What My Lularoe Obsession Looks Like

I consider myself an expert-level shopper. But Lularoe is a different kind of shopping, and it took me some time to figure out how to approach it. Unfortunately that approach has been a time-consuming and money-blowing obsession.

When I shop at regular big-box retailers, it’s manageable. I visit their website or store and browse through their inventory I might be interested in. When I’ve finished, I feel comfortable not visiting that store/website again for a while because I’ve seen it all (or nearly all of it).

Lularoe doesn’t work this way. There is theoretically new inventory every day. The “fear of missing out” concept is definitely one explanation for Lularoe’s success. I won’t get into the Lularoe “unicorns,” but the point is that you are trained to believe there are very few of the prints you like so if you see it, you better jump on it NOW.

In case you aren’t familiar with how Lularoe works and you haven’t yet googled it, I’ll try to provide a brief description. Lularoe clothing is sold by consultants only — you can’t go to a Lularoe website or store to peruse the inventory and purchase. You have to make a purchase from a Lularoe consultant. I follow consultants via Facebook, but I’ve heard consultants are maximizing all of the social media channels. Since I’m only familiar with the Facebook aspect, that’s all I’ll cover here. When you follow a consultant on Facebook, you’re able to make purchases a variety of ways. The two that seem most popular are “live sales” and “album sales.” Live sales are where the consultant is live-streaming to Facebook, either unboxing new inventory or just going through their existing inventory. Viewers of the live-stream are able to “claim” items as they come up by commenting during the live-stream, and the consultant will send invoices to everyone after the broadcast is complete. Album sales, which are my preferred shopping method, are where the consultant adds photos of all their inventory into Facebook albums, usually organized by style and size. Users can look through the albums of styles they’re most interested in, and then add a comment to the photos of items they want to purchase. The consultant will send an invoice either immediately or sometime in the next 24 hours.

Initially, I followed a handful of individual consultants. Unfortunately the “fear of missing out” on an awesome print got to me, so I started following multi-consultant sales. I’m also incredibly impatient: I want to see ALL the styles in existence NOW; I do not want to wait until the consultant has time to photograph all the new boxes of inventory she’s received. The multi-consultant sales are Facebook groups where multiple consultants post their inventories so users can view hundreds of items within a size/style category rather than only a small handful.

Depending on your approach to shopping, this is either really good or really bad.

I joined quite a few multi-consultant groups, all of which are open on different days and at different times. In the middle of my obsession, it was a little maddening trying to figure out which groups’ albums were “open” and which were opening in a few hours (or days). While it was maddening, it was also exhilarating. How many Amelia’s will they have in my size? Will there be new prints? Will there be anything I want? Has someone else already claimed it?

Because there are SO MANY prints and designs, it definitely becomes overwhelming. I started taking screen shots of the items I was most interested in, as well as a screen shot of the group so I could remember where the items were available. My iPhone kept warning me about low storage due to all the screen shots. I also tried to maximize on shipping costs by attempting to purchase multiple items from one consultant (rather than multiple items from multiple consultants) so that I could reach the free-shipping mark. This can be a bit time-consuming.

Once I’ve commented “sold” on the items I want, most of the consultants I’ve purchased from send a comment or email with a link to the invoice. I pay my invoices almost immediately, hoping that it will speed up the shipping process, which it usually does.

Approximately four days later, I’ve got my new goodies. Some consultants include sweet hand-written messages with your items, wishing you happiness each time you wear them. Others include small gifts, such as a handmade bracelet or a $5 coupon for your next purchase. One consultant sent me a free pair of leggings. All of this is, I’m sure, to spark some loyalty in me or at a minimum marginally encourage me to shop with this consultant again. I always intend to, but have only been a repeat customer with my local consultants. I’d love to know the percentage of customers who purchase from the same consultant multiple times, especially if that consultant is from out-of-state.

Either way, by the time I’m unpacking my recent delivery, I’m usually just killing time before my next multi-consultant group is opening, and then I’m back to stalking my next purchase.

