Archive of ‘Life Hack’ category

UP YOUR (Office Fashion) GAME

My mornings began early and my nights end late, and some days I have about thirty minutes to get ready before I leave for work. That doesn’t carve out much time to put together a thoughtful outfit.

What most women struggle with is finding chic outfits that are effortless. Not to mention, you want to feel comfortable in an outfit you’re in all day. I enlisted my friend and stylist Alexandra Bendana to help find looks that will make you look like you’ve got your act together. Here are some tips for leaving your house looking fabulous in minimal time:

1. The Statement Necklace

A statement necklace takes a plain outfit from weak to ON FLEEK

Stella and Dot: Source: http://www.stelladot.com/shop/en_us/jewelry/necklaces/necklaces-all

Source: Stella and Dot

 

Banana Republic has one for $89.50 with an extra 30% off right now

 

2. Textured Leggings

Leather pants are versatile and you can take these from day to night. A stretch or lighter version will give you the ability to wear it all year long.

 

Karen Miller Leggings are at Bloomies right now for $110 (originally $170)

 

3. Dress with Bold Prints

Bold print dresses take the brain work out of having to put together an outfit. Add some low-key accessories and shoes…voila, you have an outfit.

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source: Buzzfeed.com

 

Check out this Adrianna Papell bold print dress in plus size or Eliza J Print Jersey in petite

 

4. The Hat

Ok, stick with me here. This is a little fashion forward for the office, even for me, but the more edgy, fashionable females at my magazine are sporting these. Pair the hat with a braid and you have a chic look on a bad hair day.

Sole Society

source: Sole Society

 

Find wide brim hat for $39.95 at Sole Society

What tips and tricks do you use to spruce up your office look?

Vision Night: How to Host a Vision Board Party

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I hosted a get-together with my friends—which I dubbed “Vision Night”. We set aside time to map out our year and create vision boards. Since this isn’t a typical night for us, I wasn’t sure how open they would be to the idea of manifesting our goals. A normal outing for us is dinner at a fun restaurant, drinks at a bar, or an event somewhere in LA, so this was a bit of a departure. To my surprise they loved the idea. Not only were they open to the idea, but most of the women had created a vision board at some point. How did I not know this about my nearest and dearest?

The night wasn’t actually about manifesting. Visualizing alone won’t accomplish your dreams. Or we’d all be on our couch right now with our feet propped up waiting for things to happen. A vision board is just a starting point. You need a clear map of how you’re going to get there and then a little elbow grease.

I tried to keep the night as stress-free and low-key as possible so I requested a few things: scissors, glue sticks, old magazines and an appetizer, dessert or wine. I also requested that they think about their goals prior to the event and begin to cut out images and words from magazines and Pinterest that represented those goals. Once I had an idea of how many people were attending I headed to the store and picked up some snacks, poster board, and of course, more vino.

We spent some time going through magazines and cutting out images and words, then positioned them on the board, and finally glued them to the board. Then everyone had the chance to talk about their board. The beauty of this process is that we got to learn about everyone’s goals for the year. I found out that some of us have similar goals. Some were offering advice to others on how to accomplish a particular goal. And now we can keep each other on track throughout the year.

It turned out to be a fun night of arts and crafts. Crafting brought us back to our childhood and the champagne and vino reminded us it was still Girl’s Night. It will be interesting to hear about everyone’s progress throughout the year and maybe this will become an annual tradition.

