Create your balance. Design your life.

Shop Small This Week

Shop Small This Week

Nov 24, 2015

Here’s the thing: People work really hard to follow their dreams, create a business, and carve out a life for themselves. Let’s support that. Sure, mega-chain-marts are cheaper. But there is no substitute for handmade quality and originality. Have to shop for someone who “has everything?” Get them something unique from a small business, local craftsman, or artist. It is sure to be a hit! Support a friend by purchasing gift-cards for their services, and gift it to others. Pay it forward. Supporting the small businesses in your community, and the businesses of your friends, will score you some big karma points for the next time you need support in your corner. We could all use a hand. Don’t know where to begin? Try Facebook. Chances are, you’ve seen a friend recommend a local shop or business, or promote their own. Scroll back through and check out their websites. Make it a point to support a few of them while you shop this season. Here are some fabulous places I recommend. I guarantee you are supporting real people, real craftsman, real artists. RadLabs Know anyone that loves cool leggings? How about filling up some blank wall space or spicing up your couch with some new pillows? You have got to check out RadLabs on Society6. ABOUT THE ART: “Artists Katie Helms and Veronica Fannin create collaborative artist’s books. This image is a small detail taken from mixed media books made over several years of working together with many other artists. Steeped in love, ritual, and friendship & reaching toward center, these two friends offer to you a glimpse into their larger network of partnership.” The print I’m crazy about: Titled “I Don’t Hide Anymore,” this print has got my name written all over it!   Mama Sews Best It’s not jut the name that is adorable. You have to check out these handmade, cleverly creative, gifts. From matching kid/doll accessories to custom keepsakes, you are sure to find something you like. The item I’m crazy about: These Memory Bears are made from a loved one’s old clothing and offer comfort in all seasons. This tender tribute is especially wonderful for someone who is facing...

Your Inner Critic Is A Fraud

Your Inner Critic Is A Fraud

Aug 26, 2015

Have you ever read an article and thought, “Um…I don’t remember authorizing this interview.” Well, here’s an article that is all about us.  I can’t tell you how many times I feel like a fraud.  Even my nightmares contain worries that someone will know I am faking it! “Faking what,” you ask? Everything… In her article, Expert Enough, Take 2: Why Imposter Syndrome Matters, and How to Overcome It, Lauren Bacon talks about feeling like a fraud and physical things you can do to overcome it.  I’m including it on Workout Wednesday because it is really helpful to have a physical “thing you can do” when you need a boost of confidence.  It can be draining to always rely on your brain to bail you out.  Try letting your body give you a boost sometimes.  Bacon recommends doing these things: Stand (or sit) up straight Get big Lean forward Find your own power posture: “Ask your body to find a position that feels centered and powerful, and lock into that posture so you can recall it later.” Beyond your physical stance, you can also: Move your body. “Dancing to your favorite tune shifts your energy in incredible ways.” (You may have to do this before a big event, not during.) Carry a power totem. “I’ve worn my late grandmother’s wedding rings on days when I needed a reminder that my roots go deep and that I’m part of something greater than myself. It helps me keep my worries in perspective,” says Bacon. The thing that really hit me in this article is the idea that expert does not mean infallible.  Bacon says, “We can be experts, and we can be successful, and that doesn’t mean we need to be without fault.”  Yes.  Yes!!  We don’t have to be perfect to be an expert.  We don’t have to have to know ALL the answers to be able to offer valuable advice. If you suffer from Impostor Syndrome, you may also suffer from “can’t-toot-your-own-horn-itus.” This is also known as inability to promote yourself or can’t take a compliment (depending on where you are from).  Ashley Milne-Tyte, at The Broad Experience, who pointed out this article in...

How Do You Find The Time?

How Do You Find The Time?

Mar 25, 2015

By Vee Pope “How do you find the time?” I’m trying to break up with how that question makes me feel. It has simultaneously irked me and made me feel productive. My over analytical mind asks if it’s a loaded or genuine question all the time. I never know but what I do know is that I can control how I react to it.   So, how do I find the time? I can say I simply make the time to do the things I want to do, or I can show you how I have tried to master the art of time management. One thing I want to make clear to those who are taking the time to read this: I currently have How I Met Your Mother playing, another “work” computer is running, and I just finished texting with both of my parents. Also, I did not sit down to write this in one sitting. Now, I recognize multi-tasking might not be effective for certain tasks. I’m not claiming to be perfect in this area of my life, but I can still provide tips on how you can better manage your time. Let’s just say I have spent a lot of time researching time. Okay–these tips can apply to anyone and I mean ANYONE! Time is not gender, age or race specific. It doesn’t matter if you are a mom, single, dad, married, teen or toddler (well, some of the tips may not apply to toddlers).  We can tackle these together! Find a hobby: No matter who you are or how your days and weeks are structured, you absolutely need to find a healthy outlet to build into your routine. Hobbies can contribute to eustress, which is a healthful dose of stress or quite literally speaking “good stress”. Eustress is that feeling of excitement about life. It keeps us revitalized and positive. So pick up that book or go on those walks and treat yo’ self to a HOBBY! Write everything down: My planner obsession is unhealthy. Trust me, I recognize that, but I have also met people who wished they had one. While whipping out my planner to schedule future appointments, people will comment on how they just...

