Welcome to December, Let’s Chat!

 

coffee

Happy Friday! I thought it would be fun to share some things I am finding interesting, thought provoking, or just simply fun this week. Enjoy!

I love reading and I love celebrities, so when you have celebrity’s who write books, there is a good chance I am going to read it. Luckily celebrity memoir’s and health/fitness/beauty books have become very trendy so there does not seem to be any lack of content out there. Last night I went to an event by Book Passage to see Anna Kendrick talk about her new book, “Scrappy Little Nobody.” I find it fascinating to watch celebrities in real life. We become so accustomed to the characters they portray on our TV’s or on the big screen and can easily forget that is not who they are as people.  Anna seemed to be exactly what you would expect. Bubbly, confident, full of energy, funny, she was non-stop throwing out zingers and one liners to the audience, however it seemed to be following a well rehearsed “real life” her. I left wondering if there was much authenticity or was it just the version of herself she wanted portrayed. Either way I have yet to read the book, but I imagine it is going to be amusing and filled with lot’s of humor.

Patagonia’s Black Friday sales hit $10 million — and will donate it all–  You know how people have spirit animals? Well for me, Patagonia is my spirit company. I dont know what it is about the brand, especially since I tend to be brand-agnostic, but I have always loved them. My crush started in high school. Anytime I saw anyone was wearing Patagonia I felt like they must be the most adventurous or authentic person out there. In college the admiration continued. I did a whole independent research symposium on outdoor retailers and their efforts on sustainability, which without dating myself was prior to anyone knowing the “Sustainability.” To no surprise Patagonia was leading the pack with all of the efforts. Next I read Yvon Chouinard’s book  “Let My People Go Surfing” right upon it’s release in 2005, fascinated by the man behind the brand. Which if you have not read it I highly recommend! Patagonia continues to impress me as a company. They have a clear cut vision and purpose, which is acted on continuously in their business practices. This year they made headlines by pledging to donate everything they made on Black Friday to help fund over 100 environmentally friendly companies around the world. Now that is something to be inspired about this holiday season!

9 Delicious & Gorgeous Bay Area Cookbooks to Gift This Holiday Season– I love cookbooks! I think there are two types of people when it comes to cookbooks. Those who use them religiously when cooking and try every recipe they can. And then  the second group of people like me who will try maybe a recipe or two, but mainly buy them to look through all of the pretty pictures and keep on a bookshelf to show off. Here is a list of beautiful books for either gifting to yourself or others all from local chefs.

ModCloth’s First Store Is Exactly What Shopping Should Be– This article appealed to me on a few different levels. The first being I work in eCommerce and daily research articles describing what is moving and happening within the segment. Second Modcloth is partially based in San Francisco, so again I found this interesting as the company is close to home. Lastly I personally found it very easy to relate to based on my own personal experiences. 9 years ago I had my first trip ever to Las Vegas with 2 of my girlfriends. Upon landing and checking into our hotel, we decided to go out shopping and find new outfits to wear out for the evening. My girlfriends became ecstatic when we passed by Betsy Johnson. They ran in, grabbing beautiful dresses off of the rack to try on. My stomach dropped before even entering the store. I knew there was not going to be anything in my size, which at the time was a 12-14.  As my girlfriends came out of the fitting rooms sporting their size 4 figures, they looked at me puzzled. Why was I not trying on dresses? I simply explained nothing was really my style and therefore was just passing. This was a bold faced lie! I loved all of the dresses. They were beautiful and it hurt me to not be able to try them on with my friends. Mod Cloth is looking to create a shopping space where all women can feel confident, sexy, and equal. This is a concept I can get behind. It is these small things that may seem insignificant to some, but can be make or break another someone else.

2013-07-29-KALE_original1

Advertisements

The Girl On The Train- So Good I Forgot What Being Social Was

IMG_1513

They only come around every once and a while, a book so good, so compelling, you cant put it down. From the moment you start it pulls you in with such a strong gravitational pull you are helpless to resist. I can remember having this feeling several times as a child, which is maybe why I was always such an avid reader growing up. One of the most memorable was when I was in elementary school. Being a child fascinated with the dark and mysterious it is not surprising I found my way to R L Stein books. I never liked the Goosebump series, too easy of reads for myself. Instead I went straight for the Fear Street books which were geared towards young adults.  I became obsessed. Within the first few months I had finished off the entire series at that time. I cant remember just how many books that was exactly, but 50 would not surprise me.  I remember one day staying home sick from school just so I could read all day, finishing off 3 whole books. Looking at my bookshelf adorned with all of the books I had read was like looking at my prize possessions. To this day looking at my bookshelf gives me a sense of comfort and accomplishment.

