Author

twright

“8 Tips to Branding Yourself as a Professional Woman”

(Photo credit: Shot By Kelley)

Being a young working woman is more about just waking up, rolling out of bed, throwing on whatever appears at the front of the closet and going to work to get a paycheck. Don’t get me wrong, not every workday is going to be a glamorous, hopped out of a Zara ad type of day. Though the effort you put in does matter. Even if it’s just enough to put on something professionally acceptable enough to wear to the work place.

We all have those days when we just don’t feel like it. Take it from me, there are more days that I don’t feel like dressing up for work than the days I do. However, I have learned that people are always watching so it’s always a good idea to have yourself together. And when I say people, I mean leaders and other individuals who may have influence on your next opportunity. Like they say, “dress for the job you want, not the job you have”.

While I think appearance is one of the key areas of branding, it is not the only. Check out 8 tips to branding yourself as a professional woman from a variety of areas.

1) Appearance

I covered this in the intro but cannot stress enough how important your appearance is as a professional woman. There are people in your workplace whom you may never speak a word to. (Especially if you work for a large company.) But no matter what, they will see you. That director of the marketing department you’re hoping and praying to get into, yep – she sees you! So always look your best. Make sure your hair is combed and neat. Even on the days you don’t feel like dressing up, always make sure to follow the dress code and present yourself in a way you would want to be remembered.

I can recall a Friday when I went into the break room at work and the president of the organization was sitting at one of the tables, reading the newspaper. He rarely ever came to my location. And was never EVER reported to be sited in the break room of all places! It was Casual Friday so I was dressed down. But imagine if I threw up the deuces going out the house in my sweatpants with my hair in a super messy topknot. Yeah, probably wouldn’t have made the best impression to the big guy.

2) Exposure

How you expose yourself at work is vital. Also, it goes without saying that the exposure should always be positive. Participating in activities outside of the office can serve you well because it shows that you are able to be (professionally) social with others. Getting involved in different committees can serve as a good opportunity for exposure as well. Have you been receiving those emails about the annual Christmas party planning committee and ignoring them despite your love for all things Santa and snowmen? Don’t be afraid to join in on the festivities. Way too swamped for that? Consider something more short term like asking how you can help out the day of or assisting with a smaller scale event. Any exposure is good exposure.

The overall idea is that you stay relevant. A day may come when you want to transfer departments and find that the hiring manager is the same person you worked with on that committee. If he/she knows who you are, that’s a great start to you expressing your interest in a potential opportunity.

3) Create a Voice

It is important that you have a voice in the workplace. Now this does not mean to be the loudest person in the office. More times than not, that can solicit more negative views than positive. But DO have a voice that others recognize and respect. Even if you don’t speak often, make sure that when you do speak it is always positive, professional and insightful. You don’t have to be an extrovert or even the most educated person whose good morning greetings have the intellectual ring of former president Barack Obama. Be yourself but make sure your voice is creating an image that you can be proud of.

You want your voice to remain credible. The same woman that’s known as the source of office gossip can’t be taken seriously when it comes time to select a candidate for promotion. Be careful that you don’t find yourself in that position.

4) Remain Humble

Have you ever worked with an individual that makes everything about themselves? Someone who points out their every accomplishment or kind deed. Isn’t it a bit irritating to hear them go on and on about none other than…themselves? So don’t be that person.

It’s okay to be proud of yourself or be excited about sharing your accomplishments with others. You’ve worked hard and should be proud. Who knows, those accomplishments could be inspiring others. Though you should also know when to be quiet and swallow the pill of humility. Know when it’s time to recognize others and take yourself out of the spot light. You don’t want to come off as insecure or self-centered.

I would venture to say that a woman who knows how to celebrate others over herself will go further long term in her career than a woman who is all about herself.