Branding Tips For The Small Business Owner

Branding Tips For The Small Business Owner

Mar 18, 2015

Small businesses often overlook their branding efforts because of the perceived cost of having a cohesive look. In reality, it’s a small investment with high return potential. Branding is the first thing a customer sees and also the last thing a customer feels. My best tips to help you strengthen your brand: 1. Describe Your Brand’s Personality – What does your brand look, taste, smell and feel like? Are your current efforts evoking this personality? Every company should have a personified brand and those characteristics should come out in everything you do. 2. Fix Your Font – If your company is modern, new, fresh and clean DON’T pair it with Times New Roman. And please don’t ever use Comic Sans, Curlz, Brush Script or Papyrus. That’s a big WTF (Why The Font) in my book. Once you’ve described your brand’s personality, pair it with fonts, colors and verbiage that convey. 3. Be More Than The Business Suite – A cohesive business suite of collateral is standard. Well-branded companies look the same over e-mails, invoices, thank you cards and social media. Here are a few great resources for inexpensive logo’ed products: Pakible – Online packaging products with a variety of colors and sizes to pair your logo with. Take advantage of the current 10 for $10 special. Sticker Mule – Another low minimum (50) online print shop with a fast turnaround. Choose your final sticker size based on multiple uses.  Campaign Monitor – User friendly e-newsletter templates that you don’t have to know code to customize. The best thing about Campaign Monitor is the option to test out one campaign without the commitment of a long term contract. Canva – This free, online photo-editing site offers small business owners a place to edit their branding with built in dimensions. Templates from facebook ads to pinterest posts are readymade with no pixel x pixel guesswork. 4. Establish Your Standards – Once you’ve settled on your branding, set the standards. At minimum, your business should have a guideline of colors, fonts and logo to adhere to.  A simple brand standards guideline would look something like this example from University of Connecticut: http://brand.uconn.edu/sites/default/files/BrandStandards_Guide0913.pdf. Don’t let the entire document deter...

A Management Philosophy As Fresh As The Menu: Innovative Leadership and Pizza

A Management Philosophy As Fresh As The Menu: Innovative Leadership and Pizza

Nov 5, 2014

When you think of innovative, California-style pizza, one place comes to mind. California Pizza Kitchen, named “America’s Best Pizza Chain” by The Daily Meal, pioneered creative pizza creations in 1989 and is returning to its roots. The new menu items and redesigned restaurants are rolling out across the country. California Pizza Kitchen at International Mall, in Tampa, FL, is lucky to be one of the flagship restaurants. “Florida is one of the most receptive markets, ” said Brandon Rigolini, at a recent Tampa Bay Bloggers event, sponsored by the California Pizza Kitchen at International Mall. Regional marketing manager and brand ambassador for CPK, Rigolini added, “Our goal was to test the concept for the new design and new menu in multiple markets across the country to gather rounded feedback. Many of the things we’re most famous for to this day are the ones that initially made people think we were crazy.” The new menu and store decor is designed to put diners in a “California mindset.” From gluten-free pizza to an inspired new selection of cocktails, food-lovers will find unique creations to please their pallet. But it’s not just new menu items people will notice at the International Mall CPK. You’ll find your servers to be as excited about the change as you are to sample the new dishes. “If the staff has fun, people will enjoy their experience,” says general manager, Angela Monteleone. Her goal is to encourage her employees to have fun with the customers. Shawn, one of the servers at the event, talked about a game he plays with his tables that highlights the store’s new “wine wall. “It gets the table focused on the dining experience (and not their cell phones).” In discussing the new menu, the staff and management show a refreshing excitement for the new developments. Monteleone has great respect for the innovation brought to CPK by CEO G.J. Hart, and for the CPK philosophy, “For the first time, after 20 years in the restaurant industry, I had a boss that said, ‘We are partners in this business. We fail together, and we succeed together.'” There is a mutual respect and kindness passing back and forth among the...

Interview with Water Bearer Foundation’s CEO, Kimberly Evans

Interview with Water Bearer Foundation’s CEO, Kimberly Evans

Oct 8, 2014

The Water Bearer Foundation raises money to fund scholarships in marine biology, raise awareness about conservation, and educate people about marine life. The founder and CEO, Kimberly Evans, took time out of her busy schedule to talk with the Work Life Balance Protection Agency about her mission. WLBPA: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. I think what you are doing is fantastic. I’m curious, what was it that motivated you to start this foundation? KE: The idea actually came from my then 13yr old son,  Demitris. We both have a love for the ocean and marine life. We were having a discussion about college. He wants to do something with the ocean or become a marine biologist. He asked me, “How people become them?” I informed him that college was necessary to go into this field. Which lead him to ask me how will he get into college?  I told him “I was saving for his college through a college savings plan and that he was very lucky to have a grandma that would help as well.” We had a long talk about the usual way of one gets into a college or university. We talked about getting good grades, volunteering, and parents saving for their child’s college funds. Which lead him to ask “What if a person isn’t lucky enough to have a parent to pay for their college?” This is where I explained well there are two other options scholarships/grants or them having to work and pay for it themselves. He then said “Well can everyone get a scholarship? “I told him” No, they have to qualify and there are only so many for different areas.” He goes on to say, “Well that’s not fair! What if someone has the answer to helping our oceans and because they are poor or aren’t lucky enough to get picked, we miss out on their help! We need to help them.” I laughed at him and said “Are you crazy? How in the world can you and I help other people afford college? That is a nice idea but, I am far from rich! “  My son Demitris tells me, “Well there must...

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