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, May 30, 2014

Phenomenally Phenomenal Woman: Adieu to Maya Angelou #feelgoodfriday

Phenomenally Phenomenal Woman: Adieu to Maya Angelou 

Photo Credit: Wolfgang Brauner on www.honorsadvisers.blog,wku


This week we say goodbye to a phenomenally phenomenal woman, Maya Angelou. I love these excerpts from the poem she wrote, “Phenomenal Woman.” I heard them for the first time at a cultural night talent show while I was in college; the rhythm and cadence of the words flowed over me, and the meaning of the words struck home.

"Phenomenal Woman"

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Doesn't that first part just get you? It’s not about being “cute” or having a perfect “model’s size”…what’s phenomenal is this particular woman’s ability to reach for what she wants; it’s her ability to carry herself with a self-assured step, and a confident smile. And I say, "You go gal, Maya Angelou!"

A little while later she continues:

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

And that ending? Sweetness. That is every.   single.   day.   that a phenomenally phenomenal woman holds her head high, forging forward, going after what she unquestionably deserves.

In this last stanza, Ms. Angelou identifies that fine line between the unassuming, meek woman who takes on the subservient role, never pushing, never questioning, never asserting…and the overtly brazen woman who insists, argues, yells, screams, and convinces others of what she wants.

Ms. Angelou strikes the fine balance, where the head is “not bowed,” –she is unashamed of her path—but she doesn't “shout or jump about.”

Are you that woman? 

I know I want to be. That’s the whole point—finding balance as a woman—but not just any kind of woman, a phenomenally, phenomenal woman. (Which leads to next week’s blog post—the fine line between “doormat” and “obnoxiously brazen.”)

Just my last two cents before I piece out for the day:

Some might argue that this “third wave” of feminism is not needed; that all the “work” on women’s issues is done. But it’s not.

The purpose of this “work” is to lift each other up. The purpose of this work is to do something—through our work, through our words, or through whatever means we have.

Ms. Angelou’s life is a testament of that—to contributing toward life with whatever means she had, at any given time of her life. Her life is evidence that life itself is not just a straight line, unsullied, undisturbed, unencumbered, un-challenging. 

Life is a varied thing, with twists and turns and curves. Ms. Angelou faced dips, dives, poverty, wealth, fame, obscurity, abuse, and love. She was a single mother, a cable car director, a teacher, an editor, a writer, and above all, an inspiration. 

Adieu Maya Angelou. And thank you.









Friday, May 23, 2014

Shirk It: Does a Body Good #feelgoodfriday


Shirk It: Does a Body Good. #MotivationMonday
 
 

Shirk (Defn): To evade the performance of an obligation or task.

I can just hear you now: “I thought this was “Work It, Gal! NOT “Shirk It, Gal???’” But don’t worry… planning a wedding didn’t make me a nutso. I have a point with this whole “shirk it” business—so hang tight. I’ve been doing some of reading lately (ie: a lot of reading lately), and I stumble across this amazing quote. So here’s it is, but I’ll break it down for you, because the quote was dense:

Before you start your day, find a place of inner peace and clarity. Take a moment to reset so that you can have the peace of mind to accomplish your tasks. If you take a moment to meditate before you dive in, you’ll find that whatever you do will, or should be, for the welfare of your soul.

Ok, now that’s some deep stuff! So let’s break this down even more: Shirk Your Work, Before You Work.

Ok, maybe it’s not that simple, but here are at two least two ways to look at this idea of “shirking your work before you work.”

“Shirk Your Work” Take Away No. 1: Take the time to breath. Reset and refocus. If you take a step back and then dive in to your work day, whatever you’re working on will be rock awesome, and you will feel rock awesome about it.

“Shirk Your Work” Take Away No. 2: Do what you love. Plan and simple. Just do what makes your heart happy.

Given these shirk your work takeaways, I’ll give one qualifier—I get it, not all of us can have the pie in the sky job that makes our skin glow and has us walking on sunshine all day, every day. Soooo…first things first.

Setting the Intention for Takeaway No. 1: Whatever you are doing at the present moment work-wise, find a way to make it fulfilling for you. Here are a few steps you can take to help you get to that Namaste place:

 

                                                             1.      Set your intention. First thing in the morning when you wake up, set your intention for the day. Take a quiet moment of meditation to visualize how you’d like your day to play out.

                                                             2.      Get Organized. What do you want to accomplish today? Plot your calendar, determine what you need to do, and how much time it’ll take you to do it. Be realistic, give yourself breaks, and find a balance between mentally intensive tasks and lightweight tasks.