5) Surround Yourself with Positive Company

I think this one gets many women caught up in unnecessary, dramatic situations in the work place that could have been avoided. Maybe you’re not a gossiper in the office but someone in your work crew is known as the unofficial Director of Office Gossip. Ever heard the phrase “guilty by association”? Well it’s true. You are just as guilty as they are because your association promotes that negative activity.

So surround yourself with positive company. Even if that means opting out on messiness and rolling solo. I’ve had a do it myself on a few jobs and the end result was always nothing short of peaceful. And the times I have been able to find a positive social team always make for great, inspiring conversation paired with a confidence that I don’t mind being associated with those individuals.

6) Get a Mentor

Navigating the workplace as a young woman can be challenging. Trying to sort through politics, people, not getting sucked into office negativity (see above) and more can be quite a task. On top of it all, you’re trying to figure out how to advance in your career. Definitely some tough grown up stuff. That’s where a mentor comes in. A mentor can help you put things into perspective and think through your goals with you. You can certainly find a way to get paired with a mentor formally whether through your company directly or by your own networking. However, this does not always have to be a formal relationship with official titles.

Many of the women who’ve mentored me in my career have been former bosses or leaders that I met along the way. I can’t say I’ve ever had a formal mentor meeting. Much of these relationships have been built around casual coffee chats or chill dinner meetings. My point, find someone that can pour into you, particularly someone who is already at the level you’d like to be or in a similar leadership role. You can meet up every month or just put in a call/email as the need for guidance arises. As long as you find someone that can assist you as you shape your professional identity. Also, be sure to pay it forward. There will be a time when you are able to mentor someone so know that this is something you should openly consider, especially if someone helped you.

7) Professional Development

Professional development can make a huge impact on your career. It could be as small as taking a 2 hour class on advancing your computer skills or a more extensive opportunity such as attending a 3 day conference in your area of expertise. Find a way to continuously upgrade your knowledge in the workplace.

Many companies have funds for professional development so make sure to talk to your supervisor about how to best utilize those funds for your professional growth. In addition, there are companies (particularly larger ones) that offer free workshops. Even if it doesn’t pertain to your direct area of work, still attend! You may gain skills that can be applied to your position.

8) Be Mindful of Social Media

*Sigh* This is a tough one. Many may argue that you are free to put whatever you like on your social media accounts because it is your space uncontrolled by others. While this is true, you also have control over how you are perceived based on what you post on social media. Especially if you have a public account. This forum is not the best place to post scandalously clad pics or shots of you getting wasted in Punta Cana last summer. Many employers go straight to social media accounts these days because these pages won’t just tell you everything you want to know about a person but everything you need to know as well.

Don’t get passed up on that great job opportunity because of something as simple as what you posted on social media. Either be mindful of what you post or set your page to private. Even with a private page, proceed with caution as there is a way to get around everything on the internet.

One last point on this topic, be mindful of who you’re friends with on social media. Being friends with co-workers can be nice as you can get to know more about each other outside of work. Though I would suggest you only do this with those you trust and can see yourself being friends with long term. Those that you casually speak with or who seem to want to be connected on social media just to see what’s going on with you, not so much. It wouldn’t be fun to find out something you posted was shown to your boss or used against you in some other way. So keep it simple with those friend requests.

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Have you already been practicing any of these tips and found them to be helpful in your professional experience? If you have, how so? Do you have any tips that I haven’t mentioned here? Please be sure to share. 😊

“Can You Hear Me Now?”: What To Do When Your Ideas Aren’t Being Heard In the Workplace

{Image credit: pixabay.com}

Have you ever had a moment at work where you have this amazing idea, one that has the potential to resolve that big problem? You know, the problem that has everyone scrambling eagerly for a solution. Well you have the answer which is great but you don’t seem to be heard. So suddenly your bubble has been burst and left a huge puddle of soapy bubble juice (because I don’t know if there’s an actual a name for it) all over the floor. In a figurative sense that is. Unless you work at Toys R Us. I digress.

