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London Living, Part 1.

I have always dreamed of living abroad but never thought that it would become a reality, especially in my 20’s. So you can imagine I was ecstatic to hear my husband had the opportunity to do a medical rotation abroad. As it turns out my company has an office over there. After many months of working on logistics, I was able to work out of our London office and go satisfy my need for wanderlust.

I’ve been to Europe once before and really enjoyed it but was also a little overwhelmed so I wasn’t expecting to like London as much as I did. It’s now one of my favorite cities to live in and visit. If you have the chance to go to London, I highly recommend it and have shared my recommendations on places to eat, visit, stay and play. I’ll also share my recommendations for our weekend trips took to Cambridge, Englaand; Paris, France; and Edinburgh, Scotland.

London Restaurant Recommendations

Quick Healthy Food – London is one of the most expensive cities in the world and eating out for every meal can be very procey and not very healthy. Which is why I made it a priority to find healthy food on a budget.

  • Itsu – I recommend the Chicken Teriyaki potsu or the salmon sushi. Also, they sell everything for 1/2 price an hour before closing every night so you can get sushi for 3-4 pounds. For how expensive food in London is this was a great deal.

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  • Coco Di Mama – Their known for fast gourmet pasta. And as a carb lover I couldn’t resist the naked pesto. So good!
  • Pret a Manger – A selection of fast fresh food with no preservatives can be found here. They are on every corner and relatively inexpensive.
  • Tossed – A healthy high-protein bowl is a must-have here. Just beware that they will give you a random name for your order so I had no idea when mine was ready because they were calling a man’s name. I was so confused.
  • M&S Market – A market with delicious healthy pre-made food. Also, relatively inexpensive.

Nicer Options

  • Pizza Pilgrims (Soho) – This isn’t just any kind of pizza, its gourmet with unique flavors make it a fun quick stop in Soho. I got the portobello truffle oil pizza.
  • The Wellness Kitchen (Covent Garden) – A very authentic Korean restaurant where English is optional. They served up a stir-fry with sweet potato noodles. Just beware that seating is very limited so it might be best to take it to go.

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  • The Fire Station (Waterloo) – This place was so cool we ended up going twice. Its an old renovated fire station with the best burgers and beer in central London.
  • Dishoom (Picadilly Circus) – London is known to have the best Indian food and Dishoom definitely did not disappoint. It was a little pricey but the naan and chicken tika were out of this world.
  • The Table (Southwark) – A brunch lover’s dream. They basically gave us a massive pancake with eggs, sausage and bacon piled on top. Oh and the strong coffee made me enjoy it even more.

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  • Pachamama (Oxford Circus) – I had no idea what Peruvian food was like prior to this experience but am a new fan. We had plantains covered in feta cheese and honey and spicy grilled peppers among many other dishes.

Drinks

  • Joe & The Juice - I thought this was a little over-prices but still enjoyed my acai bowl and green juice.
  • Costa Coffee – These around every corner as well and have lattes as big as my face and the best breakfast sandwiches with sausage, eggs and bacon.

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Stay tuned for more Living in London recommendations!

 

 

 

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Own Your Morning.

It’s morning.

Not morning as in, “It’s time to get up, get dressed and get to the office” morning. It’s Saturday morning. The one you’ve waited for all week. It’s Saturday morning and you are perfectly content all snuggled up in your pink pajamas under the covers.

Oh, you didn’t know that I knew you have pink pajamas?

Weird.

There’s a list of things you need to get done today. Laundry, clean the bath tub, plan your cousin’s bridal shower, grocery shop. You know what needs to be done and you know how tiring it will be to do it. But you also know the kind of week you had. You deserve another hour of sleep, so another hour of sleep it is.

By mid-morning you get up, get some coffee and decide to catch up on your favorite show. It’s Saturday, after all.

Four episodes later and you’re still in your pink pajamas??

We’ve all been there. And we will probably all be there again from time to time… keep the coffee warm for me.

