The Latest



Tuesdays are tough. 

Mondays get a bad rap, but really, Tuesdays are the worst. The shiny "I did X this weekend!" has worn off, you've already seen the cute guy in your office, and you piled up a bunch of crap yesterday that you just couldn't deal with because it was Monday.  And the weekend is SO. FAR. AWAY.

Most Tuesdays, we JUST CAN'T.

In honor of 20-something girls everywhere, I've curated a special selection of the finest "I JUST CAN'T" wear for those days when your shirt needs to do the talking.  Click through to purchase.  At least by wearing these, you can warn your room mates before you start doing the ugly cry.
 

 
For the Crazy Cat Ladies among us.  Sometimes, you just need some space.
 
 
Every girl's imaginary BFF.  And a reminder that no matter how bad life gets, at least you  didn't puke at Madonna's house
 
Your wordless response to "Oh my gosh, there is this cool new bar opening/ warehouse party/ open bar!  LETS GO!!"
 
Because your girlfriends want to GO TO THE GYM AND GET SO SKINNAYYY after work.
 
 
Who doesn't like pugs?  Look in the mirror, and remind yourself that you didn't choose the Pug Life, the Pug Life chose you.
 
Drinking wine is great. Drinking wine without pants on is heaven.
 
 
Exhausted is the new sexy.
 
 

 


This woman is the definition of a BAMF. Not only is she just about the cutest thing EVER, but at 101 years young she is the oldest walker in the 30-kilometer "Weekend to End Women's Cancer" weekend event every year, raising $20,000, but she threw a seriously stylish first pitch to Toronto Blue Jays catcher Josh Thole. 

Her joy and zest for life radiates from her every pore.  Some advice from this sassy little lady?  She says:

"Whatever I decide to do, it can be done with the right (frame) of mind."

Take that and make it your mantra.  I'll be over in my corner dying over her cuteness.
After hauling myself all over Manhattan for the past month an a half, I have discovered the importance of quality, comfortable flats.  However, the small size of my budget doesn't allow for TOO much of a splurge on shoes.  When you have wide, huge, monster feet like I do, finding cute and comfortable shoes can be tricky. I've rounded up five of my favorite spring flats for this spring to share-- hopefully keeping everyone blister-free and curing any instances of "cranky feet hurt syndrome!"



Tory Burch ballet flat
shopbop.com


The classic.  Yes, it is expensive, and yes, it is a little uncomfortable at first, but you can get away with ANYTHING in these shoes.  Perfect for everything from the law firm office to a night spent at the wine bar with girlfriends, these go with literally EVERYTHING.  I had my last pair for FOUR YEARS, and finally bought a new one last week.  The black is classic, but I am lusting after the orange.  Go up a size if you have wide feet like I do.  ShopBop has regular sales, and Toryburch.com will have 25% off once every season or so.  That brings them down to around $168-- totally worth it for four years of adorable footwear. 


Kenneth Cole flat shoes
kennethcole.com


Cheetah is a neutral.  It goes with most colors, and adds a bit of sassiness to any outfit.  I usually break out the cheetah when I am feeling too "grandma--" I mean there are only so many things you can wear as a lawyer.  Cheetah smoking flats contribute a certain masculine sexiness to fitted black pants that a regular flat just won't bring. 
 
 

zara.com

I personally haven't tried these, but my lovely sister-from-another-mister, Holland, has last summer's version-- and she loves them.  The ankle strap and metallic gold around the bottom adds a bit of edginess that you won't get from a plain flat.  Plus, the ease of finding a Zara in NYC makes these an attractive option for those of us who walk by about 3 on our way home every day.

 

Mossimo flat shoes
target.com


These shoes are on my wishlist, so NO I can't attest to their comfort, but LOOK HOW CUTE THEY ARE!  I'm an advocate for the Mossimo pointy shoe-- every pair I have bought has been great.  I've got a pair on now that I've had for about 6 years-- no joke.  I actually might haul my butt up to East Harlem tonight to get these-- this is how much I think I need them.  They are actually color blocked-- see?
 
They also feature an adorable zipper on the back, so you don't have to strap yourself in every morning.  Perfect with a pair of fitted pants or a cute skirt.
 