Interested in hosting your own? Here are some tips for hosting your own Vision Night:

  • KISS (keep it simple and straightforward): The point is to relieve yourself from stress so keep the guest list to a manageable number (6-10 people). You also want to make sure you have enough room for everyone to spread out their boards.
  • Send out a simple email invite: encourage everyone to start thinking about their goals prior to the evening and suggest they start cutting out images and words that represent those thoughts
  • Request guests bring scissors, glue sticks, old magazines, and an appetizer, dessert or wine.
  • Pick up some snacks, drinks, glue sticks and one poster board per person
  • Have everyone cut out the words and images and lay it out on the poster board before pasting
  • Leave space on the board to add more throughout the year
  • Go around the room and have everyone talk about their boards—it sparks great conversation, advice, and ideas
  • Here’s a helpful Pinterest board with more vision party ideas http://www.pinterest.com/VickiLynnHale/vision-board-party-ideas/

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One Missing Element to Your New Year’s Resolution: Reflection

“It is not what we get. But who we become, what we contribute…that gives meaning to our lives.” – Tony Robbins

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This is the time of year many of us reflect on the past year and plan for the future. It’s a time to pause and think about what we’ve learned, as well as see what changes we can make in the new year. Sometimes things only make sense when looking back.

From reflection comes growth, maturity and development. It’s something I want to incorporate throughout my daily life, not just during this time of year. Our lives get busy, we move from one thing to the next quickly, and don’t take time to reflect.

For me personally, looking back on the past year, I realized that the high points of the year, the achievements I’m most proud of, came from projects that were accomplished with others. So in 2015, I’m making a concerted effort to accept more projects that offer the opportunity to collaborate with people.

My colleague Tracy and I were both presented with an award by our company, Emmis Communications. Tracy received an award for Most Creative Person in Publishing and I won for Sales Person of the Year in Publishing. While reflecting on this win, I realized that the best part of this award wasn’t winning— although it is nice to be acknowledged for your work. The best part was winning alongside a friend, who I work with day in and day out. It was amazing to be recognized for the work we help each other produce every day. And to top it off, it was a lot of fun to share the excitement. Although it’s my name inscribed on this award, there’s no way I could have done it by myself and I want to celebrate the excitement with others on my team.

I encourage you to look back on the past year and think about what made you happy. Consider incorporating more of it into your life next year.

In the spirit of the holidays, I can’t go without thanking everyone around me for helping make this a successful 2014. It’s wonderful to be able to count on so many talented people everyday.

Happy New Year!

Help! I Need a Vacation!

Keeping me in the Continental United States for an extended period of time is like keeping the sun from setting—it ain’t gonna happen. So when my friend Dena posed the idea to travel, I jumped at the opportunity. It’s not easy to find a partner-in-crime that is willing to travel to another country. People have kids to look after, credit card bills to pay, and careers to answer to.  You name it, I’ve heard it all. I’ve told myself some of these things, too, but I’ve realized that if you plan right, the job, the house and the social life are all there when you get back. Yes, believe it or not, when I got back, the magazine I work for was still publishing magazines, the apartment building I own and manage didn’t burst into flames and I didn’t miss one major event. If you plan ahead, you don’t miss a beat. And if you take the right steps, you don’t even need to plan that far in advance.

From the time Dena and I decided on Australia as our destination, we had two weeks until we left for our trip. We work fast. They key was booking the trip through a travel agent. To be honest, I thought travel agencies were a thing of the past or for old people who don’t like the internet. I soon realized that they are for people who want a well-rounded experience, but don’t have the time to plan or research a trip bouncing from website to website. We found our travel agent through Zicasso, a website that pairs travelers with boutique tour companies. (I’m not being paid to promote this website, I’m just a fan.) I also used the site to plan my trip to China a few years ago. We were able to customize our trip and we weren’t stuck with a tour group.  Actually, the trip was exactly as if we planned it ourselves except we enlisted the help of someone else to do the heavy lifting.

Along our trip, we found out that there was another good reason to use a travel agent. Sometimes they can get you out of hairy situations you may find yourself in while traveling, such as hotel accommodations that may not be what you expected. Within 24 hours the travel agency got us out of that crappy hotel with poor customer service, who weren’t offering a refund. And just for that, our travel agency, Springboard Vacations, deserves a “thank you”!

