Healthy Habits For the GirlBoss On The Go

As a successful GirlBoss, we want to always be on our A game! The best way to stay on top both mentally and physically is to make sure that we’re keeping ourselves as healthy as we can. I have a few tips for how to maintain healthy habits while keeping up with our busy life styles!

 

1.    Visualize the Day Ahead

Take a few minutes after you wake up to think about your day and what you would like to accomplish. Think about your to-do list and get into a productive mindset. When you get yourself into a positive and productive mindset first thing in the morning, you’re more likely to stay on the go and get all your tasks completed! I like doing this because it is also a great moment to think of one exciting thing that you will be doing. It really does not matter how small, because the effect is BIG on amping up our motivation and energy levels.

 

2.    Drink a Glass of Water Before Every Meal

Consuming a glass of water before every meal is an easy health habit to establish…especially when you start to reap the benefits! You will notice that you’ll eat less at mealtimes, your skin will look better, and you’ll have more energy throughout the day. If you start to feel that afternoon sluggishness start to creep up, chug your water gals!  Science has proven that drinking more water throughout the day not only helps with weight loss, but it also helps with your mind and your mood…guaranteed to help get you over the midday work blues. I know that for me this is a tough one…I am still trying to guzzle my water daily—getting better but certainly not enough.

 

3.    Eat Breakfast

Remember when we were younger and our parents always told us that “breakfast was the most important meal of the day!” Turns out, they weren’t wrong.  Eating a healthy breakfast gets your metabolism fired up for the day and sets the tone for making healthier meal choices throughout the rest of the day.

 

4.    Eat More Veggies!

This is an easy one. We all know we should be eating more veggies. It’s so important for every aspect of our bodies and our minds! If you’re not a huge fan of salads or vegetables, there are still ways to sneak them in there. A great way to sneak in some extra veggies is through smoothies! Add to your blender things like spinach, kale, and celery paired with some delicious berries and fruits to hide the taste. It’s so easy and so delicious! I’m a big salad lover so, that is typically my go-to. And, I’m always in search of new and exciting salad recipes so share your fave with me in the comments!

 

5.    Get in Daily Movement

You don’t have to be a “gym rat” to establish this healthy habit. Just 30 minutes a day is all you need! It can be something as small as walking your dogs daily, but make sure you’re getting up and MOVING. Daily exercise can decrease your chances for serious health problems later on, while also boosting your mood and productivity! It’s a win-win. 

 

There you have it BossGals! Try some of my healthy habits and let me know if they’re working for you! And as always, if you’ve got some winning tips—share with us all in the comments below!

xo,

Karen

Get Your Most Luxurious Sleep Ever!

Are you feeling a bit sleepy? Being sleep-deprived is one of the worst feelings ever! It can get in the way of living our very best life. It can make us cranky, inattentive, and lacking the energy that a BossGal needs.

 

The benefits of a good night’s sleep are beyond valuable as we try to be at our peak performance in all that we do. With great rest, we feel refreshed and we have sharper cognitive skills. Our skin is brighter, our mood upbeat, and our immune system performs better.  But sometimes we don’t know howto get there…how exactly do we get the beauty sleep we so desperately need? Trust me, I struggle with this like crazy! Sometimes I feel like insomnia is my middle name! So, I’ve got a few tips (some I have tried and others I heard about) on how to have the best and most luxurious sleep from now on so you can tackle your days with the gusto and drive of a true Girlboss!

 

1.    Silk pillowcases:

Last Friday I mentioned in my post that I was trying out a silk pillowcase. I had heard a lot of hype about its benefits which include less hair breakage and better skin. So—always on a mission to find the most luxurious, but also most effective products, I put those pillowcases to the test. Well here is my review. And remember, this is NOT an ad, NOT a collaboration. It is just my obsessive curiosity and wanting to share my thoughts with you. 

 

Well I can definitely say “WOW!” The hype is for real. So, not only did the pillowcase feel fabulous on my skin, but I could see the difference between it and my previous cotton one by the very next morning. Let’s talk hair….Now usually I wake up with serious bedhead. Frizzy, crazy hair that looks more like hay than silky smooth hair. And, side note—so does Jeff! Well the morning after trying these pillowcases, my hair (and Jeff’s) was WAY under control and not a rat’s nest at all! And now, after using these pillowcases for a week, I can honestly say that it has consistently been that way. For sure, there is less breakage.

 

Now let’s talk skin…having used the pillowcase, I can absolutely tell that my face is clearer. Before, I would always get these dry patches that just wouldn’t go away. Usually they were on my nose or chin. Well…NO MORE! Throughout this past week, I have seen less irritated skin, and no breakouts! Crazy right? I think it is probably because I am a fitful sleeper, with lots of tossing and turning, and the cotton pillowcases are more abrasive than the silk. 

 

So I give silk pillowcases a 10+ score! I am definitely a believer! Just make sure that you get 100% mulberry silk. Not a silky satin—that is not the same thing. There are lots of sources out there to buy them. I will leave a link here for the ones I bought after price checking around.


Side note: I think using an alkaline detergent tends to break down the silk, so I’m using a soft detergent and washing on a delicate cycle or by hand.

