Sunday, May 9, 2010

Google is so cool...

I love this Mother's Day search engine design...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Finding My Voice (and Boosting Confidence Muscles)

When I was 23, and working as an executive assistant at a high profile consulting firm, I remember my boss used to chuckle over what he called my "phone voice." At the time, I had no idea that I was speaking any differently over the phone, but in retrospect, I was certainly putting on a show.

The funny part is, about half of the people with whom I spoke each day were hot-blooded Latino men, and I apparently put on this thin, sultry, phone voice... making some of them swoon over my, "Hablo Kelly... como puedo auydarle?" Now, it is so obvious why I felt I had to hide behind this persona... I was not yet comfortable in my skin and I felt I had to be somebody else... someone softer, more demure, and at the same time, bolder and savvier. Yet, that thin, high voice really only conveyed one thing: weakness.

Sometimes I still overhear women using what I now call "the phone voice." When a woman answers the phone and her voice suddenly goes up about three octaves, I get this sort of knee-jerk reaction. I want to take her by the shoulders, shake her, and say, "Deepen your voice! Don't be phony! Be yourself!"

Of course, it's not just about the intonation and sound of the voice that irks me. It's that sound of uncertainty, fear, and lack of confidence. And I only am bothered by it because I can relate to it... I have been there. And I often wonder, "Do men have a 'phone' voice? Do they feel they have to be someone they are not, and pander to the listener? Or is this something uniquely female. I just do not know...

I do know, however, that what has helped me find my "voice" is surrounding myself with confident, strong, inspiring women. My co-workers, friends, and the women in my family are some of the most self-assured, beautiful, and smart women I know. The more I surround myself with these women, the easier it is for me to speak my mind, to be myself, and to learn more about my dreams and ambitions.

As a result, I lost the thinness in my voice, and speak straight from the gut.... making a deeper, richer, more authentic sound and message. In doing so, I convey a much clearer picture of the woman I am, and the woman I am supposed to become.

Among the many women who have inspired me over the year is Ana Ottman, a DC entrepreneur who has formed a business around helping women find their voices. Ana left the world of lobbying to launch her own life coaching business, and has recently re-branded herself as "Red Dress Studios," a business that "helps women entrepreneurs build their confidence muscles."

Ana is launching her new brand tomorrow, and you should join her virtual launch party to learn from Ana, and possibly win one of the "door" prize giveaways. For more info, check out the Red Dress Launch Party registration.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Social Media Equals Opportunities for Women

Historically, women have always been the foundations of communities. While men have had the task of breadwinning, women have always been the crux of family life, the home, and their communities. Women rely on each other for support, advice, bonding, and even life happiness. (Did you know that the more time both men and women spend around women, the happier they are? Conversely, there is no gain in happiness for more time spend with men).

So, it is not surprising that social media presents vast opportunities for women to excel at what we do best: network, support each other, and build [online] communities. For a great synopsis of the social media opportunities for women, read "Why Social Media Means Big Opportunities for Women."

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snowmantic Valentine's Day

Snowpocalypse has left a beautiful wintery scene in Washington, and we have taken total advantage of it.

We started our Valentine's weekend with a homemade heart-shaped pancake breakfast and French pressed coffee. Next we bundled up, laced up our snow boots, and ventured down to the Sculpture Garden, where Brandon ice skated for the first time ever!

Afterwards we stopped at the National Gallery where I snapped a shot of my favorite painting (the above Degas) and perused the latest exhibits. Next, we were off on a search for hot cocoa, but settled on tea and cappuccino at Hotel Monaco's Poste (worst service ever btw!).

Now we are stopping at the Portrait Gallery before heading to U Street for dinner at Coppi's, where we had our very
first date four years ago!

I just discovered the blogger app on iPhone a few moments ago, and am thrilled. This will help me meet my resolution to post four times a week... or so I hope!

A Happy Valentine's Day to you!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Washington DC

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Holy shit. I think this New York City lawyer-turned-writer has uncovered it! The MEANING of LIFE! Well, perhaps that is a bit lofty. But after reading just two chapters of Gretchen Rubin's book, "The Happiness Project," I am hooked. Her concept is simple: she picks eleven virtues she wants to work on for one full year, starting with energy, then marriage, and so on, and in the twelfth month she aims to attain growth in all eleven areas. (Sound familiar? Ben Franklin, anyone?).

You are in for a good read if you can get past the slight lawyerly, type-A, neuroticism (she starts the book by listing the countless thinkers and writers she relies on for research, citing the likes of Plato and Thoreau alongside contemporary writers like Elizabeth Gilbert and the woman who wrote the Julie/Julia blog/book and in the first chapter she actually tracks how many steps she takes each day... I mean, really?! Really?!).

Though, my favorite tidbit of wisdom is one she evokes from William Butler Yeats:

"Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth. We are happy when we are growing."

Hmmm.... this gives me lots to ponder this week and as I set my goals for 2010...