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Your Best Investment April 5, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Education, Finances, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Real World.
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I’ll be perfectly honest, for a long time I didn’t believe in college. I thought that I had gotten through life well enough doing my own thing, on my own path and I could do it all without wasting time and money on a degree. Sure, at some point everyone thinks that but for me, it was different. Many of you know I didn’t go to college until I was 22 because I was dancing professionally. It’s also true that many ballerinas don’t ever go to college because, after their careers, they don’t need to. However, I didn’t really value a college education until I realized I didn’t have one. When I was fifteen I told everyone I would get degree in marketing. I didn’t know how or when or where, but I knew that’s what I’d eventually do. Over ten years later, I did do just that, and that’s a great feeling. So, its pretty rough for me to hear about all the people out thee who think getting a college education is no big deal, like they can Cruz through life, and it’ll all just be okay for them.

Over this past year, I’ve listened to two speakers preach about how they didn’t go to college. I, better than anyone, know what forging your own path is like, but is dropping out really something to brag about? Sure, there’s Bill Gates, but the company he started revolutionized the world. What per take of the population actually does that? I think if you are able to get an education, financially, physically, mentally, wasting it is really a waste of your future. When you’re 18 and your parents are probably paying for most of your schooling, you’re just happy to be out of the house, and maybe you don’t take things as you should, maybe you take this degree for granted. When your going to school as an adult, everything is different. You’re more accountable, you see the worth, and most of all you are proud of what you have done. Don’t look us, any of us who have a degree, in the eye and tell us you dropped out and here is why it’s fabulous.

The first speaker I heard, her story went something like this: I didn’t know what I wanted to do in life, so I just moved to this city and worked part-time jobs. Then I went into fashion, but I hated it, so I dropped out. Then I wanted to go into law, by I hated that and I dropped out. Then I moved again and got this job, and now im starting my own company. To be honest, it wasnt inspiring, it was frustrating. Why am I pay my way through college by your on a soap box, preaching about how great you are for never committing to anything you started. Isn’t it more inspiring to come past your obstacles, triumph adversity and achieve something you never knew you could…not simply giving use.

The next speaker I heard, this story went a little different. She never really out right said she didn’t go to school, instead she bent the truth. She told her audience that she did her undergrad in a major city,  so we all equally assumed she went to the state school there. She then told us she got her MBA at an  Ivey league, where she gained the tools to start her company. It was a great story! But it was just that, a story. During the lecture break, I was inspired, so I read her bio online. Turns out, she never went to that state school, she attended a small, local college 3 towns over, which she left before her junior year, and her Ivey league education was nothing more than a 3 week summer session. It was deflating to look up to this person and then have it all come crashing down.

To anyone out there who worked hard for a college education, frankly, it’s insulting. Whether you graduated when you were 22 or 65, this little piece of paper is an achievement, it’s something that no one can ever take away from you. It was an investment you made in your future. Everyone can be successful in many different ways, success is not necessarily measured by education, it’s measured by strength, perseverance, determination, achieving your goals and honesty, among other things. You should also encourage people to be their best self, to strive for things and work now so you don’t have to work later. Giving up, or being lazy, trying to find the “easy” path isn’t something to preach about

What I learned from these speakers wasn’t that there was an easy way out, and wasn’t that I was better than them, or that I was jealous of them, but it was this: if my life came crashing down tomorrow, if I lost everything, I would still have this. I will always have a building block to step on and move forward, and they won’t. I learned that I should never take education for granted,and I should always be a positive influence to others, I should never encourage dishonesty or giving up. Most of all, I learned that I should be proud of myself, because at least in this aspect of life, I made it, I am successful.

Saying No! March 3, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Dating, Family, Finances, Friendships, Health and Fitness, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Real World, Relationships, Uncategorized.
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When I was nineteen, someone taught me the law of Yes. Yes is the answer to everything when you’re young, for many reasons. In order to discover life, be successful, and have experiences to help develop the person you want to be, you have to take risks. Risks involve the word, “Yes”.

“Can you work on Saturday?” – YES!

“Do you want to start a bank account?” – YES!

“Should we take a spontaneous road trip to a city we’ve never been to before?” – YES!

“Are you available to take these boxes to the other office?” -YES!

Yes is the key to growing up. Yes teaches you that you aren’t better than anyone else, that no task is too small, or too below you. It teaches you that things you thought were below your pay grade may actually be harder than you assumed, and it gives you respect for them. It also makes you stronger, saying yes when you really want to say no. Yes helps you step outside your comfort zone, to experience new things and become a stronger, well-rounded, and open-minded human being. Yes forces you to battle things that are scary, and make them not so scary anymore. Yes grows your career, it makes you reliable, dependable, a hard worker, and someone who is willing to do a little extra to earn their way. The law of Yes is what will get you what you want.

….and then you have to learn to say no.