 

Now, let me share some other tips for that Girlboss beauty sleep we all crave:

 

2.    Luxury Sleepwear:

If you’re looking for luxury sleep, try investing in some silk pajamas. This type of sleepwear doesn’t just feel comfy, it wicks moisture off the body and prevents that hot and sticky wake up in the middle of the night. Plus silk has a softness that is just so conducive to falling asleep.

 

3.    Aromatherapy in a diffuser:

With lots of stress in our lives, getting that luxury sleep can be a toughie. One great way to provide some relief is to use essential oils in a diffuser for some wonderful aromatherapy. Smells like lavender, jasmine, and ylang-ylang have long been used as sleep aids, and the advent of essential oils has made this an even better option for many sleepers. Lavender, which happens to be my favorite scent, is especially powerful, and in some cases can even trigger the body to produce the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin, to create a better sleep experience. Who knew! I like to put lavender and cedar wood oils into my diffuser. The combination not only smells spa-like and luxurious, bu the cedar wood is also known to induce sleep. 

 

4.    Sleep Mask:

Sleep masks have been used for years (seriously, you probably remember your mom using one back in the day, right?) and they can be a real benefit to the whole sleep experience. I personally have not tried this, but many BossGals that I know vouch for this! A sleep mask made of silk is a great way to keep harmful light from penetrating your eyes and disrupting your sleep. 

 

5.    Splurge on Organic Sheets:

While there are all kinds of microfibers that you can experiment with, check out organic luxury sheets for a luxury sleep experience. Look for organic Egyptian cotton, cashmere, or any other natural, not-overly-processed fiber to both breathe well and wick moisture. While any fiber can essentially be made into a microfiber, these will often have a 400-800 thread count and be in the 100-200 dollar range. Sure, this might be a little more pricey than other sheets that you find online, but if you want healthy, luxurious sleep, go ahead and splurge! These sheets will stand the test of time, are sustainably sourced, and just feel better. 

 

6.    Luxury Mattress:

Okay, here’s the big one…the large ticket item. But hear me out….a good mattress is crucial in achieving good back health. For someone with chronic back and neck pain, trust me on this one! Finding the right mattress that will give you a great night’s sleep involves getting both the right support as well as the right comfort level. If your mattress doesn’t provide you with the right support for your body, it will cause poor sleeping posture, which leads to back pain the next morning. If a mattress doesn’t meet your personal preferences then your comfort is compromised, resulting in interrupted sleep that can leave you feeling tired and sore in the morning. When it comes to good health – don’t cut corners! No bed will last forever, but when you invest in one that is made of high quality materials and can offer you the support you need, you’ll be sure to get your money’s worth. A $2000 dollar mattress will cost 55c per night over 10 years or 28c each if with a partner. But, definitely do your research and I recommend going to a store where you can test them out. No…you can’t sleep there overnight, but actually some companies offer a 30 day trial period. 

 

So don’t skimp on your sleep ladies! Invest in yourself and your sleep because health is wealth! And Beauty sleep…well that is priceless!

 

XO,

Karen

What Kind of Creative Archetype Are You?

Have you ever wondered if you’re a “creative type”? If you don’t paint or draw or play an instrument, or design, then you’ve probably thought to yourself that you’re just not the artistic type. Well GirlBosses, that’s just not true! It could just be that you haven’t had the chance to tap into your creative side because you aren’t sure what kind of creative type you really are. 

 

So—I’ve got 5 Creative Archetypes to share with you. They are all uniquely different, each with their own strengths and traits. Let’s dive into each one so that you can see which one resembles you best.

 

1.)  The Philosopher- Philosophers love being creative with their ideas. They have active imaginations and love exploring anomalies and sometimes scientific curiosities in the physical world. Philosophers like unstructured situations that provide them with room to get creative in their work. They like to interpret the world around them and thrive when they are able to express their findings. Are you deeply curious? Are you the type that loves to google things that pop into your mind?

 

2.)  The Composer- Composers love expressing their creativity and prefer working in organized environments that are detail-oriented. They have distinct preferences that both err on the side of chaos and security. Their artistic side craves freedom and expression. At the same time, they like to reign in their creative tendencies with organization and systems that keep their originality within certain boundaries. So just like music is a creative outlet with a lot of structure to it, if you are the composer, you like to let your creativity fly, but generally within a set of parameters and structure.  You are probably strong in both your left and right brains since you like to blend both.

 

3.)  The Luminary-Luminaries thrive when they are working with ideas and people. They like expressing their creativity to others. They enjoy the creative exchange and interplay. Being part of meaningful relationships where they can express their emotions and sensitivities is very important to the Luminary. They greatly value helping people through their creative outlets. If you are this type of creative, you bring excellent traits to working your magic in groups. You love the creative collaboration like no one else!

 

4.)  The Designer- Designers have a great need for self-expression and love doing work that articulates their vision. They like being original with anything they put their minds (or hands) to. Whatever their art form, they like to produce tangible results. They like to work with artistic mediums that play on their physicality. The Designer prefers to be body-oriented in their creative expression. If you are the Designer, you may have lots of artwork and/or products of your creativity displayed in your home or workspace because it all is a reflection of who you are and the creativity that pours from every pore!

