Posts Tagged ‘books’

Prospurly July 2016 review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Still playing catch-up here… this is a look at the July box, which I’ve had for some time. I’m hoping my schedule will allow me gaps on the weekend to get back into a rhythm with blogging.

Prospurly is just under $45 per box (with code for 10% off your subscription – use my referral links from this post) and comes with artisan foods, bath & body items, home products, and other sustainably crafted items. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program that earns you free boxes.

prospurly july 2016 box open with products showing prospurly july 2016 info card with product details

Essential Oils for Beauty, Wellness, and the Home book – This will be a great resource for me as I explore different types of home remedies. It’s full of recipes for all sorts of things ranging from digestive health remedies to kitchen cleaning to personal care.

St. Tropica Coconut Hot Oil Hair Mask – I look forward to trying this out on my hair soon, since it’s been a bit dry. I’ve never tried hot oil before, so this should be interesting! I’ll have to dig out a shower cap from my hotel soaps stash.

Masala Mama Chicken Jardaloo spice kit – For now, I have no time to cook, so I’ll have to table this until I get some more time. I look forward to having a little cooking party sometime to try this out though!

Lotus Naturals After Sun Body Spray – I’ve had some activities recently that were out in the sun and I should have tried this after. I’ll put it out so I remember next time I’m out in the sun, which I’m sure will happen somewhat regularly now that I’m back in LA.

feedingsmiles Divine Facial Steam – This smells fabulous and I kind of want to make tea from it, but I’ll resist and use it for steaming my face as recommended. I look forward to taking some time to pamper myself with this and a face mask.

Wildflower seed bombs (bonus item) – I’d gotten this before and it looks like they included it as a bonus item this time. I think I might go get a little pot to plant these in. Or maybe I’ll throw one in the yard when I’m visiting my parents next time!

SudsBucket island punch bath bomb bundle – How cute is this packaging?! It looks like little peas in a pod and I love that I get a little face/hand towel as part of the bundle. These smell amazing and I can’t stop sniffing them.

MyChelle Refining Sugar Cleanser – I’m a fan of this brand and I’ve been using this cleanser at home, so this will make a great travel companion.

I’m pleased with the variety of products and I’m happily incorporating them into my life, one by one. What do you think of this month’s box?

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Yogi Surprise March 2016 review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Just when I miss getting boxes, I usually get this one. I like that it’s sent to arrive earlier in the month, since most seem to come mid to late month.

Yogi Surprise is just under $36 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – use my referral links from this post) and comes with yoga gear, skincare, food, and other lifestyle products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program that earns you free boxes.

contents of yogi surprise march 2016 box with info card yogi surprise march 2016 info card with product details

Gypsy Soul Organics Rosey Yogi yoga mat cleaner – Mmm, this smells nice and sprays a fine mist. I like how it recommends using before and after yoga – I hadn’t thought of spraying my mat beforehand to get a little whiff during my practice. I’ll certainly have to try that next time. For now, I’m trying out barre classes.

The Little Red Book of Yoga Wisdom – There are a ton of quotes, pictures, and a whole chart of yoga poses in this book. It’s a great compilation of thoughts and philosophies surrounding yoga.

Healthforce Superfoods Spirulina Manna – I’ve definitely heard of spirulina but never tried it, so here’s my chance! I’m not great at remembering to take pills, but I will pop one of these when I do. I can’t believe it says to have 15-25 tablets a day! That’s only 2-3 days’ worth in this bottle, wow.

Better Life Stain and Odor Eliminator – This is perfect! I’ve been looking for something to help with stains and odors, so I look forward to spraying this on a variety of things. My workout stuff doesn’t usually get gross, but my regular clothes certainly get stains that could use some treatment.

Simply 7 Lentil Chips – The texture of these is quite starchy and there’s a strong crunch that quickly melts away in your mouth. Quite a unique sensation. The flavor is good, very tasty with a nice saltiness to it. I usually find lentil soup to be too salty for me, so this is a nice way to eat them in a different form.

derma e microdermabrasion scrub – I love this scrub! I’ve received it from Ipsy before and it remains one of my favorite items. The texture of the fine beads just feels so good to rub on my face, and the scent is delightful.

