Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Forum: Physical Fitness

In case you've forgotten since last year, May is Physical Fitness Month. We've written a lot on the blog about how to get and stay healthy, inside and out and we want to know if you've made any changes in your life.

How have you started to focus on your mental and physical health? Has it become a top priority for you, or are you still struggling with putting yourself first?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Welcome a World of Wellness

We're excited to share with you a great initiative from TWM starting in a couple of weeks: TWM’s World of Wellness Month happening from May 10 – June 11, 2010. Right now, we're reaching out to those of you who want a chance to reach a targeted audience of over 5,000 to showcase your business, product or service! Check out the details below:

Last year we celebrated TWM’S FOCUS ON FITNESS & HEALTH with three live events; this year we are extending the program for an entire month which will include:
*Virtual Health Fair (similar to our Virtual Holiday Bazaar) five blasts beginning 5/14,
*Dedicated week (5/10-5/14) of guest posts about health and fitness on our blog CHICKS ROCK!,
*Live Health Fair the second week in June (weekday evening 6:30-9:00pm date and location TBD).
*TWM World of Wellness Resource Guide to be distributed both in print and online.
*Passport to Wellness Coupons/Blast
*Special fitness classes and more!

Benefits to you include:
*exposure of your business to over 5,000+ women and men
*opportunity to educate women about the variety of ways to live a healthy life
*demonstrate support for and be associated with a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering women

Sponsorship investment ranges from $35 to $500. For more information and to request a registration form, send an email to

We'll be sure to keep everyone updated about World of Wellness Month - can't wait for you to enjoy it all.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My Moving Operation

Moving from one place to another is a major operation, especially if you have lived and accumulated so much for a long period of time. I know this because I am in process of moving, and it is not easy to decide what to take, what to get rid of, and everything in between. I am lucky because I can go back and forth from my current home (which is just a few minutes away from my apartment) after I move to take care of things, but I know many don’t have these conveniences.

A successful move requires organization and planning ahead. Without these two important factors, the process can be chaotic and even painful. I am trying to be smart by moving in my things gradually (another unique advantage I have) everyday, so when my official moving day arrives, there will be more order and less strain, because there will be fewer things to move. This gradual move is also helping me eliminate clutter, which can be a problem in a smaller space. I take the time to reserve packing materials so they don’t lie on my floors collecting dust; I can always reuse them to pack my other belongings, or recycle them if they are unusable. I feel good each time I leave my new place, because even though my moving operation is a work in progress, I can see how my organizing efforts are making the process a much more tolerable experience.

Another important thing to remember about moving (and almost anything else in life) is that unexpected things will probably happen. Items may break, appliances may stop working, the rug may be too small for the room, etc., but these are not tragedies. Some things are out of my control, but I find that having a sense of humor and asking for assistance when I need it helps me maintain the proper perspective about my moving operation.

Do you have any moving tips to share?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Not Your Mother's Uniform

In the past few months, I lost some weight and inches around my body. Because a lot of my clothes were already a bit roomy to begin with, most of them didn’t fit anymore and once I purged my closet, it had next to nothing in it. So I went on mini shopping sprees, buying a few items at a time whenever I saved up the money. Now that I've done this a few times, I realized just how much I worry about looking the right way, and having enough variety so that people don’t think I only own a handful of tops.

I feel like so many of us – especially women – feel pressure to not wear the same thing every day. We assume that at least one person out there is paying attention to what we’re wearing and would ridicule us if we wore the same thing all the time.

Thinking about this reminded me of something I learned about over the summer called The Uniform Project: a woman's wearing the same dress every day for a year to raise money for charity. She had a friend design a dress for her and had 7 identical dresses made, one for each day of the week. Each day for the past year, she’s been making her outfits unique by adding layers and accessories, wearing her dress as a top, a jacket, and, of course, a dress. Her year is almost up, and she’s raised over $75,000 for education in India.

Seeing how she was able to create new outfits every day with the same pieces has made me reconsider how I look at clothes and fashion. Considering the ways I already try to apply sustainability to fashion, I definitely think I’ll get more creative so I can keep cutting down on waste.

What do you think of The Uniform Project? Would you be able to wear the same thing every day?

Monday, April 26, 2010


I’ve been craving new travel adventures lately. It hasn’t even been that long since I went anywhere. I take small vacations when I can and I travel a bit for work these days, making visits to schools, libraries, bookstores, and writing conferences around the country. Whether it’s for business or pleasure, I look forward to packing my bags and hitting the road. There’s always fun to be had away from home.