How it Started: Lularoe Obsession

I had no interest in Lularoe when the group invite requests first started taking over my Facebook. I didn’t see anything that looked like “me” — while I embrace pattern-mixing and color in my wardrobe, I didn’t want to embrace lots of pattern-mixing and color all in one outfit. The leggings were all anyone was talking about at that time, and I had no desire to spend $25 on a pair of leggings that I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing in front of anyone else, including Dan.

I have a habit of hating things before eventually loving them, so I should have known this would happen.

I was able to either resist the group invites entirely or accept them initially and then leave after about two days. I just assumed the non-leggings items wouldn’t work for me, and didn’t want to invest any time learning more, despite a few close friends who loved the clothes.

A couple months ago, my former boss invited me to a “pop-up” party (these are huge in the Lularoe world) that was happening near my house. Normally I would have said no instantly, or initially said yes and then backed out a couple days before the party. But as I get older, I’ve had a harder and harder time finding clothes that fit, on my good days and pudgy days, and are comfortable, on my good days and especially on my pudgy days. Somewhere after turning 32, my body seems like it has mood swings where one day I fit perfectly in my favorite jeans and the next day my favorite jeans are about to rip at the seams. My weight seems to stay the same…but apparently things are moving around depending on the day or what I eat or whatever. And I haven’t had kids, so we can’t blame it on that. Sorry, I’ve gotten off topic. The point is that I’ve been having a really hard time finding clothes that are cute/flattering while also being comfortable. Since the point of Lularoe is comfort, I decided going to a “pop-up” party would be the perfect opportunity to try stuff on and get a sense for the clothes.

I very rarely go to parties that involve product selling because I’m super cheap and hate the etiquette rule where you have to buy something in order to stay friends with the hostess. So I told myself before this event that I would NOT allow myself to be guilted (by my own inner dialogue — my former boss would definitely not put any pressure on me) into buying anything. I spent the week before the party telling myself how I was only buying something if I loved it and that I wasn’t going to talk myself into buying anything.

This seemed to have the effect of making me super closed-minded about the clothes. I told myself that I hated everything I tried on and that clearly this brand wasn’t for me and that I’d just go back to getting all my clothes on the clearance racks of Old Navy, even if they didn’t fit. In the end, I did find a really basic coral t-shirt that was fitted in the right places and skimmed over the other right places while also being long enough to cover my bum if I wanted to wear it with skinny pants, but not so long that it looked weird. I was happy-ish for not buying a lot, but disappointed at the same time.

Then I went home and started searching for Lularoe stuff on Pinterest.

This is really where the obsession started. I saw all these women — all ages, all sizes, all shapes — wearing the clothes. I found combinations of things I hadn’t thought of, and I saw prints that I desperately wanted. I tried to focus mostly on pins of women who looked my age and approximately my size/shape, but found other ideas and inspiration in women older and younger, straighter and rounder. While I could tell that there were a number of pieces that would never work for me (the Randy Tee, the Perfect Tee, the Julia dress, and anything else that clings tightly to your hips/midsection), there were plenty of others that — now seeing properly styled on Pinterest — seemed perfect for me.

I quickly contacted the consultant from the pop-up party and scheduled another time for me to visit her house so I could try stuff on again, this time with an open mind. When I left her house the second time, I had a new dress (the Carly) and cardigan (the Sarah) in tow. I visited another consultant in my area to try a style the first consultant didn’t carry, and walked out of her house with more than I’d like to admit, but I’ll at least share that I bought another dress (the Amelia) and a skirt (the Madison).

I’m now obsessed. Describing my obsession would take a lot of words, so I’ll either save it for another post or just keep it to myself. But it’s definitely an obsession — one that other fans of Lularoe are all too familiar with.

