Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good--and Work It, Girl!

Work It, Gal! embraces a three part philosophy for the working woman: look good, feel good, do good.

Every working woman--whether working in the home or in the office-- strives to find that perfect balance. Join the conversation as we dive into what it means to look good, feel good, and do good as we strive towards an overall balanced life. And more than anything, don't forget to work it, gal!

Friday, February 28, 2014

My Secret Boyfriend. #feelgood #feelgoodfriday

My Secret Boyfriend #feelgood #feelgoodfriday
                                                            Credit: freedigitalphotos.net

I have a confession to make. I have a secret boyfriend. I just started seeing him a week ago, and we're going out this weekend. I. Can't. Wait! If you don't already have a secret boyfriend, make it happen gal! I highly recommend it. Your secret boyfriend is sure to add a spark to the monotony of your everyday relationship and better yet, he’s sure to make you feeeel good!

My secret boyfriend goes to the gym with me in the mornings, and we hold hands while we pedal side by side on the stationary bikes. My secret boyfriend builds blanket/couch forts with me in my living room, so that we can camp out and watch movies late at night. My secret boyfriend listens to me talk about my hopes and dreams for hours on end.

I think my fiancé knows about my secret boyfriend (so I guess my secret boyfriend isn’t so secret anymore!) – and you’d think he’d be jealous…but he’s not!

So while my fiancé and I hash out wedding budgets and endlessly stuff wedding invitations into envelopes, while we figure out who’s in charge of washing dirty clothes or dirty dishes, my secret boyfriend waits on the shadows, ready to sweep me off my feet.

My fiancé is already pretty rock awesome, and I could write a book on all of his amazingness, so having him turn on the “secret boyfriend charm” is just out of this world! With my fiancé, on almost any given day you can find me pretty much walking on sunshine—but my feet are firmly planted on solid ground—but with this secret boyfriend side to him, I’m pretty much on cloud nine (lift--off!). So as I’m wondering where this extra dose of amazingness is coming from, my fiancé says something to me the other night that pretty much rocks my world.

He said, “Someone told me, ‘You don’t marry someone so that they can make you happy—you marry someone who you can make them happy. And by trying to make them happy every day, you become better, and then you make yourself happy by becoming better.”

So despite the rough patches that might pop up, my life—and my work— still seems to move along with the steady of the click, click of a well-oiled machine. Where one of us is lacking, the other picks up the slack. We are both working to make the other happy, and as a result, we’re both happier—and more productive at home and at work.

So Work It Gals, if you have a mate, one of the most important things for your Work It Gal success is to have a mate who can also be your secret boyfriend (or girlfriend, or special friend, or whatever). So go get it gal. Make it happen. And feeeel good!

Signing off,

Work It Gal

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Feminism Gets a Facelift #workitwednesdays #dogood

(Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net)
We’re rolling out a new platform over here at Work It, Gal!

Every Wednesday, we’ll be featuring someone who’s been
                       workin’ it as a woman in her career, home, or life in general.
Let’s get inspired and let’s get motivated!

Do you have someone you think is a “Work It, Gal” at heart? Nominate them here! Send me an email at workitwoman@gmail.com and we’ll share their story…because everyone has a Work It, Gal! in their life.

Our First Work It, Gal...

I’d like to highlight our first Work It, Gal! Tamara Kagel. I went to law school with this gem, and while all of the recent graduates were frantically scurrying around to find jobs, she struck out on a different route and followed her passion for writing. Way. To. Go! She’s now a regular contributor for the Huffington Post! Tamara is definitely someone who’s workin’ it!

I know I for one will be looking out for more of her work, but in the meantime, here’s her latest post:  The Feminist Dilemma: Why We Can't Stop Caring About How We Look.

Signing off,

Work It, Gal

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Beautiful Ugly Part II #lookgood

The Ugly Underneath The Beautiful. Part II
As Edward Allen said,

“The thoughtless, the ignorant, and indolent, seeing only the apparent effects of things and not the things themselves, talk of luck, of fortune, and chance. Seeing a man grow rich, they say, "How lucky he is!" Observing another become intellectual they exclaim, "How highly favored he is!" And noting the saintly character and wide influence of another, they remark, "How chance aids him at every turn!"