Dr-SeussYou spend the majority of your new adult life learning how to accept things, make choices, and open yourself up to opportunities and while all these are valuable in your early twenties, the purpose of them is to help you grow. If you never said yes to the guy at the bar, you wouldn’t be married to him now! If you never said yes to your boss, you would have never gotten a promotion which eventually landed you your dream job! And, if you never told your friend you’d totally stay out all night when she was going through her break-up, then you’d never have the amazing story to tell! However, when you’re past these things, you learn the rule of saying No.

You have a great job, you’re in a good relationship, you’re saving up for a home you’ll love, and you have wonderful friends; you need to create a work life balance. Staying late at work shows dedication and hard-work but staying late every other day sets precedent that you’re okay with this. No matter how amazing your boss is, you have to tell yourself that somedays you’re going to go home at 5, no matter what, and that’s how it is. When your friends invite you to an all-night bar hop, maybe you realize this is something you no longer enjoy; you want to see them, but you really aren’t in the frame of mind to dance to “Shots”, nor do seven of them. You also know what you deserve at this point, you can say no to a salary that’s lower than your previous; you can say no to your friends who have planned an off-the-cuff trip and need to borrow your couch; you can say no to little indulgences you once didn’t mind, like buying new shoes every month, or spending every night eating hot pockets in bed while watching Hulu. So, no isn’t always a bad thing. It can be taking a stand, knowing that you need to spend time with family, or go to the gym, but it’s also about knowing your worth both when other people don’t recognize it, and when you know you need to take better care of yourself.

Saying yes is hard, reversing the processing to saying no is even harder! You learned once, you can learn again!

The Fifteen Items a 20-something Should Own February 27, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in 21st Century/Technology, Cooking, Fashion/Clothes, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Real World, Shopping.
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Inspired by this article, the DLIH 15 Items a 20-Something Should Own:

A Watch:
We live in a world where we use our cell phone for everything, from telling time to following recipes. While this handy (pun, totally, intended) device is definitely a lifesaver, it’s also sucking away at our minds and our reputations. Imagine your Born Pretty Watch 4absolute idol asking you for the time on the street, you could just look down at your watch, or you could shuffle through your bag or pocket to find your phone. By the time you’ve found it, your superstar is gone, or has already gotten the answer. More importantly, being at a job interview, in front of the boss, on an important date, or other defining life moments, having a watch says that you are responsible and care about, not only, your time but other’s. It also doesn’t look half bad.

A Sewing Kit:
The mom’s are long gone friends. Whether you’ve been stitching all your life or simply need to learn how to put a button back on, a small sewing kit with the essentials will help you exponentially. It’s time to be grown-ups. It also doesn’t hurt when someone you’ve got thing for needs some sewing assistance, and you’re their to offer.

A Coffee Machine:
In the amount of time and money you spend at Starbucks, you could have bought 80 coffee machines. Let’s start saving our money for things we need or deserve and stop leaving home fifteen minutes early to stand in line at our nearest Coffee Bean. A coffee machine also serves as something for others, when you have company or overnight guests. You don’t want to be caught with a caffeine addict sleepover and no java to offer them!

A Passport:
A passport opens doors; literally and figuratively. Even if you don’t have any trips planned outside of the country, being prepared never hurts. Owning your passport will not only make you feel like a citizen of the US (and the world!) but open the door to traveling at the flick of a wrist. It can also be a convenient employment document so you don’t risk losing your social security card.

Kindles are amazing…but they’re not books. There is something beautiful about starting your own library. Invest in your favorite books, or books you have great respect for. You don’t need to read them over and over, but collecting literature and having the option to read it offers a new level of intelligence, conversation, and curiosity. Also, get a library card, it will help you in your adventure to building your own collection.

A Photo Album:
The most fun you can have is reminiscing about old times. NO one is going to reminisce over an iPhone screen. Building a photo album is like building a little home for your past; you won’t look through your albums often, but when you do it can kill hours of time! Remembering where you took each photo, how you felt, and the fun you had, with the people there. Think of your parents, when they wanted to show you their memories, they didn’t pull out a computer, they pulled out an old book of photos.

Board Games:
board gamesNothing is more exciting than pulling out the best board games of your childhood and
playing them with friends during a rainstorm. With every generation, new trends are made, protect the trends you know and love by buying a few! Everyone has their five or six games that they remember fondly!

A Bar Set:
A bar set is a special gift a 20-something can give themselves. A bar set can be anything from a shaker, strainer and the whole shebang, to just a small corner of wine and liquor and some glasses. Invest in nice wine glasses (Pier 1 Import sells them for $1!) and a good cork screw; and if you’re feeling adventurous buy a cocktail book (Bed, Bath & Beyond sells books and sets)

Address Book/Phone Book:
Going back to our anti-technology theme, how many phone numbers do you know by heart? How many addresses? What would happen should you be on vacation and your phone suicides itself into the pool? Now what? Having important numbers and addresses written down not only makes them memorable and easy to find, but also prevents the embarrassing “Hi Guys, phone is dead. If you need me, get me on here” Facebook post. Not to mention, it gives you an excuse to buy a really beautiful, old school, phone book. Your phone should only have immediate contacts; for those people you need to know, but don’t necessarily need to know everyday, you’ve got your phonebook.