It’s frustrating when you feel like you aren’t being heard. Whether it was that one occasion or on a daily basis. It’s easy to take it personal, shut down and never speak another idea out loud again. Well you could do just that but what would that be contributing to your employer and more importantly, yourself? You were hired because of the unique set of skills you possess. That idea you hold back could be the difference of whether or not you receive a promotion. Sticking behind your idea could be building the tough as nails, thick skinned type of confidence you need to get you to the next level.

Below are 7 tips to help you cope with these moments of disappointment and maintain your confidence.

1) Timing is everything! Be patient.

I have witnessed this pretty frequently through my own career. Sometimes it’s not the case that your answer isn’t heard or will never be utilized. It could be that the timing just isn’t right. So be patient. There have been occasions where I’ve made a suggestion that didn’t get recognized right away but a colleague or superior came to me weeks later wanting to discuss the idea in more detail as we prepared to implement it.

Had I morphed into a 6 year and stomped away like a brat the moment my idea wasn’t heard originally, odds are a follow up opportunity wouldn’t have come my way. Patience truly is a virtue!

2) Let the other person process your idea first.

This is a follow up to my first point. You never know what space a person’s head could be in upon the presentation of your idea. Maybe they’ve had a bad morning and can’t focus. Perhaps they have multiple projects going on and the project associated with your idea is at the bottom at their priority list. They had to chase their dog down the street and put him back in the kennel all while trying to get themselves and their kids out of the house that morning. Their spouse texted them asking to transfer money to the in-laws again. The possibilities can go on.

My point is, you never know what variety of things a person has on their mind at a given time. And even when someone is laser focused on what you are saying, everyone processes things differently. So give them time to do just that.

3) Pick your battles.

On the flip side, even some of your best ideas may never make it to fruition in the workplace. You just have to pick your battles. But know that all is not lost. My advice would be to pull out your trusty notebook (hardcopy or digital) and jot down those ideas. Then keep them in a handy place for future reference. You could end up utilizing them in a future position. Or who knows, one day when you have your own company (if that’s your goal) you may see what was just another idea that got shot down become the blueprint of your vision.

4) Know your position.

Whether we like to acknowledge it or not, there is a pecking order in the work place. Not to say that you should think of yourself as a peon. Never that. Though it is important to recognize your position. If you’re in an entry level position, odds are you’re not going to have the same voice as a CEO. Continue to voice your ideas but always do so in the most respectful and humble manner possible. Perhaps this humility will be the distinguishing factor that makes you stand out and have your idea implemented.

5) Recognize your environment.

I realize that some people may struggle with a scenario I haven’t spoke on yet in this post – the competitive co-worker. You know, that person that doesn’t let you get an idea in without trying to sabotage it all. Perhaps they shoot back with an idea they proposition as “better” or take your very same idea and twist it to make it seem like this genius suggestion was their own the whole time.

A colleague once told me “Messy people never win”. She was referencing a different type of situation. Though it still applies here.

Even though that person may crawl under the depths of your skin as they scheme against your great ideas, know that this is temporary. It won’t last and they won’t win. So know your environment and how to professionally work through the politics. Don’t let them allow you to give up on your ideas. The temporary discomfort will pass.

6) Reposition your ideas to use elsewhere.

In tip #3 I suggested that you document your ideas in case you need to wait to use them at a different time. To elaborate on that, consider using your ideas in another space. What are you involved in outside of work? Perhaps that new tech advancement you wanted to be made can be utilized your PTA group. Or that awesome team calendar that you put together can be shared with friends who need help getting organized.

Want to step it up a bit? Pair your idea with your expertise to profit your business or creative venture. The practice will help build your professional portfolio and assist others in need at the same time.

7) Talk to the source. Meet with your boss.

My dad has a saying “don’t go talking to the janitor”. There is a story behind that but to simplify for times sake, the message is – address your issue with the source. Don’t discuss it with everyone else that’s not able to resolve it.