They don't see the trials and failures and the struggles which these (wo)men have voluntarily encountered in order to gain their experience; have no knowledge of the sacrifices they have made, of the undaunted efforts they have put forth, of the faith they have exercised, that they might overcome the apparently insurmountable, and realize the vision of their heart. They do not know the darkness and the heart aches; they only see the light and the Joy, and they call it “luck”; do not see the long arduous journey, but only behold the pleasant goal, and call it "good fortune"; do not understand the process, but only perceive the result, and call it “chance”.”

“In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result. Chance it is not. “Gifts,” power, material, intellectual, and spiritual possessions are the fruits of the effort; they are thoughts completed, objects accomplished, visions realized.”

“The Vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you enthrone in your heart—this you will build your life by. This you will become.” –Edward Allen.

When you are told that you have done so much, you can be lulled into a sense of self-complacency and contended-ness.

When you are told that you have not done enough you barrage yourself with self-doubt and mental flagellations.  

“The strength of the effort is a measure of the result.”

In this day and age, the above always true. It is not just the strength of the effort, but the ingenuity, the perseverance, the dogged determination and the flat out risk that determines the results.

Accept that you have done too much, and not enough, and as life flows around you, and the bills need to be paid, dinner needs to be made, the laundry basket is overflowing… as wedding vendors are clamoring for meetings to schedule this or that miniscule detail of a special day; as clients need their hands held, and co-counsel needs to be wrangled into line—in the quiet moments that seem nearly nonexistent, find the time to put forth the effort that garners results.

“The strength of the effort is the measure of the result.”

As my life slowly unfolds around me, slowly, very slowly, I am starting to see the “fruits of my efforts, …the “thoughts accomplished,” “the visions realized.”

I will not accept the judgments of my life—whether it is that I have done too much or not enough. On the outside, my life, like anyone else’s, consists of a million little highlights broadcast into the spotlight. But I am my own measuring stick. I know where I fall short, and where I have excelled. I know where I can improve. I see my weaknesses and my strength. And I can only change what is subject to my control. Success is not a one-time thing, a hundred time thing, a thousand time thing. It is a million little efforts all rolled into one.

Keep on the good fight towards success. Continue on your life journey. Relish in the highlights. And remember that there is always something underneath the beautiful.

Signing off,

Work It Gal

In all human affairs there are efforts, and there are results, and the strength of the effort is the measure of the result. Chance is not. "Gifts," powers, material, intellectual, and spiritual possessions are the fruits of effort; they are thoughts completed, objects accomplished, visions realized.

The Vision that you glorify in your mind, the Ideal that you enthrone in your heart - this you will build your life by, this you will become." -James Allen

Friday, February 21, 2014

Have An Addiction? Feed It. #feelgood

Have an Addiction? Feed It. #feelgood

TGIF!!! It’s Friday! Another work week has ended, and we’re embarking on the weekend! Seize the day! Go gallivanting off to indulge in whatever addiction you have—beer, wine, cigarettes or drugs. JUST KIDDING. But I am NOT kidding about the fact that if you have an addiction, you need to feed it. And when I say feed it, I mean replace it—with something else. There are a ton of articles circulating post Philip Seymore’s death as a result of a drug overdose. Most of these articles talk about how addiction is a real disease. Yup. They talk about abstaining. Done and done. They talk about having a support network. Hand clap. But none of them talk about feeding the addiction—and that might be one of the most important things to talk about yet.

I’m no doctor, so don’t take what I’m preaching as gospel, but I’m of the opinion that if there’s a hole in your life because you’re abstaining from an addiction, fill it. Because if you don’t, the next triggering event will make you want to go careening back to your forsaken vice— and that can most definitely get in the way of your “work it” success.

So instead, feed the addiction. Because what is an addiction, really? Simply put, it’s that “thing” that you do, and can’t seem to stop doing, because it feels soooo good. Whether the addiction is physical or psychological, this “thing” holds you back from being your best self, because you are dependent on “it” instead of being dependent on YOU.

