Browsing Tag:

women

You Are The Company You Keep : Why We Blog

It was a life lesson my parents tried to teach us at a young age: if you surround yourself with go-getters and motivated individuals, it would ‘rub’ off on you and make you that way.  We didn’t always understand what they meant – or if they just didn’t like our friends growing up – but the older we got, the more we understood. Surrounding yourself with like-minded and successful people can inspire motivation.  Success, learning, and networking is like an addiction — once you get a taste of what it is like to be ‘one-of-those-people’, you become empowered to continue to learn and create.

Getting a graduate degree was step one for us. We were surrounded by colleagues who were motivated to pursue further understanding and deeper thought. We began learning the importance of not just accomplishing a task, but enjoying the process of collaborating with peers. And it may sound silly, but our lifestyles as a whole began to shift; we started spending more time in coffee shops getting to know people and their passions rather than partying at bars and nightclubs where the discussions were more superficial.

Once Upon a Dollhouse
With Dani and Caitlin of Once Upon a Dollhouse

Most recently, we discovered blogging. Once we entered this sphere, we quickly recognized that this was largely a female-dominated industry filled with creative influencers, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists.  The desire to have these women ‘rub’ off on us was real.  We have always had a strong network of women in our lives, from our Mom to our five aunts to our cousins and  to our friends, it’s hard to ignore the magnetic energy that a room full of women can produce.


We didn’t know at the time what we were bringing to the table. We did know that we had something to offer.  In this past year, we have truly grown as individuals and as bloggers.  Joining groups where women were open to listening and sharing ideas (e.g. the Windy City Collective, Chicago Grammers, and Style Collective) has been meaningful and beneficial.  Somewhere along the way in these discussions, it did ‘rub ‘ off and we caught the bug to try something new and push ourselves professionally and creatively. This infectious transfer of motivation among women helps us to enjoy the blogging process and to have fun even when things seem hectic.

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We are getting a second chance in our thirties to redefine the next fifty years of our life. Although we don’t know what we are going to do with that opportunity yet, we do know that we will continue to grow.  We are truly grateful to the people we have met along the way who have been generous with their ideas and time – shout out to Annie Spano and the dolls from Once Upon A Dollhouse to name a few.  They inspired us to see a bigger picture and talk through a path with us chicks.

Blogging is about reciprocal influence by sharing who you are with the universe and letting the universe shape you. At Chicks and Salsa, we are trying to do just that one week at a time. Thanks for hopping along for the journey. Get out there, form connections, empower yourself and inspire others. Check out our Chicks And Salsa Chick Chat podcast to hear us think out loud about other things in life that motivate us!

Until next time,

Your Chicks,

Rina and Sonia

Top Ten Ways To Find Your Zen

With the school year underway and relaxed summer routines becoming not-so-distant memories, many of us have to try harder to carve out time for ourselves and search deeper to block out the buzzings around us.  The grind of drop-offs, work, pick-ups, activities, specials, dinner, homework…wash, rinse, repeat…gets to even the most pain-tolerant of us. 

Meditation is the discovery that the point of life is always arrived at in the immediate moment. – Alan Watts

Below is a list of the top ten ways to find your zen.

Create a playlist- find the songs that put you in your element.  I listen to a variety of music so mine contains anything from classical to hip hop.  I use my headphones and tend to multi-task at home.  I also play it in the car after the kids have been dropped off.  Have you checked out Chick Radio yet? Subscribe to our channel, we update our list often.

Take a walk – I find my zen walking through the aisles of Target or Home Goods…alone.  I may not purchase anything but I enjoy the solitude and without being beholden to a shopping list and a tight time frame.  The same can be achieved walking outside, snow-shoeing (for the more adventurous), and biking.

Devour a book- Nothing takes you away and warms the soul like a good book; one that makes you lose track of time and makes you look forward to the next chunk of free time in your calendar.  This month, my book club is reading a thriller set aboard a luxury cruise line called The Woman In Cabin 10, nothing like a thriller to create an alternate reality in your mind.

