Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Forum: Resolution Check

Time is flying by and it's already been a couple of months since the new year started. For those who made a resolution, what was it and how are you doing with it? Have you already fallen off or have you not yet started? Let's share tips for staying on track.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Honor Yourself for Women's History Month

March is Women's History Month, but while you're reflecting on the past, we don't want you to forget the present or the future. We suggest taking some time this March to reconnect with yourself. Take a day out of your busy schedule to get in touch with yourself and figure out what you really want and need. Many of us are at a point of transition right now, so there's no better time for TWM's Visioning Workshop. Check out the details and RSVP today.

VISIONING WORKSHOP: Using Your Creativity and Intuition to Gain Clarity, Find Focus and Manifest Your Dreams
Saturday, March 20th, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Feeling a little confused with all that's going on with your career and the economy? Not sure what to do next with your life? Maybe your just a bit unsatisfied overall but can't exactly pinpoint what it is...

Our Visioning Workshop can help you sort it all out! Come to our popular and powerful semi-annual workshop for a creative, transformative afternoon where you will make a collage to manifest your heart's desire - and you may be surprised as to what that turns out to be.

It's not unusual for participants to start new businesses, relationships, families or career paths as quickly as weeks or months after the workshop. If you are looking for both answers and results to help figure out where you are right now in your life and where you want to go next, this could be thing exact thing you need to push you forward and take you there.

COST: $75 for TWM Members; $120 for Non-Members
LOCATION: TRS Professional Suites, 44 East 32nd St, 11th Floor

RSVP on Facebook or by emailing

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Power of Non-Verbal Communication

I have known for some time now that understanding non-verbal communication is essential when it comes to human relationships. Many of my family members in India do not speak English very well (or at all) and I do not know much of my parents' native language, so it has been difficult to communicate with them. Regardless of the language barrier, I manage to keep my powers of perception as open as possible, because when speaking is difficult or impossible, simple actions like facial expressions or body language become very important when determining what another person is thinking or feeling at any particular moment.

Even when language is not a barrier, I still try to be perceptive in non-verbal communication. In many previous work and academic environments, I learned the hard way not to always believe what was promised or told to me at face value. I specifically remember a former employer trying to make conversation with me in a conference room before a meeting, and realizing for the first time that she did not like me at all. This became blatantly clear just before I left the position to attend graduate school full-time. I caught her in a lie about my job performance, and knew it was time to leave. I also remembered how she was on that day before the meeting, and other experiences that occurred afterward that really made everything clear.

Ever since this incident, I used my powers of perception to understand what people think. My observations are not always correct, but I have been more right than wrong when it comes to non-verbal communication.

Do you agree with my assessment? Why or why not?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ground to Cover in 2010

Looking back at 2009, I started adding up the miles I traveled, both for business and pleasure. I visited three states – two for the first time – to attend some great conferences and, of course, there was my trip to Europe in the fall which spanned four countries. It was the most traveling I’ve ever done in one year, and I’m ready to top myself this year!

For the past few months now, my friends and I have been throwing out ideas for trips to take this year. We’ve thought of: a road trip across America, a quick trip to Las Vegas or L.A., a journey down under to Australia (and possibly New Zealand), a trip to Egypt, going back to Europe, Panama, D.R., P.R., Miami… Basically, if it’s out of the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic, we’ve laid out an itinerary for it. The possibilities are endless, but the reality will obviously need to be scaled down.

Some of my friends are still mostly thinking “hmm, let’s put this on the backburner” but I’m ready to get some dates down, request time off, and book it.

Now that the first quarter of 2010 is coming closer to an end, I’m going to need a new resolution for the next three months. I was considering a few different things, but I’ve decided to focus on scheduling my trips for the year. I’ve got a lot of ground I want to cover and a lot of people I want to share it with – now I just need to make it happen.

Are you traveling anywhere this year? What are some trips you’d like to plan for the next few months?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Finding the Fantasy

Well, this is the week of the NAACP Image Awards. I'm beginning to try to imagine myself walking the red carpet. In the past, I've daydreamed about this type of event in an abstract well-it-will-never-really-happen-but-it's-nice-to-dream kind of way. I imagined a dramatic, expensive dress, make-up to the hilt, needle-thin stiletto heels that I could somehow glide perfectly in, a gorgeous date to shepherd me through the crowds of my adoring fans....

Yeah, right.

The reality is shaping up to be quite a bit less than the fantasy, but I must admit it is still exciting! So far, I have a dramatic, inexpensive dress, no idea what I will do as far as make-up, marker-thick sparkly heels which I can walk in without falling, and a gorgeous date to shepherd me down the red carpet--my little brother!

