Thursday, April 29, 2010

Just a Bit Frazzled

Have you ever been too busy to think? That's where I am right now. At work, it seems that I'm inundated with little tasks that keep me on the run all eight hours with a few big projects thrown in that keep getting pushed to the back burner because of all these little tasks. Copy this. Label that. Sort those. Schedule them. Call her. That type of nonsense. Add to that the fact that I'm trying to de-hoard my workspace and I'm just frazzled and slowly approaching wits end.

The arrival of spring with its balmy breezes and perfect sun has caused my home life activity level to soar as I no longer have a ready excuse to keep driving past the park that sits smack dab in the middle of my route home when my daughters really turn up the begging. And I feel guilty spending Saturdays in pajamas when we can hear the sounds of kids playing outside as soon as the sun comes up. My weekends are now feats of motherly marvels and I long for the snow to trap us indoors so that I can get some work done.

To sum it up, I can feel a meltdown coming on. Which leads me to another conclusion: I need a vacation! Its high time.

With funds on the budget end of the vacation spectrum, there are a myriad of great one-tank trips. Georgia has a great bit of coastline dotted with worthwhile destinations like Tybee Island, Hilton Head and Jekyll Island. We've got great mountains to the north, a beautiful nature sanctuary, Callaway Gardens, to the west. About an eight hour drive south will land me in Orlando, land of Disney and all the pleasures and treasures that part of the world has to offer. I don't really have a plan right now, but soon, I'm going to have to make a run for it before I either pass out from exhaustion or . . . go postal!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Meeting Notes

Meeting Notes is a weekly feature. Here we will dish on tidbits, news, and important things we thinking Working Girls should know. So scroll down to hear what we think you should glean from this work week.
  • If you happen to have $14,000 lying around this note is for you! After seventeen bids, the a week-long "experience" at the Vogue offices is up for auction with the money going to charity (which charity I have no idea and I'm too lazy to Google it). Only two more days to bid so get on it Working Girls! [NY Mag]
  • Danish warehouse workers and drivers at Danish brewery Carlsberg went on strike last week so they could protest a company decision to limit beer drinking while at work to only lunch breaks. And yes, I wrote drivers before. Mull that one over. [Yahoo News]
  • A recent study in England revealed that women with blonde hair earn 7% more than women with other hair colors. To dig the knife even deeper, apparently the study also revealed that blondes tend to marry wealthier men. Awesome. [Telegraph UK]
  • Employees who saw their 401(k)'s cut and other perks fall by the wayside during the recession shouldn't expect them to come back any time soon. A survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management found that fringe benefits (stock options, family leave, etc.) have decreased steadily since 2005 and have shown little sign of coming back. [Wall Street Journal]

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The block stops here

Every so often, I get a serious case of writer’s block. Like tonight for example. I think I just stared at the screen for about two hours because I couldn’t think of anything to write. But I suppose I’m pretty used to it, especially being a copywriter. Sometimes when I need a clever headline or a witty quote, my brain freezes up, making it impossible to have a coherent thought. When it comes to that, I have a few things I always do to get myself back on track:

1. Read the thesaurus. I tend to stick to the online versions, but once in a blue moon when I’m really stuck, I pull out the giant thesaurus I have sitting on my desk. I try to make it like a game. How many words can I string together before getting back to the same word. Or I like to see how far I can stray from the original word I looked up. Yeah, I’m a total nerd.

2. Make words lists. Post-Its are pretty much my best friend. One of my college professors once had us do an exercise where we were given a product and then had 5 minutes to write every single word that popped into our head. The goal was to fill as many sheets of paper as possible, so you didn’t have time to dwell on each specific word. And it worked. Everyone in the class ended up with really clever ideas they hadn’t thought of before.

3. Avoid over-thinking. I tend to do it way too often. If you’re too critical of your ideas, it might hinder the creative process. When in doubt, write it out, even if it seems silly. You never know where that thought might lead you. Plus, sometimes it helps to clear your mind of the crazies.