Drink to it-  Not alcohol, I’m talking about a nice relaxing cup of hot tea or hot chocolate.  Perhaps milk with tumeric or cinnamon.  I have a spice blend I’ve created that I add to either black tea or warmed milk and it puts me in my zen state.  Try the chicks favorite, Frontier Organic Fair-Trade Chai!

 

Get organized!- Spend five minutes every night organizing your thoughts for the next day, crossing things off your list for the day and double checking your calendar.  Nothing takes you out of your flow than a disorganized rush in the morning.

Create a mantra- Create an affirmation that motivates and inspires you and repeat it when you wake up, right before bed and any other time you need it!  Check out our Affirmations Board on Pinterest for ways to stay calm and  stay positive.

Learn to say “yes” – Say yes to dinner with your friends, or to your child when he asks to play hide-and-seek  Those events allow you to be present and break up the routine. Also, connecting with others simply feels good.

No guilt – You know the phrase “Life’s too short…” The cliche is actually rather profound.  There’s no room for guilt.  And with that, I’ll leave you with another one of my favorite quotes “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”

Disconnect! – Make it a habit to set a time every day to disconnect from all electronics.  Start with five minutes and don’t be surprised if you find yourself increasing that time 🙂  You’ll cherish it.  See our post about what you are missing when you are on your phone.

Laugh!!- What better way to feel relaxed than by feeling happy?  Try something silly, learn a new dance, tell a joke.  Get in touch with your unabashed-ness of your youth when you laughed more than you worried!  If you have not already read The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*$k, do yourself a favor, and pick it up!

Cheers,

Serene

Your Brainy Chick


Work-Life Balance and Motherhood

Summer 2016 — I found myself at the cusp of making a life-altering decision.  Should I take a step back from my teaching career or should I keep marching onwards?  Should I take this year off?  Should I take that time off that I always dreamt of taking?  Should I sacrifice a year of providing the second (and minimal) income for my family?  So many ifs, but no guarantees.  What if I intend on taking only a year off and it turns into ten years off?  What if I fail at staying home and running this already busy house-hold?  Again, so many ifs and no answers.  I needed that magic 8 ball more than ever!

So I took the plunge.  In early August, I firmly announced that I have finally made the decision to stay home — to take care of the house, kids, and myself.  “Finally…this will be awesome for you and all of us,” my husband replied.  Of course, I knew that we would have to knock a few things off of our list of expenses…cleaning services, take-out nights, and of course my own spending (yikes).  Running on one income wouldn’t be easy at all, but it’s now or almost never.  My kids are young and it would be nice to just be around.  I had that notion that you only live once…so why not?

Staying at home meant I could finally fulfill the one thing I always wondered…how does it feel dropping the kids off at school and brunching with my friends, running errands, working out, and even tidying up the house in peace?  Throughout my 10 years in the workforce, I always wondered how it felt to just be at home.  To have my OWN time to do my OWN things.  Things that no one would even know about!  I was giving myself a year and I needed to make it count!

So I fulfilled my wonder…I stayed home.  I was that mom — I volunteered at school and made sure breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner were all mostly home-made and prepared with ease.  I made sure that permission slips were signed on time and activities were scheduled.  I made sure that homework was done and both kids were content at drop-off and pick-up.  I was a homemaker…probably not the best, but I tried.  I worked hard to keep up with the daily chores while juggling sick kids, doctor appointments, and opposite schedules.  Did I always succeed?  NO!  But really, it was on my clock.  No one was the boss of me…and that felt amazing.

So then comes May and a possible teaching position is presented to me.  Do I go for it or do I stay home for another year?  What if I stay at home and regret not even trying for it?  Well you only live once, right?  Why not?  After all — this was the job of my dreams.  I went to graduate school knowing I wanted to be as innovative in my teaching methods as possible and this private institution allowed for that.  After a few weeks of complete uncertainty, I got the call — I got the offer!  My first reaction was disbelief…did I just accomplish this huge life-long goal of mine?  WOW.  



