How to be Smarter: “What pain do you want? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives end up.” — Great paragraph from this must-read article.
How to be Prettier: 61 Quotes That Will Make You Feel Beautiful.
How to be (less) Awkward: The importance of having something to think about and something to talk about. [A guest post I wrote for 40:20 Vision].
P.S. SP&A’s anniversary party is tonight! If you are in the NYC area, you can RSVP here. Cannot wait! xo, Molly
How to be Smarter: A strategy for locating Waldo faster.
How to be Prettier: SP&A Exclusive Discount Code: With the promo code SPA15, SP&A readers you can get 15% off your order at jewelry store Linkel Designs. This is one of my favorite shops: I wear their pink Cameo Statement Ring several times a week, and it is one of my most beloved pieces of jewelry. [Expires on 12/13/13].
How to be (less) Awkward: At a fancier dinner, if you are not sure what silverware to use or what to do next in the meal, follow the host’s lead or, if at a restaurant, the person who invited you’s lead.
How to be Smarter: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. [Love #2, #4, and #9].
How to be Prettier: SP&A Exclusive Discount Code: SP&A readers will get 15% off all items at bathing suit company Bikini with the discount code spa15. If you are planning an upcoming tropical vacation or want a holiday present for yourself that you can enjoy in the summer, have fun shopping for a new suit! [Expires on 12/9/13].
How to be (less) Awkward: Not awkward, just fun: Is It Raining In ____?
How to be Smarter: Book Recommendation: Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build An Incredible Career, ed. by Jocelyn K. Glei. This book is perfect breakfast or commute reading. Its small size and bite-sized chapter format, each written by a different author with a positive, career-focused pump-up message, would be the best way to start a workday. I was highlighting inspirational phrases and paragraphs on almost every page.
How to be Prettier: SP&A Exclusive Discount Code: SP&A readers will get 15% off regular priced items at Two Little Doves with the discount code Prettier15. This sweet site has a lovely selection of handmade jewelry; I have my eye on this gold bracelet, which would make a great personalized gift for a sister or best friend. Enjoy! [Expires on 1/1/14].
How to be (less) Awkward: In general, the quicker you respond to an email, the shorter your response can be. For example, if you wait seven days to respond to an email asking what’s new, your response should be long enough that it justifies the wait time. But if you respond an hour after the message was received, the email can be shorter and the tone more conversational.
P.S. There is a little less than 2 weeks until SP&A’s anniversary party. If you are in the NYC area, you can RSVP here. I am so excited! xo, Molly
How to be Smarter: This online color test was both addicting and fascinating to complete.
How to be Prettier: I’ve been really impressed with H&M’s office wear this season; especially this pencil skirt, which rarely wrinkles, fits well, and is affordable [I have it in two colors, and I'm wearing it in dark blue as I type this].
How to be (less) Awkward: Not awkward, just adorable: Make Everything Okay.
December marks the five year anniversary of this site.
Starting Smart, Pretty & Awkward is one of the very best things that has ever happened to me, and that is because of you: the readers.
On Monday, December 2, I’d like to invite all readers in the New York City area to join me at an anniversary celebration at Bubble Lounge, a champagne bar in Tribeca. If you’re interested, sign up for your (free) ticket here so I can get an accurate headcount for favors and fondue.
I can’t wait to meet you in person! And of course, friends and significant others (girls and boys!) are more than welcome to attend as well.
P.S. To my non-New York City readers: I wish you could be here too. On the night of the party, you can follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #spa5years, but as always, feel free to send me a note and we can be email friends instead.
How to be Smarter: Helpful, funny tip for Skype interviews.
How to be Prettier: My current favorite concealer is L’Oreal Paris Visible Lift Serum Absolute Concealer. You can buy it at any drugstore, it lasts for hours, and the pen-shaped brush makes application easy.
How to be (less) Awkward: Not awkward, just adorable: Unicorn Name Generator.
How to be Smarter: The Not-So-Secret Path to Greatness.
How to be Prettier: SP&A Exclusive Discount Code Reminder: SP&A readers will get 20% off your entire purchase at Walls Need Love with the discount code SPA4WNL20. This site has a huge, awesome selection of wall decals and wall art; I especially love the inspiration quotes section. Enjoy! [Expires on 12/1/13].
How to be (less) Awkward: If you are going to attend a Halloween party, you have to at least attempt to wear something thematic. The costume does not need to be expensive or elaborate, but taking a few minutes to grab a pair of cat ears or donning a cowboy hat tells the hostess you are aware of and appreciate the effort she had put into throwing a themed bash.
How to be Smarter: One of the best times to get a reservation at a busy restaurant is usually on a Monday night.
How to be Prettier: Next time you are buying floss, grab an extra pack to keep at your desk at work. A pack of floss won’t take up much space in a desk drawer and even if it is rarely touched, there will be that one time that you wish you had floss, and you will be grateful you thought ahead.