But a place where none of us women want to be is falling behind. Whether it be on our to-do lists or in the gym, at home or at the workplace, nobody wants to fall behind.

Fortunately, we can have some control over that. I want to share four ways I stay productive when I feel the urge to pop open a bag of Cheetos and turn on Netflix.

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Wake Up Early

This one is hard to do, but once you get in the rhythm of it you’ll find it comes natural. Let yourself own the day. If you wake up at the last second, the day already owns you. When you give yourself plenty of time in the morning, you won’t feel rushed and hurried. That rushed feeling can easily turn into a stressed feeling that can carry over into your whole day. And besides, CEOs wake up early. It’s science.

Workout

We all know how beneficial exercise is for us physically, but have you ever noticed how much it also does for you mentally? I’ve recently realized how much more productive I am after a run. It’s like it just gets in me and I keep going. After a run I come home and reorganize my night stand; I clean off the counter tops; I’m just not content sitting around when my heart rate is booking.

Make A List

Sometimes the key to getting things done is good old-fashioned writing it down. Oldest trick in the book. When I make a list, it feels like it’s just staring at me all day until I cross it off. So I cross it off twice just so it know who’s #GIRLBOSS. Our days get filled up easily and things pop up unexpectedly, so making a list ensures that what really needs to get done won’t slip to the back of your head.

Walk Away

Sometimes the best thing to do is take a break. Go for a walk, grab a coffee, switch gears and work on something else for a while. When you come back to your task, you will find yourself refreshed and mentally renewed. You might even find that you are working harder after a “brain break”. And I can think of more than a few times when I have been stuck on a project, but upon coming back to it I see answers I hadn’t seen and realize which details matter and which don’t. And, if you need to play Paula DeAnda’s Walk Away from 2006, that’s fine. It’s your life. It needs a soundtrack.

So there you have it. Four tips on how to stay productive and make the most of your day.

Girls like us have things to get done. We have clear goals and purposeful direction. And sometimes you just need a little shove in the bum to get out of bed and get it while it’s hot. I hope this list can be that for you.

 

DSC_0928Hannah is an Influential Gal contributor and blogger behind the witty “It’s Hann’ah-clock!” blog. She is also a wife and mother in the prairie lands. Hannah lives for holidays, pies and parties. Occasionally, she’ll go on a run just because I love the feeling of the shower afterwards.

 

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The French Girl Way.

If you’ve been following along on my Instagram than you know that I recently went on a whirlwind trip around Europe. It was a fantastic week and a half long trip where we traveled around Italy, France and Spain. I knew I was going to love it all but one country in particular really struck me as magical. France was unbelievable! We docked in Marsilles and then drove to a quaint French village called Cassis. The food, the culture, the people were beautiful. EVERYTHING was beautiful!

The French seem so care free yet completely put together. The best way I can describe the French girls’ style is effortlessly chic. Now that I am home, I am determined to recreate some of the looks I saw while over there so i’ve pulled together a few tips and tricks from my recent trip to help you do fashion and beauty the French girl way. Effortlessly Chic!

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1. Piecey, tousled hair.

I’m guilty of overdoing it with the hot tools. I spend way too much tim fussing over my hair and straightening it when half way through the day it’s wavy anyways. Following the French on this tip has never been easier. I even tried this a couple days on the trip after seeing a couple women pal around town with their natural locks. The trick is to shower at night and let your hair air dry just to the point of it being damp before you sleep on it. I also worked in some Moroccan oil before sleeping on my damp hair to tame any frizzes. When you wake up, just spray your hair with a little hairspray to tame any flyways.

2. Neutrals over trends.

The French most always choose neutral classic pieces over trendier ones. I never saw crop tops, pastel dresses or floral tops while I was over there. Instead I saw black and white striped shirts, cropped black pants, camel colored scarves and ballet flats. Their style was simple yet used all of the best neutral pieces to achieve the same elevated look you might create with trendier pieces. Plus, investing in more neutral classic pieces will allow you to get more use out of the clothes you buy, rather than getting rid of them away after the trend has ended.