A Good Pen:
Growing up means doing grow-up things, it also means having grown-up gifts. When I was little, I didn’t understand why my dad had one really nice pen that he always used during really important moments. Now I get it, there is something about having one beautiful, expensive pen that you whip out during important meetings or check writing that makes you feel like you’ve made it in life…at least a little bit.

A Recipe Book:
Every single recipe comes from online, your head, or your mom. Every time you forget how to make Lasagna you have to re-find the bookmark on your computer, then post it up somewhere “safe” in the kitchen, or waste paper printing it out. I once heard a story about a mother who gave her new daughter-in-law a book of recipes. She said “So you can learn to make my son all his favorite dishes, so they can become your family dishes like they were our family dishes”. I not only thought this was a great idea, but how symbolic, a passing of the torch. Recipes on the internet will come and go, but a recipe book is something you can have and hold forever.

Whether it is something you buy, or something you get custom printed, stationery is old school. It tells people you’re serious, you’re personable, and you go the extra il_fullxfull.184108110mile. It also provides a greeting card anytime you need one without the added expense, and gets you away from the computer and informal, speedy e-mails. It’s romantic but still practical and fun.

Business Card Holder:
The coolest thing in the world, when you’re in your twenties is getting your first real business cards! But then…where to store them? Taking them out of your wallet or pocket looks awful and unprofessional. Even if you don’t have business cards yet, having something in your sight can motivate and inspire you to get that job you want, or get through school.

Your Very Own Negative Nancy February 8, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Friendships, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Real World, Relationships.
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ddnn“Oh My God! I’m doing to be here till midnight! YOU HAVE TO HELP ME”, she yelled as she poured a pile of papers onto my desk. “This is ridiculous, how can they expect us to get anything done when we’ve got to keep up with so many departments, this is just too much, this is ridiculous!”.

So, here I was, staring at a mountain of sorts, on my desk, paper of different colors and post-its on 8 1/2 x 11′s, scribbles of chicken scratch here and there. So, do I say “No”, do I say “I don’t have to help you”, do I just do it? Maybe this is an extreme situation, but I’m sure we’ve all been there, that one person at work or home who just finds the bottom of the blackhole, worst possible outcome of any situation ever. That’s not to say that we don’t all have a day here and there like that, we’re tired and overwhelmed and our boss just told us that report we had another two days to get done needs to be in before tomorrow morning. We contemplate picking up our desk chair and throwing it into the glass door, but we don’t. We huff and puff and stay an hour or two late and we make it through. However, there are some people who seem to spazz out at the slightest bit of hectic  in their lives and they need to take a serious deep breath.

There are two types of Negative Nancies; extroverts and projectors. Extroverts are those people who spend 30 minutes of time they “don’t have” walking around the office complaining, complaining, complaining. They need to tell everyone how “unfair” everything is, how “stupid” and “ridiculous” their bosses are, how they are going to be there “forever”, how this “isn’t in my job description”. Perhaps these are all very valid points, but most people don’t want to hear about it, and if they are cool hearing about it because they’re you’re friend or confidante then that’s fine, but eventually, it’s going to get annoying. Projectors are even worse, they sit at their desk and sigh, shuffle papers louder than normal, keep saying things under their breath like “I can’t even believe I’m dealing with this”, type super loud and slam drawers. Essentially, yes, they are a fourteen year old  teenage girl who just got her phone taken away. Because that’s mature.

I was the kind of person who never knew how to deal with a Negative Nancy, and perhaps I am still learning, but here’s a few basics to help you get through your work day without getting arrested for assault. Let the extroverts be who they are, I know it’s annoying, but it’s kind of like being cornered, you really can’t get away from it. Listen to them and offer some small suggestions but don’t spend too much time indulging them. Whatever you do, don’t offer to help, suddenly all their extra work will be yours. Real Life Experience: I offered to help make some phone calls, and stayed 45 minutes late, next thing I knew the co-worker I helped was making jokes in the break room and left on time. My eye’s probably turned fire engine red. If the extrovert just won’t leave you alone, try this line on for size “I hear ya! I should probably get back to my pile of work so we’re both not here till 9pm! ha!” Whether you’ve got a “pile” or not, relate to them and then separate…otherwise, they’ll rope you in.

Projectors are a more difficult species. If you ask them what’s wrong, they’ll either launch into a Shakespearian drama or they’ll shrug it off and continue stomping around. Ignore it for as long as you can, put music on, immerse yourself in your work, try to relocate if that’s an option, but if all else fails, distract them. They are frustrated because they want to be, not because they actually have “hours and hours” worth of work. Chances are, they’re going to leave at 5:10pm like the rest of us. Ask them what they’re getting for lunch, find a funny buzzfeed and e-mail it to them saying “hey, I just sent you the funniest thing!”, try getting them to take a break, “I heard there was birthday cake in the break room, noticed you didn’t get a piece, you should hurry!”.