  
Nine West Histericks Pointy Toe Flats
ninewest.com

Last but not least, I LOVE these flats.  The come in SO many colorsI have them in nude, but plan on getting another color soon.  Wait until they go on sale again, and you can get them for around $49.  Very comfortable, and actually fits the little bunion on my small toe (GROSSS ok whatever, I know-- but that's what I get for dancing for so long.  Deal with it.  You'll get one sooner or later).  Out of all of my pointy shoes, these are probably the most comfortable in the toe region. 
 
 
I'm always up for recommendations for flats-- anyone want to add their favorites?
 
 
 



Everyone has these days.
 

This article.  If you have two X chromosomes, take the time to read it.  It's important.

Just in case: The Confidence Gap via the Atlantic Magazine

One of my smartest and prettiest girlfriends sent it to me this morning, and we had a frank discussion about the way it made us feel.  Reading it brought up a variety of emotions: feeling vindicated, disappointed, hopeful, bleak, and confused, yet in the company of many amazing women trying to manage the same thoughts and feelings I am. 

I really identify with almost all of the issues this article talks about-- feeling "lucky" and somewhat guilty instead of soaking in the benefits of my hard work; struggling with self-worth, fighting to master the "meek" aspects of my body language to "take up more space" and seem more confident when I'm really shaking in my boots on the inside. I fight to be seen as more intimidating and less intimidating at the same time.  I constantly wonder if I sound "bitchy" when telling people what to do or when asking serious questions.  And I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that I'm a girl.

I think it is important to recognize that there are inherent differences between the construction of men and women's brains.  This does, in fact, have an impact on the way we think and handle situations.  It doesn't mean that one is better than the other; it just means that given a task, men and women are likely to figure out different ways of approaching it.  This isn't a bad thing!


What IS a bad thing is women letting our worries and insecurities get in the way.  Letting them shake us.  And what is even worse? When we, as women, constantly tear other strong women down because they are confident, career driven, decisive, or assertive.  When women display these traits, we label them as bitches.  They eat alone or in their offices.  When they can't find a compatible mate, other women say, "tsk tsk, maybe she shouldn't have been such a bitch around the office." Seeing the fate of these other women makes us fear our own shame. We don't want to be "that woman."  "That woman" is alone, she is an island.  Yeah, maybe she gets the corner office and the title, but no one else likes her.

Baby Steps to Confidence


There are two ways we need to work on our confidence issues as a gender.  First, we need to STOP labeling other women because of their career choices.  Recognize that an assertive woman is a confident woman.  And recognize that she is, in the long run, probably helping your paycheck reach the same level of a man's. 

Second, we need to boost our own confidence.  Do things that make us believe in ourselves.  Stop judging and overanalyzing, and start doing.  The article says that
"The natural result of low confidence is inaction.  When women hesitate because we aren't sure, we hold ourselves back." 

THIS IS SO TRUE! 

Think about a guy your age in your office.  I bet he takes risks that you don't-- walking into superior's offices to pitch wild ideas, asking for "more" of something, be it a title, office, salary, or vacation days, or even approaching partners to ask for a cup of coffee and a chat.  I myself would be MORTIFIED to ask an executive for coffee or a meeting, but I know lots of guys who would do it.  What am I scared of?  The rejection.  Even if it was just me and the executive, I would be scared they would continuously judge me for the rest of my days.  But WHY should I care?!  The are one person-- and do you honestly think they would say no?

I'm definitely a more confident person than I was years ago.  I used to really struggle with being assertive.  I still struggle.  That is something that law school pushed me towards: feeling much more confident and self assured.  It's the one thing I will never regret.  But even still, I struggle some days.  On those days, I've adapted a "fake-it-til-you-make-it" mentality-- if you ACT like you know what you're doing, people will believe you.  I've actually picked this up from a lot of my guy friends.  They just DO it, and don't freak themselves out by overanalyzing. 

