Monday, August 27, 2018

Empowerment: 5 Ways to Take Your Power Back This Fall

Now that summer is done, its time to get back in control of your life.  Summer was all about making memories with the kids, truly savouring family time without having the constraints of a school calendar.  And now that school is almost back in session its time to regroup and refocus on you and growing yourself and your business forward.   It's time to focus on personal empowerment.

There are so many things you can do to empower yourself but these are 5 tangible, immediate things that I think we can all do to get ahead in being productive and in making our lives easier and more receptive to the opportunities that are awaiting us this year.  

1) Declutter: We've all heard the saying, "cluttered environment, cluttered mind."  If everything around you is in disarray, how can you expect your mind to be at peace?  Of course all your to do lists run rampantly through your mind as you see the pile of laundry in one corner of the room.  Of course your day starts off crappy as you open the pantry to grab a cereal box for the kids and 5 cans fall out and land on your toe because your pantry is filled with too much stuff.  Of course you can never find anything to wear because your clothes are stuffed together in the closet and you can't see anything.  If it doesn't serve you, get rid of it.  Just focus on a room a day for the next 2 weeks.  Spend one hour after dinner with a big trash bag (or 3 or 10) and put stuff in there that you really don't use or maybe have multiples of and donate it or give it to someone else who would appreciate it.  If it doesn't inspire you, get rid of it.  For a good decluttering method I've heard a lot of great reviews on the KonMari method.  And a great book on this is the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.  

2)  Forgive:  This is so important for your mind and your soul.  Look at this as a decluttering of the mind.  There are a lot of things in life that hurt us - friends, family, lovers, situations, jobs.  And we carry that hurt around with us. It makes our heart heavy and it contributes to how we communicate with the world.  It fills us with negative emotions and resentment and prevents us from being open to receiving any positive energy around us.   Forgive them and grow forward.  You don't have to forget but try to forgive.  Most people don't do things to intentionally hurt us so try not take anything too personally.  This is actually one of the 4 Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  If you haven't read this, its a must.  Its like a handbook to life if there ever was one.  A great movie on learning to forgive and move forward is "I Can Only Imagine." 

3) Create a playlist:  Music is one of the rare forms of healing that can completely change your mood around 180 degrees in a second.  Listening to your favorite song can take you out of your stupor.  Listening to a song can take you back to your first kiss.  Listening to a song can take you back to childhood memories of fun road trips with the family.  I heard this tip while watching the movie “Made for More” based on Rachel Hollis, motivational speaker, author, fellow mompreneur, and founder of the Rise Gathering conferences.   I couldn’t agree more.  Having a playlist readily available to pick you up is a great tool for keeping you empowered.  

4) Eyelashes: Getting lash extensions is a game changer. If you've been following me for awhile you know how much i love them.  I started getting them a year ago and I can't stress enough the confidence you feel with long lashes.  Not only does it cut your time getting ready in the morning in half but you feel so glam from the minute you wake up to the moment you go to sleep.  As a mom, you usually don't feel so glam running around from errands to kids appointments, to games, etc.  In fact you feel sweaty, run down, and plain old tired.  But knowing that you look way better than you feel gives you that extra boost of energy.  Yes, its a mental game but I promise, it will change your world.  

5) Power undies:  Yes, I said it.  Yes, no one but you (and your significant other) will probably see your underwear but you are who matters right?  There's something about having sexy, beautiful, luxe undergarments that sets the tone for your confidence each and everyday.  How do you expect to channel your inner goddess and boss babe with big old grandma cotton underwear?  Put on those sexy lace or satin underwear and go rule the world.   You can get plenty of cute underwear anywhere but my go to is always Victoria's Secret.  They are always running special promos but the best deals you can find are at their outlets so if you can find one near you, I suggest running there.  