The truth is, negative people are no fun, and sometimes there is absolutely no way to get them to just shut up. The lesson we can learn from this is not how to deal with them, but how to not be one. Learn from your peer’s mistakes, learn how to deal with your stress, and for God’s sake, don’t dump your work on other people! The best lessons in life are those that we gather from mistakes, you don’t always have to stumble over your own two feet to know you shouldn’t fall.

Branding Yourself February 3, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Fashion/Clothes, How To, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Real World.
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Many of you may be familiar with this scene from The Office:


While stampeding into a room, announcing your self-proclaimed, new personality isn’t exactly the same thing as self branding, it does do one thing, it makes you memorable.

Whether you’re in a great job, trying to advance in your career, or looking for the next move, creating a self brand makes you stand out. What many people don’t know, is that branding yourself makes it look like you care about your job and your career. Anyone can get up in the morning, throw on a suit and go do a great job at work, it takes extra effort and time to create something about yourself that’s different. If your company does advertising for a soda company, maybe you wear that company’s logo on casual Friday’s; if you’re a sales rep, you have a unique greeting of sign-off such as “Thank for calling Sweets Inc, it’s a great day for candy” or “Sincerely Bob, may your day be magical”. Sure, some branding is cheesy, but it works.

Branding means consistency, in how you dress, how you act, what you say. Your brand is two things, it’s a choice and a commitment you make, and its also true to what you are. I say what because sometimes who we are, in our professional lives, is just a version of who we really are. If you have children, you don’t want to be seen as the working mom, you want to be seen as the account manager with super cute kiddos. It’s not about hiding anything, it’s just being selective about what will bring out the best you for your job. You need to choose which little parts of you to include in this recipe for a brand. Once you choose them, stick with them, make them so unique to you that if anyone copied them it would seem ridiculous. Think Joey from friends, “How YOU doin’?”.

Don’t know where to start? Try this- pick two things about you that are unique or that you enjoy or that you want to somehow incorporate into your professional image. Then exaggerate these times 50 until you find something you’re comfortable with. Here are two real life SK examples:


See a pattern? Way back when I started working in sports, I knew I needed something about me that made me look less corporate and more fun. When I was younger, I had one go-to style was a hair bow, every game hockey game I went to with my dad I had a set outfit. So, when it came time to work in sports, it was a logical outfit to incorporate. It wasn’t only something I wanted, but something that was important to me because it was something I did as a kid. What I didn’t know, right off the bat, was that I would soon be known as “the girl with the bow”. Fans, teammates, staff, my bosses, everyone referred to me as the girl with the bow. It was something I did to get the hair out of my face and then it became what made me hirable and marketable. Sure, it wasn’t the reason I got hired to team after team, but it made me unique and it showed my bosses that I cared about coming to work and finding a way to make the great game something fans could relate to.

So, upon my retirement from sports, I also retired the bow, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t looking for the next way to make myself marketable. When I started at my new company, I wanted to represent the brand, which is hard too do in a skirt suit. So, I took a look at my wardrobe and realized I LOVE blazers…I wear them everywhere, office, bar, birthday party, the movies, and I had a lot of them. I also noticed that my company’s branding was a shade of purple which I had none of, sure I could go and buy 12 purple blouses and then have 12 purple blouses. Not exactly an idea I was crazy about. I also wanted my branding to be fun and cute, so I mixed all the concepts together and found myself a purple blazer. I can wear it in every photo, at every big meeting or corporate event and it won’t be weird. Everyone in my office commented on what a great idea it was and how cute it will soon be when every photo I have, I’ll be wearing my brand “uniform”. Sure, I threw in a purple shirt here and there, but I didn’t just want to be a member of the company, I wanted to be my own person in the company.


Attire is an easy way to start branding yourself; I also sign all my e-mails with “have a great day”, and I always laugh on the phone, I take notes in meetings and I always send follow-up e-mails. These are things many people do, but if you can find one or two things about yourself that will make you go far and beyond just the average job, then you’re on your way to branding yourself in the best way possible.

It’s Not My Dream, It’s a Job…Someone Else’s Dream January 27, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Education, Family, Finances, Friendships, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Real World, Relationships.

The other day someone said to me “You don’t even have your bachelors yet and you already have a full-time salaried job that you like, how can you even complain about work?”

Chances are, you’ve either felt this before, or you’ve been on the receiving end. Let me begin by explaining that there is a group of people I loathe. They cruised through life without any real struggle, they were middle of the road, not the star of the football team, but not the comic book nerd in the corner. They are as average as average gets, and when anything hard did happen, someone else handled it for them. They didn’t ask for help, nor did they deny it when it was given. When it came to responsibility, they had very little. They simply just lived and everything came to them, so when they grew up, they were unable to understand that the majority of people’s lives didn’t work that way. The star quarterback may have been popular, and admired, but he had to wake up at 5am everyday to study his plays, and practice. The comic book nerd had to find his cool, and maybe didn’t have a lot of friends, but when it came to getting into college he had his pick. Some of us came from families who couldn’t afford college, so we bear the weight of student loans, while other’s were smothered by their wealthy parents, and just want to prove their success on their own terms, not because their dad knew someone, who knew someone, who knew someone, who gave them a job. To those middle of the road people, life is just a ride and they’re on it.

