Lean In Book Review


I read "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg for our most recent #BookClubBlogger and after devouring all 175 pages, I came to the conclusion that it's a must read for all women working in the corporate world. I also know a few gentlemen who could benefit from reading it as well.

I'm sure that my past experiences influenced my perception of the book, but I don't doubt that there is something for everyone to learn.

One of the biggest eye openers for me came from Sandberg's statement: "Men are promoted based on potential, while women are promoted based on accomplishments." Prior to reading this book (and a few others) I hadn't given much thought to the inequality that presents itself in the workplace. 

I want to share a quick (personal) experience that showcases the difference between men and women when it comes to work.

When Pete and I first moved to Kansas City we were both on the hunt for a job. I was hard-pressed to find something with a creative emphasis so I settled for a position at JPMorgan working as a Retirement Education Specialist. To put it plainly, I worked in a call center. I serviced 401k's for various companies around the world and while it paid the bills, it definitely wasn't my cup of tea. After my training started, a few more positions opened up and Pete applied in hopes that it would give us some additional income until we both found what we were really looking for.

We both earned the same Bachelor's degree in Mass Media and we both accepted the same position at JPMorgan, however, I graduated a year before him and I technically had more experience. Printed clearly on Pete's offer letter was a higher salary than mine. Neither of us did any negotiating (which was also a great talking point in the book) and looking back, I can't help but think that the reason he was offered a higher salary was the simple fact that he was a male and I was a female. I wasn't the slightest bit concerned at the time, I was just happy that we both had a job. (*Editor's note: I discussed sharing this story with Pete prior to posting and he was more than supportive of me doing so.)

Comparing my situation to the COO of Facebook was hard at times and I'm sharing this story in hopes that you might be able to relate. Like I said, I never gave much thought to the equality barriers that present themselves and how they might be effecting me. If this situation were to happen again today, I would be looking at it from a completely different perspective.

While I don't agree with everything Sandberg stands by, I think she serves up a lot of great takeaways with a more positive emphasis. I've highlighted a few that stuck out to me below:

"Knowing things could be worse should not stop us from trying to make them better." -Sheryl Sandberg (Click here to tweet!)

"If you're offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don't ask what seat, you just get on." -Eric Schmidt

“Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder.” -Sheryl Sandberg. (Click here to tweet!)

The last one is by far the biggest motivator for me. My career doesn't have to center around "making it to the top" and the corporate world is not the be-all and end-all. Victoria recently talked about "Your Second Career" and it got me thinking about the entrepreneur that I know is living deep down inside of me. I'm not 100% what my second career looks like just yet, but I'm excited to find out!

Do you daydream about making a big career move? What did you think of the book? Let's talk down in the comments section.

Read on for the rundown on the next virtual book club...

dream year - book club

You probably know the drill, but here is a quick refresher: we pick a book, read it and enjoy a fulfilling discussion whilst drinking an adult beverage and noshing on our favorite salty snacks. Sounds like a good time, right? 

Things you need to know:

Reading: "Dream Year" by Ben Arment

Meet up: We will be hosting a Google Hangout on Monday, December 8th at 7:30 p.m. CST. Like I said before, even though this is virtual, wine and cheese plates are encouraged.

In the meantime: Feel free to link up with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #BookClubBlogger. Share your favorite reading spots or topics you would like to cover during our discussion!

If you're planning on joining in on the fun, be sure to RSVP by reaching out to Sarah here! Any questions? Feel free to email me or leave a question in the comments and I'll be sure to get back to you.

Weekends are for...


