Archive | July, 2011

Motivating Mondays: Emily-Anne Rigal of We Stop Hate

25 Jul

Hi, I'm Emily-Anne! I HATE hate!

Emily-Anne Rigal is only seventeen, but she’s making a difference with We Stop Hate— the anti bullying program she conceived. The program aims to not only stop hating on others but also to stop hating on yourself and stop letting others hate on you. Because a rise in self-esteem = a decline in bullying =brilliant!

Our interview with We Stop Hate mastermind, Emily-Anne:

What inspired you to start WSH?

Standing out and being different instead of trying to be “normal” and fit in has always been important to me. Having noticed that there were many young people without that same sense of self-worth, I developed a passion for helping them see how great it feels to be true to themselves.

How do you stay positive and maintain your self-esteem?

I try not to take things too personally because my insecurities were rooted in my fear of what others would think about me. Also, I make sure to surround myself with people who are positive and supportive. 

What’s your motto?

I try to be happier than a bird with a french fry!

What do you do when you’re having a bad day?

I grab my iPod and take a walk to the beach in my neighborhood. It’s the comfort of my favorite tunes plus some quiet time to clear my head and think – works every time.

You’re a quote fanatic. What are a couple of your favorite quotes?

I have so many! These are just a few of my favorites:

–                “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square hole. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.” –Steve Jobs

–                “You must knock on doors until your knuckles bleed. Doors will slam in your face. You must pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and knock again. It’s the only way to achieve your goals in life.” –Michael Uslan

–                “Life is a big canvas, throw all the paint on it you can.” –Danny Kaye

Who inspires you?

I feel extremely lucky to have such incredible mentors that inspire me, each playing a significant role in shaping the person I am today. This being said, I would consider Jess Weiner the most influential because her confidence in me changed how I saw myself and continues to be a major source of inspiration. I value Jess’s perspective second to none, and I admire her passion, energy, and zest for life. Not only is Jess my mentor, she is my role model.

Jess Weiner, motivational speaker/self-esteem extraordinaire

What is your advice to teens who are being bullied?

I would tell teens who are being bullied to focus on spending their life with the people who make them happy, not those who they feel they need to change for or impress. In doing so, they will realize that people who put them down or make them feel bad are not important. We only live once and the most important thing is for us to be happy.

For more information, check out:

We Stop Hate–

Emily-Anne Rigal–

Jess Weiner–


Motivating Monday: National Ice Cream Day!

18 Jul

Okay it was yesterday. So Happy Belated National Ice Cream Day!

I haven’t cashed in on this excuse to eat ice cream yet, but I am going to.

In honor of this sacred holiday I thought I’d share my favorite ice creams and okay fine, some healthier options too.

1. The Oreo shake at Jack n the Box.  Anytime I mention the JB Oreo Shake people get excited, as if I just told them I love their favorite obscure Swedish band. The Oreo Shake just garners enthusiasm. This is my favorite milkshake, fast food or not. ( Their new Mint Oreo version is supposed to be amazing too, but I haven’t tried it. )

2. Haagen Daaz Dulce de Leche. If you’re a caramel enthusiast like me, you will appreciate this ice cream. It is so so good. It reminds of high school and happy taste buds.

3. Trader Joes Coffee Bean Blast ice cream. This is SO good and not low in calories and fat.  In additions to being a caramel enthusiast, I am a coffee ice cream enthusiast and this is the BEST. It’s soft, creamy and flavorful.  And it’s amazing paired with freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. (Don’t worry, the healthy tips are coming soon.)

4. Skinny Cow. These are SO good and low in calories and fat.  My favorite are the Chocolate Truffle bars or the Vanilla with Caramel Cones. They taste a lot like soft serve. And who doesn’t like soft serve? (Cut to: Angry comments on this post about how I’ve offended everyone who doesn’t like soft serve.)

5. Artic Zero. 150 calories a pint. Did you do a double take too? I just read about this in Glamour magazine. (Full article here) Apparently it’s a frozen protein shake that tastes like ice cream. I’ll take it.

6. A awesome tip from Self Magazine that I wish I had thought of: “Our favorite way to enjoy ice cream in the summer is to top it with superfoods! Snacking on almonds daily can help you shed up to 62 percent more weight. Dark chocolate is loaded with phytochemicals that can increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Top any frozen snack with a cup of blueberries and you’ll get 3.6 grams of fiber. ”

Now go enjoy your ice cream!  And throw some blueberries on it.