 

5.)  The Visionary- Visionaries are all about creating their own artistic empires. They crave independent and unstructured spaces where they can be creative. They value aesthetics and environments that offer variety and change. They enjoy home and work spaces that bring their creativity out to play. They thrive on that creative Adrenalin rush. They can be very assertive when it comes to expressing their points of view. Visionaries are risk-takers and feel pure excitement when they develop new ideas. If you are a visionary you are a force of creativity to be reckoned with!

 

 

Some creative archetypes are realistic, some are enterprising, and some are social, but ALL are artistic. If you’ve been following me for some time, you know that I believe that creativity is essential nourishment for the soul. We need it to help us grow and evolve. Creativity comes in all shapes, sizes, and types. Remember that art is not limited to putting a paintbrush to a canvas. Your creative drive is your powerhouse! So, which archetype are you and how can you get your creative juices flowing now that you know? 

xo,

Karen 

Things To Do With Your S.O. On A Budget

You and your S.O. are bored at home on a Friday night and money is tight…we’ve all been there! So what are some options to still have some big fun on a shoe string budget? I’ve got some ideas for you!

 

1.)  Board Games.

-      I know, I know sounds kind of lame but hear me out...board games can be fun, competitive, and you can even agree on a sexy wager for the outcome of the game! For example, “Strip Monopoly” (clearly not G rated) involves removing a piece of clothing every time you pass Go. As you can guess, it gets both fun & steamy real quick!

 

2.)  Wine & Cheese sampling

-      Pick up an inexpensive bottle of wine, some cheeses, grapes, and have yourselves a fun time sampling wine & cheeses! You could sit down and watch some Netflix while enjoying your homemade charcueterie sampler or blind fold each other and do a taste test! Either way you are both bound to have a fun night sampling your favorites at home, no expensive winery needed! 

 

3.)  Have a Cooking Competition. 

-      You each make a dinner for the other then do a friendly judging of the meals while you enjoy them! If you’re really adventurous, you can try each cooking a meal using only ingredients in your pantry, like the show “Chopped”! 

 

4.)  Have a Home Day Spa. 

-      Fill the tub with some warm water, add some Epsom salts (also add rose petals for some extra luxury!), light some candles, and relax in the bathtub together with some masks and slices of cucumber. Top it off with massages you give each other. This is a cheap, fun, and romantic evening to spend with your S.O.

 

5.)  Work on a Home Improvement Job Together. 

-      Whether it's painting your bedroom, reorganizing, or rearranging the furniture, pick something that you'll both enjoy doing and make that your goal for the day! Working on something together is a definite bonding technique. Then reward yourselves with ice cream afterward! That always helps too!

 

Just remember that we make our own fun. Life is meant to be lived fully and with gusto, and a shoe string budget shouldn’t get in your way. Kick your fun-scale up a notch Girlboss!

xo,

Karen

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Guest Room Goals

Do you have lots of guests that come to stay with you? Or maybe it’s a close friend who needs somewhere to crash overnight. Either way, it might just be the perfect time to spruce up the guest bedroom. While most of the year, the guest room may be the room you rarely even walk into, all of a sudden when you are having an overnight guest, you are thinking, “uh oh..I wish I had thought of making the guest room cozy and inviting.”

 

Well not to worry my girl bosses. In know that as the CEO of everything in your life, you don’t want your guest bedroom to fall short. So, I’ve come up with some easy-to-do quick fixes to add life, sparkle, and warmth to your guest room so that your guests feel extra special.

 

Start with some fresh cut flowers. You can never go wrong with putting some fresh flowers on the nightstand. Not only does it add a beautiful splash of color, bring nature into the space, but also the scent is wonderfully inviting. I recommend buying them the day of arrival so that they will be fresh and last for their entire stay.


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Throw in a throw! When guests come overnight, I love to make them feel cozy in their surroundings. I’m all about the cozy, lusciously soft throws. It’s a great way to add color and/or texture to a room. My personal favorites are always the faux fur ones since they seem a bit decadent and luxurious.

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Serve it up! I love to put a pretty serving tray at the end of the bed. Usually I put a few new magazines or books for my guests. It’s also great to use on the nightstand with a glass and pitcher of water. It’s like showing your guests that you have thought of every necessity to make them comfortable.

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Bring the Glow.  Add a beautiful scented candle. Nothing brings the warm welcome to a room better than a candle with a sensuous scent.  So I typically leave a candle and lighter on the nightstand or dresser.

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Wrap your guests in the delicious comfort of a cozy robe. Every guest appreciates feeling like their stay away from home is as luxurious as a 5 star hotel. I mean, who wouldn’t right? And you can add a simple touch to give them that. By hanging a robe either in their closet or in the bathroom, you will be giving them the Ritz! Just make sure that you get a gender-neutral robe, I think white looks best, because it will feel restful and spa-like.

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Elevate their luggage. To really bring in the 5 star hotel vibe, why not add a luggage stand for your guest. You can find them online and they are VERY affordable. Your guests will love that you have thought of it all! It will also keep the room looking organized rather than a big ol’ suitcase on the floor with everything spilling out of it.

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So there you have it Girl Boss. You are ready to put the finishing touches on your guest room, and be the hostess with the mostest. Be sure to tag me in the beautiful posts of your welcoming slice of hotel-like heaven so I can see the results!



xo.

