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After a stressful day as an Engineer, Robin pulled into her driveway. The children’s toys were scattered on the walkway to the house.

 

She immediately began noticing slight tension in her muscles and apprehension in her stomach.

Entering her house, her husband ignored her while he talked with his buddy on the telephone. Her heart started beating a little faster.

 

Looking around, she noticed disarray; nothing was picked up, the house was a mess. Irritation and frustration started to settle in. Finally, as her feelings grew, she exploded and began yelling at her husband and children.

 

Stress may trigger anger:

 

Stress is often the trigger that takes us from feeling peaceful to experiencing uncomfortable angry feelings in many common situations such as the one described above.

 

Stress is most easily defined as a series of bodily responses to demands made upon us called stressors.

These “demands” or stressors can be negative (such as coping with a driver who cuts in front of you on the freeway) or positive (such as keeping on a tour schedule while on vacation).

 

Stressors may be external to you (like work pressure) or internal (like expectations you have of yourself or feeling guilty about something you did or want to do).

 

Whether the stressor is external or internal, scientists have discovered that the major systems of the body work together to provide one of the human organism’s most powerful and sophisticated defenses; the stress response which you may know better as “fight-or-flight.”

 

This response helps you to cope with stressors in your life. To do so, it activates and coordinates the brain, glands, hormones, immune system, heart, blood, and lungs.

 

Avoid Robin’s destructive behavior toward her loved ones. Before your stress response turns into anger or aggression, use these strategies to get it under control:

 

Read your personal warning lights: Becoming aware of your stress response is the first step to managing it. This means listening to your body, being aware of your negative emotions, and observing your own behavior when under stress. For instance, notice muscle tension, pounding heart, raising voice, irritation, dry mouth, or erratic movements.

 

What you see is what you get: For a potential stressor to affect us -stress us out - we have to first perceive it or experience it as a stressor.  Gaining a new perspective on the stressing situation can often drastically change the effect it has on us. Our stress response can indeed be a response   (something we can control) instead of a knee-jerk reaction (which is automatic).

Examples: Cut off on the freeway? “It is not personal. That guy has a problem. I will stay calm.” Bullied by a co-worker? “If I react, he wins. Later, I will privately let him know how I feel about what he did. If that doesn’t work, I’ll discuss it with our manager.”

 

Stress-Guard your life: You can also make many life-style changes to reduce or minimize feeling stressed-out, even if you can’t change some of your actual stressors.  For instance, manage your time better, establish priorities, protect yourself from toxic relationships, and find a way to manage your money better, or consider changing your job or occupation.  Other stress-guards include those you have probably heard before, but maybe need to do more frequently such as:

 

Getting adequate rest,

Eating a healthy diet,

Avoiding excessive alcohol intake,

Living in a way consistent with your core personal values,

Developing social networks of friends and support.

 

Stress is most easily defined as a series of bodily responses to demands made upon us called stressors.

It’s important to recognize these stress responses and develop techniques to lessen the impact!

It’s a new year in more ways than one and more opportunities are opening up.  It really feels like a turning point for professional women.  Do you feel it?  We’re finally talking about issues that affect us in a more meaningful way.  We’re actually talking about pay parity in a constructive manner.  So I ask you, is this YOUR year to take those steps for more career advancement – for leadership positions?

Of course, you’re ready.  You have the credentials and the experience.  What could be the missing piece?  Are you being recognized as the expert in your field?  Do you stand out as exceptional? Are you being valued in your group?  Do they know, like, and trust you?  Are you ready to seize any opportunity that comes your way?  And most importantly, do you feel self-confident enough to do it?

The missing link may simply be the confidence that comes from executive presence – that intangible quality that leads others to believe you’re a capable leader.  Executive presence is a perception of you that appears composed, confident, and credible – that image telling us you’re completely capable of whatever we ask of you – you will lead us through.  And you can influence others.  Some people have it naturally -- the rest of us CAN learn it.  It’s a soft skill that’s simply not taught in regular curriculums.

This perception is created through the communication of body language, composure, and wardrobe.  We communicate as much as 55% with non-verbal communication.  We use our little reptilian brains to make snap judgements daily using the visuals we see.  Simple little cues that give vital information about us.  Your work may not speak for itself, but your IMAGE can.  Executive presence helps develop these minute, but critical signals that tell others we clearly understand our role in our culture and are completely in control of our position.  We are ready to lead.

