for the very perishable items. Instead keep things like milk, butter and cheese in the body of the fridge where the temperature stays more consistent. Always keep cheese in the original container until opened, and then wrap in plastic and store in a plastic bag or airtight container.

Meat

Meat is something you should be very careful with since it can spoil easily and can cause illness when not handled properly. Always store meat in its original packaging and never place on top of where produce or other foods are kept.  If the package didn’t come with a tray, place a pan underneath to catch any drippings.
Tip: Freezing is a great way to keep meat fresh until you want to use it! Just make sure it’s in its original packaging or wrapped tightly.

Eggs

You know those little egg trays most refrigerators have on their door?? Or the cute ceramic trays you can buy at Sur La Table? DON’T use them. Eggs need to be stored in their original container as they are built with holes to keep air flowing. Also, like dairy, eggs can spoil quickly when in warm temperatures so it’s best to keep them off of the door and inside the fridge.

Fresh Herbs

Herbs are very similar to fresh flowers because they both need to be kept in water.   Trim the stems and place in a cup of cold water and put in the door of your fridge (since this is the warmest area). Change the water and re-trim every 1 or 2 days. Basil or mint store best when in water on the countertop. Always cover the tops of herbs with a loose plastic bag.

Leftovers

Store all leftovers in airtight, clear containers  (preferably glass!) and always refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking. It is best to divide food into small flat containers so that they cool faster, but waiting for the food to cool down before storing is unnecessary since most modern refrigerators can handle the heat! Also never store anything in an opened can. Once the can is open, metal on the rim can leech into the food.

Since I started researching how to keep foods fresh longer I have had to throw away WAY less food, which is much better for the environment and my pocket! I have also found that my fruits and vegetables taste better and I eat them more often. So it’s a win for my waistline too!



Published in Lifestyle
Monday, 05 November 2012 05:31

Health | Savor the Season Without the Guilt

Health // November 5, 2012

The holiday season is right around the corner. That means cocktail parties, cocktail dresses, and of course, the classic LBD. What that also means is you’ll need to gain the will power to "just say no" to your pants with the elastic waistband this Thanksgiving and in the weeks that follow. Here are few simple, easy-to-follow tips to enjoy your holiday eating and imbibing without the guilt.

Exercise in the morning


Plan a hike with your family and/or visiting guests, join a local group bike ride, or check out local fitness facilities that offer special Thanksgiving or other morning classes. On Turkey Day, check to see if your hometown holds a Turkey Trot or another fun 5k or 10k race on Thanksgiving morning. Many of these races exist around the country and most of the proceeds benefit food banks and local charities trying to feed the hungry.

Including physical activity on the mornings of the most gluttonous season of the year means you will be able to increase your metabolism for the day and will likely make better food choices when at the dinner table. If you decide to indulge in an extra slice of pie or glass of wine, at least you’ve burned a few calories first!

Maintain your workout schedule


Company, club, and family parties may interfere with your regular workout schedule. Checking your weekly schedule at the beginning of each week is a good practice to keep, and even more so during this time of holiday commitments. When holiday parties interfere with your workouts, reschedule your workout at a different time. Don't skip your workouts, even if it means abbreviating them. Squeezing in 15-20 minutes will still provide you more benefits than not doing anything at all.

Don’t skip breakfast

In order to prevent guilt-ridden overeating and letting out the waistband on your trousers, eat breakfast. Do not skip meals earlier in the day. Prepare healthy meals or snacks before your dinner to avoid feeling famished, which can result in overeating.

Use smaller plates


I know... you are already dreaming about plates laden with Thanksgiving goodies. But if you want to keep your summer shape, you will have to serve yourself smaller portions all winter long. Serve yourself 1/3-1/2 of what you would normally put on your plate. If you opt for a second serving you should still serve yourself a smaller portion. With this approach you will consume at least half the calories of holidays-past.

Practice conscious consumption

Rather than eating mindlessly while deep in conversation, look at what you stick your fork into before putting it in your mouth. Enjoy the flavors while savoring the food as you chew slowly. You will be less likely to eat the food that is not as satisfying to you, become satiated faster, eat more slowly (which means you will have less time to go up for seconds), and enjoy the taste of your meal at the first plate.