What I like about this brand is that they offer enough styles to cover nearly every body type. I say “nearly every” because maybe there are exceptions, I just haven’t seen them yet. While I have been very loyal to stores like Old Navy, Macy’s and other big-box retailers, my main complaint is that it’s hard to know if styles are really “made for me.” The sign next to the display will say “these jeans are great for ladies with hips and thighs,” but they look pretty awful on my hips and thighs. To be fair, Lularoe isn’t selling pants, so maybe I’d fail with them too if they were. But at Old Navy, I might find a t-shirt that is amazing, but I can never find that same style again. I found pants (for work) that I liked from Macy’s, but they change the cuts and styles constantly, without noting that it’s a different style, so I order six pairs of “bootcut” pants, and two of them are actually flares, two are straight leg and two are maybe bootcut, but they’re so skinny all the way down that the itty bitty amount of opening at the bottom barely counts as bootcut. While the sizing of Lularoe stuff can vary a bit, it doesn’t seem to be so off that I’d be hesitant to order that size again. I’ve purchased A LOT in the last two months, and there hasn’t been a single piece that has fit completely out of line with what I expected.

I need to somehow cut myself off from this obsession, at least for a few months. I work from home most days of the week and am relatively anti-social, so there are very few opportunities for me to wear all the dresses and cute tees I’ve purchased. Thankfully I’ve tried to purchase pieces that aren’t overly dressy, so I think they’ll work for day-trips with Dan this summer. Ha, well, they really have to work for the day-trips, because I’m going to wear them either way.

I also have a strong tendency to think I love something and buy it in every color, wear it every day for several months, then realize it looks horrible on me. While that could happen with Lularoe, I’ve received about 100 times more compliments on these clothes than I have on most of my other clothes — including compliments from complete strangers! — so I feel like I’m headed in the right direction. Since this is my only obsession right now, I’ll post follow-ups in the near future (as long as I can motivate myself enough to blog!). Fingers-crossed that my next post isn’t: “Things I Hate: All of Lularoe.”

If you’re looking to try out Lularoe, my recommendation is to do a search on Facebook (or contact a friend who is a fan) and find a consultant who lives close enough where you can try on all the styles and sizes. Actually, before you do that, go on Pinterest and find the styles that seem like they’d be best for your body type, THEN visit a consultant who carries those styles. Finally, once you know your size, join every giant multi-consultant group on Facebook and let the obsession take over.

Headaches

I’ve had headaches for almost as long as I can remember. I know I had them in high school, and I think I had them in junior high and at least a little throughout elementary. I’ve relied mostly on a mixture of over-the-counter pain medications, prescription preventive medications, acupuncture, cupping, massage and chiropractic care, none of which has proven overly helpful.

I recently read a book about chronic pain and how we typically treat it. The book – Total Recovery, by Gary Kaplan – wasn’t directed at people with headaches, but there were several references to headaches and a few examples of the author’s patients who had been dealing with chronic headaches.

Any time I read a book like this, I open it up and am skeptical. I felt this way about Wheat Belly too. I look at the book and think, “What a quack! This will be a waste of time!” But I read it anyway, because I haven’t been super impressed with my regular doctors. With both books, I read the entire thing, cover to cover, in two or three days. I find the books fascinating, but part of my interest has got to be attributed to my desire for any glimmer of hope for a solution to my headaches, and these books have that.

If you have headaches, you’ve maybe read some online forums from other headache sufferers. I usually come across these when I’m googling new prescriptions my neurologist wants me to try. I have headaches most days of the week, but my headaches aren’t anywhere near as debilitating as some of the people in these forums. I’m so sorry if the pain you’re experiencing is daily and keeping you from living life. Reading the stories and the histories of the medications they’ve tried is heartbreaking.

That’s why I’m a little desperate when I’m reading these books. I could go on about the horror stories, but I won’t. Let me just say that there are a lot of people out there who experience excruciating levels of pain every day. I obviously know nothing about their backgrounds or what got them to these places, but I’m compassionate to their suffering.