What I've realized through all of this is that fulfilling the complete red carpet fantasy isn't what's important here. I'm a regular person, not a starlet or debutante. I don't even want to be those things, so why should I bend over backwards to try to look or act like it? It's fun to dress up and feel glamorous for an evening--I'm actually looking forward to that. But I'd rather not fit in by being myself than by trying to look like celebrities do, and missing the mark.

I'm excited about the possibility of rubbing elbows with the Hollywood types, of course. But I'm more thrilled that my work is being recognized. That's part of an entirely different fantasy--one I love and am much more comfortable living into.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Forum: Winter Wonderland

Groundhog Day has come and gone, but there's still a bit more than a month of winter left. What are some activities you're looking forward to doing before the spring? Ice skating, skiing, snow boarding, hot cocoa by a fire, cleaning out your home? What tops the list for your winter wonderland?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Link Love for 2/18

It's been a while since our last link love round-up, so get ready for another one. It was fun catching up on our blogroll to sift through and pick these great posts. Check them out!

Girl w/Pen considers the lack of interest in theater among young boys and what might be behind it.

Global Sisters has an interview with Kat O'Reilly, an activist from Australia who focuses on business and finance.

In Good Company explores the different workplace dynamics in telecommuting, working for yourself, traditional work, etc.

Lindsey Pollak recorded a podcast about working for small businesses, noting that new jobs are expected to be created by women business owners.

Savvy Ladies sheds light on some money myths that hold you back - here's hoping for more money in this new year.

That's all we've got for today. Be sure to leave links in the comments to things you've been reading and writing.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Importance of Being Happy

My trip to India has been a multi-faceted collection of experiences that have been surprising and unexpected, but not at all unwelcome. The most annoying thing to happen was being locked in after spending the night at a small B&B in South Delhi when we were desperately trying to catch a local flight, but crisis soon passed with no problems. Among the many things I have learned so far have to do with the importance of being happy. When I think about the happiest people I know, I see that the most important qualities they all possess are self-confidence, flexibility, and a sense of humor. No matter where I have visited and who I have observed, I find that this ideal is universal. People who live in simpler places and less are superficially-driven cultures tend to fare better in the happiness department than those who are constantly in doubt about themselves, and threatened by others for no, or very reason, at all.

I have encountered a few people in India who exemplify the current generation of highly ambitious people with grand homes and high-pressure jobs that bring in the rupees, but even with all that they have, they are not happy. Those with the ability to love who they are, who they are with, and where they live are the ones I find are the most successful. In my personal observations in India, the United States, and anywhere else I have lived and or visited in the world, the happiest people are not the richest or most affluent people. They are those who give to others freely, and without the expectation the money as their foremost reward. The other important quality the happiest people I have met all share is their ability to be realistic about the world around them, yet at the same time see the beauty and goodness in it too. It is the greatest attribute to have, and I hope to perfect it in myself with time.

Do you consider yourself happy? What do you think you need to achieve real happiness?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

At the Movies

The winter means a lot of things to a lot of people. There’s the holidays, the chance for a fresh start, winter break, going back to school after winter break, or... awards season! For me and my sister, the winter is our chance to bond over the music we regularly jam to, the movies we didn’t have the money to watch, and the tv we may or may not have had the time for.

We loyally follow the news and coverage for the Globes, SAG, and, of course, the Oscars, with the Grammys sprinkled in for good measure. We keep up with the buzz that starts late in the year, maybe see a movie or two in December, watch the red carpet, and cheer for our favorites. As I’ve mentioned before, a big part of our ritual is making our predictions for who will win each category. Whoever has the most wins at the end of the season is deemed the coolest (a title which inevitably ends up going to my sister).

It’s fairly easy for us to keep up with the tv and music we need to get through the Globes and Grammys, but one thing we’ve always wanted to do is take a trip to the movies to watch all of the nominated films. Between the various award shows and numerous categories, it’s nearly impossible to watch all of them, but the Best Picture nominees for the Oscars do get more love than the rest. One awesome event is AMC’s Best Picture Showcase in which they feature the nominees, marathon-style. My sister and I have missed it in the past, but I’m determined to make it happen this year. With 10 nominees instead of the usual 5, this is probably a bad year to start, but I don’t care!