How to be (less) Awkward: Not awkward, just awesome: A funny, clever eBook about dating: All My Friends Are Engaged by Jen Glantz. I read this on a Sunday morning and was giggling the whole time; it would be a perfect read for your commute or while traveling.
How to be Smarter: Book Recommendation: 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. The subtitle of this book is alone reassuring: you have more time then you think. A great read on the best ways to structure your 168-hour week so that you have time for all that you have to do and all the things that you want to do. Practical, reasonable, and very interesting, this is one of my favorite time management books I have ever read. [I also loved Vanderkam's book other book, What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast].
How to be Prettier: SP&A Exclusive Discount Code: SP&A readers will get 20% off your entire order at the fun stationary store Tiny Kingdom Print Shoppe with the discount code SPA20. The site is full of cute cards to send to friends, and as a Mary Tyler Moore fan, this one made me smile. Enjoy! [Expires 11/11/2013].
How to be (less) Awkward: When you think of something thoughtful to do ["it would be nice to send her birthday flowers," "he would probably like me to text him 'good luck' tomorrow," "I should email how much I liked seeing her this weekend"] write it on your to-do list that instance. Doing something sweet is just as [I might argue much more] important than anything else on your to-do list.
How to be Smarter: How to Make Time For Your Side Hustle. [Great tips from Caroline, a super-talented photographer who took the photo of me on the right hand side of this site].
How to be Prettier: Before buying new glasses, google a few articles about your face shape [square, heart, oval, round, etc.] and what sort of frames usually work best on it. This 5 minute search can make it much easier to know what types of frames to begin looking at when you start trying on styles at the store.
How to be (less) Awkward: It can be confusing if you hear someone being called a name other than the name they used when they introduced themselves. But in general, the way that someone introduces themselves to you is what you should call them unless or until they correct you [which they might as you get to know them better].
How to be Smarter: Common writing mistakes and how to fix them.
How to be Prettier: SP&A Exclusive Discount Code: SP&A readers will get 15% off your entire order at the wonderfully creative online boutique Baba Souk with the discount code spa. I’ve lost hours looking at the site — it has really original, thoughtful items that are great as gifts or for yourself. Enjoy! [Expires 10/25/2013].
How to be (less) Awkward: Double-check someone’s name is spelled correctly before sending an email, especially if it is the first time you are contacting them. Usually their name is in their email address, and the extra two seconds it takes to check helps makes a smoother first impression.
How to be Smarter: Great tips for writing productive email subject lines.
How to be Prettier: Keep your house tidy with this trick: “Clean while you’re on the phone. Whether it’s doing the dishes, swishing the toilet, Swiffering the floor or feather dusting the counter tops, this is a simple way to multitask. Bonus: no mindless phone eating.” — Quote from this piece, which has 14 other ways to make your life saner.
How to be (less) Awkward: Not awkward, just adorable: Contagious Subway Laughter.
How to be Smarter: I love the format of Muse University classes: one email a day for 7 days, hyper-focused on a specific career-related topic with lots of helpful links [completely free].
How to be Prettier: Let other people’s healthy habits rub off on you. Be open to trying quinoa if a friend is ordering it for dinner, try running if your significant other goes every weekend, and if you co-worker guzzles water all day, join them on their trips to the kitchen to refill. Letting someone else’s positive habits rub off on you has a two-fold benefit: you start making even more smart healthy living choices, and you have someone to ask questions if you get stuck ["what kind of dressing should I get on this kale salad?"].
How to be (less) Awkward: Thoughtful advice for how managing feelings after a big life change.
How to be Smarter: When you ask for help, ask for something specific. It is easier for someone to help you if they are given a specific project, item, or task to focus on. “I really need some help around here!” is a lot harder request to fulfill than “could you help me by chopping these vegetables?”.
How to be Prettier: This article has many ideas for how to pare down your stuff to beautify a room. [My favorite is the last one, "Opt for a Trial Separation."].
How to be (less) Awkward: Great examples of smart questions to ask in a job interview.
How to be Smarter: Book Recommendation: Powered by Happy by Beth Thomas. The book’s subtitle is “How to Get and Stay Happy at Work,” but the strategies shared apply to all aspects of life, both in and out of the office. The book is a relatively quick read, and it’s small size and short-chapter format makes it easy to toss into your bag and read on your commute to start the day off right.
How to be Prettier: A fall-inspired nail polish quiz.
How to be (less) Awkward: This post has lots of helpful tips on traveling well with others.
How to be Prettier: SP&A Exclusive Discount Code: SP&A readers will get free shipping off your entire order at the sweet jewelry store Anemone Jewelry with the discount code PrettierFS. The tube bracelet section is especially beautiful. Enjoy! [Expires 12/31/2013].
How to be (less) Awkward: If you find group meetings to be overwhelming, offer to be the notetaker. Having a defined purpose can be helpful in structuring your involvement so you feel less unsure of how much or little to participate, and being the one to record the key points of the conversation to distribute to the team after the meeting keeps you as an integral and valuable part of the project.