Taylor’s Oil Pulling Herbal Rinse – The first time I came across oil pulling was from the Homegrown Collective project that I got. I was pretty good about doing it while driving in to work for a couple of days, but then I stopped and never got back into the habit. This one reminds me of a peppermint candy, which should be nice. I like that I’d only need to use it once a week or so.

Yogi Surprise Creating Space yoga sequence series card – These are all chest-opening poses and the theme encourages you to create time for yourself. Check out the instruction page to download this sequence.

Indian Table Pranayums spice shots – Whoa! Definitely can smell the spice in these powders. I might mix it in with my lunches or the many cups of hot water I drink throughout the work week to see if it helps keep my energy levels up.

This was a cool box with some very useful items that I look forward to using. Which of these products do you like best?

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

Yogi Surprise November 2015 review

laelene Posted in reviews, subscriptions,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I really enjoy all the types of products that I get introduced to. I’m constantly surprised by the yoga-themed things they can find!

Yogi Surprise is just under $36 per box (with code for 20% off your subscription – use my referral links from this post) and comes with yoga gear, skincare, food, and other lifestyle products. Boxes are sent monthly with no option to skip. They offer a referral program that earns you free boxes.

contents of yogi surprise november 2015 box with info card yogi surprise november 2015 info card with product details yogi surprise november 2015 product info sheet

breath perception guide – Cool, this is sort of like a meditation guide! I need to make time in my routine to incorporate breathing exercises. You hear about the benefits all the time, but it’s so easy to not do it. Once you get into the habit though, I’m sure it will be worth it.

Banyan Botanicals Nasya Oil – I don’t know what it is about sticking something up my nose, but I’m a bit apprehensive. I guess it’s because I’d heard of those yeti pots where people could get their noses infected if not used properly. It just seems to vulnerable to put oil in my nose. Is that odd? I will have to get used to this idea before I can try it out. Let me know if you’ve done it before!

Laughing Giraffe pumpkin spice snakaroons – Ok, I’m not much into this kind of macaroon. There’s just too much coconut for me. At least these were moist, which I like much better than the drier kind that some brands make. It does feel healthy though, so I might pop one or two in the morning on my way to work.

sibu beauty sea buckthorn age defying eye cream – I love this brand, which I first discovered from Yuzen many years ago. I’ve never tried their eye cream, so this will be perfect! Sea buckthorn is such a cool product and their soap smells heavenly. I do have quite a backlog of eye creams though, so I won’t this just yet.

Yummy Yogi cookie cutter – What, a cookie cutter yogi? Haha, never would have thought of this one. I think I’ve only used cookie cutters once, so I’m debating if I will save this as a gift or try making cookies with this cookie cutter. I’ll sit on it a bit before deciding.

Yuni Instant Shower Sheet wipes – I’m all about body wipes to quickly refresh without the whole shower thing. Once I get in a shower, I never want to come out, so I kind of dislike the idea right now since it’s such a time suck. Now I don’t plan on replacing my showers with these, but at least they can keep me fresh in between them. Certainly great to have after working out (not that I do :-P).

Yogi Surprise Cultivating Gratitude yoga sequence series card – I’ve been out of yoga practice for a long time and I’m not sure when I’ll pick it up again, but when I do, these cards will come in handy. Be sure to swing by the instruction page to download this sequence before it’s replaced by the next one. And erm, if you downloaded last month’s could you share that with me? I must have forgotten…

This was a pretty good box and certainly showed me a ton of new products. Which of these items would you like to have?

[This post contains affiliate links. Signing up through them helps support my subscription and I’d be ever so grateful. 🙂 All opinions are my own and I received no compensation for this review. I just purchased this box and wanted to share what I got!]

