Browsing Category

Thoughts

Thoughts

Read This: #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

February 5, 2016

In honor of our upcoming Galentine’s Day event celebrating boss ladies in Baltimore, as the great Leslie Knope intended, I thought our next Read This: should definitely be about be #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso.

If you’re not familiar with the little site Nastygal.com, Sophia Amoruso is the young boss lady who built a massive fashion website that started as a 1 girl eBay operation in her studio apartment in San Francisco. An uneducated, dumpster-diving, hitchhiker with a penchant for shoplifting and quitting her mall jobs, Amoruso had been written off as a fail by most of her family and friends. When she found she had a knack for finding gems among the rubbish at the thrift store and a relentless ability to break the rules, she began Nasty Gal, an eBay store for vintage clothes. After finding meteoric success that ruffled more than a few eBay seller feathers, she was finally given the boot from the e-commerce site; just in time to launch her own. Taking her 60,000 MySpace friends with her, the website grew in both sales and its cult following, becoming the $100 million+ company it is today, with a massive facility in L.A. and over 350 employees, all in less than 10 years.

The book #Girlboss is part memoir, part advice column, with a health sprinkling of snark and wit. Amoruso is blunt, sarcastic, and takes no prisoners or excuses. I found her view interesting and refreshing, and despite a few “humble” brags thrown in here and there, I enjoyed her story and perspective. The book is a no-holds-barred punk rock feminist manifesto in some ways, clearly spelled out in the intro: “Don’t ever let the Man get to you.” But also taps into the real business world, taking on debt management and hiring. While I found some of those chapters less interesting and applicable to my own life, (I’ve got the being a professional in an interview thing under control, thanks) I also know from experience that not everyone does, so please spit out your gum.

8c4e4b1b637e60dc60bc88c8f2a113f6

A lot of criticism for the book are people who are less enchanted by her “cinderella story,” saying she is out of touch and that not everyone’s hard work results in such massive success. She also is pretty critical of the Millennial generation she is barely older than (at 31), who she says expect to be rewarded for participating, not for their actual work. I beg to differ with those critiques. While if you only read into the surface level of the book, which does almost make it seem easy to achieve such success, it is clear both in her work ethic and if you research the company that Sophia Amoruso does not mess around. She is a perfectionist who is constantly looking to get better, learn more, think bigger. She identified her customer early in game and stuck with that, using social media in ways that most people still haven’t figured out. I also, as a Millenial, sometimes agree with that assessment, though obviously it doesn’t apply to everyone. But if you can tell me you’ve never seen someone whining in their Facebook status about their super-cushy job they got right out of college because of Daddy’s connections, then can we please switch accounts? I’m so jealous.

Screen-Shot-2014-11-02-at-9.26.18-PM

My favorite chapter is probably “I Am the Antifashion,” which talks about standing out in a crowded scene and letting your freak flag fly, but also touches on how powerful introverts can be in business. She quotes Susan Cain’s Quiet, which made me instantly want to high-five her and ask if we just became best friends. As a fellow introvert who is also a #girlboss, I know the power of thinking and listening instead of speaking, of making a decision after carefully considering the consequences instead of just going with your gut. Common thinking would tell you that extroverts are going to always be the most successful as they are louder, better at networking, and more likely to be heard by a lot more people. But Albert Einstein, J.K. Rowling, and Sophia Amoruso beg to differ. Add me to that clique any day. (Though none of us would actually want to hang out with each other, because we’d rather be alone.)

Overall, a great, pretty quick read for all my boss ladies out there. Feel free to skim the chapters on resumes, but don’t miss the overall point: Be yourself, work hard as hell, and don’t let anyone tell you no.

Let’s chat about #Girlboss next week at Blue Pit! Have you RSVP’d yet?

 

All images from #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

Thoughts

How to Accept a Compliment and Other Networking Skills

February 2, 2016

We hope that you are mentally preparing yourself to meet and network with a bunch of cool girl bosses next week at our Second Annual Galentines Day (Wednesday Feb. 10th at Blue Pit BBQ & Whiskey Bar, 6pm – all are invited, RVSP here).  It’s going to be a great chance to meet and mingle with some of the women who are making moves and just being generally badass in Baltimore.  It also means networking and talking about yourself and having people talk about you.  Which sometime (usually) can be awkward and confusing and what do I do with my hands?

Even the most socially adept can feel a little weird talking about their accomplishments, accepting compliments and trying to maintain professionalism while surrounded by barbecue and lots of whiskey. These are a couple tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way that will help you fool everyone into thinking you don’t have social anxiety.