Hope you can put some of these into place TODAY and take your power back!

xoxo, Karen

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Insanity Check - 6 things you must make time for in order to be a better mom

The summer is quickly coming to an end and before we know it, the long endless summer days will be replaced with the hustle and bustle of school days, after school activities, rushing back and forth to appointments, kids parties, etc.  

And while I might not have the answer on time management, there's one thing that I'm absolutely sure of- you need to make time for yourself.   I know many people worry about being selfish but I truly believe - if you are not personally 100%, then I don't see how you can give 100% to your family, work, or anything else that demands your attention. 

There are 6 things you absolutely must make time for: 

  1. Gym time/active time - nothing is a mood booster like a workout is. Yes it's hard work, but the energy and accomplishment you feel afterwards is priceless. And the best part is, the benefits don't end there! Every little step or action you take moves you closer to your overall fitness goal. You have nothing to lose.  While there are many physical benefits to this, imagine that alone time in your head. That's valuable time for positive affirmations.  My favorite form of exercise is dance - you can dance from the comfort of your own home with so many options here. 
  2. Food prep - you've heard this quote "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail." There are so many benefits to prepping your meals for the day/week. First you save money. Second you are controlling what's going into your body. You control how much sugar, fats, vitamins, nutrients that go into your body and for those you love. Thirdly, you save time throughout the week. Instead of wondering each and everyday what you are going to have for dinner, if you've planned it out then you'll have all your ingredients ready and hopefully chopped and ready to cook.  
  3. Weekly face mask - your skin will thank you later...and so will your sanity. All it takes is 15 minutes. Put on a sheet mask, or a charcoal mask. Read your favorite book for 15 minutes, meditate, listen to your favorite podcast or playlist, and wash off! Your skin will feel like a million bucks and you'll be so happy that you made 15 minutes of time for yourself.  My favorite masks to use are by Peter Thomas Roth and my favorite sheet masks are my Skin Laundry. 
  4. Personal things that you love to do- I know this is a tough one but put it into your calendar. Weekly might be aggressive but if you can do bi-weekly that would be amazing. Go to a coffee shop and read a book for an hour, spend time perusing an antique shop, nurture your inner green thumb, join the local volleyball team. Do something for you. The rest of the time is almost always for the rest of the family so focus this time for yourself 
  5. Focus on something to help your side hustle and propel your business forward. We live in an age where our full time job is not our only job. We live in an age where the term "stay at home mom's" doesn't exist anymore.   Everyone has a gig. Everyone is an entrepreneur. We all have ideas. But what are you doing to put those ideas into action? Make time into your day/week to focus on your side business.  A great resource for helping you create an actionable plan is the Passion Planner. It helps you break down your dream goal into minute goals so reaching the overall goal doesn't seem so daunting.   If you need motivation, You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero is an amazing book. 🙌🏼
  6. Talk to your girlfriend. We all have different friends for various situations. You have your co- worker who you can vent to about your crappy boss, your spontaneous friend who you can call to go out for drinks or even to go dancing with, your friend you can cry to. Make time for the girlfriend who makes you laugh the most. She's the one you can probably be the most real with because you both share the same sense of humor. 

Make time for these 6 things regularly and you will be the best person you can be for your family. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

6 Things You Probably Do, But Shouldn't When Networking

Networking is one of those things in business you love to hate.  For some people it comes naturally.  For others, it's a chore.   But in business it is necessary.  Relationships are the root of all business transactions and should be cultivated and nurtured.

Lena Grae Photography

For everything you need to know about networking, "Never Eat Alone" by Keith Ferrazzi is a must read.  In fact it's one of my favorite business books of all time.  Keith stresses that you should constantly be inviting people out for lunch and coffee and growing your relationships with people.  Think about how you can help them and add value to their lives. Naturally they will want to return the favor at some point.

While Keith stresses that we should incorporate networking into our daily lives, I'd like to talk specifically about networking events.  I've been to quite a few in my time here in NJ this past year and I've met so many amazing people including my fellow #momboss 's and style influencers. And based on "Never Eat Alone" and from my personal experiences here are some things you probably do but shouldn't at these types of events.

