Work It: Florence Skirt

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Florence skirt - $94.40 - Photo credit: bodenusa.com

Florence skirt – $94.40 – Photo credit: bodenusa.com

Happy Labor Day! Today is the perfect day for this Florence skirt from Boden! I’m loving the beautiful contrast embroidery on this skirt. The classic cut makes it great for both the week-end and work, making this a versatile staple that can be worn over and over again!

I’d pair this elegant skirt with a nice cardigan for work, or an easy tee for the family cookout on the week-end. It’s on sale for $94.40 at Boden!

Pssst….Boden is currently having a clearance sale up to 70% off!

The Corporate Sis.

 

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Three Things You Should Do For Yourself Over a Long Week-End

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Things you should do for yourself over the week-end - Photo credit: blackhairmedia.com

Things you should do for yourself over the week-end – Photo credit: blackhairmedia.com

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Hope everyone is having a great Labor Day long week-end (frankly, isn’t Monday the best day to have off…). And as you’re enjoying this long week-end doing the things you love, spending time with family and friends, or simply relaxing with your favorite book by the poolside, have you also wondered about those activities or pastimes that have the greatest impact on your success and career? Could it be that even as you’re having some downtime and basking in some good ol’ fun and leisure, you’re actually helping your career and success along?

  • Are you being present when spending time with friends and family? A long week-end gives us the opportunity to schedule that extra time with friends and family, away from work or household distractions. Yet in our generation of chronic multi-tasking and smarter-than-you smartphones, the issue is less about the amount of time we have as much as how we choose to spend it. Are you choosing to make the most of your interactions with friends and family by actually being present, both mentally and physically? Or are you switching back and forth between social media and your company, not giving either your full attention, instead depleting yourself of much needed focus and inspiration? You may think it’s not a big deal, yet may be unconsciously forming a new habit that will transfer into your work life and negatively impact your success...
  • Are you committing to have some “uncommitted” time? In the midst of family cookouts, picking up the dry cleaning, and getting through this book you’ve been putting off for a while, week-ends hardly feee like the beginning of work all over again. Every single minute is committed to some activity, and even leisure time is scheduled. As a result, we’re running from one activity to another, hardly enjoying ourselves because planning our week-ends leaves us wanting to get back to…work. How about planning to have some unplanned time? How about taking the (earth-shattering) decision to purposely have unscheduled blocks of time? Too scary…well, maybe start with sitting down somewhere for a few minutes and see how (good) it feels…
  • And if you MUST schedule something, let it be one thing you love! The point of time off is to be off, truly off, that is! It is so we can take the necessary time to refuel our body, mind and spirit, first and foremost for ourselves. If you must commit to scheduling some time during your long week-end (other than the usual or emergency stuff), let it be your favorite kickboxing class, some time to finish that great novel or your next quilting masterpiece (yes, quilting can be relaxing)…

And after all this rambling, I’m off to sharing some uncommitted time with my couch (don’t judge me)…

Happy labor Day everyone!

The Corporate Sis.

 

 

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The 411: Weekly News Update

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Weekly news update - Photo credit: nerysparry.com

Weekly news update – Photo credit: nerysparry.com

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Happy Sunday! Hope everyone is enjoying this long week-end, and hopefully having a lazy Sunday morning…No lazy Sunday mornings on my side of the blogosphere (Dear Daughter and Dear Son never grasped the concept), but beyond the early morning cries for sugary drinks and candy, I’m thankful for another day, and another warm, strong cup of joe…And for our weekly news update:

Happy Sunday everyone, and happy reading! As always thank you so much for the support, much love!

The Corporate Sis.

