Fall in Love with Your Hair!

Guest post from Beautiful Textures™ Celebrity Stylist Felicia Leatherwood 

It’s been said that fall is “a second spring where every leaf is a flower.”  Summer may be coming to an end, but fall is a season of promise and a great time to consider a new hair style to usher in the “second spring.”   Proper hair care and maintenance are essential to looking good and to maintaining overall hair health.  “Hair whisperer” and stylist to the stars Felicia Leatherwood is working with Beautiful Textures™ to offer up a variety of tips to ensure that your hair is at its best for the new season. Humidity? Not a problem. Sun exposure? Covered.  Dryness? Moisture is on tap, thanks to Beautiful Textures’ innovative hair care solutions for women with curly, kinky, coily or relaxed hair.

  1. Up the moisture, say good bye to dry. Use moisturizing shampoos and conditioners to avoid breakage.
  2. Read labels and avoid hair products containing alcohol and other drying ingredients.
  3. Make timefor deep conditioning treatments. Despite the warmer temperatures of late summer and early fall, textured hair requires extra moisture at this time now more than ever.
  4. Be good to your ends, get regular trims and in between use products enriched with ingredients like jojoba oil.
  5. Protect, protect, protect. Limit use of heated hairstyling tools and if you must, use a leave-in conditioner for added protection.
  6. Take a break from regular shampooing to allow hair to absorb natural oils. When you do shampoo be sure to finish with a cool rinse to seal the hair cuticle.
  7. Consider a new approach to managing your hair texture. Try Beautiful Texture’s new Beautiful Textures Naturally Straight Texture Manageability System™. This allows you to manage your hair texture your way with a simple four-step process that can be done at home without harsh chemicals.
  8. Say goodbye to frizz and control your curls. Despite our best efforts, curly hair styles can easily become frizzy without the proper preparation. Consider lightweight curl products such as Beautiful Textures Curl Definer. 
  9. Shine, shine, shine. Whether it’s sunny or showering, hair should be shiny and glossy. Make dull locks shine with treatment aids that also promote growth. Try Beautiful Textures signature Shine & Silken Growth Oil.
  10. Stay hydrated – healthy hair begins from the inside. Drink plenty of water to promote healthy skin, hair and scalp.

A Lot Rides on Teamwork

By: Reesa Staten of Robert Half

Early in my career with Robert Half, I joined a cycling team organized by the company for a two-day charity ride through California’s Napa Valley wine country and Sonoma coast. It was a great way to meet colleagues and raise money for a good cause (in this case, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society). Over the years, the work friendships I formed on that first ride and subsequent team events have benefitted me professionally and personally.

I kept biking, occasionally taking vacations that included bike tours. This summer, I completed RAGBRAI (the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa), a weeklong, 468-mile ride across the state of Iowa. As an Iowa native, the ride had long been on my wish list.

I bring up the ride in a career column because I learned a lot about teamwork on this journey. I also learned the value of having personal goals in addition to your professional ones. For years I had put off signing up for RAGBRAI because it fell on one of my busiest weeks at work. It was easier to push off the ride than to try to explain to colleagues who would need to cover for me that I wanted a week off to ride my bike. And, yet, as it turned out, my colleagues were happy to help — and even a little inspired by my commitment to putting in the weeks and months of training it takes to prepare for a major endurance event.

I am not an athlete by nature, so my first hurdle was making room for training. Exercise doesn’t generally top my list of things to do after a long day at work. I eventually had to book appointments with myself just so it was on the calendar. And that was the secret. By prioritizing exercise and training the same way I prioritized other aspects of my life, I was able to find the time to get active. As I grew stronger physically, I found I became sharper in my job. I also had more interesting stories to tell friends and family that did not revolve around what I did at the office that day!

I admire people who have mastered work-life balance. The ones who can successfully juggle career demands and family obligations, make time for volunteer activities with a local church or nonprofit, and maintain an active fitness regimen. Work has always come first for me, often at the expense of being a well-rounded person in other aspects of life. I learned this summer that making time for myself made me better in all aspects of my life, including my career.

