It’s Self-Improvement Month! Here are easy(ish) ways I’m trying to be a better human being

This morning, something made me feel like going on a run. It was a super bizarre feeling, considering I dislike running. I dislike it very much. When I run, all I can think about is not running. But for some reason, this specific morning I woke up and just…felt like running. So I threw on my Nikes and started my playlist and just casually went out the door and did a 5K without even realizing it.

Going on a 30-minute morning run is something that a lot of people do every day without a second thought. But for me, it’s a damn big deal. When I first moved to San Francisco a few months ago, it had probably been at least two years since I had gone on a run- and not like a 20-minute stint on the treadmill before kickboxing class. I mean an honest-to-God run outside where I run with the full intention of doing my best and going as far as I can.

When I moved here, I looked around at the Golden Gate Bridge, at the ocean views, at the beauty of my city, and I knew it would be a crime if I didn’t at least try to become a runner while I can run by the GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE. So I started by running for 10 minutes (yeah, 10 minutes, I totally sucked, okay? But like, everyone sucks when they start something, right?), and then for 15, and then for 20. I downloaded the Nike run app for motivation and before I knew it, I got into a rhythm of running 3-4 times a week, and I was getting farther and farther. After just one month in, I could run 5 miles and not die. I legitimately felt like an Olympic champion. And today I got up and ran 5K without even noticing it. In the next two months I’ll probably get to 10K, and then within six months of starting to run I’ll be able to run a half marathon. All this because I just wanted to give it a try.

This all brings us to the whole point of trying to do things like running, which is that we all want to be our best selves. We’re all looking for ways to improve ourselves, whether we want to be better at our jobs, better at our health and wellness, better partners and friends, better learners. This is why there are so many industries dedicated to self-improvement, and you can probably think of a few things off the top of your head that you’ve spent money on for self-improvement- I know I’ve bought a yoga membership to get better at fitness and mindfulness, pre-made meals at Trader Joe’s to get better at spending less money on takeout, and even a subscription to the New York Times, just to do a better job of staying informed from a credible source.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the little ways I can be a better self- not a better version of myself trying to be like someone else (there is a DIFFERENCE people), but just a better me. A better Alex doesn’t necessarily mean better at sports or better at cooking. A better Alex means I take time to read more. I take care of my mental health. I spend more time on the things that are important to me, like my career and my family.

Here are some of the little steps I’ve taken (and that you can take) toward your better self:

Wellness

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  • Download the Headspace app to practice mindfulness
  • Start journaling, even just in bullets
  • Stop obsessing about things that upset you. Let things go. It’s fine.
  • Pick up all of the clutter in your room. All. of. it. Clutter in your physical space causes clutter in your brain.
  • Call your family.
  • If you have a bad headache, take an Advil instead of just sitting there trying to tough it out. You are accomplishing nothing. Take the Advil.
  • Spend more time just listening to new music and discovering bands you like instead of complaining that “there’s no new music that’s good anymore”
  • Reach out to a friend you’ve lost contact with.
  • Go on more walks during the day, even just a 10-minute walk in the middle of a busy workday

Fitness/Health

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  • Go on a run- even if it’s just a short run, it’s better than if you had never ran at all
  • Show up at the grocery store with a grocery LIST and have meals planned out (I have a bad habit of just running in with no plan and I end up making dumb purchases like frozen mac ‘n cheese bites)
  • Switch afternoon coffee for green tea
  • Drink more water. And then drink more.
  • Put at least one vegetable in every meal. No more popcorn for dinner. Or if it is popcorn, at least eat it with carrots?
  • Eat almonds NOT chocolate covered almonds FOR THE LOVE OF CHRIST
  • Try a new fun workout once a month, like aerial yoga or hip hop
  • Laugh more! Watch more funny Netflix shows, go to a comedy night at the neighborhood bar, talk on the phone with your hilarious friend

Learning

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  • Learn a new skill in just one day- there are so many fun, free online classes that only take a few hours. Like this one on graphic design.
  • Stop by Barnes & Noble and buy an actual book. Yeah, books are like $15 but also how much did you spend last night on drinks? Okay? Okay.
  • Subscribe to a newsletter on something you don’t know anything about.
  • Go to a museum. Any museum. It can be the Art Institute or it can be a historic vibrator museum for all I care. You’ll learn something.
  • Watch a documentary or a “Netflix Explained” video instead of another episode of Sex and the City or Gossip Girl
  • Take a tour of something in your city that you’d normally ignore. I recently went to Coit Tower in San Francisco, which is a 20-minute walk away from my apartment, and it turns out the tower is full of these incredible historic murals that I never would have seen if I hadn’t decided to “be touristy.” And it was like $6.
  • Play games on the Peak brain training app.