4. If time isn’t an issue, put the project aside and try again later. That’s usually the best time to sneak in a little surf of the Internet. Sometimes catching up on celebrity gossip helps you think, right?

5. Doodle. I personally tend to favor palm trees, flowers and fun geometric patterns showing off all the colors of the Sharpie rainbow. I never quite got over my love of coloring.

But tonight, none of them seemed to work. So I thought I’d cure my writer’s block by just writing about writer’s block. And in the meantime, see how many times I could write the word “write” in a post. Write, write, write!

Do any of you have any cures for writer’s block? If so, go ahead and share with the class. Happy writing everyone!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Television CAN Save Lives!


Growing up we were always encouraged to go outside and play rather than sit in front of the TV all day. Granted the only shows we ever watched (or that existed) were Mickey Mouse Club, Romper Room, and Sesame Street. However, in Long Island this week staying in to watch TV paid off!


A young girl saved the life of her friend who was choking on gum during choir practice. She reacted quickly when she saw her friend struggling to breathe remembering an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. She gave her friend the Heimlick maneuver and the gum flew out of her mouth.


Moral of the story? Although kids can be extremely energetic, talk back, never listen, break rules, and a hundred other things that can drive us crazy they are still amazing and will always surprise us. Now if only they wouldn't chew gum in class...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Reflections

In my opinion, being a PR Working Girl can be summed up in one word: waiting.

You'd think the hard part would be getting the reporter/editor/blogger interested in your clients' news, but no, I think I've been doing this long enough that I am pretty confident I can pitch anything you could throw at me (but that's not a challenge). The hardest part of my job is waiting, sometimes months, for that dang reporter/editor/blogger to keep his/her end of the bargain and publish something, dang it. I mean, they said they would, right?

Although, it does makes getting a hit, i.e. press coverage, that much more sweeter. It's almost always worth that agonizing wait and knashing of teeth, hair pulling, horribly frightening dreams about work and all that ...

So since I do a lot of waiting, I think being a PR Working Girl has taught me a lot about patience. And I'm thankful for that.

(Sorry if this is all just jargon and boring to some of you, but just wanted to provide an inside peek into a PR Working Girl's life for those who were interested.)

I am grateful for my career, and grateful that I have become a more patient person because of it. And because I am also working on perfecting the art of the "follow-up," which is basically applying your best negotiation skills, I have pretty much learned how to get my own way 99% of the time outside of work, hee hee. Don't tell that to my husband, though. Ah, you just can't put a price on the art of the "spin."

Is there anything you guys want to know about what it's like to work in the PR industry? Anyway, if you want to leave a comment with your question(s) I'd be happy to address them in my next post (my blogging shift here is on Fridays or Saturdays). Or if not, tell me instead, what life lessons has your Working Girl career taught you?

Sometimes, I think it's kinda nice to stop and think about our jobs as more than just what pays the bills.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

There's no crying in copywriting!

Confession: I cry. A lot. Every time I get sad, happy, stressed, overwhelmed, frustrated, angry or see that Folger’s commercial with the daughter who just got engaged, my eyes instantly well up.

But when it comes to work, I pride myself in my ability to keep my composure. I have cried exactly 4 times at the office in my career thus far. (Outside the office? That’s a whole different story.) The first time was personal. The second time was over a highly stressful miscommunication, and despite my stress, I managed to let only a couple tears slip out. The third time was when I gave my two weeks notice at my last job. I didn’t even have my words out before I burst into tears in front of my boss, leaving him really uncomfortable and totally freaked out.

Unfortunately, none of those compared to the fourth time. It took place only a few short weeks ago, just as I was reaching the limit of my stress threshold after months of frustration and anxiety over fitting in at my new company. So when my boss asked me to meet with her, I knew I was hovering at the peak of my emotional rollercoaster, only one tiny push away from plummeting over the edge. When she admitted that a bunch of my coworkers had commented on my stress level, I felt the tears well up. As she went on to explain that it was time I started managing my stress better, I burst into tears. But not pretty little graceful tears. It was like Niagara Falls had temporarily relocated to my face. What was worse, I couldn’t catch my breath so I sounded like I was hyperventilating. It was mortifying, and the more embarrassed I got, the more I struggled to breathe.