If you’d like to know how to amp up YOUR executive presence, sign up for one of my two lunchtime workshops in February at PinkPetro headquarters called “The Art of Presence” on February 7 or February 22 from 11:30 – 1:00PM.  Lunch included.  Get ready to learn the tips, tricks and inside information to rev up YOUR career!  Better yet, bring a friend so you can share info!  See you there! 

New Year's resolutions? Not again! Don't you remember what happened last time?

 

I don't know about you, but for me, New Year's resolutions always come with a big bat: I resolve to do something, I stop doing it, and I beat myself up about it.

 

In fact, the vast majority of people deviate from their resolutions sooner or later, usually sooner. And most of the rest are probably lying or kidding themselves. Of course, there might be a FEW hardy souls out there somewhere who actually stick with their resolutions. Good for them!

 

For the rest of us, though, I would like to propose an alternative. And no, it's not too late. See, that's the beauty of alternatives: They don't have to follow the same rules as resolutions. Which means that you don't have to start (or make) them on the first day either!

 

Here's what I'd like to propose: Instead of "resolving," let's visualize, project, envision, allow, and, yes, even dream.

 

I haven't made New Year's resolutions in years. Instead, I tend to sit down and spend some quality time dreaming up what I would like to happen in the coming year. I try to be somewhat within the realm of the possible, given ideal circumstances, but I make sure not to aim too low.

 

So, let's not make resolutions. Let's not say "Next year I will ALWAYS blah blah blah and if I fail to do so, I'm a loser!"

 

Instead, let's try this:

 

"Next year, I see myself meeting .... and creating ..... and...."

 

Put in the spaces whatever it is you would like to do or have happen for you.

 

Whom would you like to meet?

 

Is there a business you're trying to get off the ground? Visualize it up, running, and thriving. Visualize your many happy customers or clients. Or readers, if you plan to write.

 

Is there a personal goal you would like to reach? Yes, the same kind we usually make resolutions for. Instead of the usual resolutions, though, say something like this:

 

"I see myself enjoying moving my body regularly and feeling full of energy. I love fresh and nutritious food, and I enjoy creating tasty meals and eating them." And so on. You get the idea

 

Here's one I need to envision for myself: "I really enjoy getting enough sleep and feeling well-rested!"

 

Or how about for your career?  “I see myself enjoying my time at the office and being extremely productive this year.  People are really going to start taking notice! Things are going to fall in place, and my career is really going to take off this year.”

 

Now, what happens if you don't make it?

 

Well... there is always that little addendum to visualization and manifestation exercises.  I call it: "This or something better..."

 

We don't always know what's best for us in the long run. We may think we know. We may kick and scream as things don't work the way we want them to.

 

But how many times have you failed to receive what you wanted and realized later that you were oh so much better off without it? Happened to me lots of times!

 

Or that because you didn't get it, things developed in a way that brought something to you that was so much better than what you had wanted originally that the very thought of not having that in your life could make you weep?

 

So, this year, let's not make New Year's resolutions. Let's do something different. Let's visualize. Let's project. Let's dream! And let's have an absolutely amazing new year!

 

Am I way off here??  Let me know your thoughts :-)

The phone rang.

 

I heard a fragile voice on the other end of the line who was doing everything she could to keep it together.  I asked, "Are you okay?" I knew this answer but I knew she was looking for someone to ask.

 

Jennifer got quiet and then sobbed about how she was let go at the end of 2015.  She had a great job in project management.  After 20 years and steady progression, she found herself promoted, doing well and unexpectedly cut due to the downturn. 

 

I know that feeling of being reduced.

 

But what was really bugging Jennifer?  She told me she was feeling humiliated and isolated.  I agreed with her... those are all valid feelings to have when you are going through a layoff. 

 

But she then told me it wasn't so much the layoff that had her upset.  She felt alone and isolated because she had just been kicked out of a women's networking organization in energy for being unemployed.  (via an email)...

 

My empathy for Jennifer turned to shock.  "You were what?"  "As in, you were told you could no longer be a part of the group because of your employment status?"

 

(And via an email, nonetheless?!?!)

 

She sobbed, "Yes.  They said I had to be working in the energy industry to be a member."

 

"Katie, Do you think you can help me?"

 

Can I help her, I thought?  Why yes, I can.  It's the very reason I started this.  It's the reason I get up every day. I want women to stay in industry.  I want to see them progress.  I'm so sick of seeing us lose great people and it absolutely disgusts me to know that there are organizations who say they promote women when they are kicking them to the curb at times like now.

