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Life
Multi-Tasking, or Multi-Time Wasting? Women & Work
December 8, 2010 at 3:28 pm 0

Multitasking


Women are famous multi-taskers. You know the kind. She's having a shower, brushing her teeth, planning her outift for the day, and sticking one hand out of the shower texting her client to confirm their meeting time. Sound familiar? Chances are if you are a woman, that's what your life is like. But does it get you anywhere faster, make you achieve more, and MOST IMPORTANTLY....does it make you happy? How much of the multi - tasking is truly essential? How much is keeping busy? How much is wasting time? And how much is leaving you totally exhausted and unfulfilled? In an effort to achieve everything imaginable (because you've been told you can have it ALL), women are pushed and pulled and stretched to do all sorts of things at all times of the day. But is it necessary? What if we just sat back, did one task at a time. Focused on what we were doing. Said no to helping everyone out all the time. Just took care of what we are supposed to take care of, instead of doing loads extra on top. We would feel less stressed, less stretched, we'd actually complete projects, instead of having a million loose ends at all times, and we'd feel pretty accomplished. Are you ready to take a pause, figure out if it's essential and then just FOCUS? It could be the start of a less stressed, higher achieving and happier you. ....That seems to be something worth trying out!
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Life
Self Promotion For The Shy Entrepreneur: 3 Tips
August 18, 2010 at 10:00 am 0
Most people assume that if you are an entreprenuer you must have loads of confidence...but that's often quite far from reality. You know how most of the time you feel pretty good about yourself, but then something little, maybe a comment in a meeting, noticing your clothes look ragged, or something huge like a big project falls through, just throws you way off. When you are an entrepreneur you have to face these challenges every day! You are always putting yourself out there, trying to get as much attention as possible, and not being shy to tell people what you do, your company name and your 10 second elevator speech. Confidence in your abilities or your business often intersect with your confidence as a person, and that's where sometimes you may falter. And it will happen to everyone. “The first time I did a show out in the field, it took 20 times to get my intro down pat,” says Amber MacArthur, 34, founder of Web agency MGI Media, technology specialist, TV personality and author of Power Friending: Demystifying Social Media to Grow Your Business. If someone so accomplished can feel so uncomfortable, it's easy to imagine that it happens to absolutely everyone, and it will happen to you too. The best remedy is to "fake it till you make it", but in a very real way, don't pretend to be a German Sheppard when you're really a Golden Retriever puppy. Just be yourself, with a great ability to pick yourself, dust yourself off, and go forth and self promote again! Because, after all, you are your brand! You need to self promote to build your business, no matter what you are selling. To make your brand building online Amber has these 3 simple suggestions: No. 1: Make sure you have a website. Tools such as SquareSpace and Wordpress make it really easy to build your own site. No. 2: Use a lot of social media tools to get out there and network. Integrate tools such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook into your website, so essentially your website is a home base for all of your branding efforts. No. 3: E-mail really is a social network. The number of people who e-mail you on a regular basis is enormous. So within your e-mail network, turn your signature into something where you link to your personal website, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and really use that to promote yourself As an example, preview the email signature below -- Ingrid Menninga Founder www.cashmereclutch.com Help Us Get to 150 Friends on this Facebook Page; Click and Like us Please Twitter Cashmere Clutch is a women's lifestyle site focusing on living a balanced, fulfilling and fabulous life. Visit us at www.cashmereclutch.com -- There's lots of contact information above, and you can clearly figure out what the business is, how it helps people, and how you can stay connected online. Also, the "Help Us Get 150 Facebook Fans" Tactic is a new one, but seems to help increase the number of fans on the page. Try it out for your business and let us know how it goes.
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Life
New! Cashmere Clutch Women In Business Networking Group
August 4, 2010 at 8:57 am 0
cashemere_clutch_successful_women Cashmere Clutch Women In Business Network is a meeting place for positive, motivated and "take life by the horns" type women that have carved out their own concept of success. Featuring everything from interviews with successful female entrepreneurs to investment advice, to fitness challenges, to fashion and travel, Cashmere Clutch Women In Business Network is the network for fulfilled and fabulous women looking to connect with like minded ladies. Make sure you join us here
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Life, Travel
Day Hikes: Great Outdoors With Great Girlfriends
July 27, 2010 at 11:22 am 0