Career

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  • Tell a coworker you appreciate them. It’s literally as easy as sending a quick “I appreciate you” over Slack or Gchat or IM or whatever you use these days.
  • Don’t do any work the whole weekend. Don’t think about work. Don’t try to work ahead. Just give yourself an actual break. (normal people do this anyways but I’m a workaholic so)
  • Raise your hand for a project that is scary and sounds like a pain in the ass
  • Speak up in a meeting, even if you think you’ll sound stupid. You probably won’t sound stupid, you’ll sound engaged. And anyways, why are you so worried about looking stupid? Stop that nonsense.
  • Spend a solid two hours a week just getting organized and doing administrative stuff. Like filling in spreadsheets or getting to Inbox Zero on your email. The stuff you hate and normally put off. This is the best gift you can give your future self.
  • Volunteer to attend an industry event, like a speaking panel or cocktail networking hour, which might sound like hell but actually could make a huge impact even if you just meet one new person.

Style/Beauty

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  • Read an issue of Vogue just like you used to when you were in middle school and high school, and you were excited about the different trends
  • Keep up with your skincare routine instead of getting mad at yourself when a zit pops up (it’s probably because you didn’t wash your face like you were supposed to)
  • Go to the mall more. Yes, go to the mall more. (Another Alex goal, since I have a habit of never letting myself splurge on my wardrobe. Which sounds great, but in reality I need more clothes and I forget how much I love Topshop). It’s okay to buy nice things sometimes.
  • Your eyelashes don’t have to be perfect every day. They just don’t.
  • Keep dressing up for work, even if you work in tech and you’re allowed to wear a sweatshirt. It feels good to look professional and polished.
  • Do your nails more. Plz.

Those are just some of the small things I’ve been trying to do to be a better me! Happy Self-Improvement Month, and holler if you have your own ideas for becoming a better you!

XO,

CC

How to plug in to the tech industry

There’s definitely a love-hate relationship going on with tech.

“I love technology!” – me when my long-distance boyfriend and I find an app that lets us watch the same Black Mirror episode on Netflix in sync

“I hate technology!” – me after watching said Black Mirror episode

We celebrate technology for making our lives easier, from health care advancements to staying in touch with faraway friends. We love that we can order things from Amazon and listen to whatever songs we want on Spotify. But we also fear it. We hate that social media can make us feel isolated. We hate that robots might be taking over the world. But regardless of how you feel about technology, it’s important to understand what’s going on.

Because love it or hate it, it’s everywhere. And staying informed is staying empowered. Even if we aren’t directly in tech careers, we still need to understand what is happening in the world at large, and these days it’s often tech. And in general…technology really is a good thing. Raise your hand if you’ve taken an Uber/Lyft in the past week, despite all the negative publicity around ride-sharing services. Raise your hand if you listen to Spotify. If you watch Netflix. If you send Snapchats. If you work out with a FitBit. If you have a bank account. If you USE GOOGLE.

As a PR professional in tech, I kind of straddle both the tech and the everyday consumer worlds, so I know what it’s like to feel like WTF is going on, while also having to know what’s going on because it’s my job.

So. Where do we start?

5 tips for keeping up with tech

Start paying attention to the innovations around you in everyday life.

Don’t just go to Sephora and try on makeup virtually and take it for granted. Really pay attention to what you’re doing. How did they figure out how to match your skin tone to the right foundation color? It’s not magic. It’s artificial intelligence and it rocks. AI is not trying to steal your job, okay? It’s just trying to save you from making the mistake of leaving the store with an expensive tube of something that will turn you orange.

Subscribe to newsletters. 