Perhaps you’re frustrated because your boss is the person you feel is not listening to your idea. Ask to meet with him/her to express how you feel in a calm and professional manner. Most times, supervisors appreciate the feedback of their employees but are often so overwhelmed with their own work, on top of overseeing staff, that they may come off as unapproachable or uninterested. One-on-one conversations are always best because it allows both parties to talk through the situation.

It could be that they value your idea but right now is just not the right time (refer back to tip #1). Or maybe they misunderstood your idea at the time of presentation but have a better understanding now that he/she is in a space to ask more specific questions.

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What are some methods that have proven to be successful for you in these types of work place situations? Or if you’re someone who hasn’t been successful in this area (yet), don’t be discouraged. Know those ideas have been planted on your mind, and even heart, for a reason. So keep plugging along. They will be implemented at the right time and in the right place. Hang in there!

The Black & White ReMIX

{Photo credit: RSEE Photo}

I remember when mixing prints was seen as a fashion faux pas. One that would solicit looks that said: “Did she [or he] look in the mirror this morning?”. Well fashion has evolved and as a result accepted this mashup into the cool kids group.

Mixing prints used to be seen as “too much going on”. Though nowadays, when done tactfully, it can add just the right touch. For instance, on mornings when I see a black top and grey pants I think “Perfect! I don’t feel like making the effort so I’m just going to go with it!”. Then I find a leopard print scarf with black and white shoes and voila! That quickly I just jazzed up basic without a tremendous amount of effort.

I’ve found a trick to this pairing that makes it work: find a base color. In the outfit pictured I chose black as my base. A top with floral print set against black, black and white gingham pants, black pumps all topped off with a solid black necklace. The black base allows for consistency without falling into the basic black and white trap if you’re looking to kick things up a notch.

How do you feel about wearing mixed prints in the office? What are some of the tricks that allow you to have fun with your work outfits while mixing things up a bit?

{Outfit details: Top (H&M); Pants (Zara); Heels (Cathy Jean – similar here); Necklace (Forever 21 – similar here)}

“From Top[shop] to Bottom”

{Photo Credit: RSEE Photo}

Guess who’s back?!I know…it’s been a minute! I’ve been so busy at my 9-5 that I was neglecting my passion project. Well I’m here with new fashion inspo for the work place!

I think many people, especially women, stuggle with being professional in the work place yet staying true to who they are style wise. How do you know when to push the envelope and when to seal it shut with Elmers glue for extra security? Depending on your work setting this could be a debatable topic.

Recently I came across the Topshop skirt pictured. It was so funky and 90s – not exactly your typical combo for a business meeting. But it was my mission to make this professional chic. I wanted to shake it up while keeping it business.

*Disclaimer: If you work in a conservative office setting, I wouldn’t recommend this Clueless vibes skirt. Not even for Casual Friday. If keeping your job is the priority then consider it for weekend wear. It pairs well with sneakers too.

For those that have more liberal work settings (using the word liberal very loosely so know your dress code well) or work in creative spaces, this look could work. The blazer and blouse dress it up in just the right way that says “Ready for the 10 o’clock meeting boss!”. Note: I made sure to wear black tights with the look to compensate for the short skirt straight out of a Madonna video.

And for those that are still questioning whether or not this look could work for their workplace, I encourage you to mix and match it up! Swap out the skirt and tights for black slacks. Or this of other occasions such as date night or brunch with friends. As the weather begins to cool down one could add a thick duster sweater in lieu of the blazer, keep the skirt and tights then add a pair of cute ankle booties.

Here’s to being your (professional) self while you kill it from 9-5 and beyond!

Outfit details: Blazer (Topshop); Blouse (New York & Company); Necklace (Target-similar); Skirt (Topshop); Tights (Target); Pumps (H&M)

4 Reasons Why “The 4-Hour Workweek” Is a Game Changer

I recently finished “The 4-Hour Workweek” and it was a game changer! Author Timothy “Tim” Ferriss has this unique, captivating writing ability that is a hybrid between tough love and “here’s how to step your game up”. The title could possibly imply that it’s a guide on how to significantly minimize your weekly work hours and escape the “rat race”. Well, in a sense it is. Though I gained so much more. Allow me to share.