                                                             3.      Move your body. Get in some light exercise to get your blood flowing.

                                                             4.      Dress the part. As my mom always says, “When you look good, you feel good!”

                                                             5.      And then as Nike would say, “Just do it.” You’re armed with all the tools, now go out there and work it gal.

 

The ultimate goal here is to get to the point in your career where what you’re doing for work is actually what you love—not because you took a moment to reset and clear your mind, but because what you’re doing makes you feel happy simply by virtue of what “it” is.

 

You know you’re at that happy place when your “work” doesn’t feel like work anymore.

 

Setting the Intention for Takeaway No. 2: So what steps can you take so that you can get to the point where you say: “Work? Oh, you mean this? Pssshhh! This isn’t work!” So what’s a Work It Gal to do?

 

                                                             1.      Decide what you want. What do you really want to do? What is it that will ultimately make you happy? Take out all considerations of how much money your dream job will pay, what other people might think of you, or how much social prestige the job carries. Then, get rid of your fear. Now, that you’ve done all that, BAM! You’ve got your “it.” Now, move on to step two.

                                                             2.      Create a plan. This can be a three day plan, a three month plan, or a three year plan, but at the end of that time, after you’ve crossed off all the things on your list that will lead you slowly, day by day, closer to your “it,” you’ll finally be there.

                                                             3.      Finally, remember, it’s all baby steps, baby! You’re armed with a plan (three day, three month, three year—whatever). As you’re working on “it” remember to place tangible, executable “baby steps” on your agenda (and don’t forget to write it down!) Now go ahead and Work It!

Alright people, that’s all I got for ya. Hopefully it helps you on your path to inner peace for the welfare of your souls. Namaste!

Signing off,

Work It Gal

Friday, May 16, 2014

100 Days of Happy #feelgood #feelgoodfriday



#feelgoodfriday

Soooo….in case you didn’t know, Work It Gal (that’s me!) got married just a few weeks ago. And who wouldn’t be happy about that?! (Don’t worry, domestic bliss hasn’t changed me; I’m still a Work It Gal.)

But let me tell you something—the weeks leading up to a wedding can be cray cray. Like seriously. I don’t think there was any one particular event that made me want to pull my hair out one hair follicle at a time, but there were a host of last minute oh no’s!, and we need that! And it might rains! That had me spinning. And I‘m a pretty put together lawyer, so it takes a lot to get my head spinning. But at the end of the day, THE most important thing was that I got to marry my love, and my best friend. (One and the same guy people, no plural marriages here. Move along people.)

So anyways, I got to marry my incredible hubby, and the wedding was amazing. I couldn’t have been happier. And I realized something that I’d like to think I already knew, but sometimes, when life gets crazy, it’s easy forget. What I remembered was that everything that ever happens to a person is all about perspective. I’ve heard it said that “The most successful people don’t say, ‘I’ll wait until I’m successful to be happy.’ They actually are happy while they’re on their way to success.”

There’s never any guarantee that we’ll be the kind of successful that we’re hoping for, but only we can guarantee that we’re happy while working towards our goals.

Ok, so you guys might hate me for getting this song stuck in your head alllll weekend long, but you know that song by Pharell, “Happy”?
Because I’m happy!
Clap your hands, if you feel like happiness is the truth!
Because I’m happy!
Clap your hands if you know what happiness means to you, oh!
Because I’m happy!

I’m pretty sure I got those words out of order, but I see you, clapping your hands and swinging your heads while singing at the top of your lungs. Go ahead, do the Carlton, I won’t tell anyone.

Anyways, I couldn’t think of a more fitting song to have as part of our intro music as the wedding party walked into reception after the ceremony. I loved it—I was happy, I hoped everyone there was happy, and it was a beautiful day! Speaking of…

Our next song, by Bruno Mars:
It’s a beautiful day,
Looking for something fun to do!
Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you!

We slid in, electric slide and all, because we didn’t think, we knew that we wanted to get married. And we just had.

So even with all the craziness, hair pulling, minor fires and forest fires that lead up to our wedding day, I was happy. I am happy.

So, my last thought comes from a quote I heard awhile back: “No one ever made a positive life, with a negative mind.” So in honor of a positive life, positive thoughts, and a happy life, here’s my 100 days of happy. What’s yours?

My Top 100 "Happys" for 100 Days of Happy


 So here’s my Top 100 “Happys” for my 100 Days of Happy, in no particular order.