 

I don’t know what it is about women (or people for that matter).

There are days I wish I had enough money in the world to wrap up all the therapy and put a bright bow on top the box and drop it off at the doorstep of these petty souls who prey on others misfortunes. And.. may these people never have to experience a layoff, or say, a big discrimination suit.

Tsk. People who create drama deserve their karma. You get what you put into the world.

And for Jennifer, I’m so happy she put herself out there and called.

Jennifer, you're welcome here.  Everyone is welcome here.  If ANY of you ever need anything (any of you), please reach out.  Our community is here to support you.

It can be frustrating to concentrate on a project and then get distracted by an idea for another project. You can build structure around eliminating physical distractions (such as phone calls, email, and people), but it’s much harder to eliminate the distractions in your own head!

The Challenge

You’re working on a project and an unrelated thought pops into your head. Your attention immediately switches to that new idea, abandoning the project you started. (Of course the new idea is more fun . . . it’s new!)

The Solution

The next time you are distracted by the thoughts in your own head, utilize the Parking Lot technique. A parking lot is piece of paper where you write down (“park”) every idea that comes into your head, as soon as it enters your head. (You can also use one Post -It note per idea if you prefer.)

 

Once you finish what you’re working on, you can look at all the ideas in the parking lot and decide on the next task you want to complete. NOTE: This is not a to-do list, just a place to park things for later. Often there will be ideas on this list that do not need further action, they just needed to get out of your head!

 

Internet – Instead of opening a new browser each time an idea pops into your head, jot the ideas down, finish the current online task, then open a tab for one of the tasks you identified on the parking lot.

 

Project – While working on a project and you think of an idea for another project. Instead of continuing to think about this project, write down your thoughts in the parking lot, and continue working on the initial idea.

 

Meeting – During a meeting or presentation, place any questions, strategy suggestions, and other important (but unrelated) ideas into the parking lot until the appropriate time. Questions may be answered throughout the talk and if not, you have captured them for review at the end.

 

Webinars – Since webinars are often “anonymous” it’s easier to multi-task while listening. The speaker says something that reminds you that you need to pay your cell phone bill, so you open a browser to pay the bill and stop listening to the speaker. Instead, park it – and listen!

 

Simple solutions like the Parking Lot can make a world of difference in your productivity – and therefore your capacity! This technique is my gift to you – because this “I’m so busy feeling” is NO FUN! You can easily do a “brain dump” and get your priorities in order.

It’s almost 2018 (or by the time you read this… it’s already 2018) and just as you did last year, and the year before that, you’ve probably set some New Year’s resolutions.  But if you’re like most of us… by the time you get to February, these will be long forgotten as you get caught up in the daily grind of life.

 

Why not make a fresh start this year and do things differently by following this simple 5 step process?  It’s easy, effective and very practical.  It will help you make the changes that you know you need to make to bring new happiness into your life . . . starting right here, right now.

 

STEP 1: ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS

 

Take a few moments and reflect upon the past 12 months.  Think about the high points and low points.  Spend at least 15 minutes reviewing your past achievements.  Then write down your answers to the following questions:

 

-My biggest achievements in 2017 were…

-Some of the things I wanted to achieve but didn’t are…

-What stopped me was…

 

STEP 2: MAKE IT FEEL REAL

 

Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”  What you imagine is a powerful precursor to success.  That’s why your next activity is to create a Vision Board.  Simply go through some magazines and cut out pictures that visually represent what your achievement looks like, feels like, smells like, and sounds like.  Pick out images, colors, words, and patterns that best represent your most important dreams and achievements for the year ahead.  Then make a collage of your pictures.  Reflect upon these and really feel what it would be like to achieve your dreams.

 

STEP 3: PREPARE YOURSELF FOR THE JOURNEY

 

Whenever you instigate any change, you create resistance.  After all, it’s so much more comfortable sitting in the comfort zone, isn’t it?  But if you want things to be different, then you’re going to have to make changes.  In a journal, draw three columns going across the page and title them ‘the change,’ ‘the obstacle,’ and ‘the solution.’  In the first column, list the changes that you will need to make to bring your 2018 aspirations into reality.  In the second column write any obstacles, and finally, brainstorm and come up with some solutions.  You will notice, that when there is a will, there’s a way!

 

STEP 4: PRIORITIZE AND GO FOR IT!

