Cool meets warm

Cool meets warm

WithChic red long sleeve top
$27 – withchic.com

River Island high rise legging
$12 – riverisland.com

Burberry zipper purse
therealreal.com

Mark Graham ivory shawl
markandgraham.com

Free People beanie hat
nordstrom.com

Matte glasses
shopzerouv.com

10 ways to use your network to find work

Consider these two statistics about finding work.

  • “85 percent of jobs are filled through networking”
  • “Only about 5% are jobs are filled through job boards”

network-not-work

Tweet: Find out how you can use your personal and professional networks to find work. https://ctt.ec/9jNaI+

Job hunting can be a fulltime job in itself. After months of sending out resumes and filling out online applications without a callback, you might feel like giving up. Don’t despair, however. You might just be directing your resources to the wrong places. What often happens is people put most of their effort into the avenue that provides the lowest returns (job boards in this case). If you really want to maximize your job search efforts, it’s time to start using your network for all it’s worth. The chances of finding a job using your network are much greater than just utilizing job boards to find work.

Your network is your goldmine

People think that networking is about working a room or having to schmooze with upper management, so they’re immediately turned off by it. While it is necessary to attend networking events and approach people you don’t know (See # 10), many networking activities involve connecting with people you’re already familiar with. Authentic networking relationships involve give-and-take with the end goal of both parties gaining something.

  1. Don’t be afraid to reach out – This is probably the most difficult hurdle to get over. Asking other people if they know of any job openings is not always an easy thing to do. This is especially true if you’re currently working and want to keep your job search private. This is an important hurdle to clear because this is one of the most effective ways to get a real handle on the jobs that are available, along with first-hand knowledge about who you should contact.
  2. Keep your resume up-to-date – Think of your resume as your calling card. It’s a quick way for you to introduce yourself and make a good impression. It certainly isn’t as effective as a face-to-face impression, but a well-presented and well-planned resume can get your foot in the door. I’ve seen resumes that are so out-of-date that you don’t know who you’re speaking to. Other resumes are unappealing in their format. They may be too long (try not to go past 2 pages) or use fonts that are hard to read, or they might just be poorly designed. Always have a copy of your resume saved on a USB stick, on hardcopy and in the Cloud in the event that you’re called upon to send one at a moments notice.
  3. Be open to different possibilities – You may have your sights set on a particular position at a certain level of responsibility. The reality, however, is that there are more people vying for fewer positions. If you find that the opportunities for certain positions are drying up, it might be time to consider another possibility. Ask other people you know about the profession they’re working in. They can give you insight that you otherwise might not have gotten. Perhaps you have to make a lateral move, or even a downward move to get your foot in the door. If your end goal is to find a job, then this is still a success. It’s not easy to change careers, but there are many resources to help career-changers through these transitions and you just might find that this new avenue is exactly what you wanted.
  4. Don’t burn bridges – When you leave a job, it’s always advisable to depart on good terms. Try to avoid office drama as much as possible. It also pays to maintain connections with key decision-makers in the event that you have to make a return. Keeping your name fresh in their minds will prevent you from having to re-tell your story again in the future.
  5. Work on your elevator pitch –  When attending networking events, it pays to prepare your introduction or elevator pitch in advance. It’s similar to the interview question “Tell me about yourself.” Practice it in front of a mirror until it becomes second nature and rolls off our lips with ease. A good elevator pitch includes who you are, what you’re known for and the service you can offer. My pitch would sound something like “My name is Gail and I am Project Management Professional. I am known for planning projects that come in under budget, on time and in scope. Come to me if you need direction on starting a project or if you need to get an existing project un-stalled.”
  6. Ask friends for job referrals – Once you know what jobs are out there and if you’re in the running for one, don’t be afraid to ask your friend to put in a good word for you. Recruiters and HR essentially go into hiring blind. They can hope that people are giving accurate and honest information but even with background and reference checks, they might not always get the complete picture. The first-hand referral from a trusted source can put a recruiter’s mind at ease and also save a lot of time in the search process. Many companies also provide a cash incentive for employees who refer a successful hire, so this definitely a win-win for everyone involved.
  7. Use Linkedin – Don’t think of Linkedin as just the Facebook for job seekers. It’s much more than that. It can be an extremely powerful networking tool. I’ve had a recruiter reach out to me because she saw that a former co-worker of mine (listed among my connections) was working in a certain industry. She was recruiting for a position that required a very specific skill set, and she could see from my friend’s profile that she would be a great fit. She asked me to put the two of them in touch and this networking connection resulted in a new job for my friend that paid more money and was a step up the ladder.
  8. Do pro bono work  – Think of pro-bono work as a donation of your professional services to an organization that wouldn’t normally be able to afford them. Pro bono isn’t just reserved for legal services anymore. Organizations such as Taproot and CatchaFire connect a variety of professionals with pro bono opportunities. It’s a great way to build experience because you’re actually working in your area of expertise (just for free). Most times, you’re donating your services to a cause you believe in strongly so the amount of passion and effort you put in will be seen by the organization and they will most likely keep you in mind if a paid opportunity opens up.
  9. Volunteer for charitable and community events – Volunteering for a cause you believe in is a good practice because it helps your community, is a way of giving to people in need and it benefits you as well. Often times, volunteer efforts continue for a period of time and this gives the team time to get to know each other. Being connected by a common cause creates trust and as a result, makes people more likely recommend or refer you to a position. Additionally, volunteering for an organization gives you insight into company happenings (ie job openings).
  10. Attend industry-specific events – Even if you hate to network, you should attend at least one industry-specific event a year, such as a conference or a networking luncheon. They’re one of the best ways to stay on top of industry trends, and they also keep you aware of the top people in your field. If you want to get the most out of these events, then you need to add networking to the mix. Having so many people from your field in one place increases your odds of finding someone who needs your specific set of skills.

