Self-Care – What is it and what does it mean?

What is self-care? With all of things I go through, work frustration or relationship sadness or frustration, I find comfort in self-care. I have even suggested it as a way to cope with a break-up to some of my friends. It really makes a difference. For me though, the definition of self-care is taking that time to pamper yourself – get your nails done, an extra long pedicure, or a massage. For some people, that may just be part of their regular self-care routine and it isn’t extraordinary and therefore might not make them feel better, which prompted me to think about other aspects of self-care. I broke it down into physical, emotional, personal, social, spiritual, and practical self-care. I will caution this by saying, I am no expert, these are just my opinions on how you can take care of yourself when you’re not really feeling like yourself.

Physical self-care

This encompasses your basic physical needs. Sometimes, if I’m angry, going for a run is the only thing that will make me feel better. Maybe my mind is running around in circles and I’m overthinking something (shocking!), and yoga is the best way to re-center myself and clear my mind and chakras.  Pampering your body and just simply doing what feels good is part of physical self-care as well. Does a massage help you relax and work things out in your head? Or maybe help you not think about anything at all? For me, when I have a multi-day migraine a massage is the only thing that can clear it up.  Having a pedicure that is like the deluxe edition – hot oil etc. – will often be my go-to when I’m not feeling so great. Identify what works for you and have no hesitation in taking those steps to make yourself feel better!

Emotional self-care

This is identifying the best way to process emotions in a healthy way, figuring out what your good coping mechanisms are. Does meditation help you? There are so many great guided meditations on YouTube. I highly recommend exploring that option, not only will it help you think about something else, but these meditations will guide you back to the right train of though in case your thoughts go astray – which is likely to happen while meditating. Spirituality is also a good way to process emotions in a healthy way – if that is something you believe in and practice. Also, don’t be afraid to feel your feelings…just don’t live there for too long. I strongly believe that there is nothing wrong with a really good ugly cry. But have it, be in it, and then wipe your tears and say, “that felt great, but I can’t live here.” If another way of coping emotionally is seeing your therapist or calling a friend who is just a great listener, then by all means confide in those people as well!

Personal self-care

Some activities in the personal self-care area can be getting to know yourself in a different way. After a really bad break-up, I decided that I needed to shed some relationship weight so I got a trainer, signed up for a half marathon and discovered a new part of me who really enjoyed going to the gym, and wasn’t intimidated to grab weights and workout on the gym floor with others. It really helped me get out of my funk and begin the path forward. Trying new things – so I haven’t necessarily been a “cook,” and my mom would make fun of me in high school and college because I basically had no desire to cook – so who would want to marry me?! Anyway, with the introduction of at-home delivery of fresh produce and recipes I have discovered how much I enjoy cooking. It’s something I look forward to, and is very satisfying in the end. I’m one of those people who love to follow instructions and have an end product, so BlueApron is a great new thing that I’ve tried and enjoyed. Spending time alone is another personal self-care option. For some people this might be a bad idea, but if you have children or are involved with your family a lot, have a really busy social life, spending some time alone might be just the thing you need to reset and recharge. Making time for hobbies you enjoy is another personal self-care item that I think is often thrown off to the side. If you love to write (like me!) or draw, paint, read etc., then do it and make time for it! It really is a therapeutic task. Last but not least, have goals for yourself. Especially if they can directly relate back to self-care. Are your finances stressing you out? Set a goal to set aside something simple like 5 bucks a week. It will help feel like you’re making progress.

Social self-care

For some people this might not work. But, not getting enough social interaction is also a bad thing. I have realized how important social self-care is now that I work from home about 95% of the time. Even if it’s just getting out to run to the bank, it’s good! But in the same token, social interaction can be a little toxic with some people and that’s where having really good boundaries is important. I’ve talked about my issues with drawing boundaries in past blog posts, and I still struggle with it, but ensuring that someone isn’t going to drag you down with them, or impact how you feel personally is so very important. Create those boundaries and hold them to it – it is good for YOU!

Spiritual self-care

I talked a tiny little bit about this when we were discussing coping mechanisms, but if you are spiritual it’s important to take self-care in that area as well. If you’re confused about your beliefs, take the time to really figure it out. Read books about spirituality and prayer. I have found that many of the fellow bloggers that I follow frequently share books they are reading on prayer or their beliefs, or some of their bible study groups, so that is a way to engage in spiritual self-care.

Practical self-care

So this is doing things that are practical, but very much impactful. Getting your finances in order, completing chores…I feel so accomplished when I do really mundane things like vacuum the stairs, or clean the bathroom. For the short period of time it takes to complete those tasks, you can enjoy the result for multiple days. Of course, something else that lands under practical self-care is to set healthy work boundaries. Now that I work from home I have moments where I think – wow I haven’t stepped outside in 10 hours. If healthy work boundaries means stepping outside to go for a walk and clear your head, or checking your last email at 6 pm and not again until the next morning, then amen to you because that is a very practical self-care thing to do – and something I need to practice myself. Healthy work boundaries is also an area I struggled with in the past. Sometimes it’s hard when you become close friends with the people you work with to identify where your boundaries are – so take some time to really think about it and see what works for you and you work relationships.

I wanted to write this blog post, as I mentioned before, because I truly think self-care is important. As I began to write about it and search around a bit. I found that there were multiple ways to self-care, so I hope that by my sharing this you are inspired to start treating yourself to some self-care. Likewise, I hope that it reinforces the importance of continuing to treat yourself with the utmost care and consideration.

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FabFitFun Spring Box Review

I believe this is my sixth FabFitFun box. It’s $49.99 per quarter and you receive full-sized samples. I absolutely love it. I also receive a monthly BirchBox, but those are really just sample sized, so the flip side of this is if you really like something you got in your FabtFitFun box, the good news is you have the full sized product…the bad news is if you don’t like something then you’re either stuck with it, or on the flip side you can give it to a friend who might want or like it – which I have done in the past. I don’t have to keep it and figure out what to do with it if I don’t need it – I can give it as a gift to someone else who might love it.

