on life, ambitions, and dreams


Posts Tagged ‘women’

Screw Birthday Gifts; Let’s Start a Business Instead

Happy to report that Shanley’s campaign was fully funded! Thank you for all of your help!

When your friends are bloggers located on the other side of the country, buying drinks to catch up after a hard day or to celebrate a monumental victory can be, well, impossible. And sending them birthday wishes after Facebook reminds you of their special day is so passé.

Let’s be real, thirty seconds of your time typing out “happy birthday” on Facebook is not meaningful.

A New Kind of Birthday Gift

Shanley Knox and Florence Okun

Meet my friend Shanley KnoxShanley is a writer and social entrepreneur. At 20, she launched her first social enterprise. And this year for her 25th birthday, she’s doing what other 25-year-olds are not: trading in her birthday drinks to raise money for her second social enterprise. This time, it’s to launch Olivia Knox, which aims to change the face of manufacturing through refined East African craftsmanship that will supply luxury and lifestyle designers globally.

Through Olivia Knox, Shanley plans to raise labor standards and provide regular wages for a group of 40 female workers in Uganda, an area of the world where women are often marginalized and abused in professional working environments. Not just one or two, 40.

In her words:

She’s less than $700 away from reaching her goal and has less than four days to reach it; her campaign ends on Friday, January 31st, 2014 at 11:59 PT.

I already bought a round of drinks.  Want to grab the next birthday cocktail or birthday beer

Shanley Knox of Nakate Project

What do you say, shall we contribute a few birthday drinks to Shanley’s campaign?

You can make your donation through her campaign on Indiegogo, here: Have Birthday Drinks with Shanley for Uganda.

Photos courtesy of Shanley Knox 

I am Thankful for Strong Women


I woke up at 7am today, forgetting that it was a holiday and thinking I was late to work. I wasn’t. Instead, I rolled out from under the cuddling-grasps of my sleeping husband, snuck (unsuccessfully) out of the bedroom and into my closet where I tossed on workout clothes.

Outside it was sunny and I had to scrape the ice off my windows. I hate scraping the ice off my windows, especially on a non-work day.

It’s Thanksgiving and I was meeting my team at the gym for the 6th annual CrossFit Cornucopia workout. This workout is brutal–t’s a total 8 movements at 200 reps each, split reps with your team of four, and it lasts for just over an hour.*

I have been going to CrossFit for as long as President Obama has been in office. Election night 2008 was one of my first one-on-one sessions. Over the years I have been at the top of my fitness game and super sporadic. Right now, CrossFit and I have a lukewarm relationship. It’s not that it doesn’t love me, it’s that I don’t love it. It’s a symptom of a 2-hour commute, long hours, and, to be frank, just being tired. I’ve gained weight (but every pancake has been worth it) and my shoulder is still not strong. And now my lower back and hip are freaking out. I’m too young for my body to revolt on me.

I may disappear from the gym for a few weeks, but I always come back.

Two weeks ago I got a text from one of my ‘6am Faithfuls,’ asking if I’d join their team for our gym’s annual Thanksgiving workout. The idea of doing the workout never crossed my mind. And it doesn’t matter how old you get, getting ‘chosen’ to be on a team always feels good.

My team this year was evenly matched in strength and ability. We each carried the team our respective movements and rested on the ones we weren’t.

Then we hit the burpees, movement 5 out of 8 and rep 800-1000, and each of us subbed in after 2 or 3 burpees each. Not even half-way through, say burpee #60, I hit the wall. I wanted to die. My body felt heavy as hell — I dropped fast and it took all-the-strength-in-the-world to push my body off the floor.

My lowerback was tweaking out each time I pushed up. I laid at the bottom of the burpee, chest pressed against the floor wondering, when did I get so heavy? and how could these extra 10 pounds feel like 50? I wanted to cry and never get up, but I didn’t. I couldn’t. This wasn’t just my workout.

I jumped up, clapped my hands above my head, and dropped back down to the ground, pushing myself up to a jump, completing another burpee.

That’s when Sara tapped in and I rested for 9 more burpees.

Strength being part of a community, part of a team. Strength is showing up. And if it wasn’t for these three ladies, I would have stayed on the floor.

Thank you for sharing your strength with me, Sara, Meredyth, and Linda.

Happy Thanksgiving.