Photo of Miss Maya Van Wagenen,
aka the girl who grew her own confidence
and now has a book and movie deal.
But sometimes it is hard to even get to a point where you can "fake it."  Sometimes, you feel so self conscious that you can't breathe.  And I get that, too. I recently saw a segment on the Today Show where a shy middle school girl followed every line from a 50's book on popularity.  I'm talking EVERYTHING.  She stuck out like a sore thumb because of her dress, her gloves, her hair-- but she became so self confident in the process.  And she said something that stuck with me.  She noted that in the beginning, she was scared.  So she started incorporating one tiny thing into her life every day: first her socks, then her girdle, (!!!) then her shoes, etc etc.  And you know what?  Conquering each of those seemingly insignificant milestones made her more and more self assured. Every hurdle she mastered trained her mind to jump over bigger and bigger challenges.  And now? The girl is on the Today Show and has a book deal AND a movie deal. GET. IT. GIRL.

This is the way I've built confidence in my own life: tackling seemingly stupid small things that frighten me. For example, I am a phone-o-phobic.  I hate them.  I hate calling in orders, I hate answering them, I even hate calling friends. I would literally let the phone go to voicemail so I could check it instead of answering. Phones make me nervous because I don't have time to think! I much prefer texting and emailing. However, being a professional means-- gasp-- using a phone.  Being an assistant means using the phone a LOT, and having 12 DIFFERENT LINES at your disposal. 

So what did I do to cure myself?

I am NOT Carly Rae Jepson; please do NOT
call me maybe! Just text me!
I started small.  One night, I called in an order instead of using Seamless.  I called another secretary to make a meeting instead of emailing her.  I called tech support instead of trying to have them remotely connect to my desktop.  And you know what?  I feel a lot more confident about my ability to use the phone.  I've made and received calls from superiors and even executives.  And I haven't been humiliated ONCE.  Sure, I screwed up a conference call one time-- but after a few tries, I figured it out and moved on.  No one died. 

I've also used this method on the Subway.  I pick a different route every few days and go to a new
part of town.  Not only do I get to "master" a new skill, but I get to see all the neighborhoods of New York in the process.  It feels pretty rockin to know where you're going when no one else does.



Preach.
I don't know if this will work for you, but it has worked for me so far. So if you're struggling, give it a try.

Another thing:  moving to another city is a huge confidence booster; I've been able to do it a few times.  Not everyone can just uproot themselves and move across the country/ up the coast/ down south/ etc.  But if you get the chance, sometimes it works wonders to move to a new place where all you have is yourself.  I recently told one of my girlfriends here in NYC that I have noticed a HUGE change in her since she moved here, and I couldn't even really express how proud I was.  It was one of those moments where you internally beam, "That's MY FRIEND!!"

The bottom line is this: we have a long way to go, gals.  But hang in there, keep believing in yourself, and keep taking risks.  Don't get scared.  Support the women around you. 

And keep telling yourself how truly awesome you are.

I love this quote by Kaci Diane.  I think there is something big in loving yourself through all the struggles, your work, and your flaws.  Never forget who you are, where you've been, and how hard you fought to get where you are today.
 
 
Click to download a copy
 


It’s official. 

I am a HUGE fan of coconut oil.

Usually, my outlook is that anything that is so super hyped up as coconut oil can’t really be true, right?  Well it seems like I thought wrong.

I have begun to use this stuff for EVERYTHING—cooking, body lotion for my dry and cracked winter skin, facial moisturizer, my dry and damaged hair—I even tried eating a tablespoon plain, because supposedly it’s good for your gut.  While I immediately regretted the decision to swallow a tablespoon of semi-solid coconut flavored gel, I definitely am SO thankful I incorporated this super powered oil into my daily routine.

What is it?

Coconut oil is made out of mostly medium-chain fatty acids, so it is is easily digested and converted into energy in the body.  It’s a great source of those “healthy fats” that keep our hair and nails looking good.  Coconut oil also contains lauric acid which purportedly induces tons of healthy side effects, such as reducing hypertension, reducing arterial injury, helping to keep proper cholesterol balance, improving thyroid function, and aiding overall immunity.  It has antibacterial, anti-viral, anit-microbial, and anti-fungal properties, and when consumed regularly is said to prevent yeast overgrowth.

How to use:

A simple Pinterest search reveals hundreds of different uses.  I use it in several different ways—

1.       Cooking.  Use in place of vegetable oil or butter to sauté, coat pans, etc.  It’s a godsend for people cooking vegan/ gluten free diets!  Use at a 1:1 ratio.