Karen Otis

Why Adventure Matters

Today we are talking about adventures and why they matter…

An adventure is an exciting and exhilarating experience. It is usually somewhat hazardous and unknown. It can be laced with uncertainty, risk, and the unfamiliar. And it most certainly has an uncertain outcome. But it also holds the possibility of extreme liveliness and unmatched potential. Adventure is the catalyst for a life well-lived.

 

Life is meant to be lived as one huge adventure. It is big adventure made up of lots of smaller adventures. It is meant to be lived boldly, passionately, and with gusto! As earth dwellers, we are meant to explore our world, to embrace the possibilities and experiences it offers. With only this one life to live, we shouldn’t waste it trudging along with a zombie-like stare, in a kind of sleep-walk to nowhere.

 

Eleanor Roosevelt said it best, “The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

 

On my journey from relative cluelessness way back when to today where I consider myself somewhat more enlightened, I have learned that we are all on a road to self-discovery, personal growth, and human connection. But we can choose to disregard the growth that reveals itself and close our eyes to the possibilities, or we can embrace life with an adventurous spirit which may just lead us to personal fulfillment and profound bliss.

 

That’s what I choose. How about you? Do you approach life with a fearfulness and trepidation? Do you think about doing something different, but never really pull the trigger on it? Or do you feel the rush of excitement and adventure that awaits if only you grab hold of it? For many people, adventures sound scary, uncomfortable, unsettling, and downright yucky! Let’s understand why that is.

 

Human beings all want to feel safe and secure; we want to understand our world, create patterns that give us the sense of stability and certainty, and we want to know what to expect. In that way, we feel that life is predictable and stable, and it becomes a less scary place.

 

Stepping outside of our comfort zone does feel unfamiliar, and that can instill a sense of panic or deep seated concern for most people. We want to stick to what we know. Stepping outside that arena seems risky, stressful, and riddled with worry. For that reason, many people do not embrace adventure; instead, they shy away from it—or literally run in the opposite direction. Does that sound like you? Would you rather stay in the shadows of the comfort zone you have established, than venture out into the expansive unknown?

 

But here is the downside to this approach. Not only can this mindset instill some boredom or monotony to stay in the comfort zone without further exploration, but it narrows your world, limits your experiences, and squashes the excitement and exhilaration that adventure holds. Surrendering to a life that has happened out of circumstance rather than choice, if that life does not fill your soul and make your heart soar—that is a life wishing it had been lived well.

 

As Helen Keller said, “Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”

 

While there are all sorts of adventures, they typically have one core element in common. Once experienced, they change us. They impact our way of thinking, alter our understanding of the world and/or ourselves, and transform us in profound ways.

 

Last night I jumped right into an adventure. Ok maybe not the climb Kilimanjaro kind of adventure…but for me an adventure, nonetheless. Jeff and I went to Lake Saguaro here in Arizona for a moonlight paddle. We had actually heard about it on Facebook, and thought we’d give it a try. A few days ago Jeff got me a really badass 11’-6” paddle board. So this was going to be my maiden voyage of sorts. And Jeff was going to be on his fishing kayak. We drove out there, and I started to get butterflies in my stomach. What if I couldn’t really balance on the board? What If I fell into the lake in non-graceful clumsy flop. I started to get nervous. In fact I even texted my daughter saying, “Uh oh…Kinda nervous.”

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There were so many people, and it was a bit chaotic when we arrived. Trying to find parking, where to launch Jeff’s kayak, the best place to get my paddle board out into the water. Jeff went to the boat launch area with his kayak, and he had put me and my board at this small sand alcove. I felt ridiculous trying to clumsily get the board up. It’s big—hard to handle, and I am sure many had some giggles at my expense. Or at least internally I felt like they must have. I stumbled over the board, landed on my derrière…tried again, board flipped over on the sand. So I resorted to dragging it into the water. At first, I was looking around to see if Jeff could maybe help me. But he was knee deep wrangling with his kayak.

 

And that’s when I had a little internal chat with myself. I told myself—Karen, time to put your big girl panties on. Get a grip girl! You can do this! Trust yourself. Get focused and take the leap. So…I got on the board and decided to kneel rather than stand up right away. I paddled along toward the boat launch area where Jeff was. And then while he was putting all the gear and snacks onto his kayak, I took myself out for a real paddle. I planted my feet on the board, in a crouched position and I slowly, but steadily and strongly got up. I told myself, “You got this.” And I paddled around, figuring out the best form, the easiest way to maneuver, all that good stuff. And you know what? I felt AWESOME! It was so liberating, so empowering, and to my surprise, so fun!

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Jeff joined me out there and we met up with this huge group of kayakers and paddlers. We putted around for hours, had snacks, drinks, and just enjoyed the natural beauty. It was really breathtaking. Especially when it was dusk, and people put their lights on their paddle boards and kayaks. It was kind of magical. There were about 100 people just being out there in the moment. It was such a tranquil experience. I soaked it all in. And then I thought to myself—had I not toughened up and embraced the discomfort, the fear, the worry—I would have missed it all! Walking past my fear and self-doubt, I was able to walk or paddle right into something magical and memorable. I would have been so disappointed to miss out on this.