Now all I have to do is convince my sister (and hopefully some other movie fans as well) that this is well worth our time and money. Wish me luck!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympic Fever

I'm growing slightly obsessed with the Winter Olympics this time around. Normally I'm only interested in the figure skating, but I've spent the weekend watching the skiing, speed skating and luge, as well. The athleticism is truly impressive in its own right, on top of which I get rather choked up at times when they do the sidebar spotlights on certain athletes, and you see how far they have come and how much they have sacrificed to get to the top of their field.

It's pretty inspiring to witness the dedication of these athletes. Sports isn't really my thing, nor is cold, but watching them makes me think about what it means to commit to a goal, and how many different ways there are to measure success.

Sometime I'm envious of the Olympians for the fact that the goal they pursue is so concrete: an Olympic medal. Yet so few people can achieve that, so there must be other triumphs that they experience along the way that have meaning, otherwise why put yourself through the wringer like that? Is it really all about the endgame?

My favorite Olympic story so far is about a 17-year old American ski jumper whose entire family skipped Christmas and pooled their money to send him to compete. The announcers were all busy saying he had "no chance" to medal, and he didn't, but the grin on his face when he landed a personal best jump in Olympic snow has to mean something.

Maybe it's just about walking off the field knowing you put your absolute top effort out there to be measured against the best of the best. Maybe there's joy in the attempt, not just the victory. I hope so, but either way, I'll be watching!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Forum: Valentine's Day

Most people seem to hate Valentine's Day, but we can just look at it as another chance to tell the people around you that you love them. So, whether single, married, cohabiting, or whatever, take the time to love those around you and, of course, yourself!

You already know how we'll be celebrating Valentine's Day in a couple of weeks, now it's your turn to share. What are your plans? What will you do with the people you love and how will you show yourself some love?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Help Your Heart this V-Day

We're not sure if you know, but February is American Heart Month. To get you to focus on your heart health, TWM and David Barton Gym are hosting an awesome event. It's got a bit of everything: good info, a sample class, raffle prizes, refreshments, etc. Check out the details below and RSVP today!

LOVE: What Is It Good For?
Tuesday, February 23rd, 6:30-8:30pm

In honor of American Heart Month come listen to TWM Founder Kristina Leonardi and the team at the new David Barton Gym at Astor Place talk about the ways to keep your heart healthy from the inside out! Learn new techniques and gain unique perspectives for keeping your mind, body, spirit and soul in the best shape so that you don’t become one of the many Americans affected by cardiovascular diseases, the number one cause of death for women in this country.

*Learn unique ways to keep your heart healthy
*Experience a sample class
*Win raffle prizes (including tickets to the award-winning off-Broadway show Love, Loss & What I Wore)
*Enjoy refreshments from Mini-Bar
*Bring home a fun and informative goodie-bag!

Be sure to wear or bring sneakers and comfortable clothing!

COST: FREE for TWM Members; $10 suggested donation for guests
LOCATION: David Barton Gym, 4 Astor Place NYC

BONUS: Anyone who joins or renews with TWM by that day will be eligible for a special membership rate from David Barton, which includes two free personal training sessions!

SPACE IS LIMITED - Be sure to reserve your spot now!
RSVP on Meetup, Facebook, Idealist, or by email to

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Give From the Heart

It’s understandable why most people have forgotten the origins of St. Valentine’s Day. Today, the overwhelming commercialism of the holiday eclipses everything, and the beleaguered public pays the price. I say this because I have witnessed people standing on long lines outside of florist shops and small markets that sell flowers on Valentine’s Day with annoyed or anxious looks on their faces. I remember walking by one of these lines and hearing someone say to the person in front of him that he could not go home to his wife without buying anything for her. The way he expressed himself started me thinking about how important it is to give from your heart. I would not want to receive a gift from someone who felt pressured to buy it. The act of giving should be sincere, and performed with joy; if not then it’s a waste of time.

All relationships require maintenance and sincerity, but those that center on romantic love and intimacy (physical and emotional) need both the most. Why? Because we can live away from family and friends for long periods of time, and keep in touch with them periodically, but that just isn't enough for those in a committed relationship. Couples who live in close proximity of one another often complain about how difficult it is to make time for their relationships, so those living apart need to work much harder to sustain the bonds. And I say that anyone in a serious relationship shouldn't’t wait until Valentine’s Day and their anniversaries to honor and celebrate their relationships; making the time for one another on a daily or weekly basis means so much more than occasional grand gestures-at least it does to me.

So don’t be like the grumbling guy I overheard on that Valentine’s Day of yesteryear! Give from your hearts, as often and as much as you can.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Don't Leave Home Without It

Anybody who knows me knows that I am very much reliant on technology. I love technology! I love that I can use it to stay in touch with people, stay informed on important issues, and even be more productive. There are some around me who think I'm too reliant on technology. I don't think that's the case, but every so often something happens that makes me chuckle at how wrong or right they might be.