Networking has gotten some bad press, but it’s time for that to change. Networking is best when it comes from authentic relationships that can be leveraged to the benefit of all parties involved.

follow-graphic

Perfume for Every Occasion – Product Review and Recommendations

A recent consumer poll showed that 79% of American women own between 2-10 bottles of perfume and 8% own 11 or more bottles. I’m somewhere in that remaining 13% that only owns one bottle of perfume.  It’s not that I don’t like perfume. I actually love it, but there are reasons I have to be picky when it comes to what I wear. First of all, I’m sensitive to a lot of scents and I’ve been known to get asthma attacks from certain perfumes. Secondly, some perfumes smell amazing on another person but really horrible on me. Thirdly, my husband doesn’t like me to wear fragrances that remind him of his grandmother. Apparently, that’s a major romance killer, so powdery scents are out even though I’m often drawn to them.

My signature perfume is Viva La Juicy, by Juicy Couture. It took a lot of trial and error and clearing my nasal palate with coffee beans to find the right one. (Despite the somewhat scandalous name, I get a lot of compliments from men who want to buy it for their wives or girlfriends). This was the only perfume that my husband and I could agree on and I’m a firm believer that couples should be in agreement when it comes to fragrances. I dated someone back in my college days who wore a cologne that I had some type of aversion to. I couldn’t understand how it got past product development to make it to market. The smell of his cologne was so unpleasant to me that it became a source of distraction. I didn’t have the heart to tell him, so I endured it until our eventual breakup (and then I told him).

viva-la-juicy
My signature scent

If you’re not olfactorily challenged (I’m not sure this is a real word) like I am, then you can enjoy the freedom of going beyond the typical day and night fragrance choices and wear a variety of perfumes for occasions that don’t only include weddings, dinner dates, and Christmas parties.

Scents for Allergy Sufferers

I will never forget the time I had to leave work early because I had the most adverse reaction someone’s perfume who walked past me in the stairwell. It started with itchy and runny eyes and turned into a twenty-minute non-stop sneezing attack. I literally couldn’t catch my breath. I don’t even know what perfume it was but I recall being overwhelmed by its potency. Many offices have moved to a “Fragrance-Free Policy” because some people experience reactions more severe than mine. Companies are also creating hypoallergenic perfumes aimed at minimizing allergic reactions. Laila, by Geir Ness is one such perfume. It’s a light and pleasant scent that is perfect for sensitive users.

