Reading Lately: “#GIRLBOSS” and “The Defining Decade”

Today I’m linking up with Michelle from Blogs Like A Girl, Cat from KittyKittyLaLa and Allison from Puppies and Pretties to share what I’ve been reading over the past month. I’m really excited that they put this link-up together as it’s giving me motivation to finally burn through my reading list. In January, I started with #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso and The Defining Decade by Meg Jay, PhD.

#GIRLBOSS is half-motivating/half-memoir by Sophia Amoruso, the founder and CEO of NastyGal // www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

#GIRLBOSS

If you’re looking for a book that will make you feel empowered, motivated and lazy all at the same time, look no further.

Sophia Amoruso is the founder and CEO of Nasty Gal, an online clothing shop– or empire, as it’s referred to numerous times in the book. As a 20-something female, I’ve frequented NastyGal.com quite a few times, but have clicked off pretty quickly due to my lack of motivation to spend money on clothing.

#GIRLBOSS is half autobiography of her success from starting Nasty Gal on accident, and using her mistakes and successes to give advice.  The whole thing is written as if Sophia is taking to you over coffee, half humble-bragging and also looking down at you like a stern mother as she talks to you.  Very do as I say, not as I do. She preaches to follow your own path, and to forget all the stereotypes that may be standing in your way to achieve what you want to achieve.  Her own story backs up her words, as she tells you about how she accidentally created a million dollar clothing company.

Her book is a great rags-to-riches story to motivate you to follow your dream and take control of your life in the way that works for you. It’s an entertaining read, as some of her stories are outrageous.  The book is written to inspire and motivate young GIRLBOSSes to follow their dreams and take control of their lives, but looking back on the book a few weeks later, the only real things I remember is how awesome she kept saying her company was.

Overall, I think I’m lukewarm about it. It wasn’t what I was expecting, but I usually put it down feeling motivated. If you’re on the fence about reading it, I would suggest going for it.

The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter- and how to make the most of them now

I picked up this book after it was highly recommended by Hannah Hart. As many 20-somethings, I feel like I am at a critical point in my life (moving to a new city, trying to pave my career, etc), so I thought reading something like this couldn’t hurt.

I’m only half-way through, but am thoroughly impressed with this book. Meg (or Dr. Jay? Not sure how to address the author!) does a fantastic job of blending stories from her 20-something clients in with research about how to make or break this pivotal point in our lives.  The real-life stories make a great background to go along with the citations of studies, making it way easier to understand than other self-help books I’ve read.

Not only does she touch on super common problems, fears, or hardships that 20-somethings seem to universally have, but she also offers how to work on solutions to those problems. You can easily see yourself in every single one of her previous patients’ stories, and fully relate to how they are feeling.

Again, I’m only half-way through, but this is a book you read with a pencil in hand so you can mark important passages. If you are in your 20s, you NEED to read this book. I’m serious.

 

And that’s it for January. I’ve got a few other titles on my list for February, but if you’re reading something awesome, please let me know! I’d love recommendations!

 

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The One Book You NEED to Read in Your Twenties

I have fallen far down the rabbit hole of self-help books, and I am not afraid to admit it. And so far, this one is my favorite.

Best Self Help Book for TwentySomethings | Candidly Kelsey

Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse: One Twentysomething’s (Mostly Failed) Attempts at Adulthood

After seeing it in Ingrid Nilsen’s Snapchat, I bought it as a book to read while commuting; AKA, a few pages every time I sit down on public transit.  I expected it to last a few weeks.  Instead, I started it on the train at 9am, then finished it by 11pm that evening because I literally could not put it down.

“Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse” is basically a much more eloquent and hilarious account of every feeling of self-doubt, personal triumph, misunderstanding, and failed attempt at adulthood you’ve ever had. The brilliant author is Alida Nugent, who is also the mind behind the Tumblr “The Frenemy.”

The book is arranged in a series of essays.  In the beginning, it reads just as a comedy that has you nodding along.  Starting with wishing you hadn’t had the crazy idea of “following your dreams” or maybe you’d be employed by now, and ending with the graduation speech you wish you had heard when you left college, each essay has a heartfelt, but equally sassy revelation of young adulthood.

Each chapter gets more and more real, as Alida basically sums up every moment of confusion or terror you’ve ever had as a twenty-something, and then punctuates it with a lesson, or moral that has somehow makes you feel better about yourself.  I found myself shaking my head, or even tearing up (wine may have been involved with that one, truthfully) on more than one occasion.