hiking

Tired of doing the same thing every time you get together with your girlfriends? Have cocktail parties, shopping trips, and coffee shops lost their excitement? Ready for a change? Try a day hike with your girls! Every year a few of us head out into a nearby nature reserve, or sometimes a bit futher away, and go for a long hike together. We chat, giggle, take some breaks to enjoy the scenery and get some excercise! It's an amazing way to spend time together...and best of all, it's fun that makes you skinnier! We've been to Forks of the Credit, and Webster Falls, but there's so many great hiking trails in Ontario to visit. So next time your girlfriends want to plan a day out together, why not do something totally different? You'll feel amazing if you do!
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Life
Top 10 Lessons Of Successful Female Entrepreneurs
June 8, 2010 at 10:39 am 0
Many female entrepreneurs struggle to make their businesses succesful, sometimes wondering if it's worth it. But it doesn't have to be so difficult! There are a million opportunities for women and also a million lessons we can learn from other women who are successful female entrepreneurs. The following article is from a post on smartcompany.com - written by Amanda Gome. It's a great read and provides excellent information that every women will find valuable! --- Recently I interviewed a young female entrepreneur, Lisa Messenger. Although she had almost 10 years experience working in large corporations, her first venture was a disaster. The reason? She spent all of her time doing favours for other people, and told everyone that she didn’t care about money but just wanted to follow her passion. Soon after she launched her sponsorship company, she paid $30,000 for a staff member and an office, but took no salary for herself. Of course she went broke before coming to her senses and launching a successful business, Messenger Publishing. Unfortunately this is a story I have heard many times: the ambitious businesswoman who tells anyone that will listen that money does not matter, shuns any talk of profit and works long hours in low growth or no growth businesses. Often they start their business because they see a niche and want flexibility and independence. They end up, if they are lucky, barely replacing their salary and wondering what the hell they have done; this was never the plan. But then there is the breed of extremely successful female entrepreneurs. By successful I mean bringing in revenue of $1 million and $100 million. They operate in a very different way. From day one, they start with adequate funding. They are not afraid to think big, take a risk and borrow. So what makes a woman a successful entrepreneur? What differentiates her from a struggling business owner? And what traps does she need to overcome – traps that are often specifically related to her gender? Lesson One: Money is good – talk about it, borrow it, control it, embrace it Nice girls don’t talk about money. Nor do nice businesswomen. In fact women in Australia have been so indoctrinated that many (like Messenger) try to use an anti-money statement to position themselves in the market. Entrepreneurs that I interview often proclaim that they are in business not to make money but to “make a difference”. Even highly successful business women like Amanda Briskin who founded Mimco, refuse to discuss revenue. In 2006 I researched 100 successful female entrepreneurs and found that 28% say they hate to talk about money, and most agree that most men are far more at ease talking about money than women. This has profound implications for the business. It can mean the focus is not on the bottom line nor on revenue. It is not on getting money in the door to ease cashflow, and it is certainly not about badgering clients for money. (Nice girls don’t confront.) About 54% of the female entrepreneurs also admit that generally women in business are more risk averse than men and that they are conditioned to take less risk. The difference in ambitions and the way this is communicated means women are often misunderstood by financial institutions. They cautiously start smaller enterprises with a longer start up period, often in traditional industries (which may be low growth). Financial institutions consider them unworthy of investment. This lack of external financial support means many businesses never get launched or at a later stage, fail to expand. It’s a vicious circle because with so few businesswomen talking money, the culture does not change. My research also shows that half of them needed between $5000 to $100,000 to start their businesses. When asked what had held them back, 51% nominated lack of money. A third say they struggled because they could not get enough funds at the start. They regret not starting with more and say it held them back. About 30% say they faced enormous problems getting money to grow while 17% say they tried but failed to get a bank loan. None got money from a venture capitalist and only one entrepreneur got money from a business angel. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lesson Two: Find time and brain space to read that BlackBerry brochure The digital economy was going to increase opportunities for women. Women could embrace new technology, work remotely and combine families with business. So what happened? The current landscape is characterised by a low uptake of e-business by women, research shows. While women lead in the use of computers, they lag in the uptake of e-business. Women also take less advantage of mobile business opportunities. A research paper called “Women entepreneurs in the digital economy: What skills do they really need?” by Patrice Braun of the University of Ballarat, concludes that many women with their family commitments and limited leisure time prefer self guided and learner-managed modes of learning. The report says there is ample research to show that male and female entrepreneurs possess different business profiles – they start and run businesses in different sectors, develop different products and pursue different goals. Yet since the majority of entrepreneurs are males, perspectives based on the male experience have dominated the business skilling arena. Anecdotally many women also complain about the technical language and time it takes to get used to new technology and programs. Yet a high proportion of successful female entrepreneurs love their gadgets and are quick to update, knowing that new technology saves them time and gives them the flexibility and independence they crave. Design software and systems that act as an automatic audit check of your work to compensate for times when you cannot adequately focus, was a recommendation from Wendy Erhart of Withcott Seedlings. Lesson Three: Have a life partner who doesn’t travel Sad, but true. Behind most successful female entrepreneurs is a very supportive life partner. In my research, the majority (68%) of successful businesswomen, when asked what has been a very significant help in expanding the business, report that their spouse was of enormous help. Equally, women report that one of the biggest drawbacks is an unsupportive spouse and a spouse that is resentful about earning less money. Successful female entrepreneurs have one word of advice – dump an unsupportive spouse and find one that backs the dream. Lyndal Thorburn, who runs Innovation Dynamics, advised that it was best to have a husband who doesn’t travel. Lesson Four: Fight discrimination and bullying Women face a range of cultural barriers that do not exist for most men. It starts when they first enter the workforce; they earn less than men the higher they progress, despite doing the same work. Women also report that some men, particularly older men, hate having a woman boss. Marie Hatzis who runs Hussy Clothing, said “some men hate the fact that I am dominating at work”. While some say they have no problem, many report that men play power games and “bulldoze” decisions. Successful women entrepreneurs say they deal with this in several ways. First, they don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. They learn to look for these traits when recruiting or dealing with clients. Many say they don’t recruit older men with entrenched attitudes. What they don’t do is ignore bad behavior from men. As for direct gender-based discrimination, they confront it head on. My research found that a third of women say they have suffered direct gender-based discrimination when setting up the business, and half say they took action. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lesson Five: Make the baby part of the business plan Yeah, yeah, unexpected things happen, of course. But successful female entrepreneurs take a very strategic approach to having their families. Almost 70% of the successful female entrepreneurs have children. Half of those say it has been very hard combining entrepreneurship with having a baby. But they also say long-term planning is the key. The best time to have a baby is when the business is between six and 10 years old and when the woman is in her 30s. But half of the successful female entrepreneurs say they deliberately slowed the growth of the business on occasion to cope. While half say they did not mind, the other half say they were not happy to slow growth. Lesson Six: Don’t feel guilty Society still has high expectations that women are the primary carers of children. Carmelina Pascoe from My Coffee Shop sums it up: “It’s bad enough that both mothers and fathers have to sacrifice their time with their families to start a business. It’s criminal that mothers also get a guilt trip laid on them for doing so. We’re already berating ourselves about this without the community’s help.” The most successful female entrepreneurs are ruthless time managers and are determined to run their own guilt-free race. Tamerlaine Beasely, who runs Beasley Intercultural, said she had learnt to “multi-task, constantly prioritise” and to use “flexibility, use technology and systems and good child care”. “Ignore the guilt placed on you by the community,” advised Nicole Dickson of Beyond The Square Communication. Margaret Lomas, who runs Destiny Financial Solutions, said: “Don’t listen to others. Do what feels right for you without guilt.” Lesson Seven: Pick businesses in high growth industries I have consistently found when researching female entrepreneurs that they tend to lean towards industries that have less financial barriers, less sexism and are less technologically oriented than men. Even successful female entrepreneurs congregate in four industries; property and business services, personal and other services, education, and retail. In fact the research I did in 2006 showed that none ran businesses in the booming industries of mining, construction, infrastructure or utilities. Only 3% ran information technology companies. This does not mean you cannot run a highly successful business in traditionally “female” industries such as retail. Janine Allis started the highly successful Boost Juice but came up with an innovation that changed the industry. Diana Williams started Fernwood because of her observations while at the gym that women preferred to exercise away from men. Besides, many traditional industries are dominated by highly aggressive companies dominated by men. Gillian Franklin, who runs the cosmetics company The Heat Group, with revenue of $75 million, says her competitors are run by men. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lesson Eight: Join the right networks Women are great communicators and have extensive networks. Right? Well partly. But are they the right networks? My survey of successful female entrepreneurs showed what while they rely on mentors, accountants and business people, very few use industry groups, consultants, business coaches or government bodies. Research from the European Business School in Germany shows that women have a limited access to social networks that are crucial for career development. They also have a tendency to avoid occupational activities, which eats into their individual free time. Researchers have already noted that the differences in network access between men and women could have a significant impact on the rate at which women start ventures and their subsequent performance. Another recent study has shown that there is no significant difference in the overall number of networks, with entrepreneurs accessing more than four different networks over the course of a year. However male entrepreneurs did make a more intense use of formal networks while females made more intense use of informal networks (friends and family). The research says that too much time spent networking with family and friends is likely to be counter-productive. The research, from the University of Western Australia called “Gender Networking Differences” and its association with firm performance, concludes that entrepreneurs need to monitor the resources they devote to networking so the benefits they receive exceed the costs. Lesson Nine: Don’t wash the tea towels Women can wash tea towels quicker, better and cheaper than anyone else. So they do. Besides who else is going to do it? A common trap for businesswomen is to take on a whole range of small tasks, from preparing invoices to paying the wages. Female business owners loathe outsourcing. Money is tight and why pay for something they can do themselves? This is the classic trap, and means they are always working in the business not on the business. A further disadvantage is they spread themselves too thinly, keep the company small to cope with the workload, or burn out. But successful female entrepreneurs learn to overcome this trap. In fact they become ruthless outsourcers. Cleaners, cooks, nannies, accountants, a top management team and child-tolerant staff are all essential…. and so is a sense of humour. The female entrepreneurs also say they learnt to take on skilled workers earlier and delegate more. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lesson Ten: Get tough with staff; they are not your friends Female entrepreneurs are usually excellent communicators. They also prefer a consultative, inclusive style of management to a hierarchical, aggressive style. This leads to a big problem, often acknowledged by the women – they are too soft on staff, who subsequently take advantage of them. The answer? Don’t adopt the traditional male style of managing. Just learn to manage a lot better and walk a comfortable line between being friendly, but not necessarily being a friend. This article was originally published here http://www.smartcompany.com.au/premium-articles/top-story/20080214-top-10-lessons-of-successful-female-entrepreneurs.html
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Life
What To Do When Your House Won’t Sell
May 31, 2010 at 11:54 am 0
This month we’re thrilled to have Julia Stepanova, a local real estate expert who has done some great investments herself, and is on board to help guide us in our wealth building activities. Here’s Julia! ---- A few months ago I had a 2 bedroom condo, in a brand new building in downtown Toronto, for sale. A very pretty unit in itself, but even after two price reductions and many showings it just WOULDN’T SELL. Whoever entered would say: “Wow nice view, big rooms, good floors, great bathroom and kitchen”. Yes I know, want it? … No. It was as if it was cursed. So, sitting at my usual spot, a large green tea in my hand, an idea occurred to me. I called my clients and suggested to stage the unit. In a matter of two days, with the help of professional stagers the unit was transformed, the new design complementing the units’ qualities. The next day I had multiple offers and it was sold for $12,000 over the asking price. Most surprising was the fact that the couple who had bought it had been there a while ago and at the time paid no special attention to the unit. Now, they couldn’t believe that they have already seen it before.
Before Staging