And my point is, don’t get yourself hung up by 1,001 excuses—make use of great resources such as travel agencies and make your trip a reality. I included photos from 12 days spent in Sydney, The Outback and the Great Barrier Reef that may inspire you to book a trip. I’m sure it’s been sitting on your bucketlist for awhile. And if you plan like Dena and me, you can find yourself there in as little as two weeks.

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    Sydney Harbour Bridge

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    It’s all about the cheeseburger and chips

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    Bondi to Coogee Walk

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    Manly Beach Walk

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    Dena and a wallaby at Featherdale Wildlife Park

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    Checking out Alice Springs Desert Park

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    Alice Springs Desert Park

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    Beauty is everywhere

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    Kangaroo is on the menu

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    My new mate in The Outback

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    My new mate Chester and I in front of the famous Ayres Rock

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    Dena and I on our way to dinner

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    Chester and me

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    Ayres Rock

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    Chester has quite the personality

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    Dinner under the stars in Ayres Rock

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    We loved our table mates. They have been friends for decades and came from all around the world to see each other.

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    Dena and I enjoying a beer at dinner

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    Appreciating the world around me. Sunrise in Ayres Rock

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    Dena and I in Ayres Rock

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    Hat of the Aussies

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    Sunrise in Cairns near the Great Barrier Reef

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    Dena on our boat ride to Green Island

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    We stayed on Green Island in the Great Barrier Reef for a night

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    After 4:30 p.m., Green Island hotel guests have the island to themselves

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    Dena on the beach on Green Island

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    Koalas at Cairns Zoo

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    By the look on my face, I’m less than thrilled to hold the python

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    On the train coming back from Kuranda

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    Waterfall on the train ride from Kuranda

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    Daintree Rainforest was like being in Jurassic Park

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    Daintree Rainforest

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    These kangaroos were so sweet

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    Why You’re Not Accomplishing Your Bucket List

    I spent a few days in Phoenix, Arizona last week to attend a tourism conference. As an advertising sales and marketing executive at Los Angeles magazine, these conferences help me understand the lay of the (tourism) land so I can create tailored marketing programs for clients. There was a phenomenal keynote speaker at the conference that had me thinking about how I conduct my business and manage my time. I also own and manage an apartment building and I strive to keep up this blog. With that being said, I try to make time an ally and not an enemy, so I’m always looking for ways to be efficient.

    The speaker was Steve McClatchy and he is THE man on time management. His company Alleer Training & Consulting helps companies improve performance and work efficiently. Steve offered entertaining and insightful ways to achieve the things you want in life and not let little tasks bog you down. He broke it down like this: we put higher emphasis on menial tasks (e.g. grocery shopping, laundry, getting the car washed, ect.) versus things that can make an impact in our lives (e.g. writing a book, traveling or checking items off your bucket list) because the former have deadlines and the latter do not. When you prioritize menial tasks, you never get around to bigger tasks that provide improvement and balance in life such as those items on your bucket list.

    Steve makes total and complete sense, right? It sounds so simple. Then why do most people prioritize menial tasks on the to-do list? He says because our brains are hardwired to think that way. After I thought about this concept, I started to think about what I can do differently to get my more important goals accomplished.

    Steve suggested the following for getting more important goals accomplished:

    1. Create deadlines for bigger tasks you never get around to accomplishing just like you would with menial tasks. He recommends scheduling time on your calendar.

    2. Delegate menial tasks. How much of your weekend is spent running errands? How much of your time in the office is spent on smaller tasks that can be delegated? There are companies like Run Around Betties that can help accomplish those smaller tasks so you can focus on your goals. Yes, it may be more expensive to hire someone but can you put a price tag on accomplishing items on your bucket list?

    I did pick up his book Decide: Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress, and Lead by Example at the conference. While I haven’t had the chance to read it, Amazon reviewers seem to give it two thumbs up. I’m looking forward to seeing what other nuggets of information I can pick-up to tackle my ever-growing bucket list. 9781118554388_cover_2.indd