Like any other corporate American living the corporate dream, I start my day by reading the morning news. Except instead of the paper, it’s all my email newsletters. As soon as I knew I was interested in doing tech PR, I subscribed to newsletters like the Fortune Data Sheet and The Hustle (it’s like TheSkimm but more tech-focused).

Read the front pages of technology news outlets like Wired.

If you want to do a deeper dive, there are a ton of news outlets out there just for tech news. And TBH, it’s a refreshing news cycle compared to the Trump train wreck I see on mainstream media outlets. Sometimes it’s nice to just read about innovation and cool things happening and the people trying to move the world forward.

A lot of lifestyle websites cover tech news, like Refinery29 and Brit + Co.

Not really into the tech media? No prob. These days you’ll likely find tech news on the sites you enjoy reading already, because like I said…Tech. Is. Everywhere. It’s in fashion, it’s in music, it’s in beauty, it’s in Starbucks. What do you think powers your mobile-ordered PSL this fall? Again, it’s not magic. It’s your app. And actually in this case, maybe a little bit of magic because those lattes are MAGICAL.

And in case you do none of the above, here’s my personal cheat sheet to general big things happening in the tech world that you should probably know:


Technology isn’t so bad once you know what you’re dealing with, and I hope you’re inspired to be at least a little bit more aware of what’s happening around you. Also, watching Silicon Valley at HBO definitely counts.

XO,

CC

 

Decision fatigue: What it is and how to fight it

Every day, we are bombarded with decisions, big or small. If you really think about it, it’s a miracle we don’t go completely insane.

Think about just your morning: You decide whether to get out of bed or hit snooze. You decide what to wear. You decide whether to respond to an email. You decide what bus to catch, or if you want to walk, or drive. You decide what makeup you wear and what hairstyle you feel like putting effort into and then when you get to the office, you decide what task you’re going to tackle first, if you’re not already stuck deciding what to grab for breakfast.

And this is all before 9 a.m.

I am the world’s most indecisive person, no matter what the decision is. I’m such a classic overthinker that I can’t even decide between two colors of a top at Forever 21, and then I end up either buying both, or neither, or I just go with black. So I end up with a lot of black in my closet.

It also means I exhaust myself every day. We all do. We tire ourselves out just from making decisions all day. Judges do it when deciding cases. Quarterbacks do it during games. You just can’t keep deciding and deciding things all day, without it taking a toll. This whole situation is called decision fatigue.

Decision fatigue is basically the phenomenon that making decisions all day will eventually exhaust you and deplete your willpower and self-control, so you start making dumb decisions just from being tired of it all. Hence buying Cheetos at the grocery store when you meant to stick to broccoli, or in my case, going with the color black because I can’t pick between blue and pink. We feel overwhelmed because in modern times we’ve got so many choices (as opposed to cavewoman days, when your dinner was what you managed to catch that night, and not one of the million ridiculous concoctions at Trader Joe’s).

The good news is that once you know about it, you can start making your life easier. So, knowing we get tired of decisions, what can we do about it?

How to fight decision fatigue

Never make decisions on an empty stomach.

Research shows that when we’re hangry, we’re more likely to make bad decisions. Glucose levels might actually affect your ability to make decisions (if you’re low on sugar, you’re low on willpower). So grab a Snickers bar the next time you’re not feeling like yourself. Because as Snickers already knows, you’re not you when you’re hungry.

Sleep on it when you’re tired.

If you have a big decision to make and it’s late in the day and you just can’t think anymore…don’t. Just stop and make the decision later. That’s why “sleep on it” is a thing: You wake up each morning with a clearer head and no decision fatigue. And if sleep isn’t an option? Take at least ten minutes for a walk, free of any devices or distracting thoughts. It will give your brain a break.

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Simplify your life where you can.

You know how Steve Jobs famously wore the same outfit all the time, or how Obama only wore blue and gray suits while president? This eliminated that wardrobe decision and they could spend more energy on important decisions. And while you might not be able to show up to work every day in the same outfit, you can at least pare down your choices (hint: start with a capsule wardrobe). Maybe you can spend a little more time meal prepping on Sundays so you don’t have to decide what to do for lunch every day. Or you can decide on a set morning routine so that you don’t deplete yourself within just a couple hours of being awake.