Laila by Geir Ness

laila-by-geir-ness

MY RECOMMENDATION:  I really like Laila by Geir Ness because it is a combination of fruity and water notes. The fruity note that stands out to me the most is watermelon, which I happen to love. It might just become # 2 in my collection after I let my husband smell-test it, but I’m pretty confident he will like this one too.

For the Do-Gooder

Olivine Atelier, a Vegan and Cruelty-Free product is perfect for those who want to give back. Part of the proceeds from sales go toward Every Mother Counts, a campaign to end preventable deaths caused by pregnancy and childbirth around the world. Every Mother Counts informs, engages, and mobilizes new audiences to take action to improve the health and well-being of girls and women worldwide. Definitely a cause I can get behind.

vegan-perfume-1

Perfumes for Holding Babies

Baby holding is actually an occasion in my world. I will hold a baby any chance I get, but I’m always sensitive to how my perfume will affect the little ones I come into contact with. Burberry has an alcohol-free, hypoallergenic perfume called Burberry Baby-Touch. The product information sheet says “Burberry has developed a collection of scented products, hypoallergenic, specifically formulated in order to minimize allergy risks and to respect the delicate skin of babies and young children.” burberry-babyMY RECOMMENDATION: Burberry Baby Touch is a great fragrance for everyday wear. To me, it smells like a combination of baby powder and flowers. It’s not overpowering or offensive. It’s subtle enough that people won’t even be aware of you wearing it.

When inspiration strikes

If you truly want to create a signature scent that is all your own, then layering is the way to go. The Atelier Cologne Necessaire Nomade set contains 8 x 0.14 oz perfumes in (i) Bergamote Soleil, (ii) Cédrat Enivrant, (iii) Orange Sanguine, (iv) Pomélo Paradis,                 (v) Mandarine Glaciale, (vi) Sud Magnolia, (vii) Figuier Ardent, (viii) Cédre Atlas notes that you can mix together to make your very own perfume. The combinations are endless.

atelier-cologna

I’m really excited to try these fragrant layers. I will probably make a day of this with my sister because she used to do this back in the day with her oils from Garden Botanika.

Funk-proof your workout

I tend to believe that wearing makeup to the gym is a no-no, but perfume, on the other hand, is perfectly acceptable. Gyms have a variety of unpleasant smells, so adding something nice into the atmosphere can’t hurt, right? For me, the obvious choice for a workout fragrance would be from an athletic company. I don’t want to be exuding flirtatious sexiness while on the elliptical machine. Strength and resilience, on the other hand, are exactly what I want. Adidas has a whole line of fragrances geared toward athletic and active women with fruity, floral and woody notes.

MY RECOMMENDATION: I have always found the Adidas fragrances a little too strong for my liking but I like the variety that the line offers. These products are an inexpensive way to expand on your perfume collection.

Stop and smell the perfumes

While I like the idea of having a signature scent, I am hoping that I will be able to expand my perfume collection soon. With so many choices, I’m sure I’ll be able to stay away from all powdery scents 🙂

 Featured Perfumes

  1. Viva La Juicy, Juicy Couture
  2. Laila by Geir Ness
  3. Provence Sante Eau de Toilette Fragrance Spray, Vervain
  4. Thymes Aqua Coralline Cologne
  5. Lavanila Women’s The Healthy Fragrance
  6. Burberry Baby Touch
  7. Demeter New Baby
  8. Petits et Mamans by Bvlgari
  9. Adidas Perfume Collection

(I’ve recently come across a perfume company called Demeter that I want to tell you about, but it will need its own blog post. Stay tuned!)

follow-graphic

Sweet Potato Hash Recipe

When your diet consists of only these ten foods, you have to be really creative to prevent boredom from kicking in. Thankfully, we have the internet for that. You can get thousands of recipes from Pinterest alone.

My favorite meal has always been breakfast and I’m always on the lookout for healthy, creative breakfast ideas. So when I came across this Sweet Potato and Egg Hash at Greatist.com, I almost couldn’t contain my excitement.

sweetpotatoegghash

The Verdict

Not only is this recipe really delicious, it also gets an A Grade for nutritional value from our friends at CalorieCount.com. They have a really cool feature where you can analyze the ingredients in a recipe and come back with the overall nutritional value.

recipeanalysis

The only tweak I made was to remove the red peppers because I don’t like how they taste cooked. The dish is really satisfying and flavorful and I can see myself eating this on a regular basis.

follow-graphic

 

How I lost 6.5 lbs in 1 month eating these 10 foods everyday.