After a few minutes, I pulled myself together, collected myself in the bathroom, and vowed to never let it happen again. My boss was totally cool about it and felt so bad that she stressed me out even more. But it turns out the breakdown was exactly what I needed. Now that I’m over the emotional part, I’ve been much more focused and organized. And even better, I feel way more comfortable with my boss and coworkers now.

So naturally, after my mini breakdown, I just had to Google the whole crying-at-work topic to make sure I wasn’t the only one to ever well up at work. Thankfully, I’m not. Look what I found…

True Stories of Crying at Work
Check out this great Marie Claire article to commiserate with other Working Girls who’ve fallen victim to emotion. Don’t worry—tears can have a bright side!

The Dos and Don’ts of Crying at Work
Forbes created a straightforward little slideshow about the best way to tackle tears at the office. Remember: Just breathe.

And just to add my two cents, if you notice a coworker who looks like she’s upset, don’t ask her if she’s okay. When I’m upset about something, that question is like the nail in my composure coffin. It’s okay to express concern, but there’s something about asking if I’m okay that sets me off all over again. Or maybe that’s just me…

On a personal note, thanks for all the well wishes and advice and everything! We are both so excited!

Baking For Good: A Little Sugar Goes A Long Way


I am dedicating this week's post fully to my friends Phoebe and Cara over at "Big Girls, Small Kitchen: A Guide To Quarter-Life Cooking". They are dedicating this special treat to children with cancer. See it for yourself in their kitchen, where buying cookies can help save lives, literally.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My Enemy, the To-Do List

I always thought it would be interesting to walk down a row of cubicles and survey each person's (preferably, the working girls') to-do listing systems. Seriously, wouldn't that be fun? Think of how much you'd learn about someone that way.

My guess is that every working girl organizes her day differently. But how? Does she color code using her rainbow pen and highlighter collection? Does she make neat little boxes to the left of each to-do item so at the end of the day, she can put a satisfying check mark in it when completed? Or, does she type out her to-do's in a Word doc, not exactly list-style, but instead with everything organized by sub-category? In fact, this makes me laugh, but there was this one VP at my first job who would write things she needed to do or remember on post-it notes and have them spread out all over her office floor! But hey, I'm not one to judge. If it works, it works.

Unfortunately for me, I suck at making lists. My "system" consists of writing down what I think needs to get done on any given piece of paper, preferably in a notebook, but the problem is that I have paper lying around everywhere and there's usually more than one notebook lying around too. And I have terrible handwriting. Ugh. So because I have several notebooks and pieces of paper lying around, I end up getting lists mixed up or I'm unable to find something important I've written down. Sometimes I get so fed up with my lists that I've even gone down the dangerous path of not writing anything down at all and just going through what needs to get done ... by memory. No, not good.

I really think making a to-do list is a real live talent and skill, and in my case, probably something that takes a lot of patience. The ultimate goal of making a list may be to help you become organized, but I think list-making itself takes considerable organization to begin with.

Somehow, I've managed to survive being a working girl these past five or so years with horrible list-making skills. Oh, sometimes I'll have good days and actually go as far as not losing a list and writing down times next to each item telling me when to start and stop a project, or I'll keep my lists written down in a planner for a few weeks, but I'm in no way consistent. I need a system that jives with me, something that fits me, you know? I'm craving it!!

I'd love some tips from you ladies. What helps you create and stick to a to-do list? In your opinion, what are some fail-safe list-making manuevers? And, is there any way to make it fun?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hoarders: Office Edition

Other than my regular Sunday night episode of The Tudors, I rarely pay attention to what's on TV. But somehow, I channel surfed my way into a show that reminds me of a train wreck; its so gruesome that you want to turn away but sheer intrigue keeps you glued to your seat. The show is Hoarders on A&E and though I can't even begin to guess the scheduled date or time it airs, when I happen to come upon it while randomly checking the channels, I get a little giddy.