1) I’ve realized how much more efficient I can be as an employee.

Ferris gives numerous tips on how to increase productivity and efficiency in business. An employee of a company could certainly gain from this wisdom. Even though much of the advice Ferriss provides is directed toward business owners who can decrease their time spent being the machine behind everything and utilize the extra time pursuing a life they love.

He also shares significantly how an employee could use his models to work remote from anywhere in the world. (My mind just drifted off to creating an Excel spreadsheet while sitting beachside on the Amalfi Coast. *sigh*)

One area of advice Ferriss provided was regarding the checking of emails. He advised to only check emails twice per day. And strictly forbids readers from checking first thing in the morning. Something I regularly do then find myself engulfed in way past my desired end time. He also mentions that email isn’t instant messaging, it’s a form of mail. This really stopped me in my tracks. I sometimes feel as if I have to get back to emails as soon as they come in. Being a quick responder could be seen as courteous and professional. Though too quick could be grounds for becoming trapped in my inbox and distracted from other items on the to-do list.

2) It shoved me into dream big NOW mode.

I think many of us have, at some point, been a slave to the “someday” syndrome. You know, “someday I want to travel the world” or “someday I’ll start hobby x”. Well sometimes “someday” comes with valid reasoning. Take finances for example. Perhaps one can’t fulfill their dreams of traveling the world because they have bills up the wazoo. In that case, it may be true that the dream has to be tabled for a later date. Though that doesn’t mean one cannot start planning. Perhaps writing a list of desired locations or creating a savings plan. It’s only step one but very often step one is the catalyst to seeing through every other step to achieve the end goal.

As Ferriss puts it: “Most people can do awe inspiring things. Sometimes they just need a little nudge.”

3) I’m reminded that the world is literally at my fingertips.

At one point in the book Ferriss breaks down how living internationally can be much less expensive than we would think. He provides two expense break downs per month based on travels to Buenos Aires, Argentina and Berlin, Germany. He further explains how long term international travel can eliminate expenses back at home. For example, one (most likely) will not be paying utilities, buying gas for their car or other expenses they’d regularly be shelling out for weekly or monthly. Therefore making international travel a bit more attainable and accessible than one may think.

4) It provided resources along with strategies.

I think finding an inspiring and motivating book is easy. There are millions out there. Though a book that also provides the resources on how to get and stay going on your dream journey is a gem. He literally lists websites on a gamut of topics from how to access your PC abroad to discounts on international lodging. He even shared resources from mothers traveling with young children and parents juggling international travel with the education of school aged children.

“What are the websites?!”, you ask. Well you have to read the book for that! 😊

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This book not only challenged me personally but inspired me to be a better professional in the workplace. It will definitely be a book that holds its spot on my bookshelf of lifetime reads to refer back to.

Have you read “The 4-Hour Workweek”? What did you think? Haven’t read the book but plan to after reading this post? Please let me know what you think after reading!

5 Reasons to Get Excited About Going to Work On Monday

{Image credit: https://pixabay.com}

I know, you probably saw the title of this post and wanted to do one of two things:

a) Ever so kindly thump me in the eye (*ouch*)

-or-

b) Eagerly start reading because after all, what in the world could be exciting about going back to work on Monday?!

Maybe you even had both thoughts!

Well I admit, Sunday nights aren’t always a breeze when you have to go from chill mode to 5 days of hitting the grind all over again. But perspective is everything. The more you dread Monday, the more dread it will meet you with. So let me give you 5 reasons I’ve found to be excited on a Monday morning. Just one will do but if you have all 5 then…score!