Then of course, came the mourning period — flashbacks of my year off would pop up out of the blue.  The times I was easily able to stay home with a sick child.  The times I was able to single-handedly run the household while my husband was out of town.  The times I was the boss of me and no one to really answer to!  Were these flashbacks strong enough to keep me back from fulfilling my dream of accepting this teaching position?  NO.  In fact, I look back and realize that while it was a great break, I was always secretly yearning to get back into the classroom.  I missed the teaching world.  I have this opportunity and the time is NOW.

So now comes the balance.  How do I maintain the juggling act of keeping up with all the duties I enjoyed fulfilling when I was home all while achieving my career goals?  With every step forward, I would have to let go of some of them.  It’s all about trying to attain that balance and learning from what works and what doesn’t.  We will be entering a new set of routines — early morning lunch preps (for the kids AND me), school drop offs and pickups, after-school activities, homework, dinner along with my own work now — all while trying squeezing in some ME time.  

All I can do now is to hope for the best and keep the momentum up.  I’m in my late thirties and finally achieved my lifelong career goal.  I spent the last year setting up the foundation and routines of running this household somewhat efficiently…now I just need to keep it up.  Now is the time to make it all count and all I can do is to take it one day at a time.  I have to keep in mind that you only live once.

Here’s to keeping it real,

Your Brainy Chick,

Komi

Chick Picks:

Did You Really Just Say That ?!?!

This may be why I hate going out sometimes…

Scenario 1:

LADY: Is that a new clutch?

ME: Yes! I just bought it from ___, and love it!

LADY: Yeah, I know someone with the same clutch — she has such tacky taste!

ME: (Um…did this girl just call me tacky?)

Scenario 2:

JUDGY MOM: So you’re taking the year off of teaching, right?

ME: Yes I am!

JUDGY MOM: You must have SO much time — what do you do all day? It must be nice to just

hang out all day and do nothing…

ME: (Really? REALLY?)

Scenario 3:

JUDGY LADY: So you’re working out a lot more now right?

ME: Yes!

JUDGY LADY: Really? I couldn’t really tell…

ME: (Are you OUT OF YOUR MIND?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Has someone ever said something directly to you and you had to think to yourself, “WHAT?” Don’t get me wrong; I’m all about people having the right to express themselves and saying what they please, but does that give them the right to be completely socially inept? Does it give them the right to completely disregard your feelings…as a normal human being? Many times, when I am on the receiving end of an outlandish comment, I wonder if I’m possibly taking it the wrong way or heard it wrong. It’s completely possible that I had a moment of hyper-sensitivity and took the comment too personally. I’m not completely out of the woods here… The thing is when someone else in the room notices the comment and gives you that “wait, did she just….wait, did she just — WOAH!” The most memorable incident I’ve experienced involved my husband. I was caught in the middle of an awkward situation with another person and turned around — only to catch his high eye-brow raised glance. I felt like he expected for me to completely flip a table over it; I felt that I almost had to react just to show him that I wasn’t numb to it. I just calmly poured myself another glass of wine and went on about another conversation as if nothing happened while my insides twitched with major annoyance.

Later that night, he casually brought it up. I, of course exploded and he profoundly said, “why didn’t you just say something back?” While I wanted to gouge his eyes out for bringing up a great point — I thought, why didn’t I come up with a witty comeback? Why didn’t I somehow relieve the awkwardness by one-upping this girl and her viciousness? Why did I just take it and not stick up for myself? Of course I then turn to the usual conclusion I always do — it probably isn’t even worth it OR is it? Here’s the thing — people talk and say what they please…so I should receive what they say in the manner in which I please, right? I can try all I want to just ignore them, but is that giving them “permission” to do this repeatedly? If I speak up, then I’m all of a sudden overly-sensitive or feisty? If I don’t, I’m a pushover.

