Career Girl – My First Job Experience

A couple of weeks ago, the team over at The Ladders reached out to me and asked me to share my first job experience along with some of the important lessons that I learned from it. Coming from a family with a “school first, school second” policy, I didn’t have much of an opportunity to work during my high school years. However, I do remember my very first job as a hostess at a Greek restaurant and how that experience shaped my ideas about earning money and my future.

I spent my high school years living in a small town in South Carolina that housed: one mall, a ton of fast food joints, a Wal-Mart, and not too much more than that. My parents never pressured me to get a job and much preferred I spent my free time doing chores at home or studying harder for school. But, naturally, as I got older and my need for some financial independence increased, I found myself looking for a place that would hire me to make a few extra dollars on the weekend aside from the allowance I got from my parents. And so the job search began. I always imagined having my first part-time job in a small but fancy coffee shop that played elevator music all day and hosted open-mic night once a week. Cheesy, I know. But for whatever reason, there was something romantic about the idea of working in a coffee shop.

But before I had a chance to even go out in search of my ideal job, my mom informed me that she needed my help at the restaurant that she worked at and before I knew it, I was spending every Friday and Saturday night welcoming customers. Honestly, it was far from my ideal job. My job was pretty simple: sit customers, give them drinks, make sure everyone  has been assigned to a waitress, and run the register. If I did a good job, some of the take-out customers would leave me a dollar or two and the boss would cook me something delicious to take home. Even though the job didn’t require any special certificates or qualifications, it was much more difficult than it seemed. I was still growing into my personality and was awkwardly shy, had trouble making conversation with older people, and felt nervous at the idea of getting yelled at by a customer. I worked from 4pm until 10pm and got about 60 dollars per day. Apart from the two or three hour rush hour closer to closing time, I spent the afternoon sitting in the booth doing my homework and eating garlic bread.  Easy? Sort of. Exciting? Not so much.

It wasn’t long before I called it quits and chose to make better financial decisions with the allowance I was given. Now that I reflect back on the experience, I realize that there were many opportunities for me to gain skills that I didn’t act on because I was too busy being an introvert. However, it did help me realize that regardless of whether it was in a restaurant or in a fancy cafe, working in the service industry required a certain type of personality that I just didn’t have. But I did learn some customer service tricks and was able to meet many amazing people with interesting and encouraging stories. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to try my hand at working at such a young age, as it did teach me professionalism and allowed me to think about what a “real job” would feel like.

Some people are lucky to get the perfect job the first time around, but even if that first job isn’t a dream come true: persevere, learn new skills, and know that life isn’t over just yet.


Six Summer Beauty Tips for a Killer Look [Guest Post by Sophia Smith]

When those long hot summer days finally come, that is when women shine the most. High temperatures dictate the style and make people wear less clothes, thus revealing more. It is a perfect opportunity to show the figure you have been working hard on since the holidays, and finally looks beach-ready.

Even those who are still a few pounds away from their goal weight are about to reach it, since the summer diet consists of mostly light fruit salads and seafood. If you still feel like you are not ready for the high temperatures, here are a couple of lifestyle types you have to remember before this summer season.

1.Light Outfit

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Even though an all-white outfit is the first thing we think of when we talk about summer style, world-famous fashion designers will always emphasize a color rhapsody. All colors of the rainbow are allowed – yellow, pink, orange, red, and green, whichever emphasizes your amazing tan best.  When it comes to material, lace is the most comfortable as it allows your skin to breathe even when covered.

Floral print is also an ever-present fashion trend, as well as horizontal stripes that make you look slimmer and taller. Also, remember that you do not have to uncover yourself completely to show how sexy you are. If you are slim, wide-leg trousers and light flowy dresses for the beach that flutter in the wind can emphasize your thin waist just as well and make you style icon at the office.

2. Summer Shoes

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Picking the shoes to match the outfit is easy, but are they comfortable when it is over 30 degrees. High heels can be quite tiring to walk in the entire day, and flat sandals tent to be quite uncomfortable and rough on your gentle feet, so espadrilles are a definite must have. They come in various colors and prints, go with both daily and evening look, making you feel comfortable when out both in sports or more elegant outfit.






  3. Easy on the Makeup

Killer Look image 15Women are used to wearing more makeup during the winter, and when the summer comes it is hard to get rid of all the layers all at once. But when the temperatures go through the roof, there is no other option but to go all natural.

Just a primer and a bit of blush for your face, and when it comes to your eyes and the lips, peach and sand colors are for those with lighter complexions, whereas women who are already tanned can go for golden and bronze. To emphasize a beautiful color of their eyes, next to eye shadow women tend to tattoo eyebrows and forget about wasting time every morning on drawing them and worrying if they will stay perfect until they come home in the evening.


4.Love Your Skin

Killer Look image 13When women want to work on their tan, they simply lay on the beach without putting any sun protection and hope to be like Rihanna until the end of the day. However, since it does terrible damage to your skin, you always have to cover yourself with the sun lotion that has high UV factor. Do not worry, not only will you tan fast, it will last longer on your skin, since the sun crème constantly hydrates your entire body.

