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Thursday, January 17, 2013

29. Signature Fragrance



The woman shall know her signature fragrance and make it known to friends who engage in gift-exchange practices.

Knowing the fragrance notes that work with your natural oils (and moods!) is a great way to complete your already fabulous package.

Head to Sephora to get 3-4 samples of perfumes that could be flattering for you.  I love having a fragrance for day and night, and some ladies also prefer some perfumes during certain seasons.  The right perfume is a pleasant way to enter a room and an unforgettable way to make your exit.

Heading to a new address, for now



Hi lovelies!

I've been taking a break from the Wonderland to create a related blog with a slightly different intention.

Take a look at http://officialwomanlaws.blogspot.com/ when you get the chance.  I hope you like it!

Ciao y'all,
Allyson

28. Traveling Abroad




The woman shall begin travelling, studying, or working abroad as soon as possible;  if she is no longer of college age, she shall research chaperone opportunities to travel with and mentor college-age women.

I was a freshman at Clemson University...majoring in Spanish language & International trade, and I had the good fortune to learn about the numerous programs that were set up through the Clemson University Study Abroad office (if your college/university doesn't have one, I bet they have a partnership with another school in your state that does). 

For the summer after my freshman year, I went to Spain;  after my sophomore year, to Uganda, and after the junior year, to Mexico. 

If you're interested in working or studying abroad soon, it'd be great to plan out how that can happen. 

Here are a few ideas that could be helpful:

  1. Look in not-so-obvious places.  For the summer stint in Uganda, I participated in a research fellowship that was sponsored and funded by CUNY (City University of New York).  As it turns out, a professor at Clemson U.  helped to organize the program, and he submitted my application.  He was a professor in engineering (very far away from my language department!), but another professor who knew about my travel addiction put us in touch.....and Voila!
  2. Research scholarships.  There is sooooooo much funding available for studying abroad, particularly in concentrations like language and architecture, etc. whose subject matter deals with material that is located in different parts of the world.  Perhaps you could write it off as professional development. 
  3. Keep an eye out for conferences. 
  4.  Attending a conference abroad might not substantiate the cost in your supervisor's eyes, but what if you were invited to participate in a conference in say, Brazil!?!?!!??!   Research conferences, submit presentation ideas, and see what happens.  Many organizations that coordinate conferences offer to support a portion (if not all!) of participants' travel and accommodation fees. Start looking!

27. Community Networks



The woman shall be familiar with the organizations and popular clubs supported by other women in her community of dwelling. 

The good life is right in front of you - or perhaps across the street. There are so many community organizations (YWCA, churches, Meet-Up.com crews, etc.) that offer kinship with other women who share your interests, priorities, and tastes. 

Surrounding yourself with new female energy is a great way to feed new inspiration and color into your life. Closely research the organizations and establishments that aren't on your typical radar.

For example, take a look at ClubCore.  The country clubs are not just for the boys anymore.  I just joined the one in Winston-Salem, NC, and although the meetings, events, and monthly complimentary dinners are well worth the month-to-month fee, the friendships with like-minded women are priceless.

26. Career Touchdown



The woman shall develop a sound sense of a career that she is proud of, and she shall allow flexibility for it to evolve.

I've been working in my field since I left grad school.....that makes this my eighth anniversary... AWESOMENESS! 

I've had quite a few gigs over the years in my field (which is best summed up as building community, promoting philanthropy and fundraising), and I've had my fair share of gaps of occasional unemployment - we've been in a recession, ya'll! 

The track has been anything but routine, but sticking with my priorities over the years kept the career grounded, and it maintains a sense of excitement and enthusiasm within professional evolution.

A few lessons collected from colleagues to keep a high score in career points:

  1. Ask for what you know you deserve. If you've performed well for your company/firm/shop/employer, request the salary that reflects that.  Ladies, do not be humble here. You won't lose anything by adequately presenting your request and the background info to support it.  Earn what you know you're worth.
  2. Shop your resume.  A j.o.b. is short for Just Over Broke (thanks, Missy from Charleston, SC!).  In these days of lay-offs and shut downs, no job is ever certain.  If you're not a member of the executive staff or holder of all the IT secrets, keep your resume in constant circulation.
  3. Keep your eye on the prize.  Additionally, know that the prize will evolve. In my twenties, working internationally in the non-profit sector was really important to me.  After excercising my passport quite a bit, leadership is emerging as a priority.  I'm figuring that out day by day, but staying focused on the overall goal keeps me sharper, more curious, and more inspired with every click of the keyboard.

25. Pretty Refrigerators




The woman shall maintain a beautifully stocked refrigerator full of her favorite items from the lean and green food groups.