Dove exfoliating body polish

I generally like Dove products. I’ve been using Dove deodorant for as long as I can remember – it’s the only thing that doesn’t irritate the skin under my arms. And, I think I would use more Dove products if I was a bigger fan of the way they smelled. I don’t think they smell bad per say, but I think it just doesn’t agree with me. Anyway, clearly that’s just me being a weirdo, but I wanted to definitely give the Dove exfoliating body polish a chance. Plus, anything to exfoliate my skin while we are in full on winter/spring things are blooming, etc. stage of the season. Couple of things: 1. The packaging was deceiving. FabFitFun is almost always full sized products – not sample size. So when I ripped open the packaging I was surprised to find that the packaging on the front – which looked like a cream jar – was a farce! I opened the back up to find a foil wrap to open next. I peeled that back and voila there was the product. So needless to say, I quickly realized I was going to need to use the entire thing in one shot (there was no way to securely close it after I opened it). 2. It is very grainy feeling. You know when you have the body washes or face wash that have the beads in them? Yeah, that’s what this felt like texture-wise. I’m not generally a fan of that, and I know that it is possible to have exfoliating cream that goes on smoothly (I use the skin exfoliate from European Wax Center). So, I had to make sure that any that hadn’t gone down the drain, or had ended up on the shower wall somehow was additionally rinsed because I could feel the exfoliating beads on the floor of the shower.

OK – enough about the packaging and how it felt. If I didn’t have those two gripes, oh and the smell (so basically change the whole thing! Hah just kidding) I would say it was a good product. My skin did noticeably feel softer when I got out of the shower, having done what I’m sure it was supposed to. I will also say that having an exfoliate that you can use in the shower makes for a lot of convenience (the one I use from European Wax Center you can only use on dry skin – however you can see a NOTICEABLE difference in that you are actually pulling up the dead skin – gross, I know). Anyway, if you’re looking for something that exfoliates pretty well and that you can use in the shower – and you don’t have all the other weird gripes I have – then I say go for it. I will personally not be purchasing that product.

57 Physique Massage Roller

This roller massage is a dream! My nieces think it’s hysterical and fun to use as well, but I really do enjoy it. I’ve been on a bit of workout hiatus but I’m looking forward to putting it to good use a day or two after a hard workout to workout some of soreness I always feel. Another great thing is that FabFitFun also includes a little newspaper/magazine that explains how to use the products in your box, which means for the massage roller they outlined a number of ways to massage specific parts of your body. Definitely need to file that one away!

Dermelect Cosmeceuticals Makeover

If I’m being totally honest, I probably won’t use for a long time. I get my nails done like clock work every 2-3 weeks, and I usually get gel manicures. However, there are times where I take a break (I think it’s good to take a break every once in a while and give your nails some time to air out), so when I’m taking that time I’ll explore using the dermelect cosmeceutical makeover. When I do I’ll let you know what I think!

Anderson Lilley Sunset Collection Candle: No 15 Fresh Linen Candle

I LOVE having candles in every room so when I saw there was a candle in my FabFitFun I was really excited to check it out. For me, a good candle smells clean and/or fresh (not like food or drinks bleh), and lasts a while! I will burn a candle all day long if I’m going to be in that room that long, so as you can imagine that means if it’s a bad candle it will burn very fast – which is frustrating. As a tip, I usually get my candles at HomeGoods, TJ-Maxx, or Marshalls – you can find HUGE candles that smell heavenly for under 15 bucks! And most importantly, they always seem to last a very long time – which makes me happy.

Anyway, I’m digressing a bit here. So, this candle smells SO good. It also came in this adorable brass colored tin container which I will have to figure out how to reuse at some point, and most importantly I have been able to burn this candle for several hours with minimum burnout. I’m excited to have this candle hang around for a while!

Free People Eye Mask

I took this with me while I was in Austin, Texas for work. I figured this would be the perfect place to use it with all the traveling and the reprocessed air that I would be taking in, which for some reason always makes my eyes puffy. It is a vegan leather eye mask that features a removable, non-toxic cooling insert to keep you feeling and looking refreshed. Luckily I had a mini fridge in my room so I was able to get the mask to cool a little bit and use it. I love it and will definitely use it going forward.

Ettika Day Dreamer Tassel Earrings

I’m 100% on the fence about these earrings. I realize that tassel earrings are really trendy right now, but I haven’t quite figured out how to style these. I’ve put them on a few times, but didn’t feel like it worked with my outfit and took them off. I will try again, and maybe it’s something that might look cute with a summer dress or something like that, but we aren’t quite into summer yet, so this will have to wait for a real review.

Rachel Pally Reversible Clutch

I love this purse. I don’t know how FabFitFun does it (I mean, I know I had to fill out a preferences form so they could get to know me and what I like), but I’m always so surprised at just how spot on they get my style. This purse was one of those things. I have loved bird of paradise plant. I just think it is so pretty, and just makes me smile when I see it. So, I was pleasantly surprised to see the reversible purse with a tropical pattern that included bird of paradise! Can’t wait to use it once the weather gets a little warmer and it feel more appropriate to carry (SO much rain in Northern California these days – though needed, it’s just been a lot over a couple of weeks).

ISH lip statement pallette 

Well…I did not like this lip selection, unfortunately. I tried every single one of the 12 options and they just didn’t look right with my skin. The lucky person who got their hands on this slightly used lip palette? My 6 year old niece who loves to play dress up. It made her day!

Korres Guava Body Butter

In complete honesty, I absolutely DO NOT need another lotion, BUT I do really like this one. It is a really good hydrating lotion and kept my legs soft all day. Also important to note, it smelled like vacation! What i mean is that it reminded me of Hawaii for some reason, and who doesn’t want that reminder?? Anyway, I recommend it and I’m pretty excited to continue to use every day after I shower.

