Create Your Own Story

In the April 7th edition of TIME Magazine there was a commentary article entitled “Fast-Track Girls Finish Best” by Charlotte Alter. The article talks about two recent books Marry Smart by Susan Patton and Lean In For Graduates by Sheryl Sandberg and the advice they are both giving to young women today. Patton focuses on marriage/building a family while Sandberg zeros in on the career side of things. Although they both focus on different aspects of a young woman’s life, they are both saying the exact same thing: we don’t have any time to waste.

With all due respect, as a woman in my mid-twenties, I have to say I completely and wholeheartedly disagree.

Now, I haven’t read either of these books for myself and I also never plan to read either in the future. Here’s why.

Patton’s March Today Show interview sums up her book enough for me. Patton urges college women to primarily focus on finding a husband, further suggesting that young women should spend 75% of their time finding a spouse and 25% on professional development. She even suggests that if you need cosmetic surgery to do so before college, in order to make yourself more “socially successful” at finding a spouse. Patton has our biological ticking the moment we turn eighteen. She actually really seems to believe that we have absolutely no time to waste if marriage and children are part of our life plan, “Work will wait. Your fertility won’t.” I guess I missed the memo that said parents spend thousands and thousands of dollars to send their daughters to college for them to find a spouse and get knocked up. After all, that’s the only thing all women want anyways. Right?

Sandberg takes on the other extreme, that your career should be your prime focus. Sandberg, as the chief operating officer of Facebook, is a hugely successful woman in which many young women look up to. She has certainly climbed her way to the top in the corporate world and she deserves every bit of that success and admiration. The TIME article points out that in the introduction to Sandberg’s book she writes, “There’s no question that the world moves faster today… This means that grabbing opportunities is more important than ever.” Meaning, we need to take every opportunity we can to further our career as soon as we can. Alter describes Sandberg’s viewpoint perfectly, “The idea is to get good enough, fast enough, that your career becomes childproof.” Makes sense because all women are solely career hungry. Right?

Here’s where I have a problem with what both these women are saying. It’s not the advice itself that ticks me off (alright, maybe a little). It’s the fact that these women are sitting there telling other women where their priorities should be. Maybe I’m completely crazy, but what if we all just worried about creating our own story? I don’t see men writing countless books and articles for other men about how to live their life. It seems like most men sort of just figure their life out on their own. Why can’t we do that too? How about if women just started supporting other women’s decisions despite if we agree with them or not? How about if we all just decided which life path to take on our own based on what is personally important to us, what goals we have for ourselves, and our interests? Would the world fall apart? No degree, no life experience, no personal background qualifies one person to give another person advice about what their priorities should be. Part of life’s journey is figuring out those priorities for ourselves. The mystery of not knowing what the next step will be is half the fun. The priorities we choose create our own unique life. A life completely different from the woman sitting right next to you, living across the street from you, or living across the country.

Before my husband and I got married, we were dating for almost eight years. I was a sophomore in high school when we met and started dating. He has been a huge part of every aspect of my life since then: proms, graduations, birthdays, vacations, sporting events, successes, and failures. I chose to stay in a relationship with him because it just felt right to me, because I couldn’t imagine my life without him in it. While my friends were thinking about which boy they wanted to hook up with next I never once questioned my decision to have a serious boyfriend through most of my high school career and all throughout college. Although, he has always been and will always be one of my top priorities here’s the shocker- he wasn’t my only priority. My school work, where I wanted to go to college, and my career were all important to me too. I wanted to get good grades, go to my dream college, and have a successful career all with him right by my side. I never felt like I needed to pick one or the other. I created my own life story to fit all my own priorities. Yes, I got married less then two years out of college. But, I married my best friend, one of my biggest supporters, the person who always pushed me to be the best I could be. I also filled my time with priceless work experience, internships, and classes that would help me fulfill my other priorities. About two months out of college I was offered a job in my dream profession. Not because I was lucky, but because I worked for it. I sculpted my life to incorporate both of my priorities into it. I took part in internships, classes, and hobbies that showed I was serious about my career too. I had more than one dream, more than one priority and I created a life that would fit them both in it together. This is my story and let me be the first to tell you, it’s probably not yours too.

My decision to get married in my early twenties was one of the best I ever made, but I wouldn’t suggest or discourage another young woman from doing the same thing. I would rather ask, “Do you truly believe this is the best thing for you personally?” I couldn’t be happier to have started my dream job right out of college, but I wouldn’t suggest or discourage this either. I would rather ask, “Are you sure there’s nothing else you’d rather do?” I decided not to continue my education right after college, but I wouldn’t suggest or discourage this decision either. I would rather ask, “Do you feel completely prepared to reach your goals with the resources you currently have?” I decided that I was happy in the state I was living in, in the area I called home, so I decided to stay. I never studied abroad nor did I feel the need to travel immensely after college. I wouldn’t suggest or discourage another young woman from making that same decision. I would rather ask, “Do you feel completely fulfilled or do you feel like you are constantly chasing after something new?”