What’s your favorite ice cream?

Random Rec Wednesday: Zappos

13 Jul

I loved Zappos until I toured their headquarters in Nevada. Now I am obsessed with them.

Since my visit, I have been talking about Zappos nonstop/considering quitting my job, and packing  up and moving to Nevada so I can work for them.

Peace out!

Here’s why:

1. Their CEO is awesome.

I have read interviews of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and was really impressed with him and his philosophies on how a company should run. But the best testament of his character is the way his employees speak so highly of him. Tony’s entrepreneurial genius started at Harvard where he would sell pizzas to his fellow students on campus. He joined Zappos at the age of 24 and quickly became one of the youngest/most successful CEOs in the nation. Not too shabby. Dream big kids!

2. Their company policies are awesome.

Not only does Zappos offer free shipping BOTH ways, they have a 365-day return policy! And they have a 24/7 call center where, get this, you can talk to a REAL person. No automated system nonsense.

System: I’m sorry, I didn’t get that last part.


System: Okay, you want to pay with our automated system. Is this correct?

Me: NO! 

You talk to a real person and Zappos prides themselves on answering calls quickly. And they don’t follow scripts or put time constraints on calls. I once called about a shoe and although they didn’t have it in stock, the angel in the call center looked up the shoe online and found it for me at ANOTHER company!

(I didn’t buy it through the other company…I waited until Zappos got it back in stock. See: loyalty).

3. Their company culture is awesome.

The employees embrace diversity and the Zappos culture, which the company is known for. Where else are you asked ‘on a scale of 1-10, how weird are you?’ during a job interview? So many other companies have reached out to Zappos trying to mimic the Zappos way-of-life that they now hosts seminars to train other companies to help them transform their culture.

The offices have a very laid back feel and employees are encouraged to spend time decorating their cubicles. We even walked by Tony’s cubicle (I write like I know him personally…I don’t) which is just another cubicle in the line-up. No swanky corner office for him. He prefers to sit in a tiny cubicle just like everyone else. How awesome is that?

Tony Hsieh, CEO/badass

In addition to all the quirky personalized cubicles, employees are encouraged to make the work day fun, including their breaks. Food, vending machines and ice cream freezers at the headquarters are FREE for employees.

Free vending machines??? The credibility of the phrase ‘nothing in life is free’ is shot. (They do have one vending machine that charges 0.25 cents but all money is donated to charity). When we passed the cafeteria during the tour we were encourage to help ourselves to anything. I felt like a kid in a candy store.

And they frequently have karaoke, game days and random contests during lunch.

BRB guys…it’s my turn to sing ‘Don’t Stop Believin’!

Although there are a lot of shenanigans that go on in their offices, the employees are dedicated to their work and their customers and they go to extremes to make customers happy. Several times I have opted for the free ‘standard delivery’ only to get an email the next day saying I have been upgraded to ‘next day delivery’ with no charge!

4. The tour is awesome (and FREE).

Not only is the Zappos tour free, they pick you up and shuttle you to their offices in Henderson, which is about 20 minutes outside Las Vegas. When we arrived the employees were smiling, friendly and seemed genuinely happy to work there. People happy to be at work…what a concept!

5. Tony’s book is awesome (and FREE with the tour).

For your reading pleasure, check out Tony Hsieh’s #1 NY Times bestselling book Delivering Happiness which

a) you get a free copy at the end of the tour, and

b) I haven’t gotten to read yet because people keep borrowing it!

And you can go to to get a FREE copy of the Zappos Culture Book sent to you.

So check out

And the next time you are in Vegas sign up for the Zappos tour and prepare to contemplate a career change.

Motivating Monday: Stop Bullying Yourself!

11 Jul

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like bullies. I think they are rude and annoying and need therapy or Omega 3 Fish Oil. What bothers me most about them is that they don’t pick on people their own size, like someone who is equal in power or status.  They pick on the little guy who  is already having a rough time as it is!


How toolish.

We talk a lot on this blog about dealing with the bullies in life. But are you one of your own? And if so, why do you beat yourself up every time you mess up? Sure some of that may be good, you want that emotional pain to remind you not to do THAT again.

