New Post!
To read, please visit my main site, Smart, Pretty & Awkward.

New Post!

To read, please visit my main site, Smart, Pretty & Awkward.

"You can’t expect to hit the jackpot if you don’t put a few nickels in the machine." — Flip Wilson

How to be Smarter: Book Recommendation: Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? by Seth Godin. This book will open your mind to a million new ways of thinking about art, gifts, and being valuable at work. If you want to stretch your mind in a new direction in the best way possible, I would start by reading this book. I loved it.

How to be Prettier: I have been living in the Women’s Raglan version (in blue) of this long-sleeved shirt for the last few weekends. So comfy!

How to be (less) Awkward: At parties and weddings, if you feel overwhelmed about what to do when you first get on the dance floor, try to join in during a moment when the dance steps are pre-determined, like during the YMCA or the chicken dance. After the first few minutes, the awkwardness kind of melts away so that when the pre-determined dance moves songs are over, you feel comfortable enough to stay out there.

"The only way to enjoy anything in this life is to earn it first." — Ginger Rogers

How to be Smarter: People are often afraid of failing because of two reasons: 1) they worry others will judge them or 2) they worry they will be disappointed in themselves. But if you are afraid of trying anything that comes with a risk of failure, your life will not ever move forward.

A way to get over a fear of failing is to give yourself the opportunity to fail in a small way. Then after things did not go perfectly, tell someone you did not measure up and reward yourself for trying. An easy way to do this is to take a class in a subject you have never learned before, and decide before the class begins that at the end of the class you will both tell someone, honestly, your experience [“I tried a trapeze class over the weekend. I tried to bring my legs up four times and missed each time”] and reward yourself for trying [with a treat like a new book].

Trying little exercises like this allow you to learn to deal with failure in small, slightly inconsequential ways. This can help you be slightly more comfortable with trying bigger, more substantial things that come with a risk of not-perfection. And a big part of moving your life forward — whether that means applying for a new job, trying online dating, or training for a marathon —  is being at peace with the chance of failures, big and small.

How to be Prettier: Wear a zip-up hoodie when getting your hair done for a special occasion, so you can can change clothes later without mussing the ‘do.

How to be (less) Awkward: “Remember, people want to be treated as human beings, not objects. Using their name is the fastest and most reliable way of building rapport and creating a good first impression. Everyone has a name — use it to better connect to them. You will notice a difference in your relationships.” — Great quote from this article on the Power of Using Someone’s Name.

"It is easy to sit up and take notice, what is difficult is getting up and taking action." — Honore de Balzac

How to be Smarter: Book Recommendation: Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy. This quick read is a series of 21 easy-to-understand productivity strategies, each just a few pages long. It would be perfect to read a strategy each morning while eating breakfast or on a work commute to get into the right mindset to be productive for the day. This would also be a great book to give someone starting a new job or big project. 

How to be Prettier: SP&A Exclusive Discount Code: With the promo code SmartPrettyAwkward2014, SP&A readers can get 15% off your entire order at Aromaflage. One of the coolest products I’ve seen recently, Armoflage is citrus fruit, cedarwood and vanilla fragrance that also doubles as an insect repeller. I wear the scent often in an urban environment because I love how it smells, but it would be perfect for a honeymoon or tropical vacation when it could double as a perfume and an insect repeller. 

How to be (less) Awkward: Before taking a screenshot of your computer screen to send to someone else at work or IT support, close any extra tabs that are not relevant or related to what the screenshot is about. 

"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing." — Dale Carnegie

How to be SmarterConfidence Is A Numbers Game. [Great, great read].

How to be PrettierWorkplace layouts that are both beautiful and performance-boosting.

How to be (less) Awkward: If you get nervous going to social events alone, practice by going to the movies alone. Going to the movies alone for the first time can also be intimating, but since you do not need to talk to anyone, it is a nice stepping stone to going to events solo where you will need to talk to others.

"Accept what people offer. Drink their milkshakes. Take their love." — Wally Lamb

How to be Smarter: Book Recommendation: Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success by Dan Schawbel. This book shares tons of unusual, interesting ways to shine at work. Covering both how to leverage your digital presence as well as how to spend time doing in-person activities that enhance your reputation at work [like joining the company sports team], Promote Yourself is packed with really helpful personal branding insights for the workplace.

How to be Prettier: These are the fleece-lined leggings I have been wearing this season. They are warm and not too thick, and I have two pairs, both in black.

How to be (less) Awkward: It only takes an extra second for a text to go from purely transactional [“Where are you?”] to thoughtful and sweet [“Where are you, hon?”]. Try to take that extra second.

"Real difficulties can be overcome; it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable." — Theodore N. Vail

How to be SmarterGreat tips on unplugging and giving yourself a digital break.

How to be Prettier: I have just discovered Retale, which is a website that provides digitized weekly print ads, coupons and circulars for popular stores in specific zip codes. A helpful, easy way to find great in-store deals.

How to be (less) Awkward: Be as fearless as possible when life presents an invaluable opportunity to dream a bigger dream. Be as careful as possible when life presents an invaluable opportunity to hold someone else’s heart. And be as grateful as possible for the priceless experience of both.

"All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." — Walt Disney

How to be Smarter: 15 Fresh Starts for a New Year.

How to be Prettier: Glitter or sparkly nail polish is often harder to see chips in than a regular solid color polish.

How to be (less) Awkward: Not awkward, just adorable: Beijing’s Central Perk.

"Kindness, I’ve discovered, is everything in life." — Isaac Bashevis Singer

How to be Smarter45 Great Productivity Tips.

How to be Prettier: If it is hard to see emails come into your inbox about post-holiday sales without being tempted to buy something you do not need, set up a separate inbox or automatic email folder for promotion emails. Then only check it when you have something specific to buy to avoid mindless shopping.

How to be (less) Awkward: Just because a cell phone can be answered everywhere, does not mean it should be answered anywhere. Try not to answer phone calls when there is a noisy background [like when walking down the street], especially if the person on the other end might be hard of hearing [such as grandparents] or have important news [like a prospective employer].