Get organized.

The fewer things you have on your desk, the better you’ll feel. Even if you aren’t a neat freak, it can often clutter your brain just to have physical clutter in your environment. With to-do lists and notebooks and all kinds of paperwork, your mind will just keep turning to those things and flipping the switch too much. Just get rid of it. Clear your space and you’ll be able to focus more on the decisions that matter.

Take away the fear that your decision is irreversible.

99% of the decisions we make are not permanent. If I end up hating something I bought, I can return it. Even for a bigger choice, like moving to a new city, I can always just move somewhere else. We often get stuck thinking that a decision is the end-all be-all, when it usually isn’t at all. Ask yourself: What’s the worst case scenario? What happens if I make the “wrong” decision? If the answer is something like, “I won’t enjoy my lunch as much as I would have if I’d gone with the other restaurant” then you should probably spend like five minutes on that choice, max.

Limit your choices. 

Can’t decide what to get at Starbucks? Tell yourself you can get either an iced coffee or a vanilla latte. Choosing between two eyeshadow palettes? Pick one factor that’s most important to you- like price- and decide based on that one important factor. Writing a blog post and can’t decide on a topic? Put yourself in a box and limit yourself to a prompt or theme- for example, “Self-Care Sunday.”

Paralyzed at Forever 21? Well, I can’t help you there, the place is a madhouse.


More awesome reading on decision fatigue:


Do you feel like you’re affected by decision fatigue? Tell me more so I feel better about my own overthinking brain!

XO,

CC

 

Starbucks + Beauty Pairings: Matcha-needed stress relief

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I’m stoked to introduce my newest series, Starbucks + Beauty Pairings! When beverages and beauty products share the same ingredients, I can’t help but put two and two together.

Today we’re sippin’ on the Starbucks matcha green tea latte, while we use the world’s most relaxing green tea sprays and scrubs. Green tea is an antioxidant, which makes it the ultimate natural skincare ingredient. It not only soothes your skin, but it also has anti-aging benefits, so it’s no wonder that beauty brands put it in products like face masks and lotions and Starbucks puts it in a latte. You can have it all!

I’ve been on something of a wellness kick lately, from going on longer runs to eating actual quinoa. San Francisco is changing me, people. I don’t know what’s happening, but I feel better, so I think it’s good? Anyways, part of my new lifestyle involves more matcha green tea. I always loved the matcha green tea smoothie at Jamba Juice (my tried-and-true hangover cure), but never actually drank green tea on a regular basis.

Now that I’m an Adult with a capital A, working a Real Full-Time Job, I haven’t had the time to take care of myself that I did in college. Or so I thought. Then I realized taking care of yourself doesn’t necessarily mean big life changes- it can just mean making little decisions every day that improve your well-being. Like going on a quick walk just to get outside. Or…drinking matcha green tea instead of my usual coffee.

Pair that with incredible skincare, and you’re on your way to Namaste in no time!

 

Starbucks + Beauty Pairings: Matcha-Needed Stress Relief

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Mario Badescu Facial Spray: This does so many things at once, it’s ridiculous. It can work as a primer, setting spray, and even hairspray. The aloe soothes your face while the green tea works its magic.

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MILK Makeup Matcha Cleanser: If your skin gets red, this one’s for you. The Matcha Cleanser exfoliates and calms redness. It also hydrates, a major plus for the drier fall and winter months.

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Green Tea Matcha Mud Mask: Love me a good mud mask, and this one has all the benefits of green tea: anti-aging, antioxidant goodness. I love doing a face mask at least once a week, and since I have acne-prone skin I’ll do an intense clay mask every other week (to exfoliate the crap out of my pores) and then alternate it with a soothing one like this.

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The Body Shop Tea Tree Face Wash: Tea tree oil is known to help clear up skin- whenever I feel a zit coming on, this stuff usually does the trick. It does a deep clean and leaves your skin feeling less shiny and more refreshed.

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Earth Therapeutics Green Tea Konjac Sponge: A beauty sponge with green tea in it?! Yep! Just use it with warm water like you would any other face sponge. It feels amazing and does double duty since it has K-beauty ingredients like charcoal. This one’s also on sale right now!