Hoarders features people who, for various reasons, have this uncontrollable desire to get and keep stuff. This stuff accumulates overtime until their whole lives are completely and utterly controlled by this stuff. I'm talking piles of stuff years high. Whole rooms inaccessible because of floor to ceiling stuff. One woman had filled her entire home and bought the house next door to start filling it as well.

Everyone featured is at some end-stage level where they are about to have their home condemned or their loved ones have threatened to cut them off so its more of an intervention show than plain old exploitation. Therapists specializing in hoarders are called in to help assess the situation, move the hoarder to a point where letting go of the stuff won't cause a meltdown and then volunteers pour in to clear out the mess.

I've seen more than one home that I would have just let be torn down rather than go through the hassle of cleaning them out. During the clean up of one elderly Louisiana woman's home, carcasses of dead cats were unearthed as they began clearing layer after layer of pure garbage that had collected over the years. One guy's front door couldn't even open all the way because of the huge mountains of stuff in the way. To actually go inside, he had to CLIMB the mountains of stuff!

Honestly, I can understand how an elderly person with no local assistance could end up suffocating in a home piled with stuff but some of these folks are way younger than elderly and, at first glance, appear to be normal, well adjusted members of society, holding down jobs, taking vacations, having relationships, etc. Then they roll the footage of their home and reality shifts tremendously. At this point, my forehead furrows. How is that possible? The guy with the mountains of stuff that I mentioned was ex-navy, looked a little like Christopher Reeves and had a girlfriend who had never been to his home! He always stayed at her place was a meticulous housekeeper while there. He finally agreed to let her see the place during the show and, just as I suspected, her jaw dropped, a look of horror/confusion flashed across her face and she left him. I would have done the same thing. To me, for someone to exhibit behavior like that, something must be mentally unstable. For lack of better word, its CRAZY! And who wants to be laying in bed next to a crazy person every night?

Anyway, since I've been watching this show, its made me super aware of my own home and the things I keep in it. A few days of letting laundry pile up in the chair in bedroom and I panic. Oh no, I'm becoming a hoarder! I throw things away at record speed rather than letting the mail pile up on the counter for weeks. I'm terrified that one day I'll wake up into a nightmare similar to one of those featured on the show.

Well, today, for the first time, I took a look around my office/cubicle and saw the piles of paper, the outdated folders, several days worth of coffee mugs and a styrofoam cup from a fast food lunch from weeks ago. Like those hoarders, I had cleared a bit of work space, just around the keyboard and to my right to actually work in but the entire surface of the desk was obscured by . . . STUFF!

Noooooooo . . .

Tomorrow, I've vowed to march in there and clear the mess but I'm intimidated and overwhelmed. I've never used a real filing system! I print out nearly every email that requires an action so that I won't forget it. I have copies of proposals mixed in with articles that I printed to read later, memos rendered soggy from leaning against drink cups, a storage cabinet full of 2008 Christmas cards and bottles of lotion accumulated after birthdays and holidays. I don't know where to begin but I've got to slay this dragon immediately before they create a spin-off show in my honor: Hoarders: Office Edition!

Any REALISTIC organization tips are welcome and appreciated. I cannot order new furniture but I can order new accessories; bins, hanging thingies, etc. And I do have a soft walled cubicle which is now push-pinned to capacity with my childrens' artwork and school schedules, old to new travel itineraries, birthday cards, random memos and a deskpad calendar which I decided to hang to save desk space (ha!).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

I want to whisper it from the rooftops!

Well, I’m back. I apologize for being MIA last week, but I have a good reason. I promise. You see, in the last 9 days my life has become a bubbling fountain of excitement, giddy giggles, nonstop smiles, nervous butterflies and a tiny bit of stress. Why is that? Well it could be because I used my first vacation days of 2010. But I have a feeling it’s most likely because I got engaged last weekend.