We kicked off the weekend at Holiday Mart KC with shopping, samples and an adult beverage. It was clear when we walked into the place that it wasn't exactly the best date night spot. Oops. Pete exclaimed he was one of two males in the entire place and he was pretty sure the other guy was working. Needless to say, I owe him and thankfully he was a good sport. We taste tested just about everything - from rum cake to cheese curds and it was all out of this world.

handmade jewelry

I was thrilled to see Lily Dawson Designs was set up in a booth. If you haven't checked out her goods, do it now. Her work is filled with pieces that are unique and sure to spark conversation! I have a serious case of non-buyer's remorse when it comes to this double diamond bracelet.

the best handmade jewelry

We ventured back to Topeka on Saturday and caught up with Pete's family at their reunion and then I surprised my little brother at his hockey game. The look on his face when he saw me through the glass was so worth it. After that, I did a little coat shopping (and picked up a new winter coat) before squeezing in some snuggles with miss Makenna. The night ended at Buffalo Wild Wings (brother's choice, clearly) with a few big beers, all while reminiscing on the near driving fiascoes I experienced growing up. Apparently my youngest sister is taking after me in that department. 

As if that wasn't enough excitement for one weekend, Shanley and I met up Sunday morning on the rooftop of Three Points Lounge downtown for a sweat session with Health House KC and Live KC. The view paired with the exceptionally gorgeous October weather was more than we could have asked for. And that workout? I'm feeling it, but that doesn't mean I'm not ready for round two!

kauffman center for performing arts

We toasted to our hard work and enjoyed a mimosa on the deck before heading off to blunch. It was #DetoxRetox, after all.

mimosas on the rooftop

Westside Local never disappoints and neither do the conversations Shanley and I have. We caught up on life over the Westside Breakfast and Veggie Hash and I left feeling full in the best way possible.

blunch at westside local

You know what they say, a Sunday weekend well spent brings a week of content. I'm feeling more than refreshed on this fine Monday morning and I'm ready to cheer on the Kansas City Royals in the WORLD SERIES this week!

What were you up to this weekend?

Linking up with Life of Meg

Progress Report


fall leaves in kansas city

1. Make a shorter list I find that starting a list with something that has already been accomplished gets the momentum flowing. At least that's what I tell myself anyway.

2. Give this little blog the redesign she deserves. Did you catch the sneak peak over on Instagram?!

3. Migrate the blog to Wordpress. See #2.

4. Launch a new blog column

5. Get a few head shots taken 

6. Buy a house with my partner in crime, Pete. 

7. Learn calligraphy. Katie reminded me about Skillshare this week and I'm thinking about putting their free 7-day trial to use for this task. Have any of you used it before?

8. Build a wardrobe without breaking the piggy bank. Operation winter coat is happening this weekend.

9. Run three half marathons and PR in a 5k. I ran the Broadway Bridge Half Marathon in September. Next up, round two at Rock the Parkway with Shanley in April!

10. Take a road trip. bachelorette weekend at Table Rock Lake and a trip to Chicago. Check!

11. Purge our apartment of all the items we no longer use/need and donate the good stuff. 

12. (Continue to) read more. So far I've read #GIRLBOSS and Lean In. You can read my thoughts on #GIRLBOSS here. I'm slowly making my way through Dream Year by Ben Arment. 

13. Take a yoga class Read about my very first yoga experience.

14. Start or join a book club Our first #BookClubBlogger meet up was wildly successful and I'm really looking forward to our next discussion on Monday! Have you read Lean In? Want to join us? Learn more about how it works here.

15. Lose 5 more pounds and build some noticeable muscle mass. Bar Method has been great (and I haven't forgotten about my full post on the uber workout, don't you worry!).

16. Attend a running club

17. Venture outside of my comfort zone and start taking more risks (both big and small) 

18. Run/walk/jog/elliptical my way through 1,000 miles Miles logged: 106

19. Cook dinner at home every week night for a month 

20. Visit the Louisburg Cider Mill Read about my trip to Louisburg Cider Mill.

21. Go an entire month without pop (soda or coke for all you non-mid-westerners) I'm proud (maybe a little too proud) to say that I'm on Day 17 without pop/caffeine and it hasn't been too bad. I wish I could say the same about my sugar consumption. Maybe a more long term detox from sugar is in order, or maybe I'm just talking crazy.

22. Start an address book

23. Write a letter to myself to be opened on my 28th birthday

Whew, it's always a tad bit overwhelming going through that list, thanks for sticking with me! Before I unleash you to the glorious weekend that awaits, the ladies over at Go Blog Social featured me in their "Meet the Blogger" series this week, check it out!

