How to be Smarter: You should keep going, too.
How to be Prettier: If you live in a cold environment, you will never regret getting the coat with the hood. You do not have to put the hood on unless it is really freezing, but it is a nice option to have when temperatures dip.
How to be (less) Awkward: “But the only way to get comfortable with being yourself around other people is to be yourself around other people.” — Great line from The Shy Girls’ Guide to Gaining Confidence.
How to be Smarter: Book Recommendation: Renegades Write the Rules. Good read for those who are interested in corporate social media, and/or applying those strategies to your own business or brand.
How to be Prettier: The best dry shampoo I’ve tried: inexpensive, smells amazing, and did not make my (dark blonde) hair turn grey. Also, it is available at drugstores.
How to be (less) Awkward: The formula for showing respect for others is simple: do not talk down to anyone. The formula for showing respect for yourself is also simple: do not allow anyone to talk down to you.
How to be Smarter: When starting to get bored or lose focus when reading, reading outloud for a few paragraphs can refocus your attention on the information.
How to be Prettier: An easy to help a winter coat look less bulky is to chose a belted style. [I mentioned my winter coat, which I still love, in this post].
How to be (less) Awkward: In general, only the host gets to change the music playlist at a party.
How to be Smarter: Film Recommendation: Page One: Inside the New York Times. Well-done documentary about the intersection of journalism, current events, and online media. [The link is to it on Amazon, but it's also available on iTunes].
How to be Prettier: After a shower, give the bathroom time to clear of steam before blow-drying your hair; it takes longer to blow-dry your hair in a steamy bathroom (and it usually comes out frizzier).
How to be (less) Awkward: One of the easiest ways to make new friends, especially if you are shy, is to deepen the friendships with the people you already know but aren’t close to. Even if you graduated a few years ago, was there someone in your sorority you wish you had known better? Reach out to her with an email and an offer to grab dinner and catch up. Is there a co-worker who always cracks you up in meetings but you don’t work with on many projects? Swing by her desk with an invitation to walk to the post-work Happy Hour together. “Making a new friend” does not necessarily mean new people come into your life, it can also mean people already in your life who then become friends.
How to be Smarter: Thought-provoking: How to Create Time.
How to be Prettier: An interview suit becomes more versatile for less formal occasions when you separate the top and bottom pieces: pair the nice skirt or pants with a cardigan on top, or put the blazer on over a dress.
How to be (less) Awkward: Guide to writing both personal and professional thank you notes.
How to be Smarter: What Lucky People Do Differently.
How to be Prettier: Adding, changing, or removing throw pillows from a room is one of the easiest ways to change a color scheme without involving paint or major furniture changes.
How to be (less) Awkward: “Stop identifying yourself as a cliche and start treating yourself as an individual. Constantly checking your life against a prewritten narrative or story of how things ‘should’ be is a bought-into way of life. It’s sort of like renting your identity. It isn’t you. You are more nuanced than the narrative you try to fit yourself into, more complex than the story that ‘should’ be happening.” – Great quote from this awesome Thought Catalog piece.
How to be Smarter: A Halloween-inspired video of helpful pumpkin carving tips. [I love the notch/tooth and the flour tips].
How to be Prettier: I’ve been using Cetaphil face wash daily since high school; it makes my skin feel clean but not dry, which is great, especially in the winter. [The link is to the product on Amazon, but it is available in almost every drugstore].
How to be (less) Awkward: Everyone gets a kick out of seeing something with their name on it. If you see a restaurant or a store whose name is someone’s you know, snap a quick picture and send it it to them. “Saw this, thought of you!” with the picture attached is a nice pick-me-up for anyone, even if it is not someone you are super-close to.
How to be Smarter: To get to-do lists done faster: make the best decisions with the information you have, and then move forward. Ignore sunk costs, bad attitudes, and guilt.
How to be Prettier: Warm patterned tights are a fall staple; to keep them work appropriate, have all the colors in the pattern be neutral.
How to be (less) Awkward: Salt and pepper shakers should always be passed together at the table, even if someone only asks for one. (Source, with more great table etiquette tips and drawings).
How to be Smarter: The most interesting people are always the ones that get the most excited about the big and the small things in life. As long as you know you can be resilient if what you are looking forward to does not work out exactly how you want, ignore everyone that tells you that you are “too excited” for something.