 

Hope you enjoyed my first installment of Starbucks + Beauty Pairings! Now go get a matcha green tea latte and pick up some green tea products so you can feel like an absolute wellness GURU without even having to run. That’s what I call happiness.

XO,

CC

 

Money Talks: How Much Should You Really Be Making? Here’s How to Check

Let’s talk cold hard cash for a minute here, because I’m going to get real with you: Part of the problem we face in achieving salary parity is that we don’t talk about it enough. And while we continue working toward equal pay, we can start making change just by changing our daily conversations around money.

When I was job searching in my last semester of college, one of the first things I paid attention to was salary, because the dreaded salary negotiation part of the interview process gave me ridiculous anxiety. How TF was I supposed to negotiate salary when I was feeling lucky to get an offer at all? Who was I to push back, when for all I knew, I was already getting a good offer?

The issue with that mindset is obviously that if you don’t push back, you could very easily be leaving money on the table- and worse yet, you could be setting the bar low and setting yourself up for years of lower pay. Think about it this way- if you accept your initial offer at the beginning of your career, it could cost you $1 million over time. Because that money you left on the table- even $5,000- would have gotten higher and higher over time, and haunted you for years. Thanks but no thanks. I’ll take the $1 mill and run with it.

The key to negotiating your salary is to come prepared. Arm yourself with information about your specific career path, your location, industry averages and your own experience. Here’s how you can check how much you should really be making, so that you have the info you need to ask for the salary you deserve and provide a smart answer to the sweat-inducing question, “What are your salary expectations for this role?”

Start with your industry average, by location and sector

While this will only give you a rough estimate, it’s extremely helpful to know what the industry average is for your job. Next, go beyond the industry (for example, my industry was PR) and check individual sectors (for example, technology, health/beauty, consumer, B2B). I found averages in PRWeek, a PR trade publication, and knew from the get-go what I could expect to make as an entry-level PR professional in technology at a small agency in San Francisco.

Get a narrower ballpark estimate from job search sites

Peep sites like Glassdoor to find salary estimates at specific companies, job titles and locations. I used Glassdoor to set expectations for what I could earn at different PR jobs in different locations- the salary at a large PR agency in St. Louis was very different from a small agency in San Francisco. Salary.com, Indeed, and Payscale.com are other good sites to check. This will give you a good range to keep in mind when you’re hit with your first offer- and then you’ll have a pretty accurate idea of whether you’re getting low-balled. It’s also really fascinating and I found myself deep in the salary rabbit hole on Glassdoor looking at salaries in completely irrelevant jobs. It’s a fun time. Go look.

Talk to other professionals in your field

While it might seem awk at first, you can simply ask others what to expect. I have yet to see anyone offended when I ask- if anything, people appreciate a candid, authentic conversation about your career. I talked to trusted mentors to get their honest opinions, and I also had honest conversations with my peers who were also graduating and getting job offers. My friends in my PR classes and I made it a point to openly discuss our salaries, and as a result we all got a better picture of what we all should be earning.

Consider your own background and qualifications.

What’s your education level? If you have your master’s degree, you might deserve a pay bump. Got any experience? Internships count. Remember that you have something to bring to the table, even as an entry-level applicant. Make a list of everything you’ve got- from work experience, to specialized courses you’ve taken, to soft skills like public speaking and project management. Be ready to use this list to make your case for more salary.


 

Have you ever successfully negotiated your salary? Got any advice on sussing out the right pay? Share your experience in the comments and keep the money conversation going $$$

XO,

CC

I moved to San Francisco!!

Well friends, it’s been a while…but Caffeinated Californian is back in business! Why the break, you ask? Eh, no big reason…just moved to a new city and started a new job.

Wait, yes, BIG reasons! Big things have been happening and my blog totally fell to the wayside, but no mas, mis amigos, because I have more coffee shops than ever and more thoughts to fire off on everything from work advice to concerts.

I live in a Victorian house on Russian Hill, which is the neighborhood right next to the touristy area with all the cable cars and crazy streets (like Lombard Street, the famous “crookedest street”), and dangerously close proximity to Ghirardelli Square and In-N-Out. My neighbors are basically sea lions so I’m pretty stoked.