Unfortunately, my life decisions, what I have chosen for my priorities, won’t help you find yours. Patton’s and Sandberg’s won’t help you either. Follow your heart and trust your instincts. If you aren’t ready to settle down- don’t. If you aren’t ready to enter into the workplace- don’t. If you want to focus on getting married and having kids- do it. If you want to work solely on building your career- do it. If you want to make both work- trust me you can do that too. Making a quick decision is easy to regret, but no one ever regretted taking the time to truly figure out what they wanted. Despite what Patton and Sandberg suggest, you my fellow ladies have all the time in the world because as soon as you figure out your own priorities you won’t need anymore time.

From woman to woman, my advice to you is simply no advice at all.

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We Have A Right To Choose

I never really liked Hobby Lobby. Why? I’m not completely sure. It seems exactly like my kind of place- full of fun and creative things to decorate your house with, one craft project after the next. You can seriously get lost in there for hours. My friends rave about the place, but I just don’t understand it. Time after time I seem to have a bad experience there. Long and slow lines, poor customer service, long waits on the phone, or crappy store hours for us busy folks. But now, my time has come. I now have a real reason to dislike Hobby Lobby.

It’s no secret that Hobby Lobby is a religious company- founded on typical Christian beliefs. They are closed on Sundays and host a variety of religious paraphernalia throughout the store. I think this is great (except the closed on Sundays part- sorry, blame it on my generation). There aren’t many major companies out there today that abide by morals and beliefs such as these. Most companies just care about making money in any way possible, completely diminishing any personalized touch or uniqueness. Eventually every business or store gets mushed into one big smorgasbord crying for people to come and spend money there- any time, any day. So I get it, Hobby Lobby is different- they have values, that’s great. Really.

On March 25th, Hobby Lobby will present their case to the Supreme Court for a right to deny their employees with birth control coverage. As a company, they are legally responsible to provide birth control coverage under their health insurance plan but of course, this goes against their Christian beliefs…

There you go- I rest my case. I could just end this blog post here. But of course, you know I won’t.

Now, we must remember this is a company, a corporation, a business. This isn’t a church or a religious institution, “We’re not talking about religious organizations—we’re talking about corporations and commercial businesses. We’re talking about the guy who’s made a living selling needlepoint kits, glitter glue, and artificial topiaries deciding whether his employees should have access to affordable birth control,” quotes an article from The Daily Beast. I really can’t believe Hobby Lobby, along with other businesses, are seriously contemplating this. I can’t believe they are wasting our courts time with this. I thought we’ve made progress. I thought we were finally reaching a point where people were allowed to make their own decisions-  who they want to marry, when to be sexually active, or whether one wants to have a baby or not. Apparently we need a lot more progress, a lot more change, and a whole lot more communication about the reality of these issues and struggles that many people are faced with every day.

I can’t even begin to fathom a rational answer to this one. I just don’t see how the owners of any business can seriously sit around and decide for their employees whether or not they should have access to birth control because it doesn’t abide with the companies beliefs. But what about the morals and beliefs of your employees? Part of running a business is making your employees happy, treating them like human beings, making them feel like they have a say, that they are making an impact. Part of paying back your workers for their efforts is to provide benefits of interest to them. Health insurance is one of these benefits that is very important to many people, in fact many people solely depend on their job just for the insurance. Birth control is legally part of that package. If you provide the health insurance, the access to birth control needs to be there too. Your employees rightfully deserve the whole package, they work for the whole pie not just for a piece.

Just because the access to birth control is there, doesn’t mean it needs to be used. If an individual is against birth control then they won’t use that part of their plan. That doesn’t change the fact that every employee has the right to take birth control if they so choose and they certainly should not be denied that right because their employer doesn’t deem it morally right. As an employee you have a right to those health benefits, you work hard for them, and are a conscious human being capable of making your own decisions. You are the only one in control of your body- not your job, spouse, partner, religion, or government. Only you. You have the right to choose.

Taking birth control is responsible. The woman recognizes that pregnancy isn’t the right choice for them at their current position in life. They might be too young, financially unstable, not in a committed relationship (gasps!), or just not ready to devote their time to and love another human being to their fullest potential. As a woman, we have the right to choose when to procreate. We have the right to say when it’s time, if ever. We have the right to protect our best interests and the interests of our future offspring. It’s not fair to bring a child into a world that isn’t ready for them and a mother is the only person who knows when that time is right.