What You Wear Counts

Wear something professional but also something you feel comfortable in and something that reflects your personality.  During those initial moments we react to and interact with others based on what is apparent to the naked eye.  As much as we would love to say we don’t judge people based on how someone looks, we all do it. In a sense, it’s a method of survival – as social creatures we gravitate towards each other but with so many humans on this planet it would take too much time and effort to get to know everyone on a deeper level before making a judgment call.  Hence, what you wear is important.  We are going to initially gravitate toward people who make similar sartorial choices or look like they would share our interests. For example, I work in the fashion and clothing industry.  I have a strong sense of my own personal style and want to be around people who share that same love for clothing and style.  I’m going to look for someone who has creatively put together an outfit because it’s an easy segue into conversation for me.

With regards to balancing professional/comfortable/your own personality, allow me to use myself as an example.  Do I look like a strong, independent business woman in this matching pantsuit? Yes.  Do I feel comfortable in it?  No.  My personality is reflected better in something a little more edgy and out of the box like a black jumpsuit. Quality material so it’s not too casual, belted at the waist so it’s not too shapeless (sloppy) but loose enough that it doesn’t look like club wear.  Do I feel comfortable in these amazing Lululemon leggings? Yes. Does the edginess of the mesh cut outs match my personality and show off some of my tattoos?  Yes.  Am I going to an athletic-wear convention?  No?  Probably not the best move.  Don’t wear something too short or low cut, but also don’t wear something that you will be tugging at or pulling on all night.  Don’t wear heels if you aren’t accustomed to wearing them or if you know they will be killing your feet by the end of the evening.  DO dress for your field and the industry or kind of people you are looking to network with.  DO stay true to your own sense of style and don’t be afraid to stand out a little. Know your audience, know your environment and know yourself.

Have an Elevator Pitch

One my favorite professors in college, Les Potter, taught me this tip in one of the three public relations classes I took with him (side bar: if you go to Towson University and are any kind of mass communication or marketing major, taking one of his courses is the biggest favor you can do for yourself). Imagine you need to explain who you are and what you do in the time span of a quick elevator ride. An elevator ride is the perfect amount of time – any longer and the other person could lose interest and zone out.

Be engaging, be succinct, be prepared. Say it out loud. You may feel like an idiot doing it in the mirror but it will keep you from feeling like an idiot when actually talking to another person.

What Do I Do With My Hands?

Fortunately our event is at a bar so the best thing you can do is support a local business and hold a drink! Blue Pit makes a mean Old Fashioned if I can stick in my two cents (I can).  A drink gives you something to hold to keep from fidgeting or from having to hold them at your sides. Hands at your side supposedly makes you look relaxed but I always end up feeling stupid. With a drink you have something to hold onto with one hand, maybe two if you can pull off the two hand drink.  You can take a sip whenever there is a break in conversation, allowing both parties time to think of something else to say or how to break away. Ans speaking of exit strategies, a drink can also provide a reason to politely excuse yourself under the pretense of acquiring a refill.

My one caution with drinks is the alcohol component. One adult beverage and it can help loosen you up, calm those social anxiety jitters, and make you feel more confident. Too many adult beverages and you have suddenly made yourself very unappealing indeed. The maximum I will drink in a professional/networking setting is two alcoholic beverages. But in order to keep my safety blanket around I’ll switch a cocktail out for a glass of club soda with a lime in between the real deal. It looks like a cocktail, no one knows the difference but you and the bartender so you don’t have to field the “Water? Really?” questions all night.

Not at a networking event with beverages? Wear something with pockets to keep your hands in check when they feel awkward. Bring a folder or binder with copies your resume or press kit, or your iPad to hold. You don’t have to use it or even open it but it looks like you came prepared and if you do need to share contact info, guess what? You are prepared!

Accept the Compliment

For me this is hardest. Compliments are meant to make you feel good but a lot of the time, at least for me, they make me feel uncomfortable. Acknowledging the compliment can feel pretentious.  Trying to brush it off can come off as disingenuous. A lot of the time I just end up awkwardly repeating some version of what the other person said to me. Example: That coat is amazing – you look so warm! I say: Uhhh…thanks I am really warm.

I don’t have the right answers to the compliments I receive, let alone the ones you receive. The best advice I have ever gotten on the topic is from a choir director I studied with in high school. She told me, if I didn’t know how to respond to praise the best thing to do was smile and simply say thank you. I can honestly say this works ever time. I don’t feel weird about the response I have just given and to the other person I am gracious and accepting.  Compliments aren’t meant to make us feel awkward. When we give them we have nothing but good will towards the recipient. We don’t go into it thinking “Mwuhaha I’m about to make this poor unsuspecting person feel super uncomfortable!” We have to remember this when we are the recipient of a compliment and just be gracious about it.