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Anyways, I’ll keep this big life update super short, because there’s just wayyy too much to discuss. So for now, stay tuned for more coffee and vitamin sea.

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Til then-

XO,

CC

 

3 Beach Reads for Bosses

After an insanely busy week, I finally had a Saturday for a good old-fashioned book binge. Not a Netflix binge…a book binge. Because I’m a nerd like that. And also because I ran out of shows on Netflix that interest me. You can only watch so many conspiracy documentaries before you start to lose it. Any suggestions for my next binge, anyone?

In the meantime, I abandoned the Netflix library and hit up the real library, and snagged a few of my favorite books for career inspiration. You guys, I’ve been seriously feeling the senioritis (it’s even worse your last semester of grad school) and my motivation is having some problems. And sometimes there’s nothing like a good book to get your energy back up.

The books I’ve listed below are like self-help books, except way better because they’re written by incredible business figures who have actually been there and done that, and aren’t just writing platitudes like Believe in yourself and the universe will magically make things happen for you. Those are nice and all, but I like action. I like real-life stories. I like authors who have led companies and changed entire organizations. These three books will give you that and more.

Books for Bosses

Lean In, by Sheryl Sandberg

Okay, so this one is a classic for a reason and I knew I had to read it at some point, so I gave it a whirl. And it. was. amazing. I have never felt so moved by a book, and that says a lot. I think it was the big dose of reality that men continue to hold more leadership roles, and that women face more risk when they try to strive for those top spots.

If you’re in the mood for a rallying cry to reach your full potential and make your impact by achieving your career goals, this is the book for you. Go learn how to save the world. No pressure though.

Onward, by Howard Schultz

Starbucks has a soul, and it’s because of Howard Schultz. The place could have easily been perceived as an evil corporation taking over the world, and it may be taking over the world, but it’s definitely not be evil. I mean, really…how can the company that created the Frappuccino ever be evil?

In all seriousness, though, this book is about how Schultz came back to Starbucks as CEO after having stepped down, and he showed how the struggling Starbucks reinvented itself as a company with genuine values and winning in a good way. It’s awesome for anyone interested in learning about leadership styles and “how they did it” stories. Also awesome for Starbucks addicts.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni

This one is another classic that you’ll find on the Barnes and Noble bookshelf in the business section. It’s not as well known as the first two I listed, but it’s so worth the read. I actually was assigned to read this book in one of my advertising classes, and at first I was not excited at the thought of more assigned reading, but then I picked up this book and straight up binged it like a Netflix show.

The book basically tells an entire story about a CEO who takes over a struggling team, and it reads like a soap opera. Seriously. Gossip Girl doesn’t even get better than some of the plot twists in this thing. Maybe that’s an exaggeration. But you get it– it’s a fun read. And then at the end, you get a lowdown of the lessons about solving team issues that the story showed. If you’ve ever felt frustrated in a group project, this one’s for you.


Have you read any books lately that inspired you when you were feeling less than motivated? LMK!

XO,

CC

5 Creativity Boosters for When You’re Working From Home

As much as I love working in a coffee shop, library, or an office, sometimes it’s nice to just wake up and make coffee and wear sweatpants all day while you get things done. And sometimes you just need some quiet alone time to keep your sanity intact.

The huge downside of working from home is getting into that creative workflow mode when you might not be in the most inspiring environment (not that you can’t get great ideas from a living room couch, but it doesn’t help). That’s why I put together this list of my favorite strategies for getting your grind on from the comfort of that couch.

Put on some background noise.

I love the coffee shop atmosphere because it has just the right balance of noise and non-noise, which research has proven to boost creativity. I don’t know about you, but I can’t work in complete silence, and it helps to have ambience in the background when you’re at home.

Coffitivity is an amazing website that I just discovered a few weeks ago. It actually plays coffee shop noises, and you can actually pick from different types of coffee shop noise (the lunchtime rush? a college campus?) to get the vibe you want. If coffee shop noise isn’t your thing, put on a mindless TV show or your best Spotify playlist to nail the right sound for your work mode. Believe it or not, Keeping Up With the Kardashians gives me some of my most productive moments.