1) New Audio

I use the general term “audio” because this could include a few types: a new album, audiobook or podcast episode. Many of audiobooks and fun podcasts have helped me through numerous days of traffic. Especially when I’m really engaged in the topic. It helps take my mind off of parking lots disguised as freeways and overthinking a work day that has yet to start.

2) New Clothes

Have you ever worn a new outfit on a Monday? It’s like walking into the office like…Beyoncé! There seems to be a joy and confidence that comes with a new outfit. Even if “new” means a closet revamp of what you already own.

3) Amazing Leftovers

Have you ever went out to eat on a Sunday or cooked a great meal and thought: “I can’t wait to have this for lunch tomorrow!”? This could even be better than the new clothes! After all, it’s the little things, right?!

4) Work Event

Now hear me out on this one! I’m referring to the exciting work events, not the Monday 8am meeting you’re dreading. (*crickets*) You know, the potluck that the department has been planning for the last 3 months. Or the birthday lunch that makes a 2 hour break acceptable while eating at the office fam’s favorite eatery.

I think this is why working people look forward to the holidays so much. But we welcome the out of season opportunities too!

5) After Work Engagement

Now the thought of post work plans on a Monday after 8 hours at the office could be quite scary. But…the right plans could make all the difference. Meeting a friend for happy hour? Going to a swanky networking event? Suddenly added a little spice to your Monday, huh?

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So you see, Monday doesn’t always have to be that bad. Just give yourself something to look forward to!

100 Things to Do Before “Getting The Ring”

[Image credit: https://pixabay.com ]

Preparing and writing this post has come with many mixed feelings. Part of me has been so excited to meet women in their pre-marital season and provide fresh ideas on how to love life before the next chapter. Though there is also a part of me that has worried about this post being received the wrong way. In the age of social media, it is very common for people to take serious posts and conversations as subliminal. I thought…“What if someone thinks this is directed toward a certain person?” “What if people get offended?” “What if people miss the whole point and see it as a opportunity to ask me numerous personal questions in relation to the post?”

As I constantly debated, I heard God telling me in a clear voice: “I am instructing you to write this. It doesn’t matter what others say or think”. You’d think that would be all I needed but I still struggled. Though with every moment of struggle, I felt God pushing me toward posting. I see this as an opportunity to minister (informally) to women pre-marriage from totally single to those in a serious dating relationship; encouraging them to display the ultimate love toward themselves and enjoy this season of their lives. This post was inspired by the women I have encountered over the years, especially within the last year or so, who are discouraged because they are unwed. My heart is softened for the women who believe their lives will truly begin once they “get a ring”.

And might I add that I intentionally timed this post so closely to Valentine’s Day. 🙂 Because there is a woman (or group of women out there) who is dreading seeing proposal posts pop up on social media February 14th and 15th. My sincere hope is that this list will provide an array of ideas that will meet those dates with excitement and planning, not self-pity and jealousy.

This post is not a guide for how to get married. It is not a checklist that must be completed pre-marriage. Nor is it to say that married women can no longer enjoy some of the ideas on this list. It is simply various suggestions of encouragement specifically for unmarried women to fully embrace life where they are and to rethink viewing marriage as having “arrived”. I pray that each woman this post is for can embrace the message that God has given me to share. May you be inspired to expand upon this list as the possibilities do not end at 100. If the message is not for you, please pass this list along to a woman you believe can benefit from this information.

