How to Dress Like a Boss When You’re Pregnant

How to Dress Like a Boss When You're Pregnant A Guide to Maternity Shopping for Professional Moms-to-Be

A Guide to Maternity Shopping for Professional Moms-to-Be

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I had a moment of wardrobe-induced panic when my baby bump started showing two summers ago. How could I possibly replace my entire work wardrobe in just a few weeks? And without spending a fortune?

Believe it or not, I ended up LOVING my maternity wardrobe. In fact, I think that was the happiest I’ve ever been with my outfit options – everything was chic, comfortable, and easy to mix-and-match. Read on for the top five tips and tricks that got me through!

1.     Hautelook/Nordstrom Rack website

Hautelook was my #1 go-to source for good-quality, professional maternity clothes at reasonable prices. My favorite brand to wear to work was Leota (by far!), followed by Olian and Lilac Maternity. I took advantage of free shipping (over $100) to order a few dresses per sale, try them on at home, and then return all but one or two favorites.

Pro tip: Scoring good finds on Hautelook takes pretty frequent checking, like every other day or so, since the “flash sales” are only available for a few days at a time. But I found that persistence paid off because they had maternity sales pretty regularly.

2.     Double Your Maternity Wardrobe for $30 or Less

How to Double Your Maternity Wardrobe for $30 or LessYou already know that a statement necklace is one of my four secrets to dressing like a boss in 5 minutes or less. This blog post makes a pretty convincing argument that statement necklaces are, in fact, your fashion secret weapon while pregnant. I couldn’t agree more!

3.     Try Non-Maternity Clothes

When I was pregnant, I found myself unexpectedly needing to shop for a work trip while I was on vacation. A friend of mine (to whom I’ll be forever grateful) pointed me to Xpecting, a maternity boutique that specializes in non-maternity clothes! This sounds like an oxymoron, I know. But they were geniuses at finding regular clothes with a cut that flatters a baby bump. Those “emergency” purchases are still some of my favorite clothes – and my little one is over a year old! If you can’t visit Southern California anytime soon, check out Xpecting’s Pinterest boards for inspiration. Or try asking someone on staff at your favorite boutique what they’d recommend for a mom-to-be!

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4.     A Bun in the Oven and a Mother in Court

Do you wear a suit to work? Corporette has published not one, but two articles on finding formal business attire when you’re expecting, and how to fake it if you can’t find a maternity suit you like. (My two cents: I wore an Isabella Oliver maternity blazer over a coordinating dress when I needed to suit up.)

5.     Where to Shop for Maternity Clothes

If all else fails, check out this comprehensive post from Maternal Reasoning, which gives moms-to-be lots of shopping (and rental) options for both work and play!

What are your favorite maternity style secrets? Let me know in the comments below!

*Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of my affiliate links and make a purchase, I may receive a commission for referring you. This comes at no extra cost to you. I’m grateful for your support!

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Motivation Monday: Explore. Dream. Discover.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream.  Discover.

– Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

Click here for more inspirational quotes from Brainy Business Babe!

Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.

Stay true to yourself. An original is worth more than a copy.

Whatever you are, be a good one.

Join us, brainy business babe!

Sign up for the Brainy Business Babe Weekly Mood Booster e-mail and get my free daily intention-setting tool! I hope it brings a smile to your Monday mornings.

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Motivation Monday: Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. - Seneca

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.

Seneca

Click here for more inspirational quotes from Brainy Business Babe!

Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.

Stay true to yourself. An original is worth more than a copy.

Whatever you are, be a good one.

Join us, brainy business babe!

Sign up for the Brainy Business Babe Weekly Mood Booster e-mail and get my free daily intention-setting tool! I hope it brings a smile to your Monday mornings.

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Brainy Business Book Review: Start with Why by Simon Sinek (2009)

Brainy Business Book Review: Start with Why by Simon Sinek (2009). By popular demand, the Brainy Business Book Review is back! Here’s another savvy book summary from my Brainy Business Dad, Don Fletcher.

To Read or Not to Read?

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By popular demand, the Brainy Business Book Review is back! Here’s another savvy book summary from my Brainy Business Dad, Don Fletcher.