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I think that Mark Twain understood this well when he said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

 

Yes, I paddled away from the safety of the shore. And I am so glad that I did.

Now, I’m already making plans to do it again!

 

So much adventure lies around us, and if not, traveling allows us even more. That just might be why I absolutely love to travel. I am all too familiar with wanderlust.

 

Travel takes you to unknown places. Travel opens up doors and experiences; it reveals new worlds, new insights, and new discoveries. You not only intimately learn about other cultures, other lifestyles, and discover more of our planet, but in the process you find and discover yourself too. But life too is full of other adventures right here at home. Choosing to step away from the mundane and the monotony in search of challenging endeavors is another form of adventure. Seeking out the career you deeply desire—that is an adventure. Taking a leap of faith to move to a new town or change your lifestyle is an adventure. And embracing the person you love and choosing to build a life together without truly knowing the outcome—that too is an adventure.

 

These “adventures” demand more from us. They push us to better ourselves, to enrich our lives, and to hone our skills. Adventure looks us straight in the eyes and challenges us to rise to the occasion, to push past fear and discomfort in the search of more LIFE. And that right there is the priceless value of adventure. It is our path to more life, more depth, more meaning, and more experiences. It invites us to set higher goals, reach further, desire more, and find the strength and conviction to achieve more. With that our lives are more fulfilling and we commit to living more fully.

 

So girlbosses out there, take an adventure to discover the world. And in the process, the self-discovery you find on your journey will be your biggest reward.

 

Until next week Bossgals, explore, discover, and leap into your next adventure with gusto. Push away the fear, and embrace the crazy journey. Stay inspired, seek adventure, and keep on crushin’ it.

xo,

Karen

What's Your Fashion Style?

What are you wearing? And NO…I’m not asking like a creepy stalker….

Fashion has so many varying styles. And when we wear what feels right to us, what makes us feel not only comfortable but beautiful, our fashion style can make us feel empowered, confident, and ready to tackle whatever comes our way. And that is ultra-important for a Girl Boss. Right?

 

Studies have actually shown that when you wear clothes that you really like and feel good in, that good ol’ dopamine is triggered and released into your system, giving a feeling of happiness. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which transmits signals between other nerve cells in our brains. It’s also referred to as the “feel good hormone.”  It’s crazy to think that this dopamine release occurs when we experience sex, food….and now we can add fabulous fashion to the list?! Not bad ladies, right?

 

Maybe Vera Wang said it best, “A woman is never sexier than when she is comfortable in her clothes.”

 

That rush you get when your fave clothes are on and you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror…YUP it’s real. Well that got me to thinking about how important it is to develop our very own sense of personal style. A style that gives us that rush of dopamine, bold confidence, and unique Girlboss drive.

 

So…I’ve come up with seven distinct fashion styles. These refer mostly to our business attire. Not so much about our weekend wear or going out style. These are girlboss business looks. As you listen, figure out which one best describes you?

 

Let’s jump right in!

 

 

1. VINTAGE

                This style is kind of retro. It is all about looking back to different styles from the past, and carrying them over to today. It can be an assortment of looks that pull from 1920’s-1970’s fashion. Think of 50’s dresses, pinup fashion or flapper style clothes.  (Katie Perry, Betsy Johnson)

 

2. BOHO

                Boho is short for bohemian. This style is heavily inspired by the hippie gypsy, free spirit lifestyle. It is a carefree flowy look that defies structure and tradition. It’s about beading, embroidered jackets and denim, flowy tiered skirts, and ethnic touches of jewelry. The clothing companies, Free People and Anthropologie have really nailed this style. (Kate Hudson, Sienna Miller, Nicole Ritchie)

               

               

3. SOPHI CHIC

                This fashion style stands for sophisticated chic. It’s all about smart, sophisticated elegance. The word chic comes from French meaning elegance and skill. It is on point with trends and the latest fashion. It evokes a sense of empowerment and business savvy. It looks smart and classy. It is usually well-tailored and striking. Think of Blake Lively in the movie, “A simple favor.” (Kerry Washington, Amal Clooney, Meghan Markel, Blake Lively)

 

4. ARTSY

                An Artsy style is usually completely untraditional. It is about a very independent and personal flair of creativity. This style does not typically follow any trendy fashion, but rather is an expression of creative energy. It is usually flamboyant, colorful, and full of life. It can be innovative and interesting. It is for those who are art lovers, firm believers in self-expression, and those who find their fashion sense by thinking out of the box.

 

5. CAZH

CAZH is short for Casual. It is the fusing of stylishness with comfort. In millennial circles, this is the style of choice. It is a simple fashion sense without the frills or bold accents of other trends. It is usually a smaller palette of colors and wardrobe pieces. This style detests an uncomfortable look, putting comfort as a high priority. This is a “keep it simple” approach to business wear. Think of the Gap or white, black, or grey t-shirts, maybe with a cardigan or loose sweater. Add booties, and you are good to go. (Mila Kunis or Kourtney Kardashian)

 

6. ROCKER GIRL

This style is all about expressing a rocker, rebellious look. Some of the staples for this fashion style are torn jeans, vintage band t-shirts, and a leather jacket. The clothes are not baggy, but rather snug and form fitting. They are worn with attitude. It is edgy, kind of badass, and a bit on the fringe. The common staples would be black skinny jeans (ripped of course), studded black ankle boots, and a black leather motorcycle jacket. (Gwen Stefani)

 

7. PREPPY

The word preppy comes from preparatory or prep school. It is a collegiate look with staples like collared shirts, khaki pants or skirts, and loafers. It is rather conservative and conventional, and never loud or uniquely expressive. It tends to be classic and tailored. It began from the east coast prep schools and much of their uniforms. As this style evolved, certain pieces were retained from that look. (La Coste, Ralph Lauren, and J. Crew definitely embody this preppy style.)