With lots of love…

  1. Don’t “wait” solely in anticipation.
  2. Find yourself.
  3. Travel (near and far).
  4. Do something that scares you.
  5. Discover a new hobby.
  6. Start a business.
  7. Start a passion project.
  8. Give back (charity/philanthropy)/Volunteer.
  9. Be a mentor.
  10. Grow your spiritual life.
  11. Get physically fit.
  12. Get emotionally fit.
  13. Advance in your career.
  14. Pay off debt.
  15. Get financially grounded.
  16. Get a passport.
  17. Make a bucket list.
  18. Start checking off your bucket list.
  19. Read marriage and relationship books.
  20. Learn from wise, happily married women.
  21. Find resolve from past relationships (within yourself).
  22. Have fun!
  23. Dance!
  24. Laugh!
  25. Write a book.
  26. Buy yourself flowers.
  27. Write a love letter to yourself.
  28. Pray over and send positive vibes to your future husband.
  29. Make an investment purchase.
  30. Set short term goals.
  31. Set long term goals.
  32. Gain inspiration daily.
  33. Update/play with your style.
  34. Build a supportive network.
  35. Finish something you’ve been putting off.
  36. Maximize on quality time with loved ones.
  37. Appreciate your current partner (if in a relationship).
  38. Appreciate your children (if already have).
  39. Trust God’s timing.
  40. Embrace your pre-marriage season as once in a lifetime.
  41. Don’t obsess over planning your wedding until it’s time.
  42. (Re)decorate your living space.
  43. (Re)decorate your office.
  44. Attend networking and social events.
  45. Pray for and send positive vibes toward someone else’s love life.
  46. Get organized.
  47. Reconcile any broken platonic relationships (i.e. family, friends).
  48. Play a recreational sport.
  49. Join a book club.
  50. Use your talents to teach someone else an activity.
  51. Learn to play an instrument.
  52. Dedicate one weekend per month to do something you enjoy.
  53. Make a list of reasons why you want to get married.
  54. Reflect daily – devotion, journaling, etc.
  55. Forgive yourself for past failures.
  56. Advance your education.
  57. Take a hobby class for fun.
  58. Live in a different city.
  59. Document your waiting period to look back on.
  60. Take lots of pictures – you’ll one day cherish these memories as you create new ones.
  61. Hold yourself as wife material.
  62. Speak encouraging words to a man.
  63. Speak encouraging words to another woman.
  64. Set personal goals post marriage.
  65. Re-evaluate negative relationships.
  66. Contribute toward a cause close to your heart.
  67. Don’t settle.
  68. Listen to accounts of positive, inspirational relationship stories. (Let me know if you need some recommendations. 🙂 )
  69. Talk with a pastor or trusted leader about marriage and relationships.
  70. Be open to when, how and with who it may happen.
  71. Set reasonable standards for the type of mate you desire.
  72. Don’t base your relationship goals off someone else’s social media pictures.
  73. Don’t envy other people’s relationships.
  74. Celebrate when others get engaged and married.
  75. Pray and reflect over any jealousy you may feel.
  76. Forgive – your ex(es), your enemies, etc. – and press forward.
  77. Live!
  78. Have “me” time.
  79. Always steal moments away for peace of mind.
  80. Count your blessings.
  81. Know your value.
  82. Always stay ready.
  83. Celebrate and be grateful as if the ring is already here.
  84. Reflect on what a ring symbolizes for you.
  85. Ask what the ring you give your future spouse will symbolize.
  86. Don’t rush into a permanent disaster for temporary satisfaction.
  87. Ask confidants for honest advice on what you should work on.
  88. Don’t be hard on yourself.
  89. Know that becoming a wife won’t increase your worth – you do that.
  90. Participate in a cultural experience outside of your own.
  91. Listen to music outside of your usual genre.
  92. Stay out of other people’s love lives. (I’d put this one twice if I could. 😉 )
  93. Don’t obsess over an uninterested man. Who’s for you, is for you.
  94. Be pursued.
  95. Don’t entertain men who are already taken.
  96. Ask the question: 20 years from now would I be happy with my today?
  97. Keep a “God Box” or prayer journal.
  98. Ignore the timetables others try to pressure you into.
  99. Give praise for your future husband and marriage as if it has already happened.
  100. Know that you are absolutely enough if you never do get married. You are and will always be amazing!