My doctor told me I needed to lose 15 pounds after my last well-woman checkup. It didn’t come as a surprise because my clothes weren’t fitting right and I was feeling sluggish. I thought about going back to the gym, but that wasn’t a solution at that point in my life. Work was requiring me to be at the office 12 hours some days, so a gym membership would most likely have gone to waste. I don’t enjoy drinking shakes or eating pre-packaged/processed food so my meal plan would have to include a variety of real foods that were rich in nutrients and good sources of energy.

Food sensitivities

It’s important to know how foods affect you physically and mentally. Over the years, I’ve come to know the foods that are really bad for me. Processed sugar, gluten (yes, I’m actually gluten intolerant) and soy are foods that I need to avoid because they cause adverse reactions such as cystic acne, severe bloating, migraine headaches and of course, weight gain. Even with these restrictions, I was able to put together a varied selection of foods that were satisfying and healthy.

Why it worked

I wasn’t looking to “lose 5 pounds overnight” or by using any gimmick. Most times, if you lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time, you gain it back, with a little extra. I wanted my weight loss to be permanent and healthy. With that in mind, here is why I think this plan worked.

  1. Effective preparation was key. I did all my meal prep on Sunday afternoon and Wednesday evening. This involved cutting up vegetables, marinating the meat and preparing enough for three days worth of meals.
  2. There was enough variety to prevent boredom. I had lots of options for recipes and the foods worked well together in a variety of different ways.
  3. I had a good selection of stand-alone foods that made for easy snacking. Yogurt, nuts, apples and even avocado slices were great to snack on when hunger set it.
  4. Foods were nutrient dense which meant they fed my body what it needed and helped me to feel full throughout the day.
  5. Most of the foods were high in protein and fiber. Protein helps to build and repair tissue, which was important because I wasn’t working out. Fiber slows the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and helps with regularity.
  6. Most importantly, I enjoyed the food. It didn’t feel like a diet and I never felt like I was torturing or depriving myself. I didn’t cut out treats completely either. On one occasion, I ate a slice of cake at an office celebration.

The Fabulous Foods

1. Chicken4

2. Avocado3

3. Beans5

4. Apples2

5. Nuts1

6. Spinach8

7. Sweet Potato9

8. Yogurt10

9. Eggs6

10. Salmon7

The Results

Even though this was a happy accident, I was thrilled about the results. Breaking down the numbers, my weight loss looked like this.

  • I lost .22 lbs each day.
  • It would take me 2 and 1/3 months to lose my doctor-directed 15 lbs.
  • If the trend continued for an entire year, it would total 78 lbs of weight lost.

I lost the weight in November 2016, so when the Christmas season was upon us, I actually gained back almost 3 pounds of the weight I had lost. For me, it wasn’t realistic to only eat these foods while attending Christmas parties, client dinners and everything else that goes along with the holiday season.

UPDATE: I started the eating plan again the second week of February and I lost two pounds in the first week. Since I already know that this works for me, I’ve committed to continuing until I’ve lost 15 pounds. After that, I will probably add some more foods and experiment a little bit more.

Talk to me!

Do you have any weight-loss secrets that worked for you? Are there any sure-fire recipes that you fall back on when you have to drop the pounds. Be sure to comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

PS – Stay tuned for delicious recipes including these 10 ingredients!

follow-graphic

Self-Care is about You

Self-care, an often neglected practice, is the care that is provided by you, for you. It can take on many forms, but at its core is a commitment to invest in your own health and well-being. As women, we give to many people around us. If we fail to give back to ourselves, we will eventually run out of resources to pour into others. That’s when burnout, frustration, and stress start to manifest in our lives.

Millenial females at risk

Stress is higher among women than men, and Millenials experience the highest stress among the generations. This leaves female millennials at risk. High levels of stress can lead to health ailments, psychological problems, and relationship struggles. Left unmanaged, stress can be fatal. Taking time to invest in a healthier lifestyle can reduce the amount of stress and improve overall well-being.