 

 

So girlbosses those are my seven style categories. Which one defines you? Does one embody your fashion look? Is it Vintage, or Boho. Maybe it’s sophi chic, or artsy. Cazh, rocker girl, or preppy? Share which one defines your stylish look by leaving me a comment. And post a pic on instagram with your business style. Make sure to hashtag it #mygirlbossstyle, and I’ll be looking for it!

 

For me, when it comes to my business attire, I’d say I’m the SOPHI CHIC. And when I wear that style, yes I do feel empowered and confident. I feel every ounce of my confident stride!

 

So ladies, remember that your style speaks volumes about who you are, without saying a word.

 

And for my wrap up quote I’m going to one of the kings of fashion.

Marc Jacobs says,

"To me, clothing is a form of self-expression - there are hints about who you are in what you wear."

 

So bossgals…wear it well! Until next time, stay inspired, rock your fashion style, and keep on crushin’ it.

xo,

Karen

What's In Your Handbag?

Today’s topic is something many of us love even more than our clothes and our shoes. It’s something that we spend hard earned money on. It’s something that can reflect our character, personality, style, and status. It can be elegant, sporty, or classic. No ladies, it’s not our cars. Though we do enjoy a beautiful and reliable car, men in general are known to obsess more about cars than us gals.  So what is it, you ask?

 

It’s the all important and ever-present HANDBAG.

Why are we so obsessed with purses? Why do we value them so much?

 

Truthfully, beyond their practicality and functionality, handbags have taken a life of their own. With all the handbag designers out there, purses have become an accessory that speaks to our status, our style, our fashion sense, and our earning power. And with more and more women becoming successful girlbosses, the handbag has become a reflection of our confidence, stability, and financial independence. And for those reasons, women can often splurge on just the right handbag.

 

I read a quote that made me laugh this week about handbags:

“My biggest fear is that when I die, my husband will sell all my bags for what I told him they cost!”

 

This got me to thinking….where did the notion of a handbag even come from? When did it all begin? Did you know that even before the 17th century, men and women carried bags? They go way way back—all the way to the 14th century.  I thought this was quite interesting…the reason for handbags can be traced to the fact that pockets within clothing had not been developed yet. So, to carry around coins and other valuables, men and women used small pouches. If you were to look at Egyptian hieroglyphics, you would most likely see illustrations of men and women carrying waist pouches (kind of like primitive fanny packs!) like ‘em or not…they’ve been around for centuries!

 

People of all classes (especially the working class) utilized functional messenger bags, and for the elite, specialized bags were designed with hidden compartments. These were made for the aristocracy, and quickly became symbols of status and wealth.

 

Today, handbags serve all kinds of purposes, don’t they? More than anything, they are a way for us to carry our most intimate possessions and our essentials. When women jumped into the workforce rather than predominantly staying at home, handbags became our most important accessory. Women had to find a way to make their necessary belongings portable, and thus we have the handbag.

 

In the urban jungle, our handbags become our vital tool kit, our survival pack in a way. In fact, when we don’t have our bag with us, we can feel a bit naked right? Or at the very least we feel uncomfortable and ill-prepared. And let me tell you Boss Gals, all sorts of things make their way into our handbags….we’ve got our phones, makeup, keys, money, credit cards, books, tampons, gum—you name it!

 

Not only do we utilize our handbag as our utility pack, but it displays a flash of personality, and our outward expression of luxury and style that sets us apart. Handbags serve a very real purpose, and then they go above and beyond as they make their very own stylish and often bold statement.

 

And if you really think about it, handbags protect our privacy. Who wants to walk around with tampons, money, etc. all out in the open for everybody to see? We are able to be discreet and private with our belongings while creating a fabulous fashion statement that reflects our personal image.

 

While I absolutely love me a fabulous handbag…I’ll tell you what I don’t like…what is literally my biggest pet peeve. It is rummaging around in a big old handbag. You know what I’m talking about, right ladies? It’s like we dig and dig to find something we know is in there…isn’t that completely infuriating? And what’s worse, is if you still don’t find it, and you’ve broken a nail in the process! Ugh!

 

So..now that we have determined that a handbag is a true MUST for every boss gal….let’s talk about what goes inside it.  What are the essentials you keep in your handbag?

Here’s what you will find in my handbag ladies:

 

1.       My cell phone. This is a must for most of us. I’m no exception. That is literally a lifeline to my family, my friends, my honey, my work, and my google where I can look up anything at a moments notice.