As I have gotten older books rarely grab me like the once did. Perhaps it is because now most of the books I read are non-fiction and what can I say, a book on the reasons why we overeat just does not pull me in the same way a book about flying wizards does (Let’s not even start on my obsession when reading the Harry Potter series). With that said, non-fiction can’t isn’t my everyday read, but I do still need a way to escape sometimes, to leave the real world and get drawn into a place of fantasy and excitement.

Recently I had kept hearing how good “The Girl On The Train” was by Paula Hawkins from several people. One of which was my mother, a devoted reader herself and a woman whose taste in literature I trust 100%. Without even knowing what the book was about I went and purchased a copy. I have found it rare for a book to not live up to its expectations when it is a best seller and is recommended by so many people.This book was no exception.

Within the first 50 pages I was hooked, always a tell-tale sign of a good book for me. This book had a unique perspective from the various characters I had never read before. The book started with re-capping the protagonist’s thoughts as she rode her local train in the morning and evening. You were not involved in what was actually happening in the moment, instead you had to grab bits and pieces from her thoughts and reflections from the day. Reading through the main characters thoughts I became sympathetic, but also frustrated with her. She was intriguing and sad. This book was a murder mystery which kept me hanging on till the very end. Once it was all finished I felt a sense of sadness as I knew I had just lost what had been my best friend for the last week. If you have not read it yet, I highly recommend grabbing a copy.

May Book Review- Lean In Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

book

It  was about 8 months ago I started to hear the buzz around my office on a new book poised for women and challenging the idea of equality in the workplace.  I for one have never stopped to think about myself specifically as being a woman in corporate america and what that actually means.  I have been blessed to work in an environment where I have had many inspiring women leading and paving the way ahead of me. Along those lines I have also been fortunate enough to have been recognized and rewarded for my hard work with 4 promotions in less than 7 years. However I am still a woman in business and I have strong goals and aspirations, so I decided it might not be a bad idea to read the book with all of the word of mouth by current COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg.

If you look up reviews on “Lean In” you are most likely going to find a mixed bag of thoughts and feelings. Some have found Sheryl’s point of view on how women need to challenge themselves and to step more into leadership roles within the workforce as coming from a place of privilege. That she is out of touch with the common woman and mother.  Her critics pose the question of if it was not for her affluent upbringing and being able to afford to go to Harvard would she be where she is today? The challenges continue into her current position of prosperity and  without her current wealth would not be feasible to balance work and family the way she does?  Although I respect the opinions above they are not what I took out of the book. I landed on the side with most of the other reviewer’s which is women must take control of their own career and feel just as empowered as men or anyone else for what they deserve.

For those of you who have not heard of the book the premise as stated by the publisher is  this “Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.”

Reading through there where some thoughts Sheryl touched on that really resonated with me.  The first being how as a women we tend to question ourselves more and because of this make our voices less heard and therefore speak up less often. We tend to question our ability to be able to do something, we need proof we will succeed before we start instead of just jumping in head first and knowing we will. For myself  this really ringed true. I have never been one to speak loudly. In school I would not be the one raising my hand to answer a question. When getting into the working world I have always been the beilever if you work hard people will notice and you will get compensated. With every career advancement I have started to do the job prior to going into it. This always has made me feel more comfortable, confident, and frankly deserving of the promotion. While reading Sheryl’s book it does make you step back and think is this how a man would approach the same situation?

Sheryl also talks about how it is not solely up to women to lean in more at work, but in order to be successful you need a partner at home who is willing to help equally as well. Sheryl states “The single most important career decision that a woman makes is whether she will have a life partner and who that partner is.” The idea behind this is if you don’t have someone at home willing to play an equal role and support your ambition it will make balancing your work and personal goals more difficult. Personally growing up and watching my parents who have always been equals when it came to work and the home, I have to say this is one point I do agree with. I think in order for anyone to succeed regardless of sex they need a great support system. Sheryl really challenges women to try roles outside or their comfort zone, in order to succeed woman must allow themselves to fail, and a women should not question whether she can have it all, but know she can.

Overall I would recommend this read. I feel the book brought up a lot of thought provoking questions and made me step outside of my normal line of thinking and look at being a woman in business from a more macro perspective. I think this book is great for any woman who values career, but also wants to balance it with her personal life. I feel this book is also a great read for men. Not only does Sheryl just offer good career advice, but she also poses the question of what can men do to help make sure woman are getting equal opportunities,how can they do their part to support an equal work environment? The biggest takeaway for me as a newer leader of a larger team at work is “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”