So, when those people who never had it too easy or too hard tell you their job sucks and they wish they had more time for school, or friends, or a relationship, yes, you can lash out with all fury. These people don’t know what hard is, they have no frame of reference. For the rest of us, there are two important lessons to learn here:complaint1

1. We all complain. For some reason, this is a fact of life. We come home, we pour a glass of wine and we launch into our list of things that went wrong that day, when in reality, these things aren’t much to complain about at all. Ever had someone tell you “there are starving children in the world and this is what you’re worried about”?. Ever want to slap the person who says that to you because it’s condescending and annoying? Look at all those hands raised! The point is, it’s true. It’s cliché and something people say when they want to get under your skin, but we do often take for granted what we have. There are so many people out there, normal people, people with educations, people who work hard, who don’t have a job. People who can’t go to school right now, people who would love to come home and complain about something, anything. Sure, at times it may not feel like we’re complaining, we’re just talking about our day, and we don’t actually take it for granted, but do we appreciate it?

They say being not sad is not the same thing is being happy. The same is true here, just because you don’t take something for granted, doesn’t mean you appreciate it. For every little thing that bothers you about your day, find something that you enjoyed, even if it’s not related. “My annoying co-worker wrote all over one of my spreadsheets, without asking if it was okay.” can be combated with “I found the cutest little lunch spot next to my work!”.

2. We need to be sensitive to other people. We have all been in a situation where our non-single friend went on, and on, and on, and on about how complicated and tasking being a relationship is. All we wanted to do was punch her in the face, and probably did in our mind, because if you’re looking for love, the last thing you want to hear is that your in-love friends wish they were single. So, keep in mind that your friends who are looking for a good job, or the finances to go to school, or the ability to move into a great apartment, etc. may not want to hear about how your landlord couldn’t fix your central air the absolute second you called him. It’s not that you shouldn’t talk about it, it’s just that you shouldn’t rub it in their face. Phrases like “Can I get your opinion?” or “Do you mind if I just vent for a second?” can make people more open to hearing what you have to say rather than “Oh my Gosh! Can you believe I had to work late again last night, this job is so exhausting!”

That brings us to, yes, some people are going to accuse you of rubbing it in no matter what you do. They’re going through a hard time, they wouldn’t want to hear it if you said “I quit my job so they can hire you!”. It’s just where they are in life. Let them be. They’re either never going to be happy, or they’ll eventually be ok. You can’t change the person who don’t see what needs improvement.

Everyone’s life is going to have ups and downs. Live your life as best you can, and be sensitive to those who need to catch a break. You never know when it might be you who just needs a breather.

I’m an Optimistic Realist January 19, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Education, Finances, How To, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Real World.
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Like many other little girls, I wanted to be a ballerina. Unlike many other little girls, I actually was. Not just the kind of ballerina that has a job or two and then goes off to college, but the kind of ballerina that seven year olds see on big posters, point to and say “Mommy, I want to look like that”. I can’t tell you that growing up, I wasn’t an optimist, but it also came easy for me. I came from a ballet family, so everything was available to me, and things came easy, even though the work was hard. When I became an adult, everything changed.

When you are the smartest in your high school, the star player on your volleyball team, or the best dancer in your school, it’s a shock when you graduate high school or college, and fall  into the real world. No matter how good you are, you have to start at the bottom of the totem pole and not only prove yourself, and pay your dues, but start being realistic about your life and your career. I once told my family that if I reached 24, and still hadn’t “made it”, they had to remind me that I promised myself to stop, and pick a new career. I didn’t want to be one of those 32 year olds living paycheck to paycheck, still thinking they were going to “make it big”. Part of becoming an adult is becoming realistic. It’s not longer a dream that you’ve got to focus on, it’s an entire life filled with responsibilities. images

It’s easy to become negative once you’re out from under the umbrella of your parents, or your small pond. Things that were once easy seem eternally difficult. Before, you could ace that quiz or win that game by just doing what you do best, now you have to work hard for it and even then it feels like you fell miles too short. How many of your friends do you know who graduated with great ambitions and bigger than life plans, and today, they’re working as someone’s paralegal, making next to nothing, and living in a studio apartment in a neighborhood you’d never be caught dead in? They’re not underachievers, they’re not lazy, that’s just real life sometimes. One of the toughest things in your twenties is remembering your dreams, and working towards them, but also being realistic about life, and how it works.