Murad Skin Perfecting Lotion

I have to say, I really like this facial lotion. I’ve tried thicker lotion, thinner lotion, astringent type facial “lotion” so I was happy to find that this one was somewhere in the perfect middle of not too thick and not too runny. I like it a lot, and in general like Murad products so this was definitely a win-win. How things will go over time while using it, obviously I don’t know yet, but I do like it enough to continue to use it until the bottle is out.

Bando Hot stuff tumbler

So, this item was an add-on. FabFitFun has this great option for subscribers where they open up a time period where you can add-on additional items for a lower price – and this is also the time that you can choose some of your samples! Which I think is a great option as well. Anyway, depending on the time of year – for example at Christmas time I did some add-ons and gave them as Christmas gifts! Or, in cases where I think I may be in need of something and FabFitFun happens to have that item then I’ll add it on! I recently began working from home so the need for just one nice single coffee tumbler had come about. I had been thinking about getting rid of the crummy ones that I had been using every day for the past 10 years and purchasing one cute tumbler that I could use on the days that I was going to be traveling into the office. Queue the Bando hot stuff tumbler!

First impression is that I love the color. Also, it kept my coffee warm for the 45 minute drive I had into the office, also a plus! The only thing, and I think this was most definitely user error, was that I had pushed the lid shut, but didn’t twist the lid. So, the first few sips were spill-free, but then as I got closer to the middle/end of my coffee it started spilling down the front of me. Like I said, user error. Once I realized what I did wrong I haven’t had the same problem again. Bottom line is that I really like the tumbler and will be tossing all my other tumblers in the recyclce bin!

Whish body butter and wash

I just in general love the Whish brand. Their lotions always smell amazing, and a little goes a long way (which is good because Whish is not a cheap brand by any means). This was also an add-on for under $20 and having purchased Whish products in the past I knew that getting the body butter and wash as a bundle for that price was worth it. I’ve only used their lotion or body butter so I was excited to try the body wash. The body wash, along with the body butter, had a very clean scent to it. Not too strong, and not that of floral or sweet…just clean, which I like! The body wash, similarly to their lotions, a little went a long way. The body butter smelled the same as the body wash, and is thick enough that I felt like it was hydrating my skin – especially during these winter months when my skin is extremely dry. Again, a little goes a long way and I like that even though the lotion is thick it absorbed quickly enough that when I put on my leggings I didn’t feel like I was taking any of the lotion off – don’t you hate that? Anyway, I recommend the body butter and wash for sure!

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Dry Shampoo Round Up – My Recommendations

Many of my readers may know that I recently changed companies and my role is now almost strictly working from home, which is great! But what this has also brought to my attention is the need to not wash my hair as frequently as I used to. You may think eeww that’s gross, but in actuality it’s good to not wash your hair every day, and I was guilty of that most of the time. So, now that I’m working from home I find myself – yes showering every day – but not washing my hair as frequently. However, I battle having greasy or dirty looking hair after the end of day two, so I began the hunt for a good dry shampoo. Because I had no clue where to even start, I figured I would go through my endless number of samples I have in my laundry room closet, and wouldn’t you know, I had six dry shampoos to try! And so, it began.

Kevin Murphy – Fresh Hair

I am a Kevin Murphy user in general. It is the brand that the salon I go to carries and so it’s a product I’ve been using for a number of years. I have never been disappointed with a Kevin Murphy product, and I can safely say that I am still very satisfied! I received the dry shampoo as part of a kit – I think I had purchased a wash and rinse and the dry shampoo came with it. Anyway, I love it! Keeps my hair feeling dry and not oily, and was easy to style once I applied the dry shampoo. A plus, it smells fantastic – as does all Kevin Murphy products. I highly recommend it. Here is a link to it if you’d like to learn more: here

Oribe – Gold Lust Dry Shampoo

I am also a huge Oribe fan, and use their dry texturizing spray so I was very excited to see the sample for Gold Lust Dry Shampoo show up in one of my Birchbox orders. I have to say though, I was disappointed. It actually left my hair feeling more oily and  dirty. This is something I absolutely cannot have…especially if I already showered and chose not to wash my hair. It could simply have something to do with my hair personally etc., but for me it was a no. I have linked it here in case you’re interested in checking it out yourself.

Living Proof – Perfect Hair Day – Dry Shampoo

I loved this dry shampoo! I had never used Living Proof products – did you know that Target is carrying some of their product now too? Click here to check it out. They don’t carry the dry shampoo yet (I checked), but there are a few products. Anyway, I first saw this used in a tutorial by Brighton Keller. I love her blog and her IG account. I had been interested in exploring dry shampoos so when I saw Brighton’s tutorial on IG I was excited to see what she was using. Turned out she was using Living Proof, Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo! So, you can imagine my excitement when I found that I had it stashed in my box of samples! I loved it! I would say that it is a close tie with Kevin Murphy. It kept my hair feeling clean, not looking oily and smelled fantastic!

R+Co – Death Valley Dry Shampoo

I have to admit I hadn’t really used this product, and I’ve received a number of hair samples in my Birchboxes but hadn’t gotten around to using any of them. So, when I started looking through my box of samples for dry shampoo I was excited to give it a try. It can be found here. So, unfortunately I was not that impressed with this dry shampoo. For one, it was cold when it was applied, and stayed cold for a little bit which I found very strange and didn’t like the way it felt, and if didn’t make my hair feel clean. It smelled great, but didn’t do the job that Living Proof of Kevin Murphy had done. Again, it could just be my type of hair – very fine and prone to getting oily fast – so this is just me, but I will not be purchasing a full-size version of this.

amika – Perk Up Dry Shampoo

Next up was the amika – perk up dry shampoo which can be found here. Smelled great, and didn’t leave my hair looking oily, but it did leave it feeling softer than the Kevin Murphy and Living Proof dry shampoo did, which was off putting to me because super soft often relates to oily for me – especially with such fine hair. Anyway, it didn’t make my hair any oilier than it was, but I also didn’t feel like it kept it from looking that way. I have come to realize that when you spray the dry shampoo on your hair, often it’s best if you can actually see the product on your hair (i.e. sprays on as a white-ish color). I feel like that is a good marker that the dry shampoo will last and keep my hair from looking dirty. Anyway, if you don’t like it when dry shampoo makes your hair feel dry or look dry, then amika is probably for you. My hair felt extremely soft as opposed to a dryer feeling some of the other dry shampoos often give you.