December Favorites 2013

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

collage of december 2013 favorites including home ownership, vitabath lotion, julep, wrapp deals, sweaters, reading, wireless mouse, red lips, cat time, and snowI nearly forgot to get this together before the month was over! Oh boy, it’s already time to think about Jan favs and I’m still putting together the Dec ones…

1. home ownership – As of Dec 13th, 2013, we officially became homeowners. The keys were handed to us and since then we’ve been slowly planning the move. Meanwhile, all our neighbors are in and everyone is wondering when we’ll finally get into this condo they keep hearing about. 😛

2. VitaBath lotion – I got this in my Influenster Rose VoxBox in the fall and boy do I love it! I’ve been using it frequently after showers and I absolutely adore the lightly sweet scent that is also cooling and fresh. Even with frequent usage, I’ve barely used up a quarter of it and it’s wonderful how long it’s lasting me.

3. Julep – I finally caved and got Julep when they came out with a mystery box I couldn’t resist. I was totally impressed by it and will definitely get more, plus I’ve subscribed as a Maven to get some new nail polish colors every now and then. I actually really like the beauty products that Julep makes and will use my subscription as a way to explore them.

4. Wrapp deals – When I first found these shoes, I took that picture to remember to look for something similar. Then I got a great Wrapp gift card deal for something like $12 at Charlotte Russe (which cost me and Panda nothing to send to each other) so I ended up getting that exact style of shoe for a fantastic price. I only take advantage of the free offers in the app, which saves me a good amount.

5. sweaters – Well, my first proper winter in over a decade prompted me to go out and buy some sweaters to wear. I was also goaded on by Autumnfall, who laughed when I showed her what I considered to be a sweater, all proud that I finally bought one. I’ve since gotten ones that even she can’t dismiss as not “real” sweaters. 😛

6. reading – For that period when my life was a hot mess of confusion, I escaped into reading again. My childhood was filled with books and it was nice to get back into it. I hadn’t read fiction in many years, whenever that 4th Harry Potter book came out. I was surprised that I blew through the 50 Shades series the way I did (I thought I’d long since lost patience for fiction since it’s not a business book that I can learn a ton from).

7. wireless mouse – The touchpad on my new laptop gets wonky at times (kind of often). Thankfully, a wireless mouse makes it easy to move the mouse around and strains my fingers, hands, and wrists less. I’m rather particular about the feel of the mouse and I’m glad I found this one for my personal use. I even have a blog post drafted for my pickiness when it comes to this and what I look for in the perfect mouse.

8. red lips – I went through a few weeks when I experimented with bright red lips. It was fun, bold, and playful. I even tried making lip prints like this one on Panda’s cheek. Prior to getting that red lip crayon in my November Ipsy bag, I probably only used red lipstick twice before. Now I’m much more comfortable with something attention-grabbing like that, but usually only at night, special events, and the weekends. Still not a normal thing for me.

9. cat time – Going home for the holidays and spending time with Missy again was amazing. I can’t wait to settle enough to bring her over here. Having a cat around calms me and gives me something relaxing to do whenever I’m home. There shall be no ennui when I can cuddle with my kitty or play around with her. I absolutely love waking up to a cat on my chest or next to my legs, though I may never want to get up for work (or anything else) again.

10. snow – This was before the intense polar vortex/arctic chill madness. It was exciting to get snow again and get to sit by the window and watch it fall down. I’d be happy to get stranded indoors for a few days from a snowstorm so long as I have heat and food. 🙂

Oops, I left out a picture from frolicking at the beach, but I had a whole blog post on that so you can check them out. Returning to Los Angeles was wonderful and a much-need reprieve from everything else. What did you find to be your favorites in December?