My cousin once coined the phrase, “I’m an optimistic realist” (before all the cool kids were saying it, before it was really a real thing). At the time, I didn’t understand what that meant, or how it could work. For most of my life, I threw around a lot of “I can’t”, “I won’t”, “it’s impossible”, not knowing that this was making me a pessimist. Also, not knowing what any of those words really meant. I’d say, “I can’t”, and then five minutes later, I’d just do it. When I was out on my own, I’d say “I can’t” as a synonym for: “I don’t have time”, “I’m not financially able to”, “This isn’t an option for me right now”. That’s when I decided to be an optimistic realist. Find a way to make it work and if you can’t, make sure it’s for the right reasons. When I wanted to go to college, I found a way to do it while still working full-time. I also found a way to pay for it, even though it wasn’t easy (or cheap!), and when I had the opportunity to work in sports, plus everything else, I found the time to do it all. Solutions.

I never gave up on my dreams, I just knew that I had to take a different path to get to them. It was no longer going to be a straight shot, the way it was when I was a kid. Being an optimistic realist means looking for solutions, it means understanding your responsibilities while still keeping an open mind about your dreams. For the ten years you’re in your twenties, this is going to be one of the hardest things to do, and you’ll fall off the wagon a lot, the important thing is to get right back on.

SK Fashion Post: Winter Weather Warmer! January 8, 2014

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Fashion/Clothes, How To, Jobs and Work, Men, Shopping, Tips and Tricks, Women.
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For years I had avoided the  winter weather wardrobe, layering my summer clothes with sweaters and running from building to building. For the most part, it worked, until one year when I was cold all the time, everywhere, and I began the art of winter weather warmth! It’s not as hard as you may think, if you invest in a good coat, warm boots, and some long sleeve shirts and wool socks, you’re pretty much set, with some logic, of course, but what happens when you’re in a setting that isn’t conducive to boots and socks and long sleeve T’s with hoodies? The guide to winter when your office is an ice box.

The cardinal rule of winter warmth is layering, but there is a technique to it. If you’re wearing dress pants or work slacks to work (which insulate about 1% of any heat) throw on some leggings underneath, or a pair of stockings. For guys, long johns work great. Long sleeve cashmere or wool-mix sweaters work best through winter but when it’s a day for a blazer or a dress shirt, you’re going to freeze so throw on an undershirt. I’ve found that quarter sleeve shirts work best, they cover enough to keep you warm but don’t give that bulky feel or stick out. Even a basic T will work as most warmth needs to be kept in your torso region. For women, sometimes layering can actually give you a cute look, like placing  a long sleeve white shirt under a black blazer and pairing it with some bright red, green, blue or gold jewelry to make your outfit pop.89a79f58735a85f73870ffd5a7cf5a34

If you work in an office like mine, heels are pretty much par for the course, and unless you’re the kind of lady whose wearing stockings everyday, your toesies are gonna freeze. There are several solutions here, 1. bring a heater to work, a new, up-to-date one that has mechanisms to prevent fires, 2. Wear socks. Getting some neutral black, or thin dress socks and just keep them at work, put them on with your heels. In smaller offices, or those were everyone is collectively freezing, no one is going to judge you. However, if you have a meeting with the big boss or the record breaking client, take them off and just suffer for the hour that you’re making the sale. 3. Invest in a pair of closed toe, booties, keep them under your desk and wear them everyday. Buy them with some extra room for big, fuzzy, socks! (Guys are so lucky…they have a million dress shoe options for winter, and always wear socks!)

knee highsAnother point of contention  is the ugly turtleneck look. I mean, really, does anyone out there still own one? Here’s a solution, buy a rack of pashmina scarves, three or four will give you enough options to match outfits and also look like your still dressing professionally for your day of duties. Guys can do a nice, warm scarf at their desk, tucked into their suit jacket and then remove for important meetings or conversations.

For the ladies out there, here’s another helpful hint that’ll actually make you not totally and completely dread your skirt-suit. Invest in a bundle of colorful stockings and/or tights. 1. They’ll keep you warm, especially if you can find opaque, thicker ones (sometimes a bit more costly, but worth it). 2. they make the blah of winter not so, well, blah. I’ve found that the colors I enjoy most are black, gray, and maroon or burgundy. I like to wear solid color skirts and then match my tight color to my top. I stay away from anything that looks like I’m in Kindergarten like blue or green, but if you can work it and your boss won’t send you home to change, try it out! A co-worker of mine has layered lace stockings, which provide the warmth of a bikini, over black leggings or darker stockings and it gave it a nice, professional look while adding another layer.

Also, do the to and from outfit. Don’t completely change to get to and from work, but have some variation. Put on a warmer sweater and stick your blazer in a bag, put super warm, boot socks on before leaving the office and change shoes. Some days I’ll even do my hair when I get to the office so I can wear a hat or hood and not worry about ruining whatever locks I have going on that day. Also, for ladies, having an extra set of makeup basics in your desk can come essential for really rainy or snowy days were the elements might make your makeup run.

Finally….have warm drinks! Stash tea, coffee, or even just drink warm water. It’ll help give your hands a boost of warmth and also circulate it through your body. Keep a mug at work so you won’t break the bank with Starbucks. Use hand and foot warmers, too, if you’re particularly susceptible to being cold and give yourself a computer break and run your hands under some warm water. While most employers won’t hate you for being cold in the winter, there’s no doubt that most of our offices are either too toasty for their own good, or freakishly freezing. So “weather” you’re trying not to sweat, or just trying to get some heat, try these tips for a more pleasant work-wear experience.