Klorane – Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

So, this dry shampoo came in my Fab Fit Fun box from I believe the winter box. I loved this (and even have it my hair now on day 3 of no washing). Klorane can be found here. Klorane claims that it’s dry shampoo absorbs oil in 25 seconds flat, and I believe this! Instantly my hair goes from looking dark and oil to refreshed. I love it. My only complaint is that it doesn’t really smell like anything, but for some people that may be desired. It adds a natural tint to your roots that surprisingly matches pretty spot on which I think is why it takes it from looking dirty to fresh and clean.

So, that is my dry shampoo roundup. I hope you found it helpful! I can say with confidence that I will be using Kevin Murphy and Klorane until I run out (they are full size products), and I already used all of the Living Proof sample, so when I’m fresh out of my existing dry shampoo I’ll have to decide which one to purchase. Let me know if you’ve tried any of these and what you think! I’m only one person, and a person with fine blonde hair so what worked for me may not work for all!

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Book Review Part Two: The Confidence Effect by Grace Killelea

This is part two of my book review of Grace Killelea’s “The Confidence Effect.” If yo haven’t read part one, definitely take some time to read through it. Where we left off was discussing Killelea’s 4Rs of Success. This second installment will discuss her take on understanding and mastering relationships and how important that is to the Confidence Effect.

We will start with relationships. According to Killelea, the first tool in moving from competence to confidence involves understanding and mastering the power of relationships. This is often an area people think they should navigate alone, but according to Killelea, the fact is that powerful relationships can greatly enhance and accelerate our ladder to success. I know that I keep saying I love the message Killelea is trying to convey, but folks…it’s so true! We often think that the work place is no place for relationships (and I’m not referring to romantic relationships), but legitimate connections with the people you work with. Killelea considers this “the power of relationships.” Our relationships are connected to our networking abilities, which she considers one of the “secret ingredients” to becoming confident to the core.

Many women form fun, lasting, and friendly relationships at work that don’t necessarily contribute to their growth as potential leaders but do promote their physical and emotional well-being. This is healthy and good. It enhances our experience at work. I most definitely can relate to this, and at times to a fault. I have a number of very special relationships I have made at a number of my previous places of work, and while they didn’t all necessarily benefit me in terms of promotion etc., they gave me an emotional sense of worth at work, which at times can be very lacking when it comes to your day-to-day activities and deadlines.  According to Killelea, these powerful relationships come in many different forms:

  • The team member who supports, challenges, nurtures, and enlightens you
  • The manager who drives you to excel
  • The peer who supports, encourages, and aids your desire for personal and professional growth
  • The mentor who continually questions and challenges your choices, often with a positive result
  • The people you trust who tell you the truth
  • The leader who inspires you
  • The powerful allies and sponsors who can open doors and provide you with opportunities

I have always been brought up to kill people with kindness…no matter what. I have even been criticized at work for being, “too nice.” But, you know what? People have nice things to say about me. I haven’t been labeled unapproachable or someone who always says “no.” That is extremely important to me, because it better reflects exactly who I am outside of work. Here is one of the main reasons why, because you never know – peers become managers, managers become leaders, and team members get promoted, shifted, downsized, or move on to different organizations or companies. According to Killelea, the larger and more powerful your network, the more dynamic, changing and powerful you become as you grow along with it. And, consequently, the fewer relationships you’ve fostered in and out of the workplace, the fewer resources you’ll be able to draw on in times of need.

The next topic is something I personally experience and believe is so important: mentors, sponsors, advocates, and champions. It’s important to note here that these are not one in the same, but indeed have different roles they play in your life. EVP and COO of Cox Communications, Jill Campbell, insists on the matter of mentors versus sponsors, “People talk a lot about having mentors. I think that’s important. But I think it’s equally important that you have a sponsor. Women tend to think that their work is going to get them there, but they’ve got to figure out somebody in the organization that is going to take notice of them and who says, ‘Wait a minute! What about Jean?'” According to Killelea, identify advocates and develop an authentic relationship with them. The key here for me is the word “authentic.” Don’t choose someone to be your sponsor because he or she is a director or a VP and can help you climb the latter. In actuality, that person probably won’t want to give you five minutes because 1. they are generally very busy people and 2. they will pick up on how un-authentic or authentic you truly are.

I have someone who began as an advocate for me while he was a director, and my boss, and who eventually became my mentor as he moved into a higher leadership level of VP. We established an authentic relationship that to this day means very much to me, and while he advocated and helped me move through my career, once he stepped into a busier and more demanding role he became my mentor and someone I could come to with work-related issues or tough decisions I knew I was going to have to make. He is that person who will ALWAYS give it to me straight. I came to him one day very upset because I had gotten some feedback that I felt was completely erroneous. He put it into perspective for me. While he didn’t agree that the feedback I received was 100% accurate, he did want me to think about it in a way of, “what if a tiny bit of it was true?” Then what? While I was surprised by it, I also understood what he was trying to do. Everyone needs someone like that in their professional life.