Our work, demands of the home, and unexpected to-do's don't make healthy eating very easy.  Whether you live alone or share a household, it's really important to make healthy foods available to yourself at all times.  You'll eat healthier if healthier food options are readily available.

Eating well can be more manageable once you equip yourself (and your fridge) with purposeful intent. If calculating the nutritional value of foods is too mind boggling (like it is for me!), focus on making your refrigerator as pretty and colorful as possible with natural foods.  Seriously - feng shui your fridge!

A few tips towards that end:
  1. Shop the periphery of the grocery store.  This keeps you in the sections full of fruits and veggies, meats, poultry, and all things natural (and good for you!). Shop for boxed products only when you absolutely must.
  2. Keep healthy snacks both at home and at work.  Almonds, raisins, and yogurt are some of my favorites.
  3. Commit to grocery shopping on a specific day of the week, and on a full stomach.

24. Traveling with a Gentleman Friend



The woman shall determine, prior to departure for a trip with a kind gentleman, what her relationship is with him, and her financial commitment to the trip shall reflect that level of interaction.

This one you must look at on a case by case basis, friends. 

If you know you and a guy you're traveling with are absolutely friends, be sure to split everything - cabs, bar tabs, hotel (if you're sharing a room), etc. - down the middle.  That way, you can feel confident that you're not setting up any false expectations.  Not that your guy friend (if he is indeed a genuine friend) would expect anything by covering more than you, but splitting all bills will give you the assurance that at the very least, he shouldn't.

If you and the guy are more than friends, work out with said more-than-friend what the fee structure will be before you make reservations for that Tier 2 hotel.  A guy once suggested a trip to me.  He said "I wanna take you to {insert desirable resort town}" and he asked me to make reservations...using my credit card. 

When I got the guts to ask him how we'd be handling the hotel bill (perhaps two weeks before the trip), he was more wishy-washy than Tide Ultraclean.  Needless to say, I canceled the reservations- and my further investment in a relationship with him.

23. The Untouchable $1,000



The woman shall have at least $1,000 in cash at her disposal at all times.

Borrowing a tip from Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace, earmark some of your income to create a $1,000 emergency fund - as a first step.  I'm a sucker for a sale (and outlet malls!) and so this has always been tough for me.

For a good while, I saved up $1,000 just to have at my disposal in case of anything.  After a solid 4 months, I fell off the wagon, and now I'm back to saving.  I can say, though, that during my $1,000 run, I felt more confident when I paid bills, more reluctant to make unnecesary purchases, and more faithful in my ability to build an impressive savings account.

Having money in the bank is less of a financial affair - it's more related to mental well-being. Find your way to both and sock that grand away ASAP.

22. Beating your PB



The woman shall know her PB and measure her progress by beating it.

Knowing your PB  (personal best in the sense of working out) gives you a great benchmark, and can help you set goals for your commitment to physical well-being.

It's tough to work out with gal pals who have been commited to Insanity or those who are P90X pros when the only thing running for the past six months in your world has been your refrigerator. An idea could be to ask a dear friend to work out with you one day and give you the personal motivation to do your best.

Record all your times, calorie counts, pace, and incline and try to do better each time you work out. Try to develop a schedule that's manageable for you - the worst workouts are the ones you skip.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

20. Shapewear Selection



The woman shall invest in appropriate foundation pieces that compliment her frame and form.

Many of us have all have those dresses that need a little....restructuring of our form.  From girdles to SPANX, shapewear for the modern woman has evolved. 

Love your body, but know what it'll take to be ultimately confident.  For me, tummy troubles used to restrict me to loose fitting dresses.  I invested in a few pieces (both in nude and black) to streamline my physique, and they really work for me when the occasion arises. The most important thing is that your shapewear flatter you- and not make you short of breath.

Of course this is a temporary fix....still waiting for my time in the gym to show me what it's worth.

19. Cosmetic Consultation



The woman shall own cosmetic products (and application knowledge) that best suit her unique features.

In these, the days of Nicki Minaj-type masks and tattooed mascara, so many ladies hide themselves under pounds of concealer, miles of false eyelashes, and lipstick so oily that I'm sure it requires EPA approval.

Mastering make-up is an evolving skill.  Your skin will change, as will the way you want to appear.  Take advantage of the cosmetic expertise at your local department store and book an appointment.  Don't be suckered into buying everything they recommend, but be prepared to snatch up the cosmetics that you know will work for you.

A couple pointers that seem to work really well:
  1. Bronzer can double as an awesome blush.
  2. Once you find the shade of red lipstick that works for you (mine is Dubonet by MAC - and there's a perfect shade for every woman), get loads of it at the Company Cosmetic Store (an outlet store).
  3. Define your lips or define your eyes.  Choose one, as accentuating both adds years, folks tell me.