 

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10 Things Women on TV Teach Us About Our Careers

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Women on TV - Photo credit: stage buddy.com

Women on TV – Photo credit: stage buddy.com

Happy Friday, and TGIF!
I can’t wait for this Fall to indulge in one of my guilty pleasures: watching TV. Except this time I have a good excuse: women, strong, career women, are roaring this Fall on TV! From Viola Davis in “How to get away with murder” (ABC, September 25) to Cristela Alonzon in the self-titled “Cristela” sitcom (ABC, September 10), not to mention the return on my favorite Gladiator Olivia Pope in Scandal, women on TV are stepping up, big time!

And as I look forward to relishing every single minute of this televised women’s revolution, here is a quick and dirty snapshot of what strong women on TV have taught us about our careers:

1. Career and marriage don’t jive (better yet, get another woman’s husband)! Case in point: Miss Olivia Pope and Mr. President! As steamy as the sex scenes may be, the fact remains, it’s another powerful woman messing with a married man! I still love you Olivia!

2. You are as fabulous as your designer wardrobe! Now can we talk about the clothes, I mean…From the perfectly tailored suits to the impeccable sheath dresses, these successful career women are clearly sending the message that career success and designer wardrobes go hand in label! And we ain’t mad at them (hello Roberto Cavalli)!

3. Big (career) girls don’t cry (and when they do, their Chanel mascara doesn’t smear!) Could you picture Gina Torres’ character in Suits (as Pearson Hardman’s managing partner Jessica Pearson) in a full crying fit, threatening to mess up her perfectly pressed hair? Nah han…Big girls don’t cry, and on TV at least, career women are as strong as they come…

4. Forget diplomacy, politics rule! Olivia Pope does not play when it comes to the political game. And in the cold world of the Pearson and Hardman’s law office, Jessica Pearson is a political strategist, playing people and situations like a game of chess. No stress, politics rule!

5. Want career, must have nanny (or mother-in-law willing to keep the kids). Yes, some career women on TV, like Julianna Margolies in The Good Wife, happen to have kids (and a publicly failing marriage as well). They also spend most of their lives at work, and could not do it without the sacrificial mother-in-law or Miranda’s cute Ukrainian nanny in Sex and the City.

6. Oh and you need a cook and a cleaning lady too! Ever caught a scene in Suits where Gina Torres’ character cooks or cleans? Yeah, my point exactly…

7. The sex is not hot, it’s scalding! Career women on TV are also goddesses in bed. Despite demanding careers and gladiator missions, they wear the sexiest lingerie and can make your TV screen melt…So much for falling asleep in your oversize shirt after a long day at work…

8. Diversity is not dead! Minority women like Gina Torres and Olivia Pope are ruling the small screen, and it’s giving us hope that even buried in award-winning scripts, diversity is still alive and well…

9. Power is sexy! These career women in their tailored suits and impeccable hair embody power. And for once in a long time, power is no longer muscular, deep voiced or masculine. It’s actually rather feminine and sexy…

10. Work like a girl! And last but not least, working like a girl rules! Women are law firm partners, political gladiators, business women and professional goddesses. It feels good to be a woman these days…

The Corporate Sis

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Coffee Break: Peep Toe Booties

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Peep toe booties - $59.96 - nordstrom.com

Peep toe booties – $59.96 – nordstrom.com

Fall is arriving fast, and every year as I roam through store shelves lined with the latest and greatest collections of alluring booties, I keep wondering “Would this one be appropriate for work?”, or “Does this one look too edgy, biker chic or like I’ve regressed to high school time?”.

Having worked in conservative Public Accounting, where some of my clients requested suits everyday and no open toe shoes whatsoever (I’ve always wondered what is so offensive in a toe, but I digress), sporting booties to work, and peep toe booties at that always felt like I was violating some federal law. Yet the corporate fashionista in me is always on the hunt for a bootie that is the right mix of conservative and edginess to pass through most professional environments without too many disapproving glances…

Hence today’s coffee break, this Halogen Katrina bootie from Norsdstrom. I like the reasonable heel and modest height of the shoe, that is cut like a pump but still has the “bootie” look. The dark leather makes it more work appropriate, while the front opening brings the style factor up a notch. The peep toe opening is also reasonable enough for most professional environments (please know your office!)…

This peep toe bootie is on sale for $59.96 at Nordstrom!

