SK: On Being a Grown-Up March 8, 2014Posted by doinglaundryinheels in 21st Century/Technology, How To, Humor, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Real World, Traveling, Uncategorized.
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Here you are, 20-something, you’ve got your life together or just about and for the first time, in a long time, everything is going relatively smoothly. You’ve adjusted to the bumps in the road, and you’ve found the coping techniques to manage your work/life balance, so now you’re just waiting for the next big thing.
…and then you have a day like this.
The frying pan filled with eggs fell; the check engine light in your car won’t turn off; someone stole your debit card and drained you bank account; you just locked yourself out of your apartment, and your cell phone is inside. And you think, “What the $#@*! I THOUGHT I WAS PASSED ALL THIS!?” When it rains, it pours, and you also spill your coffee all over your new boss.
Your favorite – SK Story Time: I got my license at 18, while I wouldn’t say I am the most experienced driver, having lived without a car off and on, I also would say I’m a really good driver with good instincts and have driven my fair share of roads, interstates, and highways. So, when you know how to do something, and you’ve been doing it for years, nothing is going to make you feel like less on an independent women like all of it falling apart in one day. First, the headlights weren’t working right, when they said they were on, they seemed to be my high beams, when I switched them to high beams, another symbol on the dash I’ve never seen before came on. Then, there was no USB charger in the car, and my phone was on the verge of technology suicide, without my GoogleMaps, I’ll have no idea how to get home. Then, it seemed like every single car on the road was about to propel themselves into my trunk, despite the fact that I was going 70 on an interstate. Finally, time to get gas, and I tell you I looked everywhere and all over for the gas cap release, there was a line of cars behind me, probably looking at me like I was a total idiot. When I finally figured it out, the pump wasn’t working, the gas would not flow, and when did it decide to work? right as I began to pull it out to reset the whole thing, resulting in gas all over my feet and all over my car, and embarrassment, all over my face. So, if the day wasn’t over yet, I had to find parking, and with the help of total strangers who were being total idiots, I got gridlocked in an alley I’ve never driven down before because they came head on, and from behind. Needless to say, by the end of the day I was super upset, and then upset for being upset.
As an adult you feel like you can handle situations, and if you can’t, you feel like you should have the know-how to figure out how to handle them. So, when you can’t, or you don’t, it’s defeating and it’s embarrassing, mostly to you. You’ve already conquered so much and then something as simple as a day out with the car turns you into a fifteen year-old who doesn’t know the first thing about how the world functions. It’s frustrating. I think we can all infer that by the time I got home, I not only, needed a few minutes alone but I also had a good cry. Plus, my suede boots smelled like gasoline. So, that’s awesome.
What I learned from this experience? Two things, the first being that it’s still okay to have a bad day, it’s still okay to need help, and it’s still okay to learn new things. I’d never had the gas pump not work before, I later learned that it’s actually quite common, just not something I had ever experienced. It’s okay to not be equipped to take on Superman’s job by the time you’re twenty-four or twenty-eight. As long as you’re okay with not always being okay, then you’ll do just fine. The second thing I learned, when we’re at the tipping point, between having everything we wanted before thirty, but also not quite being out of the “twenties” clear yet, we like to resort to our former coping strategies. Getting home and needing a minute was the right thing to do. Ugh, cursing at the gas cap and banging my head against the headrest when the lights didn’t work probably isn’t as mature as I’d like to believe I am.
In short, not every day is going to be a good day. The choice is to deal with it as best as possible. If you feel like you’re a grown-up human being with your life together, then make the conscious choice to act like one. There is nothing wrong with regretting your mistakes, as long as you learn something from them.
Saying No! March 3, 2014Posted 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.
You 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, 2014Posted 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:
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 absolute 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 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.
Nothing 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 mile. 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.
Most People DON’T Meet Online February 23, 2014Posted by doinglaundryinheels in 21st Century/Technology, Dating, GoodGuys File, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Men, Online Dating, Real World, Relationships, Women.
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The GoodGuys File
There is a stigma about meeting someone online…and that’s okay.
I didn’t know how to get my follower’s attention without this title or without that first line. Ten years ago, something happened in our world, online dating. At first, it was a place for creepers to meet other creeps, then it was a place for people to meet people, which turned into an area of life that everyone was into because it was fun, exciting and alleviated boredom. Now, it’s a function of wanting to meet the right person, or just a person for now. There are a lot of people who have met online and are happy, but there are a lot of people who think it’s still abnormal, unnatural, or not romantic. And that’s okay.
While at first, there was a stigma about meeting online, today, it seems like there is a stigma for people who aren’t cool with meeting people online. It feels like every tenth commercial on TV is for some dating site, with couples telling you how happy they are, and it’s being stuffed in our face like whipped cream at a pie throwing contest. When people tell you they’ve met online, you’re expected to smile and nod like it’s totally normal, and there are these insane statistics being read about how online is the #1 place to meet your soulmate. Who knows what, if any, of that is true or false, I sure don’t! Who is to say what’s normal and what’s not? Not me! The point is, we shouldn’t have to believe things one way or the other. I know people who have met online, and they are very happy, likewise I know people who met in all sorts of “more common” situations and are equally as happy. However, I know lots of relationships that came from online or in life that ended horrendously. Still, for those of us who might be more traditional, saying “Oh, we met at work and ended up breaking off our engagement” comes with more shock then “We met on a dating site and decided to not get married”. There are a lot of people out there who are not on board with online dating, and this is a message to them – as long as you accept that other people are cool with it, and you don’t discount their relationships, then, it’s okay not to be on board, it’s not for you.