My headaches sort of go in waves. I typically get three to five per week, but the headaches could vary in intensity and in strength. So I might have a week where I have five days with headaches, but each one goes away within 60 minutes of taking Excedrin Migraine – that’s considered an OK week. (Excedrin is the ONLY pain medication that works for me, by the way — the prescription pain meds I’ve tried don’t do anything for me.) I might have another week where I only have three days with headaches, but the intensity is severe and Excedrin doesn’t kill the pain, so the headache goes for three days straight while I try to take Excedrin over and over (cue the stomach-ache) throughout the three days hoping one of those doses ends up being killing the headache. Other weeks I might only have one or two minor headaches that go away as soon as I take Excedrin. Those weeks are amazing.

Every time a headache comes on, anxiety sets in because I have no idea how it’s going to go. Either I can take Excedrin and the headache will go away within an hour or I can take Excedrin and the headache won’t go away, possibly for days. If the headache goes away quickly, I am so grateful – I have this super appreciative outlook on life for the rest of the day. If the headache doesn’t go away, I spiral into a dark place. I wonder how long the headache will last, how long before I start feeling sick to my stomach, when should I try taking more Excedrin, will that additional dosage help or just make me sicker, etc.

The book I recently read was great because it talked about the importance of figuring out why we have these problems instead of just trying to “treat” them. My current neurologist seems to be focused mostly on treating my problem, and her method of treatment is trying prescription after prescription. We’ve talked about why she’s giving me a prescription – over-active or hyper-active nerves. But we haven’t talked about why my nerves are like that in the first place.

If I was giving her the benefit of the doubt, I’d say that her plan is for me to find a prescription that calms my nerves first, decreases the number of headaches I’m having per month and the amount of Excedrin I’m having, and THEN figuring out what’s causing my nerves to act up. But she’s never mentioned that being part of her plan.

Now, I have to take accountability for where I’m at. I’m the patient, and I own my health. I have unfortunately just trusted that it was safe to take large amount of Excedrin since it’s sold over-the-counter, but obviously lots of unhealthy things are sold on store shelves. I also should have tried to do more research about headaches and maybe visited more doctors before starting a treatment plan. I’m doing that now; we’ll see what happens.

I hope that five or 10 years from now, headaches are no longer a mystery. I hope that there are clear, proven treatment plans that just work for everyone. I hope the answer isn’t some kind of scary medication that damages other parts of our bodies or causes other nasty side effects.

Being happy

I want everyone to be happy. I want people to choose careers, mates and hobbies that make them happy.

I know a few people who never seem to be happy. One misfortune leads to a domino effect of unhappiness. While things for me don’t always go exactly as I’d planned or hoped, I’m usually able to tell myself that the pain or unhappiness part is only temporary, or that something good will come of it.

Side note: I don’t believe that fate will just take over and turn the bad things into good things. It’s about our mindsets. When bad things have happened, life has almost always turned out perfectly fine “in the end.” It’s not because fate stepped in, it’s because I had to stop the situation from sucking. And things didn’t become awesome instantly – it took time. Usually a lot of un-fun, unspectacular time that eventually resulted in a positive outcome. Maybe not the positive outcome I originally wanted or expected, but a positive one nonetheless.

How do we all make these decisions about whether to play the victim or “control our own destiny”? Why are some people able to keep an optimistic outlook, even when they encounter life’s setbacks, while others can never seem to get over any of the setbacks they’ve experienced?

How we define happiness

I’ve talked about defining success – the two can be intertwined. For me, being successful means I’m happy. But everyone’s definitions of success can be different. For some, just because they’re happy doesn’t also mean they’re successful. And for so many more, they might think of themselves as successful but they are absolutely miserable.

Why is this?

Part of it has to do with setting expectations. For a lot of people, setting expectations comes from external sources: our parents, extended family, neighbors, friends, coworkers and now social media.

Social media

Social media makes us constantly compare ourselves to one another. We compare our opinions on controversial things and about where we are in life and what should make us happy. If I get an email from my boss that says I epically failed on something at work, I won’t take a picture of it and post it on Facebook. Why? Because Facebook isn’t a place to tell everyone about my failures – it’s a place for me to post my perfectly staged holiday photos that took 80 tries for ONE DECENT PHOTO where one of my eyes isn’t more squinty than the other.