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5.Summer Hairstyle

Killer Look image 17When it comes to your hair, style that seems effortless is always the best choice. Many women choose to cut their hair so that they could bare high temperatures easier, but for those who love long hair, this year, balayage is IN again. Highlights give amazing shine to your hair, so you would not have to curl it, straighten it or even brush it to achieve perfect daily hairstyle.





6. Light Food

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Finally, to look good, you have to feel good, so make sure that you feed your body with light food full of vitamins during the unbearable summer days. Strawberries like all the other fruit will give you strength and a physical feeling of lightness, as well as vitamin C.

Those who watch their weight always go for zucchini, as it is extremely tasty and at the same times low in calories.

For the end, it is highly important to remember that whenever you feel thirsty, water is the first thing you should go for, and instead of coffee, try hibiscus tea, that can also serve as a base for delicious and refreshing margaritas.

So have all the fruit and vegetable salads you can, show your hot figure you worked on for the hot summer, and emphasize it with tiny colorful outfits. Do not overdo your makeup, hydrate your body, and make sure that your pedi’s are always ready for an open-toe sandal, and mani’s for evening fruit cocktails.


 Author BIO:

Sophia Smith is a freelance writer from Brisbane, Australia with huge interest in beauty, makeup, fashion, photography and graphic design. Sophia is also very passionate about DIY projects. She could be described as beauty addict and life lover. She writes in mostly beauty related topics, mainly through blogs and articles.

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Six Sexy Summer Lipsticks: Pink Edition


1. NARS Audacious Lipstick  “Michiyo // 2. Stila ‘stay All Day’ Liquid Lipstick “Fiore” // 3. Ilia Lipstick Crayon “Call Me”  4. tarte Amazonian butter lipstick “Watermelon”// 5. Lipstick Queen Silver Screen Lipstick “Play It” // 6. Urban Decay Sheer Revolution “Obsessed” 

Are you ready for summer? Frankly, summer is my least favorite season. It’s hot, sticky, and I my makeup always seems to be melting off my face by noon.  It’s been at least 80 degrees over the past month so we started “summer” a couple weeks ago. Now that summer is here, I’ve lightened the amount of makeup I wear and traded fierce eyes for a more natural look with a bolder lipstick.

Bold, Bright, Beautiful are the first three words that pop into my head when I think about the “ideal” summer color. Like spring, pinks and corals are in but instead of the soft colors that match the spring flowers, I have started to lean towards super bright colors, most of which I prefer to try on in the comforts of my own home but am starting to feel more confident about wearing outside. I’ve recently traded my burgundies and nudes for an even more intense (and sometimes intimidating color): a gloriously bold fuchsia.

As a relatively new lipstick user, I’ve always shied away from bold colors, mostly because I am always worried about looking more like a clown than the girls on the cover of my favorite fashion magazines. When I was younger I was told to stay away from bright colors and stick to colors that conformed with my brown skin and dark hair. But with the trends ever changing and a tad of rebellion, I’ve decided to go ahead and try my luck wearing something a little more progressive. The 21st marks the beginning of summer and the start of a new season of color. I’ve searched far and wide throughout my growing lipstick collection (and my favorite Pinterest boards) to bring you my favorite pink colors. Be bold, go on beautifully, and brighten up summer with audaciously PINK lips.

What is your favorite summer lip color?


What Makes Our Relationship Work & 7 Tips That Helped Us Improve It

heart-762564_1920I don’t mean to brag but my relationship is pretty amazing–it must be, I am still exhilarated by the thought of marrying my fiancee and starting a life together as a family. No, our relationship is not perfect and we still have our share of heated arguments, disagreements, and much more but we have reached a point where we are constantly learning to love our strengths, tolerate our weaknesses, and learning to embrace our differences.

It hasn’t been long but that doesn’t mean that it’s been a walk in the park. Our personalities are complete opposites–I can be pretty brash under stress and am not the most motivated person, on the other hand he is logical and puts effort into his work. The first hundred arguments were aggressive, we spent more time yelling “you don’t” instead of “I feel”. But, the more we fought the more we realized that we couldn’t let go. I won’t bore you with a sappy love story, it wasn’t uphill from there but we are slowly moving in the right direction.

It’s been a crazy almost three years but I don’t regret much, all I know are that these are the things that have kept us going strong.

1. We Say “Please” and “Thank You”: Sure, it’s a no-brainer that manners can take you a long way but many people in relationship often feel that politeness is for strangers and the elderly. Regardless of how close you are, never underestimate of a well placed “magic word”.

2. We Try to Focus on “We” Instead of “I”: I must start with reiterating how difficult it can be to be selfless and sacrificial; I am by no means a pro in any sense of the word. But, relationships are primarily a team and it takes a lot of reassessing of priorities to really figure out what you want and what you as a couple need. That doesn’t mean all of my goals and desires went out the window, but I needed to reassess whether we were going in the same direction. After all, he is my partner in life, we are in it together and we are set on making it work.