 

Now it’s time to summarize and prioritize. Being focused is important for turning ideas into action.  Put the first things first, and make sure your goals are specific and achievable and that you have a ‘support person’ to keep you on target.  To finish, review all the good work you have done so far and make a list of no more than 5 goals.  Nominate somebody to whom you will be accountable to, and determine how and when you will update them.

 

Finally, remember that you can do anything if you really put your mind to it. Remember, it’s your life, your choice, so live your greatest life!

Your personal development and motivation is the key to a successful and happy life. If you want to feel fulfilled from day to day then you need to know what makes you tick and how to get it. You need to be able to meet your goals and even exceed them, and with a personal mission statement, you will be that much closer to being in the position to do so.

 

Even businesses are getting in on these mission statements. They are a great way to make it known to yourself and others just where you want to be and what your goals really are, and when you know your goals, you can be constantly working towards them. If you simply bumble through life let’s be honest, you won’t get anywhere.  Or… you’ll look back on your life and think, “What did I do for the last 30 years???” Everyone can benefit from a mission statement, and if you want to get where you are going, I highly suggest you will start writing your own today!

 

Your personal mission statement is not only about getting what you want out of work or the people around you, it is also about giving back to the world and your loved ones. This mission statement will help you to find out just where you stand in the world and help you to find out just what you should be doing for those around you. Take your time when developing your mission statement and see how you can not only change your future for the better, but also change the world for the better.

 

So, what are you waiting for?  If you’re sick and tired of being the kind of person who simply lets things happen to them then pull out a pen and paper right now and start working on your personal mission statement.  Hang it on your office wall, put it on your mirror at home.  Keep it somewhere where you’ll see it every day as a constant reminder of where you’re headed and what you’re trying to accomplish.  You’ll notice that as soon as you write it down and make it “official”, getting to where you want to be is much easier, and life becomes much more fulfilling because you’ll see the progress you’re making. 

 

Last, don’t forget to also focus on your strengths and your abilities in your mission statement. Include these to motivate yourself and remind yourself that you have a vast set of capabilities that simply need to be tapped into to find success each day. 

 

So, what do you say?  If you don’t already have one… let’s write a mission statement today!

At the recent PinkPetro celebration I spoke about creating an image, a presence that instantly communicates your education, your authority, your credibility.  The best comment I got from the Facebook Livestream was from a geoscientist who stated: "you really opened my eyes", and I can't tell you how happy that made me.  Because of THIS year's cultural upheaval, NEXT year can become a  remarkable year for ALL women to take the lead and open new doors, new opportunities for ALL of us.  So let's talk about how you dress. 

 

Does it matter?  We'd like to think, 'no', but humans ARE visual, it's how we survived as a species. So what we wear is STILL the best predictor of our behavior to set up a trust factor.  Even if no one believes it - it matters - ask any social scientist.  Do you need to be a fashion trend-setter?  No.  But what will best serve your career is to be a clear communicator of YOUR expertise and value through your image.  If, when you walk into a conference room and your image doesn't relay your expertise, your intention, and how you expect to be appreciated, YOU have created a barrier to connection with the group.  You have the power to communicate subliminally and if you choose to ignore it you miss opportunities.  We can't AFFORD to miss opportunities.  So let's dress for the job we have, the job we want, and, most importantly, the RESPECT we expect and we've worked for.  Even if you work with cultural neanderthals, you need to step up your presence, so they CAN'T ignore you and they dare not dismiss you.  

 

Is this complicated?  No, the fashion 'machine' has confused you.  It's not complicated and the clothes DO exist.  Will I help you?  YES, YES, YES.  I'm scheduled to teach a class through PinkPetro called The Art of Presence at lunch on February 7 and 22 here in Houston.  Can't be here?  Let me know and I can do a Zoom meeting, or a one-on-one, or a group workshop.  Where you work and the culture drives what you wear, but you MUST communicate your authority.  We can even talk and I'll recommend where you can shop online because THAT's where the designers are that specialize in our unique body shapes, like petites, and big busts, and generous sizing or even clothes for working out in the field.  They really DO exist because THEY care about the women who can't find the right thing to wear to work.  

 

Tell me how I can help you and I will.

 

So don't give up.  Sign up and get ready for a powerful and growth-filled new year! 

PinkPetro - The Art of Presence, February 7 & 22, 11:30 - 1:00 at PinkPetro headquarters

www.marilynnbarber.com

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I spoke to a great group of woman at the PinkPetro event recently.  My talk was about using your dress (what you wear daily) to communicate both your competence, your value, and your aspirations through the visual of our dress.  Through our presence. 