Self-care is not selfish

If we don’t care for ourselves, every other relationship we have will suffer and we as women, put great value in our relationships. Self-care will look different for each person. I don’t really enjoy shopping, so that type of activity doesn’t energize me, but for someone else, a trip to the mall might be just what they need to recharge. Take time to know yourself and listen to that inner voice telling you what she needs.

Self-care ideas

Get sufficient sleep – Sleep deprivation is a leading source of stress, so be sure to get enough sleep every night. Power naps are great for reducing stress too.

Healthy eating – Nutrient dense foods help your body fight against disease and strengthen it against the effects of stress.

Physical fitness – Working out helps to produce endorphins, chemicals in the brain that make you feel happy.

Prayer/meditation – Prayer and meditation can be a source of comfort and help to change one’s perspective.

Reading – A good book can be more than an escape. Reading is said to relax the body and calm the mind.

Spend time with friends – Studies have shown that spending time with friends can help people to fight disease and cope with stressful situations.

Take a long bath – Some of the benefits of warm baths are pain relief, lower blood pressure and overall relaxation.

Unplug from gadgets – Technostress (the stress that comes from working with computers and other gadgets) is a relatively new form of stress. It can cause headaches, anxiety and physical problems (carpal tunnel, back pain). Unplug from your gadgets every so often to help your body reset itself.

Go for a walk at lunch – Too many of us work through our lunches and don’t take the break that we’re entitled to. Even a short 15-minute walk over lunch can significantly increase productivity.

Get a pet – Not only are pets lots of fun, they help to reduce stress by releasing feel-good hormones and lowering heart rate.

Go shopping – Buy those shoes you’ve been looking at for weeks. Treating yourself to a well-deserved gift is a sure-fire way to reduce stress.

Being intentional and strategic about taking care of yourself is essential to your well-being. Start treating this practice as a necessity, rather than a luxury and start enjoying the benefits.

follow-graphic

10 Delicious Mug Cakes You can Enjoy Guilt-Free

Looking for a dessert that will satisfy your sweet-tooth but won’t derail your healthy eating? Mug-cakes, also known as cakes-in-a-mug, are the perfect small bites for these cravings.

10 Mug Cakes.png

If I had to choose between sweet or savory foods, 9 out of 10 times, I would pick savory. I don’t really have a sweet tooth which is great because I have a slow metabolism. Yet, even with a palate that leans toward savory, I still find myself with the occasional sweet cravings. Cake mugs are perfect for these times.

I like them because they’re bite-sized and they disappear after one serving. You don’t have to face the temptation of eating half a cake over the course of the week. So the next time your sweet tooth kicks in, take your pick of these (almost) guilt-free desserts. Many require only a few minutes of prep time and just a few ingredients.

1. One Minute Low Carb Vanilla Mug Cake

Low Carb Vanilla Mug Cake

2. Chocolate Mug Cake (gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo)

(gluten-free, paleo) A delicious, healthy and moist chocolate mug cake that can be made in less than two minutes - super easy!

Chocolate Mug Cake

3. 5-Minute Toffee Mug Cake

5 Minute Toffee Mug Cake

4. Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake

img_0633Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake

5. Carrot Cake in a Mug

mini carrot cake

Carrot Cake in a Mug

6. Apple Pie Mug Cake

Apple Pie Mug Cake

Apple Pie Mug Cake

7. Gluten-Free Funfetti Mug Cake

Super easy 1-minute gluten free funfetti mug cake - made with cake mix so no mixing or measuring a bunch of ingredients! Dessert recipe from @whattheforkblog | whattheforkfoodblog | gluten free desserts | how to make mug cake | cake mix mug cake | funfetti cake | easy funfetti cake | how to make cake in a microwave | no-bake cake | microwave cake | easy dessert recipes | sprinkles | confetti cake

Gluten-Free Funfetti Mug Cake

8. Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

one-minute-chocolate-peanut-butter-mug-cake_700pxcake

One Minute Chocolate Peanut Butter Mug Cake

9. Double Lemon Mug Cake

DoubleLemonCakeMealsMug 600.jpg

Double Lemon Mug Cake

10. Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Icing Mug Cake

red-velvet-mug-cake-2

Red Velvet Mug Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

BONUS – Cake Batter Mug Cake (my hubby’s favorite)

cake-batter-dip-for-one-2Cake Batter Mug Cake

Grab your mugs

They all look incredible but I think I’m going to try the 5-Minute Toffee cake first. My kids would be all over the Cinnamon Roll and my husband’s favorite will be Cake Batter.