People post all the things that make their lives look happy and fulfilling and flattering. But that’s a sliver of what’s happening in their lives. A couple may post a photo where they’re smiling big for the camera, but in reality, they fight every night. A family might post a photo that makes them look like one big happy family, but in reality, Aunt Ida openly hates Aunt Judy, Mom just said something offensive to your new boyfriend because of his neck tattoo, and your nephew runs around the house screaming because your sister hasn’t disciplined him one day of his life.

All we see is a simple photo with smiling people. We compare our entire lives to that and wonder what’s wrong with us, our relationships, our families. The truth is that lots of things are wrong with you, but they’re wrong with everyone else too. You just don’t get to see it.

Our families

You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. This is somewhat unfortunate, because our family members can have such a huge impact on how we see and approach the world. I know there’s nature versus nurture. I think a lot of how we “turn out” as adults has to do with what we experienced as kids. However, I do think that we all have the choice – and obligation, really – to try to think critically about what we experienced, interpret what happened and assess the results. But not everyone thinks that way, or we think that way sometimes, yet hold onto beliefs passed down to us from our families in other cases. Some of those things we hold onto can be detrimental to our potential for happiness.

For example, if your parents expect you to become a surgeon because that’s what your mom/dad did, you might think 1) you can only be happy if you become a surgeon, even though you don’t really enjoy the school work required and you faint at the sight/thought of blood, or 2) you’ll never please your parents because you know you don’t want to be a surgeon and they’ll never approve of anything else you’d choose to do.

Everybody else

The rest of our world can influence what we think will make us happy. They can set expectations about whether we should go to school, what kind of job we should have, what kind of house we live in, etc. All of these things that are so impactful in the equation of what makes us happy, yet it’s being influenced by people who might be in our lives for less than a handful of years.

The people with whom we interact – both in-real-life and virtually – all have an effect on how we define what makes us happy. I’ve focused on how they negatively impact our happiness, which isn’t fair. Social media, our families and everybody else sometimes help us see a completely different perspective we wouldn’t have otherwise seen. But we have to be careful about how we process that information.

This article is the beginning of a series on happiness. I’ve always wondered how people’s decision-making impacted their happiness, and how that influences future decisions. Because of this, I’ve been reading about happiness, trying to understand why we crazy humans do what we do. I’m hoping I can use that information to help the less-happy people in my life approach things differently. Life’s too short to be miserable.

In future posts, I’ll share some of the barriers to happiness and what we can do to change. In the meantime, if you have any thoughts on happiness or how you developed your definition of happiness, I’d love to hear it.

What I’m reading: Jan. 2

I’ve been doing a TON of reading on happiness lately. I consider myself a pretty happy person, which might be weird since most people also consider me an incredibly sarcastic person. But sarcastic people can be happy!

I’m working on a series of posts about how we define happiness, what are the barriers and how we can be happier. I’ve read two books so far, with a few others on my list. (After a few bad books, I’m too scared to buy any, so I signed up for library card Thanksgiving weekend and have been trying to take full advantage of it.) If happiness is something you’re working on or interested in, here are a few recommendations:

Books

The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work – Shawn Achor

The first 60 to 75 percent of this book was great. I found the studies and research shared to be really interesting, and definitely things that made me think about my life. However, since I think I’m a relatively happy and optimistic person, I read this feeling affirmed in my life’s outlook. I’m not sure what a pessimistic person would think. If you’re pessimistic and somewhat happy, please read it and tell me what you think 🙂 I want to know if it shifts anyone’s mindset. The gist of the book is that if you approach life with a mostly optimistic outlook, you’ll be more successful (positive psychology).