Enjoy this holiday season! And if you follow these tips, you'll be able to do it while staying the same size into the New Year's Eve party. Read: you won't be one of those frantic weight loss fanatics fighting over the treadmill at the gym, madly trying to lose the nine pounds gained over the course of the five weeks of winter holiday festivities. Instead, you’ll look stunning and chic as you ring in 2013.

Published in Health

Love + Dating // October 22, 2012 

Long distance relationships are not for the fearful; they’re for the audacious.
The brassy, bold + brave.
You exchange massive time alone for fleeting doses of joy with your beloved.

Critics say the long-distance relationship is doomed.
Heartache inevitable.
Dreams decimated.

“You can’t go on that way forever,” they tout.
But you insist you can.
And as long as you do, you’ll be required to practice the qualities of faith + fortitude
Independence + imagination...

It’s for those who find possibility in the improbable.
It can be a shelter for the non-committers, for, the less-than-motivated.

Yet, to be enamored with someone’s absence is to be a quintessential romantic.
And who can thwart the benefits?

The urgency of every second together.  Because they all count.
Elation rushes in as each kiss is savored, every touch cherished.
Reality is divinely air-brushed + memories pristinely sealed—set aside to be deliciously revisited later.

On the phone your makeup is perfect, your legs are always shaved + your sweatpants and decal tee shirt become silk shorts and a lace bra.You never have to pick up his laundry, wash the dinner dishes or ask him to finally for-the-love-of-god-turn the TV off.  How many times can you watch Transformers, the movie, anyway?

Yet, love + doubt aren’t mutually exclusive.
And in the case of long distance relationships bliss can certainly require sweat.

Someone is:
:: giving too much + getting too little in return

:: wanting to close the distance gap but repressing the need to express it for fear of “rocking the boat” +  risking a breakup.

:: tired of living a double life. one with their partner + generally, a bigger one without their partner

:: being crushed by anxiety + jealousy.

And oh, those phone bills! Distance can work for friends + relatives but when it comes to romantic love, the long distance relationship will always fall short.

Short on satisfaction.

There is a rare population of couples that can pull it off–and the only reason it works is that it genuinely works for them. Both feel they are getting their needs met + do not secretly wish for an alternative situation.

If that’s you, congratulations.  Ignore everything I said + keep on keepin’ on.

But the chances are that it’s not you, because the only way to make a long distance relationship work is to close the separation gap—eventually.

Short-term long distance relationships: not usually a problem. Long term, open-ended distances are the stuff hell is made of. With the imperfections + benefits of long distance relationships glaringly clear—-

Do you stay or go?

Roll the dice or walk away now?
The answer begins + ends with the truth.
Always with the truth.

How deep do the roots of this relationship go?
Deep enough to sustain your spirit during the days + weeks of separation?

What do you need from your partner on a daily basis?
Emotionally.
Spiritually.
Physically.

Witness what comes up for you.  Write it down.  Articulate it.

First to yourself + then to him or her.
Can he or she provide it?
Will your situation allow it?

Choose.
You know the answer.
Even when you deny that you do.

Tune in.
Listen up.
Your heart + gut want to educate you on limitations, expectations + salutations.

When to go harder.
When it’s been enough.

When to very lovingly, calmly say:
I loved you while I could. As best as I could. With all I could.
Thank you for you. When I had you.
Good luck.

Adieu.

And love pulses along in spite of it all.

Published in Relationships

Fitness // October 22, 2012 

You really don’t want to be that person at the gym who gets a wrinkled nose pointed at her because her clothes might not look or smell so fresh. You might be thinking, “I’m just gonna work out. What does it matter what I wear?” But I say, “You’re a put-together woman and your clothes—gym, work, or otherwise—ought to always convey that message.”