a nice condo, but just wouldn't sell

a nice condo, but just wouldn't sell




After Staging

bright, sunny and sold over asking after staging

bright, sunny and sold over asking after staging


Creating an unforgettable image of your unit is necessary thus, staging is very important (it changes the entire atmosphere of a place). Some companies allow you to pick and choose furniture to fit your budget without using a stager. There are also some great books; the recently published “Staging for Dummies” by Christine Rae and Jan Saunders Maresh has a whole chapter dedicated to colour choice and offers advice on combining colors effectively, explaining the rules of a 60/30/10 ratio: 60 for walls,“Wall color is the most dominant space in the room and claims 60 percent of the color in the room. Remember the ceiling and floors are walls, too! You use the secondary color on the larger pieces of furniture and window treatments[30%] . Use the color on throw pillows, florals, art, and accessories [10%]”. Now I must admit that the apartment wasn’t cursed, it just wasn’t memorable enough. But staging did the trick. And luckily I had my green tea, which always does the trick too. --- For more posts on women and real estate investing check out: Condo Sale Pays Big. Women and Real Estate Investing Julia is a real estate agent with Re/Max Condos Plus and you can find her here.</a
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Life, Style
Ali De Bold: Fearless and Fabulous Female Entrepreneur
May 5, 2010 at 10:30 am 2
Ali De Bold - cofounder of ChickAdvisor.com Our latest Fearless and Fabulous Female Entrepreneur Series feature is Ali De Bold - co founder of ChickAdvisor.com. Equipped with a great business idea and loads of hard work she and her husband and business partner, Alex De Bold, started www.ChickAdvisor.com - Canada's first user generated reviews community for women to share advice on their favourite products and local places. It was launched in September 2006 and has reached over 3 million women since. How did you start your business? I was planning my wedding out of province and was researching for hair salons and spas for the big day. It was 2004 and there weren't any websites in Canada that had reviews for those kinds of services. In fact, most salons didn't even have a website. My only option was to flip through the yellow pages and choose the prettiest ad - and pray I picked well. I complained to my husband that there should be a site like that where women could give each other advice and he suggested we start one! Did you always know you wanted to work for yourself? No. I didn't have any specific desire to start a business. I always thought I could work equally well for myself or someone else as long as I was passionate about what I do. What’s your typical day like? I get up at 6:30 and go to the gym. That's the only time I can squeeze in a workout and it helps with energy and productivity. If I'm not in meetings, I spend a lot of time preparing proposals for clients, writing articles, chatting with members in the forums, testing and reviewing new products and attending press events. I also have a strategy session with the team once a week to discuss new ideas, then do testing and tweaking until it's ready to go live. What was your biggest worry when you started your own company? What if I fail? I always believed in the concept, but it's an incredible risk to work for yourself with no safety net. I'm very lucky that my husband is my business partner. He's a web veteran and incredibly smart, He supported us while we got the company off the ground. If I didn't have him, this wouldn't have been possible. How long did it take for you to feel confident about working for yourself? I didn't have much time to ever reflect on that. When we started the company I was in school full time in my second year of a 4 year degree program. I worked hard out of necessity because failure wasn't an option. I wasn't going to drop out of school, and since money was tight, I had to get strong grades so I could get scholarships every year. I wasn't going to let the business fail either. I don't start something only to get a C+. I wanted an A and I really pushed myself to get that. What surprised you the most about working for yourself? I'm more capable than I thought. I've learned so much in such a short time. I would never have believed this could be possible in 3 years. Was there a moment that you thought you wanted to quit and go back to a 9-5 job? Never. Being an Entrepreneur is incredibly challenging and there are more ups and downs than you could imagine, but it's all worth it. I've never regretted doing this and unless it was failing, I wouldn't be able to quit. What have you sacrificed? Social life, sanity, lifestyle, money… a lot. I've never worked so hard in my life. It took a long time for my friends and family to understand that working for yourself doesn't mean you have more free time, it means you have less. If you don't sit down and do the job, it won't get done. Even if you hire someone to do it, they may not come through for you and so you'll be the one working into the wee hours to push it across the finish line. I've sacrificed a lot but I've also gained a lot. It's a crash course in business, marketing, management, logistics, accounting.. you name it. What advice would you give to other women who wanted to start their own business? Start it for the right reasons. If being rich is your ultimate goal, you may be lacking the