2.       A mini makeup bag with the essentials (concealer, eye liner, lipstick and gloss, eyelash glue, and setting powder or spray, nail file)

3.       A mini brush or hair pick. You never know when your hair will need a bit of freshening up.

4.       Tissues. Whether you need them because of allergies or a teary-eyed moment, they always come in handy!

5.       A phone charger.

6.       A hair tie. When it gets hot, I have got to put my hair up!

7.       Hand sanitizer. I also keep one in my car. Maybe that makes me a germaphobe!

8.       A mini notebook or sketch pad and pen. My mind is always racing and coming up with ideas or thoughts I want to remember.

9.       A wallet (pretty much as fabulous as the handbag itself!)

10.   A little wristlet. I use this for my allergy cards, business cards etc. And there are times when I don’t want to take my whole handbag with me, so I throw some cash into this and I’ve got a mini clutch!

11.   Feminine product ie. Tampon

12.   Pill box with antacid, ibuprofen, allergy pill…and my Epi-pen.

13.   Allergy cards

14.   Business cards

15.   Cali’s leash

 

Ok, with all those “essentials” it’s no wonder we can end up doing the dreaded digging in the handbag. I say a big NO to that Boss gal. The solution for a clutter-free hand bag is several smaller pouches inside the bag. For example, one for makeup, another for meds, another for the pen, business and allergy cards. You get the point. It is much easier to pull out a few pouches rather than the endless rummaging through lots of individual items.

 

And then lastly Boss Gals, you all know how much I love clutter-free zones. So, make it a habit to de-clutter your handbag regularly.  Clear out those receipts, the chewing gum wrappers, the completed to-do lists etc. An organized and clutter-fee bag is always more efficient; and if there is one thing a Girlboss must be—is efficient!

 

So my friends, I’ll leave you with a quote from a departed true Girl Boss, Kate Spade:

“Springtime in New York is walking hand-in-hand with the bag you love.”

 

Alright my beauties, treasure your handbag, stay inspired, and keep on crushin’ it!

Chuck That Paper Pile!

Paper…paper…paper! Don’t you sometimes feel like you are drowning in papers…that pile of papers that is at your house somewhere …or everywhere! And it’s probably at the office too, right? It seems like we are inundated with mail, ads, invoices, invites, cards, flyers, bills, correspondence, on and on it goes.

 

For me, being clutter-free is an avid and constant goal. But it takes work Bossgals!  Without a system in place or some very steadfast habits, it can rack up a frighteningly tall stack. Am I right?

 

And don’t think I’m getting on your case ladies, because it is NOT your fault. We are inundated; we are flooded, and it becomes a never-ending battle.  I do remember years ago that one of my best girlfriends used to say that she could never find that pile o’ papers anywhere in my house. And in all honesty, I don’t think I really have it there. But I’ll tell you where I do….my problem zone is at the office!

 

I’ve been thinking about how it is that in my home I can be truly clutter-free, but why am I not carrying that over into my office space? Well here is what I came up with. At home, I have a kind of system that I use, which keeps the pile low or non-existent. But clearly I am not using that system at work.

 

I thought it might be helpful to share with you what I do, and I’ve made a personal resolution to put it in place at my office too.  So here goes Girlbosses:

 

The first step is to look carefully at your big old pile. Where are most of the papers coming from? Are they bills? Is it mail and ads? Is it kids’ school paperwork and teacher flyers? Once you determine what the real clutter culprit is, then you can take the steps necessary to squash it.  If it is bills let’s say, maybe you could go paperless and handle all the bills online. This definitely promotes a more clutter-free environment. Just be sure that you will still get notifications and reminders for when you need to pay so you don’t accidentally get a late fee.  By going paperless, you’ve decreased the mail you get, and you can just keep record of it in a file on your computer, so there’s no need to file the papers which also takes up space.

 

Is your stack of papers loaded up with magazines or newspapers? For many of us, we get subscriptions by the dozens, but we may not even have the time to read them all. Does that sound like you? For those clutter culprits, try canceling the subscriptions that you just aren’t getting to on a regular basis.

 

And what about the mailers, the ads, the junk mail that grows and grows? I have one rule when I open my mail. The stack of mail must ALL be dealt with. No re-creating another pile. And let me tell you Bossgal, you’ve got to be super tough with yourself to achieve this. No excuses, ok? I call it “ONE and DONE.” You only get to look at it, and touch that paper once. If not what usually happens is we look, we aren’t certain what to do with it, so we put it back down into the same pile. No no no! One and done ladies! Because as busy women going after our dreams, who has the time to look at it, put it back into a pile, and then look at it again another time?

 

So—if it is something I don’t need or won’t use, then to the trash it goes! If it is something I may need in the near future, I put it in a file and immediately it goes in the file cabinet. I have always found the file cabinet to be a great way to organize and keep stuff off counters and not out in the open.

 

Now for the Mamas out there—what to do about the kids’ artwork. Here is my suggestion. If you like to hang it up on the fridge or on a wall, be choosy. Don’t over-clutter it. Keep it simple and go sparingly. If it is something you want to remember, take a photo of it with your phone. And then to the cloud it goes! And then you are free to throw the original out.

 

What about those invites to events, parties, and grand openings? When those come in the mail—here’s what I do. If I want to display it, then I do on a magnet board or something. If not, right when I open them, I take a picture of it on my phone so I will have all the details such as the address, time of the event etc. and I put it into my calendar right then too. It’s even super helpful to put into your calendar “buy gift,” etc. a few days before.