Spending a little extra cash on high quality and durable workout clothes is worth it because they’re designed specifically to stand up to all that you’re going to put them through -- sweat, those awkward yoga positions, etc.  Since they are a bit more expensive than your old ratty tee and sweats, you’re going to want to take extra care of them to make sure they last you as long as possible.  What’s the best way to do that?  Try this:

  1. Avoid letting your sweaty clothes sit around in an unvented bag. This allows bacteria to grow while the sweaty clothes fester, which will cause that repulsive stink (and, really, do you want to even think about bacterial growth on fabric touching your skin?). Many gym bags have vented compartments where you may store your post-workout clothes.  If possible, lay them out flat or hang them to air out before you throw them in the wash.  
  2. Machine wash with like colors, in cold water, on the gentle cycle.
  3. Do not use fabric softener, especially on clothing with sweat-wicking, reflective, or any other technical functions. Fabric softener will make all of those fabric promises null and void.
  4. Line dry the clothes made with the technical fabrics listed above.
  5. After a few weeks to months, it’s inevitable that your fave workout clothes’ function, feel, and fragrance (wrinkled nose here) may falter. This is when you enlist the help of a sports wash, which you can find at most sporting goods or other sport-related shops. Soak those articles of funked-up and/or function-failing clothes in a couple gallons of water and a capful of sportswash (the bottle of sport soap should have instructions). Swirl it around and soak for a few hours—overnight if the clothes really need help. Often rinsing then drying will do. I prefer rinsing, then throwing in with my regular wash. You’ll discover what works best for you.

Those are the fab five tips to keeping your workout gear lasting long and staying funk-free. It’ll keep you looking fresh at your workouts too, so everybody will know that you are that girl—the Made Woman.

Published in Health
Sunday, 23 September 2012 23:55

Lifestyle | How to Come Out of Your Shell

September 24, 2012 

If you had invited me to a party a couple years ago, I’d have told you I had to wash my hair.  Or my stomach hurt.  Or my head exploded into a migraine.  Or my face melted off.  You name it, I’d use it as an excuse.  Unless I knew everyone at said party, I wanted nothing to do with it.  People I don’t know well make me…squirmy.  I grew up in a tiny town and graduated high school with a whopping 20 other people – I never learned how to meet new friends because I never HAD to.  

My lack of outgoing-ness doesn’t mean that I don’t have friends or that I don’t like to go out and have a good time (I can find a few bartenders to vouch for that), but the situation has to be “just so” before I’m down to do it.  The problem with that, obviously, is that it’s not exactly conducive to making new friends or starting new relationships.  

If any of this sounds sort of like you, and you want to do something about it, I have some good news for you: you can change.  I made the decision to start pushing myself outside of my comfort zone a while ago; and while yes, it can still be pretty uncomfortable, the situations you force yourself into are usually nowhere near as bad as you imagine.  So how can you put yourself out there more and start acting like a functioning, normal member of society?  I’ll let you know how I did it.

Just Say Yes

Seriously, stop with the excuses.  If someone invites you somewhere and you feel yourself fumbling for a way to say no--quit it.  Say yes, dammit!  If you have no other plans, there’s NO reason for you to not go to that party, networking event, girls' night out with some people you’ve never met, etc.  You are not going to find a date or a new friend by sitting on your couch stuffing take-out pizza into your face.  The more people you know, the stronger your social network is…and that can lead to all sorts of potential benefits.  Force yourself to say yes, and follow through.  It may feel weird and it may produce a little anxiety, but you can do it and you’ll most likely be glad you did.

Do Something New

A cooking class was offered to employees at my new job not too long ago.  The old me would have thought, “I don’t really know many of my coworkers yet, I can’t even cook a Hot Pocket, who am I going to talk to? Will I end up standing in a corner alone hiding behind a skillet?”, etc. etc.   The new me pushed those thoughts out of my head and focused on the fact that I’d be getting free food and wine--at the very least--and at the most, making some new connections.   If your work offers group activities, sign up for a couple.  If there’s a gym in your neighborhood, go take a class.  If you’ve always been interested in sailing, take a lesson.  Do not let that little voice in your head telling you to avoid new, potentially uncomfortable situations, win.  This is about taking control of your fear/anxiety and forcing yourself to think about social situations differently.  You have to put yourself out there or nothing is ever going to happen to you!

Let Down Your Guard.

When I go out with my girlfriends, at least one of them usually ends up talking to a guy.  Me?  Not so much.  I’m the girl who’d rather go off and dance by myself than have some random dude in my face asking me what my sign is.  I’m instantly on guard with guys and it only starts coming down when I’m familiar with someone.  But how do you get familiar with a new person unless you…ya know, talk to him?  So now I at least exchange a few sentences before I make an exit.  You never know who you might meet unless you give them a chance, and if they’re a creep, there’s always that emergency, “Excuse me, I have to go to the restroom!” excuse.