passion and vision to actually create something of value. If you are passionate about what you do, the money will come. If it doesn't, you'll still be happy along the way because you are doing what you love. I also think it's extremely important to have several mentors you can turn to for advice. I've learned a lot from my mentors, one of the most important being: Hire slow and fire fast. Having the right people on your team is critical. If you haphazardly hire someone you will pay for it later. Is there anything you would have done differently? I'd trust my instinct more. It's so cliche, but it hasn't led me astray. There have been cases where I've ignored it, whether it's hiring someone I didn't feel 100% confident about or entering into business discussions with parties I don't completely trust, and inevitably I would have been better off trusting my gut. ---- If you enjoyed this interview you should check out our interview with Lisa Ng - DJ, Fearless & Fabulous Female Entrepreneur and blogger at Hip and Urban Girl
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Life
Introducing Fabulous and Fearless Female Entrepreneurs
March 15, 2010 at 3:24 pm 4
Did you ever dream of being your own boss? Imagine waking up when you want, not having to take orders from others, and having the freedom to work exactly how you want. Want to take a long lunch on Wednesday, shop for groceries on Monday afternoon, or build your work schedule around your family or other commitments? It’s a dream many women hold in the back of their minds. A “one day” or “if only” kind of a dream. But what’s holding you back? Why don’t you just do it? And before you can list ten reasons why you can’t, or won’t, or shouldn’t just stop yourself right there! Cashmereclutch.com is a blog about women getting what they want out of life. It’s all about living your dreams, whether that’s finding true love, learning to cook, or starting your own company. You absolutely, 100% can have the dream life you’ve imaged. But, you actually have to do something to make it happen! It doesn’t just happen on its own. And the longer you think about it without taking any action the more impossible it seems. So stop making excuses and listen up! In the next few weeks cashmereclutch.com is going to feature fabulous women that have carved out a life of their own. They own their own companies, they live their own lives…and most importantly they pursue their own dreams. And, just to let you in on a little secret…I’m also in the same boat. Recently I took a big risk and started my own company. I always knew that I had the entrepreneurial spirit, and that corporate life was not my thing, but starting your own company is a daunting task! All the worries and fears and little voices of doubt creep in, and you have to keep on telling yourself that you can do it. But, it’s soooooo amazing. I work from home, figure out my own hours, and have the freedom and flexibility that I’ve always craved and never been able to get in cubicle life. These features on fabulous women that live life on their terms is for all the girls that have a dream, and too many voices of doubt clouding their visions. Tomorrow is our first enterprenher – Lisa Ng of helloDJ who started her own DJ company five years ago. Make sure you come back and find out how she started, how her life has changed, and why she would never go back to corporate life.
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Life, Style
Shacking Up: How to Blend Your Style and His
January 14, 2010 at 1:52 pm 1
Recently I put out a call for guest writers here, so I thought it would be great to start off with one exceptional guest spot from Lilah, a blogger from Urban Sardines, a design and décor blog. Since I made the big announcement that I got engaged, it’s been a bit of a struggle how my fiancé and I are going to combine all our stuff into one small apartment (especially given my penchant for extremely girly home décor like hot pink walls). Enter Lilah, who’s going to offer up some excellent advice on how to blen your style with your boyfriends when you move into together! Here’s Lilah! When you move in with your man, you might expect to fight over who will do the dishes, who will take out the trash, and who gets to pick their favorite side of the bed…but you might be overlooking something far more fundamental. Consider exhibit A:

If your bedroom looks anything like this, you may be in for a bit of an adjustment. Gorgeous though this room is, your man may feel a bit… um, emasculated…. In this space. How do you reconcile your gorgeous, girly décor with his barcalounger? Make It Gender Neutral Finding neutral ground can be a great way to bond with your partner. After all, the space you live in is a significant expression of who you are as a person, so it should also reflect what you are like as a couple. A great way to find neutral ground is to figure out what colors you both like and build from there. To tone down feminine vibes, avoid detail, scrolling, and rounded edges in furniture and major pieces. Once you establish more “masculine” base, you can add pops of color and feminine touches without causing your boyfriend to need testosterone injections. Here are a few examples of spaces that are “gender” neutral: This bedroom from Kishani Perera has dark, masculine colors, but is also very elegant and vibrant:. The bed is a good balance between feminine and masculine, and the pop of color from the flowers brings a feminine edge to the room.