Killelea says that advocates are at tables that you are not, and they can open doors for you. They can speak on your behalf, and really fight a battle for you or get in front of you, when you would never have the opportunity or you don’t know the opportunities that exist. An example I have of the importance of an advocate was during a scary time where layoffs were happening. I lost all of my team during that layoff. Only two of us were left standing, and we were reorganized onto other teams. I was also brand new to that team (only about 3 months) so I felt even more vulnerable to losing my job than most. When I realized I was OK and I was staying I had to leave the office to get some air. I had never, and have yet to experience this since, but literally it felt like the air had been sucked out of the room. On my way out of the office to go for a walk around the block, I ran into that person I described above. He asked me if I was OK. I told him yes, but that I had lost all of my team and had been moved to a new team. He told me that when he saw the plan for layoffs the first thing he asked was if “Nikki was going to be OK.” He told me that if I had been on the layoff list he would have figured out a place for me on his team. That meant more to me than anything…especially given the day I had been having. That is an advocate (BTW he was still at the director level – remember, I mentioned that he moved from advocate to mentor for me over time).

Simply put by Killelea, relationships strengthen your network, and in turn, your network strengthens your organizational brand. Remember, all of your workplace behavior reflects on your brand. The stronger your brand, the stronger your confidence level – real and perceived. Killelea says to think of your brand as as the unwritten – but undeniable – “echo” that remains after you leave the room. So, ask yourself:

  • What is left behind for people to remember?
  • What is the impression that remains long after you’re gone?
  • How did you treat people?
  • What did you say?
  • How did you say it?
  • Whom did you say it to?
  • How was it received?

For women especially, how you treat people and how proficient you are in your current role is what really helps determine how strong – or weak – your personal brands may be. Killelea explains that a good place to start building those relationships is also through LinkedIn, which has become such an important platform to have as updated in real time as possible. Killelea also points out that many times women think they’re networking when, in fact, they’re not – so Killelea has a basic definition: IPO: Information, Power and Opportunity.

Information – Networking is first and foremost an information gathering – and giving exercise. If you’re socializing, great, but don’t call it networking. If you come away from a social, business, or marketing event and know nothing more than you did when you arrived, then you’re not networking. Collecting a handful of business cards is not networking.

Power – Power comes from knowledge, which is why all three of the IPO components are so vitally important to your networking activities.

Opportunity – too many women all think that opportunity will magically waltz into their cubicles and whisk them away to the corner office. They believe the world is “fair,” they will be promoted. Fact is, opportunity is waiting to be discovered around every corner, in every new relationship, and at every meeting.

Killelea says that one of the many misconceptions about networking is that it requires a stern, stiff, and well-rehearsed elevator speech with which to introduce or “sell” yourself. When in fact, IPO – information, power and opportunity – is the fuel that jump starts new information and cements new relationships. Be genuine and your authentic self and the rest will follow when it comes to networking, plus you’ll be more comfortable and not feel like you’re selling a version of yourself to someone.

Another section of the book I found useful was about delegation. Working hard is not the answer. For too many women, working hard seems to be the answer to everything, as if by doing everything, all at once, by ourselves, we can prove we’re worthy of that promotion, raise, or corner office. According to Killelea, in having this perspective we may overlook those team and subordinate relationships that can help us achieve more with less. Learning to delegate allows you the space and the time to lift your head among the crush of work to build your brand and network.

Something that strikes me, and I often see happen, and as Killelea points out, as we move into more senior roles, the work should become less tactical (operational) and more strategic (high-level leadership). This is true and all find and good unless you delegate and then quickly step in to micromanage. This happens I think frequently and unconsciously with women, however we have got to let the reins go! A good delegator, does just, delegates, and then if it looks like it’s going south and the person needs some help, then it’s time to step in and help right the situation. Help is the key word there, not yank it from that persons hands and take it over to fix it yourself. Fail fast, but give your team the chance to do it first. According to Killelea, true delegation relies on trust: trusting team members to do the job to your standards even when you’re not there to micromanage them every step of the way.

I could go on and on about how great this book is, but then you wouldn’t have to go read it yourself, so I’ll wrap things up. As I mentioned in my first installment of this review, I had picked the book up at a time where I don’t think I was in the right head space to receive it. I think that books such as Killelea’s really have to come to you at the right time, but I hope that just by reading this blog post you have a good taste of what the book has for you. It helped me think introspectively, as well as take a look at and examine how I may come off to others. I was able to take inventory of where I am now, how I got here and the people who helped me along the way. I encourage you to do yourself a favor and read it for yourself (and take notes), it’s well worth the time!

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Adulting: Leaving Behind a Place I’ve Called Home for Almost Eight Years

I am a very loyal person. I’m a loyal customer, friend, sibling, daughter, spouse (to someone eventually hah!), and employee, so making a decision to go, to break up, to do something different, go somewhere different is often an anxiety riddled thing for me.

I was presented with an opportunity that I really couldn’t turn a blind eye to. Someone I had worked with some years back reached out because there was an opening on his team. He said I was the first person he thought of and wanted to chat with me about the role, if I was interested. Now, I had been pretty actively toying with the idea of looking for a new position externally, but nothing was really moving in that direction for me – quite frankly folks, it is very competitive and cut throat out there these days – so, I thought “sure, might as well hear what the position is all about.” I have to admit, I wasn’t sold on it at first. I was really having a hard time understanding from our conversation what the role entailed, and I was coming to the conclusion that this would definitely be a growth role for me because, while I am fully capable of learning and doing the job, I also didn’t have some of what they were looking for on my resume.

So, feeling like I was probably not going to be that great of a fit, but still having a little part of my intuition telling me to at least talk to the hiring manager, I said sure – give my info to your boss, I would love to speak with her. Boy am I glad that I did! She really broke down the role for me, explained how the team worked, and outlined expectations for the role. Not to mention we just had a fantastic conversation. She too worked at my company for a number of years and we had many people in common. She told me that she likes to hire people that her current staff know well and have worked with in the past, and that she definitely wanted to have me come in for an in-person interview. She warned me she was moving fast, so the in-person was set up for the following week.