3. Wear your color on your lips.

As I mentioned above, French women don’t wear much color but rather make up for it with bright poppy shades of lipstick, and I’m not talking lipgloss, I’m talking a matte lip stain. My favorite one I saw was bright red paired with black cropped pants, leopard flats and a white peplum top. Simple, yet oh so chic!

Curious to know more so you can emulate the French on your own? Check out a few of my favorite articles around the web.

 

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IG Podcast Ep 6. Choosing Love Over Fear

Welcome to season 2 of the Influential Gal podcast. I can’t wait to share today’s episode with you because the overall theme is extremely relevant for millennial women. Melissa from theCEOffice discusses how she is constantly choosing love over fear both in her professional and personal life. This episode is great for anyone in the corporate or entrepreneurship world looking to continue to grow themselves as a leader and encourager for other women. Melissa shares great advice for women in all stages of life, you won’t want to miss this episode.

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Show Notes:

Feel free to reach out to Melissa on Facebook or Twitter

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8 questions you should ask before marriage

There is no question that marriage is hard work. It’s a huge commitment and one of the biggest decisions you will ever make so it’s no surprise that this decision causes angst and anxiety. To help ease these feelings, it crucial to ask your partner the following questions before rushing down the aisle.

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1. Do you want to have children? There are people who believe that having a child will make their rocky relationship better. This is almost never the case. Raising kids is hard work and can complicate feelings further. It’s best to be in a good place with your partner before kids are even in the picture to build that solid foundation. If you both do want children, you should also talk about how many.There’s a huge difference between wanting six kids and having an only child. You both need to agree.

2. What personal roles will you take on? Is there a breadwinner in the family? Will one of you focus on work while the other focuses on your home life? Will the duties of childcare fall mainly on one person or will you split the time? It’s almost impossible to be completely equal in a relationship. You both have individual personalities, wants and needs and those traits will continue to develop over time. Figure out who you are, who your partner is, and what role you’ll play in your marriage.

3. What sacrifices are you both willing to make? It’s inevitable that you’ll each have to give up something, or a number of things, once you’re married. It could be a certain level of privacy, time spent with friends, career goals, and a rearrangement of priorities. Are you willing to sacrifice something to better your relationship? If not, you need to reevaluate your dedication to the relationship.

4. What is your financial situation? Is your partner in debt? If so, are you willing to take that on when you’re married? You’ll probably open a joint banking account – are you okay with sharing financial information with your partner? What if one of you makes a significant amount of money over the other – does that make you uncomfortable? Money can be a sore subject for some people.

5. How much do you trust your partner? A marriage is nothing without trust. You have to trust that they’ll stay loyal to you, even in tempting situations. You have to trust that they’re constantly looking out for you and your family. You have to trust them with your finances. You have to trust them with your life. So, do you and do they?

6. Is there a reason you’re marrying besides love? When asked, “Why are you marrying me?” the obvious answer is “Because I love you.” But marriage takes more than love. You need trust, compassion, dedication, happiness, compromise, understanding, and more. Sure, your partner may love you, but they should be able to detail why they love you and expand on other traits about your relationship that will make a marriage worthwhile.

7. Do you really want a marriage, or just a wedding? This is probably more common with women. Ladies, we start planning our dream wedding as little girls. Most of us know exactly what we want once that ring is placed on our finger. But are you getting married just because you want to live out that dream wedding? Remember, that wedding will be just one day in a lifetime of marriage. Don’t marry for the wedding. Marry for all the happy days that come after the wedding.

8. What is the dedication level to our extended families? How will you split holiday visits? If you’re in need of a babysitter, who is at the top of your list? Do you all get along or is it a struggle to spend time together? Extended family can be a touchy subject. Your parents and siblings were probably the most important people in your life until you decided to start your own family. Make sure you’re both happy with the time spent with extended family and try not to hurt anyone’s feelings.

Overall when you marry the right person, it is one of the most rewarding and wonderful decisions you will make. Yes, sharing a life with someone can be hard work but if done right, it is fulfilling and a special bond that cannot be broken.

