Month: September 2015

Practice in Steil: Yoga Edition

Practice in Steil: Yoga Edition

In case you didn’t know, September is also National Yoga Month. Unfortunately for me, my yoga practice has come to a screeching halt, despite my best intentions of getting back to the mat.

Lately, all of my yoga clothes have been pulling double-duty in kickboxing, and they have taken a beating. There are so many options when it comes to finding the right yoga gear, and while I’ve found some awesome pieces for great prices at Target, I simply love Athleta. Athleta’s workout clothes are high quality and come in an array of colors, patterns, and styles, but my favorite part is their wearability. Now that I work from home (read: wear yoga clothes all the time) I appreciate that I can throw on some of my clothing from Athleta, head out the door for a quick errand, and not look like I belong at the gym. Their pieces are ideal for going from downward-facing dog to daytime duty, while still looking stylish. They may cost a bit more, but the durability of the fabric and the comfort factor are worth the investment.

Since it’s fall and I’m loving cozy pieces, I couldn’t help but swoon over the poncho, the sweater vest, and the sport dress seen above. Of course, joggers are totally in style this season and are one piece that you will definitely wear beyond the mat!

What’s your go-to when it comes to workout wear?

Thyroid Tuesday: Awareness Efforts

Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

It’s the final days of September and Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. But that doesn’t mean awareness efforts are over. Thyroid cancer is the ninth most common cancer in the United States, making early detection critical. Be sure to have your doctor perform a neck check at your next appointment and regularly examine your neck at home. I’m thankful to my readers who have offered support as I’ve shared my story, to those who have commented with questions, and others who have raised awareness in their own way. I’m also extremely grateful to Mikelle Hebeka of Zen Thyroid, who shared her valuable insight about living and coping with thyroid disease in two posts on the blog this month (you can read them here and here).

If you are looking for ways to partake in awareness efforts, here are some things that you can do right now.

Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

Over the weekend I snapped a photo for the #TruthAboutTC challenge. For each person who shares a picture holding a sign that states #TruthAboutTC, Eisai, Inc. will donate $1 to ThyCa and Light of Life Foundation for Thyroid Cancer, up to $50,000. The month still has a few days left, so let’s help them reach their goal! Once you have your photo, share it on social media and tag two friends to help spread the word. You can even mention a fact about thyroid cancer or include a line about your own diagnosis and journey. Please visit ThyCa’s Facebook page for more information!

Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

Yesterday I took my annual “scarfie” (scarf + selfie = scarfie, in case there was any confusion) for Scarfies 4 Thyca. Just grab your favorite scarf and take a selfie. It’s that easy. Make sure to tag your photos on social media using the hashtag #Scarfies4Thyca #CheckYourNeck #ThyroidCancerAwarenessMonth and get your friends involved, too!

These are two simple awareness initiatives that are a great way to educate others and raise money for thyroid cancer research. For further information on thyroid related topics, please visit the Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association and ThyroidChange.

Again, thank you to my readers and the thyroid warriors I have been fortunate enough to meet through blogging and social media. Your support means a lot to me!

P.S. The 18th Annual International Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Conference will be held next month from October 2nd – 4th (which is actually the end of this week!) in St. Louis, Missouri. Details are on ThyCa’s website!

Fall Faves

In terms of weather, this weekend gave us the first real glimpse of Fall. And while I’m still not ready for those Pumpkin Spice Lattes (that happens around October for me), I have started to move my cardigans front and center, unwrap Fall decor, and debut darker lipsticks.

Reese's Peanut Cups

{It may not be time for Trick-or-Treating, but Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are always a good idea}

Candy Corn

{Home office getting some Fall decor and a sweet treat}

NARS Lipstick

{Cooler weather calls for darker hues}

OPI Taupe-less Beach

{My favorite Fall nail polish shade}

Fall Sunset

{September Sunset}

Follow me on Instagram to keep up with all of my musings!

How did you spend your weekend?

Must-Have Makeup Shades for Fall

Must-Have Makeup Shades for Fall

Happy fall! Does it feel like fall in your neck of the woods? We have been blessed with that lovely in-between weather — the early morning chill requires a sweater and by noon it’s in the mid- to upper-70’s. So while I wrap my head around the fact that not only is it officially fall, but also the end of September (what?), I am slowly coming to terms with the impending fashion choices I must make. To ease into this transition, I’ve begun looking for new shades of makeup to love for the slowly-but-surely cooler months ahead. Some of these products are in my makeup bag year-round, while others will be a welcome addition.

In the fall, I tend to favor light pinks, taupes, and neutral shades on my nails. At the moment, I’m wearing Taupe-less Beach from OPI and it is a crowd-pleaser. (P.S. You can see the shade in action on my Instagram).