I’ve decided that there’s no winning. There’s no winning when dealing with completely socially inept people — you just need to know that you’re not the weirdo in the situation. Also…I just don’t have the mental capacity to worry about more drama than my everyday life with two crazy active children.  So to that socially inept person roaming around looking for his/her next prey…just shut-up already. No one wants your negativity and “rough around the edges” ways. No one cares if you are always right and have to have the last word. Just back off…because someday I will come up with a witty comeback that seems like a light-hearted joke and life will be good again.

Your Brainy Chick – Komi

**For some candid reads from witty women, check out our Chick Picks.

Chick Picks:

Are you there vodka? Its me, Chelea
Is everyone hanging out without me?

“Gee, it must be nice…”

A random Thursday night and I’m surrounded by a handful of talented, educated, intelligent women at the nearest Mexican restaurant, and I pause.  What did each of us go through to get here tonight?

Each of us rushed out of the house at 8:30 — after putting the kids down to bed, of course.  Each of us rushed out in a frenzy, feeling overwhelmed by the constant to-do list running through our minds.  Each of us made sure that the kids’ lunch, backpack, and outfit for the next day were prepped and ready before heading out.  Each of us parked our cars and immediately touched up our makeup — because we just didn’t have a moment to stop and take care of it before leaving the house as were already running late.  Each of us dashed into the restaurant and collapsed into the others’ arms with a sigh of relief thinking “I’m finally here!”

Motherhood is our bond — but the need for surrounding ourselves with support is the bigger quest.  You see, more often than not, we assume the person sitting across from us has it so much better OR doesn’t know what our day has been like OR has no idea what we have gone through to get here.  We just assume that no one knows what our frustrations feel like.  You know what they say about people that assume, right?

We each have a story and may not always go around showcasing it for the world to see.  We all have the same level of stresses and drama — but they come in different forms.  Oftentimes I’m told that I carry my anxiety, frenzy, drama very well; truth is, I don’t feel like airing my dirty laundry when I’m trying to have a great time.  I choose not to rain on my own magical parade of enjoying a night out.  I choose not to think about the craziness and drama when I’m out.  

Our stories stem from who we are and what we do; we tend to label ourselves.  The stay-at-home-mom, the part-time working mom, the full-time working mom.  Why can’t we just be a “mom”?  Society has us labeled and these labels come with some pretty nasty stereotypes.  I know first hand, that as much as I would like to stay away from these stereotypes, they’ve crept up on me from time to time.  The nasty stereotypes we’ve all heard like “it must be fun sitting around eating bon-bons all day” OR “the nanny mothers my kids better than my wife” OR “the mom, otherwise known as the maid.”  

So many times I hear “gee, it must be nice…” — and I cringe waiting for what is to come after.  Maybe what is to come will most likely sound like a back-handed compliment.  Why do we naturally assume the woman sitting across from us has it so much better?  It’s a societal view…what you see is what you get, right?  Truth is, if I showed up looking like how I really feel, I would be a “hot mess.”  I would be disheveled, sobbing with mascara running down my face, and most likely in my yoga pants from the day before.  

So here I am, surrounded by these amazing group of ladies, taking in the funny stories of what little “Johnny” did at school, the stupid husband anecdotes, recipe exchanges, and book reviews.  Did it matter that I folded laundry while watching Gilmore Girls reruns at 1:00 in the afternoon while the woman across from me was in a tense board meeting?  

Who cares how she got here?  Who cares if my day was worse than hers?  Does it matter if I worked harder than anyone?  NO.  Let’s just be and diminish the societal views and focus on the fact that we are here in this moment.  Who knows what each of us will have to deal with once we leave this restaurant?  All we can do is enjoy this moment and take it in, one sip at a time.

 

Cheers to that!

Your Brainy Chick,

Komi