Pssttt…Nordstrom is currently having its clearance sale until September 7!

 
The Corporate Sis.

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Work It: Short Sleeve Sheath Dress

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Short sleeve sheath dress - Photo credit: www.cusp.com Short sleeve sheath dress – Photo credit: http://www.cusp.com/caption

It’s back to black and white, and I kinda like it! Nothing says elegance and sophistication than a play on these two opposite colors. As in this Black Halo Dayton short sleeve sheath dress from The Cusp by Neiman Marcus.

The contrast basket weave on this dress is flawless, and brings a slimming focus on its impeccable architecture. Loving the side split, which it gives it a little “je ne said quoi”, while the empire waist is flattering on most body types.

This short sleeve sheath dress is $224 at The Cusp by Neiman Marcus.

The Corporate Sis

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A Good Marriage is Not Great: Why A Good Career Won’t Do For Millenials

A good marriage is not great - Photo credit: womenonthefence.com

A good marriage is not great – Photo credit: womenonthefence.com

Happy Thursday!

Marriage is not easy. Actually, if anything requires work, it would be putting two people together with different sets of toothbrushes and brains together, and then proceed to ask them to spend the rest of their lives sharing bedsheets and possibly one toilet seat…Marriage is messy, complicated, obnoxiously loud (yes, even silence turns deafening when you put a ring on it). And apparently, the entire institution seems to be bent on legalizing raised toilet seats and dirty socks.

Yet marriage is beautiful, in a way a weird, color-laden, contradiction-filled painting from some famous artist would be considered beautiful because beauty is easier (and safer) to explain than ugliness. Marriage is your career’s beautiful, free spirited, love-filled big sister. It’s also a license to work hard at something you’re committed to mastering and perfecting over time, yet with no guarantee that you’ll make it past your first raised toilet seat offense. And like marriage, a good, roll-with-the-punches, no-wave career is a good life partner, except you secretly want to pour laxative in his morning coffee just to convince yourself you actually have a pulse (and they actually have responsive bowels, but I digress…).

Gone are the days when an average, good career, or marriage for that matter, was good enough. In the days of the I-phone brain, we need to be fulfilled like we need our next tweet. We need meaning, context, and instant bliss in a bottle. We don’t want jobs, we want careers that help us save the world. Because even if we’re late on our student loan payments and just overdrew our checking account yet again, we are committed not to leave this world in the desolate state we found it in.

So for the rest of us millenials, semi-millenials and somewhat post-millenials, our parents’ picket-fence and safe retirement plan options are worse than dial up internet connection. For us, a good marriage is just not great, and we’ve categorically refused to sign up for good enough. We want passion and self-fulfillment. We have dreams, goals, objectives, and we’d rather bike to work and rent the latest Luis Vuitton purse than one day having to tell our kids to learn a marketable trade, get a safe job or a clean shave…

And maybe that’s why 30% of us will be unmarried by age 40, while 71% among us actually dream of our first startup without being all that ready for the grueling, hard work of entrepreneurship…Because after all, it’s so much easier to fantasize on the perfect wedding dress and ideal family than to actually have to remind yourself why the jerk you married is unable to put the doggone toilet seat down, ever….

The Corporate Sis.

 

Coffee Break: Should You Share Personal Problems at Work?

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Should you share your personal problems at work? - Photo credit: www.tribuneindia.com Should you share your personal problems at work? – Photo credit: http://www.tribuneindia.com/caption

It’s coffee break time, and also time for water cooler convos of all kinds at work…And considering how much time we spend at work, it may be difficult at times to avoid oversharing, and spilling our personal problems on professional grounds…Or sometimes we just feel like we owe our co-workers and managers some personal information to back up some work-related decisions, like temporary absences, time off or leave…

Yet is it always (or even sometimes) recommended? Does your personal life, and especially your problems, fit in with your professional life? Or should you keep the two far away from each other?