A blogger, an author, a poet, a writer

laelene Posted in general blog,Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I want to write a novel. I’m not sure if I even have that much to write about, but I have some ideas I’ve been meaning to get down. I figure I’ll just start writing and see where it takes me. Maybe I’ll surprise myself with tens of thousands of words, or maybe I’ll get stuck after a few thousand. Whatever the case, a goal I have for the coming months is to get this going and eventually build up the courage to share it with some friends.

bottle of gold calligraphy ink and glass pen on clipboard with lined paperThis kind of came about due to a confluence of events, including friends sharing their writing and my personal need for expression beyond blogging. There are some things I want to get down on paper, but in a “fiction influenced by experiences” kind of way. I could post bits of it here, but I also want to explore the possibility of a story line that runs far longer than a blog post would allow. If I find I’m not writing that much, I think I might post installments here, but let’s go big first. At the same time, I had two friends who shared the various prose they’ve written and it makes me want to join their ranks. In addition, after reading the Fifty Shades trilogy, I see hope that you don’t have to be a fantastic writer for people to want to read your work. So a growing need, possible mentors/role models, and examples of success make me feel encouraged to produce something.

I’ve thought of myself as a blogger for a few years now, and occasionally I consider myself a writer. When it comes to being an author or poet though, it’s new territory for me and I like exploring that. It’s been a fantastic way to connect with some friends in ways that I haven’t before (and somehow Joseph Gordon-Levitt keeps cropping up in conversations with writer friends – who is this guy?!). I can’t wait to have more conversations about our writing journeys as we all work to produce something to share. I also find reading to be a completely different experience now that I notice what I like and don’t like about each author’s style. I feel like a new world is opening up to me and I look forward to stepping in!

Fifty Shades review

laelene Posted in reviews,Tags: , , , ,

cover of fifty shades darker book by e l james part of fifty shades of grey trilogySo I finished the Fifty Shades trilogy earlier this week and I’ve pretty much already forgotten what happened in book two (I read it in one day so maybe I was a bit rushed and didn’t get to fully absorb the story). I read through the first two books rather quickly, but had to take a break when I got to the third. I guess I started to get bored of the story line. I think I went into this expecting something very specific and when it started veering away from that, I had to readjust my expectations. Overall though, they were very easy reads and I can see why the series was popular – it definitely appeals to the masses more than something more intellectual and it’s a nice escape into a world of “reality” that really is basically fantasy. I’ll want to check out the movie when it comes out, since I’m very curious which elements they’ll keep and also if they’ll be producing one movie per book or sort of roll it all into one. Read on for my thoughts on the books!

Spoiler alert! Don’t read on if you haven’t read the books and plan on it, unless you’re cool with spoilers.

Not that naughty

First of all, I expected the books to be much more naughty than I felt they were. I had this impression of women reading the novel blushing, so I thought there’d be some crazy stuff in there. Instead, I felt like most of the scenes were pretty tame considering what I imagine the world of BDSM can be like. Then again, if it was super intense it probably would have deterred much of the readership. Part of the popularity was probably due to the naughty enough but not too dirty content. Maybe my tolerance for erotica is higher than most. Funny since I’ve hardly read that genre.

Sense of confusion

When it comes to the plot, I started to get dizzy from the crazy back and forth mood swings. Like Ana constantly says, it’s all so mercurial. I didn’t like how she was always so concerned about really angering him. Whenever she stood up for herself, she’d immediately back down the moment she thought Christian was truly getting upset with her. I’ve definitely felt the confusion of trying to gauge a guy’s mood and it’s no fun, so in a way it brings back unpleasant memories. Speaking of confusion, I was reminded of times when I wasn’t sure what I wanted. I’ve had similar struggles of wondering, “Do I want this? Do I want him? How much?” When your heart and mind battle, it’s disorienting and very easy to lose yourself.

Workaholic with time?!

It didn’t seem realistic at all that Christian would just drop everything and go see (stalk) Ana while running this giant empire. Early on, that really threw me off because it just felt so impossible. I’ve never known someone that successful in business to be the type to stop working on the weekends or at night. Part of why they became so rich/powerful is because they’re insane workaholics. Ignoring all that to go chasing after some girl? Not likely. At least not to the extent that he was portrayed to be doing it. I did like that in the last book we begin to see him always taking care of work while being around Ana – that’s when it started to feel more realistic.