[

Steven Gambrel’s living room design is a great inspiration for masculine spaces that are elegant and gorgeous. It’s a great balance between masculine and feminine. The colors are warm, but masculine, the lines are clean and simple.

Here’s another great Steven Gambrel living room. The orange bar station is modern with clean lines, but the pop of orange has a feminine vibe.

Understand Each Other’s Cleaning Habits Before you move in together, get an honest assessment of what your cleanliness habits are (I’ve known both men and women whose partners complain about each others’ cleaning habits). If your habits differ, consider some modern appliances (without a dishwasher, my boyfriend and I would have split long ago!), and if you can afford it, consider handing over some of the responsibility to the pros. My boyfriend doesn’t do laundry, so he sends it out to an affordable local cleaner every week. Problem solved. Consider Ditching Some Items Review each other’s furniture and decide what you can both live with. When I moved with my boyfriend, he got rid of a clunky, broken desk, and I got rid of my extremely feminine bedding. We are both happy with the results (although I miss my lacy bedding sometimes, and I’m sure he misses his desk). Make a Man Cave If you have the space, let him create his man-cave while you create your girly haven. For my boyfriend and me, this isn’t an option (living in a small urban space, you usually don’t get a few extra rooms to play with). However, I know a lot of couples who have separate offices or art studios where they can decorate to suit themselves. If I had such a space, I’d channel all my girly instincts into that one spot, and let the leather furniture take over in the living room. Compromise, Compromise, Compromise Finally, when moving in with your man, remember it’s an exercise in compromise. You may have to live with his leather couch, but hopefully, he’ll graciously live with your perfume collection, giant collection of heels, and blanket your Grandma crocheted for you. --- Lilah is a writer living in a small Victorian in San Francisco, California. Her small living environment inspired her to explore the world of small-space design. Along the way, she started the blog, Urban Sardines, to share what she has learned about creating a warm, inviting home in a small space.
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Life
From Fat to Fabulous – Women and Weight Loss
December 8, 2009 at 12:05 pm 2


For many women losing weight is a lifelong battle. Dieting and exercising like crazy, followed by binge eating and complete inactivity. The weight comes off then the weight goes back on…plus a little more. And the cycle gets repeated several times. How can you get off this cycle? For some women it’s easier than others…but for all of us it’s quite a journey. In this post I’m going to go back and forth with Mary, who is on the path to losing weight and getting to a place where she’s more comfortable and content with herself. I have been on the diet roller coaster before with a 55 lb diet swing, but I’ve finally kicked the habit. I wanted to go back and forth with Mary because her story is so inspiring and she’s working so hard to get to a great place in her life. I love women’s success stories and I thought this may be interesting to see two different perspectives, one from a woman who’s in the process, and one from a woman who’s won the weight war. What’s your weight story? Mary: In high school I was depressed and gained weight until I hit a high of around 255 or 260 pounds. On a 5'2" frame, that is a lot of weight. When I first went to college I decided to finally do something about the weight and try and change my life. My freshman year of college I started working out and eating healthier foods and I dropped 60 pounds. It was a very good first year of college. After that I went on a continuous cycle of gaining weight, and losing, and then gaining it all back. With every major change in my life, such as going to university, or moving to Europe, or moving home again, came another cycle of weight gain and loss. I’m making a huge effort to lose weight again and I've lost over 20 pounds since the decision to lose weight and am continuing my journey of weight loss. Hopefully now that I have freed myself from the destructive habits and environment I was in I will lose the extra weight and find a comfortable place for my body. Ingrid: For me losing 45 pounds was almost accidental. After my first year in university I tipped the scales at 165 pounds and size 10 pants. At 5’3 that’s quite a lot. I carried it all in my upper half; chubby cheeks, big boobs, thick arms and a full belly. I wouldn’t think twice about eating heaps of tater tots and a pile of cream cheese on a toasted bagel, followed by my two Mr. Big chocolate bars and a few cans of Coke. I never exercised. Then I got a job as a gardener. I was outdoors all summer long digging holes, planting flowers, pushing heavy wheelbarrows and walking all over the university campus. I also moved out of the college dorm and ate healthier and lighter foods, not on purpose but just because when I cooked for myself I didn’t eat much instant or packaged foods. I would have toast for breakfast, soup or a sandwich for lunch and pasta with tomato sauce for dinner. I wore dirty gardening clothes every day, and since it was summer, and I had a bit of pocket money from my gardening job, I bought new summer clothes for after work. When the fall came around I put my old clothes back on…and they fell off my hips. When I weighed myself at my friends house I couldn’t believe I weighed 120 lbs. Without realizing it I’d lost 45 pounds! What’s your goal weight? Mary: To be honest I'm not sure what my goal weight is and to me it's not very important. I've never weighed under 190 as an adult so I'm guessing it is somewhere around 175 is my goal, but I'm just shooting blindly and going to let my body figure it out once I get closer. Ingrid: 120 lbs. I’m where I want to be weight wise, I just want to get more toned. I’m always checking to mix up my exercises so I can maintain my weight where it is.