My dad is a real career advice guru: he’s read about 500 business books just in the last 15 years. (How did he find the time?? We’ll talk about that in a future post.) With all those books under his belt, he really knows the good from the bad from the just plain boring.

Is Start with Why worth a read or a waste of time? Read on to find out. Take it away, Dad!

The Brainy Business Book: Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Start with Why is the second in a string of bestsellers from Sinek, who also authored Leaders Eat Last and Together is Better. As its subtitle suggests, it illuminates the concept of “How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.”

The book is worthwhile for just this one point: it explains the process uplifting leaders, from Martin Luther King to Steve Jobs, followed to inspire their followers. This simple yet powerful concept should be applied in business and in life. That said, there are shortcomings that keep Start with Why off the top 25 business books list (more on this later).

How do great leaders make a difference, according to Sinek? They inspire us by focusing on WHY. His opening quote describes it best:

There are leaders and there are those who lead.
Leaders hold a (formal) position of power or influence.
Those who lead inspire us. We follow those who lead not because we have to, but because we want to.
We follow those who lead not for them, but for ourselves.

Sinek claims that effective leaders must explain WHY their followers should act prior to providing the facts around HOW they should act and WHAT they should do.  By analyzing organizations that have succeeded and those that have lost their way, he illustrates the importance of starting with WHY.

Here are my top 4 insights from the book:

Insight #1: Manipulation versus Inspiration

Sinek argues that “there are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it or you can inspire it.” (Click here to tweet)

Manipulations commonly used in business include special pricing, promotions, and scare tactics, among others. In politics, enticing promises may get a candidate elected, but they do not form the foundation for great leadership.

The reason organizations and people employ manipulation is that it can be very effective in generating short-term action (e.g. buying what’s on special at the grocery store). For a one-time transaction, manipulation is the most effective way to induce the desired behavior.

However, the foundation of great leadership is to inspire loyalty over the long run, when support is generated through thick and thin.  So how do great leaders do it?

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Insight #2: Inspirational Leaders and the Golden Circle

According to Sinek, every inspiring leader “thinks, acts and communicates in exactly the same way.” And it is the exact opposite from everyone else!

Sinek designed the Golden Circle diagram (modeled after the mathematical relationship of the golden ratio) to illustrate this communication pattern.

Simon Sinek's golden circle diagram: Inspirational leaders communicate great ideas in a specific order: 1. WHY: Inspiration starts with WHY we support a cause or organization. Although it’s critical to loyalty, very few organizations effectively articulate their WHY. 2. HOW: HOW (in the business setting) is what make the company’s offering different or better than an alternative choice. Marketing efforts often are focused here. 3. WHAT: WHAT an organization does is easy to identify (e.g. we make cars). Since communicating the WHAT is simple, many leaders fall into the trap of communicating it first. Sinek argues that starting with WHAT and then HOW misses the essence of inspirational leadership.

Inspirational leaders communicate great ideas in a specific order:

  1. WHY: Inspiration starts with WHY we support a cause or organization. Although it’s critical to loyalty, very few organizations effectively articulate their WHY.
  2. HOW: HOW (in the business setting) is what make the company’s offering different or better than an alternative choice. Marketing efforts often are focused here.
  3. WHAT: WHAT an organization does is easy to identify (e.g. we make cars). Since communicating the WHAT is simple, many leaders fall into the trap of communicating it first. Sinek argues that starting with WHAT and then HOW misses the essence of inspirational leadership.

Sinek writes that this order is deeply rooted in the reality of human biology. Which leads us to Insight #3…

Insight #3: Hearts and Minds

Our rational brain, the neocortex, is responsible for analytical thought, and most importantly, language. This area is where HOW and WHAT are processed.

WHY resides in the limbic brain, which is responsible for our feelings (such as loyalty), and “has no capacity for language.” The limbic brain is also responsible for “all human behavior and all our decision-making,” according to Sinek.

This division of functions creates a paradox. Our decision-making functionality exists in a different part of the brain from our ability to explain those decisions (through language).

