Summertime is the best time to start something new. Something about the sunshine and calm of it all inspires me and motivates me. While most would say it’s the perfect time to get lazy and do nothing, I find something invigorating about the relaxed pace of this season. It’s the perfect time to learn something new, start a new romance, make over your life, without pressure. Since the summer is known as the time most people shut off and take is easy, it’s as if mistakes and failures during this time don’t count for as much. You could have been on vacation doing nothing productive, so if nothing comes of your new actions during the summer months, there’s less guilt and disappointment attached.
What better thing to start during the summer than a new business venture? Business, it seems, is the new trend but unlike the latest fashion style, this is a trend that can eventually pay off! With CEOs and entrepreneurs getting younger and younger, building your own business has become the cool thing to do. But, it is hard work even if you’re doing what you love. When you’re doing what you love, it is easier to work harder. Perfect example: Your crush asks you for a favor and a person you could do without asks you for the same exact favor, no matter who you do it for the effort required would be the same, however for your crush it’d feel A LOT easier and you may even be willing to go a little bit above the bare minimum. That’s how you have to treat your work, no matter WHAT you’re doing, no matter how much you’re being paid.
Two books I recommend reading if you’re a girl looking for some business inspiration and guidance are #Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso, NastyGal’s Founder & CEO (At this point, I don’t think there’s a single girl under the age of 25 in the USA that hasn’t contributed to her success!) and The Glitter Plan: How We Started Juicy Couture for $200 and Turned it into a Global Brand by Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor with Booth Moore. While both books are written by women fashion entrepreneurs, they still offer plenty of sound advice for anyone with a brand of any kind. In 2014, it’s safe to say that no matter what you’re doing or who you’re working for, YOU are your brand. Whether you are working for yourself or want to be hired by someone else or are trying to get a date, YOU is a brand. Branding & business can be applied to any and all areas of your life, professional or not.
And, of course you can always opt to listen to these books on Audible. You can download your first audiobook of your choice by going to audible.com/missjessica.
*NONE of the publishers/brands mentioned/recommended are paying me to mention them in this post!
It’s summer in the city and I’m here to talk about my favorite summer “trends” to keep you looking and feeling beautiful. I’m not a big fan of using the word “trends.” I’m a big believer in doing what you like and what works for you. But, after the long winter we’ve had in NYC, those “trends” can feel really refreshing and lift up our spirits for those hot summer months! Here are some of my favorite things to do beauty-wise when the temperatures are on the rise:
It seems like it was forever ago when Victoria Beckham transitioned from the Spice Girl that never smiled into one of the biggest fashion icons of our time that (still!) never smiles. I’ve always loved her style; even back when she wore all those little mini dresses and sang all those songs with those four (okay, sometimes three! Ginger was my favorite, dammit!) other girls… What I love about this ensemble is it’s a bit unexpected and out of most people’s comfort zone. Mixing patterns is a thing, y’all! The thin stripes on the button down blouse work with the tiny little flowers decorating that fitted pencil skirt. Go through your closet and have fun pairing patterns you wouldn’t normally consider and allow yourself to surprise yourself. A dainty, platform-less stilettos keep the look timeless and sophisticated. And of course, you can’t walk through a crowded airport without a large pair of dark shades to cover your eyes and give you the illusion of privacy. Just because you don’t have a “Beckham Budget” doesn’t mean you can’t still get a chic look for a lot less!
Here’s how to get the look! I hope this helps everyone who has difficulty figuring out how to use a clipless/curling iron without a clamp! (P.S. If you don’t have a curling iron without a clamp, just use your regular curling iron without using the clamp. Wrap the hair over it & you’ll get a similar effect!) :
This is such a cute hairstyle! Can be worn as a high ponytail but I really love how girly a good half-up half-down look is. The great thing about fluffy waves during the summer is it’s okay if the hair gets a bit frizzy. The bigger the hair, the closer to God! Lol Here’s how the hair looks when it’s all down:
1. Clean Out Your Closet / Any Area of Your Life - Clutter and disorganization are the devil. Holding onto things you don’t need or use only takes up space that can be used for things you will love and inhibits your freedom. When your surroundings are messy and your items don’t have a home, you’ll waste a LOT of time looking for things, time that can be better spent not stressing over that search. If you haven’t gotten around to “spring cleaning”, now’s the time. If you “don’t have the time” at least take 10-15 minutes to go through your wardrobe and pull out things that you haven’t worn/don’t need and set it aside to give away or toss. On the other side if you find something you haven’t worn but “Love!” and “OMG! Totally forgot I had this!” place it up front in your closet and resolve to wear it at least once this month or out it goes! Taking a quick look through your closet every so often will refresh your memory about what you own and end up saving you money that you might have spend purchasing something really similar.