Ahh! I’ve been dying to shout it from the rooftops! I’ve been living on Cloud 9 for days, which is really fun in theory, but not when work is the busiest it’s ever been and I’ve had to run around like a hyper, confused fly caught in the blinds (you know, when they keep buzzing and fluttering and running into things). Don’t my coworkers know I’m supposed to be floating away in a bubble of bliss right now? Geesh!

Just kidding. I’m not that girl. Well…not on the outside, at least. You see, I still haven’t quite found my niche in the office. At my old job, I had my little group that I shared everything with, but now I only have a few acquaintances. And I really, really don’t want to scare them off with my excessive giddiness. At least not yet.

So now I’m trying to find the balance between being a gleeful bride-to-be and being the still-somewhat-new kid on the cubicle block. I really don’t want to turn my new coworkers off. And I certainly don't want to become that ridiculous wedding-planning girl who has seating charts and swatches and business cards up the wazoo on her desk. I’ve worked with girls like that before and it was not fun to be around. At all.

But last Friday, I realized how easy it was to become one of those girls. I somehow caught myself in a whirlwind of frenzied date-setting, and I had random secretaries, planners and even a priest calling me nonstop. I tried to whisper into my phone, but even that sounded like screaming in my library-like office. I made all my calls super quick, but with a small family emergency thrown in the mix, my phone was ringing off the hook. Within a few minutes, I became the girl I didn’t want to be. And that was only a week into the engagement. Yikes. I’m pretty sure my not-so-nice cubemate is going to tell on me (yeah, he totally would do that. Pfft.).

At least I had my wake-up call early. And please note, it was a slow afternoon. I definitely wouldn’t jeopardize my new job. I’m a sensible girl! But I also know that over the next few months, wedding-related phone calls will be necessary, especially with the long days I’ve been putting in lately. So how do I do it? How can I be discreet at work? And how do I share my excitement without annoying my coworkers? I’m sure many of you have been there before, so I’d love to hear your advice. And for those of you who haven’t, I’m sure you have plenty of stories about wedding-obsessed corporate bridezillas. So let’s hear them!

Monday, April 12, 2010

I'm 25 and I can KICK and STRETCH and KICK!

I know Spring is supposed to be a great change from the gloomy days of winter, but with allergies, day lights savings, parent conferences, and 100 other obligations I am EXHAUSTED. I don't like to use this blog as a means to complain about being tired, but as I sit here at 9pm on Monday night I can barely keep my eyes open! I'm not sure if it's just me, but today crawled by. Literally. I looked at the clock what felt like 6 times and the hands hadn't moved from 1:08. Sad, but true!


According to this study I found online the most common time during the day for energy slumps is 2:16 in the afternoon. It is when most workers feel drained and unable to concentrate (this is usually the time when I grab a Diet Coke or sneak some candy that has been stashed away in my desk drawer). Instead of reaching for the caffeine and sugar..try these suggestions:


Desk Stretches: link your hands, push your arms out in front and raise them above your head. Lift your shoulders up towards your ears and gently roll them. Extend your legs out in front of you and point and flex your toes.


Mid-afternoon Snacks: Instead of the rush and crash f a sugary snack, have some fruit (fresh or dried) or nuts which are healthy and a long-lasting source of energy. If you can't resist chocolate, choose a few squares of good quality plain dark chocolate.


Break ad Stretch: Stop hovering over the computer for 5 minutes and take some deep breaths outdoors (not by the office smokers!). It will wake up your body and get your blood circulation..to your brain!


Water: Drink it. Lots of it. It will keep you from feeling sleepy and hungry. Plus, doesn't hurt to take a few breaks walking to the water cooler and passing that cute guy who sits a few cubes away from you. While your at it, ask if he needs a refill!


Acupressure Points: Touching these points stimulates the nerves and redistributes your energy. Try rubbing your hands together until they're warm, then rub your temples in a circular motion.