I also realized teamwork extends beyond the workplace if you have developed strong ties with coworkers. My office colleagues regularly asked me about my training progress. When an injury sidelined me for a few weeks, my inbox was filled with emails encouraging me to keep going. On my birthday, my office was decorated with inspirational messages and cycling photos to get me excited about the ride. I am fortunate to have an amazing group of colleagues — but I’ll bet many of you work with people who are equally engaged in helping you be successful in whatever you pursue.

I was in touch with the office at several points during the seven-day ride. Not for business updates, but to share photos from the various towns along the way. And I will pay it forward the next time one of my coworkers needs support to help reach a goal — at work or outside the office.

I had an amazing time riding RAGBRAI — it was physically challenging, but just like my coworkers back at the office, there was a support network of fellow riders at every stage. People are like that. It’s human nature to want others to succeed. So don’t be afraid to share your goals.

Chances are there is something you have always wanted to do, but work or family obligations have held you back. If you have a personal ambition, find the time to make it a reality. Your goal may or may not relate to your career. In either case, don’t put it off. You are capable of more than you imagine — and you have more support than you realize.

If you’re reading this, you are most likely already part of the Dress for Success network, and you know firsthand the support available to you from DFS staff, volunteers and fellow clients. Helping others reach their full potential is embedded in the mission of this organization. Use the resources available to you to gain the confidence and support you need to reach your goals.

And don’t forget to leave a little personal time, just for you.

Reesa Staten is senior vice president of Corporate Communications and director of workplace research for Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. Staten has been writing job search advice for more than 15 years and oversees Robert Half’s extensive workplace research program. Write to her at reesa@roberthalf.com.

The Success Diaries:The Skimm’s Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin

Dear Danielle and Carly in 2006,

Your life is pretty, pretty good. Keep on eating that pasta because it’s going to be a while before you’re back in Italy.

You two just met on a study abroad trip in Rome. You’re having a great time not talking about the real world that comes after graduating college. And you should. Because real life gets real pretty quickly.

Now, get ready for a shock. It turns out your news internships pay off. You both end up getting jobs at NBC News after college. So breathe. But you end up quitting them. To start your own company in your mid-20s. Less than 10 years after graduation, you’re both running a new media company with 14 full-time employees. And you start it from your couch.

Oh yeah, you become roommates too.

You don’t go to business school. You don’t go to law school. And you don’t get better at math. Sorry. But you do start a media company with the experience you gained from your time at NBC News and turn it into something that your friends trust to get their news from. Life gets really busy, really fast. You end up relying on your family and friends more than ever — but you see them less.

Here are some things you should know:

Take a coding class. Now.

Computers and tech don’t go away. They just become more important. Don’t worry so much about learning to shoot and edit your own video and learn how to code.

Take that trip you’re putting off.

Life doesn’t get easier after graduation so have fun now. Be crazy. Don’t think about tomorrow.

Breathe.

Things end up working out, just not in the way you expect. And that’s OK.

Learn how to deal with stress. And take care of yourself.

Neither of you are great with dealing at stress in general. But you’re going to have to figure out coping mechanisms. And the sooner you try them out, the better.

You’re not always going to know what to do or what lies ahead.

And you just have to deal with it.

Be nice.

To people you just met. And to people you don’t know.  It’s a good way to live.

Sleep.

You’re not going to get a lot of it later in life.

That’s it. Everything else you’ll learn along the way.

Carly and Danielle first met while on a study abroad trip in Rome. Post-college they were reunited through an internship at NBC News. Self-proclaimed “news nerds,” they realized reading the news is a hobby, and not everyone has the time or interest. Bonding as colleagues, friends and roommates, they decided to start the Skimm, an email newsletter with sharp and witty editorial that’s designed to get you up to speed on current events and breaking news. Sign up for the Skimm here.

Best Practices for Using Credit Cards

Credit Card Basics – Tips that Can Help

Guest post from The Simple Dollar.

Signing up for any one of the best credit cards is a piece of cake, but do you know how to optimize them? Unfortunately, figuring out how to use the features your credit card offers isn’t always easy. Many times, the terms and conditions of the most lucrative perks are buried in the terms and conditions. Meanwhile, the rewards programs can be difficult to decipher, and the points, hard to redeem.