Online dating works for two types of people: People who are very open-minded; people who believe in it. DLIH story time: I met a great guy online once. He was as real as sliced bread! (which, if you love carbs the way I do, sliced bread is pretty real!). We had a lot of fun together and a lot in common and our first date lasted about an extra 4 hours longer than planned. We talked everyday, all day. And then we broke up. Neither of us believed in online dating. If you asked us why we were on the site, we’d both tell you we didn’t know. Maybe it was curiosity? Maybe it was a symptom of being lonely? Maybe it was a function of having one bad day and signing up? He told me he liked me, but he couldn’t live knowing that, if we worked out, we met online. He wanted that “I looked across the bar and I saw her” moment, and I wanted that to. We were raised old fashion and our parents both met in romantic and unexpected ways. Online dating wasn’t for us. We missed each other, but it just was what it was. Our relationship didn’t go anywhere because we didn’t want it to. Maybe this sounds silly to some people, after all, if it was working out we should have seen it through, but that’s the purpose of this GGFile. For people who are totally, 100% cool with online dating, this is how the mind of someone who isn’t works. It was THAT important to us to have not met our soulmate online, so important, we ended it.
If online dating works for you, it’s going to be the best thing! You might even meet your wifey or the man of your dreams! However, it’s totally okay if it’s not! There is nothing to be embarrassed of either way! It feels like, at first, online dating was something to hide, now, meeting someone organically and traditionally is shadowed by algorithms and statistics, which is equally as dumb. You don’t find love because someone told you there is a 28% higher chance if you do it “this way”. Next, finding love will mean throwing yourself into an alligator pit and people will pay $64.50 a year for this privilege.
How you meet someone is arbitrary, the point is that you met them, and they make you happy, and it’s a story you can’t wait to tell everyone…it’s a story you want to shout from the rooftops.
America is Beautiful, and So Are We February 17, 2014Posted by doinglaundryinheels in 21st Century/Technology, Causes, Family, Friendships, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Real World, Relationships.
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For as long as I can remember, I have been American. I’ve lived here, grown up here, gone to school here. What makes America great is that it has so many people, from so many countries, and I am proud to be one of them. Little known SK fact, I wasn’t born here, and no, it wasn’t because my pregnant mother decided to go to Bora Bora when 9 months preggers. My entire family had to earn their citizenship, so other cultures, other languages, other types of people never fazed me. For as long as I can remember I’ve been American, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve been surrounded by people who are not.
This is a double-edged sword; Why? It’s such a uniqueness to be different, even if you are born here, your parents bring you up with traditions that are different, special, and something you embrace as a child into your adult life. It’s a warm nostalgia you can only share with people of your culture. It also makes you very open, and not as ignorant. You are used to having to adjust, do things different ways, speak different languages, so when you meet other’s who are different or need to make a change to assimilate, it’s not something that bothers you. However, being a little different also makes you just that, different. As if finding yourself in your twenties isn’t hard enough, some of us have this entire other side of our lives to take into account. Do we want to decorate our homes with some traditional objects? How will we raise our kids? Do we want adult friends who share our culture? How can we stay connected to who we are once we’re out from under our parents roof? Not to mention, the moment you meet someone who isn’t open to other cultures you take it personally, even though, as far as the eye can see, you’re as Yankee as they come.
Young adults who are multi-cultural also have problems they never thought they’d face – people want documentation of your birthplace, an explanation as to how you become a US citizen, your parents proof of residency if they travel home, and so on. All these things that many of our peers can’t relate to….how many people do you know who have their birth certification translated and notarized, and irreplaceable? It can be a very frustrating thing, as a kid, no one told you these are the things you’d have to battle. Sure, they told you life wouldn’t be easy; Sure, they warned you of all the things we all face; but no, they didn’t tell you someone would deny you health insurance because you don’t know your former green card number, from when you were a 2-year old. It’s a real slap in the face, feeling like you’re so American (or any culture, for that matter!) and being told that you’re kind-of, sorta, not really. “Well, this is the only national anthem I know, so, don’t tell me I don’t belong here!”
When life isn’t throwing you for a loop, sometimes other people are. For those of us who are multi-cultural, we all know the feeling of walking into a conversation of the most closed minded person in the world. They don’t know by the way you talk, dress, look, or behave that you might not be 100% born and bred American, so they don’t know they’re insulting you, but they do. What do you do? Do you take a stance? Do you keep your mouth shut? Do you silently wonder what method of torture they’d use on this person in the motherland? When I saw the Coca-Cola Superbowl commercial, I almost cried; it’s so meaningful to me that American is a land of many cultures, that embraces all types of people. The criticism of this commercial stung deep, it made me feel like my peers didn’t respect me, my parents, my family. People will tell you “oh, I don’t mean you!” but what they don’t understand is that is who you are, whether they like it or not.