Have you ever made a Cake in a Cup? Why not share your recipe in the comments below.

follow-graphic

Portable Office | RoseGold

Portable Office RoseGold

 

The Job Interview isn’t about You – How to ace the job interview and get the job.

In an increasingly competitive and challenging job climate, it’s very important to differentiate yourself from other equally qualified candidates. Even an incredible record of achievement might not be enough to help you get a job these days. You need to show your prospective employer how your experience and training align with the goals and objectives of the organization.

what-i-bring-to-the-table

Ask not what the organization can do for you…

Before you go for the job interview, do as much research about the company as you can. Go beyond the job description and determine how you can become a meaningful contributor.

  1. Learn about the organization’s values, mission statement and guiding vision.
  2. Research any ongoing stalled projects and figure out ways to get it unstuck.
  3. Investigate a problem they’re trying to solve and come up with a solution.

Your key objective at the interview (outside of landing the job) is figuring out how you can add value to the department, division, and organization.

Play for the name on the front of the shirt and they will remember name on the back of the shirt.

Typical Interview Questions

Imagine that you’re applying for a VP, Innovation role for a large corporation. Think about some common interview questions that you’ve been asked in the past and frame them in terms of how you can add value to the organization. Here are some answers to typical interview questions keeping the company front and center.

Tell me about yourself.

I currently work as a Learning and Development Director. Here I manage the Learning and Development program for the companies 10000 employees. While I really enjoyed all of the aspects of this role, I would like to move my career forward in a leadership role. The VP Innovation role sounds like the perfect culmination of my past experiences and current skill set. I know it would present the type of challenge that I’m looking for at this stage in my career, specifically as it relates to putting your organization on the map as a leader in innovation. 

What is your greatest strength?

My greatest strength is my ability to mobilize people and maximize resources. I recognize talents, skills, and knowledge in people, and that awareness helps me get the right people in the right spots. I really enjoy setting others up for success and I believe this strength also helps me to build effective teams where people are engaged in their work, operating in their strengths and actively working to achieve company objectives rather than focusing resources on fixing development issues. 

Name one of your weaknesses.

My greatest weakness has always been my reluctance to delegate. Early in my career, this was borne out of a desire to prove myself at all costs. As my area of responsibility grew, this was a result of a poor use of resources. I’ve learned that effective delegation adds value to the company by balancing workload, increasing efficiency and building stronger teams allowing everyone to remain mission oriented. 

Why should we hire you?

I think what sets me apart from other candidates is my ability to combine my professional experience with my people skills.  Strong working relationships are very important to me and I actively seek to engage all stakeholders. Research has shown that companies that innovate are able to hold onto a greater share of the market for a longer time that competitors. Once you know how to find exactly what it is they need, you can more effectively engage your stakeholders. In an increasingly competitive climate, all stakeholders need to innovate and that is the service we want to provide them.  For these reasons, I am confident that I can help your organization achieve its purpose of creating a culture of innovation among employees. 

Value Added

To recap, you want to present yourself as someone who will contribute to the success of the company.

  • Show them that you know about their organization. Taking the time to research who they are as a company and what they stand for goes a long way in the eyes of a potential employer. Be sure to tie the vision statement, mission statement and company goals back to the job interview in a meaningful and sincere way.
  • Align yourself with company objectives. Make the interview about them.
  • Show how you can be an asset in the fulfillment of their goals. For example, show them how your strong communication engagement skills attract more customers to the company. BONUS – Do you have stats to back it up from previous roles?

If you take the time to learn about the company and align yourself with their vision, mission, and organizational goals, they will more readily see you as the asset that you already know you are.

follow-graphic