WFH: Desk Elements

Even as things start to open up, many of us will likely be working from home still in some form or fashion. Having a set up at home is so important to boost your mood and productivity. Here are three things that have made a huge difference for my work at home life:

Fresh Flowers 

I love having flowers or plant life. It’s an instant mood booster! Not to mention it makes me feel very fancy.

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Scents

I think I love having flowers in my office because scent is so powerful! I am someone who is extremely sensitive to smell for better or worse. When I moved my friend who specializes in Ayurveda told me that having scents that reminded me of home could help my homesickness and ground me in a new place. I personally love that working from home I can burn candles and spritz palo santo and hinoki oil blends without anyone being disturbed!

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Art & mementos

Some people like minimal items on their desk, some like more. I personally am “more” person. I had a boss who told me my cubicle was Tumblr personified. Either way, you should have something aesthetically pleasing that makes you happy. I personally have some photos of friends and a framed Thurston Moore signature.

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What do you have at your desk (home or otherwise) that helps ground your or make you more productive?

WFH: Desk Elements

Finding Peace Working From Home

Brown Photo Fashion Facebook Cover

When Coronavirus hit and my entire office quickly shifted to a work from home model, my life honestly didn’t change much at first blush. If you’ve read my other piece on how to mentor from afar, you know I’ve been a primarily remote employee since late 2018. I know from personal experience, it’s easy to underestimate how difficult working remotely can be – especially if you are an extrovert who loves to bounce ideas off people!

Within a few weeks of our new office set ups, I had multiple colleagues calling, texting, and instant messaging me on how difficult they were finding this situation now that the dust settled. One friend looking for solace asked how long it took for me to find a rhythm and was shocked when I said nine months to a year. While I do believe this is largely a time game, there are things that fundamentally helped me feel like this was normal.

Get dressed. 

This one, I’m pretty firm on. It was the one thing I did not do right away and when I started doing it, I felt 100 times better. Now, that’s not saying every single day the outfit has to be totally office level, sometimes I’ll pair a nice shirt with jean shorts. I found that if I do this the line between relaxation and work is better defined. Also, if you have to run to the store it seems less cumbersome because you are ready to go.

Have some rituals. 

One of my rituals is having my morning coffee before I set up for the day. I don’t answer work calls or messages. I enjoy this and get dressed. This could honestly be anything that you maybe would have done at work otherwise (some of the girls in my office used to have a day set to wear athleisure – that should still be a “thing”).

Define space. 

Okay, this one will definitely be challenging pending your set up. I’m lucky that when we moved we knew I’d be working remotely so we spent the extra money to have an extra bedroom. You can get creative, but I beg you, don’t work in bed (another mistake I personally made). Again, this will help your mind differentiate “home” and “work.”

Take breaks and log off. 

I take multiple short walks outside during the day. When you’re in the office you’d like get up, walk around, go to meetings, etc. You aren’t getting that right now and you need that time to reset. Also, try to set clear times to log on and off – I burned out fast thinking I would get up extra early to start work (you know, since I could roll out of bed, not get dressed and roll back in with laptop). Try to ask yourself if you would stay late at the office to finish this item or if you’d leave it for the next day.

Remote work is challenging under normal circumstances. Give yourself some grace right now – you’re trying to get your work done during a global crisis. There are obviously more things you can do than I listed above (I love to get flowers for the office), but these are simple things you can do to give yourself some peace working from home.

Finding Peace Working From Home

Bet on Mid-tier Influencers

Influencer trends

For the past few years, there’s been a splattering of articles proclaiming that influencer marketing is dead. Honestly, I’m at a point where I either roll my eyes or I laugh.

Sure, in the past decade we’ve seem some industries hit hard including print and TV. I personally believe these people assume death means “gone” or “done.” Really, it means transformation for survival. The print outlets who pivoted to online sooner are by and large still around. The networks who leaned into streaming platforms were better positioned than their competitors. The people who dig their heels in saying that something is over instead of something is changing are narrow minded and frankly I’m tired of it.

Yes, influencer marketing is changing. That’s nothing new, it’s always been changing, maybe you just weren’t paying attention. I’ll walk you down memory lane.

When I started my career, we called it “Blogger Relations” – we essentially treated bloggers like media. We pitched them product in hopes they’d write articles (here’s one of my early hits on HelloGiggles I was incredibly proud of at the time). It was extremely reminiscent of traditional PR.