1. My husband rocks. He just does.



2. I have some pretty stellar friends (on my side and my hubby’s side) that made the wedding day of sooo much easier.

See the "Happy" video on my Facebook page, which only stellar friends would actually let me post online for the world to see!

3. My parents. We had an impromptu BBQ at the loft the day after the wedding and my cute dad was handling the cooking like a pro. Even my mom pitched in!

4. My brother, who manned the BBQ grill at the Sunday BBQ.

5. The guys, (my guy’s besties) who manned clean up after the BBQ like pros.

6. My sweet sisters who put together dozens of wedding centerpieces and all of the bouquets and boutonnieres.

7. My cousin who ran to the store when I couldn’t find the right bra I’d purchased for my wedding dress. Literally the afternoon before the wedding when I was swamped.

8. My brother-from-another mother, who ran last minute errands literally the day of the wedding.

9. My old roommate and good friend, who drove through rush hour traffic to drop off supplies for me.

10. The Los Angeles Fashion District. Praise Jesus! The place to go to get inexpensive, but nice accessories: shoes, jewelry, sashes for dresses, clutches. I made out like a bandit.

11. My mother-in-law and her cooking. Wow. Just wow. I swear, every time she cooks, I gain five pounds because her food is so good! Thank goodness my dress still fit—even though there was a little extra junk in the trunk.


12. My wedding planner. Can I say awesome? A Touch of Lavandar’s owner is the woman! Or shall I say Work It Gal?

13. Good food at the wedding. Ummm yum? I was chowin’ down.

14. My spiritual leaders who performed the wedding. They rock my world.

15. My mentor who came all the way from Utah to share such a special day with me. Looking fantastic Work It Gal!

16. My extended family who drove hours to come celebrate with me. You guys are the best.

17. Hot Chocolate. Dear Friend, you helped me get through many a hard day.


18. Cinnabon. The end. Thank you Hawaii shopping mall in Oahu, the only place I’ve seen in years, that still has a Cinnabon in the food court.

19. Yoga. Thank you Jesus! Because I need to have some way to work off all this extra FOOD that I’ve been chowing on pre and post wedding!

20. My hairdresser. Sweetest gal—she did my make-up for me at the wedding, and I wasn’t even expecting it! I felt like a princess.

21. My clients, who have been super patient with me through this busy time.

22. My sister-in-law who hosted the rehearsal dinner in a beautiful rental house, and helped with the wedding in so many other ways.

23. My mother-in-law for cooking at the rehearsal dinner. I’m pretty sure she fed over sixty people.

24. My brother-in-laws, who built the podium for the wedding ceremony.

25. Sleep. I love sleep. I need more. I slept on the honeymoon more than I should admit. Is 7p too early?

26. Work. I worked on the honeymoon more than I should admit too. But I actually have work to do. And that’s good!

27. Free food. Did I mention that the hotel in Hawaii had free breakfasts and dinners? Bread pudding. Yum. Eggrolls. Yummier.

28. This blog. While I wish I had more time to devote to it, it gives me the opportunity to channel my creative outlet while being a working woman.


29. My metabolism. There was so much food in Hawaii, I was afraid I might have to roll myself home. While I did some damage, my metabolism still behaves itself for the most part. I’ll take it!

30. My wedding dress. I loved it in every way. Like seriously, I might end up being that gal that wears her dress while eating ice cream and watching chick flicks on a Friday night.


31. Ross. Because it’s awesome. Wedding décor score!

32. The Dollar Store. Again, thank you very much. Wedding décor score once more! Because who’s going to use table numbers ever again in the history of never???

33. Double Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s. The single serving size. Are you starting to see a chocolate trend here?

34. Our chapel. Although we were sad to move, and the benches might be a bit barren, the structure is be.a.ut.iful. Rock my world.

35. My husband’s cooking skills. He’s been throwing it down lately. Can I get an Amen?

36. My professional network. Thankful.

37. My work experience. It’s growing every day and I am ex.cited!

38. A whole slew of vitamins and probiotics. Vitamin B, Vitamin D, Iron, Biotin, you name it, I take it.



39. Family Home Evenings. Our new family tradition.

40. Sunlight. I love the sun.

41. Phone calls from my mom. We might not have a ton to talk about sometimes, but it’s nice knowing that someone’s calling just to say, “I love you.”

42. Phone calls from my dad. He might call multiple times in a row if I don’t answer, and sometimes it drives me crazy (like as I'm working right now), but he calls. Which is pretty dang special.