healthy food choices equals healthy weight

healthy food choices equals healthy weight

What’s the secret to your weight loss? Mary: Secret? Heheh. That is such a funny question. Their isn't a secret, so hopefully you will never believe someone who tells you there is. For me it was all about making that decision that I wanted to lose weight and be healthier. Once I made the decision and it became part of my mindset I knew I could do all the work necessary to lose weight. Ingrid: It’s not a secret, but a mind shift. It was a total change of lifestyle that had me exercising daily and eating better. What’s the one thing that makes weight loss difficult for you? Mary: I struggle with emotional and stress eating, so for me, weight loss has been difficult because I've so often fallen back into those traps and erased all the work I did previously. Not having a good handle on why I used food in the ways that I did made weight loss very, very hard. Ingrid: I think so many corporate work environments are dreadful for our health. I’ve worked in several offices and the best office environment is one that’s close to home (i.e. I can walk there), and has lots of amenities and walkable areas nearby. That way you can run errands, step out for a walk or go to the park. A commuting lifestyle is soooo horrible for our health, and usually suburban offices are surrounded by fast food joints, they don’t have walkable areas, and you need to drive to get there so you can’t walk to work.

happiness and a healthy weight go hand in hand

happiness and a healthy weight go hand in hand

How does weight loss affect your confidence? Mary: Well, I'm not going to lie - I feel a lot more confident when I've lost weight. I've been slowly becoming more confident during the last few years regardless of my weight, but I still have always remained below my highest weight ever. And that has definitely helped me build confidence in other areas of my life. Ingrid: It’s a chicken and egg story. I feel confident when I’m a good weight, but I watch my weight because I’m confident and don’t want to let myself fall into depressing patterns again. They work together very carefully, and one doesn’t come before the other. Are you on a weight roller coaster? Mary: I would have to say yes. I think I am at the end of the ride now and the weight is coming off for good, but I'm still on a ride that has taken me up and down weight wise for several years. I would lose weight during college then move back home and regain 30 pounds in a summer or in the year I spent there after graduation. That move out, move home weight fluctuation was a crazy roller coaster but I think now that I'm on my own and moving on I will finally be hopping off and settling at a healthy weight for me. Ingrid: I was before. After the gardening job I kept on slowly losing weight, and at one point I was 110 pounds. I had big dark bags under my eyes, no energy and was pretty unhealthy. But I was skinny! Two years later I’d graduated from university and was working in the corporate world. Sitting down all day, surrounded by unhealthy drinks and snacks all day a bit of weight crept back on. I was about 125 lbs for a few years, but now I’m at 120lbs and that’s where I want to stay. I look fit, but not skinny and I feel great. I eat well, exercises regularly and course correct whenever I feel myself putting weight on again. How does it feel to get more attention because you lost weight? Mary: It is a strange feeling. I've always dealt with feeling self-conscious and insecure, so having people compliment me often is something I still don't know how to deal with. I accept compliments and enjoy them because I've worked hard to feel and look better, but it feels strange to receive them and makes me wonder why we don't compliment people all the time. I would have liked to have been noticed and appreciated before I lost the weight, but I feel like I was almost invisible then. Ingrid: When everyone saw me they would always say “You look so good” or “Oh my god, you’re half the person you were before!”. After a while it started to bother me. Wasn’t I compliment worthy before? Did I have to be skinny to look good and have people notice me? After a few weeks I would cringe every time I’d hear someone say something about how much weight I’d lost. I was never weight conscious before, but after I lost so much weight, and had internalized the idea that skinny equals pretty I started to watch what I ate more and more. But now I’m totally comfortable with myself. I love the way I look and I’ll gladly accept compliments. How’s your relationship with food now? Mary: Much, much better. I won't say it is perfect, because I still have times where I want to eat for comfort instead of nourishment, but those times are less often. I've learned how to eat mindfully and listen to what my body is telling me. If I'm full I can stop eating instead. I'm much more in tune with what my body wants and needs regarding food now. Ingrid: I think about food totally differently. I eat to nourish my body, not to fill up. When I’m hungry I always ask myself “Is this a good food choice?” I eat pretty healthy, but it takes a big effort on my part. -- For all the ladies that are looking to make some positive changes in their lives – don’t delay! There is no better day than today to start living your dream life Mary is a healthy living blogger at amerrylife.com. She has been up on the scale and down, but is confident that no matter what weight she is at she will be living a happy and healthy life. For more on her weight loss journey, visit her personal weight loss blog: amerrylife.com.
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Style
The Perfect Party Purse
November 19, 2009 at 12:56 pm 0