How to be Prettier: If you do not need or want to buy a complete luggage set at once, slowly acquiring pieces of the same color, material and hardware will help create what looks like a complete set, even if the brands are slightly different.
How to be (less) Awkward: In the car, if you are not the driver, ask before you change the radio station or fiddle with the heat/AC.
How to be Smarter: How to deal with stress about others reaching relationship milestones before you. [My latest Why Don't You Ask Molly Ford? column].
How to be Prettier: Cool tip from Real Simple: “Quickly clean the interior of your purse by running a lint roller over the lining.”
How to be (less) Awkward: When you see someone do something nice for someone else, let them know you saw and appreciated the action, even if it did not benefit you. (“It was really nice of you to give that tourist directions,” “Your sister is so lucky you proofread her papers,” “You are such a cool co-worker to bring your office donuts,” etc). Someone does not have to be helping you for you to compliment them on their kind ways.
How to be Smarter: Both daydreaming and worrying are only guesses about what might happen in the future. Just guesses.
How to be Prettier: An SP&A Exclusive Discount Code: With the promo code SPA2012OFFER, you can get 20% off your order at the ocean-friendly apparel line United by Blue, valid until 11/1. [I love this Hunslet Haversack bag in Nutmeg].
How to be (less) Awkward: If you already have to stop walking and tie one shoe, then tie the other shoe at the same time. This prevents the uncomfortable feeling from having one shoe’s laces freshly and tightly tied, and the other shoe’s laces not matching in intensity.
How to be Smarter: On the map of life, Comparison Street never intersects with Happiness Lane.
How to be Prettier: An unexpected but easily wearable color for a winter coat or blazer is olive green: olive green is subdued enough for professional settings, but is a nice change from a basic black or grey.
How to be (less) Awkward: If you lose your cool with a customer service person, take a deep breath and apologize. It is really easy: “I’m sorry I got upset. I wasn’t mad at you, I was just frustrated with being on hold and worried about my computer.” They will say “thank you” and you will move on. Everyone is a person and everyone is important, even strangers at call centers far away.
How to be Smarter: Book Recommendation: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. This is an easy, funny read: ideal airplane or vacation reading material.
How to be Prettier: Cute, quirky ideas for pun-themed Halloween costumes [I'm strongly considering being #13 this year].
How to be (less) Awkward: Helpful video about dealing with social anxiety. [I love the advice about finding a "nervous buddy"].
How to be Smarter: Before a job interview, think of three characteristics you would like to portray during the interview. Write those three attributes at the top of your copy of your resume and during the interview when you glance at them they will remind you what to focus your stories, questions and actions on. [Examples of adjectives: creative, leader, analytical, polished, intelligent, interested].
How to be Prettier: Book Recommendation: This is a truly excellent guide to style with a lot of genuinely helpful, unknown tips.
How to be (less) Awkward: The day after a party, reach out and thank the host for having you (and if you brought a plus one, your date) over. [I usually do a text message or a phone call, but of course an email or a letter in the mail also work].
How to be Smarter: One of my favorite quotes I heard at the LearnVest event I attended earlier this week: “It is never too late, but it is good to start now.” The phrase was spoken in regards to financial health, but it also applies to many different facets of life: healthy living, conquering fears, and anything else you might be delaying beginning.
How to be Prettier: Clever storage solutions for small rooms . (I love #1).
How to be (less) Awkward: Not awkward, just awesome: a cool, heart-pounding ad to watch.
How to be Smarter: Sometimes I think about: if this week of my life got its own E! True Hollywood story, and they interviewed everyone I interacted with, from my family to my friends to my dry cleaners, what would they say about my behavior this week? Would they say things that would make me proud of how I acted, or would I feel like I could have done better? Focusing on one week makes it easier to evaulate what I can change to better match who I want to be with my actions for next week.
How to be Prettier: When trying on potential winter coats in the store, wear a thick sweater to ensure that the coat will fit over any layers you will be wearing when the weather gets colder.
How to be (less) Awkward: A site that made me laugh.
Today over on The Future Buzz, I wrote the piece “Finding Your Passion By Throwing Pasta,” which is about how following ideas can lead to new interests (with a shout-out to some of the interests I tried before SP&A).
How to be Smarter: If you treat someone with importance, you are usually treated as important back. This is almost universally true, and often transcends other rigid power dynamics.
How to be (less) Awkward: Instant mood booster: watching the bloopers reel of your favorite TV show. (Many are available on YouTube).