Stop stalking me!!

But some people beat themselves up way more than is healthy.

I think I am one of those people. If banging my head against a wall wouldn’t eventually give me a concussion, you’d probably know where to find me on any given day.

I've lost some weight, yes.

It’s something I’m trying to change.  I realized recently:

Beating yourself up is like kicking yourself when you’re down.

I get mad when bullies do it to other people. So maybe I should stop doing it to myself! What a concept.

Now does anyone have a soft bat or a foam wall I could borrow? Just having a little bit of a rough week. Let me know, thanks!

How do you break up with a guy you’ve only dated twice?

8 Jul
Dear Losers,
I went on a few dates with this guy. He was really nice, but I just didn’t feel a love connection, so I haven’t returned his calls. I thought he’d get the hint, but he just called me again! I am the kind of person who would rather just continue someone so I don’t have to hurt their feelings. I don’t want to keep ignoring him because I think that’s mean and immature, but I don’t know how to say, “I think we’d be better off as friends” without being cliché!
How do I reject a guy I’ve only been on a few dates with?
Ashley, 19

Dear Reader,

You don’t. You just don’t hand him a rose and then escort him to his limo. A duh. If only life was like a reality show.

But it’s not.

You’re going to have to tell him the truth. I know. Don’t you hate when avoiding someone doesn’t work? What a ripoff, right? You were hoping we’d give you some shortcut, or a link to cute camo dresses, but we don’t have either. 😦

Or do we....?

The situation is especially awkward because you barely know the guy. It’s not like you were halfway down the aisle, which on second thought, would be more awkward.

Anyway, you may think telling him the truth is mean, but it’s not. You don’t have to take a Simon Cowell approach. Though that would be the funnier option.

“Jon, I don’t want to date you. Being on a date with you is like watching a talent show at Walmart. It’s excruciating, but at least there are Kit-Kats. ” Just be honest and straightforward. Whenever someone asks me for writing advice, I always  ask,

“ Well, what are you trying to say? ”

Then they respond.

And I say,“ Great! Say that.”

And they say “ REALLY????? ”

And I say ” YEAH. I’m hungry! Can we go now?? ”

Many people are so concerned with saying things in a flowery or creative manner that they forget to be truthful and get their point across. Start with the truth. Being cliché is a legitimate concern if you are writing a romantic comedy, or giving a graduation speech, but I don’t know anyone who worries about making their dating rejections creative and entertaining.

(But if you do, let me know because that is funny and I might want to date them.) I mean, you could take the creative lying approach and say something like,

“It’s just not a great time for me. I’m really focused on my career right now and Real Housewife reruns. And the last time you called I was on the phone with my Godmother and she has Boost Mobile, so I didn’t want to waste her prepaid minutes. And oh my gosh, I’m getting terrible reception! What? What?! You’re cutting out! Call me later!”

But that’s not getting your point across. So what do you say exactly? Courtship Consultant (and man), Brandon Aki says, “Every moment you spend with the wrong guy is time spent away from finding the right one. With that being said, here are 7 words that will help any man understand this concept; “I don’t feel a connection with you.” It’s mature, honest, classy and straight to the point– all attributes that men admire and respect in a woman.”

See, it’s the same thing you said before! Obviously you can tailor the statement to your needs and personality, but how can a guy argue with that?

“Oh really, DIANE? You don’t feel a connection with me? Hmm, well I’d like to see an X- ray proving I don’t give you butterflies. Until then, looks like we’ll have to continue dating, Sweetie.”

Ew what?! No. No sane person is ever going to argue with that statement.

Or you can go with the “friends” approach, which is also what you said originally. But if he looks confused, make sure you clarify.

” Jon, I just want to be friends. Without benefits.”


Remember, you aren’t doing anyone any favors by dating them when you don’t want to. By trying to be nice, you’re actually being mean. Wouldn’t you be mad if someone was dating you because he didn’t want to hurt your feelings if he didn’t date you?

You would be irate! Not only did he lie to you and pretend to like you, he also wasted your time. That jerk. (Disgusted head shake)

In conclusion, nobody wants a pity yes. Well some do, but they are psychos that belong in Lifetime movies. Relatively sane people want to know sooner rather than later if you’re not feeling it.

So be straightforward. A pity yes is a no NO!