Sinek states emphatically that inspiration come first from winning people’s hearts (the WHY), and only after that, winning minds with the important rational supporting reasons (the HOW and WHAT). It’s critical to win both hearts and minds, but inspiration begins with the heart.

Insight #4: Clarity and WHY

To ensure lasting success, Sinek says, an organization must provide clarity around its WHY.

He cites great leaders such as Steve Jobs of Apple, Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines, Martin Luther King, and the Wright Brothers as examples of leaders who communicated their WHY with great clarity.

Sinek also describes situations when a founding leader demonstrated their WHY with clarity, only to have it fade away once the leader was no longer in the picture.

For example, Sam Walton’s WHY was that “if he looked after people, people would look after him”. To Walton, “service was a higher cause.” Wal-Mart was arguably the most successful retailer in the world under his leadership.

After Walton, new Wal-Mart leadership did not articulate WHY, but focused on traditional measures of financial performance (the WHAT, or the results). The company’s image and profitability have suffered since. “The company once renowned for how it treated employees and customers has been scandal-ridden for nearly a decade. For Wal-Mart, WHAT they do and HOW they are doing it hasn’t changed. What has changed is that their WHY went fuzzy,” Sinek says.

Now for the shortcomings. This fourth insight points to a missed opportunity to deliver the most important chapter in the book, which could have titled “How to Find Your WHY.” Unlike Mastery by Robert Greene (reviewed last month), Start with Why offers no clear path on how to determine your WHY. This is a glaring weakness, considering this statement from Sinek: “The part of the brain that controls our feelings has no capacity for language. It is this disconnection that makes putting our feeling (or our WHY) into words so hard.”

Although Sinek’s Golden Circle analogy gives us the right order of WHY, HOW, and WHAT, it fails to help us find the WHY. Which of course is the critical element in this trilogy!

To be fair, Sinek has provided additional context since the book was published in 2009. Which leads us to…

The Bottom Line: To Read or not To Read

For reading fanatics who are drawn to Sinek’s concept, Start with Why is an enjoyable book.

For the interested but more casual student, you may forgo reading the book and instead glean the highlights from a video or podcast:

TED talk: How Great Leaders Inspire Action (the third most popular TED video of all time!)

The Unmistakable Creative Podcast interview: Finding Your Why by Simon Sinek

BREAKING NEWS: Brainy Business Babe has learned that Sinek is planning to publish a companion book to Start with Why, scheduled for September 2017. It will be titled Find Your Why: A Practical Guide to Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team. Let’s encourage Dad to read this new offering and write a sequel book review later this year! Stay tuned…

Have you read Start with Why or watched Simon Sinek’s TED talk? What’s your take? What other books would you like us to review for you? Let me know below in the comments!

We follow those who lead not because we have to, but because we want to. -Simon Sinek

*Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of my affiliate links and make a purchase, I may receive a commission for referring you. This comes at no extra cost to you. I’m grateful for your support!

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Motivation Monday: Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.

Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries. - John Albert Michener

(click here to tweet)

Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.
– John Albert Michener

Click here for more inspirational quotes from Brainy Business Babe!

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.
Don’t be the best, be the only.
Mastery is not a function of genius or talent. It is a function of time and intense focus applied to a particular field of knowledge.

Join us, brainy business babe!

Sign up for the Brainy Business Babe Weekly Mood Booster e-mail and get my free daily intention-setting tool! I hope it brings a smile to your Monday mornings.


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My #1 Rule to End Email Overload

My #1 Rule to End Email Overload: Thanks, but No Thanks. Email overload used to be a problem only for the super-connected. Now, basically everyone is feeling overwhelmed by the massive amount of email arriving in their inboxes on a daily (hourly?) basis. I’ve got one simple rule to cut back on unnecessary emails. It may sound incendiary. But I promise, it’ll be worth it…

Thanks, but No Thanks

Email overload used to be a problem only for the super-connected. Now, basically everyone is feeling overwhelmed by the massive amount of email arriving in their inboxes on a daily (hourly?) basis.