18. Commitments to a Cause



The woman shall know and support the do-good efforts that make her heart skip a beat.

Balancing community life is hard - believe me!  But making an honest effort - even if it's simply learning more about the cause that you care about - will make your life really fulfilling (and interesting!).

Whatever you care about, find a way to volunteer, donate, serve on a board, or perhaps even consult pro-bono.  Put your assets to great use. 

17. Favorite Sports Teams



The woman shall know the current stats of a favorite team and attempt to talk smack in the presence of rival fans.

The athletic culture is a global phenomenon, and it's a language that most men speak.  It's amazing that a man can talk sports to any other man, and they automatically have a common bond.

I've never been around a crew that heavily talks about, engages in, or participates in tail-gating, game-watching, or talking smack about rival teams. 

This changed a few months ago once I made the decision to become more familiar with the universe of sports - and the Philadelphia Eagles.

I'd recommend picking your favorite city and your favorite sport, and then make an honest effort to follow that that team.  Take a look at the hot players and keep an eye on the game schedule.  You never know who might have mutual team taste.

16. Bra fittings

The woman shall present twin peaks that are comfortably seated.

Know your bra size - and know that it will likely fluctuate (even within a year!).  I've got about 3 different bra sizes represented in my collection - bras fit differently, and that's ok.

It is very helpful to go get a bra fitting.  I promise Victoria will keep your secret. 

15. Home cooked meals




The woman shall know how to prepare a meal fit for a queen.

By no means am I aiming to send us back 50 years, but every woman should master at least one meal and be able to present it well - even if it's a fancy salad. 

Not for anyone else - simply for yourself. 

14. Professional Looking Photos




The woman shall be proud of her marketing outreach opportunities.

This isn't limited to just women - every person who holds a job (or a LinkedIn account) should have a professionally-taken photo at her/his disposal.

It doesn't have to be standard - it can be artsy, creative, and inspirational (like this stunning photo of Judith Jamison).

For ladies, it's imperative - you never know when you'll be honored by an organization (and have to submit a flattering photo for the printed program) or be featured in the newspaper (and have your image viewed by thousands in your community). 

You can't submit that picture that your gal pal took of you looking tipsy at the Rosa Mexicana nor that GlamorShot from 5 years ago. 
You simply can't. 

13. Signature Drinks



The woman shall not be stuck at the bar without a clue.

If you're out and about with the girls, on a date with that special gentleman, or at a company function (where you've ensured that your colleagues and supervisor have already ordered tasty spirits), know what you like and how to order it.

Don't just ask for a glass of white wine.

Don't mispronounce Cabernet.

Don't have what he's having.

Do your homework, and order something that's tasty,and try to order something more original than a cosmo, too!  For me, St. Germaine's with a splash of Smirnoff's and club soda does the trick everytime!

12. Your DreamTeam


The woman shall have the appropriate support team in place. 

Depending on your lifestyle, location, and priorities, your DreamTeam may be drastically different from that of your gal pals.  But, if you have a great team in place, feel free to make recommendations to those ladies who just might need it.

Some team member ideas:
  1. The hair stylist who knows your curl pattern, age, and face structure
  2. The perfect local spa
  3. The inexpensive nail spot that can do a quick mani/pedi for like $35
  4. The tailor that knows curves well and how to drape fabric fantastically
  5. The 24-hour pharmacy

11. Prenuptial Agreements



The woman shall know the financially measurable value of her investment in a marriage.

In the dating world of the fabulous, it's abolutely imperative that you know where you stand on these papers.  I was on a first date with a really great guy (a tad older, and with many accomplishments, mind you!) and he posed the question around how I felt about prenups.  I was stunned! 

Be serious about your future - and protecting yourself and your family. 

For me, I hate thinking about divorce before marriage is even in the picture.  However, I do want to be secure, and I'd want my husband to feel secure, too.

So my stance is this: 

If we get a divorce, I get half.
If we get a divorce and you're caught cheating, I get half plus $1M in emotional damages.

10. Marriage Manifesto



The woman shall have a confident response to the question "Are you married?"

(For married ladies, skip this post.)

For single ladies, this can be a potentially tumultuous moment reminding us of our singlehood.  I know you can't stand it when you hear, "But you're so {insert complimentary word}.  Why aren't you married?"

It's not a fault/flaw that we're not married, nor is it fully under our control - it's just a circumstance. 

Instead of the typical response of "I just haven't met him yet," craft something that will put a nice bowtie ending to the conversation.

My response is something colorful like, "Well, I'm very eccentric, and once my equally eccentric guy and I meet, we'll get married be very happy."