20 Things To Not-not Do in Your 20′s December 12, 2013

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Dating, Education, Finances, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Real World, Relationships, Review.
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I know you all hate it when I give you homework, but this one is worth it, I promise: Read Me!

You may have seen this article from Elite Daily floating around your newsfeed or twitter ticker, and if you haven’t looked at it yet, it’s a great read and it has a lot of beneficial information. There are many points that I couldn’t agree with more, some, I read and think “Yeah, I wish I had known what I know now, then”, and few that just make me laugh, because I knew them all along and had to sit back and watch my friends trip over their own mistakes. However, there was one overwhelming mood to these twenty things that I couldn’t get over. That life is somehow going to turn out this way simply if you will it to.

The twenties are about one giant discovery. While I still have several years until I’m out of my own 20’s, I feel very comfortable with who I am. I do not feel like I’m at the level of financial stability that I want to be, nor do I feel 100% content with my career, while I’m very happy with it. I may be a very mature 20-something, but that doesn’t mean I just did everything I was told to get here. When I befriend younger 20’s, I’m always happily, amused by their lives, because it makes me very nostalgic of my own. I tell them to date a lot, spend more money than they think they have, and try a lot of different things. Sometimes, what you learn will surprise you about yourself, your career, and what you want for your life overall. Do you know how many people I’ve met that wanted to be lawyers and ended up bakers, happy as can be; or friends of mine who followed through with all their schooling, got the perfect job, and now wish they had taken some time off here or there to learn more about the world, or themselves. This road is hard, and for most of us, we encounter a lot of unforeseen circumstances. I don’t like the idea that if you just “follow the rules” and keep your head screwed on straight, everything will happen naturally, as it should.

The truth about your twenties is that no matter what you do, they’re probably going to be a mess. I was full-time student with two jobs, completely supporting myself, I was “doing it” right, but I still got nailed with over $1,200 dollars in taxes when I did my return. I didn’t sway from “the rules”, I didn’t spend all my money on clothes and alcohol. When I was in my early twenties, my parents got divorced, and that ruined a lot for me. That didn’t mean I was doing something wrong, it didn’t mean I was making “mistakes” it’s just called life and that’s what this article doesn’t prepare you for.

There is a point that says you should work on your career and not do jobs that don’t teach you anything. First and foremost, you learn something from every single job you have. I don’t care if you’re picking up after dogs all day, you’re going to learn something. There is no job too small or too menial for anyone, that’s what the article should have told you. Also, not all of us can just graduate college and bing bam boom you’re working jobs you want. Most of us have to work those part-times, those waitress jobs, those “Hi, how can I help you” type gigs in order to pay our bills. So, working a job just for money isn’t a waste of time, it’s a way of life. Eventually, you’ll get a job that’ll make you lots of money and won’t be paycheck to paycheck anymore, and you’ll actually like it, but until then, you’ve got rent to pay; and just because you’re going to do “something of value” doesn’t mean you’re going to ever “cash out big”, most people don’t, that doesn’t mean they aren’t happy.GIRLS-DUNHAM_510x317

I also felt that this article was so career driven…and that’s not a bad thing, in the least! What is fails to do is recognize that people are different and they have different dreams. I, for one, am incredibly career driven, I’ll probably end up working way past retirement age because I really enjoy working. However, one of my biggest dreams is to have a family and I don’t know that I’d give that up for anything. For me, being a relatively young mother is important, so yes, the twenties were about finding love and finding someone to be with. Perhaps many take that to an extremely, giving up everything for love, but I think it’s wrong to tell people they can’t do that. I know plenty of people that didn’t establish themselves until they were 34, even 37. Are we all supposed to wait to find love until then? For women, there is more to love than just “the right time”, there is “time” to have children and that isn’t something we can control.

Lastly, don’t be a martyr. The article tells you to forge your own path, and I couldn’t agree more. However, it doesn’t tell you there’s a time and place to do that. The article personifies someone running down the hill with a  flaming torch, screaming, while all others stand at the top of the hill and slowly walk the other way. It’s fine if you want to be an individual, but no one is going to respect a 20-something going against the grain “just-because”. If you have a mission and you believe in it, do that, but don’t try to prove you’re differentiation to others. Just be you.

I guess what I’m saying is, take everything you read with a grain of salt. This is a great article, it’s just not perfect. Being non-perfect is okay, so if you don’t fit every nook, mold and cranny of this article, don’t worry about it. Trust your intuition and do what’s in your heart, that’s the only way you’re going to be happy in the long run, way after your 20’s have come and gone.

Intro To…Owning Your Own Business December 1, 2013

Posted by doinglaundryinheels in 21st Century/Technology, Around NYC, Education, Finances, Food/Dining, How To, Intro To, Jobs and Work, Real World.
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Intro To…

Starting your own business can be both the most exciting and the most stressful endeavor many people will ever pursue. Most will find themselves working longer hours than they had ever imagined. This is something that should not be taken lightly, and considering the great investment, be it time and/or money, required,, should be fully thought through before making the leap.

