Stop saying 2016 was the worst year ever

No, seriously. Get the fuck over it. That goes for any year. Every day, week, month, and year has its ups and downs. Every single one. Sure we may have elected well…you know. Sure you may have been sick. Or someone may have died. Maybe even a brilliant musical artist or actor. Or someone hurt your feelings, broke your heart. And it’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to say, “man, this <fill in the blank with an event or something> sucked.”

But for the love of everyone else, stop saying “this year was the worst. This year was horrible. Can this fucking year be over yet?”

No. I’m calling your ass out. Because you know what? For as much shitty bullshit that went down, a lot of happy stuff happened too. And your crappy attitude is only bringing everyone around you down.

Think about people in your life, right now.

How many of them got healthier?

How many of them got married?

Found love?

Found long-lost family?

Got pregnant or had babies?

Got their first job?

Got a better job?

Won something?

Lost weight?

Achieved a goal?

 

The list keeps going. And all that negative, “this is the worst year ever” naysaying probably makes those people feel pretty shitty. At least that’s what I’m getting out of it.

As someone whose highlight of the year was marrying my own personal Prince Charming, I’ve had enough.

Brilliant, talented celebrities die every year. It sucks, but that does not the worst year ever make.

Shitty stuff happens to individuals, who may personally be experiencing their worst year, but a large percent of the people who are saying it are not among those individuals.

A narcissistic professional bullshitter was elected as president, but you know what? He’s not the president right now. Barack Obama is. And we have a few more weeks to revel in that.

None of that is part of the recipe for the worst year ever.

Our world has survived some pretty awful times. The Holocaust? World War I? World War II? The bubonic plague? The Great Depression? Come the fuck on, people.

Take a look at some of the good things that HAVE come out of this year. I promise it wasn’t all bad. And if it really was 100% terrible, think about how you can take charge of the last couple days of 2016, and find joy for the love of all things. Find joy. And continue that into next year.

Unemployment is down. People are working. People are getting married, making babies, taking control of their health and their lives. They’re finding love. They’re believing in magic. To quote one of my favorite holiday movies, “If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.”

So open your eyes.

Volunteer your time to help people and organizations. Donate money to causes you believe in. Do something to improve your own life. Just stop bitching about this year, already.

Let’s drink from the glass that’s full, alright?

raising a glass at the head table at our wedding

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Compliment Sandwich, Bitch.

In which we talk about the jerks who don’t know how to give constructive criticism.

The compliment sandwich

I really love the way you offer suggestions for improvement, but…

When you’re dealing with people, I don’t give a damn whether you’ve got an MBA or a GED. You know what matters to me?

How you TREAT people. Yes, how you treat me is a significant factor, but I also look at how you treat others. How you talk about others. What you write in e-mail. Everything you say to or about people shows me the kind of person that you are. And if you’re being a douche nozzle, you should probably take this to heart.

I didn’t attend a fancy business school, but I did learn that the best way to deliver criticism is with a spoonful of sugar.

Mary Poppins is my homie.

If you’re going to tell a writer that their work could use a little cleaning up, I recommend the compliment sandwich.

How to dish out a compliment sandwich

What you’ll need:

  • Examples of excellent work, planning, organization, strategy or anything else that could warrant a proverbial pat on the back
  • The problem, issue, criticism that needs to be discussed
  • Proof and/or examples of the problem
  • A solution to the problem (if there is one)
  • The right words to eloquently phrase the problem, the solution, and the pat on the back so that you don’t come off as a dick
  • Someone to check your grammar and spelling (this is optional but highly recommended if you’re sending criticism via e-mail).

Step 1: Whether you’re writing an e-mail or confronting the offender in person, it’s best to ensure that you know exactly what you’re going to say. Words are powerful. If you’re not sure of your phrasing, consult with other people. This is essential.

Step 2: Deliver compliment #1. This is one of the easiest parts. “You’re doing a great job here (Elaborate. Get them on Team You).” or “I really appreciated how you handled project A, B, or C.” or my favorite, “I know you’re working really hard on this…”

Step 3: Transition into the constructive criticism. This should be seamless from compliment to “here’s something I’ve/we’ve noticed.”

Step 4: Deliver criticism. Make sure that you use NICE language. The words, “suck,” “shit,” “crap,” “awful,” “terrible,” “worst,” and any other derivative of these offensive words should be avoided at all costs. Stick with words like: “improve,” “adjust,” “modify,” “change,” and “expectations.”

Step 5: Offer that solution. If you genuinely don’t have a solution, give them TIME to come up with a solution. If you couldn’t think of one in the time it took you to plan this, they certainly aren’t going to have a solution on the spot, especially if they’re feeling attacked.

Step 6: Bring it right back to another compliment. Positive reinforcement works wonders. The whip? Not so much. “Thank you.” “I know you can do this.” “You’ve got a lot of great ideas, let’s implement them.” If you can’t think of 2 compliments, you’ve got a whole different problem on your hands, and I can’t help you. But if you can, then be nice to your people. Duh?

You have so much potential, so I know that you CAN make this compliment sandwich thing work.

See what I did there?

someecards.com - Your grammatically incorrect e-mail was much appreciated. For reference, though,

Have you experienced a peer or someone in your place of employment who didn’t have a nice thing to say, ever? How did you handle it? Do you believe in the compliment sandwich? How do you deliver constructive criticism?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Stop with the Jamberry Groups, Already

Dear Jamberry sales reps. (And Younique Eyelash peddlers. And essential oil people. And rando jewelry consultants),

I get, I really do. I’m obsessed with my nails too. I paint them a couple times a week. I have a bit of a Julep problem. And sure, I’ll share my findings with you on occasion…but I’m not force feeding it down your throat. I don’t think, anyways…

Gratuitous nail photo: The spring nails that brought the Chicago spring snow

Gratuitous nail photo: The spring nails that brought the Chicago spring snow

When you find something you like, you want to share it with the world. I totally understand. And while in-home selling parties are so passe (don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to throw annual Pampered Chef parties, y’all), Facebook parties are the it thing.