If you want to really end the coversation, answer the question "Why aren't you married?" with a response like "Because I don't want a divorce."                          *Awkward!

9. Floral Patterns



The woman shall know her limits with Vera Bradley-esque lifestyle products.  

I'm known to visit the VB Outlet in Orlando to pick up a healthy stash of pretty pens, but too many patterns can be a headache! 

I've just gotten my order from Thirty-One, and I'm really excited about how easy they make my life.  Here again, know your limits.

Shout out to Diana (Memphis, TN) and Jeff (Gainesville, FL) on this one.

8. Another Woman's Nude



The woman shall identify her skin tone in nude hosiery, and stock up on aforementioned products.

Nude for me is NOT nude for Angelina Jolie, and more hosiery manufacturers are becoming aware of the vast array of skin colors and tones. 

Once you find the perfect shade of your nude, stock up on those like it's the Depresssion!  Your skin tone may change come summer, but you won't be wearing hosiery that often anyway.

7. Issues Affecting Women



The woman shall be informed about major current issues and legislation affecting women in her country and around the world.

Many women have battled and argued for us to have the abundant lives that we enjoy here in the Free World, and we owe it to women around the world and our own future generations to be informed about how the world is treating our tender gender.

Here's a quick overview of some articles that reflect events, topics, and trends affecting women:
  1. Doctor: Young woman gang-raped in India dies
  2. Equal Pay for Equal Work:  Not Even College Helps Women
  3. Prenups:  What Every Bride Should Know
What're you reading today?

6. Cracked Nail Polish



The woman shall repair cracked nail polish immediately or remove it altogether.

I type really hard really fast, leaving me open to cracked nails, especially on my ring fingers.  The solution - I keep nail polish remover, files, and a bottle of OPI in my desk at all times. 

If you're in the business where you're signing checks, contracts, or reviewing paperwork with clients and prospects, they'll notice your nails.  Make sure your nails can speak for themselves, k?

5. The Woman List



The woman shall know what she expects of herself at all times.
 
Ladies, at some point in our lives, we've developed the overflowing (and sometimes impractical) Man List.  When it comes to relationships, let's start creating lists about ourselves- this will keep us a bit more grounded in building a more delightful, attractive, and life-loving self, and it will also help keep us focused on becoming better women all-around.


4. Efforts to Compromise - or Not


The woman shall know how flexible she should - or should not be - in specific issues that surface in relationships of a romantic nature.

Every relationship is different, and heck - even YOU'RE different in every relationship that you have. 

So as not to lose yourself (and your mind!) when dealing with gentleman friends, develop a list of 3-5 items that you will not be willing to compromise.  This helps you to remain 100% authentically you in the course of your relationship.  If he's the right guy for you, he'll respect you for it. Plus, it'll stop you from wasting time.

My quick list of Noncompromisables:
  1. If he's drowning in debt, been unemployed for 1 year+, or is being sought after for defaulted child support payments, it's a no go.
  2. No boinking before monogamy.
  3. If he doesn't care about, talk about, or plan anything around a healthy lifestyle, it won't be good for us.  I want him around for a while.
Mine isn't very long - I'm aiming to be more flexible about the small stuff, so I'll purposely keep this list short.  Don't want to miss the love of my life!

3. Label Whores Galore




The woman shall know what clothing flatters her, and she shall stay in this lane.

We love all things colorful, fun, uplifting, and well-fitting.  No matter your preference - Abercrombie, Liz Claiborne, Michal Kors, Ralph Lauren, or any of the eye-catching tags - just know what's appropriate for you, your environment, and your event.

I won't venture to say that some labels are age-specific (although we all know they have certain demographics that they serve), but get a sense from your gal pals about what should make an immediate exit - stage left! - from your closet.

And no track suits at the company picnic, ladies.

2. Fat Booty Pics



The woman shall retain all compromising photos of herself for only private viewing under her supervision.

Posting pictures of your booty (or any suggestive image of yourself) on Facebook or any other social media outlet is a poor reflection of who you are, the lady you're aiming to be, and the woman that employers and would-be boyfriends will inevitably Google. 

Get a life and some self respect. 

If you have a friend who posts such disgusting images of herself, defriend her immediately and tell her why.

This one is courtesy of Jami in Atlanta, GA.

1. Know that you're already enough





The woman shall maintain a high level of confidence, self-love, and growth.

With so many magazines, TV shows, and Yahoo! ads telling us gals that we need to look younger, skinnier, and sexier every hour of the day, we've got to pull the plug on all of these social expectations of who we should try to be.

As long as you're aiming to be a better you, keep up the great work.

Monday, January 14, 2013

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