Time passed and things evolved. Now I was paying bloggers for posts or in exchange for gift cards. I will never forget the day I got a media kit from a blog I loved and their going rate for a long-term partnership was slightly more than my annual salary. This was a huge shift for me seeing that these blogs were in essentially mini media publications themselves. I knew I had to lean into this industry.

Then we started seeing the splits based on followings as new platforms emerged (Instagram, Vine, etc). Our feeds filled with micro influencers hawking hair vitamins and mega influencers on the red carpet for the Met Gala. This starts to ramp us up to where we are today and where I think we’re going.

There is a huge space for what I call the “power middle” for influencers. Brands and consumers are getting massive fatigue from brands deploying hundreds of micros to share the same product on the same day and these mega influencers are taking the place of traditional celebrities and are even appearing in TVCs.  This leaves us that mid-pack group. Here’s why I’m betting on them:

  • ROI: They are large enough for great reach, without the hefty price tags of your mega influencers.
  • Relatability: While they have sizable followings, they are still small enough to feel connected to their audience.
  • Content Quality: Mega influencers often have tons of resources for great content, sometimes micros do and sometimes they don’t. This middle group is typically a sweet spot of DIY and professionally made content.

All in all, there are exceptions to every rule and every brand and campaign is unique. There’s never a one size fits all solution for influencer (or really anything else in the marketing mix for that matter). However, these power middle influencers have so much potential to be the leaders of the industry. That is, until it changes again.

Bet on Mid-tier Influencers

How to be a good mentor from home

Green and Pink Stripes Artists & Illustrators Influencer Maximalism Facebook Cover

A friend and I were recently catching up and she brought up mentorship in the time of COVID-19. While most people are adjusting to a new reality of working from home, I’ve been working from home since late 2018 and she expressed how she thought I had managed to still be available as a good mentor even when I’m not physically present.

Now, adjusting to not having an office space can be a challenge for many reasons. We have to pivot our entire mindsets of how we do our work. Those around us that deserve education and encouragement should still be able to receive those benefits regardless of our current location.

I often hear the excuse: I can’t just pull them into a room to listen into a call when we aren’t in the same space. 

I get it. Especially in my field, being able to just grab a fellow staffer to sit in on a call or a meeting can be super helpful and when WFH you have to go out of your way to orchestrate this. I implore you, when you can, try to patch them in. I know it won’t always work, but just make it a habit. We’re lucky that most people are in a similar boat and understanding when you ask if they can hold for an extra minute while you try to get your entire team.

Make use of technology. 

Yes, video calls are great, but I’m not just talking about that. Try to use platforms that allow you to collaborate on documents. Google docs is really universal and most people are comfortable using that platform. Microsoft team also has great functions for sharing documents.

On that note, get in the habit of over explaining and asking your mentee to share their thinking. 

This is honestly something that should have been done before we were booted out of office spaces for our own safety. When I started my career, I personally always hated when a superior would review my work and just fix it for me. Especially when there were no comments. Get used to overtly saying why you did something vs. assuming. Also, ask for your mentee to mark up their work with comments to share their thinking. This is not only helpful to the mentee, but it helps you understand how they think or got to a conclusion. Ultimately, it will help you provide them better guidance.

During this hard time, just be available. 

Good mentors listen. It doesn’t need to be formal, but even sending a quick note to check in and see how they are doing is a great way to build the relationship. The more trust there is, often the more they’ll open up, which will give you opportunities for genuine guidance.

What steps do you think are essential to being a good mentor during this time?

How to be a good mentor from home

Bougie on a budget

Ok I’ll be honest. I have a ton of student loan debts (like many of my peers) but I also have what my MIL likes to call “champagne taste on a beer budget.”

Personal style is really important to me. I went to a private school where I wore the same thing day in and day out. I feel most like myself when I can dress the way I want, which often comes with a high price tag.

Recently, I’ve begun to accept the fact that I really need to focus on spending better and spending less.

Spending better – only buying things that are 1) quality and will last longer. That cost per wear y’all. 2) make me feel good and no buyer’s remorse. I recently have begun swapping my beauty products for green & clean ones. 3) things that better myself, like my yoga studio.

Spending less – This is pretty self-explanatory but does ladder into spending better. If I buy better quality things and only things I truly love, I’ll buy fewer items. I also love a good coffee out, but that racks up quickly. I’m not going to ditch it all together, but just do it less.

Some things I’m doing to help me be better with money:

Podcast Bad with Money by Gaby Dunn – I recently discovered this from listening to another podcast called Glowing Up. What I appreciate about this Gaby’s refreshing take on “who was going to tell us this?” Meaning, who was supposed to tell us about 401ks or investments. It’s also super interesting from the perspective of the societal structures that keep the rich rich and poor, well, poor.