Laura Dignan_1 cmykThis post is by Laura Dignan, an Influential Gal contributor. She is a Millennial from the small wonder they call Delaware. Laura is a marketing, public relations, and business development specialist and an advocate for the Oxford comma. In her free time she loves reading, writing, running, and drinking endless amounts of coffee. Laura’s personal blog, Can Ya Dig It?, explores topics such as marketing, the Millennial generation, and some personal ramblings.

 

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Europe Packing List.

As I mentioned in my newsletter last week (make sure to sign up on the homepage if you haven’t already), I am back from a short blogging sabatical and am looking forward to entering the world of Influential Gal. Thank you for joining me on this special journey, I am so glad you are here. I am headed to Europe in a week and a half for a short trip around Italy, France and Spain (make sure to follow along). It will be my first time across the pond so I am beyond stroked. However, packing is always the hardest part. To help me decide what type of items I wanted to bring, I created the below vision board. All of the pieces are completely mix and match which are a must and they are all super comfy. I recently polled my Facebook readers to see what they thought the essentials were for Europe and the two pieces of advice I received over and over again were bring a lot of light weight dresses and comfortable walking shoes (trying to stay away from tennis shoes so I don’t completely scream American).

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I once heard a lady in the airport telling people to “travel with grace.” I simply loved the expression because most of us travel in a rush and are sometimes less than friendly (I know a screaming baby on the flight doesn’t help) but we often forget its a time when we have the ability to make an impact on so many others’ day. So for any of you traveling in the near future “travel with grace.”

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Friday Inspo

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy some links from around the web, while relaxing. Also, Happy Mother’s day to those wonderful mommas still on earth and those up in heaven. No matter your situation, celebrate the wonderful women in your life this weekend. See you Monday!outdoors

“I didn’t follow my heart, I worked my ass off.”

Mindy Kaling on Friendship

The Summer “Yes” List 

How to win any argument

A dad’s perspective on what it’s like to have a baby

 

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7 Books for Female Entrepreneurs

Whether you’re just starting out on your entrepreneurial journey or you’ve been in the game for a while, one thing is for sure… It’s important to never stop learning! If you’re looking for some new books to read that will inspire you and help you boost your biz, these are the ones you need to check out! Get ready to head to the local bookstore or fire up that Kindle and get ready to read!

7 Books for Female Entrepreneurs

The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte

Odds are, you’ve heard of Danielle LaPorte before. But if you’ve never read one of her books, now is the time! The Fire Starter Sessions isn’t filled with top business advice, but it is full of motivational messages that will leave you feeling ready to conquer the world. Staying motivated is only half the battle when it comes to building your business. And the great thing about this book is that Danielle includes exercises after each chapter to help you apply her teachings to your own life.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

You’re pretty much guaranteed to get great business advice when it’s coming from the COO of Facebook, right? While Lean In isn’t about growing a business, it’s still a great read for any woman on an entrepreneurial journey. Her advice (and all the data she provides!) will really get you thinking about the importance of female leaders in the business world and why we need more of them.

Daring & Disruptive: Unleashing the Entrepreneur by Lisa Messenger

Having worked in various industries over the years, Lisa Messenger has a lot of personal stories and business advice to share in Daring & Disruptive. Lisa opens up about the highs and lows she’s experienced in her entrepreneurial ventures, providing inspiration for ladies at all stages of their business.

Get Rich, Lucky Bitch: Release Your Money Blocks and Live a First Class Life by Denise Duffield-Thomas

Denise is a pretty spunky Aussie who started her own business, Lucky Bitch. Her book is different than anything else you’ll find on this list, but there’s a good reason for that! If you find yourself busting your butt and working long hours without seeing any reward when it comes to your bank account, check out Get Rich, Lucky Bitch. Denise’s goal with this book is to help you determine what your money blocks are and how to kick them to the curb.