The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, but Does – Sonja Lyubomirsky

The first section of this book focuses on a general overview of what is happiness and why we grow bored and discontent with things that once made us really happy (hedonic adaptation). The book then breaks into chapters that focus on areas of dissatisfaction for people (relationships, lack of relationships, career, money, etc.). The author explains why we’re feeling the dissatisfaction and steps we can take to turn things around (if possible). I haven’t finished the book yet, but I found the first part of the book really interesting. I’m skimming the remaining sections – skipping what I don’t need help with and reading more closely what I want to learn more about.

Articles

The 3 biggest mistakes people make in their 30s – Inc.. A revealing thread on Quora uncovers the most common ways people mess up their lives in their 30s — and how you can avoid their mistakes.

The success theater: Don’t confuse enviability for happiness – Life Hacker. Social media has changed the way we behave. Making us more connected has also made it much easier to compare ourselves to each other. That’s why it’s ever more important to differentiate between being enviable and being happy.

Exercises in decision-making: grad school, part 2

Since writing my post about my grad school choices, I’ve done a complete 180. Well, the program choices are still the same, but the choices for where to go have changed.

I was originally dead-set on doing a 100% online program, mostly because I’m lazy and didn’t want to have to battle the roadways throughout a Minnesota winter in order to get to class. I’ve become so spoiled living and working in the same suburb. I rarely have to leave my ‘burb, and it’s amazing. I’m a mega paranoid driver, so the less driving I have to do, the better. It’s not that I hate any of the places I have to drive to, I just truly hate all of the drivers on the roads I have to drive on. I hate people who don’t drive the speed I want them to drive, I hate people who don’t know how to merge onto highways, I hate people who don’t know how to use their blinkers, I hate people who tailgate me during bumper-to-bumper traffic. I hate them all.

During a dinner with a former coworker (who is now a great friend), I was sharing my recent experiences with grad school research, and explained the type of program I was looking for. My friend is currently pursuing her MBA, and knows all about the grad school process. She mentioned that one of her MBA classes sounded really similar to the area of study I was interested in, and offered to connect me with the professor. I said that would be great, but reiterated to my friend that I was planning to do an online program. My friend is great in that she can hear what I’m saying, know that I’m wrong, but not tell me to my face that I’m wrong. She listened to what I said without telling me how closed-minded I was being, and instead just encouraged me to at least consider in-person program.

I, being the closed-minded person that I was, pretty much dismissed what she said, but begrudgingly agreed to meet the professor and sit in on one of the classes.

As I drove to the class – on one of the busiest and scariest freeways in the Mpls/St. Paul area, mind you – I told myself over and over that there was no way I’d end up doing an in-person program. I almost talked myself out of going, but decided that since I had committed to showing up, I probably should do it, especially since my friend had vouched for me.

After I parked, I walked through the parking ramp and found my classroom’s building. In this building, I passed a wall with photos of guest speakers who had visited the campus. I saw a photo of one of my favorite authors. “Big deal,” I thought. “Thomas Friedman speaks practically everywhere!” There were students scattered all around, some of them studying up before their next class started, others discussing a group project they were working on. I hate to say it, but the on-campus energy had already hooked me.

When I got to the classroom, I stood outside awkwardly for awhile, too nervous to go in. I don’t know why I was that nervous – what did I think was going to happen? Everyone in the room was going to stare at me and yell, “Who the heck do you think you are and what are you doing here?!” That would have made for an entertaining story, at least. In reality, after I worked up the nerve to go in, a few people looked up at me when I entered the room, but they all smiled politely and then went back to whatever they were doing. I found the professor, introduced myself and then settled in.

The class was awesome. Initially I was really worried that everyone in the room was going to be crazy smart and I’d be too terrified to speak because I didn’t want anyone to know how stupid I was. Thankfully, that wasn’t what happened. While everyone did seem intelligent, I didn’t feel intimidated or out of place. I even felt comfortable enough to participate in the class discussion, which is so unlike me. I talked to a few students, spent some time chatting with the professor and drove home feeling convinced that I needed to attend an in-person program.