Humans are visual, that’s how our species survived.  The visual told us whether to run or fight.  And it helped us connect to each other.   And those instincts survive today.  The way we look continues to be the predictor of our behavior, filtered through the adaptive unconscious.

My point was that we can strategically plan HOW we want to be seen in our work environment to express our value, authority, and potential for leadership.  And, as any marketing professional knows, our message needs to be consistent on a daily basis.  That’s the ‘personal brand’ message you’ve probably heard about.  And that’s how we develop trust.

I believe that today, women in the corporate world need to be especially vigilant in crafting our unique message and making certain it is consistent.  Our image is everywhere thanks to the internet and social media, and every image adds another impression of you.  And each face-to-face interaction you have is yet another impression. You have the power to affect how people see you and connect to you.   If we want our story to remain constant and our influence to grow we need to make this a priority.

You’re gonna get up every day and get dressed for work.  You tell your story every day.  So tell your story and your aspirations with the greatest impact.  Imagine how much more meaningful your life could be!  

The way you look affects the way you think, the way you feel, the way you act and the way others react to you.  What if this is the secret sauce to stopping that nagging self-doubt of Imposter Syndrome that follows you around incessantly?

All you have to do is decide!

The only thing you have complete control over is the way you dress. 

So tell people YOUR story, YOUR way, EVERY day.

Dress like YOU mean business! 

And, good news!  If you’re sitting there thinking, “great idea, now what?” I will be offering a lunchtime workshop through PinkPetro in February called “The Art of Presence” where we’ll get into the nitty-gritty of how to do this with specific ideas and strategies for you, in your business culture.  It’s scheduled February 7 and February 22.  So sign up now and get ready for YOUR future!#

The BIGGEST part of time management is beating procrastination!  We all procrastinate, even those of us who pride ourselves on having good time management skills.  Here are seven proven ways to beat procrastination.

 

  1. Do the worst task first: I have used this technique for years. I have even created more than one “first thing.” There is first thing in the morning, there is first thing after lunch, and there is first thing in the evening. I take a look at the items on my To Do List and figure out which one I am dreading the most and spend a limited time on it at least moving it forward. This is known as swallowing the frog first thing; if you begin your day by swallowing a frog, then the rest of the day looks good.

 

  1. Break it down: Often the reason that we procrastinate is because the task ahead of us is too big. Often there are small parts of the task that can be done. How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time.

 

  1. Use a friend: I am not actually referring to delegation (but of course I don’t mind that either); what I mean is to tell a friend what you want to do and get them to help you start the task. Often it is the act of starting a task that is enough to get the task done.

 

  1. Do the pleasant part of the task: Often many distasteful and large jobs have some parts to it that are not particular distasteful. Do them so at least you are moving forward on your most important items.

 

  1. Fifteen (15) minutes: Just spend 15 minutes on a task. I have the attitude that I can spend 15 minutes doing virtually anything and I can certainly survive spending 15 minutes on something. Often by spending the 15 minutes on a task, I either complete it or I will get it moved forward enough that it has the momentum to finish.

 

  1. Track it: The simple act of tracking a goal is often enough to keep the goal moving forward. It seems odd, but knowing that you are going to write down whether or not you have done something is often enough to make you move forward.

 

  1. Reward or punish: The reason we do something is because it is more painful than not getting it done, so if we can make the completion a task more rewarding or the consequences of not completing it more painful, then we tend to move forward on things. Tying successful completion of a task to a reward is often a successful technique.

 

Remember that even successful people occasionally procrastinate. Procrastination is not a permanent condition.

Have you ever found yourself in the state of being “stuck”? No, I’m not talking about being stuck in the snow or stuck in the mud on a rainy day.

 

The “stuck” that I’m referring to involves not moving forward in some area of your life. It’s the paralysis that a writer sometimes encounters along the road to finishing her novel. Or the inactivity that persists during an entrepreneur’s attempt to finish an important project. Or maybe it's your current career path!  Whatever it is, it’s the frustration that comes from feeling as though you just can’t seem to get from where you are to where you want to be.

 

Just as we eventually work our way out of the snow, or emerge from the mud, it is also possible to break free from the despair of being stuck in some activity or area of your life. Below are several ways to break this pattern, and to begin moving forward in the direction of your desired outcome.