Besides the obvious entertainment value of it all, this book hit several points that I think myself and all struggling post-graduates need to hear.  We’re repeatedly told we’re ALL in such a precarious position– “overeducated and underemployed” but are also horribly pressured to appear that we have It All together so often that it was a refreshing sigh of relief to read about a peer who is unapologetically a mess*.

But, you know, a mess with internet fame, and a published book, and who still manages to feed herself regularly.  The kind of mess we all strive to be, really.

Best Self Help Book for TwentySomethings | Candidly Kelsey

The idea that it’s totally okay to be slightly drowning in your twenties, but also expected to have everything together is something that I think we all struggle with, but very few like to get specific into the way that can make you feel. “Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse” is the perfect story of justification for how lost you feel, but somehow also gives you the encouragement that everything will end up okay.

Basically, if you have ever felt lost, or bad about yourself, or you are between the ages of 22 and 100, you should probably read this.  You won’t regret it, I swear.

(Sidenote: She also has a second book out, which is on my Amazon Wishlist.  If anyone has read it, tell me how it is!)

*Alida, I mean “mess” in the best way possible. Like a polished mess.  Amy Schumer/Jennifer Lawrence mess. It’s a compliment, I swear.

 

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5 Tips for Working at Home

By some crazy accident, I’m managed to get jobs that have left me working from home for the last year.

First it was with the CSAC, where I interned from home (which is what prompted me to start this blog!) and then when they hired me on as a Director, I rotated between my couch, one of our schools, and the local Panera Bread as my work stations.

Now, at my new job in Chicago, we’re without an office space for a few months, so I’m back at working from home again.  Funny how that works out, huh?

Basically, I’ve become a master at working from “home”.  Other than the major perk being you can wear whatever you want, there are a few downsides.  And if you lack a specific home office— or even a desk—, that can be a huge problem. I’ve talked about how to stay productive at home before, but a whole year of experience has added some new hacks to the system.

Thankfully, for those of you struggling with (or without!) the home office, you have me to help you.  Allow me to share my vast experience in the world of working without an office:


1. Start your day like you would if you were heading to an office.

You wouldn’t head to a real office without brushing your teeth or putting on a bra, so you shouldn’t do that at home either.  Get up, eat breakfast, and get ready for the day as if you would be leaving the house.  I’m not saying put on a full face of make-up and your business casual, but the actual act of getting yourself ready for the day will help you trick your mind into getting into a productive headspace far better than if you just stayed in your pajamas.

2.  Plan your breaks and stick with them.

Keep your brain in “work mode” by planning your day like you would if you were working a typical job.  Work all the way until your designated lunch time, and don’t allow yourself to get distracted before then.  If you work from your couch, it can be super easy to forget that you’re working and just zone out in front of the TV, so make sure you plan for your “break time” and stick to those times.

3.  Don’t work where you play.

In Ohio, I worked specifically from the couch, or the kitchen table. Those were my designated “work spots” and my mind knew that.  Now, in my studio apartment, the only real sitting area is my bed (AKA, where I spend all my time) so I’ve designated my workspace as being the floor in front of my bed. Totally, glamorous, I know.  But the floor is way better than working on in the same position that I normally watch Netflix and cruise Pinterest.

If I ever feel distracted on the floor (or stir-crazy, because I never leave my apartment), I take my computer down to a local coffee shop, or anywhere with WIFI.   Sometimes the change of pace is good and you can re-focus yourself at this new space.  Wherever you choose to work, just make sure you associate it with only working to help keep yourself focused.

4.  “If you couldn’t do it at an office, you shouldn’t do it at home”

I used to constantly be watching TV when I worked from home in Ohio.  I would tell myself I’m sticking to only boring shows for background noise, but it was still super distracting.  Normal people probably can’t have Netflix playing in the background of their workday, so why should you?

It’s a major temptation, but totally worth it to keep the TV off while you work.  I used to be so bad at this, but since I’ve been actually making myself follow this rule, my productivity has increased so much.  You may think you can multi-task, but each time you stop what you’re doing, you’re losing your focus on your work.  So no painting nails, doing laundry, baking cookies, or cleaning the house while you should be working. Save those for your lunch break.

5.  Create your office atmosphere.

You won’t be productive if you are surrounded by chaos.  Especially chaos that is associated with your home life.   If you’re lucky enough to have a desk, set up to fit your working style.  If you don’t have a specific work space, make sure you have everything you’d need at arms reach, and you have secluded yourself as much as possible if there is chaos around you.  Move the basket of laundry that needs folded so it’s not reminding you of other things to do, and pick up all the cats toys so you won’t be tempted to finally teach her how to fetch.  Where ever you are, make sure it’s got a productive atmosphere with no distractions.