The main reason I decided to go the in-person route was because I’m basically trying to switch careers. If I were going for a master’s in communications, I’d honestly feel comfortable doing a 100% online program because making connections with people isn’t a need: I have connections already and I have experience. However, I’m hoping to eventually get out of communications, or at least move to something that isn’t going to be part of a communications department, so I need new connections who will be able to help me down the road in getting a different job when all I have is a degree on my resume and any experience that I’ve spun to sound like relevant experience. When I was considering the all online program, I told myself that I would be fine: I just wanted to get through the classes and I’d figure out the networking piece on my own down the road.

But eventually I decided that I didn’t want to be “fine” with a program, I wanted to be “awesome” with a program.

So now I had to start my research all over, this time focusing on schools in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. There were a handful of schools with programs that were relevant, but I felt the most passionate about two. One of which was the school recommended by my friend. I sat in on a few more classes from both schools, LinkedIn-stalked the professors and spoke with recent alum from the programs.

While one program looked awesome on paper, and probably would have looked great on my resume, I just didn’t get a good vibe during my interactions with the school. When I sat in on a class, I learned that most of the students in that class were PhD students, and they were students who had always been in school, going straight from their bachelor’s to their master’s and now their doctorate. I worried that it wouldn’t be the right set of classmates for me. Like I said, the No. 1 reason I think it’s worth my time to attend an in-person program is that I need networking connections. While the doctorate students I met were wicked smart, they are not wicked employed, which makes them not wicked valuable to me.

The other school – the one my friend had recommended – never gave me a bad vibe. The people with whom I interacted were all awesome and helpful. When I sat in on classes, it was clear that nearly everyone was a working professional taking classes on the side. I made a few great connections that evening, and that was just one night! In the end, I decided that was the school for me.

I’m both thrilled and terrified of this new adventure. I’m thrilled to learn more about a new subject matter and see what lies ahead, but I’m also terrified that I’ll discover I’m horrible at it or that I’ll look like an idiot. While I don’t consider Saturday Night Live to be the epitome of self-affirmations, I’m going to keep repeating the wise words of Stuart Smalley: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

I’m also slightly terrified of the costs. While most of my program will be covered through my company’s tuition reimbursement program, I’ll still have a sizeable amount coming out of my own pocket. I’m hoping I can curb my shopping habits, ramp up my freelance writing work and become an extreme couponer.

What I’m reading: Nov. 29

Hi, friends.

I’ve found that in order for me to feel creative and thoughtful, I have to be reading and learning. I had a stretch where I read one awesome book after another and it was like the creative juices were splashing around my body like someone had opened a floodgate in my brain.

Then I had three – THREE – less-than-inspiring reads in a row. All three had great reviews on Amazon and were referenced in the awesome books I read. So I’ve been a bit nervous to buy or start any new books. I don’t think I can handle the disappointment. It’s definitely taken a toll on my creative flow. Until I can muster up enough courage to start a new book, I’ve been doing a lot of online reading from some of my favorite publications. Here are a few things I’ve been reading, along with a brief intro from the article.

4 reasons you really don’t want to be a perfectionist – Health Magazine. Being a perfectionist is often thought of as a plus. But it turns out, the life of a true perfectionist may not be so, well, perfect. In fact, a growing body of research suggests that this personality quirk has a dark side.

Choosing not to negotiate your first salary could cost you $65,173.56 – The Penny Hoarder. It’s that first job that can set the stage for the rest of their lives and provide much needed experience for their careers. It can also set the scale for how much they will earn over their lifetimes. Settling for a low salary or choosing not to negotiate can cost workers thousands of dollars over the course of their careers.

How being busy makes you unproductive – LinkedIn via Travis Bradberry*. Being busy has somehow become a badge of honor. The prevailing notion is that if you aren’t super busy, you aren’t important or hard working. The truth is, busyness makes you less productive. *Travis Bradberry is one of my favorite writers on topics like this. If you have a LinkedIn profile, follow him.

The power of saying “no” – The Undercover Economist. Every time we say yes to a request, we are also saying no to anything else we might accomplish with the time.