I’ve always found finding the perfect fall lipstick a bit trickier, though. While nudes are consistently in vogue, and a classic red lip will never go out of style, getting me to swap out my Coral Crush stunner from Maybelline may take a bit of convincing. So while I work on overcoming my fear of change, I’ve chosen some of the darker shades that I will be rocking in the not too distant future.

And lastly, what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t mention my beloved shadows and liners. I’m partial to Stila, but Bobbi Brown never fails to disappoint in the eyeshadow department. Since it’s something I use daily, I like to buy a palette with versatile colors that I can mix and match or wear alone. Of course, my look wouldn’t be complete without my favorite product…the smudge stick from Stila. Until recently, I only used black to line my eyes. But Stila makes so many great colors that it’s hard to pick a winner. Lionfish (shown on the bottom right in the image above), is great for daily wear and a staple in my makeup arsenal. It’s coppery shimmer is an ideal fall shade.

What are your beauty must-haves? Any favorite shades for fall?

Thyroid Thursday: A Guest Post on Coping

Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

I am thrilled to welcome Mikelle Hebeka, author of Zen Thyroid, back to the blog this week for Thyroid Thursday. Mikelle’s words on coping resonated with me as a thyroid cancer survivor and I felt they were important to share with other thyroid warriors. Coping with any disease or illness takes time, and it was what I struggled with most during my battle with thyroid cancer. I was unable to attach any personalization to my diagnosis…it was as though I was talking about someone else’s condition when I referred to it. It wasn’t until I could take ownership of what was going on with my health, which came through research and understanding, that I felt strong enough to combat what was in front of me. If you or someone you know is dealing with a thyroid condition, please remember Mikelle’s words of compassion, strength, and guidance. They may make all the difference.

How I Began to Cope with Thyroid Disease
By: Mikelle Hebeka

I suspected for many years that I had a thyroid issue. It really did not affect the day-to-day operations of my life and had primarily manifested itself as a minor irritation. For the past several years, that minor irritation morphed into some more major events. They came and went and while some were harder to deal with than others, I always was left feeling like I could handle this, no problemo. I got this. Until this past autumn when the gusts turned into Hurricane Hypothyroid and turned my world upside down. When the dust settled, I found myself completely lost for the first time (or at least the first time I would admit that I was lost). I felt like I had been dropped in the middle of the wilderness without a map.

There were so many new symptoms and situations to deal with. Everything became incredibly difficult. Even getting dressed in the morning was awful and frequently resulted in sobbing on the closet floor. Each task, each moment of my day seemed to require all of my energy. Rest became as important as breath. Every single thing I did required planning. I was beyond upset at my situation, myself, my body.

I realized this wasn’t going away quickly. I needed to find my way through this wilderness. A way to cope.

Here is how I began to cope with hypothyroidism – I decided I must treat myself as I would treat a friend. What would I want for my friend? I certainly wouldn’t want her crying in the closet, feeling lost. I would tell her how strong she is, how smart she is. I would tell her that I know she would get through this. I would remind her of all the times she has grown from her experiences, no matter how hard they were. I would tell her that I love her and that I will be here for her every step of the way. This is how I turned the corner in my healing process.

The final post for Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month will be up next Tuesday, so if there are any topics you would like me to cover or if you have questions, please leave them in the comments.

Figuring Out the Fishtail Braid

Fishtail Braid

I’ve always loved braids. Maybe it has something to do with my days as an equestrian and having my horses braided for shows. But whatever the reason, I can’t get enough of the look. Over the weekend I had a few minutes to spare and I decided that it was time to learn how to do a fishtail braid. In glossy magazines and on Instagram I’ve seen them styled countless ways, and seemed to think they were way more complicated then they actually are, which is good news if this too has been on your list of styles to try. Within minutes of doing a Google search I was bombarded by tutorials, and soon after I was already halfway through my very own fishtail braid.

So, what will you need to do to get the look?

Fishtail Braid

1. Brush your hair and section it into two parts. If this is your first attempt at a fishtail braid, you may find it easier to create the braid on the side so you can see what you are doing, which is what I’ve done. Pull your hair to the side that you would like to wear the braid on and section the hair into two parts. The parts don’t have to be perfect, and what’s nice about this look is that it can be messy yet still be chic.

2. Once you have your sections, use your index finger to grab a small piece of hair from one section and bring it over to the second section. The smaller the pieces of hair you grab, the more intricate the braid will look. If you’re short on time, you can use larger pieces, but it may resemble more of a traditional braid.

3. Repeat taking pieces from each section until you get to the ends of your hair. Then secure with a small elastic.

4. Voila! Now you have a beautiful fishtail braid. If you like the messy chic look, pull some of the strands apart a little. Otherwise, finish with your favorite holding spray and you are good to go.