Go back to the drawing board.

A literal drawing board! I missed having the whiteboards and easels that office conference rooms have for brainstorming, so I bought a full-size easel at Michael’s and set it up at home. It’s the perfect blank canvas for when I need to draw out what I’m thinking, or make lists, or write down an inspiring quote. Whiteboards and easels are the ultimate place for ideas, and having that place at home will help you when creativity strikes at home.

Block out time when your brain is at its best.

Everyone has a time of the day that they feel most “on”– that is, when your brain is most productive. You’re always supposed to save the hardest tasks that require the most brainpower for when your brain has the most, well, power. That means if you know you work best in the AM, crank out your most work in the morning and save everything else (emails, phone calls, smaller tasks) for the afternoon. If you’re a night owl, do the reverse. And defend that time fiercely. Don’t let anyone take it up. Put time on your calendar if you need to show everyone that you can’t be disturbed.

Do something active, even just for a few minutes.

When you’re working in an office, you often get up and moving, even just to go to a meeting, but at home it’s easy to get stuck sitting for hours at a time. I have a yoga mat by my desk, for when I need to get the blood flowing. Even if it takes just a few yoga poses or a 5-minute walk, you feel refreshed and energetic when the home environment starts to make you feel blah.

Take an hour to shake up your routine.

Whatever you don’t get to spend an hour doing at the office, take the chance to do at home. Read a book you wouldn’t normally have time for, or catch up on the email newsletters that you don’t usually read. Buy fresh flowers for yourself and put them on your desk. Go through your closet and put together new outfits. Take a bath! Go see a matinee movie like they do on Mad Men when they’re feeling creatively stuck and need to clear the cobwebs. Shaking it up and doing something different can be a huge boost to your thinking, and while you’re taking your mind off your work, sometimes your mind will sort things out on its own.


Have you found any good strategies for getting that flow going while you’re WFH? I hope my methods have worked for you!

XO,

CC

Fave Five: Going for (Rose) Gold

I am such a sucker for pretty packaging, and it’s even better when the products inside are just as shiny.

As the Olympics came to a close, I wanted to do a roundup of my favorite rose gold makeup products, because owning the Lorac PRO Metal Rose Gold palette is basically the same thing as winning a gold medal in my mind. After all, you can’t wear a gold medal on your face, but you can come close with the right gold eyeshadow and contour palettes.

To get that golden glow on your face that Olympic athletes have when they stand on the podium, these are some of my favorite products. You can live your Olympic moment every day by going for gold in the makeup you wear.

So here’s my latest Fave Five roundup, featuring the shiny gold products that rock my world.

rose gold

Lorac PRO Metal Rose Gold Palette: This was a limited-edition eyeshadow palette that’s hard to find now, but it’s so worth the hunt. It’s shiny, tiny, and perfect. The palette has eight brilliant metallic shades that are somehow both neutral and stunning, so I have it stashed in my purse now at all times for both day and night. Okay, speech over, get your butt on Ebay.

Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner in Grind: If you’ve read my Fave Five posts, you’ll know I love this eyeliner more than life itself. That said, this pink color is a new one that I’ve tried and it’s amazingly unexpected.

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herb and Rosewater: For dewy, glowy skin, this spray is everything. EVERYTHING. I give myself a spray for hydration in the morning and at night, or use it as a setting spray. I’ll spritz some on if I need a boost throughout the day, too. It’s relaxing, smells amazing, and makes your face light up. And it’s $7.

Koko Kollection Face Palette: This has nice shimmering soft gold and satin bronze colors that you can use as highlighter, bronzer and blush. It’s super blendable and gives you a subtle glow (well, as subtle as a Kardashian face palette can be).

NYX Cosmic Metals Lip Cream in Metropolitan Night: This metallic champagne gold shade is a serious statement, but if you like a bold lip, this one’s for you.


Bringing home the gold has never been so easy!

XO,

CC

How I Actually Kept my New Year’s Resolution to Work Out 5 Times a Week

What do ballet and boxing have in common? They both keep you on your toes.

I wanted to do a post about my workouts, and it occurred to me that my workouts are kind of not normal. I do about three hours of ballet a week– honest to God ballet, with pirouettes and all– and two hours of boxing and turbo kick, with a few classes in power yoga, pilates or Insanity to even it out.