 

1. Recognize the current reality.

 

What are the dynamics of this situation? Is your perception the truth, or are there other possibilities? What’s really happening?

 

2. Break the task or project down into smaller parts.

 

If the problem is overwhelming, then break it down. By doing so, the task becomes more manageable.

 

3. Identify the bottlenecks.

 

Breaking the project down also helps you to get clear about the obstacles that have been holding you back. Once you get clear, you will be in a better position to overcome these obstacles.

 

4. Identify the next step to take.

 

This is part of simplifying the issue. By focusing only on the next step, rather than on the entire project, you greatly reduce the complexity of the situation.

 

5. Take that next step.

 

The key to emerging from a stuck state is to take action. If you just sit in your car, waiting in the mud, nothing would happen. You must do something—take action—whether you’re stuck in the mud, or stuck in life. As you take action, you will begin to see the change you’re looking for!

 

6. Change your surroundings.

 

One way to gain new perspective is by changing your physical surroundings. Take a bath. Listen to music. Go for a walk. A change of setting will help you to view the situation differently, providing the insight to move you forward.

 

7. Get help from someone you trust.

 

Ask your friend, your colleague or your coach to look at the situation, and tell you what they observe. Although you can often emerge from a snow bank without assistance, it helps to have an extra set of hands. Sometimes another person’s perspective makes all the difference.

 

8. Reward yourself.

 

After you’ve broken the task into smaller steps, set up a way of celebrating each small victory. You deserve it, and this structure of action / reward will stimulate you to move forward at a faster pace than you otherwise would.

 

9. Give yourself a break.

 

If you’re not progressing, simply walk away. Rather than trying to force something to happen, relax. When you’re ready, go back and take action!

 

10. Visualize your outcome.

 

Whatever happens, know that you are going to be okay. Visualize your desired outcome, and move mentally in that direction. Picture the things that will have to happen in order for that outcome to be produced. Feel confident that it can be accomplished, and that it will be accomplished.

 

We all get stuck at different times in our lives. With these tools, you will minimize the time that you stay stuck. Trust in yourself, and continue to take small, manageable steps toward the achievement of your goal!

The Holidays are here!

Styling points for dressing for the season

 

Holiday parties HERE – are they listed on your calendar?  Are you preparing NOW?  Because your size is being sold out as we speak.  Here's the plan.

  • Find the dress, buy the dress.
  • Get it altered to fit YOU, especially the hem length. Take to the tailors NOW to save rush charges and frantic run to tailor shop in rush hour traffic. Most want a week’s turnaround time.
  • If you’re renting from one of the services, order a dress or two NOW and hold on to them. If they don’t fit, you still have time to send back and try again, just be certain you have one.
  • Make sure you have the right undergarments to make you and the dress look perfect. (bra, Spanx, panty hose, whatever)
  • Got shoes? Can you walk in them do the door? (I valeted recently because my shoes were so tall, but I LOOKED good!) Can you dance in them? If it’s a long dress, is the hem short enough to prevent tripping or ripping the hem out?
  • Clutch or cocktail bag, please. Not the giant IT bag with a party dress.
  • Plan for a mani/pedi early in season, so you look polished, especially a pedi if you’re going to wear flashy sandals. Schedule it NOW.
  • Schedule a fresh haircut/style/color NOW -- December is crazy.
  • Do you need to schedule a make-up artist? Buy new make-up?  Do it NOW. Have you got a back-up make-up kit in your desk drawer?
  • Do you have a stylish party wrap/coat? A trench coat over a cocktail dress is not a good way to make an entrance.

 

 

If you literally have to go from office to party here’s the fastest way to up level your look. 

First remember, what we are looking for is a CONTRAST in what you’re wearing from office to the party to signal you’re ready to be festive!

  • Find a solid, bold seasonal color to wear to work.  Be certain it’s comfortable
  • Red is always good. Green, blue, black as last resort
  • Perhaps you wear a jacket over it you can take off later
  • Now, add sparkle:
  • Jewelry
  • Add sparkly/bigger earrings
  • Add interesting necklace
  • Add more sparkle with bracelets or a ring
  • Add metallic or sparkly clutch bag

 

Change shoes:

 

Switch from your office pumps to sparkly sandals or fun flats like an animal print.  (You’re fun, remember!)