I’ve got one simple rule to cut back on unnecessary emails. It may sound incendiary. But I promise, it’ll be worth it…

A Prime Culprit of Useless Emails

Quick quiz: how many emails have you gotten this week that said only, “Thanks” or perhaps, “Thanks so much!” If you’re like me, it’s a LOT.

Especially at work, the “thanks” email seems to have taken on a life of its own. Start out with a simple message: “Leftover sushi in the break room!” Add in a flagrant reply-all offender and some peer pressure, and suddenly you’ve got 19 emails from people saying “thanks” to unappetizingly ancient raw seafood.

But Wouldn’t It Be Rude…

Believe me, I’m a huge fan of manners. Gratitude should absolutely be expressed whenever appropriate.

But the drive-by “thanks” email isn’t really about saying “thank you.” It’s like a catchall for everything from “I acknowledge receipt of your message” to “I have nothing to say on this topic but I want people to think I’m paying attention.”

In fact, it’s much ruder to send that “thanks” email, if it’s just going to clog up people’s inboxes with pointless messages, than to refrain.

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No More “Thanks” Emails

So here’s my rule to end email overload: nix the ambiguous “thanks” emails.

I know, I know. It’s a hard habit to break, but your email recipients will really appreciate it. If you need to say something, say it, like so:

“Hey – I got your email. I’m in a meeting now, but I’ll think it over and send you my thoughts this afternoon.”

“Got it – I’ll see you there at 7.”

“Nice work! I appreciate you making this happen at the last minute.”

And for goodness’ sake, if you must do a drive-by “thanks,” don’t reply all!

What do you think – can we create a world without pointless “thanks” emails? Let me know in the comments!

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Join us, brainy business babe!
Enter your email below, and you’ll be able to download my daily intention-setting tool instantly for free! You’ll also get my weekly mood-boosting email, which I hope will bring a smile to your Monday morning. (Don’t worry, you can unsubscribe anytime if it’s not your thing.)


#MotivationMonday: Stay true to yourself. An original is worth more than a copy.

Stay true to yourself. An original is worth more than a copy. - Suzy Kassem

(click here to tweet)

Stay true to yourself. An original is worth more than a copy.

– Suzy Kassem

There's more where that came from! Related posts on Brainy Business Babe

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.
Don’t be the best, be the only.
Mastery is not a function of genius or talent. It is a function of time and intense focus applied to a particular field of knowledge.

Join us, brainy business babe!

Sign up for the Brainy Business Babe Weekly Mood Booster e-mail and get my free daily intention-setting tool! I hope it brings a smile to your Monday mornings.


The Cure for the Never-Ending To-Do List

The Cure for the Never-Ending To-Do List: the Ivy Lee method is 100 Years Old and Fresh as Ever!

It’s 100 Years Old and Fresh as Ever

It’s no secret that I’m a list-maker.  I love powering through a to-do list – checking off and crossing out give me such a sense of satisfaction.

Until… the list gets to be a mile long. Or something unexpected happens, and I have to drop everything. I feel overwhelmed and discouraged, and I let my list languish for days.

Of course, it’s not the end of the world to wing it for a little while. But when there are time-sensitive items on the list, from paying bills to making “Happy birthday!” calls, I’m kicking myself when I miss them.

Enter Ivy Lee

That said, I was intrigued when I heard about “the Ivy Lee method,” as described by James Clear.

Here’s the story: Charles M. Schwab, the president of industrial behemoth Bethlehem Steel, invited Ivy Lee to his office one day in 1918. Schwab asked Lee to help boost his executive team’s productivity; Lee said he could do it in 15 minutes. When Schwab asked Lee what he would charge for his services, Lee reportedly delivered this badass response:

“Nothing. Unless it works. After three months, you can send me a check for whatever you feel it’s worth to you.”

One Simple Method

The Ivy Lee method has 5 steps, as reported by James Clear:

  1. At the end of each work day, write down the six most important things you need to accomplish tomorrow. Do not write down more than six tasks.
  2. Prioritize those six items in order of their true importance.
  3. When you arrive tomorrow, concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished before moving on to the second task.
  4. Approach the rest of your list in the same fashion. At the end of the day, move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
  5. Repeat this process every working day.