43. Songs like “Happy” by Pharell. Like seriously, so awesome. Makes you want to do the Carlton right? Right?

44. Motivating quotes that you can pin on Pinterest and then go back and look at months later. Uplifting.


45. Hot chocolate. I think I already said hot chocolate, but it deserves being counted twice.


46. Movies that make you giggle. Like The Other Woman— seriously funny. Speaking of, see my other blog post on tips to being "The Other Woman."

47. My mind. If I had nothing left in the entire world, I’d still get to keep everything that’s in my head. And that’s pretty awesome.

48. Salads. Because let’s be honest, I can’t have chocolate all the time.

49. Blankets. Because I’m in my twenties and I still work with a blanket in my lap almost every single day.

50. Bubble baths. My new obsession. Seriously. Add some Epson salt to hot water and a splash of bubble bath and reeelax.

51. Leggings. Because who wants to wear jeans after a huge helping of ice cream? Or bread pudding? Or Cinnabon…Yeah, I think you get the point.

52. Opportunity. It happens at the most random times. I heard something that I can’t recite back verbatim, but it goes something like this: “Most people don’t recognize Opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like Work.”

53. All my nieces who were flowers girls, the nieces who came to the rescue as flower girls, and the nieces that wanted to be flower girls but had meltdowns. They are all so stinkin’ cute.

54. My cute baby niece who popped out her pacifier and handed it to her mom right before walking down the aisle as my flower girl. She came up with that one on her own but she took her job seriously! Seriously adorable.

55. All my nieces and nephews who held my gown as I walked around the wedding venue. Um can I say awesome one more time? I swear the word is getting played out!

56. My accountant, who kept me stress free during tax time, which happened to also happened to be a little over a week before the wedding!

57. My friend who made a 12 hour round trip within a single day just so she could spend a few hours at my wedding!

58. My husband who’s now singing “Happy” and “Marry You” as he struts around the house. I don’t think it’ll get old.

59. Hulu. It has been my savior on many a long plane ride or restless night.

60. Peanut M&M’s. Tuesday nights—it’s a date.

61. When my mother-in-law visits, she calls me her daughter, and it is just so sweet.

62. The Los Angeles Flower District. Can we say steal?



63. The last Friday of every month at the Los Angeles Fashion District. Name brand deals at discount prices. ‘Nuff said.

64. Treadmills. Because if we didn’t have ‘em, I definitely couldn’t have as much chocolate as I do.
65. In home pick-up and drop-off dry cleaning service. Because let’s face it, the clothes I took to the dry cleaner from last year are still there. Let’s just say its better when they come to me.
66. Schedules. They make life so much more efficient.
67. Brunch. This is such an “LA” thing, but so nice! My favorite place thus far—The Kettle in Manhattan Beach. Or the Cream Pot in Hawaii but the likelihood of making that a weekly or monthly occurrence is slim to none.

68. Books. I love books. I love words. If I had time, I’d read a novel a day. And then write a novel a day.

69. Scrambled eggs on toast with just a little bit of mayo. It’s my go-to meal when I don’t feel like cooking but I don’t want to waste the money or calories on ordering a pizza.

70. Getting in the groove when working on a really complex case or project. Makes me get all Charlie Sheen over here, like: “Winning!”

71. Connecting with other professional women, and sharing war stories.

72. Comfortable shoes that make tired feet and injured toes still look stylish.

73. Sexy heels that make any outfit. That’s it, they just make any outfit. No adjective needs to follow.



74. Cuddling. I am the ultimate cuddle bug.

75. Date nights. Because duh.

76. Taking pictures. I love to capture moments and memories.


Not quite like this song... but its catchy!

77. Learning. Every day it’s a new lesson.

78. Walking down the street with my hubby, in deep conversation, and then we both break out into song because something one of us said reminded the other of a favorite catchy beat.

79. Inspiration. Finding the drive, or the light bulb moment, that makes you say, “Ahhh haaaah!”
80. New ideas at work or wherever really.
81. Epiphany moments at work and in life. These are more than just the Ahhh haaa, moments. These moments are life changing. 
82. Great business meetings that make you say: “Now that was rock awesome.”
83. Scoring an awesome new client.
84. Dissecting a legal statute, looking for holes, plugging those holes, or exposing those holes (depending on what side I’m on).
85. Having great days at work.
86. Tangible, achievable plans for the future.
87. Saving money. And making money so I can save money.
88. Shopping.
89. Virtual Offices. Pajamas on the bottom, suit on top!
90. Drafting a contract and having it finally come together perfectly. Take that suckas!
91. That feeling of utter and complete competence and confidence in what I am doing.


