Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Appreciating Differences


We are all different. That I know for sure.

Different strengths, weaknesses, interests, hopes, desires, comfort levels.

This point was made very clear to me yesterday at a "team building" activity I participated in.

I was terrified - and had several excuses for not going: my back and knee issues; it was cold and I didn't want to get sick; it was raining. 

But I showed up. And I tried it. I did not like it. But I learned a lot. And maybe that's really the point. Not everything is fun for everyone. But learning through difficult situations is awesome. At least, I think so!

The activity was a high ropes challenge course. I'm afraid of heights - although that actually ended up being the least of my concerns. In the end the height didn't really bother me. It was more the instability I felt on the course, concerns about my back, and the insecurities I felt about not being very good at the activity and not having fun.

Everyone else was having fun. So why wasn't I? (I'm holding on for dear life in the picture above.) Even my husband and 6-year-old daughter exclaimed the course looked like SO much fun to them.

My key take-away from the day was that for a team to thrive, we need to appreciate each others differences. Honor our strengths and try not to focus on our weaknesses, or improve where we can. After I spent about a half-hour on the course, I did the zip line (which I liked a lot) and then designated myself the zip line assistant. So I had a role, but it was on the ground!

In the end, I was glad I "showed up" and I have a better appreciation for each person's different talents. For as a colleague of mine proclaimed yesterday, the definition of team really is Together Everyone Achieves More.

Here are a few more pictures to give you a flavor of the day.


These guys look excited!

Here we go!

What do you think? Is this up your alley?

What have you done recently that took you out of your comfort zone?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I Like People Who Smile When It's Raining


I saw this quote on glassybaby's instagram this morning and it made me, well, smile!

It's not an urban legend that it rains a lot in Seattle. In fact, according to Wikipedia, "Statistics show that the city is becoming wetter. Seattle receives the largest amount of rainfall of any U.S. city of more than 250,000 people in November, and is in the top 10 through winter, but is in the lower half of all cities from June to September. Seattle is in the top 5 rainiest U.S. cities by number of precipitations days, and it gets the least amount of annual sunlight of all major cities in the lower-48 states."

It's not always easy to smile when it's raining, for sure. So what are we Seattle-ites to do?  Embrace it. Smile. Add color!  

My favorite "rain accessory" is this very colorful umbrella. It not only makes me smile but people always comment on it, and usually smile too.

It's also fun to daydream about faraway, sunny colorful places when it's raining. This picture of colorful umbrellas over a street in Portugal always makes me smile.

Photo: Timepass

A friend sent me a link to this article about the Most Colorful Places in the World earlier today... this made me smile too!

But I always try to remember when it's not raining, Seattle is one of the most gorgeous cities. The rain helps give our city its nickname: the Emerald City. For without the rain, it wouldn't be so green. And green makes me smile.

How about you? What makes you smile when it's gray and rainy outside?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Kick-Ass Red Lips

“Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. 
That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.” ― Gwyneth Paltrow

One of my go-to accessories is lipstick; usually in a bold red color. If all else fails I put on lipstick!

I am not kidding when I say that about once a week someone asks me about my lip color. Several people have urged me to share my lipstick "secrets" here. So, today I'm doing just that.

It's pretty simple. I find great colors that I love. From high-end brands to drugstore brands. My current favorites are below.

Smashbox Mandarin (Photo: Sephora)

Revlon Fire & Ice (Photo:

NYX Eros (Photo: NYX Cosmetics)

Aveda Cana (Photo: BellaChique)

It's almost comical how similar these look, but they all make me feel different and are appropriate for different occasions.

You definitely need to try them on and see which colors you feel great in. Reds can go cool (with blue undertones) or warm (with yellow undertones) that turn them towards orange-red. If you can't try the color on your lips, at least try them on the back of your hand to see how they look with your skin tone. 

I read in Bazaar this weekend that amethyst, emerald and topaz lips are the new trend. I'm not sure if I could pull them off. I think I'll stick to my signature reds. How about you?!

Just remember: 

"The best color in the whole world is the one that looks good on you!"  ― Coco Chanel

Monday, November 4, 2013

50 Shades of Orange

Oh yes, I did! I went as 50 Shades of Orange for Halloween. I completely hated the book, well at least the 75 pages I read. But I was inspired by the 50 Shades of Gray costumes that were making their way around the Internet. I thought it would be fun, and completely appropriate, to do an orange version. Perfectly fitting as the color of Halloween and also my favorite color. 

The best part was going to the paint stores and collecting all of the orange paint chips. Yes, indeed, I wore 50 shades. The names are so fun and clever and yet, descriptive. On the brighter side, there is startling orange, carrot stick, tangelo, calypso orange and orange burst. On the duller side there is fall harvest, pumpkin cream, orange blossom, orange parrot, oriole and racing orange. The hot oranges are my favorites with names like outrageous orange, orange nectar, blazing orange, hot spice and tangerine dream. (These are all Benjamin Moore colors.)

I anchored my costume, down the middle, with Pantone's Tangerine Tango (2012 Color of the Year), Nectarine and Zinnia. And I even wore Sephora's Pantone Tangerine Tango lip gloss!

Orange is an energizing color. I feel more energy just from reading those names, not to mention having all of these hot color samples at my fingertips. Now, I need to figure out a fun, creative way to re-use all of these fabulous color swatches. I'm thinking of some kind of "installation" in my office... stay tuned.