Cool.

The thing about a PARTY, though, is that people who are invited to parties know they’re invited and can…wait for it…decline before they’re spam tagged with a million posts about how great Jamberry, Younique, and whatever else you’re shilling is. This isn’t just about Jamberry. This about any consultant sales company that is training consultants to use Facebook groups instead of event invitations to sell their shit. Talk about taking high-pressure sales to the max.

I very deliberately join groups that are interesting and beneficial to me. I’m involved in some amazing groups of bloggers, women, and local discussions. Groups in which I chose to be a part of. I didn’t choose to join your press-on nail or mascara group, because I’m not interested.

Now, if you were to invite me to an event, I may browse and discover the product is not for me, and then easily decline the invitation. I may also realize that I love the product which I’ve done with those fabulous Thirty-One bags, KELLY (okay secretly, thank you…they’re like…the best bags for games and Sam’s Club shopping ever). You could invite me to a real party where I get to see or try the product (and you feed me…and you booze me up) and discover that I love them or I’ve had enough wine to think that $50-$100 is an acceptable shopping budget. Because I may buy a few things and help you earn free stuff with my purchase. I’m happy to do so, when I’ve been properly invited (digitally totally counts, y’all) and not automatically added to a group of every. Single. Person. You know.

The fastest way to get me to ignore your stuff, my friends? Is to add me to a group so your consultant can swoon and tell me how much I’m going to help you get free stuff. Every. Flippin’. Hour.

I know I’m not the only one, either. I’ve heard and seen a lot of complaints from friends and peers. This is not a good sales technique, kids.

Gratuitous nail photo: That's right. I painted Animal on my nail to match the BandAid on the other thumb.

Gratuitous nail photo: That’s right. I painted Animal on my nail to match the BandAid on the other thumb.

I get it, though. You love your jams and you want everyone else to love them, as well. And you know what? Your nails look totally adorable. But those things aren’t for me. I LIKE spending the time it takes to paint my nails. It’s therapeutic. I like that even with my quasi-expensive nail polish, I’m still spending way less money than it would cost to change my nails as often as I do if I were using Jamberry. I like that I can flex my creative muscles with color combos and designs. It’s a thing, okay?

Gratuitous nail photo

Gratuitous nail photo

When I host product parties (I used to be a consultant for Tastefully Simple and love me some Pampered Chef), there are snacks. There’s liquor and wine and beer. There’s laughter. If it’s a digital party, there’s an easy opt-out button that allows you to say, “thanks but no thanks” and then notifications stop without feeling like you have to explain why you are leaving a group.

So do everyone you love and respect a favor. If you’re a consultant for one of these companies, stick with events and not groups. If you’re hosting one of these parties and you want me to buy stuff? Invite me to an event. Whether it’s a digital party or you’re hosting something at your place (and there are snacks and wine? even better!), I’m more likely to consider buying something.

Jamberry Groups

Come on, guys, fess up. What really irks you about these parties? Do you hate being added  to groups as much as I do? Do you love these parties? Are you addicted to the Jams? Or the crazy eyelashes? Or the scented oils? Now, let’s end on a positive note – What home parties can’t you get enough of?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Reasons You Should Probably Never Talk About Money (With People. Do I Need to Clarify That?)

I’ve decided to devote a little discussion to money or better yet, why people shouldn’t talk about money (Does that make this blog post ironic? Someone ask Alannis Morrisette for me). They say that money is the root of all evil…so does that make evil the money tree? 

Rich or poor, you should probably avoid talking about cold, hard cash…here’s why.

7 reasons not to talk about money. Ever.

Very SERIOUS reasons not to talk about money. Ever.

  • Someone may get jealous of your larger pay check and find a way to steal it. Probably with ninja stars and boomerangs.
  • You might get punched. Especially if you make eleventy billion dollars and are trying to use an expired coupon. And then arguing about it with the cashier.
  • If you’re trying to use food stamps (or your state/country’s equivalent), and you roll your groceries out to a Lexus…I’m going to judge you for the rest of your life. Even though I don’t know your name. And I might even blog about you. You know, quite frankly, I’m glad I don’t know your name.
  • Making 6, 7 or 8 figures is great. We’re all really happy for you. But if you’re single (oh hell, if you’re making 7 or 8 figures, I don’t care if you’ve got a family of 10), you should never. Ever. Ever. Ever. Talk about how you have no money. Because if you have no money, it’s your own fault. Unless it’s all in savings so you can retire at 40. Because I can TOTALLY respect that. Sort of. Okay, fine. I’m just really jealous and I might want to find my ninja stars and boomerangs.
  • People will feel sorry for you if you have less money. And they might then give you money. Hmmm…. Maybe you should talk about money…Let’s think on that one.
  • No matter how poor you think you are, you never know what someone else’s circumstances are. You could be standing next to someone who ran away with the circus, finally escaped from a relationship with the bearded lady, and has three circus peanuts and a clown nose to their name. Not that I’ve ever experienced this…but you know…it could happen.
  • Blaming [insert politician or organization] here isn’t really helpful for anyone. And no one wants to get into your bullshit trap political arguments anyways. You stop that right now.

What are your thoughts about money talk? Have you ever wanted to run away to the circus? Do you love circus peanuts the way I love circus peanuts? Who wants to let me borrow their boomerang?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!