Charles Schwab was reportedly so delighted with the results of this method, he wrote Ivy Lee a check for $25,000. To give you some perspective, that would be something like $400,000 today!

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Serious Results

When I read about this method for making a to-do-list, my first reaction was that it was totally obvious. Isn’t that what I was doing already?

Then I decided to really give it a try, to the letter.

Much to my surprise, using the Ivy Lee method totally changed my day. I realized that I would sometimes start on a less-important project first thing in the morning, as a kind of warm-up. But a lot of the time, I’d go from that low-priority project to my Twitter feed, then get a phone call… and before I knew it, it was lunchtime and I hadn’t done a thing toward my most important project for the day!

Really and truly focusing on first things first was a game-changer for me. I find that I’m much better at getting my top-priority tasks done, even when life throws me a curveball.

And even more important, at the end of the day, I can stop. Instead of trying to cram in just one more thing before bedtime, I can let it go and enjoy some free time, knowing that I’ve taken care of my most important obligations.

The verdict? Two thumbs up for the Ivy Lee method!

Have you tried the Ivy Lee method? Would you? Let me know in the comments!

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Join us, brainy business babe!
Enter your email below, and you’ll be able to download my daily intention-setting tool instantly for free! You’ll also get my weekly mood-boosting email, which I hope will bring a smile to your Monday morning. (Don’t worry, you can unsubscribe anytime if it’s not your thing.)


#MotivationMonday: Whatever you are, be a good one.

Whatever you are, be a good one. - Abraham Lincoln

(click here to tweet)

Whatever you are, be a good one.

– Abraham Lincoln

There's more where that came from! Related posts on Brainy Business Babe

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.
Don’t be the best, be the only.
Mastery is not a function of genius or talent. It is a function of time and intense focus applied to a particular field of knowledge.

Join us, brainy business babe!

Sign up for the Brainy Business Babe Weekly Mood Booster e-mail and get my free daily intention-setting tool! I hope it brings a smile to your Monday mornings.


Top 5 Statement Necklaces for Spring

Top 5 Statement Necklaces for Spring Chic and Easy!Chic and Easy!

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You already know that a great statement necklace is one of my four secrets to getting dressed with style in a flash. If you want to raise your game for spring, here are my top five favorites this season!

5. The Sutton

I love this necklace with a crisp buttondown! It adds a touch of (work-appropriate) edge to an otherwise classic, seasonless outfit.

And best of all, it’s a versatile piece that can be worn 5 different ways! You could wear it to work every day for a week and never repeat the same look twice. Talk about bang for your buck!

Five Ways to Wear the Sutton

4. The Devina – SOLD OUT

Stella and Dot Devina necklace, was $79, now on sale for $31.60

Stella and Dot Devina necklace, SOLD OUT This one was featured in People en Español  in November, but those colors make me think spring! As an added bonus, it’s on sale for less than half its original price! You’ll have to snag this one quick, before it’s gone…

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3. The Cleopatra

Another versatile pick – this necklace can be worn short or long! I love the cool colors in this amazonite beaded beauty. It would go great with gray now while the weather is chilly, and then add a hint of beachy chic to bright white when the temperatures rise!

 

2. The Colette – ON SALE!

This eye-catching piece channels French-girl cool with semi-precious Labradorite and leather-wrapped beads. I’d wear it like a suit of armor to a big meeting with my boss! It’s another smart buy – you can get it for 50% off when you spend $50 at Stella and Dot by February 28th.

1. The Collage

I saved the best for last! This is my absolute favorite necklace this season. It’s got the freshness of a spring garden, while still being grown-up enough for the office.

Which one is your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

*Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of my affiliate links and make a purchase, I may receive a commission for referring you. This comes at no extra cost to you. I’m grateful for your support!

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Join us, brainy business babe!

Enter your email below, and you’ll be able to download my daily intention-setting tool instantly for free! You’ll also get my weekly mood-boosting email, which I hope will bring a smile to your Monday morning. (Don’t worry, you can unsubscribe anytime if it’s not your thing.)