Be Approachable

When I was younger, I was told several times by people that when they first met me, they thought I didn’t like them.  Or that I was probably a bitch.  I would always feel a little stunned by this, but then it dawned on me.  I never really smiled, I pretty much would just give short hellos at work and go about my business, I didn’t make a ton of eye contact; or if I did catch a glance, I’d usually look away.  These things all communicate disinterest.  It wasn’t because I was a mean person – I was just unsure of myself and let’s be honest, was a bit socially retarded.  Once I was aware of how I was coming off, I made a conscious effort to look people in the eye and smile when I walked by them, to say hello to that random stranger in the elevator, to not walk around with my head down and to ask coworkers questions just to make conversation (anything involving weekend plans, i.e .“how was your weekend?” on Monday and “any plans for the weekend?” on Friday is a good start).  Everyone is more attracted to a person who has a smile and a friendly “hello” ready.  

Listen, if you’ve never been extroverted and it feels completely unnatural to you to chat up strangers all the time, you may never be considered a social butterfly… but you don’t need to be!  Everyone is different.  I still have my days where I revert to my more withdrawn self, but the important thing is that I put forth the effort to make little changes here and there.  I’ve definitely made more friends and connections in the process, and people who’ve only known me for a year or two are always surprised when I tell them how painfully shy I used to be.  It’s an ongoing work in progress, but it’s definitely worth the effort.

Published in Lifestyle

July 2, 2012

Smooth, soft, healthy skin. We all want it. And hopefully we are exfoliating, cleansing, protecting and moisturizing our way there. But there’s another important part of our skincare regimen that we often neglect: eating right. What you eat can directly affect the shape your skin is in. Learn to love these foods in order to put your best face forward:

Water: OK, so it’s not a food, but it is an essential ingredient for healthy skin.  Water keeps you hydrated so that you stay moisturized from the inside out! 

Papayas: Not just yummy, but also good for flavonoids, carotene and vitamin C.

Kiwi: Kiwi is a good snack when you are on the go, and it contains  --you guessed it-- vitamin C.

Oysters: This shellfish contains zinc, which helps with skin renewal. Soft and luscious skin – now that’s an aphrodisiac. 

Avocado: This versatile miracle food can be incorporated into any meal or eaten by itself. With essential oils, B complex vitamins, and niacin (an anti-inflammatory), this creamy green fruit is a miracle indeed. 

Mangoes: With 80% vitamin A (which repairs skin cells) as well as antioxidants for free radicals, mangos are irresistible. 

Almonds: Great for snacking on their own or as a topping for anything from salads to ice cream, almonds contain vitamin E and help to moisturize skin. Almond milk is also an excellent substitute. 

Cottage cheese: Full of selenium and vitamin E, cottage cheese helps prevents dandruff and provides calcium. Who would have guessed! 

Acerola cherries: Summer is cherry season, so stock up on these superfruits, which are made up of 100% vitamin C and produce collagen. 

Mushrooms: Did you know mushrooms have healing benefits?  They have riboflavins that help with tissue maintenance and repairs (especially after surgery). While grilling this summer, remember to add mushrooms to meats and burgers or grill some Portobellos on there.

Dark chocolate: Is there anything chocolate can’t fix? Dark chocolate contains flavonoids and helps with blood flow. But good luck on stopping after just one serving…  

Green tea: You might want to consider replacing your coffee addiction with green tea. This tea contains EGCG and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Combine those benefits with the added bonus of caffeine and you’ve got the recipe for an energized and healthy day. 

Strawberry, citrus, red pepper and broccoli: All of these fruits and vegetables have vitamin C and help with collagen. Throw them on a salad or bring them to work for snacking on their own.

Squash, sweet potatoes and spinach: These side dishes contain vitamin A and beta-carotene, which make for smooth skin.

Fortified cereal, lean meat, pork and poultry: Each of these foods contains zinc and iron that help skin glow. Breakfast, lunch and dinner made easy!

Try to incorporate as many of these foods as possible into your meals. All of them serve dual purposes: not only are they good for your skin, but they are healthy too. If you need some inspiration, check out Pinterest to look up and create healthy recipes using these ingredients. Your skin will thank you!

Published in Health
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