92. Puppies. Specifically Chinese Pug puppies. I’m severely allergic but if one comes within my vicinity I’m sold and all bets are off that I’ll stay away from the adorable little stinker.

93. Fashion belts that sit on the natural waistline. How come we didn’t think of this sooner? Talk about accentuating a waistline!

94. Curvy fit jeans. Because…well, you know. Am I right?

95. Belts that you actually put through the loops on your jeans so your pants aren’t doing that hoola-hoop thing around your waist.

96. Ketchup. Everything that should have ketchup on it must have ketchup on it. And a lot of it.

97. Herbal tea. Because it’s my go-to when I simply have had waaaaay too much hot chocolate.


98. Tons of nieces and nephews. Because they are so cute and helpful. I have my own little entourage of munchkins to love.

99. Tons of siblings. Again, because I have my own little entourage of people to love.

100. Can I just say I’m happy for the sake of being happy? I think I can. So I will. Be happy!
 

 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


Oh, Mother!

 

“Necessity is the Mother of all Invention.”

They say: "Necessity is the Mother of all invention." And they couldn't be more right.

Why is that do you think? I'm pretty sure it's because moms have to “invent” on the go, as they go, a l l   t h e   t i m e—and it's so necessary that they do!
 
Growing up, my mom ran our household like a well-oiled machine. She'd wake up around 5a, wash and dry mounds of laundry, dump the laundry onto the ever growing mountain of clothing in the bedroom, and then make our breakfast and lunches while prepping ingredients for dinner by taking freezer bags full of veggies out of the huge chest freezer in the garage and tossing them on the kitchen counter. Sometimes, she’d even manage to go to the Farmer’s Market to buy huge sacks of fruits and vegetables (I’m talking serious bulk purchases here), and then she’d head off to work.

I’d have my own early morning ritual—breakfast, church-school, school-school…And then without fail, almost every. single. day. when I got home, my mom would call me with a long list of chores that I needed to complete before she got home.

So I'd set about to wash whatever was left of the laundry, fold the mountains of laundry that had accumulated from the morning, take out trash, lay beds, make dinner with the items my mom had tossed on the counter from earlier that morning, and sometimes vacuum--but not just any type of vacuuming--my mother insisted I vacuum the carpet into little triangular squares like the carpet cleaners did (thank goodness we finally got hardwood!).

On the days my mom went to the flea market for produce, I'd be met with a huge bag of onions, garlic, ginger or whatever else, and I'd spend hours chopping and dicing to put the goodies into little freezer bags for future use. Believe you me, when I saw those mounds of onions sitting there, and I imagined the noxious gases and my stinging, teary eyes, there was some grumbling! (On the inside of course; talking back is frowned upon in this establishment!).

Somewhere between onion chopping and dinnertime, my mom would come home with the groceries, or dry cleaning, or whatever it was, put it away, eat dinner, and then relax with my dad in the living room before going to bed.

I sometimes resented my highly regimented life, staring longingly at the kids who got to ride their bikes and play outside in the sun all afternoon, the kids that had play dates, and ice cream cones, who had fast-food weekly and boxed cereal that wasn't Corn Flakes, the kids who had late weekday mornings and unencumbered Saturdays...

But now that I'm older I look back at these times and the phrase couldn't ring truer: "Necessity IS the Mother of all invention."

We needed clean carpets to prevent our crazily asthmatic lungs from going kaput on us every other week--and to prevent the correspondingly crazy hospital bill that would attend such an event. We needed low-cost, healthy dinners for the baseball team of a family we had, so when it came to freezer meals, my mom was the Queen Bee at inventing them long before they ever made their debut on Pinterest or Instagram.

And so it was with every insane, encumbering, chore-laden day that filled the well-oiled machine of our household. Being a working woman with six kids, a husband, a family business to co-run, and a full household, mi madre needed to invent a game plan to survive. It was a necessity.

So here’s to all the mother’s out there—the working mothers, the stay at home mothers, the mothers with kids and the mother’s whose children are just a twinkle in their eye—the life YOU lead requires you to invent out of necessity a l l  t h e  t i m e. But you do it. And you do a dang good job at it.

And everyone can learn a thing or two about inventing their life as the curve balls pop out from left field, while trying to juggle the ten million things on your to do list, and attempting to find a place of sanity for yourself within it all.

So what’s the life lesson here? Whenever the need arises, there’s an opportunity to invent a solution.

So invent away. Invent yourself. Invent your life. And give a big shout out to your mamas, who invent because they need to, and are mothers because they want to.

Signing Off,

Work It Gal

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