During Social Media Week, I was scrambling to get to a workshop I was excited about. In my haste, I realized I left my iPhone behind. Because I didn't realize this until I was well on my way to the train station, I knew that going back would make me late, so I decided to carry on without it. Except that on the train I realized that I didn't list the address in my planner -- all I had was the date, time and title.

You see, normally when I'm heading out, I check the address on my calendar... the calendar on my iPhone... the iPhone I had left behind.

A slight wave of panic hit me as I struggled with what to do next. I couldn't check the email confirmation because I didn't have my phone. I couldn't call anybody because I didn't have my phone. And despite having a quarter on me for an emergency such as this, I could not find even one working pay phone.

Luckily, my memory is really good with numbers. I was pretty sure that if I tried hard enough I could remember some of the numbers in the address. So I concentrated a bit and tried to picture what I had put down. Thankfully, it worked! I ended up finding the building, albeit after two wrong tries.

Once I was settled in, I couldn't help but laugh at myself. Of course, once the workshop started and I couldn't live tweet it, I decided I wouldn't have it any other way. I'd rather reap the benefits of relying on technology than make do without them.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Touching Things Past

I'm a little bit of a history geek. I was a history major in college, and I really enjoy historical fiction, historical films and other things along those lines. I love to dive into some other time or place in the world and try to get a handle on what was going on then and there, what people might have thought and felt way back when about one another and their lives and their place in the world. There's something about knowing what has gone before that feels deeply important to me.

Thinking about it recently, I know that there are two sides to my interest in the past--one is intellectual and the other is more personal/emotional. I do have the desire to really know this world--in a sweeping, epic, global sense, where I begin to understand the cause-effect relationships that have led us toward the wonderful and vicious, beautiful and horrible experiences we collectively face day to day, now.

Within that massive base of knowledge, there are individuals. I think about my grandmothers, and the disparate lives they led that somehow, miraculously came together to create me. One of them lived through the majority of the 20th century in America, and while I knew her as a teenager, I never got to know her as an adult, when I could have really asked the questions I now want to, about her life and the things she personally witnessed within the history that I know so well in terms of dates, facts and situations. My other grandmother lived her whole life in West Africa, a place that I am connected to, but know less intimately. There's a wisdom there that is somewhat outside my grasp, but I long for a taste of it.

So, I read lots of books, and look at lots of pictures, and try to imagine what I can about these women, and the many like them whose lives and work set the stage for my own world. I feel that I'm still looking for the truth of those experiences, and I don't know if we today can ever really touch it, but it's nice to believe we might be able to come close.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Forum: And the Award Goes to...

The Oscar nominations were announced earlier this week and, as Kristina mentioned in yesterday's post, the Grammys were this past weekend. This means that the awards season is coming to a close, but we thought it'd be fun to share the ways people enjoy it.

Do you or your friends host an Oscar-watch party? Do you dress up and walk down your own red carpet in your living room? What are the fun things you do during the awards season?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Groundhog Day, The Grammys & Gaga

CHICKS ROCK! is happy to have Kristina back as a guest blogger this week:

Kristina Leonardi is the founder of The Women’s Mosaic. She is a career/life path consultant, speaker, seminar leader and expert in the areas of women, diversity and personal growth.

Join her for Spring Cleaning for the Soul next Tuesday, February 10. You can also check out her series, Thursdays at Three for weekly inspiration.

This week was Groundhog Day, and whether or not a shadow was seen by that furry creature, it marks the midway point of winter - a time to be sure you've planted the seeds of all that you want to bloom come this Spring.

But Groundhog Day really reminds me of the fabulous movie starring Bill Murray, who gets up over and over to the same day with a chance to make things right each time, and ultimately makes the best changes to himself that attract Andie MacDowell and they live happily ever after. It's a good time to reflect on what you are doing everyday that is helping you get closer to or further away from your goals. As Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results"

So what do The Grammys and Lady Gaga have to do with any of this? One year ago you probably never heard of her, yet on Sunday there she was, the opening act performing with Sir Elton John, on the biggest night in music. Overnight success? Never. From an early age she figured out who she was and what she was supposed to be doing with her life. And with a clear vision, talent and determination took steps every day to get there.