My $0.05: After blabbing about personal issues I was having to a then friendly co-worker (who didn’t turn out to be so friendly after all), I’ve unfortunately had to pick up my face off the floor when my private stuff became public talk. So I prefer to remain discreet when it comes to my personal life, only sharing mundane things.

Do you think it’s OK to share your personal problems at work?

The Corporate Sis.

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Work It: Bow Neck Layering Blouse

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Bow Neck Layering blouse - $59.95 - thelimited.com

Bow Neck Layering blouse – $59.95 – thelimited.com

There’s just something about bow neck blouses…Not sure if it’s the (sexy) secretary look, the ingenue silhouette or the menswear attraction, but there’s something…

This bow neck layering blouse from The Limited is the perfect balance of ladylike and chic. Loving the semi sheer crepe fabric in white polka dot print on this timeless classic. I’d pair it with a simple pair of slacks or an elegant, knee length pencil skirt for work.

It’s $59.95 at The Limited!

The Corporate Sis.

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Stop Underestimating Yourself!

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Happy Hump Day!

Today I  decided to change the pace a bit, and offer you a TedX excerpt of a talk given by Sheryl Sandberg, on how women constantly underestimate themselves! Hopefully, this inspires you to make your day, career and life count as a woman!

happy Hump Day!

The Corporate Sis.

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Coffee Break: Is it OK to ask for Time Off For Kids Going Back to School?

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kids going back to school - Photo credit: familytreecounseling.com

kids going back to school – Photo credit: familytreecounseling.com

It’s back to school time, yes, already! And in between attending early school functions, hunting for obscure school supplies, and accommodating different shuttling schedules, time, extra time that is, is required.

I remember constantly “beating around the bush” around this time of year, not sure whether to use my vacation days, try to scramble all my to-do’s into after hours, or just simply come out and bravely do the do. Very often as the only woman in an all-male team, it was an unfortunate no-brainer…

Given that women pay a heavier price than men when requesting flextime, is it OK to ask for time off to handle all the going back to school stuff? Is it better to just keep quiet about it and use vacation days under a different “excuse”? Or should we feel “entitled” to request time off to take care of our kids?

94 years after we gained the right to vote (Happy Women’s Equality Day!), is it OK to expect to fit our kids in our schedule while still keeping our jobs? Oh yeah, we could send the nanny if guilt did not continuously rear it’s ugly behind, and oh, if more of us actually made “nanny money” (glass ceiling cringing)…

The Corporate Sis.

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Work It: Suede Pumps

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Suede pumps - $17.97 - oldnavy.com

Suede pumps – $17.97 – oldnavy.com

Yes, the warm August temperatures may have returned for a bit in the Northeast, but the fashion side of my brain (yes, there is such a thing) is in Fall mode. And what spells Fall fashion better than a pair of suede pumps, like this one from Old Navy, yes the old Navy!

Gotta love the elegant, sleek silhouette of this classic suede pump. No gimmicks, no fancy hooplas, just simple, clean-cut classic, professional elegance! I’d pair it with just about anything, from a conservative pants suit to my favorite week-end jeans…

And these suede pumps are on sale for $17.97 at Old Navy…now ’nuff said!

By the way, another one of my Fall all-time shoe favorites is the purple pump, which Corporette had one of its amazing Hunt posts on, check it out here

The Corporate Sis.

 

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It’s OK to Not Know What You Want (But You’ve Still Got to Work at It)

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It's OK not to know what you want - Photo credit: http://blog.axe-net.fr It’s OK not to know what you want – Photo credit: http://blog.axe-net.fr/caption

Happy Tuesday!

