Keep Yourself Surrounded by Classy People

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In the past 6 months, I’ve really evaluated the people in my work life.  Being an introvert, I’m always particular about my personal friends, but business contacts and colleagues I always tried to keep everyone happy and be there for everyone.  And I’ve got to say, if that’s how you are working your business, STOP RIGHT NOW!  You can not and should not be working with and pleasing everybody.

People work really hard to get good reputations.  They work hard, do the right things (most of the time), always watch their Ps and Qs (again, most of the time).  Lol.  But what people don’t consider is that who they associate with on a business level also affects their reputation.

I first encountered this years and years ago when I was working for a rental car company in their management program.  I interviewed for a promotion, but what I found out later completely appalled me.  The wife of one of the top managers there was my friend and she was told that I was by far the best choice for the position, but the direct manager said no because he hated the manager I was currently working for.  So basically, I got hosed because of who I was associated with.  Sucks.

Fast forward many years later and I had my own make-up business.  Being freelance, you never know when your next paycheck is going to come, so when you first start, you tend to make the erroneous decision to accept every client that comes in because, hey, you gotta pay your electric bill this month.  There were quite a few clients that while they were consistent, they definitely did not mesh with the image and reputation I was working to build.  They consistently booked me, but also consistently wanted discounts and freebies.  They made lots and lots of mistakes that in turn made me look bad.  And other work colleagues were absolute liars that put me in the most ridiculous (and heartbreaking) situations.

It wasn’t until I realized that these toxic people needed to be out of my career in order for me to move forward.  I will admit, I was scared shitless when I told each of these people that I no longer wished to work with them.  I mean, there’s no easy way to say it.  With one client, I just told him that my rates had recently changed (I hadn’t raised my rates in 5 years) and that I could no longer provide the discounts he was accustomed to as I felt that I had already proved my worth.  He stopped using me, and you know what?  I am completely ok with that.  I no longer have any last minute stresses of him needing me in 30 minutes only to earn $20.  Another client I did the exact same thing to and guess what…he said, “ok” and continues to book me, but at my full rate now.  He respects me more now too.

The “mistakes” client I was simply up front with.  I told the client that I was no longer available due to the multiple serious communications errors that were not only affecting me, but also the members of my team who work with me loyally due to the respect they have for me.  And the liar…it just caused enough atrocities that it was easy to end that one.  I just quit that client cold turkey.

Was it difficult to come to these decisions?  ABSOLUTELY!  Is it awkward when I see these people?  ABSOLUTELY!  How can it not be.  Am I glad that I did this?  ABSOLUTELY!

Since siphoning out my bad colleagues and clients, my work has actually grown, and grown A LOT!  I’m now working on multiple projects with some amazing people that respect me, trust me, and that actually help my reputation get better and better.

So, if you feel stuck in your work right now, take a look at WHO you are around.  Get rid of the un-classy people (in a classy way of course) and see what leaps and bounds your business takes.  It will be ridiculously scary saying no to a paycheck, but it is so very much worth it.  You work hard for your reputation, don’t let other people ruin it.

And to those clients of mine that I am currently working with…Shirley, Scott, Val, Adrenna, Susan…love you guys!

What’s Money Got to Do With It?

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Lately I’ve been doing an awful lot of bartering and I’ve got to say…I almost prefer bartering to getting paid cash money!

With cash, I use it for things like buying groceries, paying the electric bill, putting gas in my car.  And while I enjoy eating good food, having lights on at night and driving my kitty cat around (I own an old Jag), I don’t get to do very much fun stuff for myself.  Maybe it’s the “mom” in me that I want to spend my money on “smart” things for my family, but sometimes I just want things for myself.  I work hard, I deserve it.  A happy mom/wife equals a happy life, right?

So it’s been exciting lately to barter my services for those that my friends and colleagues offer.  Here’s a list of some of the things I’ve bartered for recently:

-make-up/hair styling services for a couture, one-of-a-kind hat

-make-up/hair styling services for one-of-a-kind exquisite jewelry

-logo and marketing materials design for facials and chemical peels

-make-up/hair styling services in exchange for photo shoots

-marketing materials design for house cleaning services

-make-up/hair styling services for babysitting

I’m really open to just about anything!  I think that we can all get a lot farther along in our lives and careers by reintroducing the barter system.  Granted we still need paying gigs to be able to pay for our electric bill, but why not barter with our friends, colleagues and neighbors for other things?

What things do you like to barter for?  Got anything you’d like to barter with me for?

 

Photo from thewordchef.com

A Much Needed Spa Night…

 

There is absolutely nothing UNclassier than a grumpy grumpster.  Bad, negative attitude, bitchy even.  It’s just so not classy.  But we all get that way some days.  It’s normal, it’s natural.  We do so many things throughout our days that if we don’t take a little time to destress, it can drive us absolutely bonkers.  Some days we just need to “check out” for a while and yesterday was most definitely one of those days for me.