Jewelry Inspired Tattoos


I can't think of a more appropriate place to rock a fake tattoo than at a bachelorette party. Dream Tats sent over a variety of their metallic jewelry inspired tattoos to help us celebrate my friend Whitney's last fling before the ring in style! To say that they were a huge hit would be a vast understatement. Everyone loved them.

metallic jewelry inspired tattoos

how to apply temporary tattoos

The great thing about these temporary tattoos is that they are just like the ones we plastered all over our bodies (usually in conspicuous places) growing up. Easily applied and just as easily removed. I rocked mine all night long and with a few wipes of rubbing alcohol the next morning, I was back to my less edgy ways.

bachelorette party ideas // temporary tattoos

metallic jewelry inspired tattoos

The best part was deciding which tattoos best fit our style. I kept it simple with a few bracelet inspired tats and a unique shape on my wrist. The rest of the party got a wee bit more creative with theirs, think an infinity sign strategically placed on the back of a teacher's neck and full arm cuffs. We're a wild group, I tell ya.
bachelorette party ideas
These metallic tattoos would also be great for birthday parties and New Years Eve! I lied when I said I couldn't think of a better place to wear them, clearly I can. I'm planning on stocking up over at Dream Tats so I'm prepared for our next festive outing!

What do you think of wearing fake tattoos as an adult?

This post was sponsored by Dream Tats, but the opinions here are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make 26 and Not Counting a happenin' place to be.

Meet my friends chloe + isabel


Happy Monday! I'm excited to introduce you to Bri and Kaytee, the the gals behind one of chloe + isabel's newest shops. If you aren't familiar with the brand, chloe + isabel is inspired by the "friendship philosophy." They are two best friends who have different personalities and styles, who are united in their passion for style and self-expression. Chloe is a fearless fashionista who is always searching for the seasons latest trend, while Isabel appreciates more classic and timeless pieces.

The same could be said about Bri and Kaytee, they both have a love for accessories, especially vintage inspired, quality pieces, but their styles are most definitely their own. Thanks to the internet, Bri stumbled upon chloe + isabel, intrigued by the opportunity to become her own boss and business owner, she and Kaytee decided to take a leap of faith and launch their own boutique (this is where I come in).

They were kind enough to let me pick out a few things to style and being fellow Topekans, I was more than happy to spread the word about their new venture! After perusing the site, it became clear that I had a tough decision on my hands. Everything is so good. I was drawn to the petite pear necklace and its asymmetry and knew it would be a great conversation piece. I also picked out a unique pair of hexagon studs, which I happily welcomed to my jewelry box.

chloe + isabel necklace

easy look for fall
Shop this look: Earrings | Necklace | Top | Jeans (on sale!) | Boots (on sale, again!) | Sunglasses
What makes their jewelry different? Each piece is hand-designed in NYC, branded with the classic c+i signature enclosures and packaged in a keepsake pouch. All of their jewelry is hypoallergenic, nickle free and lead safe, which is great for someone like me who has sensitive skin! The best part? They offer a life time replacement and for me, having that type of security is unbeatable.

chloe + isabel earrings

The girls want to offer you a chance at $25 off of a $75 purchase. Simply leave a comment below telling us what you would buy! Take a look at all of the jewels over on chloe + isabel.

You can also follow along with their chloe + isabel shop on Facebook and Instagram. Happy shopping!

If you're in the Topeka area, be sure to stop by Trails Gallery every First Friday where they will be set up with their c+i jewels!

*Note: the $25 off code is good for a purchase of $75 or more and will expire on November 6th. Comments must be posted by 11:59 PM CST Tuesday, October 15, 2014. Winner will be notified via the comment section first thing on Wednesday morning, so be sure to check back! I also want to make you aware that this is a "hostess" shop and depending on the amount of sales, I could earn a credit to the shop. If this were to happen, I will host a giveaway over on Instagram so that you can reap the benefits! And if you end up making a purchase, be sure to tell them 26 and Not Counting sent you.
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