I stumbled upon this purse in BCBG the other day, and I fell in love with it immediately! It's girly and sexy. It's simple and luxurious. And it's intricate and detailed without being complicated. It's the perfect party purse!
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Life
Are You Your Own Dating Enemy?
November 4, 2009 at 12:22 pm 2
Ever wonder why all these bad dating things keep on happening to you? Why do you only seem to meet jerky guys? Do you date guys for a few weeks and then they just disappear? If that sounds familiar there’s a key component that’s in every one of these negative situations – you. Yes, the unfortunate truth is that if you keep on finding yourself dating guys that have no future, waiting for a guy to call and he never does, or going out with guys that always seem to disappear after three months chances are very high that you are doing something to make sure you always end up in these situations. Most likely you are participating in your own dating demise – yup, you are your own dating enemy. There are several common ways that women sabotage their own dating success. 1. Doubting yourself. We all project our feelings about ourselves onto others. If you carry around huge feelings of doubt, and worry, and shame others will pick this up. If you were trying to hire someone for a job wouldn’t you rather chose the person who seemed comfortable with what they bring to the table, instead of the self doubter? You are also looking for a position to fill in someone’s life…so make sure you’re presenting your best self…and you just might find the perfect mate. 2. Not knowing what you want. If you are searching for a partner make sure you know what qualities that person has. It’s best to do this when you feel comfortable, happy and relaxed. Don’t do this when you are feeling sad, lonely, used or abused. You want this list to be a list of your dream man. Not a list of the type of guy you don’t want. If your list has several “he doesn’t yell at me, he’s not cheap, etc etc” you know you are not in the right place to be writing now. Step back, take a sip of tea or a walk and start again. This is your dream “want” list, not a list of things you are trying to avoid. 3. Falling for guys tricks. Not everyone wants to be your boyfriend. And not everyone has great intentions. So beware of some of the silly tricks guys play to make sure you don’t fall for them. Do guys try and talk to you about sex right away? He’s testing you to see if you’ll take the bait…so don’t fall for it. Does he say he’ll call at 9, but always call much later. Let that one go, he’s not into you and he’s just testing what you’ll put up with. Don’t waste your time on this guy, he’s not serious and he just wants to play. 4. Not setting limits. So many women justify bad behaviour of their dates. He hasn’t called you in a week, and then he calls at midnight and wants to get together. Stop playing games with yourself! Don’t make excuses for others. Actions speak louder than words, and if a guy wants you, he’ll make sure you know it. If you don’t know where you stand you probably don’t stand anywhere. Set limits on what you will accept and what you won’t, and don’t deviate from this. 5. Dating the same guy every time. If you date the same type of guy and it never seems to work out you should look into what you like and what you don’t like. If you want to date out of your comfort zone and find your perfect match you need to look at all the similarities in your past and figure out why you went for those guys. When you see patterns emerge you can figure out how to avoid them in the future. 6. Lacking faith. It may take some time to find your dream guy, but you have got to believe. You have to know in your heart of hearts that your perfect match is out there, and you have to give all types of guys chances until you find him. Don’t give up. 7. Dating the bad boy. Yes, they were exciting when you were 18, but there’s no place for them in your life now. It’s that simple. If you are looking for a mate you need to get over the bad boy type. Think of the perfect father of your children, or a best friend…and try and find this guy. The bad boy will never measure up, or be any good at being a great dad or supportive partner. So leave him in your past where he belongs. If you are single and wondering why things never seem to work out, take a deep look at what you’re doing and you may just find out you’re more involved with your own dating demise far more than you ever imagined.
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Life
Outdoor Entertainment
July 6, 2009 at 9:20 pm 1
Earlier in the summer I felt like I wasn’t having a summer. The weather didn’t help, but mostly it was because I spent most of my time in my office, with air conditioning and cubicle dividers, and nothing summery! Not one to rest on my laurels, I decided to seek outdoor activities that would be fun, and somehow convinced my friend to join me. I found an outdoor exercise class in this lovely local park in the evenings – it was just what I was looking for. It’s been a few weeks since we’ve started and I can see some changes in my physique, but that’s only part of the fun. There is the ride to class and all the chit chat along the way with my friend, the lovely clean smelling outdoor air, the joy of releasing work tension while doing push ups outside…and of course the laughs we give all the passer-byers who stop and watch twenty girls in tight outfits doing lunges and squats in a park. Sometimes they look confused, sometimes they smirk, and sometimes they stop, sit down and open a can of beer. Who said you need a tv for this kind of fun?
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Style
Statement Dress
June 24, 2009 at 7:19 pm 3
I've been on the lookout for a statement dress recently. I haven't found what I'm looking for exactly, but I did find this knockout dress online. I just love the butterfly inspired mix of colurs, the generous cut of the dress, and the detailing with sparkles and feathers. Can't you just imagine how much fun you'd have in this dress?
from outlier* on flickr

from outlier* on flickr

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Life, Style, Travel
The smart girls’ guide to living well
June 1, 2009 at 8:38 pm 3

Cashmere Clutch is a women's lifestyle site that covers anything and everything to do with living a balanced, fulfilling and fabulous life. From dating advice, to financial freakouts and fabulous fashion, this site is one girls journey through life from darker days to a brighter phase.

Learn about me here
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