This all fell during the holidays, which are generally pretty quiet for me work-wise, so I was able to take advantage of some of the time I already planned off, to take the phone calls and have an in-person interview. It all seemed to fall into place almost too easily. Generally, in person interviews have me so anxious and nervous. I actually compare it to the build-up I feel before running a race – it’s like 2-4 hours of your life, you can do it. It may sound ridiculous, but it works for me, and applies just the same to psyching yourself up for a job interview.

Anyway, the in-person interview went really well, 3 hours total – 3 people, 1 hour each, and then I was on my way. Within a week I had a phone call from the hiring manager with what I think was seeking reassurance that I was indeed interested in the position, and if they were to make me an offer that was desirable and in my pay range (which I had previously given them), that I would accept. Another week later and I had a verbal offer, and a formal offer followed less than 24 hours later. Like I said, she wanted to move quickly, and quickly we were moving.

My anxiety was a mess leading up to waiting for an offer, then subsided for about 2.2 seconds and catapulted back up upon accepting because, now I’ve got to tell some of my best friends, and mentors that I’m leaving. I explained this to someone by comparing it to breaking up with someone who literally does not see it coming at all. The shock of a lifetime.

Making this decision was not easy for me. I will often put my feelings aside for someone else’s happiness, I will also often times sacrifice things for the better of a relationship, friendship or family, so making this decision felt oddly out of my comfort zone. I was about to say, “I’m going to do this for me. For the advancement of my career, for my savings and future investments…for me. Not for anyone else.” I ultimately accepted the offer and then promptly told my boss that I was giving him my two week notice. That was the whole “breaking up with someone who doesn’t see it coming thing.” He didn’t see it coming…poor guy. But he understood the offer I was getting and that it was a really amazing opportunity.

I have to say, everyone has been excited for me, sad – but also very excited for me. I’m letting go of a lot my daily routine: coffee every morning at about 9 a.m. with my co-worker, lunch a couple times a week with my group of buddies, the occasional check-in with my mentors, and the happy hours and vent sessions over bottles of wine that have come to be part of me and my social life. That is all going to be changing. I’m not just leaving the company I’ve been with for almost 8 years, but I’m leaving some of the greatest people I’ve ever met, I’m leaving San Francisco – which is with both enthusiasm and a bit of sadness – my commute in is absolutely awful on the train every morning. I’m trading in going into an office every day for working from home about 90% of the time. It’s going to be a VERY big change for me, but one I think is necessary, because as I have thought about making this big move and change, I realized that it’s been a very long time since I have really shaken up my life – for better or for worse. I’ve generally stayed in my bubble of friends, travel with the same people, go out with the same people – which don’t get me wrong is totally fine, but I would say I haven’t shaken life up in about 5 years so it’s definitely time.

I accepted a position at a different company on their digital grid marketing team. As some of you know, I have been in the energy industry for about 8 years, so in terms of jumping into a new industry, I at least won’t have that learning curve. But, this new role will really round out my experience and take me into the marketing field where I can be challenged and learn new things. I’ll be managing social media marketing and events management for the team. All things I know I am capable of doing and excited to embark on.

I had to realize that in both relationships and work, we can grow so complacent and not even realize it sometimes, so taking this leap is huge. It’s massively scary but also really exciting. I will miss everyone from my company, and many of those people I will see even after I leave – I have made some seriously awesome friends for life which is a priceless thing and something I will always be thankful for.

So, my words to you and words that I am borrowing from one of my favorite retail owners (Evy’s Tree), “do scary things.” You only regret the chances you didn’t take, so cheers to just going for it and I’m excited to share the journey with all of you!

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How do you know when it’s time to walk away?

I think this question haunts everyone. How do you know when it’s time to walk away from something? And, it could be anything: a bad job, a relationship, friendship, project, literally ANYTHING. And, most importantly, how do you know when it’s OK and you aren’t just throwing in the towel early? That is what I wrestle with the most…am I NOT giving it a fair shot? Or, am I giving it TOO much of a fair shot?

I’m definitely guilty of letting a relationship last too long, letting a friendship cross boundaries too many times before I say something, and letting a job dictate my mental and emotional state. So, when I began thinking about this I decided to do a little research and see what else was out there about this topic, and am I the only one who struggles with the, “give it a better shot,” or “you’ve given it enough, time to walk away.” My little Google search resulted in a list of 17 things (I had a list of 20, but upon reviewing realized I was repeating some of them in just a different way – so, for the sake of making this list easier to digest, I eliminated them). I think these 17 things are little bits of information everyone should consider before making that big decision to throw in the towel and go a separate way.

17 things to consider when trying to make the decision to walk away:

  1. Think about the situation:
    1. What do I want to get out of this situation?
    2. What am I actually getting out of this situation?
    3. What am I investing into this/ what is this situation costing me?
    4. What will happen if I keep investing these things into this situation?
    5. What will happen if I stay? (best and worst case scenarios)
    6. What will happen if leave? (best and worst case scenarios) – I’m a big “list” person so this is literally the best place for me to start.
  2. Remember, walking away doesn’t make you weak: Walking away from something that doesn’t add value doesn’t make you weak – it actually is one of the bravest things you can do, and also means that you are decidedly a strong person. I am a very loyal person, and definitely almost to a fault. I’m also non confrontational and want everyone to always get along so, walking away can sometimes feel like I’m taking the easy way out. In reality, it’s harder to recognize it’s time to go, and then to actually do it – it makes you stronger.
  3. You’re probably the most attached: Often, the first person to walk away is the one who is most attached – true story! My five year relationship ended because I chose to walk away…and as a result I realized that I was more attached to the relationship than he was – he moved on quicker, and just in general seemed to mourn and move on fast than I did.
  4. Acceptance: You’re able to accept that things aren’t going to workout how you wanted. Wow, this is the hardest realization, and usually the one that is the saddest. I’ve had friends who I thought would be in my wedding someday, or my kids would call him/her uncle/auntie so-and-so, and had to come to the realization that that probably wasn’t going to happen. It’s a really sad feeling, but also the quickest way to come to terms with it and move on.
  5. Before it gets worse: You know to walk away before things get worse. Often this is the hardest decision to make because quite frankly, you generally can’t imagine it getting any worse…until it does. And, when it does – you gotta pack your shit and run!
  6. Your gut! If your gut, or intuition, or whatever it may be, tells you that something feels off, it probably is. Really folks, our instincts are our best bullshit detectors.
  7. Going with the flow: Going through the motions instead of reaching the next level of the relationship, friendship or career. How many of us have found ourselves just going through the motions at work? You might be doing a great job and everyone is happy with your work performance, but it’s just easy, and almost takes no extra energy or thought so you just kinda stick with it? Yep, if you’re just going with the flow, you’re never going to get that promotion or find motivation to take that next step in your career, or the next step in your relationship.
  8. Loneliness: You feel lonely, even while in that relationship or friendship, or feel unsatisfied despite working hard at that job. If you have someone who loves you, wants to spend time with you, but you’re still feeling lonely – you are not happy and nothing should come at the cost of your happiness. Leave!
  9. No respect: I mean, this is for anything really. If there’s no respect, nothing else is really left. Walk away! And I would elaborate here, but everyone’s definition of “respect” is different so I’ll just let you interpret that in the way that works best for you.
  10. Desire for a change: The want and need to walk away should come from the desire to change something, not out of fear. I don’t think you are making a confident and well thought out decision when you’re doing it out of fear.
  11. Convenience or desire? Is the friendship, relationship or job more about convenience than desire? Are you staying in that relationship because you live together and have really good rent? Are you staying friends with that person because you’ve known them since you were 12 and have mutual friends so it just makes things easier? These aren’t good reasons to stay in that situation, though when trying to rationalize the choice to go, these will weigh heavily on your mind.
  12. Does the situation cause anxiety? I don’t particularly like this one but it’s so true, and maybe that’s why I don’t like it much. But, if someone’s presence puts your anxiety level through the roof, but you spend time with them anyway because you feel obligated, it’s time to go!
  13. Priorities folks! When you’re an option, not a priority. I, not so long ago, had someone who was trying very hard to get back into my life. I had a weak spot for him, cared about him a lot, and boy did he know the right things to say. My issue, and why we were no longer together, was that I was never a priority. Not ever, not once. So, while trying to get back into my good graces he promptly said, “I want to make this work, and I’ll start by putting you first and making you a priority.” Lasted a week folks…one week. But, I also knew it wouldn’t last long so I wasn’t as disappointed as I could have been. So, walking away was very easy.
  14. Are you still having fun? When it’s more work than fun. If everything is a drain and you’re not finding anything even remotely entertaining or fun about your relationship, friendship or job, then it’s definitely time to go. Nothing is worth your happiness. Wait, haven’t I already said that once in this list?
  15. Is it abusive? When abusive behaviors prevail – or continue. Look, I’m not one of those lucky people who can say that they’ve never been in an abusive relationship – or even friendship. It’s a little harder to identify in a friendship, but if your friend says mean things to you, it’s verbally abusive folks. However, it is often easier to identify abuse in your romantic relationships. But, it can take a while to come around to the reality of it all and actually decide to leave because of it. Inevitably what happens is the abuse becomes more and more frequent and more and more vicious. I wasn’t physically abused, but I was told some really awful things over and over, and they got increasingly hurtful until I worried it might get physical, upon which I left for good. But despite that, it was still one of the hardest decisions I’ve made (crazy, right?).
  16. The good old pros and cons list: Do the cons outweigh the pros? I mentioned that I love lists, and the pros and cons list is no exception. I mean, it’s not going to give you a definitive yes or no about walking away, but it will give you some serious things to think about. When everything is laid out there in front of you it’s hard to hide from it.
  17. What’s the best way to walk away? This is so important. You definitely don’t want to leave out of anger. Believe me, I know that in the moment there is nothing that would feel better than to do the most dramatic walk-out ever seen, but you will inevitably second guess yourself for a really long time. Did I get too worked up and just react? Did I not give myself time to think about it before I just flew off the handle? It’s just best to wait until you’re not so angry so that when you do walk out you are confident you are making the right decision. I even think that walking away sad instead of angry is better, because if you’re anything like me, once you’ve worked through the anger, you’ve probably moved into sadness, and eventually you’re moving into acceptance and ultimately moving on with your life.

I realized while writing this that I too still have relationships that I should be considering for this list, but ultimately you come to the decision in your own time. For some, you decide to end things confidently and swiftly, for others it takes time. For example, I give the benefit of the doubt and chance after chance, but when I’m done…I’m really done. There is no going back ever at any point once I’ve truly decided to walk away. Some folks may walk away and then years down the road decide to give that person a second chance. I don’t operate that way, and some may say that isn’t good either. But, whatever it is or how you’re feeling, I hope this list helps you realize that walking away is never easy, and can cause fear and anxiety because of the unknown, but know that it’s the bravest thing a person can do.

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Top 6 SF coffee shops: When you need more than Starbucks or Peet’s to Get by

So, I realize the title of this is a little provocative and may insinuate the need for something stronger than caffeine, but alas that is not the case. I just sometimes get bored of the same old coffee spots. I have an awesome group of buddies at work who are always down to try different places for lunch once or twice a month so I feel like I don’t get bored in the food arena as much (plus I try my best to bring my lunch most days of the week), but coffee…sometimes you need to mix it up a bit.

I am a creature of habit. The night before I pick out what I’m going to wear to work (yes, I do this because it actually saves me time in the morning), I wake up around 6:30 am, shower and either wash my hair or don’t wash my hair depending on how it’s looking/feeling, finish getting ready…makeup, hair and teeth are almost always done in the same order every morning, I make a cup of coffee (Keurig) and mosey on my way to the train. I drink that cup of coffee while on the train into the city and then once I get to work (around 8:30 am) my co-worker and I go grab another cup of coffee (usually a latte for me) and we usually go to Peet’s for that.