I took a cross country road trip with a friend a few years ago, from New York to California in six days. It was fantastic, and not just because I love driving and riding in cars. We experienced so much! This week I busted out my “I Survived Highway 50” t-shirt, which boasts about my successful traversing of the so-called “loneliest road in America.” I wore it and thought about how it felt to gun the engine on a literally empty highway, watching miles of open desert churn past the windows. Awesome.

I find there’s something special about simply moving forward, no matter the destination, even if there isn’t one. Time stands still when the road is wide open in front of you, or as the plane hurtles forward at its cruising altitude, or the train chugs along at just the right rhythm. And when you get where you’re going, wherever that may be, there’s something magical about wandering the streets of a strange city, seeing the sights and tasting local treats along the way.

I once read a book about a guy who wanders all the time, from place to place, seeing what he sees, working when he has to and then living off the cash for as long as he can. In a fantasy life, that sounds amazing. In reality, I have no wish to live like that; the half of me that’s not suffused with wanderlust is quite a content little homebody. How to reconcile the two? Give me a good long journey every now and then, and I’ll be a happy camper.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Forum: Earth Day Every Day

Yesterday was the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day and this weekend there are events all over celebrating it. If you browsed around the internet and news sites, you were bound to find at least a few tips and resources for living green.

What do you do to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle? Are there any tips and resources you'd like to share?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Link Love for 4/22

It's about time to do another link round-up. Here's some of the great stuff we've been reading.

Girl w/Pen gives us some more information about the great U by Kotex campaign started to fight against the euphemisms used for menstruation.

Global Sisters is promoting a great event, the G(irls)20 Summit, aiming to have girls and women actively making change in the world.

In Good Company has a great post from Equal Pay Day, focusing particularly on how this might affect women entrepreneurs and business owners.

Lindsey Pollak shares her podcast on "modern moonlighting" among young professionals who have a full-time job, with other pursuits on the side.

Savvy Ladies wants us to have a spring cleaning session on our investment portfolios - if you don't have one yet, use this as a chance to start one!

Writeous Chicks makes sure we feel less alone in our messed-up-ness by sharing the insights of an Imperfect Bird.

Don't forget to add links to what you've been writing and reading in the comments.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Three Tips For Positivity

People who know me know that I am a positive person with a realistic outlook on life. I consider myself a strong person, but I am not afraid to talk and think about things that scare me; I try to think up solutions on how to conquer my fears.

Everyone has different ways of coping and looking at life, but I find that a few simple techniques really help me remain positive and focused on what is truly important in life.

1. Taking deep breaths is essential. I learned this when I was about to take on the Inca Trail a few years ago; my guide told me that my heart would go before my legs would, and deep breathing stops this from happening. I battled elevation sickness, but I remembered what my guide said as I kept pushing myself for four days. When my fellow trekkers and I made it to our final destination, Machu Picchu, we still had the energy to walk up and down the stone steps in the hot sun. I always remember to take deep breaths every day, because they make me feel good.

2. Laughter really is the best medicine. I try to laugh every day, because it eliminates tension. I needed this recently after a difficult encounter with a very negative person. I walked away from the experience calmly, and laughed about it later because I realized how ridiculous the whole situation was. I put it all in perspective, and found humor in it. Obviously this doesn’t work all the time, but I try to watch a funny movie or TV show to make me laugh, if I can’t find anything in my life to laugh about.

3. Visiting special places help me when I want to get away from it all. Parks and gardens are my favorite places to escape to for an hour or more, and I make an effort to do so at least once a week. These mini-excursions are beneficial to me, and I love how I feel after one of them.

How do you stay positive?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blogging for Equal Pay Day

Many of you probably don’t know this, but today is Equal Pay Day. As somebody whose major in college was women’s studies, I’ve long been aware of the wage gap that persists and have stayed on top of the facts now that it affects me much more. Here's some info:

On average, women make roughly 77 cents to each dollar a man makes. For example, a recent study found that women make $4,600 less than men in their first post-MBA job. Minorities also face a wage gap, and not only because of differences in education. The difference among women is also a problem – the wage gap between mothers and non-mothers is widening. Just this week, we learned that women who have children at an older age aren’t as heavily penalized on the equal pay front as women who have children at a younger age.

There are a lot of factors at play here, but I want to bring attention to one part of it that is within our control, and that’s salary negotiation.

Of all the women friends I have, there are only two I can think of who have ever tried to negotiate their salary – one negotiated her starting salary and the other negotiated a raise. I have to admit that even I had never negotiated a salary until my most recent job offer, even with all of my knowledge about how important it is to negotiate at every level. While every negotiation you make will not always result in the outcome you want or need, it’s still crucial to make the effort and the fact is that a lot of women don't.