3. We Have Mini-Dates: Nothing big and fancy, no flowers or chocolates or a midnight serenade, just mini-dates. We take a walk, have a coffee in a shop and talk about nonsense, watch an action movie at home because even though we are always together, taking out the time to do small activities together has only help build or relationships and keep the romance going.

4. We Express Our Reasons: We don’t always agree and aren’t always 100% happy with the other’s decision or actions. Instead of yelling and throwing things we give each other space and talk it out. “When you did this I felt…” “I wasn’t happy about this…” “I feel that…”. Men sometimes complain that women focus too much on their feelings but when the man actually opens up, you will notice that a lot of the actions that a man takes and feels are often motivated by emotion. Everyone feels something, sometime it just takes a little bit to express it. And when talking it out doesn’t do much good…

5. We Compromise: We don’t fight for something we don’t feel strongly about so most of our relationship has been spent learning the art of leading a good compromise. It can be something as silly as “I will do the dishes this week if you do the laundry” but it has helped us leave so many would be fights behind us.

6. We Forgive: I can’t hold a grudge for long and it takes him a lot to get angry. We take a time out and learn to kiss and makeup. In the end, no one needs to get kicked out of the house and no promises need to be broken. We learn a little about each other everyday but nothing is stronger than “forgiveness”.

7. We Focus on Accepting, Not Fixing: There is a pretty sizable list of the habits and mannerisms I would like to change in him, I am sure the list doubles when it comes to me. In the beginning, we spent a significant amount of time nit-picking, hoping that with time we would get to create the perfect significant other. However, that only drove us apart. He is not perfect but I fell in love with most of him and I am learning to appreciate the faults. It’s the differences that we have between us that makes us happy to have each other in our lives.

I don’t need 11 years of marriage or tons of experience to know love, it is just something you feel. Relationships work in different ways and while some are full of romance like in the movies, most of them are just like us: simple, loving, and a work in progress. Our relationship is not cookie-cutter, but that’s just what I love about it.

What has keep your relationship going? What makes it work?



Coping with Loss: Helping Loved Ones Mourn


In the midst of chaos and disorganization, my fiancee lost his grandmother about a month ago. It was very sudden but not unexpected, she had been diagnosed with stomach cancer a few months prior and had been in and out of the hospital, in obvious pain, and quite miserable. My fiancee and his grandmother we close, more than close, she was practically a second mother to him and had been there for him ever since he was born. He was the star grandson, they joked and just understood each other. He wasn’t ready to let go, honestly, I’ve never met anyone that was ready to let go of a loved one, regardless of how close or distant.

He was and is still grieving the lost of one of the women he felt closest to. Following an exhausting three day funeral, he was drained: his mind, body, and spirit had completely collapsed. He didn’t have the time to grieve in the way he had wanted to. If I am sad, I cry and cry and cry until I can no longer let it out. On the contrary, he brooded and sunk deeper and deeper into solitude. He would spend hours lounging around home, without purpose and without desire for it. He cried here and there but in general wanted to push it as far from his mind as he could. I felt helpless because I didn’t know what to do. I know what I wanted to say, “she’s in a better place”, “she isn’t suffering anymore”, “she lived a good life, let’s just cherish the memories”. I wanted to repeat all the things I had heard from movies and funerals but I knew that none of it was the right thing to say.

I wanted to distract him by talking about the wedding, about our future, about all the good things that had happened over the last year but it wasn’t enough. This experience made me realize how useless I am when it comes to handling these sorts of situations. But, I’ve learned a lot and here are some of the most important lessons I’ve learned.

1. Be there.There is no need for a long speech, no need for a few words of wisdom or a favorite quote, the only thing that the mourner needs is a shoulder to cry on, a hug, a kiss, something to remind them that you are there and you care for them, that your needs are their priority and you are with them in their time of need.

2. Don’t victimize them. This is a given but I have heard people take the ostricizing approach to comforting others. Sure, it may be selfish to want to keep a suffering person alive longer but the honest truth is that cutting off thoughts of a person that you have been talking to and living with for the past 25 years just isn’t going to happen overnight.

3. Think twice and then think a third time before speaking. Really think about what you are going to say. Ask the mourner if they want to talk about it, if not, leave it alone. Don’t force people to think that they have to face the idea of loss to get over it faster. Everyone grieves in their own way, telling them “It is better this way” may not be what they want to hear. In my experience, it is better to do more listening than talking.

4. Let them grieve. Grieving takes time, like serious time. Three years down the line they could still be talking about their loss and by no means should you cut them off or tell them to “get over it”. Did you get over the death of a loved one overnight? Good for you but don’t expect other people to.

5. Recognize harmful behavior. Some grievers like to blame themselves, this is when you should jump in to encourage them. Take them out for a meal, remind them to cherish memories and not regret the lack of them. Try to keep the person as positive as possible. If it is more serious than you think, contact a professional.

Learning to grieve and help others through the grieving process is challenging. My fiancee and I lost a great woman and while I do regret not being able to communicate with her as directly as I wanted to, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to establish a relationship with such a beautiful and amazingly strong woman.