So find something you love, something you like, or something you merely tolerate, and fill the void. Every time you want to grab a drink, go on a run instead. Every time you’re tempted to light up a cigarette, or watch more than five episodes in a row of your favorite show and you  j u s t   c a n’ t  seem to push the “off” button, pick up a book instead.

This all might be easier said than done, and believe me, I know.

Hi, my name is Mary, and I have an addiction. Psyche! But seriously, I LOVE hot chocolate. If there was a Chocoholics Anonymous, I just might be its key member. #justkidding.

But the true story is, in law school, I guzzled three to four cups of hot chocolate a day, and it became my own secret nirvana. I don’t drink alcohol, and even most caffeinated drinks are out of the question for me, so while others were off beer ponging or bar crawling, I breathed a breathless sigh of ahhhh, every time that warm chocolate-y goodness hit the back of my throat; head thrown back and eyes closed tight in that rock awesome roll of ecstasy, relishing every moment that dopamine rush of sweetness flooded through my blood stream. I had to have my “fix” every  s I n g l e  day, multiple times a day, and my friends joked that if I could mainline hot chocolate into my veins twenty four hours a day, I would be a happy camper.

Long day at school? Hot chocolate. Huge assignment due the next day? Hot chocolate. Finals time? Hot chocolate, hot chocolate, hot chocolate.

I finally came to my senses when my pocket book (and my jeans) were feeling a little tight.  But let’s be honest here—even if my “sexy jeans” weren’t looking too sexy any more, and I was feeling the pinch of the penny, what really helped me get a handle on my hot chocolate consumption (read = my one and only motivation for getting a handle on my hot chocolate consumption at the time) was that the cute guy I’d been crushing on all summer challenged me to a no sugar fast for a month. I went flat out cold turkey, and every time I wanted to make a beeline for some hot chocolate, I thought about Mr. Fancypants Casanova, and how there was no way I could convince him that I’d rocked our little bargain if I had nothing to show for it in the end. So hot chocolate started equating with another type of “hot chocolate” if you know what I mean. And while Mr. Fancypants Casanova didn’t ever become Mr. Hot Chocolate, he helped fill the gap, or feed the “addiction” so to speak. (It didn’t hurt that one month later I was ten pounds lighter and a few bucks richer.)

All lightheartedness aside, addiction is a serious problem—especially for attorneys, working professionals, and anyone else thrust out into the working world, who’s working it somehow—anyone who’s human basically. And while it’s important to get help, and it’s important to have a support network, and it’s important to abstain from your addiction, every day, one day at a time, it’s also important to feed the addiction.

Find something wholesome to replace your vice, so when the going gets tough, you’re not sitting alone ruminating on all the euphoric feel good feelings you’re missing out on—you’re doing/thinking/concentrating on something to take your mind off “it,” the gaping hole—and who knows, maybe you’re new little something might cause some feel good moments itself!

So Happy Friday everyone! Seize the day, go feel good—and feed your addiction.

Signing off,

Work It Girl


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Ugly Underneath Your Beautiful. #lookgood

What’s Underneath Your Beautiful? #lookgood

Part I

Just a few days ago Facebook came up with a “look back” of each Facebook users’ life. The pictures were shiny and new, the status updates touted life milestones and achievements—new babies, engagements, job promotions, graduations… But all the look back highlights were just that—highlights.

It’s easy to believe that you fall short when you compare underneath your beautiful to everyone else’s highlights. But everyone is walking through this journey called life, and everyone has something underneath their beautiful.

I’m an attorney. I’m a writer. And I’m getting married to the man of my dreams in just a few short weeks. And that’s pretty beautiful.

A few years ago, I blazed through my education, published my first piece, passed the bar, and met the man of my dreams. The undiscerning eye might argue that I stepped into a fairy tale—the awesome career, my sweet love, and his willingness to try to do and be what I needed in a life partner. The fact that I have someone who not only is successful, but makes me fall in love with him every day, who makes me laugh and smile, who drives me crazy in love sometimes, and sometimes just drives me crazy…the fact that I have a best friend, who’s with me through thick and thin, rich and poor.