 

Make-up refresh

  • Blot excess oil from face (those tissue toilet seat covers are great for absorbing oil!) and then powder down
  • Add more blush on the apple of your cheek to put the color back in your face
  • Add red lip color and gloss for drama, not a nude or a frost
  • Darken contour of eye (camera flash will wash most of it out anyway)
  • Go crazy and add a little sparkly eyeshadow (optional)
  • Add extra mascara and eyeliner to pop your eye 

     

    If you literally have to go from office to party here’s the fastest way to up level your look. 

    First remember, what we are looking for is a CONTRAST in what you’re wearing from office to the party to signal you’re ready to be festive!

    Find a solid, bold seasonal color to wear to work.  Be certain it’s comfortable

Red is always good. Green, blue, black as last resort

Perhaps you wear a jacket over it you can take off later

 

    Now, add sparkle:

    • Jewelry
    • Add sparkly/bigger earrings
    • Add interesting necklace
    • Add more sparkle with bracelets or a ring
    • Add metallic or sparkly clutch bag

     

       

      Change shoes:

       

      Switch from your office pumps to sparkly sandals or fun flats like an animal print.  (You’re fun, remember!)

       

      Make-up refresh

      • Blot excess oil from face (those tissue toilet seat covers are great for absorbing oil!) and then powder down
      • Add more blush on the apple of your cheek to put the color back in your face
      • Add red lip color and gloss for drama, not a nude or a frost
      • Darken contour of eye (camera flash will wash most of it out anyway)
      • Go crazy and add a little sparkly eyeshadow (optional)
      • Add extra mascara and eyeliner to pop your eyes

       

      If you have a hairstyle that can be changed dramatically, switch it up for contrast.  A beautiful hair clip would be great.

       

      If you have a fun shawl, cardigan, kimono that really looks like it works over your office clothes, add it. 

       

      And PLEASE, PLEASE remember, someone is ALWAYS shooting photos or video.  Make sure what you’re wearing is something you’d like to see on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow.  I heard a story about a lawyer losing a job offer because of his WIFE’S social media. We gotta be careful!

       

      Oh, and have FUN at the party!

       

       

      Dressing for business holiday parties is a delicate challenge. How do you balance appearing business-tasteful yet showing your fun side?  While there’s no perfect answer, I’ve put together some guidelines to help clear up your outfit angst.  

      First, remember -- it’s still a business event. 

      So here’s the simple Goldilock’s Dress Theorem to keep in mind: 

      “Not too much, not too little, but JUST RIGHT”. 

      Please keep this in mind when you’re shopping in your closet or out. 

      • Not too much skin
      • Not too little dress
      • Just the right amount of style that still shows you understand your business role at this event.

      Look for a dress, or top/bottom, or evening pantsuit that:

      • Does not reveal much more skin than you would reveal at the office, ESPECIALLY cleavage. It’s yours - keep it private. Beware of too-deep v-necks, too-deep cowl necklines, awkward cut-outs, too-dramatic-cold shoulders and see-thru anything. Save these for personal parties. Don't go with backless either, too much opportunity for unwelcome hands-on.
      • You CAN show some shoulder, some back, some leg, body shape. Tasteful, elegant, and discreet make the best impression. If it’s short, try sitting down in it – too short? If you’re going to dance, can you safely do a turn without flashing too much? 
      • Save the leather/pleather/vinyl for personal. It’s too easy to mis-read these.

      Keep in mind it IS a festive holiday event, so time to sparkle, so shop for:

      • Festive, bright colors like red, blue, green. Don’t disappear into the photo with a nude/blush.
      • Metallic fabrics – gold and silver fabrics and embellishments really pop in evening photos.
      • Lush evening fabrics like velvet and chiffon. Satin, taffeta, and silk dupioni have a beautiful sheen and beaded fabrics look elegant. Lace is lovely if you are CERTAIN it covers enough and you have the right undergarments to prevent unfortunate see-through.
      • Decorative details and embellishments like beads and crystals, sparkle of any kind.
      • Elegant ruffles, tucks, draping, fish tails, and asymmetric hems add tasteful drama that separates you from a daytime look.
      • Elegant evening wear jumpsuits are a bold statement. Be certain it fits perfectly (not too much skin, not too tight), you have the right undergarments to look smooth, and your shoes don’t clash. Get the hem length right so you don’t trip on it.
      • And the classic man’s tuxedo look is a dramatic statement. Especially good if it turns really cold.  You look elegant and feel warm. And this suit never goes out of style!
      • If you need to literally go from desk to party, add sparkly earrings and/or necklace, red lipstick, blush, bring a change of shoes. These simple transformations will signal you tried!