Thrive by Arianna Huffington

Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post Media Group, Arianna talks about her struggles in business in her book, Thrive. She questions the world’s definition of success and discusses why it needs to change. Arianna also writes about her difficulties when it comes to managing her time and juggling her career with her family life.

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

Okay, okay… You may be tired of hearing about this book because it comes highly recommended for fabulous entrepreneurs like yourself, but there’s a good reason for that! If you haven’t already read it, this is your sign to buy it now. While this book is primarily about Sophia’s life, she shares some important lessons that she has learned on her journey to becoming a tremendously successful businesswoman. Sophia is a reminder that we all have struggles in our lives, but it’s always possible to overcome them and completely turn things around.

Make It Happen by Lara Casey

Lara’s book is similar to The Fire Starter Sessions in that it’s filled with inspirational tidbits and it’ll put you to work! Lara doesn’t want you to just read her book and forget all about it, never putting her tips to use in your own life. Make It Happen also includes questions at the end of every chapter to really get you thinking. It’s also part biography as you’ll get the inside scoop into Lara’s life and the difficulties she faced when trying to create her path in life. Such an inspiration, this book will leave you feeling ready to take a leap in your life, whether it’s to start a business, a new project, or something else entirely!

Which of these books are on your reading list?

Thrachel_mis post is by Rachel Moffett, an Influential Gal contributor. Rachel is a Maryland-based writer and the voice behind the lifestyle site, The Haute Notes. She has been blogging since 2009 and is passionate about inspiring women and helping them build better blogs and businesses. When she’s not working on The Haute Notes, she’s running an online book club for a local website that empowers women.

 

 

 

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Beautiful Women Sharing Their Beauty Secrets: Jessie Artigue

Today, I am chatting with Jessie Artigue from Style & Pepper. I had the opportunity to first meet Jessie at a go blog social conference last year and was so inspired by her natural beauty that radiates inside and out. She has a natural glow about her that instantly draws you in, so when thinking about who I would feature next, it was a no brainer.
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1. What is your beauty routine?
I definitely have a basic routine for morning and night, but love to switch things up depending on the season and my current favorites. I always start with a cold water rinse followed by homemade toner (which is just unfiltered apple cider vinegar mixed with water) and then apply 30+ spf before my morning workout. On the days I apply makeup, I use bare minerals complexion rescue (tinted moisturizer) and hardly ever leave the house without concealer, a bit of cream blush and 2-3 coats of mascara. At night, it’s cleansing with a blend of essential oils + a warm washcloth (no soap for me!) followed by another round of my toner and more oil: Jojoba under the eyes, tea tree oil for any blemishes or pimples, and coconut oil on any dry patches and chapped lips. I also drink a TON of water throughout the day to stay hydrated, and stay away from all types of sugar to keep my skin clear of the cystic acne that I used to have as a teen. (Lovely, I know.)
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2. What do you think makes a woman beautiful?
I am a huge believer that when women find their confidence in truth, we appear as the most beautiful version of ourselves. I also know that taking the precious steps toward self-care can be a wonderful way to cultivate that confidence, and I LOVE teaching and coaching women through this process by using my approach at Pepperologie.com.
3. What were you taught about beauty growing up?
 I feel so blessed to have a family who is very generous with compliments on inner AND outer beauty… I can actually remember when my brother or I were little and would make “good decisions” as kids, my parents would say – “That is beautiful!” as an affirmation. Looking back, I can see the importance of hearing that working hard in school or helping someone in need was just as beautiful as a bright smile or a new braid in my hair.
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Thank you Jessie for sharing!
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IG Podcast Ep. 5 Budgeting Made Pretty with Ashley Shelly

This week’s podcast is with Ashely from Ashley Shelly – Living Life with a Peaceful Heart. I love Ashley’s story because, at the time of the interview, she worked full-time as a graphic designer and runs her own business on the side. Her business is focused on budgeting notebooks that make budgeting and your finances a little more glamorous and design-worthy. Ashley also shares several tips on how to live with a more peaceful heart. Enjoy!

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Show Notes:

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