I don't know much about her journey, but one thing I will bet on is that it was INTENTIONAL, as everything about Gaga is. Anyone who was nominated or performed at The Grammys would have that in common, in varying degrees. No matter what you want to do make your life about it, morning, noon and night and you will see results - at any age.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Being Drastic, Being Free

I hear the word “freedom” all the time, and, like many, my first thoughts are events such as the successful Indian independence movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the end of World War II, the destruction of the Berlin Wall, and other well-known events that have happened (and continue to happen) all over the world. I also know that pursuit of freedom manifests itself on a much smaller, personal scale in people’s lives. Examples of these include ending a “terminally ill” relationship, moving out of your childhood home and finally living as an adult, and quitting a dead-end job to start working in a career that you love. My own pursuit of freedom has been a continuous struggle with indecisiveness and frustration, but these dark clouds have been lifting. Why? I have decided to take drastic steps to make my declaration of independence imminent.

Working from my parents’ home is like climbing a slippery slope: I have a list of tasks to accomplish every day, but there are always too many distractions that make completing them impossible. Friends and other family members have complained to me about similar feelings of mental stagnation, making them less productive when they are living, working, or just visiting their childhood homes. Many may not have that problem, but I know myself; to realize my pursuit of personal freedom, I must move out of my current residence as soon as possible.

How will I make it happen? Some family friends have offered their place in New England and a teaching job at a private school as a temporary solution. I also have a few opportunities to teach abroad, which I will consider after I return from India at the end of February. My months of self-imposed exile are coming to an end, thanks to deep introspection and serious conversations with people I love. I may struggle much more than I planned to, but I know that it will be for a short duration if I take a deep breath and jump.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Some Months Lost

Everyone constantly complains that I work too much. I like signing up for new challenges, and I take any opportunity to try something new. The result is a very busy calendar with something work-related to do every day.

Lately, my mother has been lecturing me about needing to take time off to start doing fun things again. Last week, I went to the movies twice and she was so happy and shocked, she rushed me off the phone so I could get there early.

For the next few months, if I have no other outlet for creativity or a work-free zone, I can depend on Tuesday nights. Because today is the season premiere of the last season of my favorite show on television: LOST!

To say that I'm ecstatic is a bit of an understatement. Anybody who watches as faithfully as I do know that this is the definition of a Big Deal (yes, with capital letters). Not only do I watch, but I keep up with the theory blogs, the producers' interviews, I've even been known to watch a mini web episode from time to time. Yes, it's probably safe to say that I'm addicted with this story of people struggling with faith and reason, good and evil, light and dark. The island's mysteries are fun to keep up with too.

With the series finale only a few months away, I have a nice distraction from my ambitious schedule. I'm still trying to find that balance between working hard and overworking, but at least my mother can stop worrying for a bit. Then again, between work and the show, she might not hear from me as often... I guess she can get used to that.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Can It Wait?

I’m an expert procrastinator. This isn’t exactly news, but it’s an ongoing issue. The truth of the matter is, if something can be put off, I will find a way to put it off. I know I’m not alone in this problem, but I’m looking for ways to fight it. Any thoughts?

My work is extremely deadline oriented. Must submit Manuscript X to Editor Y by Date Z. This is a formula that never changes, but it doesn’t always seem to be a formula for success. What I really don’t understand is, when I get something done earlier than absolutely necessary—on the rare occasions when I manage such a superhuman feat—it feels great. It feels so much better than it ever felt to put it off. So why, oh why, can’t I always do that?

Lately, one problem is that I’m procrastinating from things that are important by doing other things that are important. It still feels like procrastination, but is it really more about prioritization? Am I taking on too many commitments? I will admit, though, that often I procrastinate from all the important things at once by looking for something else to do. Something highly counterproductive is best….

Last week I encountered a link to an NPR article about willpower. The thrust of it was that when you give your brain too many things to do, to remember or to deal with, it has a tendency to try to shut down. This kind of overload sends you running to the cupcake store (Crumbs, anyone?) or the chocolate shop (I just discovered Li-Lac), or in my case straight to the sofa where I can watch DVDs all afternoon instead of working. Basically, the brain refuses to cooperate with your “goals” and gives in to its base desires, in protest. It’s the mind’s way of saying, “Too much! Just let me breathe.”

So, how to let it breathe when there’s much work to be done? I, for one, am still trying to figure it out. What about you? Got any great procrastination-busting solutions?

Disclaimer: Blog entries express the opinions of the respective Bloggers/Contributors/Authors/Commenters solely, and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Women's Mosaic. As host and manager of CHICKS ROCK!, TWM acts solely as a provider of access to the internet and not as publisher of the content contained in bloggers' posts and cannot confirm the accuracy or reliability of individual entries. Each participant is solely responsible for the information, analysis and/or recommendations contained in her blog posts.
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