If you’re in a public space, I highly recommend getting headphones.  I love listening to Spotify EDM playlists when I work.  They are full of upbeat songs with very little lyrics to distract me, and the music keeps me awake and motivated. Time passes much quicker when I have Steve Aoki in the background.

And if all else fails, motivate yourself with good food.  Most offices have a pizza party at least once a year, right?  You’re your own boss at your home office, friend.  Pizza parties can be everyday. Or donut parties.  I highly recommend donut parties.

Got any working-at-home tips?  Share them in the comments!

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Cheers to New Adventures

Once upon a time there was a very frustrated and frizzy haired girl living in Ohio.  She worked 3 jobs, and watched a lot of Netflix.  She felt like her life was in a rut, so she wanted a new start, in a new place that would be challenging and scary and force her to turn off the endless Friends marathons and make something of her life.

Then suddenly, through the power of a major social networking site that rhymes with “ShmaceFook”, the deal of a lifetime came about for a modest city dwelling in exactly the place she dreamed of moving.

Bing, bang, boom.  Notices for jobs were given, home decor was planned on Pinterest, and almost zero tears were shed as the frizzy hair girl packed up her cat and coffee cups and moved to the big city.

Greetings, Chicago.  I’m here to stay (for at last 10-months, because that’s how long my sub-lease is for) and ready to play.

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Spring Cleaning Organizing Hacks

I’m not sure if it’s because all I’m seeing are Spring Cleaning articles, or if it’s just that unfortunate womanly instinct that requires us to nest whenever the weather gets warm, but I have been itching to do some reorganizing.

spring cleaning, organizing, DIY hacks, helpful cleaning hints
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I already had an organizing and closet clean-out a few weeks ago, but somehow my crap seems to have multiplied again.  Since I am about as good at organizing as a dog does calculus, I’ve been browsing Pinterest (follow me!) for some new DIY or cheap organizing hacks and thought I’d share a few that I am actually planning on doing in my own life.

DIY organization, up-cycling, recycling, decorating
Using an old small bottle, like the prescription bottle, candy tin, whatever: decorate it and use it to hold small items in your purse.  Bobby pins, hair ties, stray earrings, or other important bits you don’t want floating around.  This pin actually comes from Jen at iHeart Organizing (the pin is from A Prescription to Organize), which has a lot of super cute and useful tips!
beauty organizing, make-up organizing, DIY home decor, organizing, spring cleaning

The idea is originally for Guest Room Beauty Samples, but I think it’s super cute for the bathroom, or bedroom to store your own items.  Store nail polishes in a glass jar, or just cute looking products that you don’t use that often.  I have a glass jar I found for $8 at Walmart that looks just like this, except I use it to hold my bath bombs instead.  It’s functional and adorable.

DIY organizing, recycling, upcycling, up-cycling, organization, home decor

This one is the “Back to School Homework Caddy”, and I actually did something similar (but not nearly as pretty) with an old Amazon box and some masking tape to create a drawer organizer for my dressing table.  It cost nothing and I could cut it down to the exact size I needed for it to fit the drawer, and make the compartments big enough for exactly what I needed.

She used duct tape for decoration, but you could use fabric, paper and mod podge, or pretty much anything to make it cute if you want it to sit out and look cute.

diy spring cleaning, organizing, scarf organizing, closet organization, closet clean-out
And this one is something I will be definitely doing! Currently, my scarves are hanging on a decorative rack behind my door, but it’s becoming a bit crowded.  Some shower rings from the dollar store and a hanger would be perfect for the overflow.  That pin also has some other great ideas for scarf organization as well.
DIY make-up storage, DIY spring cleaning, make-up storage, beauty storage, make-up, organization, recycling
And finally, take a storage container you already have, make it a little cuter!  Small containers, as well as those bigger plastic drawer containers can be easily dolled up with a little spray paint or some decorative paper or tape. This is actually my make-up storage now, and sits atop my dressing table.  It’s cute and also very convenient.
Pro Tip:  If you have any plastic drawer sets in your house, even the larger ones for office supplies or clothes, create a more refined look with minimal effort: tape paper to the inside front of the drawer so you can’t see the contents of the drawer.  Even if it’s just white paper, it gives it a much more refined look than having all of your belongings on display.  It makes it look much less disheveled for no cost.
And that’s all I got at the moment.  I’m sure the urge to clean will fade quickly, but while I have it I figured I better go hog wild.  Got any other simple organizing hacks for me?  Let me know below!

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