Investing/Saving – I’m a little ashamed to admit, I only just started a 401k about a year ago. Late is better than never I suppose. I’m also dipping my toe in investing with Ellevest. I don’t put in more than I’m willing to lose, because to be honest, much like Gaby  Dunn investing still mystifies me, but I know the investing gap is REAL.

Using services that help me save – when I do shop online, I’ve started to make sure I use ebates. It’s not a ton of money, but in the past two years, I’ve probably gotten a return of ~$100, which adds up! Also I make sure that I constantly use things like Hotels.com to get rewards. My husband I were recently able to get a hotel room for free on a last minute trip.

Shop used – I’ll admit sometimes this is hard. Because shiny new consumerism! However, things like Luxury Garage Sale and The Real Real is a great way to get something in a good condition at sometimes half the cost.

I’m really focusing on making a huge dent in my debt this year and to have financial freedom. What steps do you take to feeling in control of your finances?

Bougie on a budget

La La Land

I’m gonna be real. When I first visited Los Angeles I hated it. I mean really, really hated it. I don’t like the beach already (like I can handle it in small doses) and my husband loves the beach. So we spent more than half our time there.

Slowly, I’ve come to enjoy parts of LA. Mostly due to the fact of making friends with co-workers in the west coast office. I go there a few times of year for work but recently Casey and I went on a trip there for fun and to support our friends in The Ghost Inside.

Here’s a little bit about our trip!

We AirBnB‘ed it. I’m such a fan. We almost always use it when we travel for fun. We got a killer deal on a cute bungalow in Venice. It had an adorable lemon and orange tree in the backyard!

Some of my favorite things from the trip were:

Rose Cafe – Venice // OMG. That french toast was amazing. Like so fluffy, so thick. So happy a friend recommended it. I went with some gal pals while Casey explored the beach and then promptly made me take him the next morning!

The Milk Shop – Silver Lake // I think there’s also one in Culver City, but we were meeting friends who live in Los Feliz and this just made sense. It was so delicious. That macaron ice cream sandwich was absolutely unbelievable!

Yolk – Silver Lake // Silver Lake is slowly becoming my favorite LA neighborhood and this cute little home store is across the street from Milk. Casey bought me a candle and a really cute blanket!

All the succulents! EVERYWHERE! They grow so large in Southern California! I wish I could have taken all of them home with me.

I will say (said in quiet whisper voice) I’m not too wild about Santa Monica. It’s really touristy and I understand sometimes you just absolutely go an experience something. There’s so much to see and do in LA and I just feel like it’s nothing special. But hey, that’s just me!

Have you visited the LA area? What are your go-to spots?

 

La La Land

Dainty, Dainty, Dainty

I really want to set the tone of this post and the title is said to the tune of sexy, sexy, sexy from ODB’s Baby I got your money.

Now that’s out of the way we can really focus on the actual point of this post: dainty jewelry. In the past few years I’ve really moved from large statement pieces (although I’m not above them in the right situation) to smaller, minimal jewelry.

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Below are some of the pieces I’m currently craving. My go-to shops are Catbird, Etsy and Moulton. Have you gotten any good pieces lately?

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Dainty, Dainty, Dainty

Flower Crowns

In case I hadn’t mentioned, one of my besties is getting married this year. So me and the other women in her life are busy pinning away to help give her ideas for the wedding.

One trend we’re loving are bridal flower crowns. This trend was just starting to get momentum right after my wedding (so unfortunate), so I’m living vicariously and just keep throwing them on her board. Do you love these, too?

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Flower Crowns

Blanket Weather

So (at least in Texas) we’re in weather where it could be warmish during the day, but chilly at night. Which means, having several stylish blankets around is ideal. They’re great for Netflix marathons and for the patio with your gal pals.

I got an amazing blanket when in Costa Rica and it got me searching for some more to keep the house stocked. I’m borderline obsessed with that white blanket from The Citizenry. What do you look for in a blanket?

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Blanket Weather

Etsy Faves

I’m gonna keep this short and sweet. I flipping love Etsy. I love finding unique things and its perfect for gifts, home goods, etc.

I could probably write on and on and on about my prolific love, but I’d rather just show you what I’m currently crushing on (despite my wallet’s disapproval).

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I’ll admit, finding good stuff can take time and years of building up your favorites so Etsy knows what to reco for you. It’s worth it. I find such unique stuff and sometimes for a WAY better price.

What are your Etsy faves? Any tips on finding great shops?

Etsy Faves