If you want to get the most out of your credit cards, the first thing you should do is arm yourself with information. These tips and strategies can help you do just that:

Read your credit card’s terms and conditions

The easiest way to gain a full understanding of what your card has to offer is to read the terms and conditions front to back. Many times, a slew of interesting tidbits regarding your rewards program and perks will be hidden in there. And if you don’t read the terms, you may never know about them. The bottom line: Read your card’s terms and conditions, as well as any other applicable paperwork or information on their rewards program, if you want to fully understand all that your card has to offer.

Optimize card usage based on features

Let’s say you have a credit card that offers primary rental car coverage for free. Whenever that’s the case, you should always use that card for rental cars. Why? Because it offers coverage equal to, or better than, your own car insurance policy – and all for zero cost. Meanwhile, if you should happen to get into a wreck or take on damage, you wouldn’t even have to turn the claim into your own car insurance policy. This is just one example of how to optimize card usage based on features, but there are plenty of others. When you have more than one credit card, it often pays to use different cards for different purchases if they offer certain types of coverage you can benefit from.

Research your rewards program

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone complain that they had trouble redeeming their airline miles. The thing is, if they had done any type of research ahead of time, they would already know that airline miles are incredibly difficult to redeem, especially during peak travel times and within a few months of departure. This is where it pays to educate yourself. If you plan to sign up for a card that is tied to a specific program, such as an airline or hotel chain, you should first have an idea of what you would want to redeem your points for – and if it’s even possible. If you don’t want to be tied down to a specific rewards currency, you can also opt for a cash-back card, or a card that offers flexible rewards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® card.

Report Unauthorized Charges Immediately

In a world where more and more purchases are being made online, it is actually quite common for thieves to get your credit card number and use it to make a “test” purchase to see if you’re watching. This has happened me several times. Even though I watch my credit card accounts closely, I have occasionally come across a charge I didn’t make. When that happens, you need to report it to your credit card issuer immediately. Call the number on the back of your card and tell them about the fraudulent purchase. You won’t be liable for a penny if you report it immediately, and your card issuer will rectify the situation by issuing you a new card with a new account number.

Keep a Folder for Travel Documentation

When you’re traveling within your own country or abroad, you should always use a card that offers trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance as a card member perk. However, if you need to file a claim, you will be much better off if you already have all of your travel documentation in one place. In most cases, filing a travel insurance claim is free and easy – you do, however, need to have all of your documentation ready. So keep a folder on hand, and use it to store every piece of documentation you come across as you prepare to travel. You never know when you will need to file a claim, and you may be asked to present things that are hard to replicate later – paperwork like your paper boarding pass, train ticket, hotel reservation e-mail, or flight cancellation notification.

Take Advantage of Your Free FICO Score

Certain cards, like the Discover it® card, offer a free FICO score as a perk for their members. This is a great benefit that is often overlooked. To get the most out of it, keep any eye on the fluctuations in your credit score as you receive it on your statement each month. Look for huge dips in your credit score, and if that happens, try to find out why. Meanwhile, if your credit score is slowly increasing, you can rest easy with that knowledge.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Multiple Cards

A huge misconception in the world of credit cards is that it is bad for your credit to have more than one or two cards. Because a large percentage of your credit score is based on your balance-to-limit ratio, having a large credit limit spread over several cards and a zero balance can actually be better for your credit score than just having a few cards. Meanwhile, carrying more than one card can also help you leverage the different benefits and perks that different types of rewards cards have to offer. For example, you could get a hotel card for free hotel stays and a cash-back card to help you pay for the gas to get to your destination.

Check Your Credit Report Once Per Year

In order to get the most out of your credit cards, it is essential for your credit score to remain high. That’s why it’s important to check your full credit report at least once per year. Fortunately, you can get a free copy of your credit report from the three credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion – once per year through the government-approved site, www.AnnualCreditReport.com. once you get your free copy, take some time to read through it and ensure that all information reported is correct. According to the Federal Trade Commission, you can dispute incorrect information found on your report with any of the three credit reporting agencies. The FTC offers information on how to dispute incorrect information on their website, and offers a sample letter you can use.

For more information on best practices for using credit cards, visit The Simple Dollar.