I’ve seen so many people who seem to have it all together, only to end up finding out that in reality, they don’t. That they don’t even know what they really wanted all along, and ended up settling for personal or career choices that made them miserable…until they figured out cooking, taking care of their children, or making pearl bracelets really made them happy. My friend K. strove to take and pass the grueling CPA exam, and became a real estate agent shortly after. Another girl from Big Accounting, who had the reputation of being sharp as a razor and a “busy season” warrior (now if you know what “busy season” endless hours mean, you wouldn’t want to be one of those warriors), quit to become a chef. And although I know I was born to write, I am still painfully figuring out the how, when, and what the heck of it all…And after years of beating myself up and down the alleys of self-doubt, self-questioning, and lots of chocolate self-eating, I think it’s ok…

So it’s OK to not know what you want? To waste all this money taking private piano lessons, struggling in Tax Accounting (shudders…), landing your first awesome gig, and buying all these fancy work clothes, only to realize you’re not even sure it was what you wanted in the first place…It’s like shooting arrows in the dark, sleepwalking through your life, or getting lost five minutes from your house a few days after you moved in (it does happen)…It’s one of those things you don’t really tell your parents as they are signing your student loan checks to get you out of a jam. Or as your boss is congratulating on your promotion, just as you’re thinking you don’t even want the d… job. And definitely, the last thing you’d tell your stay-at-home frenemy (whom you secretly admire for making her own choice), as she frets over your newest pair of Louboutins.

I often wondered as I would watch the troves of working professionals exiting the commuter rail train at South Station in Boston, what really was going through their minds as they headed to yet another day at work. Many of them hated their jobs, while others had no clue why they even got dressed in the morning (which was painfully obvious considering some of the perilous fashion choices). And even many more struggled with the guilt of feeling the way they felt, because after all, bills had to get paid, kids fed, and shoes bought and worn. And maybe among all this gigantic confusion exiting the inbound train at South station, one or two enlightened, student loan laden, family breadwinner, proud Ivy League product, finally realized it is OK to just not know what they really want, or where their lives and careers was going to take them, yet to still work at it as if they had it all figured out…

They say (I know, who the heck is “they”) it’s “not the destination, it’s the journey”. I always hated this phrase, because really, I just want to get to the great destination. Plus the journey involves walking, and none of my shoes are made for walking. Yet I’ve had to admit over and over again, that without the annoying journey, the detours along the way, the big and small mistakes (more big than small), we wouldn’t be able to remotely start figuring out what the heck we even want, so…

1. Don’t quit your job to figure out what you want (unless you have a backup plan, backup money and some serious backup patience). You and I live in the real world, where there are more grey patches than definite blocks of white and black. And yes, maybe if I were a trust fund kid with beaucoup money, I’d go backpacking in the Himalayas to find myself. But I’m not a trust fund kid, and besides, did I mention I don’t really have walking shoes. And I don’t know much, but I know if you want to learn about work and making your own way and striving to be somebody, you’ve gotta start with just that…work! It ain’t gotta be fancy at first, it’s just gotta be work….

2. What you don’t want will help you figure out what you want. My daughter figured out she loves broccoli by figuring out first she’s not big on chicken (I know, it’s usually the other way around, go figure). That job you hate, the boss you could tell one or two choice words to, all those experiences you wouldn’t wish on your worst frenemy, really saved your life. That was the chicken you figured out you didn’t want, so you went for broccoli. Be thankful!

3. It really is about the journey! I really hate that phrase, probably because it’s so unpleasantly true. Like the whole “no beauty without pain” thing, except you end up learning more about pain than beauty. Your career will do a lot of things to you, but even when it leaves you blah, it still is showing you what “blah” is like. So that when you finally reach your destination, you can happily hug your slightly bruised ego, and exclaim out loud “All of that for this?”…Happiness is so overrated….

The Corporate Sis.

