Breaking the Business Mold

I have a serious fascination with start-ups. I love learning about them, reading about them, seeing them grow and evolve. The idea of owning my own business has always been appealing to me. To feel the satisfaction of knowing any progress you make is thanks to your hardwork. To have the freedom to make your own decisions. To be able to take your company in the direction you want it. (Side note: those are also all the things that make owning your own company absolutely terrifying).

On top of the freedom and satisfaction entrepreneurship can give you, it allows you to blaze your own trail. When you find yourself walking through the mall or online shopping and wishing a certain store or brand existed. When you are looking for career or travel advice and long for a special website or book. When you need a certain kitchen product or tech app but cannot seem to locate the special one you need.

You can create it.

When you see a hole in the market you can step in and fill that hole. I think that’s really amazing! I love discovering innovative companies that take on a whole new side of an industry. These amazing companies range from clothing designers, to home cleaning supplies, to job advice, to charity organizations.

I hope to feature some of these great companies on my blog in the future. Especially those started or run by young people. People my age or just a bit older. Because there are so many people in their 20s and early 30s who are making huge strides in the business world. Who are changing the way the game is played. Those entrepreneurs inspire me and one day I hope to have my own company that’s as innovative and exciting as their’s!

So be on the look out for some company spotlights featured on this blog starting in 2015!

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Soaking Up the Holidays

I hope you all are enjoying your holidays! I was home at my parents’ for 5 days and could not have enjoyed my family time more. I even got a little sad and glum last night once I was back in DC. But there is still some excitement yet be had with New Year’s Eve right around the corner. I am only working 2 days this week and then I will have another 5 days off (not a bad way to start the new year, huh?).

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This is my favorite time of year. Everything slows down. Time is spent with family and close friends. It’s a time to reflect and be thankful. A time to relish in your accomplishments from the past year and a time to imagine what the new year may bring.

Enjoy this slow time. Savor it. Because before you know it you’ll be hustling hard. Enjoy the last bits of 2014 and recognize all that has occurred in the last 12 months. And then be ready to take 2015 by storm!

Perfection

Perfection. It’s a scary word. I honestly think it’s one of the worst words. There is so much weight put into that word. Perfection. It means you may never make a mistake. It means you must always do everything right. It means you must please everyone all the time. It means you must anticipate and know everything before it happens to ensure you will not fail.

Perfection is a lie.

It does not exist. Even with all your best intentions. Even if you walk on eggshells. Even if you plan and schedule your heart out. Even if you hide who you really are just to please others. You will never be perfect.

Humans are not meant to be perfect. They are meant to be fallible. They are meant to make mistakes. They are not meant to please everyone or have everyone like them. It’s impossible. So why do we try so hard to be perfect?

Perfection is something I struggle with each and everyday. I constantly want to be perfect. I never want to make a mistake or fail. So when I slip up in even a little way, I feel like a major failure. I feel as though I’m standing on a ledge by myself, with the rest of the population on solid ground. They’ve never made a mistake so they are allowed to feel secure. I, on the other hand, have made mistakes so I’m not allowed to feel safe. I’m not allowed to feel worthy. I have to stand on this precarious ledge and hope I don’t fall off into oblivion.

In order to talk myself down from that ledge I need to constantly remind myself everyone makes mistakes. No one is perfect. My dad isn’t perfect. My boss isn’t perfect. My coworkers. My friends. The president. My Uber driver. My boyfriend. My yoga teacher. My favorite author.

No one is perfect.

I don’t know how to stop trying to be perfect. I don’t know how to convince myself the fight for perfection isn’t worth it. All I know how to do at this point is to take a break. To breathe. When the quest for perfection becomes too much I remind myself of all the good qualities I have. All the good I have been able to do. And follow that path. Not the path to perfection, but the path to good.

Because good is better than perfection. Read that again. Good is better than perfection. Know that. Live that. I’m trying to.

Christmas Traditions

If you couldn’t figure it out by now, Christmas is my favorite holiday! I just love the feeling of it all. Walking down the street in the evening takes on a whole new mood. The lights, wreaths, and ribbons make everything festive. Christmas music can be heard playing through the speakers almost anywhere you go. People tend to be in a more giving mood. The holiday season just puts a great big smile on my face!

Because of my recent move I wasn’t able to put up my decorations like I normally do (typically I’ll have my apartment decorated by the first week of November!). This year I had to cut back, but I still had a few bits and baubles here and there. One of my tried and true decorations is paper snowflakes. I am known for making tons of paper snowflakes and covering my windows with them. I’ve done this since my sophomore year of college and I have yet to stop!

Coming home for Christmas is always a wonderful feeling. My parents’ house is decorated to a T. A real pine tree stands in the living room giving off a nice scent. A fire roaring the in fireplace. Presents lined up under the tree. Sweets set out in bowls around the house. My entire family all in one place. I could not ask for more.

I love my family’s Christmas day tradition. We keep it super low-key. Seriously, we might not even get out of our pajamas all day long!  We wake up when it’s convenient for us, typically around 9am or so. We pour some coffee or mix up mimosas. We settle in the living room with blankets and take turns opening presents one by one. This process will take hours and we will take breaks to fill up our mugs or champagne flutes. But I love being able to see each present my family members receive. And the best part is seeing their reaction when they open the gifts I gave to them! I put a lot of thought into the presents I give so seeing a smile on one of their faces when they open that special surprise is amazing.