      When shopping, please keep in mind, the SALES person is there to make a SALE. Regardless of what they say and especially if they’re pressuring you, take it home and try it on again at your leisure to be certain you feel it’s right. Buy special undergarments to enhance how you look, and give yourself enough time to have it altered in any way needed. 

      I have had sales people assure me an alteration can be made when I know it can’t. If it’s suggested, don’t take the tags off until the alterations shop has agreed to the alteration. Plus, good alterations/tailors are running at high-speed at this time of year and are costly if you wait until the last minute.

      And don’t wait until the last minute to shop – you’ll end up settling for something you’re unhappy with. If there’s a party on the books, start now. Holiday wear is on the racks and your size will sell out first.  And if you're renting - shop now too!

      My last stylist tip is: look for interesting necklines. Since your head is always in the photo, your neckline will be too. A great hemline or shoe may not make the photo, but that interest around your neck WILL.

      If you need help, I’m here and on the hunt for great looks for you – call me!

      One of the main arguments against the use of fossil fuels for energy is that it is a finite resource. Granted, yes, it is technically a limited resource, and at some point, we could potentially use up all of this resource; however, there is much more oil beneath the surface than most people realize.

       

      Experts and scientists have been claiming for decades that we will soon deplete the earth of its oil reserves, leading to catastrophic economic collapses and the end of energy as we know it. The problem is, predicting exactly when we will run out of oil is like predicting when alien life forms will visit—no one truly knows.

       

      Here’s the good news.

       

      With the way the free markets work, chances are that if the supply of oil decreases, resulting in higher prices, entrepreneurs have an incentive to find innovative ways to locate and extract more oil to make a profit. Because of this, more oil is discovered and extracted, resulting in a more abundant supply and worries put at ease.

       

      Also, because nobody knows when we’ll run out of oil, most likely we won’t deplete the supply until centuries down the line. Before this happens, entrepreneurs will have found new substitutes for oil that are cheaper and may provide additional benefits. We’ve already seen this happen over the last few decades with a reduced reliance on oil and fossil fuels for electricity generation in favor of more efficient and cheaper sources such as coal and natural gas.

       

      If the day ever did come where supplies of oil were proven to be nearing depletion, rising prices would practically force entrepreneurs to find new energy resources to keep their companies afloat and profitable.

       

      In fact, the only things really threatening energy production and innovation are government regulations that could block these innovators from mining, exploring and developing new technologies to reduce the dependence on fossil fuel-based energy.

      I don’t know about you, but small talk didn’t always come easy for me.  I never knew what to say and I always worried about saying the wrong thing.  I found it difficult, tedious and nerve-wracking.

       

      But eventually, after a lot of trial and error, I think I’ve figured out a few tricks that might help you if you’re like I used to be.   

       

      1. Understand that the purpose of small talk is not to exchange information.

       

      It is a game you play to find things you have in common with the other person.  Decide to be curious about the other person and go fishing for what you have in common. When you are genuinely interested in other people they will respond positively to your questions and to the way you listen to what they have to say.

       

      Also… when you take the pressure off yourself to be a great conversationalist and become a detective searching for commonality the conversation tends to take care of itself.

       

      Why?

       

      Because people like people that are like them.  The more commonality you discover, the more the other person will like you and feel as if they have known you for some time.  This, in turn, causes the conversation to flow.

       

      2. Give first to encourage sharing.

       

      If all you do is ask questions the other person will feel as if they are being interrogated.  That is not the idea!  Be prepared to reveal something about yourself first without getting too personal.  By sharing first, you are leading the way and cause the other person to feel obligated to return the favor.

       

      Sharing and receiving in this way allows you to take charge of any conversation and to easily lead it where you want to go.  Which leads us to our last point…

       

      3. Aim to control the conversation.

       

      If you can lead a conversation you can control it.  You now know how to lead any conversation?  Points 1 & 2!  Give first and watch the other person respond.  Most people will follow your lead right away.  And if they don’t, just move on to someone else.

       

      So, there you have it.  Use these three tips to improve your small talk!  And remember...  The key to success with these tips is to use them, play with them and then adjust them to suit you.

       

      Practice makes perfect.  Use it next time you’re at the grocery store… or at one of your children’s school play…

       

      Practice there, and then when you need it for a networking event or something like that, you’ll feel much more confident and comfortable!