Monthly Archives: June 2014

work wear neon color explosion and floral heels pic

 

You can blame my infatuation with bold and slightly obnoxious colors for this bright idea and the fashion industry for encouraging it. Lime green has been popping up in fashion magazines and blogs everywhere lately. So I’m thinking lets pair this loud color with an equally  loud color and create an all-out fashion shouting match.  To tone things down (slightly), I paired with a chic black satchel and black blouse. Finally, to complete the look, l decided join in on the dainty, floral heel trend and add in these pink and green pumps. Looks like a great summer time look to me.

07 Red pants black and white striped blazer

08 Red pants black and white striped blazer

09 Red pants black and white striped blazer

06 Red pants black and white striped blazer

05 Red pants black and white striped blazer

 

I love a bold pair of slacks. In this case, it's all about the daring red. I've always thought of red as a power color. The captivating hue has a way of commanding attention, which makes it the perfect option for days when you could use a boost of confidence. Though a pair of red pants may be a bit much for the super conservative office, most of us aren't stuck in the land of the perpetual grey suit and can risk spicing things up. Something like this should fit right in to your business casual workplace.

 

 

 

SharkTank Full Cast photo(Cast of Shark Tank pictured above from left to right: Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec.)

As an aspiring entrepreneur I’m always looking for avenues to grow my knowledge. One of my favorite pastimes is sitting down to catch an episode of Shark Tank on a Friday evening. If you’re not familiar with Shark Tank, I’m not sure where you’ve been hiding but I’d advise you to emerge from this dark hiding place and get hip to the wildly popular show; especially if you’re an entrepreneur or hopeful.

So why do I love the show? Negotiations are effing interesting. It doesn’t matter what’s being negotiated or who’s doing the negotiating. It could be a mom and a toddler (see Listen Linda)  or a family negotiation (see Everybody Loves Raymond).  Seeing two parties verbally duke it out is always entertaining. If you’re a business owner, at some point in time your business may need an influx of supplemental cash flow in order to stimulate growth. One clean-cut method for getting that extra cash flow is through securing investors. Conversely, you may eventually find yourself on the other side of this scenario as the investor.

Shark Tank, while its primary purpose is for entertainment value, has actually taught me several important lessons on business negotiations, entrepreneurship and investing.

The Main Lessons:

Business is Business - You should never be surprised at the cutthroat nature of business. People are in business for one reason and that is to make money. Sure there may be some good intentions thrown in here or there but the number one goal in business is to turn a profit. Don’t  you forget it.

First Impressions are Everything – Not literally, but make the wrong first impression and you could very well lose out on an investor. It’s easier to come strong out of the gate then to try to recapture interest once you've lost it.

Know Your Numbers – No one should know your business better than you. You need to eat, breathe and sleep your business. You need to know where you are, where you’re going and exactly how you're going to get there. If I’m investing in your business, I need to know that you know what the hell you’re doing and that I can trust you with my money.

Believe in Your Product or Business – The most successful businesses and products were launched by people who truly had a heartfelt enthusiasm for what they were doing. If you don’t believe in it, how do you expect an investor or a customer to?

Look Past the Sob Story – As an investor you need to be a little cold blooded. Investing in people you believe in isn't a bad idea but throwing money at something because the sob story got to you is bad business. If you want to be philanthropic, start a charity.

For guests on Shark Tank it’s all about being prepared. How are you going to grab attention? What is the pitch going to be like? Did you think of answers to all the questions they could possibly ask? Shark Kevin O’Leary says: "For me business is war. I want to take prisoners. I want to destroy my enemies, my competitors. Don't ever walk in front of me unprepared. Don't ever get in front of me without your numbers. Never bring a half-baked proposition and waist my time.”

O’Leary is pretty much the most aggressive, merciless Shark. His deals always seem the most full of greed yet, he inexplicably has the audacity to routinely become offended when his deals are turned down. He once angrily exclaimed: “You’re dead to me when you say no to my deal. You’re dead. That is a human tragedy and he’s teaching his son that. It’s a crime. He should be arrested.” This, after Jeff Cohen, inventor of the Collapsible Neck Guitar rejected a deal O’ Leary offered. Funny enough, once the show was over, it turns out that Jeff wasn't so dead to him after all. O’Leary paired up with Cohen later on and the two struck a deal that both parties could live with.

How would you do on Shark Tank? Do you know your numbers? Would you be able to give the right answers to all of the panel’s rapid-fire questions?  Take a stab at a practice run. Here are a few commonly asked questions from show:

  • How much do you sell it for?
  • How much does it cost you to make it?
  • How much does it cost wholesale?
  • How much does it cost resale?
  • What are your sales?
  • How much of that is profit?
  • What is the distribution strategy?
  • Is it patented?
  • What are projected sales for the year?
  • Do you work full time on the business?
  • What are customer acquisition costs?
  • Why don't you have more sales?
  • What's proprietary about this product?
  • What's the plan (for the next year)?
  • What's the sales forecast for the next year?