Aside from that course of action we can take in our own careers, it’s also good to educate ourselves and others. The National Committee on Pay Equity website has a lot of facts and figures, along with resources on evaluating your company’s practices, learning about the Paycheck Fairness Act, and so forth. So get out there and make every day Equal Pay Day until Equal Pay is a reality.

Monday, April 19, 2010

For the Love of Paperbacks

This week I went to the bookstore to find a copy of my book in paperback. It was just released, and I found copies already on the shelf, which I was quite pleased about. Seeing The Rock and the River in paperback made it feel real to me in a whole new way.

I love paperback books. I grew up reading them. They were the ones I checked out from the teen section of the library (dozens at a time), and the only ones I could convince my mom to buy in the bookstore. They opened easily and I never felt bad about dog-earing pages. Hard covers always seemed to me like a waste of time, a showpiece, not a real book for real people to enjoy. If I was a teen reader today, paperback is the version of the book that would have caught my eye. I feel excited to think about all the new eyes that will fall upon the story now that it’s in a friendlier, more accessible form.

As I’ve grown up, I’ve come to appreciate what hard cover books have to offer. They look great on a bookshelf. They’re nice keepsakes, especially if you can get a first edition with an autograph. They’re sure to last longer, and they come with coats so they won’t even get too dusty. All in all, a neat package, and as an author, I can’t help but note that they bring me more royalties. Still, my heart lies with paperback. Those are the books I still want to curl up with on a rainy Saturday, and tuck into my purse just in case I get a seat on the subway. Those are the ones I reach for when I’m too tired to think and just want to slide into a story.

This is mostly about me celebrating my book’s evolution into a new format, but it’s also an homage to the many, many nameless, faceless paperbacks that did their part to help make me into a devoted reader, enthusiastic writer and now, published author.

Hooray for paperback books!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Forum: Change of Plans

If you've been keeping up with the volcanic activity in Iceland, then you already know that many airports have closed because of the ash cloud over Europe. We don't want to downplay the situation, but we couldn't help but wonder what it's like to extend a vacation because of grounded air travel.

If you took a trip and were suddenly forced to extend your vacation by a few days, what would you do with your extra time?

Would you try to work remotely? Would you take it as a chance to explore a neighboring city? How would you make the best of this bad situation?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Find Your Voice, Spread the Word

We don't have a guest post lined up for you today, but wouldn't you love to write one?!

Are you struggling with something significant - weight loss, finding your passion, making a commitment? Has something happened in your life that you want to brag about - new job, new relationship, new hobby? Did you learn something recently that you want to share with others - getting organized, becoming healthier, living on your own?

This is your chance to speak your mind or share your news while contributing to this community you're such an important part of!

Browse through our archive of guest blogger posts if you're in need of ideas, but it'd also be great to read some posts about something that hasn't been covered yet. Be sure to look through our guidelines and submit a post today.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Where The Jobs Are

Like many Americans, I am looking for a steady job. There is so much information in the media about the recovering economy and job growth, but like many others, I haven’t seen these improvements yet. I know that I have to be open to moving to another part of the United States, or even another country. It is all about where the jobs are, and that means taking risks.

I am not unfamiliar with this. When I received my ESL teaching certification a few years ago, I decided to teach abroad for at least one year. I was a little scared to leave the U.S. for Indonesia; the only person I knew who lived there was a cousin I met once when I was a little girl. The first few months after I arrived were difficult, because I was constantly getting sick, and the workplace culture at the two schools I worked in was very corrupt. Despite all of this, I made a life for myself there. I made friends, learned to speak a little of the language, and traveled to some beautiful locales. In short, I adapted to my surroundings, even though I was counting the days until my teaching contract would be complete. I proved to myself that since I made it in Indonesia, I can make it almost anywhere I want to go.

I plan to move twice this year; once at the end of this month, and the next before the end of this year. The first move is a transitional one, because I will still be living near New York City, but my plans are to relocate to out of the area completely. I just know that my next opportunity is somewhere else, and I am ready to take it on, whatever it is. I am looking forward to the future, even with all of the uncertainties surrounding me.

Would you relocate for the right job, even if it means leaving everything and everyone you know behind?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Commute Disrupted

I recently started a new job and with that new job comes a new commute. It’s much closer to my home than my previous job; a 15-minute walk, to be exact. When I first realized this, I got really excited. I love walking and have been known to walk to and from my previous job during nice weather, even if it was a 50- to 60-minute walk. But now that I’ve actually tried out this commute, it occurs to me that there was something I was forgetting: reading.

You see, I normally do most of my reading on my commute to work. A 30-minute ride in public transportation is great for getting through a couple of chapters in a good book. A 15-minute walk, however, would be quite dangerous if there were any books thrown into the mix. I tried taking the bus this morning in the hopes that I could get through at least a few pages, but the bus ride was only 10 minutes long – not even enough time to get back into my book.