 

And there you have my tricks Boss babes. So, I’m going to ask that you give this a try for three weeks. Just see how it goes. Promise me you will give it a true shot. If you absolutely hate these tricks, then you can always go back to the paper pile. But maybe, just maybe it will be the beginning of a clutter-free space. Wouldn’t that be nice?

 

And for sure, if you come up with some other tips…please share! Because we can always learn from and support each other. And if you’re got another girlboss that you think would love the topics we chat about here, send her a link to this podcast or blog. Because the more bossgals we can support, the bigger our circle becomes, and the stronger we all are.

 

I’m definitely committed to doing this clutter-free system at work, which is something that I haven’t always done. I’m becoming a pro at it in my home, probably because that is my sanctuary, my peaceful hideaway, my retreat. But it is time for this Bossgal to put it to work in the office too.

 

Until next time, remember to stay inspired and keep on crushin’ it!

xo,

Karen

Post-Production Let Down

Have you ever felt kind of blue after a big event that you had planned or were looking forward to?

 

Two weekends ago was my daughter’s wedding. There was so much planning for a whole year. There were decisions to be made at every turn. Then there was scheduling and coordinating. It was an all-consuming endeavor that is for sure!

 

And let me tell you, it went off without a hitch. I am so thankful that Marlea was able to have the wedding of her dreams. She and her new husband, Paul  were beaming the entire wedding weekend.

And I was too!

 

So why is it that once it was over, I felt the blues? I should have been relishing the wonderful moments, great memories that were made, and basking in the glow of a beautiful event that everyone fully enjoyed.

 

Well Boss gals, I’ll tell you why! It’s called post-production let down syndrome, and let me tell you the struggle is real!

 

After exciting life events, especially the biggies, we can often fall into some small bouts of depression. It’s like the “high” of the event (meaning the high adrenaline, the high emotional state, the excitement and anticipation) then dramatically drops off to feeling empty and sensing a sad void. We are left kind of lost without the next exciting thing to get amped up about.

 

Studies have shown that there is a biological reason for the blues that hit after a big event. When we have been stressed or when we have been kind of amped up, our bodies create a lot of cortisol which is the stress hormone. So after the event there is a sudden drop in cortisol from our bloodstream and that can give us a big let down. We’ve been cranking up our adrenaline, and now abruptly it is gone! It is the same for two other chemicals in our bodies that amp up when we are happy. The dopamine and serotonin peaks during joyous events. But, post-event is when the levels drop and return to normal.

 

The emotional and psychological reason that we get the blues after something big happens in our lives is what is called “the contrast effect.” Most people critique their lives by comparing it as better or worse to what came before it. So for example, if the exciting event was a wedding…well—it was fun, exciting, celebratory, with heightened emotion. So how could our daily humdrum life even compare? Right?

 

In most cases, these blues are temporary. But even still they can wreak havoc with our minds and emotions. We can feel depressed, disappointed, and it can even have us questioning everything else in our lives. This can lead to a sudden downward spiral unless you know how to handle it well.

 

The thing is, it’s not really possible to sustain that kind of “high,” that elated feeling when things are intensified.  At some point, we need to come back down to a renewed sense of equilibrium.

 

But here is the interesting part Boss Gals. This does not just happen after some big life event like a wedding. It can even happen if you’ve even working long and hard on a work deadline, pouring in extra hours and feeling the heightened stress or intensity of the project and meeting that deadline.

 

In my architecture practice, I work on a design for weeks, and then prepare it for a schematic design presentation. We do renderings, a color board, material samples….it’s a big deal. And there is that high from creating something you feel proud of, that gets you excited. After the presentation, I used to get kind of bummed out. I felt that post production let down all too often.

 

So what are some good techniques to coping with this post production let down?

 

I have found that typically after expending that much energy, that much time, and effort—we typically need a bit of a rest period. Maybe you’ve been working on a deadline and losing sleep. Our emotional state gets a bit convoluted and off-kilter when we lack sleep. So first before anything else, indulge in a little extra R and R. (Rest and relaxation). Indulge in a nap, or going to bed early if you can.

 

Secondly, indulge in a massage! When we are stressed our body holds a lot of toxins in our muscles. We are also flooded with cortisol the stress hormone. Releasing the tension in your muscles, breathing out the worry and anxiety, and re-aligning your mind and body can do wonders.

 

And then, find a new bit of excitement to look forward to. So for the wedding example, a friend of mine told me a great tip. She said that typically when the wedding is over, the bride can get serious post- production let-down. It’s all over and there is a feeling of emptiness. So….

Plan a post-wedding dinner party for friends. You will keep some of the celebration going, and it’s a great opportunity to use all the kitchen essentials you just received as gifts.  But I will caution you not to just dive into this without first taking a breather, and getting some sleep and r and r. Without that, you will just be on a cortisol treadmill and that’s no good!

 

And for the boss Gals killin’ it at work, when you complete a deadline, take a breather and then figure out what your next endeavor will be. Challenge yourself and stay motivated. Because jumping into a new project or a new goal (after you’ve rested up of course) may be the best way to kick the blues to the curb my friends!

xo,

Karen