Davin Tes Photography

 - don't bring a guest - I know it sounds intimidating to go alone, but when you bring a guest you use them as a crutch and end up talking to them the whole night.  When you go by yourself, you're forced to look outward and catch other people's eye.  You'll have a better chance to talking to more people.

- don't wait until the end of the panel to talk to the guest speakers or to hosts of the event. The speakers at an event are always publicized before.  And they're usually milling around before the panel starts. Do your homework, find out who they are and what they are about and start chatting with them from the getgo.  Guaranteed after their talk, there will be a line of other attendees just waiting to talk to them and pick their brain.  So get a head start and talk to them before.  They will remember you.

- don't go on an empty stomach.  Its so hard to chat and chew at the same time.  Take advantage of this valuable time talking to people and working the room.  Don't waste your time holing yourself up at the food table.  Plus I'm sure alcoholic beverages are involved and you definitely don't want to be downing those on an empty stomach.

- don't try to absorb everything spoken from the panel and assume you will remember everything.  There is such a thing as information overload and mental notes in your head will be replaced with more current notes.  Jot things down.  Write down key takeaways from each speaker.  Reference these later so you can take actionable steps and use these to improve yourself and/or your business.  And bonus points if you recap these same takeaways back to the speaker.  Message them after the event and talk about how you loved when they talked about "----" and recap your notes.  It shows them that you were engaged and listening.  This will only solidify your relationship. 

- don't get too comfortable.  Congrats - you found yourself a new friend at the event that you have so much in common with.  You can exchange numbers and promise to meet for a follow up drink/coffee but don't stick with them the whole night.  Save those longer conversations for your next meeting.  Go find yourself more people to meet.

- don't come without knowing the guestlist.  Do your research and try to find out who else is going to the event.  I like to stalk social media posts surrounding the event and I read through the comments trying to gauge potential attendees.  And I pinpoint who I'd like to meet so I can make sure I look for them at the event.  Be strategic about your time at the event.  Face to face time with people is important.  You bypass all the gatekeepers when you see them directly at an event so use this time wisely. 

Davin Tes Photography

  Sharing here some photos from a recent event I went to this week at Bloomingdales at the Mall at Short Hills called "In Her Shoes." It was a great panel showcasing 4 #momboss's local here in NJ sharing their struggles and triumphs as both a mom and an entrepreneur.  It was encouraging hearing other mother's truths and let's face it, sitting inside the shoe department can never be a bad time.

I really hope you find these 6 tips helpful in growing your network and creating lasting relationships for both your personal and business needs.  

xoxo, Karen

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Summer Strut - Athleta x Paris and a Latte

How is summer already here?  It's crunch time!  Memorial day weekend, which is the official start of summer is almost here.  Yikes!  Time to step up the workouts and the clean eating to show off that summer body.

Last month I was lucky enough to partner with Athleta, along with my fellow bossbabe and trainer, Mary Massey for a Summer Strut It party where we showed off some great summer trends as well as sweat it up with a Zumba session. 

We showcased some great athleisure wear pieces from Athleta that transition from day to night.  We wanted to show pieces that were versatile that you could take from Barre to the bar.  Our beautiful models for the night came from Barre3 in Morristown, a great barre studio right next to Athleta.  Stay tuned for my review of my first barre class with them.  Kristen, the manager at Athleta talked about each piece that the girls were wearing and I had the chance to dress up the outfits with jewelry from the Cayetano Legacy Collection  and show how with a few simple key pieces you could change your look. 

Some pieces that I think are great investment athleisure wear pieces are:

1) white button down shirt
2) leather like leggings
3) joggers
4) windbreaker
5) a good layering tank 

Here are some outfit ideas to take you out of the gym and for everyday wear.

All you need to dress up these looks are items that should already be in your closet:  a good pair of heels, a moto jacket, a good chambray/denim button up, and some amazing jewelry/accessories.