Change your Focus: It's easy to feel exhausted when you think of all the work you need to accomplish. Make lists of your tasks and save the simple jobs for the afternoon so you don't have to concentrate too hard. (And a little facebooking and googling in the afternoon won't kill you!)

Friday, April 9, 2010

I'm Interested in the Real You

Unless you've been living inside a cave that for some of you may be your mountainous amounts of work, you may have heard of the Apple iPad tablet that launched last Sat. Yes, this "magical" device can let you do practically anything. Things like tele-porting out of traffic jams, zapping zits, making your boss fall in love with you and growing money on trees .... yeah, there's an app for allll that.

OK, OK, kidding aside, the iPad is an incredible piece of equipment and was ultimately invented I think to advance the ways we communicate with each other and to do lots of things simultaneously and ever-so-coolly.

Except, I see one problem. I don't think the iPad works. No, I haven't tried it out for myself (Are you kidding? Spend five hundred bones on that?), but I know people who do have one, and you know what? They still don't see my emails, they still don't get back to me quickly, they still misspell words, their Internet is still slow, etc. ... basically, these people aren't really any more efficient than they were before the iPad. What gives?

I know it isn't the iPad's fault for a lot of the flaws I mention above, but what I'm trying to say is that I am a big fan of actual communication. It doesn't matter what fancy new device you have, or how savvy you are online, if you can't communicate human to human then you have hit a "magical" brick wall of efficiency, my friends.

Can we just take a moment and at least think about getting back to the basics, like first impressions and holding an intelligent conversation with someone we've just met instead of saying, "Oh, I'll just look you up on Facebook later." Can we please send a handwritten note to our best friend, dad or mom to show how much we appreciate them? How about we go on some real dates to the museum or packing a picnic and watching the sun set and just TALK.

I'm sorry if this post sounds overly rant-y.

So to sum up, technology, ladies, as a way of communication is only as efficient as we make it to be.

OK, now on a fun note. Speaking of getting back to basics, remember when female role models used to be women who were smart, strong, talented and interesting, and still beautiful? Check out the below music video to this new TV talk show for smart girls, called "The Girls With Glasses Show," that's currently in the works, with hosts Summer Bellessa (model and Editor-in-Chief of ELIZA Magazine) and Brooke White (American Idol alum) as they pay tribute to some pretty amazing women.

I Am A Girl - The Girls With Glasses Theme Song from The Girls With Glasses on Vimeo.

Are you inspired now to go out and "capture the world"? Go for it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Brown Baggin'

As I sit in my favorite booth at my favorite Chinese eatery watching the steam rise above the platter of rice and sauced vegetables that has just arrived from the kitchen, I sigh, melancholy, despite the gorgeous dish laid out immaculately and awaiting my fork. No good thing can last, I ponder as I dig in for what may just prove to be my last meal, of sorts.


You see, increased expenses coupled with a pretty fixed income have finally slammed into my life with the destructive power of a Mack truck. Despite the fact that we have been economically stagnant for years now, I inhabited a nice little patch of denial while doubting that I’d be effected in more than a minute way. And actually, it’s not “these tough economic times” that have just caught up with me, it’s several other personal financial situations that have all seemed to come together to form this perfect storm that threatens to blow me and my children away. Apparently, everyone wants to be paid . . . NOW. No one wants to hear it. All that’s left to do is get my fiscal act together . . . in a hurry.


Corners must be cut and belts tightened.


In addition to downgrading my cable and trimming some extras off my car insurance, it seems that eating out for lunch will be the next item on the chopping block. I lightly broached the subject of homemade lunches in a previous post but the fact of the matter is, I despise homemade lunches! I work hard and therefore feel I am entitled to sit down in the food establishment of my choice sometime around noon everyday and select a delectable dish to satiate my hunger as well as soothe my weary soul after a grueling morning. If I chose to, I could eat somewhere new and something new every single day of the year. Ah, the power of choice! The joy of indulging in all that yummy goodness! After a hearty lunch in a spot with great atmosphere, a bowl of cereal would suffice for dinner. Lunch reigns as supreme meal of the day for me making this a particularly rough transition.