But for me, there has been thick and thin, rich and poor, underneath all the beautiful.

As a freshly minted lawyer at twenty five, I set forth with the promise in my mind of a steady job, a decent salary and some modicum of stability in my life. I wanted to become a policy analyst for my day job, and a writer for my night job. A policy analyst works in an obscure niche in the law where you analyze policy and legislation, hone in on its weaknesses, point out, draft and promote improvements. But law school, the legal job market had a gainful employment rate of 55% percent for new graduates, and thousands like me were floundering.

Around this time, I remember sitting in my car one summer day a sweaty, sticky, blubbering hot mess. My beloved Bessie— the car that I’d finally paid off weeks before, would not start; it’d been hit in a nasty fender bender days earlier, and despite repairs, it was a goner. I desperately turned the key in the ignition, only to be greeted by daunting silence. I was surrounded by piles of dusky moving boxes, clothes and plastic hangers, the mountains of belongings reminding me that I’d used my fancy legal jargon to void my lease after discovering that my newly acquired apartment was infested with roaches—thousands of them. To top it off, I’d found out within the same narrow time frame that the job offer I had received had been rescinded due to cutbacks.

I felt like some girl in a really bad B-rated movie, where one bad things keeps happening right after another at such a relentlessly aggressive pace that it’s comically hilarious—almost.

But, as with most life journeys, at the end of the day, you drag your bloody and bruised body towards the finish line, even as it has started to rain and hail, or as the hot humid sun beats down on you, stirring up an unquenchable thirst. You push on, even after the sole of your feet are blistered and sore…

When so much seemed to be going wrong in my life all at once, my sweet, successful, and loveable other half proposed (not that kind of proposal!), “Why don’t you let me take care of you? Why don’t you focus on what you want to do (a legal analyst and a writer), instead of what you have to do to survive?”

…but there is something undeniably alluring about the ability to be self-sufficient. There is something, a “je ne sais quois,” about being able to take care of oneself that infuses one with pride, confidence, and self-assuredness.

And so I worked it, wherever I could, at whatever I could.

I tutored AP students in high school. I was a writing consultant. I helped people apply for grad school and masters programs. I did contract legal work. I volunteered at legal policy organizations to get the “experience” that I needed for my dream job. I did litigation. I blogged. I started my own consulting firm so I could take on clients of my own. I bargained and I compromised. And I kept my head barely bobbing above the water, as I looked for new opportunities that would take me closer and closer to my dreams.

And I kept doing it… Every. Single. Day.

They say the definition of insanity is to do the same things a million times and expect different results.

I was told to stop scrapping by. To stop looking for my dream job. To take a different path…

On the other hand, Thomas Edison made over ten thousand attempts at the light bulb before he achieved success. When interviewed by a reporter about his many failures, it’s said that Thomas Edison replied,

“Young man, why would I feel like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp.”

Shortly thereafter, the light bulb became a success.  

I’ve asked myself: What is your success story? Are you there yet?

I have been told that I have done so much with my life. I have also heard that I haven’t done enough.

These sentiments are based on perspective.

For those who have encountered less adversity, for those who have taken a path of less resistance, my dogged determination is impressive.

For those who have come from less than nothing into something, I am not there yet. I am not enough. In their eyes, they have “seen people do so much more, with so much less.”

I have looked for the truth in these statements and this is what I’ve come up with—I have done too much, and I haven’t done enough.  

I have…

worked for big name law firms.
supported myself financially against all odds.
started my own consulting firm to gain more varied experience.
scored my first multi-million dollar client.
followed my passion for writing and gained thousands of readers—not hundreds of thousands, but not just hundreds either.
found the love of my life—and despite all of the “things” that make us different, we fit—and we’re getting married!

Here’s what I haven’t done.

I haven’t…

written a book—yet.
become a legislative analyst—yet.
become a famously popular political advocate—yet.

And although there are many things that I haven’t done, I will do them. Underneath all that is beautiful, there are a hundred, a thousand, a million little efforts all rolled into one that take you slowly, surely, steadily towards your goal. Even when no one can see it.