Almost all of our guests left a winner.  We had so many great raffle prizes such as gift cards from local juicer, Green Point Juicery who also provided drinks and snacks during our event.  We also had prizes such as a gift box from local, women owned company Pause and Unwind, free classes to Barre 3, a huge gift basket by ProVere Physical Therapy and of course we wanted to give away one of our beautiful statement necklaces from Cayetano Legacy. 

We ended the night with a fun jam Zumba session with Mary

It was an amazing event at Athleta and it was the start of getting our mindsets into summer mode.  But now its crunch time because summer is officially here!!!  I get my workouts in but my eating and my nutrition is what I need to focus on.  I definitely don't get enough vitamins and nutrients so I just started using capsules from Juice Plus that incorporate nutrients from over 30 + fruits and vegetables.  My body's been craving it for sure and so I'm slowly but surely getting myself ready for the summer! Message me and let me know some tips and tricks you've been using to get yourself ready for summer! Would love to hear from you.



Monday, April 30, 2018

A Special Mother's Day Treat

Mother's day is one of those days that I always downplay and tell the hubby not to plan anything big.  I'm totally ok with just a quiet day at home with nothing to do.  Anyone else feel me?

But of course, he and the kids always plan something special and its always nice being celebrated.  Its absolutely the small things that get me - its the crayon colored pictures that are lined up on the kitchen table before breakfast with stick figures of our little family.  Its the big kit kat bar that the kids picked out for me because they know how much i love chocolate.  It's the Blue Mountain cards that my husband knows I love because they always have the perfect sentiment on the cards.  

But this year he and the kids really caught me by surprise.  They took me to Hamilton Jewelers in Princeton, NJ because I raved so much about it a few weeks ago and helped me pick out the most beautiful mother's day present.  

I can't even explain how special it was watching the kids pick out pieces that they thought I would love.  Jewelry really does have a way of making you feel good.  They definitely are an investment piece but they have such a high emotional value to them that makes them worth getting.  

It was cute seeing the kids talk with each other and explain why they thought I would like certain pieces.  Gabriel picked out these dainty bracelets that he knew I would love.  And he hit it on the nose with the rose gold metal.  I love that these pieces were adjustable.  I have such tiny wrists so bracelets are always a struggle for me.  

Alessandra picked out this beautiful rose gold bangle from their Heritage line that absolutely makes a statement.  

They compromised and met in the middle by picking out a pretty stack of thin 18k gold and diamond bangles.  

Alessa then decided she wanted me to wear matching earrings to hers so she chose these stunning diamond stud earrings.  I was totally in love.  If you haven't heard me say this enough, stud earrings are an absolute jewelry box staple.  I wear studs everywhere, even to the gym, and you will 100% get your return on investment on them.  

But then Gabe convinced Alessa that they needed to pick out a necklace since I never take my current necklace off.  (I got the hint.)  So they each chose an option.  Gabe picked this beautiful rose gold round diamond solitaire necklace and Alessa chose this white gold teardrop shape necklace.    Ahh, both were so different yet so beautiful.  

My present was so special to me, but what makes it even more special is the memories I have of the kids picking it out.  What a treat to be able to experience this with my kids and my hubby.  

Make sure you are following both Hamilton Jeweler and I on instagram to find out which piece I ended up going home with.  Thank you so much to my hubby for this fun day with the kids and thank you to Hamilton for helping us find the perfect gift.  

This Mother's Day present is definitely one for the books.  If you are in NJ, you must check out their store in Princeton.  It's such a lovely location and their staff is amazing - especially Ayzia who was so patient with the kids and helped them with pieces that caught their eye for me.  

If you are not local, check out their online shop here.  They have complimentary shipping and their jewelry truly makes the perfect mother's day present.  

I want to give a HUGE thank you to my Alex DeDios Photography for capturing these amazing moments with my family.  It was such a fun day and I love having these pictures to remember it by.