From Youtube, Coca-Cola:
So…now that I’ve made is sound incredibly frustrating to not have great-great-great-great- grandparents who were born here, let me set your worries aside, it’s not. It’s great! It’s such a gift, and something that will always make me (or us!) a little bit special, a little bit different, a little bit more adventurous. It can be hard, but it gives us strength and perseverance. It can be frustrating, but this makes us wiser. It can make us enraged sometimes, but it also teaches us patience and reaffirms why we are who we are. It’s pretty much the best thing ever. While it may not always be easy to figure out how our culture fits in with our American lifestyle, or how we fit in with one group or another, but at least we always know who we are, and where we came from. When we see the commercials for Ancestry.com, we can smile, because we know who are ancestors are, and we know their story, and we can live it out in this new, modern world. So, if you’re like me, appreciate it and if you’re just a friend who is as American as they come, know that we don’t judge you, we just want you to get where we’re coming from, and be cool with it. If you’re nice, maybe we’ll say something in another language
Your Very Own Negative Nancy February 8, 2014Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Friendships, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Real World, Relationships.
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“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, 2014Posted 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, 2014Posted 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:
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.
The One-Sided Relationship January 23, 2014Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Dating, Friendships, GoodGuys File, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Moving, Real World, Relationships, Women.
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The GoodGuys File
She’s sitting there, at her best friend’s birthday, having the time of her life…but somehow, not having fun at all. She’s with all her friends, but she feels alone, like she’s one of those fundraiser goal meters and she’s reached the top of her party limit. It’s not her fault, we’ve all been there, with a few drinks down, and a couple of laughs in, your mind starts to drift to the one person you wish was there…but he isn’t.
Liking someone can often be the worst feeling in the world. No matter how many bumps you’ve been through, or the number of times you’ve broken up, or even moments where you thought you could admit your feelings, but then chickened out. Liking someone can also be the best; somewhere inside our little minds we like torturing ourselves, sitting in our bed, dreaming about that person, and the potential future, gives us butterflies and makes our endorphins dance. It’s a complicated, hormonal and emotional journey and no matter what, you’ll always learn from it, good or bad. So, at want point in the journey is enough day dreaming, enough?
Sometimes one-sided relationships have a hold on you, a hold that can start turning your world from exciting to disastrous. Even if you like each other and there are “obstacles”, or you are a couple, but it’s clear that your significant other isn’t pulling their weight and you’re just hanging out, avoiding the breakup, because you still like them so much. Relationships are very basic creatures: two people, who care about each other, wanting to make each other happy, and make an adult decision to be together. All the nitty-gritty details come after that. One-sided relationships can cause more harm than good, and almost never end up the way you want them to.
There is nothing to be gained from staring at your phone on Valentines Day, convincing yourself he or she will call; leaving the party early because you’d rather be in bed, in your jammies, watching really bad (coughGreat!) Nicholas Sparks movies; or talking your friend’s ear off, for the third month in a row, about how things like work, and family have been getting it the way, but you two know you’re “meant to be together” and are just letting things come “naturally”. Take it from someone else’s awful experiences, being “unofficially” together for almost two years, off and on, ends in lots of crying and lots of feeling betrayed, even though they haven’t actually done anything. Getting serenaded on your birthday in a surprise phone call results in collapsing into your friends arms crying, in public, when he never shows up to your party, after promising to do so; And listening to statements like “I just need to get my life together, but if I was dating anyone, it would be you”, is followed-up with them getting into a relationship two months later…and not with you. So, if you needed further proof that one-sides relationships are a road to nothing and no where, DLIH and friends can supply it.
Cut the cord. Easier said than done. So, you have two options, and both are viable as long as you know how they’re going to go, and stop convincing yourself that everything will magically end like a Disney movie. You can cold turkey it. You can just stop all communication, and force yourself to un-like this person, even though that will realistically take a while. It will be hard, and hurt, and you’ll want to fall back into it, but you’ll have to hold yourself back. The other option, to just power through it, let yourself like this person, let yourself end nights early to go home and wonder if they’ll text you, but if you’re going to go this route remember that it’s like a cold, the only way to end it is to suffer through it, you’re not going to wake-up tomorrow morning and run a marathon. You have to be realistic, you have to know what’s going on, you’re letting yourself stay in contact with this person with the intention of eventually getting over them, not with the intention of ending up with them. So, neither is easy, and neither is very fair, but unless you’ve got a fairy God-Mother who can fix it all in a bopitty-boo, then these are your solutions.
So, gather up the friends (the good ones, who want you to feel better), a couple bottles of wine, a box of Kleenex, and get through it together. Remember, there is a light at the end of the tunnel…the tunnel is just very, very, very long, and full of oddly shaped turns and spears that jet out, trying to kill you. You’ll make it, we all have, and one day soon, you’ll be staring at your phone because it’s 2:30am and you’re still out having a great time with just your buddies and that cute guy in the corner.
I’m an Optimistic Realist January 19, 2014Posted 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.
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.