Feeling bought

I can absolutely relate to Ana’s reaction to his wealth and his desire (need?) to buy her things. I’ve had to turn down some offers because I didn’t want to feel bought and I wanted the guy to know that I wasn’t using him for his money. I think wealthy men often use their money as a crutch to try to get what they want, rather than earning it more organically. Of course, I’m sure it works in some situations, but if you want my company and attention, it’s far better to earn it by being a good, interesting person. Otherwise, you might always wonder if I’m only staying because I like having a sugar daddy. In fact, Christian thought for a moment that maybe that’s what Anastasia was after all along when she was at the bank. But after you start getting more comfortable with the person, it’s nice to feel taken care of now and then. At that point it’s a matter of feeling in control of how much is spent on you. I’m ok with my meals being bought, but not my wardrobe. Every now and then I’d accept jewelry or a gadget or an accessory. However, I’m not comfortable with that until I’ve been with someone for awhile, since it feels more like an expression of affection than attempting to get affection by then. I’m sure plenty of people will criticize how Ana becomes rather complacent to the gift showering, but I can totally see where she’s coming from.

Open and honest

There were some conversations and interactions that I really enjoyed because Christian and Ana were being so open with each other. Sometimes it would be a blunt statement or matter-of-fact handling of an “embarrassing” situation, which is what I value in my relationships. I like being able to say or do pretty much anything and feel safe in sharing that. I think many relationships break down in this aspect and it’s one of the most important things to work on. If you can’t accept each other for being human with all the flaws that come with, it’s going to be a tough ride. And if you can’t trust someone enough to share your crazy flaws, your relationship will probably get stuck. I think I tend to be really open with people because I want to connect on a deeper level. If they can’t handle it… well, I guess that’s just too bad.

So easy to read you

I had to laugh at the parts where Ana kind of unintentionally gave away what was on her mind. I do that ALL THE TIME. In fact, last night I was out with friends and said too much and ended up having to share things that I wouldn’t have come up if I kept my mouth shut! Alas, once I open a can of worms I generally let them spill out and roll with it. After all, I’m super open, remember? But every now and then I keep putting it off and trying to close the lid when I feel it’s just not something we’d want to deal with. At least it mostly ends up being something like sharing a random embarrassing story (or picture) about myself, which I’m cool with. Let’s all have a laugh together!

Shattering heartbreak

I was not a fan of how the first book ended, but I’ve been through something just like it so I can see how it changes the dynamic of a relationship. I was reminded of the crushing feeling of hopelessness and immense sadness when you think the relationship is over, but your heart is not at all ready to accept it. I remember bawling my eyes out and basically wailing until my eyes and throat hurt. I wore myself out and then exhaustion took hold, when you’re just numb to everything. Much like Christian and Ana, Panda and I got through that time and he eventually saw that he wanted me enough to change (in our case he left me because he was starting school again and didn’t think he had time for me).

Broken man fixed

I felt like it was way too easy for Christian to change. While it’s much like what Panda and I went through, it certainly wasn’t that simple. Christian didn’t seem to struggle with his demons nearly as much I would have expected, if he’s really that scarred. It seemed more like Ana kept worrying about it, with Christian never bringing up trying to do more Red Room stuff. In fact, I don’t know if he would have ever tried anything without Ana asking him if he wanted to (and sometimes practically begging him to!).


Oh yes, that enclosed space where you know for a few seconds that nobody else will be there. So much can happen. So much has, at times. 😉


There’s one part where I believe Christian tells Ana that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. I have a friend who always told me that! Lol.

Feeling desirable

Who doesn’t like feeling good about themselves? The way that Christian treats Ana and always compliments her… reminds me of certain people and the way they make/made me feel. It makes me blush when people find me attractive, but generally I enjoy it if they’re not being too pushy. All the times that Christian buries his face in Ana’s hair or tells her how soft her skin is or how great she smells… ah yes, those are memories I have. I’m sure much of the appeal of these books is the fact that women would love to feel loved and cherished the way Ana is when Christian is appreciating her. Don’t we all have that inner goddess?