2. Try / Learn Something New - Are there things in your life that you used to enjoy and find pleasure in but no longer have the same excitement for? Contrary to what some commercials might tell you, it doesn’t mean you’re depressed. As humans, it’s natural for us to “get used to” / become desensitized a bit after a while. This is why it’s so important to learn new things whenever possible. It’ll give you something new to get excited about and give you a little space from the things you love so that you can revisit them from a fresh perspective. I recently came across a website called skillshare (not sponsored!) where for $10 a month you can take online classes in almost anything!
3. Check for Memberships & Trial Memberships You Don’t Use + Cancel Them - Speaking of monthly memberships, while there are some I love and want to be a part of forever, there have been a few that I have grown out of or was just trying out and have forgotten to cancel after the trial membership expired. These things are easy to forget and can easily add up. You’ll thank me later!
Being ambitious and goal-oriented is a good thing. It means you’re living with a purpose and you do what you do for a reason. The problem is that just because you are working towards something doesn’t mean you won’t find yourself feeling lost from time to time. It’s natural that after a point your creativity doesn’t feel like it’s flowing, you begin to second-guess yourself more than usual, and it just seems like you’re having trouble concentrating. When this happens, all is not lost. In my experience, the moments where you feel like you’re hitting a wall can be compared to the quiet before the storm and it’s really important to break out of that state of feeling like your brain is just not cooperating. Here are some of my tips for how to stay focused + creative without burning out!
1. Quiet Time - It’s easy for us to feel overwhelmed these days. With technology and social media, we’re all more accessible than we’ve ever been. There’s tons of information to keep up with, people to respond to, things to check up on, etc. (and I’m not even talking about your personal relationships, although those are not dismissed either.) Making time in the morning and at night to just sit and do nothing, and I mean nothing, just sitting up straight with your eyes closed and focusing on your breathing, can be the most freeing experience and can make a world of a difference in how you approach your day and handle stress. In some ways, simply experiencing that not engaging with anything or anyone for 20 minutes first thing in the morning or 20 minutes later in the day will not ruin anything can be very calming. Trying meditation (a lot of the most successful people swear by TM or Transcendental Meditation) is shown to greatly improve the quality of life by decreasing stress which in turn helps you focus and work more effectively.
2. Schedule Breaks - This is especially important if you’re self-employed/entrepreneur/work-for-yourself (however you describe yourself) as it’s easy to get distracted. Simply scheduling time for when you are going to eat, check out some articles you really wanted to look at online, etc. can be really helpful at keeping you focused throughout the day. Often times, just knowing that there is a time set aside for allowing yourself to indulge in these activities will keep you from straying off course.
3. Find Ways to Make Things Fun - When we first jump into a new project, we’re really excited and have all of these ideas. Then when we really get to work, that excitement tends to dwindle and fade away. This is where a lot of people give up. A simple thing to do is to remind yourself why you set out to do this thing in the first place, what would it mean to you to see this through? And ask yourself how you can make the work part more fun. Are there any activities that you can start to treat as a kind of game? Are there parts of the day where you can add some music? Any moments where you can get away with being a little silly?
4. Make Up For Lost Sleep & Time - Sundays are sleep in days for me. I’m a one-woman show and most nights I don’t get more than about 5-6 hours of sleep. But sleep is really important for your brain. So on Sundays, I allow myself to stay in bed for as long as I want to. If I don’t get to do this on Sunday, I’ll pick another day. But my point is, I give myself one day a week to not do much of anything and to use it to catch up on sleep and/or strengthen + maintain my personal relationships. Often times, your best ideas will come to you in your down time and you won’t be able to wait to get to take advantage of them and get to work.
5. Bye, Bye Screens – These days, most of us not only work on our computers, laptops, phones, iPads and tablets, etc. but we also practically live off of them. Keeping distractions to a minimum is essential during “work hours” but also stepping away from these things and engaging with the real non-digital world can give you the mental recharge you need.
6. A Body in Motion Stays in Motion - Working out and getting some physical activity is really important. I read an article a while ago that said sitting for too long can pretty much kill you and so I’ve been routinely forcing myself to stand whenever I can. Besides that, exercise boosts endorphins which help you feel better and give you energy. For most people, incorporating even 20 minutes of exercise into your day 3-4 times a week can do more good for you and your mental health and stamina than any antidepressant.
In the past month or two, I’ve been working on some projects that have been far outside of my comfort zone and what I’ve been used to. Learning to take on these new responsibilities and keep focused has been a challenge but these are some of the things I like to keep in mind whenever I feel like “my batteries” are draining. If you have any questions or things that you like to do to keep focused, send me a tweet @jessicaharlow! I’d love to hear from you. xx
As I told you all in my Draw My Life, I was never a very big fan of Disney princesses. I always preferred the villains. They were just so much more complex and interesting. They seemed like they had better stories to tell. Of course, Maleficent was always my favorite. She is hands-down the most evil and terrifying of all the villains. I am SO excited to get to see the movie when it comes out next week. And who more perfect to play the role than the gorgeous and often misunderstood, Angelina Jolie? Keep reading for the tutorial along with a list of the products I used + photos!