This is a great style for work or after the gym, and once you get the hang of the technique it can be done in a snap.

What do you think of the fishtail braid? Have you ever tried the look?

So Long, Summer!

Sunset - West Neck Beach

Well, it’s official. Summer is coming to an end…and this time for real. With the arrival of fall tomorrow, and fewer chances to head to the beach, have a picnic, and watch the sunset, I thought I’d share the last couple I’ve captured. I’m not sure where the fascination came from, but recently I’ve been enjoying making a quick stop at Wild By Nature for some easy picnic fixings and then claiming my spot on the sand as the wind picks up and the sun dips behind the clouds. It has been a great way to unwind and relax in the evening. If you’re looking for something to do to commemorate the last summer night of 2015, then get your picnic basket ready and toss in a few simple fixings. Some provolone cheese, turkey, a nice roll, and your favorite beverage should do the trick. Then just head to the beach or park, unpack, and take in the view!

Sunset - West Neck Beach

Sunset - West Neck Beach

Sunset - West Neck Beach

Sunset - West Neck Beach

Sunset - West Neck Beach

The 5 Best Habits You Picked Up in College (and the Single Worst)

The 5 Best Habits You Picked Up in College (and the Single Worst)

Whether it’s been six years or a mere four months since graduation, most of us remember our college days fondly. Regardless of how you spent them, what your major was, or how you put that degree to use (if at all), we can all agree that we developed some beneficial traits during our stints in academia.

During your first days on campus, you’re consumed with finding classes, making friends, buying the right books, and avoiding the cafeteria food. You give little thought to practical matters until, suddenly, you realize you’ve got to make it on your own without parents to hassle you or do your laundry. College forced you to form essential habits, the approaches you needed to thrive in school and the world at large.

Here’s a refresher on some of those foolproof habits and ways to nail them in your post-collegiate life.

1. TIME MANAGEMENT

Ever notice that some people seem to have more hours in their day? Well, they don’t. But they are better at accounting for their time than most. Remember that planner you carried in college? It’s a simple solution to navigating the time crunch, and it still works. Invest in one now…and use it.

Block off time for your projects, classes, research, breaks, and of course, sleep. When you can see your to-do list in front of you and physically check off completed tasks, you create a visual map that holds you more accountable for your time. Mastering this skill early will help you reap the benefits later when you tackle senior-level jobs with more responsibilities.

2. RESEARCH SKILLS

Think those twenty-page research papers were just an annoying waste of time? Think again. Research skills come in handy in countless ways. Consider job hunting. Once you land an interview, potential employers expect you’ve done your homework and you’ll be able to discuss the company and role based on what you’ve found. Developing good research skills takes time, but you’ll get better at it as you go along so stick with it.

3. NETWORKING

College was all about meeting strangers, getting to know them, and converting them into friends. You may find the idea of networking foreign, but remind yourself you’ve already mastered it. Get back to the basics. A smile goes a long way! Take advantage of events, get involved with organizations that interest you (remember joining the radio station?), and introduce yourself to anyone you meet. Joining professional organizations like Levo League and Talentedly can also help you make connections.

4. PUBLIC SPEAKING

We all remember those dreaded oral projects our professors assigned (tell me I’m wasn’t alone in feeling anxious?). There’s even a term for the fear of public speaking: glossophobia. But conquering your fear of public speaking is one of the single best achievements you can reach in your career. If you aren’t comfortable standing in front of a crowd—practice…practice…practice. Or if you need more guidance, consider joining your local Toastmasters chapter. This will help you if you need to present work to your team or boss, but also when you’re on the job hunt. Whether you’re interviewing with one person directly or sitting down for a group interview, confidence and eloquence are some of the skills employers value most.

5. ACCOUNTABILITY

College teaches you to hold yourself accountable. For most of your formative years, you were under your parents’ roof and they kept you in check. When you go away to school, it’s the first time you’re responsible for things like doing laundry, grocery shopping, and meal planning (on top of all those reading assignments). Learning accountability serves you well as you embark on a career and assume responsibility for projects or clients with competing deadlines.

THE WORST: PROCRASTINATION

You know all these wonderful attributes we’ve just discussed like accountability and time management? They go out the window when you procrastinate. For many of us, pulling late- or all-nighters is our go to solution. Try as you might, procrastination is an easy habit to fall into and an infuriatingly hard one to break.

So how do you escape procrastination’s grip? For starters, tackle priority items at the beginning of the day while your mind is fresh. If you wait until you are tired and bombarded with other assignments you will never get around to them. For big projects, the best way to avoid feeling overwhelmed (and thus more likely to put it off) is to break them down into smaller tasks. Check off each task as you go to remind yourself how much progress you’re making.