The scariest part of this whole debate for me is to think that there are women out there, whether they are working for these companies or not, that are okay with this restriction. It’s not about what religion you believe in, if you support birth control use or not, or what your views on abortion/procreation are. It’s about the freedom to choose. To have control over your body. To have options, tools, and the education to make the best possible choices regarding your own life. It’s about creating a life that works for you. And most importantly, it’s about keeping the public out of your personal life. We need to support each other, to fight for the type of world we want to live in and not become comfortable in the world we are living in.

The use of birth control does not determine what type of person you are. It doesn’t determine your race, religion, or sexuality. It doesn’t determine your values, beliefs, or morals. It’s a choice, it’s an advancement. It’s a token of our freedom. And it’s about time that the rest of the world starts to catch up.

Can Money Buy Happiness?

A few weeks ago I wrote about my generation of women’s sense of self-worth and “can-do” attitude but it also bought to light the reality that, even today, there is still a wage discrepancy between women and men. This morning I came across an interesting article on NPR by Lisa Chow entitled “Why Women (Like Me) Choose Lower-Paying Jobs.” This article gave me a whole different insight into the very same problem and resonated a lot with my own life. During her recent interview with an economist who studies how people’s choice of college major effects their income he revealed that, “women often make decisions that lead them to earn less than they otherwise might.” It is no secret that there are some majors/areas of study that just won’t produce the same income levels as other majors might. Most people going into these majors know this, but they chose to do it anyway. The article also had some helpful graphs with it, showing the percentage of degree holders in certain areas of study that are women. Some of the “least lucrative” major areas are Early Childhood Education in which 97% are women, Communication Disorders Sciences that tallied at 94%, Social Work which contains 88% women, and Human Services/Community Org which came in at 81%. The “most lucrative” majors shouldn’t come as a surprise- Pharmacy Sciences/Administration won with the most women degree holders at 52%, Mathematics/Computer Science came in second at 33%, Chemical Engineering was next at 28%, and Metallurgical Engineering (huh?) contains 17%. In last place, Naval Architecture/Marine Engineering degree holders are only 3% female.

The economist from Georgetown University also pointed out that women’s choice of major isn’t the only problem, the jobs they chose once they graduate is another major factor in their income. He gives the example that most women who major in Math end up in professions such as teaching. Lisa, the author of this article, admits that she is one of these women. She majored in Applied Math, got her MBA, and is now a reporter for NPR. Awesome, right? But can she be making a lot more money? Certainly. As much $3-4 MILLION more! Lisa also tells the story of Rhea, a college career counselor. Rhea holds a degree in accounting and started her career in the corporate sector. Her boss offered her the opportunity to become a director but she turned it down. She was 5 months pregnant and there were more important things going on in her life at that moment. Eventually, she left the business world and ended up in the career path she is today.

This definitely raised a lot  of questions in my mind. What’s more important- money or happiness? Family or work? Of course, the answer is different for everyone. You may be a woman who loves engineering and who may or may not want children, so a job in your chosen field will give you both money and happiness. But, that isn’t me. I went to a top-ranked women’s liberal art college, I could have easily chosen a science major or a pre-med program. My school is known for their awesome science department- it’s prestige and intensity. Instead, I chose to double major in English and History. Why you may ask? The one science class I took in college (Astronomy) I absolutely dreaded. Every few minutes I found myself glancing at the clock and every time Wednesday night rolled around (lab day) I let out a long sigh. I couldn’t imagine spending any more time in a science/math related class than I had to in order to graduate. I wasn’t intellectually stimulated and I just wasn’t happy. To me, happiness is the most important thing in life. You only have one life to live- so why not be happy? Reading makes me happy. Learning about new literary geniuses and exploring new genres intrigues me. American history calls out to me and begs for me to learn more about it. This is where I am happy and this is where I feel most like myself.

What’s the income pay-off for my four years of a priceless education? Not very much (at least not yet). But, everyday I go to work happy. I enjoy what I do, I have a source of income, and I am constantly learning new things and growing in ways I didn’t even know I needed. My chosen career path is somewhat flexible and family-friendly. I have so many options to chose from when I decide to have kids including staying home, or even possibly working from home. I’m not sure that this is even what I want, I’m not sure what I want yet but I’m glad to know that flexibility is there. My happiness and my future family is what is important to me and that’s why I am where I am today. Yes, women in higher-paying fields have families too but those subject areas don’t make me happy. Yes, women who work a lot with very little flexibility have great families too, but that’s not what I want. I’m doing what’s right for me and I shouldn’t worry about being another statistic. I am a more confident woman because of the choices I made. I am more confident in my skill set required for my job and my ability to make an impact in my field. I feel like I belong here and the number on my pay check can’t tell me differently (…but maybe my bills can).