But it’s pretty darn perfect, and I’m going to tell you why.

It started with my New Year’s Resolution to work out more. Basic AF but necessary. As a former competitive dancer and cheerleader, I used to be super tough and toned, but now my college years have started catching up to me. I was starting to feel blah this year. Like, panting after walking up stairs blah. And while I normally love my body shape, I was not feeling myself. There’s a difference between self love and body positivity, and realizing your abs got lost somewhere between your first and last frat party over the past four years. 

So I finally got into that “I need to make a change” mindset that most people get in January. But I’m stubborn and I was determined to stay in that mindset through February, March, April, May, June and happily ever after.

So I gave myself a concrete goal (I respond well to concrete goals) and said that I would work out five times a week.

And while it’s only February, I feel like I’ve finally turned into one of those Gym People. I’m like that Workout Person Friend who gets other people to come work out. I’m actually a good influence for once. Other than my transformation into a Morning Person, this was probably the most shocking lifestyle change I’ve ever made.

Here’s the deal, though. You can’t just tell yourself to work out five times a week and then automatically be like, Oh, yeah, now that you say so, I’ll totally go work out five times a week. There are a lot of tricks to keeping your mindset.

10 Commandments for Becoming a Workout Person

  1. Thou shalt not make excuses. This is a common truism of those gym inspiration Instagram posts: No excuses. It’s a truism because it’s TRUE. If you keep telling yourself you have homework or a dinner or you’re tired, it’s the same as telling yourself that your fitness is not a priority. Treat your workouts like you would important dates. Because this is a date with your HEALTH and that’s more important than anything else.
  2. Pick forms of exercise that you actually like. Just because you see someone else on a treadmill doesn’t mean you have to run on a treadmill. Running on a treadmill makes me personally want to cry within five minutes.
  3. Use the power of peer pressure. If you go to a Pilates class every week where the instructor is awesome and knows you, you’ll feel more guilty missing that class. If you bring friends to your workouts, you’re less likely to bail. And if you verbally tell someone you are going to the gym, you will feel more obligated to actually go to the gym.
  4. Do workouts that show results. I started boxing because I can see the physical results of my body getting stronger and more powerful. And also because Adriana Lima does boxing. The first week I started, I was hitting like a total wimp (not hitting like a girl. I don’t know where that expression came from. Girls hit HARD. And they can kick harder). Now, I can punch and kick that punching bag across the room. The feeling of making progress is so satisfying that you will be motivated to keep going to your workouts each time.
  5. Switch up your routine. If you stop showing up to work out, you might be getting bored. This is why I do a lot of different workouts: HIIT, yoga, Pilates, Insanity, ballet, boxing, all that fun stuff. It’s good to have your core workouts, but sometimes it’s good to throw in a fun new thing.
  6. Block out time in your calendar. I have my schedule set up so that I’m going to the same classes each week, so that my friends and coworkers know that I do not joke around with going to ballet every Thursday. If you don’t do workouts in a class setting– maybe you run or you practice yoga at home– you should still be doing your workouts in the same times consistently each week.
  7. If you absolutely must miss a workout, make it up another day. I usually do yoga every Thursday, but things come up, and if I truly have to go to an important meeting or travel, I add another workout in on a different day. Again: No excuses!
  8. Thou shalt invest in cute workout clothes. This is a serious one. I love Victoria Sport and of course Lululemon, but most stores carry cute fitness clothes since athleisure is a thing and it is beautiful. If you spend money on a cute bra and gym bag and yoga mat, you’re more likely to use it. Same goes for buying a gym membership or paying for classes!
  9. Reward thyself. You are doing something good for your body and you deserve to feel good about it. Don’t be afraid to grab ice cream once a week each time you meet your goal. Honestly what’s the point of working out if you’re going to deprive yourself too? Just don’t overdo it on the syrup.
  10. Love thyself. Remember that your fitness goals are all about you and loving you. The more you work out and fulfill your goals, the better you will feel. In the words of Elle Woods:

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Enjoy your endorphins! Have you discovered any secrets to sticking to your workout goals?

XO,

CC