Now, don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t make me less excited about starting my new job. My job will be fun and the people seem great, but what on earth is a bookworm to do without a commute during which to read her books?!

I suppose it doesn’t help that my schedule in general for the past two weeks has been even more hectic than usual. Or that the next two weeks will continue to be just as bad. Usually, this amount of pressure and stress is easily alleviated with a good dose of reading at the start and end of my days.

How will I find the time to do what I love doing most? Any suggestions?

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Woman King

Her name is Peggielene Bartels, age 55. She lives in Silver Springs, Maryland, and works as a secretary in the Ghanaian Embassy. Only, now she has a second name, and a second job, back in her home country, where she hasn’t lived since the late 1970s. Ms Bartels was recently dubbed Nana Amuah Afenyi VI, King of Otuam, Ghana, an oceanside village of 7,000 fishermen, farmers and merchants.

That’s right, I wrote “king.” In Otuam, a person of either gender can become King—though, up until now the concept of a woman ruler has only been theoretical. The Washington Post recently featured a story about Ms Bartels, documenting her travels from the United States back to her home community, where she was gazetted (anointed/crowned) and accepted her place as King.

At the headline level, the tale seems simply exciting and quirky. A woman king. Looking deeper, the fact that the community had no different name for a woman ruler could be seen either as a mark of true gender equity, or a mark of extreme patriarchy. I suppose it doesn’t matter anymore which it was, because Peggielene Bartels is in power now, for better or worse.

Scratch that—it’s definitely better. In her first year as King, Ms. Bartels confronted corruption and embezzlement within the circle of elders, creating bank accounts and financial transparency. She appointed a new circle of advisors to the King, including younger men and several women. She treated the village men with heavy-handed authority, so they would not view her as weak, and treated the women with gentle compassion, because they understood that. “I don’t have to be so tough with women,” she said of the difference.

Robed in traditional Ghanaian garments, she returned to her life and work in the U.S., prepared to look after her Otuam community from afar, raising funds and implementing programs to improve the quality of life for everyone there.

If anyone still doubts that women leaders can make the world a better place, Peggielene Bartels is out to prove them wrong.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Forum: Spring Break

We've spent the past week on a virtual "spring break," but we want to hear about everyone else's real spring break.

Have any of you recently gone on a vacation, or do you have plans to go on one some time this year? If so, where are you going and for how long? If not, where would you like to go if you had the chance?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spring Break at CHICKS ROCK! Day 4

It's "spring break" at CHICKS ROCK! Instead of our regular posts this week, we're highlighting some of the issues and topics we've covered.

Today, we want you to take a look at our archive of posts from guest bloggers. See what they've had to say and give your own take. If you want to submit a guest post, check out our guest blogger guidelines and send one in.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring Break at CHICKS ROCK! Day 3

It's "spring break" at CHICKS ROCK! Instead of our regular posts this week, we're highlighting some of the issues and topics we've covered.

Today, we want you to take a look at our archive of posts about books and reading. See what we've had to say and give your own take.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring Break at CHICKS ROCK! Day 2

It's "spring break" at CHICKS ROCK! Instead of our regular posts this week, we're highlighting some of the issues and topics we've covered.

Today, we want you to take a look at our archive of posts about careers. See what we've had to say and give your own take.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring Break at CHICKS ROCK! Day 1

As we did last year around this time, we're taking a "spring break" at CHICKS ROCK! Instead of our regular posts this week, we're highlighting some of the issues and topics we've covered.

Today, we want you to take a look at our archive of posts about culture. See what we've had to say and give your own take.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Forum: Celebrity Buzz

Celebrity gossip and news is everywhere nowadays - newspapers, magazines, news shows, even social networking sites. It seems people can't get enough!

Do you follow celebrity news, whether willingly or not? If so, where do you usually find the information? If not, how are you able to stay away from it?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Link Love for 4/1

Our last Link Love post was only a short while ago, but there's already enough great links for another round-up. Check them out!

Girl w/Pen has an interesting post about the concept of free love and how it should be applied.

Global Sisters celerates the women of hip hop breaking boundaries around the

In Good Company considers what it is to do "meaningful work" and how to create that feeling for yourself.

Lindsey Pollak's blog takes on spring cleaning for your career - get your work life organized.

One Writeous Chicks writes about something we all face constantly: what to do with struggle.

Savvy Ladies wants us to know the characteristics of a successful financial plan.

That's what we've got for this week. Leave the links to things you've been reading and writing online in the comments section.

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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