In the past, I’ve balked at the time needed to prepare the lunch, turned my nose up a the tired sandwiches and stale chips that sit glaring at me from the lunch bag I borrow from my seven year old. Even a decent lunch would be hard pressed to keep me in the office break room with all that great food just minutes away ready to be ordered and consumed!


But, no matter how much I temper tantrum on the inside, it’s clear what needs to be done. Brown bagging is to commence immediately so I’m on a mission to reinvent lunch. No more dull sandwiches and lame sides. I need excitement! I need color! I need taste!


I’ve spoken to a few folks here in my office who I notice seem to always, ALWAYS, bring lunch from home and their method is pretty simple: leftovers. Hmmm . . . not entirely drab. OK. The web offered a plethora of “new, funky, fresh” ideas for jazzing up the old brown back lunch. Here are a few ideas I found here:

  • Pasta Lover's Lunch Salad. Pack a cold pasta salad. Make your salad with lean meat or low-fat cheese (so it has some protein), lots of vegetables to boost fiber and nutrition, and use a whole-grain blend pasta, like Barilla Plus. Then just drizzle some light vinaigrette over the top and toss.
  • Pita Pocket Sandwich. Pack your whole-grain pita pocket with chicken Caesar salad, or any other lean meat or cheese filler mixed with vegetables and dark green lettuce.
  • The Fruit and Cheese Plate Special. Make crispy cracker sandwiches with whole-wheat crackers, slices of assorted cheese, and lean meats. Don't forget the fruit, which goes nicely with the cheese and adds fiber and nutrition.
  • Peanut Butter Fun Pack. Pack 1/8 cup of natural-style peanut butter, along with a plastic knife or spoon, wheat crackers, and celery sticks, and you have a peanut butter fun pack!
  • Bagel With Cream Cheese, Please. Bagels are a wonderful foundation for hardy sandwiches that stand up to being in a backpack or locker all morning. You can toast a bagel in the morning and simply spread some light cream cheese in the middle. Or make a bagel sandwich with, say, a little light cream cheese, some turkey, and cranberry sauce, then top it off with alfalfa sprouts or Romaine lettuce.
  • Carry a Cobb Salad. Plastic containers can hold the makings of a delicious salad lunch. Fill it with chopped green lettuce, chopped hard-boiled egg, light cheese, and/or lean ham. You can buy packets of light dressing, or just use extra packets of light salad dressing left over from your last trip to the fast-food chain.
  • It's a Wrap! Wraps are a nice change of pace from the usual sandwich. Use one of the new higher-fiber tortillas, like the multigrain flour tortillas available in most supermarkets. Then fill 'er up with chicken Caesar salad or assorted lean meats, cheese, tomato, sliced onion, shredded Romaine lettuce, and light dressing. Just roll it up and wrap in foil.
  • Fried Rice Can Be Fun. When made with eggs or chopped lean ham and lots of veggies, cold fried rice can be a satisfying noontime treat. Make your own, or plan on leftovers the night before if you're ordering from a restaurant.
  • BBQ Chicken Sandwich. Just pack a grilled, boneless, skinless chicken breast (you can make it in your indoor grill the night before) with some lettuce and sliced tomato in one baggie, and a whole-wheat bun in another. Add a packet of BBQ sauce to the lunch bag, and it's good to go.
  • Meal Muffins. Certain types of muffins work as a lunch entrĂ©e. If you bake them over the weekend and keep them in the freezer, you just have to pull one or two out in the morning. By lunch, they are nicely chilled and ready to eat. Try ham and cheese muffins, Mexican Cornbread muffins, or quiche muffins (quiche filling, baked with or without crust in a muffin pan).


I saw a few pretty tasty sounding ideas in that list and I’m thinking that if I find a very chic lunch bad to toss it all into like this, the aesthetics will even further aide in the transition. And maybe if I’m a really good, money saving girl for, oh, say a month, then I can possibly treat myself to a “real” lunch. LOL!