After gifts we enjoy sticky buns and strata (like in the Family Stone). We laze around most of the day enjoying our presents, relaxing and maybe watching some old home videos. Our Christmas “feast” consists of hamburgers and milkshakes! An easy, low-key dinner to top off a relaxing day.

What are your family’s Christmas traditions? Is it anything like mine?

Finding the In Between

I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I am not the only one to call up my girlfriends when I’m looking for a little advice or guidance. That’s what friends are for! Whether it is roommate issues, job problems, relationship hiccups, anything, my girlfriends are there for me to give advice and perspective.

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On the flipside, there are those times when my friends give me advice that I completely disagree with. I think “they’re not in my shoes, they don’t know what this is really like so they can’t give me the advice I truly need.” And this can go both ways where I give a friend some advice (very sound advice in my opinion) and they tell me I can’t understand until I am put in their position.

So where is the truth? Is it my friend following her heart and careening into what could be another disastrous relationship? Is it me taking a job I wasn’t fully comfortable with on the encouragement from the people around me? Who is right?

As with most things, advice lies in the balance. A friend can give the most excellent advice in the world, but it is true, she cannot empathize with you unless she’s been in your situation. And even if she has been in a situation similar to your own, you are two completely different people. You will react differently. You will have different emotions. You will make different decisions. Only you will truly know what your heart and mind are telling you.

Sometimes though your heart and mind are clouded. Your emotions are running so high you can’t think straight. You make decisions that are bad for you because at the time they just feel so right. You move across the country to live with a guy even though your friends warn you he seems too controlling. They say hindsight is 20/20. And being on the outside looking in often gives a person more clarity than someone who is in the thick of it all. A friend can see how you’ve changed since being in a relationship more than you can see yourself.

So when it comes to advice, especially for the big changes or moments in your life, you need to weight it all very carefully. Take what your loved ones say to heart, but also know your heart. Know yourself and know what will make you happy in the long run. Be smart, be thoughtful and be open to possibilities.

In the end, no one knows the future. No one will be able to tell you the exact outcome of your decisions. Just know when you make a decision and it doesn’t work out you are strong enough in yourself to pick yourself back up and keep moving forward.

You’re as Helpless as You Want to Be

We’ve all been there. When the things you want seem to be out of your grasp. Things seem helpless.

How can I accomplish this?

How is this going to come together?

Why can’t things just go my way?

These are all the questions you ask yourself. And the responses you give tend to make you feel even more helpless.

There is too much going on.

This other situation is blocking this from happening.

I can’t make this happen.

This is a very downtrodden view on life. But if I’ve learned one thing it’s that if there is a will, there is a way.

No, your original plans may not have worked out, but you CAN still make things work if you try! Your state of mind is everything. Setbacks will happen but they are not the end of the world. You may have planned your wedding to take place in a garden, but when the day comes it’s pouring. You could give up and say your wedding is ruined. OR you can think of a solution. You’re still going to get married. This is still your day, make the best of the circumstances you’re given and keep moving on. Shift things around and bring the party indoors. Chances are if you can stay positive and find the solution your day will still be absolutely perfect.

People don’t like to hang out with Debbie Downers. Sometimes you can’t help it and it’s okay to feel upset or be in a bad mood. But if you turn into a defeatist every time you come across a road block, people will start to get annoyed. And you’ll remain in a sour mood. Change your frame of mind from defeat to problem solving and chances are your mood will turn right around.

You are in charge of your life. If you want something to happen then make it happen. No one is going to do it for you. Life isn’t perfect and things aren’t handed to you. Work for them.

One of my favorite quotes, from the great Blair Waldorf:

“Fate is for losers. It’s just a stupid excuse to wait for things to happen instead of making them happen.”

Don’t wait for things to happen. Don’t throw up your hands and give up. Make things happen. Because all the power you need is inside you.

Holiday Playlist

I could legitimately listen to Christmas music at anytime of the year. I love the Christmas season and Christmas music seriously helps to put me in the spirit. Classic Christmas music is great, but I admittedly can get pretty tired of the same songs over and over again. I start to feel as though if I’ve heard one rendition of White Christmas, I’ve heard them all.

I need some new, exciting Christmas music to inject some life into the classics and luckily there are plenty of options to choose from! See my list below for some new holiday tunes that should definitely be added to your traditional playlist.

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  1. My Only Wish (This Year) by Britney Spears – no playlist is complete without a little Britney
  2. Christmas Day by She & Him
  3. Underneath the Tree by Kelly Clarkson – easily my new favorite holiday song
  4. Warm This Winter by Gabriella Cilmi
  5. 4 Carats by Kelly Clarkson
  6. The Lights and Buzz by Jack’s Mannequin
  7. Christmas Coming Home by Lennon and Maisy – this sister duo can do no wrong in my eyes
  8. Soul Cake by Sting – throwing this in here because it’s a family favorite
  9. Mistletoe by Colbie Caillat
  10. A Great Big Sled by the Killers
  11. Someday at Christmas by Jack Johnson
  12. Not This Year by Aly & AJ – this is almost an anti-Christmas song but I still love to jam to it
  13. Don’t Shoot Me Santa by the Killers
  14. A Bizarre Christmas Incident by Ben Folds Five
  15. All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey – is it really a holiday playlist if Mariah doesn’t make an appearance? 

Have any other non-traditional holiday songs? Send them my way! And check out my full holiday playlist on Spotify here!