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Coffee Break: QBracelet

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QBracelet - Photo credit: flaker.pl

QBracelet – Photo credit: flaker.pl

I knew technology was going to make all kinds of things possible, yet I just cannot help being amazed over and over again at all the new gadgets out there…hence today’s coffee break pick, the new phone charging bracelet QBracelet. It’s a bracelet, and a phone charger all at once, making sure you never miss another tweet, text, call or Instagram alert just because your phone happens to be discharged (heaven forbid anyone would ever have to go phone-less for more than a millisecond)…

This metallic, polished and quite “rock’n roll meets sleek” accessory is now available for pre-order for $79, and promises to be quite the showstopper…as it makes us start contemplating how the rest of our wardrobe could also be put to use…hmmm…

My $0.05: Ok, I do think this is sheer genius and for busy moms like myself, it could be a life-saver. The price point is pretty comparable to other juice packs in the same category as well. Would I purchase one? It may not be at the top of my must-have’s, but would certainly make a nice Christmas gift (hint, hint…).

The Corporate Sis.

 

 

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Work It: Stand-Collar Skirt Suit

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Skirt Suit - $129.99 - macys.com

Skirt Suit – $129.99 – macys.com

I’m usually more of a pants suit kinda girl, but this Tahari stand-collar skirt suit got me going all kinds of oohs and ahhhs…Loving the chic and sophisticated look of this suit! The stand-collar and seaming adds a touch of originality to this otherwise traditional suit.

It’s perfect for a more conservative day at the office, or even a formal after-hours event. It’s on sale for $129.99 at Macy’s.

The Corporate Sis.

 

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Why Your Mornings Can Make (or Break) Your Career

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morning routine - Photo credit: elev8.com

morning routine – Photo credit: elev8.com

Happy Monday! Yes, it’s Monday morning, again…
And if you’ve just had a frazzled, running after the clock (and the kids), “where did I put my keys” (or my head) kinda morning, you may want to continue reading… (and if you haven’t, you can always get a good laugh)…
I happen to be a certified, family-accredited, professional specialist of frazzled mornings. If it ain’t frazzled, it ain’t right…

After all, doesn’t it make more sense to maximize sleep, hit the “snooze” button as many times as we can afford, skip breakfast and shuttle sleepy-eyed kids to school solely on adrenaline? Why honor our mornings and use them to get mentally, spiritually and physically ready for the day? Why not just treat our mornings as we treat everything else these days, as an “instant fix”?

According to researchers at the University of Nottingham and the National Institute of Education in Singapore, willpower is highest in the morning.The further into the day we get, the less motivated we are to accomplish important tasks. So much for that training you’ve been planning to take, or the career blog you’ve been dreaming of writing (ahem)! Besides, as much as we may want to think we can magically catch up on all our to-do’s, “wish-I-had-done’s”, and “will-do-someday’s”, truth remains the one proven way to jump-start our days is to treat our mornings with the respect they deserve…

1. Get fueled spiritually! My pastor always asks us as a congregation how we can afford to get prepared in all ways to face the day, except mentally and spiritually. No wonder so many of us start the day in a grouchy mood, speed on the highway, and use colorful language in the morning…Whatever your faith or spiritual practice, carve out some time in the morning to get still, replenish your spiritual reserves before stepping into this crazy world (or traffic)…

2. Do one thing you love! I do my best writing in the morning hours. That’s also when I enjoy it the most…With two toddlers, a packed schedule and big dreams, putting myself first requires quite some dexterity. Choose the beginning of your day to put yourself first and take care of your own internal engine. Whether it’s exercising, meditating, reading or writing, make the time to treat yourself first! Selfish? Nope, it’s called self-preservation.

3. Start BIG! I believe in tackling big tasks first. One, because that’s when the caffeine rush first hits my system. Second, because getting one big thing done by lunch time gives me permission to treat myself to some form of chocolate-filled snack. Alright, there are other healthier (and more logical) incentives, but my point is, the bigger you start, the saner you might end up after 8 hours or more….Just sayin’…

The Corporate Sis.

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