Throw and Go: The Art of the Dress [Mini Post]

[Photo Credit: Shot by Kelley]

I love dresses! They’re so versatile. From the weekend to workplace week days, I love the idea of throw and go style options. Not to mention they can be a silver lining on those days when you just don’t feel like putting together an outfit. I can think of a few occasions when I’ve received a compliment about my appearance in a dress when little did they know, I hopped out of bed that morning and tossed a dress over my head to avoid any parts of planning an ensemble.

Now this is not to say that I only do dresses on lazy days. But boy do they come in handy!

I got the shirt dress pictured from Target. I love how it’s thin enough to wear in warmer weather but can also be layered for cooler weather. It’s also comfortable enough to navigate office temperatures that go from the need for a space heater to the desire to blast the ac. 😊

What’s your favorite fashion go-to for the office?

[Outfit details: Dress (Target); Necklace (vintage); Leather Jacket (NY&Co.-old); Tights (Target); Boots (Zara) ]

“Do You: Lessons from the Flying Trapeze”

A few weeks ago I took a flying trapeze class. Not only was it the toughest physical workout I’ve completed to date but also, maybe even more so, one of the most challenging mental exercises of my adulthood. Before beginning the class, the instructor greeted each student upon entry and prepped us individually for what to expect. He asked me “Are you able to follow directions?”. I answered “yes” but had I known what I was getting myself into a “maybe” probably would have sufficed. :/ He continued with “This exercise is all about timing. If you follow my direction at exactly the time I call it, you’ll be able to execute”.

Lesson #1: Timing is everything so stay ready for your opportunity.

Boy was he right. For the first  5 tries I hesitated and missed the landings. Upon try #6, I decided that this man probably knew what he was talking about so listening would be wise before I missed yet another try.

Meanwhile, my classmates (mostly other amateurs) seemed to be catching on more quickly. Even if they were a bit hesitant in the beginning, they seemed to land just right at the end. While I was determined not to give up, I did feel a bit discouraged. Even though I was not following his direction as I should have been, the instructor kept encouraging me. At one point he gave me a very valuable tip intended for the exercise yet very valuable to life at large. He said “Don’t worry. Everyone gets it in their own time. For some, the most challenging part is climbing up to the platform. For others, it’s the initial swing. But everybody gets it in their own time. Don’t worry about what level your classmates are at”.

Lesson #2: Do you.

Had I kept worrying about my classmates being ahead of me, I may have been too defeated to even make step one. After the advice of “do you” was embedded in my brain, the exercise became easier and I was finally able to make the land. My classmates, a group of strangers, cheered me on. One classmate even said “You’re getting better each time”. This made me feel better considering I thought I had went from bad to sub par at that point. (*sigh*) But none-the-less, I did it!

And I have a message for those of you reading this post who may be thinking the following: “I could never do that” or “She makes it look easy”. Trust me, I pushed myself way beyond my comfort zone. Not to mention it wasn’t as glamorous as it looks.  My entire body ached for days. I couldn’t lift my arms over my head for a week. Bruises spotted my legs for days after. (Thank God it’s winter!) And I didn’t reach the ultimate goal for “catching” the instructor at the end.

Bonus Lesson: Your comfort zone is unique to you. Keep pushing yourself at your own pace. As long as you’re striving to push beyond it.

In the end…I came, I saw, I conquered and most importantly, I remembered to do ME!

Holiday Style: Party Sparkle

 

(Photo Credit: Shot By Kelley)

So I looked up and found Christmas staring me dead in the eye! (*gasp*) I think with each year that passes December 25th comes sooner and sooner. And once that big date passes, on to the New Year celebrations.

Whether you’re preparing for a fancy family gathering on Christmas day or a night out with friends on New Years Eve, I’ve got your fashion inspo covered. Check out how a simple swap of accessories created 2 different party looks. (Second look pictured below.)

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Let’s Party!!

[Outfit Details: Sweater (Target); Skirt (Target); Black Tights (Target); Polka Dot Tights (Target); Boots (Zara); Ear Muffs (photographer’s own)]