I hope these tips help you prepare for our Galentine’s networking event next week! Don’t forget to RVSP on our Facebook event to let us know you are coming.  I’ll be in my black jumpsuit holding an Old Fashioned and pretending I’m not sweating profusely.

Thoughts

Things You Can Do Because You’re an #Adult

January 31, 2016

I know we spend a lot of time around here whining about the various parts of #Adult life that are a total drag – such as paying bills, paying taxes, making your own doctor’s appointments, etc. – but there are also a lot of awesome things. I have compiled a list of 20 of my favorites for you to read and simultaneously hold up your glass at your screen and say “fuckin’ right!” We’ll all be doing this together, cheers-ing our #Adult – ness with our legally-purchased-with-our-own-money alcoholic beverages and it will be great. Now, some of these things may not make you appear to be a fully-functioning Adult, but hey. Growing up is a process right? Besides, being an #Adult doesn’t have to be boring.

  1. Wear things you actually like and look good in, not just what Mom says is okay / dress code says is okay / is a uniform.
  2. Deciding when your bedtime is. Whether that be 4am or 9pm, you choose your own adventure.
  3. Booze.
  4. Specifically, Wine.
  5. Unrestricted access to the internet and all of its wonders. Feel free to Google those odd questions about your poop and fear not that your sibling will find it in the search history.
  6. Adopt a furry child.
  7. Say no to going out / a party / seeing people you don’t want to / your ex-hook up’s 3am “You up?” text.
  8. Decorate your space any way you’d like. Not just limited to the room you share with your sister, but your whole damn house.
  9. Have people over your place to drink for any/all of the following reasons:
    1. You did something great (got a promotion, finished your Netflix queue, spent less than $50 in one trip to Target) and want to celebrate.
    2. You did something terrible (lost your job, broke up with your S.O., spent your last $20 3 days before payday) and want people to commiserate.
    3. Harry Potter Weekend.
    4. The Republican debates.
    5. Your dog’s birthday.
    6. A culturally insensitive, not bound by any historical reference holiday. (looking at you, Cinco de Mayo)
    7. It’s Tuesday.
  10. Have cookies for dinner. Or ice cream. Or a block of cheese. Or Wine.
  11. The ability to drive / fly / train / hitchhike (NOT RECOMMENDED BUT ITS YOUR LIFE) anywhere you want.
  12. Ignore text messages.
  13. Refuse to go to the same bars you went to in college because your ID is real.
  14. Spend your day off of work doing absolutely nothing. You work hard and you earned it, dammit.
  15. Go somewhere (run errands, out to a bar, on a vacation) and tell no one where you are going.
  16. Decorate your body in any way you please – tattoos, piercings, none of the above.
  17. Refuse to talk to any customer service person in person or on the phone, deal exclusively with chats or emails.
  18. Drink milk/juice straight out of the carton.
  19. Curse freely and profusely.
  20. Quit the job you hate.

There are many more, but how drunk you tryna get just reading this blog post? I mean, you do you. What’s your favorite part of being an adult? Comment below!

giphy

Thoughts

Pantone Color(s) of the Year 2016: Rose Quartz & Serenity

January 16, 2016

Last year, Pantone struck color gold (pun intended) with Marsala, the COY for 2015. This year, they went balls to the walls and declared not one but two colors that we should all be obsessed with in 2016: Rose Quartz & Serenity.

According to Pantone.com:

“Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.”

Pantone aimed to not just select two colors that reflect the minds of consumers and designers alike in 2016, but rather two colors that blend into one another and were selected to be used as such. Even more interestingly, the colors were selected to reflect the mindfulness of the political climate towards equality and breaking down gender barriers. The colors blue and pink were rather arbitrarily applied to male and female, respectively, as a marketing ploy in the 20th century – isn’t that the story for everything dumb?

When I first saw the selection (admittedly, it was when my local Sephora changed their windows) I was dubious about the choice. Obviously my first thoughts went to beauty products, and with a baby blue color visions of Mimi from The Drew Carey Show were all that came to mind. And while she was a fierce drag bitch, it was not exactly what I was looking for when it comes to beauty inspiration.  But when I started researching the colors more and looking for inspiration, I kind of fell in love because of their applications in all areas. In interior design, hair design, fashion, and more: Rose Quartz and Serenity are absolutely stunning, together. At first glance, the colors seem saccharine and limited to use in a nursery, but when mixed in with interesting textures and modern silhouettes, the colors feel so cool and right now – and let’s face it in this day and age, if it isn’t #instagramable is it even worth having?