Monday, April 5, 2010

All You Really Need to Know You Learned in Kindergarten


In my high school nurse's office a poster hung above the cot (where everyone faked sick so they could take naps during class) that was titled "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten." Well, turns out there is a book with this title and websites dedicated to this "guide for global leadership" as it is referred to. So, instead of posting about something crappy that happened at work or a list of ways to avoid being tired on the job I share with you everything you need to know in life...Enjoy.


"All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate-school mountain, but there in the sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned.

Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life-learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.

Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup: The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup-they all die. So do we.

And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned-the biggest word of all - LOOK.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or your government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if all--the whole world--had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had a basic policy to always put thing back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are-when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together."

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Flexibility Is a Virtue

I can't tell you how much I appreciate flexibility in a co-worker or teammate. These people are types who are easy to work with, they accept change and run with it instead of fighting against it, they embrace chaos with a smile, they keep complaints to a minimum, and they are not demanding. These types of folks are also typically easy to get along with and generally happy, pleasant people.

Simply put, they make a working girl's life so much easier.

I remember this one time a year or so ago when I thought if it wasn't for a certain individual who had displayed a willingness to just go with the flow given the fast-paced, deadline-driven nature of the given work assignment, I probably would have had to chop my head off or something similarly disastrous. Thank you, thank you to all the flexible people out there, I appreciate you!

This got me to thinking about all the qualities I admire and appreciate most in a co-worker (*sniff* now that I don't have any ... ok, sorry, I'll stop whining now). What qualities do these diamond in the rough people have that I wish I had? What is truly admirable? See my top five list below of qualities that I think would make a gold-standard co-worker (or just general individual) should he/she possess all five:
  • Flexible
  • Cheerful
  • Thoughtful
  • Intelligent
  • Funny

Thoughts? And I don't know about you, but in my opinion, it's not often you get to work with someone who embodies all five of these qualities. Seriously ladies, if a co-worker, friend, relative, or whoever is even one of these things, and genuinely at that, then I am super impressed and totally drawn to that person in hopes that some of it will rub off on me.

What do you think are the most important qualities in a co-worker?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

PEN-tastic!

“Hello. My Name is Healthcare Working Girl and I am a pen addict.”


They fan out across my desk in a veritable rainbow of inky fabulosity. Reds. Blues. Blacks. Greens. Purples. Pens are my weakness. Thanks to the technological age I’ve done less handwriting in my adult life with most of my time spent pecking away at computer keyboards but pens own my heart. I love the way a good pen feels in my hand, the way a well designed pen just screams “write with ME!” and the way my handwriting seems to improve dramatically when switching from a bland pen to one created with folks like me in mind. Folks who know pens, who will stop to examine an unfamiliar pen left at a sign in table, sniff pen tips to check the ink quality, and know the perfect paper to pair with a particular pen. I’ve occasionally, unconsciously, walked off particularly well writing pens in unusual colors laying at such a sign in table! Totally involuntarily! Tragic though, since I will also retrace my steps all across town if I misplace one of my beloved writing tools!


I’ve tried out nearly every pen on the market, transitioning over the years from ball point to gel to roller ball. A few years ago, in my past life as a hotel working girl, the daughter of the CEO of Pilot pens took a job with us as an operator. Besides causing people to think they had dialed a 900-number whenever she answered the phone with her oh-so-seductive tone, she showered me with pens in every color and variety. Even pens that had not yet hit the market! She was a pusher and I was a fiend for any good pen she threw my way! I thought I had died and gone to pen heaven!


Pilots have since been my brand of choice but recently, a co-worker gifted me a brand new, blue Sharpie pen and I haven’t been able to put it down. To me, there’s no greater motivation to sit down and write than a fine writing instrument waiting to make contact with a crisp sheet of paper. Yeah, its archaic at this point and my children will probably never understand the simplistic wonder of a pen but I’ll continue scribbling in notebooks, doodling in meetings and scrawling out my thoughts in ink. How about you? Is handwriting going the way of the dinosaur?