CrossFit Cornucopia Team 2013 at Local's Gym/Lynnwood Crossfit

* The CrossFit Cornucopia Workout

  • 200 Dumbell/Kettlebell Snatches 35/25
  • 200 Deadlifts 85/65
  • 200 Wallball Shots 20/14
  • 200 Medball Cleans 20/14
  • 200 Burpees
  • 200 Pull-ups
  • 200 Thrusters 45/35
  • 200 calories on the rower

Teams of 4 for time
Break up reps as needed

Top Photo by Greg Westfall

How Women See the World: Elles at the Seattle Art Museum

Bloggers at Elles Pompidou at Seattle Art Museum

Museums are not places that we go to be entertained, they are places that we go to come together and discuss ideas. They exist to make us think.

Wendy Simons, a docent at the Seattle Art Museum, said a version of the above at the end of our tour. A few weeks ago, the Seattle Art Museum invited a group of bloggers to the museum for a preview and a guided tour of Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris exhibit. Elles at the Seattle Art Museum features more than 125 works of art made by 75 women artists from 1909 to 2007 and through their work reveals a history of 20th and 21st century art from a perspective that we’ve never seen before, women. And this exhibit is a fraction of the 500 pieces that were part of the original exhibit at the Pompidou in Paris, France.

Before Elles first appeared in at the Pompidou from May 2009 to March 2011, art by women were never part of discourse on the history of art and culture. Think back to when you were in school and learned the names of Henri Matisse, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gaguin, and many other artists of the 20th century. Did you ever stop to ask why there wasn’t a single female artist included in those lessons?

It wasn’t that women weren’t creating art during this time. They were painting; we just didn’t know their names.

Elles exists to change that and show how the twentieth century looked through the eyes of women like Natalia Gontcharova, Tamara de Lempicka, Suzanne Valadon, Frida Kahlo, Louise Bourgeois, Hannah Wilke, Dora Maar, Diane Arbus, and many more. Names that I didn’t know until I saw their art for the first time at the Seattle Art Museum. (more…)

What Marilyn Monroe and Albert Einstein Have to do with Success

Marilyn Monroe reading, by Elliott Erwitt, 1956

When I was twelve, I wrote down this quote from Marilyn Monroe:

I was never told that I was beautiful when I was younger. I think that all young girls should be told that they are beautiful even if they really aren’t.

And ever since then, I’ve heard her words in my head. I, too, believe that every little girl should be told that she’s beautiful. But I disagree with Ms. Monroe that little girls are not beautiful. When you’re little, the world is yours to take and create. You can achieve whatever you set your mind to, and you can do whatever you want to do.

Last week I read this correspondence between Albert Einstein and a little girl who wanted to be a scientist. In it, he gave her the best advice that every woman can apply to her career and anything that she sets her mind to.

As a woman, I encounter so many articles about women in work and the role gender plays in success. I have been part of conversations about how to we need more women in the tech field, how brogrammers have created a world that is challenging to play in, and that women still can’t have it all.

As a member of Gen Y, we know that the world that we’re working in now is way different than every other generation that came before us. The majority of us are working jobs that did not exist 10 years ago or even before we had them. We see work as an activity, not a place we spend our days. And most of us have a side-hustle, hobby, or passion project that we created ourselves and devote time beyond the 9-to-5 building.

And even though we’ve been accused for being the cheapest generation, we’re working hard, despite the horrible economy, to build a life that we want. And we’re filling it with the people, experiences, and the things that we desire.

We were raised to believe that if we want something bad enough, all we have to do is work hard and we can do it. And we’re very aware that we can’t do it alone, because if we could, we wouldn’t want to.

Marilyn Monroe wants every girl to know that she’s beautiful, whether she is or is not. Gen Y has was raised to believe that we could do anything that we set our minds to.

But as we get further and further into our version of adulthood, we realize that we can’t have everything that we want, when we want it. We get confused after reading articles that tell us that women keep other women from getting ahead at the same time that others tell us that women can be our closest allies. We aren’t sure what to think. We forget the hopes and dreams that we secretly scribbled into notebooks when we were teenagers. We get consumed in the struggle.

A friend says the right words, at the right time. They pass us a book that brings us back to where we need to be. Someone throws us a life vest and we read something that was written for what we’re experiencing in that very moment.

We realize what Einstein was right—who we are and what we want to be is possible, and not to let something that we can’t control, like being young, a woman, inexperienced, or something else, get in our way.

In our world, non-beautiful girls can be beautiful and little girls can grow up to be scientists. Rules and expectations were set by the generations who came before us. And they created their definition of success.