The first step is to make sure you’re doing something you enjoy. It will not be uncommon to work 16+ hour days so if you’re miserable from the start…you can expect a short-lived endeavor. At the same time, the satisfaction you’ll feel at the end of the week knowing all the work you put into growing your own business. This will become your child. It will supplant many relationships. It will have you tearing your hair out. You will ride the highs of landing the big contract. You will suffer the lows of balancing your bills until invoices come due. But succeed or fail, you will learn more about business, and more about yourself, than in any other undertaking you will attempt.

Build a business plan. I cannot stress enough the importance of a business plan. Your business plan is your bible. It tells you what demographics to target in your marketing. It gives your mission. It outlines your vision. It is the guide you reference to make sure you are staying true to the company. A basic business plan has an executive summary, company description, market analysis, management and organizational structure, product or service, marketing and sales plan, funding request, financial projections, and an appendix with financial statements, yelp reviews, whatever. If you want to start to get fancy with it, you can do a SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats) Analysis, investor exit strategy, and milestones. This business plan should, in essence, detail exactly how the company is going to conduct business. It should describe your product or service, what resources are needed to make business function, what your expenses will be through the first 3-5 years, how your staff will be made up, who your main demographic is that you’ll be targeting, what advertising mediums you’ll use. You should know how much revenue you’ll need every week/month/year to pay your expenses and keep the doors open. To complete your business plan, you must answer all of these questions and more. You can hire a professional to help you out (a quick google search returned one that starts at $395, but remember that you get what you pay for), or you can go at it yourself. There are tons of free resources online that you can use, and most cities have free private and government resources you can access as well. I would say this is especially important for the financial section. If you don’t have experience with financial statements, projections, etc., it can prove to be a quite daunting task. Luckily, however, a cheap option can be just reaching out to people at a local university that are in the finance program. While their model likely won’t be as comprehensive as a CPA’s or an Investment Banker’s, it will likely do the job for what you need it.

business-plan-cartoonI’m a big fan of shows like Kitchen Nightmares, or Bar Rescue, and it kills me when I see an owner that has no clue what his expenses are. I studied finance in college so I might be a bit biased, but I view it as the base of every company. If you don’t know what your expenses are, how can you track your trends, see if you’re spending too much this month? How do you know if you’re actually making money? How to you plan for the future? As soon as you start working on a business, you need to start tracking your money. You should know where every last penny went. The easiest way to do this is to hire an accountant/bookkeeper, but we’re going to assume you’re like me and can’t afford one at first. The next best option is to purchase a program like Quickbooks or Peachtree Accounting. While I believe Peachtree is the better software, Quickbooks is the more popular one so it will be easier to get help when you have issues. There will be more message boards, more references, etc. But either way, these softwares are made with small business owners in mind. They are very intuitive and really make your life easier. Then, at the end of the year, your accountant has a well-organized presentation to work off. You will also be able to generate charts and reports that can help you maximize your profit. I would suggest taking a couple of classes if numbers, and more specifically bookkeeping/accounting, are foreign to you, but the hardest part tends to be putting things in the right accounts. Just fight through this process, and in the future, when you can afford someone on staff, you will be able to look over their work with a knowledgeable eye.

If you’re opening a business it should be because you have a talent that you can leverage as the owner. Maybe you knit well, are a chef, studied music, managed retail stores, read a lot and want to sell books, love being outside and want to landscape, or have any other skill that you think can turn into a business. No matter your skill, it is important to realize your limitations. If you are a great cook at home and want to start a restaurant, fine, but realize that your lack of experience will likely end in ruin if you don’t plan accordingly. Hire people around you that fill in the spaces you’re lacking. Hire a co-chef who has substantial experience under his belt. Bring in an experienced manager for you jewelry shop who has retail experience and can understand the daily workings of a shop. Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you need to run everything. Do what you do best, and allow everyone else to do their jobs as well. You will, ultimately, have to oversee everything, but if you hire quality employees you can at least know they have the experience to carry over their previous business practices that proved efficient in the past.

Trekking out on your own can be a scary experience, especially for someone who has worked for other people their whole life, but it can be one of the most rewarding as well. There is no shortcut to success in this world, it takes hard work, careful planning, and a little bit of luck, but anyone can do it. If you’re really interested, make sure to do your research and get ready for the ride.

So, how do I know all this? Well, some of it was part of my major, B.A. in Business Administration – Finance from Morehouse College, but most was a learning experience. I’ve worked with multiple start-ups and early stage companies in sectors ranging from financial services to international luxury goods. Today, I stand before you as a Senior Consultant for Philippe Consulting, a boutique small business consulting firm, and a partner in Seasoned Vegan, the first full-service vegan restaurant in Harlem, NY. Look out for both, on DLIH and the business stage of the world!

- Pascal



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