You can also put it on toast in place of butter.  I like butter too much, so I mix it instead of using it plain.

You can apparently use coconut butter to season cast iron skillets or treat wooden cutting boards, but I don't have either of these in my NYC shoebox apartment.

2.       Digestive health.  This is the whole reason I tried to swallow a spoonful of this stuff.  For me, that wasn’t the best route to take—I felt a little ill afterwards.  However, it is said to kill all sorts of digestive system baddies, such as bad bacteria and parasites, that can make you have stomach cramps, feel bloated, or suffer from fatigue.  I’m going to keep trying.

3.       Face moisturizer.  THIS IS MY FAVORITE USE.  Law school basically destroyed my perfect skin.  I never had zits or acne, but law school stress changed that.  I started breaking out all along my chin and forehead, which stressed me out even MORE.  My skin had dry patches and generally looked dull.  I used lots of different types of moisturizers, but some of them made me break out.  I started putting coconut oil on my face before bed, and it makes my face baby soft in the morning without any greasiness.  My makeup goes on smoother, and my face looks generally healthier.  And the zits that plagued my chin are almost gone! The forehead zits are slowly going away too.  #WINNING!
      One recipe suggests using baking soda mixed with coconut oil for an exfoliating face scrub.  I haven’t done this yet, but I plan to.  I’m just too lazy to go get any baking soda from the store.

4.       Body lotion.  Coconut oil has been said to soothe skin irritations like diaper rash, eczema, sunburn, poison ivy, etc.  I used it this winter to save my dry, itchy skin. After moving to NYC during the never-ending winter of 2014, my skin was SO dry and my legs constantly itched from the dry air coming through the heater.  I started applying coconut butter at night, and it worked like a DREAM.  My skin is now super happy and much healthier looking.  Use post-shave for a little slice of heaven.


5.       Hair masque/ deep conditioner.  For super shiny, healthy hair, replace your conditioner once a week with good old coconut oil.

1)  Wet hair.

2) 
Apply a small amount to the bottom section of your damp hair 

3)  Pile that hair on the top of your head and clip it there.  This is a good time to get use out of those alligator clips you had in elementary/ middle school.

4)  Slap a shower cap on top of that so it doesn't slime on anything or wash out.

5)  Either let sit for 15 ish minutes or finish your shower (shave, etc) and wash out at the end. 

6)
Wash out thoroughly. 
 
      Or, if dry scalp is your thing, use a TINY amount on your scalp to fight irritation and dandruff, and wash out.  No matter what you do though, make sure you get it all out—or else you’ll have greasy strands.

6.       Eye makeup remover.  Use like cold cream—eye makeup slides right off.

7.       Nail strengthener.  OK this is the one place where I feel like coconut oil actually HASN’T made that much of a difference.  My nails are still brittle.  The only thing that helps is still Sally Hanson. Sigh.

Other uses that I haven’t tried:

These are some other interesting uses that I’ve heard… add yours in the comments section!

1.       Tattoo preserver/ healer. Put on over tattoos to help make them crisper looking longer, and put on over new tattoos to help them heal quicker.


2.       “Oil Pulling” for white teeth—According to Gwyneth Paltrow, Divergent Star Shailene Woodly, and some crazy woman I saw on the Today Show, swishing coconut oil in your mouth for no more or less than 20 mins. leads to healthier gums and whiter teeth.  But I ask them:  HOW DO YOU SWISH FOR 20 MINUTES?  HOW DO YOU NOT SPEAK FOR THAT LONG?? Don’t your cheeks get tired??  So many questions…. 
 

3.       Breast feeding.  Because I have so many pregnant friends, I thought I’d include this.  Put coconut oil on *ahem* irritated areas during breast feeding for a natural and non-harmful way to get some relief. My little sister was born with a tooth, y’all.  My mom could have used this info.

4.       Get chewing gum out of hair.  Just like mayonnaise, but with a much better smell.  This one goes out to all those nursing moms as well, because you’ll probably need this tip in a few years.

5.       Magic Shell topping.  This is something I NEED to try.  Apparently you can mix chocolate and toppings into this stuff, and it hardens on ice cream just like Magic Shelltopping. 