However, we began venturing out for other options recently. We probably only mix it up say once a week, or once every other week, but regardless it helps keeps things interesting. So, I decided that I would share with you my top 5 alternatives to our usual suspects – not that there’s anything wrong with Peet’s and Starbucks, it’s just they are on every corner, and the 6 listed below are not.

joe and the juice

Joe and the Juice – This is just as it sounds, coffee and juices. I was excited when a smaller version of one on Market street opened up and couldn’t wait to check it out. While their juice menu is bigger than their coffee menu, there is one latte in particular I am a HUGE fan of – the Ginger Latte. I mean, talk about heaven in a cup. I love ginger, and when the holidays roll around, a Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks is usually my weekly indulgence, so to have a healthier option anytime my heart desired was a definite plus! However, it’s an almost 5 dollar cup of coffee so I only let myself go once a week, but well worth it. So, how did Joe and Juice start? It all started with a little privately owned juice-bar inside an expensive furniture shop in central Copenhagen. The founder of Joe and The Juice is Kasper Basse. The vibe inside the coffee shop is super cool, the folks who work there always seem to have these amazing foreign accents and call you “love,” and you just generally leave there feeling really good about yourself, and with a ginger latte in hand. Win-win if you ask me! I haven’t tried the juices yet, as I’m still stuck on the ridiculousness of paying that much for juice. I guess I’m just not there yet.

Illy

Illy – The first time I ever tried Illy I was on a coffee date with someone I reconnected with on some dating app (eye roll). Anyway, I liked the vibe and the coffee was delicious. And now, I love going there because it reminds me of Italy. Illy coffee was everywhere in Italy! The company is known and admired on five continents for the high quality and unmistakable velvety taste of its coffee, an outstanding blend made up of nine types of pure Arabica.

bluestonelane

Bluestone Lane Coffee – This cafe is all over New York, and now in a couple of locations in SF (near me). The vibe of the cafe is pretty cool, and one of my buddies even said, “so this is where you come to see all the pretty people in SF.” Here is a little blurb about the style inspiration for the financial district location (taken from their website): The design of the store is inspired by the new locals of the Financial District neighborhood. The beautiful white minimal entry is lined with lush palms and outdoor benches where you can sit and enjoy your coffee. There is also plenty of seating and cushions from Australian designer KIP&CO inside with large windows creating a bright and airy space with lots of natural light, perfect for early mornings with the newspaper or a late breakfast with friends. Three brass pendant lights hang above the white oak bar and splashes of color are provided by our signature seafoam green tiles from Mercury Mosaics. Throughout the space, locals can sit at round marble tables under a sea of white shade pendants. The focal point of the space is a large community table with brass chairs framed by a large planter box housing two tall fiddle leaf plants. Bluestone Lane Coffee is influenced from the renowned coffee culture hub of Melbourne Australia, where premium coffee is a way of life.

Philz

Philz – OK so my first introduction to Philz, was funny enough, also on a coffee date! Haha I’m seeing a trend here. Anyway, the only one near my office was located a few blocks up and you had to quite literally carve out 30-45 minutes to get coffee there. The line was never less than 15-20 people ahead of you. They then opened a second location closer to my office. You don’t need to carve out as much time but you are guaranteed to have at least 5-8 people in front of you in line at any given time. Everyone RAVED about it, if you were a hipster this is all you would drink etc., etc., but I have to say I’ve tried a number of different coffees from there and have only found one or two that really hit my taste buds just right. I enjoy (when it’s not 55 degrees in SF – which is not that frequent) the iced “It’s the Best.” I mean, it really is. There is a cool vibe here and the baristas (I think you call them that here too?) are super cool and make your coffee just to your liking. They will even ask you to take a sip of it before you pay for it to ensure you’re happy with the cream, coffee, sugar ratio.

workshop cafe

Workshop Cafe – This place is super cool. The concept is that it is not just a coffee shop/cafe, but also a place to work. The way it works is like this: Walk in and choose your seat, look at the real-time seat map and pick a spot. They have work space for individuals and groups. Prices to reserve space start at $2 an hour, and you can order food or bring your own, they are super flexible. I only had a latte while I was there, but was extremely tempted by their yummy looking menu which included cheesy popcorn, and then right below that “healthy popcorn.” I’ll take the cheesy please! Anyway, I’m excited to go back there and check it out – definitely wish these existed while I was in college, they would have been nice to use for group projects or for when you really had to crank some stuff out and work.

blue bottle

Blue Bottle – Blue Bottle was introduced to me by my boss at the time, who is self-admittedly a coffee snob. For example, we were on a work trip up in the Napa area, and after a long day of doing some volunteer work he just HAD to detour to downtown Napa to a hipster little coffee shop for an iced something-or-other. Anyway, I credit him for introducing me to something other than Starbucks and Peet’s, and broadening my horizons on what “good coffee” actually is. It was also the first time I spent 4 bucks on a cup of coffee. Blue Bottle also has these AMAZING waffles. I mean, quite literally the biggest sugar splurge you can have for breakfast, but with moderation I think it’s well worth it! Here is a little background on Blue Bottle – I also like that it started in my backyard (Oakland, CA). In the early 2000s, in Oakland, California, a slightly disaffected freelance musician and coffee lunatic, weary of the commercial coffee enterprise and stale, overly roasted beans, decided to open a roaster for people who were clamoring for the actual taste of fresh coffee. Using a minuscule six-pound batch roaster, he made a historic vow: “I will only sell coffee less than 48 hours out of the roaster to my guests, so they may enjoy coffee at peak flavor. I will only use the finest, most delicious, and responsibly sourced beans.”

Well, I hope this gives some of my local readers some inspiration and motivation to try something new, and for my non-local SF readers to check and see if any of these places are located in your area so you can try them yourself! Either way, happy coffee sipping!

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