THE TAKEAWAY

College was a crucial time for your professional development. Whether you learned these habits during your four years or are still trying to perfect them, remember that there’s no time limit. They’re skills you can hone as you progress in your career.

What’s the worst habit you picked up in college? How did you break it?

*If you are looking to get great career advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign-up for Career Contessa’s {free} weekly newsletter here.

This post was written by me and originally published on Career Contessa.
Photography by Tonhya Kae

The September Agenda

The September Agenda

September seems to be flying by. Since we are right in the middle of the month, I thought I’d share some of the fun things I’ve done so far and a few that are still pending on my agenda.

This is an important month for me as I am supporting a cause that is near and dear to my heart. As you probably know by now if you’ve been following my blog, September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. I’ve been sharing weekly posts on thyroid topics from how to perform a neck check to a beautiful guest post from a fellow thyroid advocate and friend. I can’t stress this enough…please ask your doctor to perform a neck check at your next appointment. A simple test could save your life, as it did mine!

By far, the highlight of the month for me was my trip to Columbia University, touring the observatory at One World Trade Center, and drinks at Loopy Doopy. If you missed the post earlier in the week, you can catch up here. I’ve also had my second article published on Career Contessa’s site, so make sure you head over for my thoughts on The 5 Best Habits You Picked-up in College (and the Single Worst).

So, what’s left to do this month?

Try: I would love to sample more fitness classes now that I have extra time during the week. I’ve heard a lot about Flywheel, an indoor cycling studio, and noticed when I was out East last that they had a location in Southampton. They also offer FlyBarre, a total body sculpting class, which would be a nice complement to the kickboxing class I already take. Have any of you tried a FlyWheel or FlyBarre class?

See: I keep seeing beautiful photos on Instagram of the lavender fields on the East End of Long Island. Lavender By the Bay in East Marion is New York’s premiere lavender farm. From June to September, the fields are open seven days a week. Guess I better get out there soon!

Do: When I was stand-up paddle boarding over the summer on the Connetquot River, I had great views of the Bayard Cutting Arboretum. The arboretum is comprised of many different self-guided walking paths and the property is also home to the Manor House and The Hidden Oak Cafe. It seems like the perfect time of year to tour the grounds and see the beautiful specimen on the trails.

What’s on your agenda this month?

Thyroid Thursday: A Guest Post on Acceptance

Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month

For Thyroid Thursday this week, I am delighted to share a guest post by Mikelle Hebeka. Mikelle is a fellow thyroid advocate and writes the blog Zen Thyroid, which focuses on “rejuvenating the body and renewing the soul while recovering from low thyroid and adrenal fatigue.” Her journey has led her to a place of acceptance regarding her own health and has enabled her to listen to her body so that she can conquer every day with “strength, grace, and wisdom.” Mikelle eloquently captures the struggle to accept a reality beyond her control with this post, and explains how she was able to improve her health — through changing her mindset.

Prescription: Acceptance
By: Mikelle Hebeka

One of the greatest tools I have in my medicine chest is also one of the biggest challenges I have faced in dealing with hypothyroidism – acceptance. Acceptance of my situation, acceptance of my body’s vulnerability and acceptance of my need for help. I found that for a long time, denial came much easier than acceptance. After learning I had low thyroid from blood tests, I thought for sure that I knew how to make myself feel better, and I certainly wasn’t going to need the help of a doctor or anyone else for that matter. I was armed with piles of organic food and all the knowledge one could ever hope to have, à la internet. I was going to simply heal myself. For a while, I managed to keep my little boat afloat, navigating the occasional whitewater but keeping what I convinced myself was on course. Everything was going just fine…that is until my little boat went over the waterfall, plummeting over the edge until it finally hit bottom.

Bottom, a.k.a. adrenal fatigue. A dark place that leaves you gasping for air and desperately searching for anything to cling on to so you can catch your breath. Here at bottom, denial simply cannot exist. And here it was that I chose (was forced) to give in to acceptance. Acceptance gave me oxygen, gave me truth. The truth was that I needed help so I learned to open myself up to receiving help. The truth was that my body was in crisis and it needed my love. The truth was that I had no idea if I was going to be able to keep it together on a moment-to-moment basis. Opening my heart up to these realizations allowed me to discover a peace in myself I did not know. I received some beautiful advice during this time: This is my life, my story, so own it. Radical acceptance. That’s now what I am practicing on a daily basis. It has been one of the most important lessons I have learned so far on this path to healing. So now I’m back in my little boat again – with a paddle this time. The water is often choppy but some days still as glass. And some days I get tossed overboard. I am just trying to accept every single day as if I chose it myself.

Thank you for these beautiful words, Mikelle!