This is our world, and success is what we make of if.

Photograph by Elliott Erwitt via Mycroft Books

Sunday Serial: Rules for Teenagers, Entrepreneurs & Goal Setters

247-365 SUNDAY PAPERS by pepsix

When I was seven years old my bedtime was 8pm. A time that is tolerable during the winter but excruciating in the spring after daylight savings time.

On Easter that year as I was getting ready to go to bed, I peaked out of my bedroom window and saw the neighbor kid across the street in her front yard hunting Easter eggs. And the worst part – she was two years younger than me! Talk about not fair!

It’s around that time in life that many kids learn how to say, “You’re not the boss of me” and ache for a day when we will be able to make our own rules about our own life.

Well, judging by the popularity of content on the Internet, general professional knowledge – generally people become overwhelmed when presented with too many choices.

Why? For a number of reasons that all boil down to being afraid about making the wrong decision and missing an opportunity. Often times it’s called the paradox of choice.

That’s right, fear.

Don’t worry; I’m in this boat too. It’s why I ask my husband if I should do something instead of the other so that if I make the wrong decision, I have him to blame (his words, not mine).

So, this week, here is a collection of articles with advice on things that you should do, things you shouldn’t do, and one more to make life a little easier.

Things You Should Do

Ten Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls by Kate Conner on Lily Pads

Read this because: You were a teenager once, know someone who is a teenager, or who will be one soon.

You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.

Six Attributes of Successful Entrepreneurs by Jay Goltz on The New York Times

Read this because: You’re like me and have big plans to be a founding entrepreneur some day. But you’re scared (see above) that you don’t have the character profile or, hell, the DNA to be one. But all soft skills can be honed and the way you look at the world can be finessed. View this list as six things to work on while you wait for that some day to arrive.

10 Rules for Brilliant Women by Tara Sophia Mohr on We Unite

Read this because: You don’t know who Tara Sophia Mohr is and have never read her “10 Rules” before.

I first read Tara’s 10 Rules shortly after it was first published on the Huffington Post. After that, I got to know her through The Girl Effect Blogging Campaign and had the pleasure of attending one of her salons last spring when she was in Seattle. Tara is a writer who is dedicated to coaching women leaders on how to sit at the table, speak up, take bold actions in the world.

Bonus reading material: Here’s the post I wrote as part of the Girl Effect Blogging Campaign this past year: Change the Statistics.

A little bit is a lot. By Sarah K. Peck on It Starts With

Read this because: We all procrastinate a lot. We turn small tasks into daunting affairs that paralyze us and if we just change our perspective, we can get it down. Sarah K. Peck does an amazing job of illustrating exactly what procrastination looks like, and how to overcome it in a way that’s not so scary anymore.

How to Influence People: The Most Overlooked Secret by Cody Goins on Goins, Writer

Read this because: I love it when bloggers of all shapes and sizes share their “little known” secrets, and this is one that could change how you approach life.

Things You Should Not Do

3 Words That Guarantee Failure by Geoffrey James on

Read this because: You love brainstorming big ideas and setting goals, and what’s better is you’re into meeting them. But there’s one thing you can say after setting a goal that will determine if you will succeed or not – three words that you might say that will subconsciously put you on the path towards failure.

For the record: You can say those three words when it comes to something like eating food or learning a new skill.

The 5 Silent Career Killers For Women by Lauren Carlson on Women 2.0

Read this because: Whether you’re a man or a woman, there are things that you might be doing to sabotage your career. (Confession: I do 4 out of 5 of the things on this list on a daily basis, in my career and otherwise). Check out this list and start altering your behavior now. Carlson goes into more detail about each “silent killer” on her own site and in this blog post.

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly by Brian Clark on Copyblogger

Read this because: If you can’t write or talk good, than you just look silly. And that will do more damage to you then anything written above.

Now View The World Through the Eyes of Calvin and Hobbes

Kung Fu Calvin, fan art by John KimballSixteen Things Calvin and Hobbes Said Better Than Anyone Else by Edd McCracken on Book Riot

Read this because: I’ve given you a lot to think about. And when the world is overwhelming and you need to take a break on self-actualization, go back to the basics and learn how Calvin and Hobbes made sense of the world better than anyone else could.

What did you read this week?

Photo Credit: Pepsix
Kung Fu Calvin fan art illustrated by John Kimball