I’ve been handling and running so many different projects lately (ones that I’m excited about!), but between those, a hubbie, two kids, and the not-so-fun symptoms of peri-menopause, I will admit it, I was bitchy yesterday…and the day before that…and if we’re counting, the day before that too.  You get the idea.  So I decided to take a much needed break last night even though my to-do list was horrendous, I was going to do no one any good unless I decompressed and took some time for myself.  I decided to do a tech-free spa night.

There’s no fabulous pictures of my spa night because I went tech-free for the evening-no emails, no Facebook, no television.  I had a pile of fashion magazines waiting to be read (ummmm…one of them was from last November…oops).  I also had a complexion that was feeling worse for wear.  So I gave myself a DIY facial.  I removed my eye make-up and washed my face.  Then I put on a glycolic peel mask (the one from No7) and waited a little bit longer than what they initially said, ok, a lot longer, but who’s counting?  After washing it off, I put on a super hydrating mask from Nuxe (the 24hr hydrating one).  After letting that sit, I rinsed it off then went to work putting on my treatments.  I’m really loving the new L’Oreal Revitalift series-specifically the hyaluronic acid serum and the regular serum.  I used the hyaluronic one where I needed it so basically everywhere from my nose down.  The regular serum I put everywhere else.  I then topped everything off with a heavy duty shea butter cream from No7 (the one with the rose top).  I then plopped myself in my recliner with a cocktail, some chocolates and my fashion magazines.  All, in all it made for a fabulous night!

This morning I woke up to the softest skin I’ve had in a REALLY long time and I felt motivated to start tackling my to-do list again.  Sometimes we just need to step away from things for a few hours and regain ourselves back.

What do you like to do to step away and recharge?

 

Photo from theje.com

Instant Good Hair Days!

I have been having some AMAZING hair days for quite a while now.  What’s my secret???  I have the most amazing hair stylist who put tape-in hair extensions for me.  Are they a little costly?  Moderately so.  But what’s the going rate on having a good, no, GREAT hair day EVERY day???

Here’s an article she wrote about the various types of hair extensions available out there as well as the pros and cons.

http://southwesternstyling.com/the-mane-difference/

And here’s a pic of me having one of my many GREAT hair days courtesy of Southwestern Styling!

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La Rentrée Quickly Approaching!

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La Rentree, the “re-entry” into life commences every September.  As vacations wind down, work projects amp up and school starts again, life goes from the lazy days of summer to the more organized, scheduled time of fall.  It’s my favorite time of the year.  It’s a renewal, a rebirth.  It’s New Years and its resolutions without all of the pressure.

Each year I make my “la rentree” gameplan for work and home.  I write out my goals, create a master to-do list, break that down into more mangeable and less intimidating chunks (can you tell I’m slightly OCD?   Ok, maybe a little more than slightly.)  :-)

I am usually very excited about la rentree.  But not this year and I’m attributing it to the fact that I don’t feel like I’ve really had that relaxing summer experience.

It starts with the fact that my kids are on a year-round schedule at school.  So our summer vacation doesn’t start until the third week of July, so right there I’m four weeks behind.

Sure I started the summer vacation with with a four day trip to Las Vegas, but immediately upon return (an hour after I got home actually!), I was thrust into a huge work project.  And it seems like it’s been one large, time-consuming project after another, all summer long.

Our pool has only been used a handful of times.  My unread magazine pile actually has issues in it from as far back as April!  I have no tan what-so-ever and I’m even writing this article from indoors.  I am definitely feeling the stress of it all and a sadness.  As if I might actually miss my chance to enjoy a carefree summer experience this year.

But all is not lost!  I am an optimist after all!  I have one week left before September starts!  And I’m going to stuff all of summer into it!  I have a weekend full of social engagements and I fully intend to relax and enjoy them!  Next week I only have two short work meetings (both early morning) and I am not going to schedule any more!  That’s what the first week of September is for.  I’m not going to give myself a guilt trip about “where I could be” in my business if I work next week.  I’m going to do the bare bones of housecleaning all week (actually, starting NOW!).  These are all things that will still be there in September.  But my carefree summer won’t be.

I’m going to enjoy my last week of August!  Relax, chill out, veg.  Read my magazines.  Read a book.  Lay out in the sun.  Float in my pool.  Drink cocktails with lunch.  Cook a yummy and fresh dinner each night (this is actually a big de-stressor for me!).

We need that “unplug” to be able to not only have the energy, but also the mental clarity to have a strong and successful September.

So my pledge to myself (and my challenge to you) is to enjoy the end of summer.  Regardless of what you have planned for the next week, find some time, any time, even if it’s only for ten minutes, but find the time to unwind a bit, unplug and revel in the pure joy that is summer.