Subconscious and inner goddess

While we’re on that topic… I was pretty amused by the appearance of Ana’s subconscious and inner goddess. The interplay between them and her is quite interesting and I’ve definitely felt like I have both those in me too. What a fun way to personify that aspect.

Too perfect

Yeah, so another problem I have with this whole relationship is that they seem too perfect for each other. Christian never has nightmares when he’s with Ana? Really? They have perfect sex every time? Come on. This story is supposed to be based in reality, but some elements make it more fantastical than a story with unicorns and elves.

Fifty Shades Darker

I didn’t feel like the second book presented anything darker. Maybe it should have been lighter.


The character names? Ana Steele and Christian Grey, really? Isn’t that fitting the theme a little too well? Well, whatever, small bone to pick.

All in all the books were nice, easy reads. I found them to be a great way to get my mind off of my life and get lost in an incredulous one of Ana Steele/Grey. There were many elements I connected to and some that didn’t make sense, but hey fiction is for me to forget about reality so I could forgive it. I actually plan on reading this series again now that I know everything that went on. Maybe I’ll notice more interesting themes emerge.

Fun festivities!

laelene Posted in lifestyle glimpses, photo blog,Tags: , , , , , ,

Today was a chill day, with a couple of wonderful moments. Panda and I ran some errands and got a chance to swing by the condo so I could take some pictures while it’s still relatively empty. It’s still so weird to think this brand new place is ours. We then went off to the gift-wrapping event that the rental office was throwing at the clubhouse. Turned out to be quite a nice event! And I spent the day reading Fifty Shades Darker, which I just finished. I finally caved into the whole Fifty Shades of Grey hype and it’s been a nice distraction from real life. More on my thoughts when I finish the last of the trilogy. For now, here’s a peek at my surprisingly amusing day.

christmas tree with presents underneath set up at rental office of apartment complex

We arrive at the event and check in. They have a nice tree set up!

red and green balloons and christmas decorations on railing

It’s nice and festive everywhere you look.

clubhouse set up for gift wrapping event

All sorts of gift-wrapping items were strewn all over the place and catering from Carrabbas kept us full as holiday shows like Elf played on TV.

wrapping present on table full of holiday present wrapping products

Panda wrapped up a gift for my cousin and I found the boy in the back to be hilarious.

pile of plates of food sitting on dashboard of car

On our way out, we helped them clear some of the Carrabbas. I laughed hysterically as one of the guys looked at our dashboard inquisitively. Oh what fun!

julep maven and escape monthly subscription boxes on lap of driver of car

The dash, my lap, and the passenger floor were taken up by all our plates and stuff so Panda had to drive with my newly delivered packages on his lap!

365great Day 124: libraries

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Learn more about 365great here.

365great challenge day 124: librariesLibraries are often not appreciated as much as they should be. In fact, they often completely disappear from my conscious mind. I forget that there’s a resource just a few miles away, where I can go to get books and DVDs and other such learning materials for free (well, for a time anyway). Then suddenly one day I think to myself, “Hey, why don’t I get a book from the library?!” It’s brilliant! Swing by and read what I want for free. Who needs a bookstore? I even got some Pimsleur tapes to try to learn some basic Cantonese since I’d never spend money on a thing like that! So yes, libraries are pretty great.

Book recap: The Zappos Experience

laelene Posted in reviews,Tags: , , , ,

Ever since I graduated college, I’ve been trying to get back into reading. I was doing pretty well in Singapore since there were a bunch of books at the office and I was pretty inwardly focused for a bit. I’ve only managed a book every month or two, but I’m still chugging along the best I can. I often take a bunch of random notes about things I want to remember and then of course it either a) doesn’t make sense when I look back or b) is rather illegible so I can’t figure out what I wrote. Sooo I figure, why not put it all together into something a little more coherent?

the zappos experience book

Photo credit: Michelli website

The Zappos Experience is authored by Dr. Joseph Michelli, who analyzes great organizations and breaks down what they do to be successful into a blueprint for how you can adopt those strategies for your own organization’s success. He spends time within these organizations and interviews a ton of people from all departments and levels to gain his insights. I’ve actually read all his books so far and each has been useful in thinking about what behaviors create a good environment for great work to be done consistently. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, actually wrote a book of his own (Delivering Happiness) and I think he puts it very well in his foreword for The Zappos Experience: Delivering Happiness shares the why of your business while The Zappos Experience share the how. For that reason, I think you should read Delivering Happiness first, if you haven’t already. Oh, and if you have no idea what Zappos is… you might want to read Delivering Happiness.