 

Watch Shark Tank on ABC Fridays at 9|8c

All gold collage and design final-sml

Just because you conduct serious business in your office doesn’t mean you should subject yourself to conventional, humdrum décor day in and day out. If you’re the kind of girl who likes to get fancy from time to time, you’ll probably enjoy the idea of spending your day in an office adorned in brilliant hues of gold.

Typically, when I think of gold, I immediately get visuals of obnoxious Vegas décor, Elvis and Liberace. However, if you execute this correctly, you’ll get all of the glitz and glamor without the gaudy. I compiled a couple of items here to get you started.

  1. Meelano White and gold office chair  - view item
  2. Kate Spade Stapler & Tape Dispenser: Staplerview item ,  Tape Dispenserview item
  3. Gold Bar Paper Weightview item
  4. Gold Push Pins, Paper Clips and Binder Clips: Push Pins - view itemPaper Clips - view itemBinder Clips - view item
  5. Gold Bubble Pen Setview item
  6. Threshold Gold Foiled Lamp Baseview item
  7. Gold Crystal Fountain Penview item
  8. Nate Berkus Shearsview item

 

 

Quiet The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Quiet is a word I’ve always identified with. I wasn’t much of a talker growing up and loved my retreats into solitude where I could find creative ways to entertain myself. I always wondered why I was so quiet and often longed to be more outgoing; so when I ran across Susan Cain’s Ted Talk, you can bet it immediately struck a cord with me. I loved it. I was so intrigued that I just had to find out more.

I picked up Quiet - The power of Introverts... expecting to come out of the listening experience with a profound understanding of what it was that made me tick and how to use a deeper understanding of this personality trait to my advantage in my personal and professional life but ehh… I don’t think I can say I completely got what I was looking for. Though the book is filled with interesting gems, it didn’t quite deliver when it came to helping me craft my plan for total world domination (not that it promised to deliver that). There are a few tips for making the most out of your introversion but the book is so story-heavy that the tips almost get lost.

What I did enjoy was the affirmative tone (Think SNL’s old “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” skit.) Off the bat, Quiet hits the nail on the head with statements like: “Fast talkers are ranked as more competent and likable than slow ones even though there is zero correlation between the gift of gab and good ideas.” It goes on to state: “We perceive talkers as smarter than quiet types. Even though grade point averages and SAT and intelligence test scores reveal this perception to be inaccurate.” Amen sister.

The book does a great job of encouraging its readers to embrace their introverted temperaments and discourages us from doing this silly thing we do of trying to pass for extrovert. I’m so guilty of this and I'm just now learning to embrace my introversion. As part of the supporting argument, the book lists several accomplished and famous introverts like Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs. Here is where if you’re an introvert, you start to feel pretty awesome knowing you’re in such great company. So I get it, we’re supposed to stay true to our own nature because this is who we are but conversely, Susan knows that this is a world run by extroverts who are drawn to other extroverts. She even states so in the book. I don’t think I can realistically expect to get ahead if I refuse to display at least a few extrovert qualities. Though some introverts still manage to find success staying completely true to who they are, I feel like the cards are stacked against me that respect.

It seems as if Susan thinks that we should simply be who we are and let the rest of the world adapt to us. While I think this is a noble idea, I feel like I’ll personally experience time travel before I see this happen. Time and time again, I’ve witnessed the introvert get passed up for the fast-talking, boisterous extrovert. I strongly believe we still have to play the game and the game for introverts, includes sometimes stretching the limitations of your comfort. Sometimes it’s in your best interest to mingle and network and participate in meetings and discussions even though you’d rather be spaced out somewhere alone in your own personal Shangri-La. The universe thinks extroverts are awesome and it’s going to take more than this book and a refusal to acclimate to convince it that we introverts are just as awesome (or even awesomererer).

The references to the Introvert/Extrovert study by Jerome Kagan were the best things to happen to Quiet. They provided me with some of the deep insight that I was looking for when it came to understanding why I was quiet. As a child I always thought something was wrong with me. Perhaps, if I had some of this information back then, it might have spared me a lot of worry. I wanted so much more of this type of information but instead I got stories and more stories. Don’t get me wrong, some of the anecdotes were insightful and encouraging but it felt like there were far too many of them and they seemed to drag on forever. Admittedly, I nearly fell asleep on several occasions (I drive to work remember? DANGER DANGER). Even the reader of the audio book spoke in a quiet, lifeless tone. I found myself quickly turning off the audio and switching to the radio on full blast in order to wake myself up again. Jeez Louise, had this book been about half its size, I may have felt a little differently about it. In the end, yes, it moved me a little but no major strides were taken here. It was just okay.

Thanks for reading. Let’s continue to make those quiet power moves ladies.

plaid side by side tkt gtl v2

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plaid details collage

So back in April I posted a Test Kitchen Tuesday ensemble that I arranged to show how to rock the plaid trend in sophisticated fashion.  While I didn’t re-create the look exactly, I definitely used the post as inspiration.

Instead of the white structured blazer, I opted for a long sleeve, cotton top with a black Peter Pan collar. I altered the top from its original box shape to a more tailored fit, which I thought would work better with the pencil skirt. The result was an outfit that I felt like a total rock star in. You know, the gainfully employed, corporate, rat-racing kind of rock star. Yeah that kind.