Doing Red Carpet Glam on a Budget…

Last weekend I got the honor of attending the 5th annual La Jolla International Film Festival with a blogger’s pass.  Sooooo very excited about this!

But when you try to live your life “classy on a budget” and are going to be surrounded by people wearing Chanel, Dior and Prada as well as one-of-a-kind designer outfits, it honestly can make you a little intimidated.

But I knew I could pull it off.  I just had to be a little bit creative.  Ok, maybe a lot of creative.  But with the compliments I received throughout the weekend, I say I rocked it.

What do you think?

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This was opening night.  I bought the jumpsuit at Ross on the Las Vegas strip for under $20.  I wanted it super flowy since I was attending a summer event so I went with a size 8P even though I’m a 0/2 (also it was the only size they had it in and I loved it!)  The shoes are Prabal Gurung for Target purchased on sale for about $30.  The handbag and belt were also Target and purchased YEARS ago.  I think I paid $20 for the belt and around the same for the purse.  The jewelry is all from the swap meet here in San Diego.  The ring and bracelets are just simply, inexpensive costume jewelry.  The earrings though are vintage from the 1950s.  I also bought them from the local swap meet but bought them from the little old lady who originally owned them.  So I think total for the outfit was under $130.

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Second day was seminars.  This is an amazing black vintage dress given to me by a good friend.  It belonged to her mom, but didn’t fit either of them anymore.  My friend knew that I would give this dress new life and so she gave it to me.  The shoes are from the local Goodwill store for $5.99.  That’s right, FIVE BUCKS!!!  That killer necklace is once again from my favorite store, Tar-jay, and I bought it on clearance for $10.  The shades are from the Dollar Tree.  Total cost of outfit?  $17 baby!!!

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Day two red carpet!  I ALWAYS get compliments on these shoes.  People always ask me if they are Valentino.  Nope.  $24.99 at Burlington Coat Factory!  The glitter shorts I got at one of the cheap, hole in the wall type stores for $10.  The ruffly shirt is from Wal-Mart.  Got it on clearance for $5.  The blazer is a White House-Black Market one, but got it at my local Goodwill for $10.  And my handbag was a gift with purchase from purchasing make-up brushes!  Jewlery from Target for about $15.  Total cost: $65

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Day three: seminars.  And I brought my little fashionista in training with me!  On me: hat-swap meet for $7, Shirt, belt, shoes, purse from Target for $20, $20, $30, $40 respectively (Prabal, Mossimo, Prabal, Mossimo respectively). Skirt is Bebe from a thrift shop in Temecula called Ritzy Rags for $25.  Cost of my outfit: $142 but the belt is the same one that I wore on day one.  I actually repeated accessories at the same event!!!!

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Final day of the event: red carpet.  The shoes which you can’t see in the photo are the same ones I wore opening night-Target for $30.  The purse was a gift.  The dress is Bebe from once again my trusty local Goodwill and I snagged it for a whopping $14.99. Total cost for outfit: $44.99.

So, how’d I do?  Not too shabby if I do say so myself.  This event really forced me to be creative and to look at my wardrobe in a completely different way.  What do you have in your closet that you can get super creative with?

A Leisure Lunch

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There’s something to be said for the simplicity of having lunch at a sidewalk cafe. Watching the people walk by as you savor each morsel of food, each sip of champagne as the tables around you constantly rotate with new guests as they rush through their meals.  One wonders if they truly taste the flavors let alone experience the pleasure of them.  The pleasure of the brie cheese sauce as I watch it ooze out of my crepe when I cut into it.  Or pleasure the bubbles in the champagne as they travel into my nasal cavity as I sip my mimosa on this hot summer day.

I wonder if they even hear the hiss of the misters as they turn on to cool the diners and tourists.  And then the carefree euphoria of the champagne begins to take effect.  I take another bite of my crepe and can taste the crisp sweetness of the apple.

There’s no cell phone distracting me.  It’s safely tucked away, on silent, in my purse.  I’m actually writing this old-school, on paper in a beautiful journal.

I love that there’s no one sitting with me, chatting wildly about nothing in particular simply to fill the silence at the table.  It’s peaceful.  I’m alone, but not lonely.  I have the company of myself.  A date I’ve not had in a really long time.

I’m eating slowly, savoring every morsel.  I find that I can not even finish my amazing meal.  I am not overly stuffed, not even full, simply satisfied.  I am content, yet know that when I leave this lovely little sanctuary, I will be able to continue walking on, happy, content, at ease, full of pleasure knowing all is good.

I relish these moments.  The clarity.  I feel that’s truly when my writing is the best.  It’s hard to slow down sometimes.  To not look at your phone, to not look at your watch.  But I highly recommend it.  In fact, I challenge you to try it.  Sure you might feel really (and I mean REALLY) awkward at first.  But push through.  You won’t regret it.   And with that the Bellagio fountains have started.  I can’t imagine a more perfect way to end an amazing lunch.