6.       Sugar Scrub.  I just bought a body scrub not too long ago, so I don’t have need for this yet.  However, here’s a great DIYrecipe if you want to make your own.

7.       Pets.  According to multiple sources, pets reap the benefits of coconut oil when small amounts are placed in their food.  It is also a non-toxic way to help relieve dry skin and redness.

There are many, many more uses for coconut oil that I haven’t talked about here.  I just love it because of the space it saves when travelling—imagine combining toothpaste, lotion, facial moisturizer, conditioner, etc. etc…. my suitcase will lose about 10lbs!

 

 
 
Happy Equal Pay Day! 

In a way, it almost pains me to say those words, simply because that means that something is unequal.

Why do we have an Equal Pay Day? Because women are still being paid LESS than our male counterparts.

Levo League has a great info graphic chronicling the history of Equal Pay Day, from Susan B. Anthony's call to arms for women everywhere right on up to today.  But here is the gist:

Today, women make, on the average, $0.77 to every $1.00 men make. 

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay act of 1963.  This act made it illegal for employers to pay men higher than women for substantially equal work (the lawyer in me is rolling my eyes, but hey, it was a start).  At that point in time, women were making $0.59 to every $1.00 men were making.

By 1979, women had nudged the average up to $0.62 for every man's $1.00, but the gap was still there.  We kept inching our way up with help from some inspirational girl-power champions like Gloria Steinham (happy late birthday, girlfriend) and Oprah Winfrey, and kept moving with the signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in March 2012.  A month after the signing, Equal Pay Day was established.

In 2013, Anne-Marie Slaughter gave an amazing TED talk titled, "Can We Have it All?" in which she
revisits an article she wrote in June of 2012, titled "Women CAN'T have it all," which lamented the difficulties of being a working woman. 

By 2014, more than 50% of households have women as breadwinners. The Senate is looking at revisiting the Paycheck Fairness Act.  And our current President has drawn attention to the issue, stating that "Women with college degrees may earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less over the course of her career than a man at the same educational level, and that's wrong."  Media disseminators like FastCompany and Contently, along with my favorite imaginary-bff Mindy Kaling are echoing the sentiment loud and clear, while companies from fashion-forward Bonobos to marketing agency Razorfish to WeddingWire are proud partners in the #ask4more movement.  However, even with all of the attention drawn to equal pay, women are still only making $0.77 to every man's $1.  According to Levo, if the pace of change continues at the same rate as it has since 1960, women won't be on an equal earning scale with men until the year 2058.


Come on gals, that isn't acceptable.

What can you do?


The flat out answer is that we can ask for more.  As a female, we are often (try not to jump on me over these generalizations, yall) less aggressive in asking for what we want in the workplace.  I know I am.  When it comes to negotiating for other people, I will go down fighting, but when it comes for even asking for a day off, I cringe.  I don't want to be seen as "difficult," or "particular" or even worse, as "a bitch"-- a common insult thrown at aggressive women.

However, you won't get what you don't ask for.  When I need to ask for something that I feel awkward about, I disassociate from the fact that I'm asking for myself, and imagine that I am fighting for one of my friends.  I value the people in my life so highly, I would go to bat for them any day of the week-- but we need to treat ourselves the same.  That's why I say, "Ok, you're asking this for [insert awesome friend's name here] because she [insert all of your qualities here].  For example:

Think to yourself: I am asking for a job for Chelsea because she singularly drafted X, Y, and Z, which led to a win in case A; she works extremely well with others and has created intra-team harmony, and because she has never missed a day of work.

"Chelsea" sounds like a killer employee, right?  Well, you're actually talking about yourself!

Also, having results-oriented data to back up your claims is important.  A lot of times, it comes down to money-- how much money have you made them?  However, in a starting role, it is hard to monetize your skills.  I mean, I could say that I "make amazing binders that saved 100 billable hours!" but that sounds a little far fetched and bizarre.  Instead of making such a major leap from tabbing files to saving thousands of dollars, you have to find a way to show that your organizational skills are valuable and directly tied to the bottom line.