What I got out of The Zappos Experience is that culture is vital. You tap into people’s feelings, get them invested in the company, and have a set of rituals to engage them. By creating a vibrant culture filled with coworker interactions, celebrations, and discussions, you offer something that everyone can connect with. Zappos refuses to hire those who do not fit into their company culture. They carefully evaluate the fit of the person throughout the interview and training process and even offer new hires something like $1000 to leave if they don’t feel like Zappos is home. I think a lot more companies should put more emphasis on their culture because when you do that, the entire company feels more like a unit and it lessens the potential for drama.

Another important thing you can do is investing in your people. This could be anything from offering a library of books that they can borrow from the office to sending them on training programs. When you care about your people, you should care about their development, both personal and professional. Taking care of them not only builds loyalty, but it prepares them to continue to take on greater roles. Sure, some people might take advantage of this to get the most out of it and bail, but the majority of people will really appreciate being appreciated.

Finally, I really like the idea of rituals, whether daily, weekly, monthly, or otherwise. Rituals in this sense create a predictable pattern that everyone can expect. For example, I’m sure most companies have weekly meetings, maybe even a monthly retreat. This can also cover the way you celebrate – maybe you make it a habit of having a small party whenever it’s someone’s birthday, or taking a new hire out to lunch to socialize with the team, or throwing a nighttime soiree when there’s a holiday coming up. Whatever you choose to do, I think being consistent is key. You don’t want someone left out and feeling less important! Beyond celebrations, there are the day-to-day rituals that set a tone for how work can get done as well. I was in a hair salon in China when they gathered for their morning pep talk, which included a shared chant and opportunity to point out someone who had done a great job the day before. This quick meet-up doesn’t take long, but it can start off everyone’s day on a better note and offer a chance to discuss things.

Oh and one side note that’s kind of its own topic: customer service is basically problem-solving. So if you’re the type who likes to resolve issues, a customer service-focused role might be good. Customers come to you with a problem, whether something went wrong or they just have a question. You have your own database of information and knowledge to tap into, a certain amount of resources and capabilities, and you use those to help match up what the customer wants with what you can offer. It’s often a compromise, but with some creativity, you can solve a problem in an unexpected but delightful way. Zappos is great at doing that (and even delighting when customers don’t have a problem). I love it when a company goes above and beyond to delight me and I think that sort of service really takes things to another level!

For those of you looking for ways to improve how your business (or even your life) is run, you’ll find some really great tips and thought-provoking questions in this book that will get you well on the way to a more engaged, inspired, connected experience.

365great Day 68: coconuts

laelene Posted in 365great,Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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365great challenge day 68: coconutsI was never really into coconuts, but lately they seem to be cropping up everywhere in my life! It started with a coconut-scented lotion, which combined with lime smells really good. It came in one of my subscription boxes and was a brand I had wanted to try, so I gave it a shot and I love it. Then I got various coconut-flavored food items, from coconut chips to coconut granola bars and even coconut water. I can’t seem to escape this fruit and I even learned of its many benefits from The Book of General Ignorance: its water is sterile and full of vitamins and minerals (no wonder people drink it straight). Coconut oil is quite healthy – it’s been shown to help reduce cholesterol – and is apparently both antiviral and antibacterial. You can use it to make biodegradable products as sturdy as seats, incorporate it into mouthwash, or make a flour from it to clean jet engines with. And, most impressive, you could survive on just coconuts if you ever got stranded on some tropical island. They’re so versatile it’s great.

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