So in lieu of a collection of beauty products inspired by the COY(s), I’ll leave you with some of the images that inspired me.

All images are links.

Screenshot 2016-01-16 14.39.11  6aafcca286ed0605a972837526440e66  e49a5b024ce1f2215e14fd5ab9a2c3a9  c2b39c8bb1667f7a82d474f3d92e7cd9  cae3ac137c144474943aa4208fc2813f    96092d03d058d709aa00a4a354c00557  pantone 2016 hair  939a84f8e4ef544695bf85a1435972b7

 

What do you think of this year’s colors? How will you incorporate them into your life in 2016? Comment!

 

 

Thoughts

New Years Resolutions Update

January 8, 2016

Danielle:

Drink min. 2 glasses of wine per day. It’s good for your heart. Or your kidneys. Appendix? Whatever, it’s good for your soul.

Budget is this order: Rent, bills, food, clothes, makeup, nights out, random junk I find on Amazon. Actually spend my money in reverse order.

Finish my Netflix queue. (THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM)

No speeding tickets in 2015. Not gonna drive any slower but keep a better eye out for da fuzz. Thanks, Waze.

Get a gym membership.*

*never go, then consider the reimbursement check from work at the end of the year as “free money” instead of money I wasted all year on a gym membership.

Julie:

Allow my self to wait for the fourth snooze alarm before getting out of bed.

Spend the entirety of my tax return before the end of February.

Treat myself to something at least once a week, whether it be lunch out, binge watching a TV show, a new dress I cannot afford, or giving myself five extra minutes in the shower/to sleep in/etc.

Only do laundry when I have gotten to my last pair of clean underwear (and in more extreme circumstances, when I am wearing bikini bottoms).

Drink cocktails featuring bourbon and ginger weekly.

Shae:

Wear black every day and make zero attempt to incorporate more color in my wardrobe.

Recycle, therefore have consumed, at least four wine bottles a week

Buy candles every time Bath & Body Works has a 2 for $22 sale, no matter how poor I am.

Go a whole week without washing my hair.

Buy a shower cap.

 

Remember these?  Our first post?  Here is how we did on our resolutions in 2015.

*note: actual quotes from our conversation

 

Danielle:

Wine drinking? Crushed it.  I’m up to three glasses a day. I’m the healthiest motherfucker.

I switched food with clothes….actually I probably spent more on wine and just didn’t buy clothes….Wine is food right? 

Sadly, I added to the Netflix queue.  I started watching all of Law and Order SVU so I’ll probably be here till 2017 trying to finish it. 

I might have gotten a couple speed camera tickets. They doesn’t prove I was driving. Da fuzz aint got nothin.

Gym membership? Nah. 

 

Julie:

I definitely waited till the fourth alarm.  I was very good at hitting snooze four times. 

I believe I spent ALL of my tax return before it even hit my account.

I didn’t get anything in my treat yourself post. Well…I didn’t get a new tattoo but I did start my hair this year. I ate a lot of bougie meals. I didn’t go to Coachella.  I got some tech accessories I guess (I traded phones with someone and then didn’t upgrade). 

New apartment means washer and dryer. Having access to it all the time means I did not get down to bikini bottoms.  

Cut back on the ginger. Cut out the “-ger” in ginger and just started on gin.  

 

Shae:

I bought way too many clothes this year…but I did buy mostly black.  

I feel like I drank more wine. We had more bottles in the recycling…but I do live with Danielle….

Danielle picked the slack on my candle buying resolution.  She bought seven last time they had a sale (She says “To summarize 2015: I was drunk and I bought a lot of candles”) 

Exceeded expectations and went TWO WEEKS without washing my hair (note: not two weeks without showering)

I bought a 150 pack of shower caps.  Julie: how often do you switch caps?  Me: Ehhhh whenever one starts looking particularly sad. 

 

We really over achieved our goals for 2015 so we are cutting ourselves some slack this year.  One resolution each…which may or may not get accomplished. No guarantee. No judgment.

Julie: Achieve the perfect platinum blonde – which I will.

Danielle: Be on time to something. I’m not going to specify what.  Maybe work. Maybe.

Shae: Finish my sleeve. Disappoint my mom.

 

What are your ~*real*~ resolutions for 2016? Let us know in the comments!