No matter how you do it, don't be afraid to #Ask4More. Keep pushing for equal pay.  Don't settle for less than you deserve.  Don't be wishy-washy or shy; the worst they can say is "No."


And go over to visit Levo League for some fantastic articles on how to close the pay gap.


Ryan Gosling image credit to We Are Women Online
 
 
 
I'm no wimp.  I can handle lots of critters without batting an eye-- lizards, mice, frogs, spiders, snakes-- hey ask my boyfriend, on my first date with him I STEPPED ON A SNAKE IN THE DARK in the streets of Georgetown, and didn't even flinch (that's when he said he knew I was a keeper).

 
 

However, I have a phobia of a certain type of critter.

Clingy, BEETLE TYPE BUGS.

My biggest fear: those crazy orange June bugs that fly around in the summer.  But I also hate Japanese beetles, black beetles, grasshoppers (they cling) and even get a little weirded out by ladybugs sometimes. 

It's completely irrational.  I understand.  Beetles don't bite, sting, or hurt people, really.  But it's something about the way they fly and get stuck in your hair, they way their little legs cling and get stuck on your skin-- it's TERRIFYING.

So what looks like a beetle that lives in NYC?

COCKROACHES. 

BIG.  UGLY.  COCKROACHES.

I can't.  I just Can't.

They are just.... no.  They scamper.  They cling.  They have wings, so I am assuming they FLY.  WHY GOD??

Yesterday, I had my first run-in with these underworld creatures.  It went something like this:

-------------------
Here we go, waking up, happy Hump Day!  Let's carpe this diem!  Ho hum, I'll just mind my own business and get ready.  I'll just finish this fantastic outfit by putting on my glasses andOHMYGODWHATISTHAT?  That is totally a bug.  No it can't be. It can't be it's hugeOHMYGOD YES IT IS IT'S A HUGE BUG OMG.

WHAT IF IT IS A COCKROACH?? No it can't be, I am clean and OH MY GOD IT'S A COCKROACH WHAT THE HELL.


 


*stand there and have a stare off with the thing for a good two mins*

OK what do I do.  How do I even kill this thing.  It's big enough to have a SOUL.  This is the size of a MOUSE.  What do I kill it with?  I don't want that thing's insides on my SHOE!! That's one my favorite new flats! Oh my God I need to hurry up, it's going to start moving, what do I do.... ok.  Suck it up.  You can handle this.  You have to go to work.  Hurry up.

You can handle this.

Oh god.

[at this point, I beat it to death with sneaky ninja-esque speed, praying to God that it didn't fly at me in it's final moments.  I suggest thick soled, heavy shoes to ensure complete annihilation.  I used my nude Nine West pumps that I bought for court]

OH MY GOD IT CRUNCHED SO LOUD WHAT WAS THAT THIS IS SO GROSS I CAN'T EVEN LOOK!!!  WHERE DO I PUT THE BODY?! WHAT DO I DO?

This is so NOT FAIR.  I have been so NEAT and CLEAN in this apartment, I do my dishes right away-- where do they COME FROM?  What on earth do I do with THIS DEAD BODY LAYING ON THE FLOOR UNDER MY SHOE?!



 

Ok.  Just pick it  up with a paper towel really quickly.  Just do it.  Just OH MY GOD IT IS SO GROSS EW EW EW WHERE IS THE TRASHCAN EWWWWW

------------------

And I then proceeded to take the trashcan outside so it wouldn't come back to life and haunt my dreams.

Clearly, I was not prepared for this.

Apparently, roaches are EXTREMELY present in NYC, and if you haven't run into one yet it is just a matter of time.  After Googling WAY too much and spending wayyyyy too much energy freaking out, I got three different kinds of roach killer:
  1. Killer traps
  2. Killer Raid spray (lavender scented!)
  3. and KILLER GEL that used to be only available to exterminators, but is now available to the general public.  You basically just put tiny dots around, and the bugs eat them.  Then, they themselves become poison bug bombs, and when they go back to their little friends and KEEL OVER DEAD, their friends have a little poison-filled feast.  Cockroaches apparently even eat each other.  Gross. 

 
Yes, I only found one.  Yes, it was big enough to have a soul.  NO I am not over reacting.  I do NOT play games.  This is all out war.