I’m not trying to say that gender wage inequality within job fields themselves doesn’t exist or isn’t important. What I am suggesting is that you should determine what you want from your life, what interests you, what makes you happy before you point any fingers at anyone else. Despite all the challenges that still face women- I am happy where I am and let me tell you, it feels really good.

Follow me on Twitter (@LConfidence) and Facebook.

#GenYproblems

Searching for some inspiration right before the weekend, I came across some great articles about my generation of women. It completely validated why I write this blog and put me in a really good mood (well, mostly). So naturally- I had to write about it.

It’s no secret that women haven’t always had the equalities, sense of worth, or opportunities we have now. Some women never dreamed of holding a man’s job because it just wasn’t possible. Being twenty-three years old and coming from an all-women’s college I rarely ever think about this. I have never said I couldn’t do something, didn’t deserve something, or wasn’t capable of doing something because of my gender. I always assumed and hoped that other women (of all ages) felt the same way. In reality, it’s really only my generation that has this mindset and as happy as that makes me it also makes me kind of sad at the same time.

In a recent study by FleishmanHillard, Heart Magazines, and Ipsos MediaCT they found that Gen Y women (born between the early 1980’s and  early 2000’s) see themselves as equal to their male counterparts/co-workers in the work place. The best part? This isn’t just in the United States. Women all over the world are perceiving themselves this way. The study was conducted with 1,000 women and 500 men in the U.S. along with 3,000 women from UK, France, Germany, and China. When participants were asked if they would describe themselves as smart, 70% of women said they would while only 54% of the men from Gen Y said yes. We certainly need to take a moment and celebrate how far we have come. The values and mind-set in which Gen Y women have been raised are clearly working. Growing up, we were never denied anything. We were always told we can be whatever we want to be. I honestly don’t think I ever heard the words, “No, you can’t do that. You’re a woman,” growing up or even today. This proves that women were never less capable than men. We have just been forced to believe we were. It was engrained into our brains to the point where we actually just started to believe it. Men had their role, women had their role and that was the end of it. If you were a women you took care of the house, raised the children, and maybe picked up a secretary, nursing, or teaching job. It was normal, natural- nothing wrong with it. Now, young women are going way beyond any such standard. And the fact that they actually feel and truly believe they can do so and deserve it at the same time is the best part. What’s the difference between Gen Y women, Gen X women, and baby-boomer women? Absolutely nothing. Except what we were taught.

Yes, this is all good news but we aren’t completely done here. These same women also admitted that there are still wage inequalities. More then 80% of the women involved in this study said that men are still paid more, often for the same exact job. The women did attribute part of this to the fact that men are better at negotiating and asking for salary increases but in my opinion- we shouldn’t have to. Why is there this inequality in the first place? Why does having female anatomy parts automatically make you less qualified, leading to a smaller salary? Because we won’t fight? Because we are too passive? I don’t totally buy it. Every person doing the same job should be paid the same salary. End of story. Yes, I understand there are different education levels, people have been in positions and with companies for different amounts of the time but the base salary should all be the same. We shouldn’t have to beg or ask for equal treatment. If we are qualified enough to be hired, we should be qualified enough to get a fair salary.

Another disturbing result in this survey was that 50% of the women that participated said that men resent the advances that women have made in the recent years. We may see ourselves as equal- but do men? In my experiences I have certainly thought so. I guess I am extremely lucky, I have never been made to feel inferior by a man because of my gender. But, if 50% of these women have had this experience then I can’t deny it- it’s still very much a real thing. The women that came before us had to deal with the same prejudices. This is nothing new and unfortunately I don’t think it’s going to go away anytime soon if this many women are still struggling with this discrimination.

This brings me to the question- what has really changed? There is one thing that is different this time around. Our attitudes. Women are no longer accepting this mindset. My generation is breaking down this barrier by believing in themselves. We now know we are worthy and know we can do anything we set our minds too. We can do anything anyone else can do and we won’t except “no” as an answer. But, this is only the first step. Should we consider the fact that women are finally thinking of themselves as equal to or dominant to men a success? Yes, I think so- but how far is that going to get us? The world needs to see women in the same light as we see ourselves before anything can really change. Pay inequality or resentment because of your accomplishments is not conducive to reaching true gender equality. There needs to be a huge social/cultural change before we can see true equality, especially in the work place where males and females work closely together, competing for the same jobs. We believe in ourselves- now can the rest of the world?

It makes me extremely happy to be part of Gen Y and know that my other fellow female peers feel the same way I do. We are so close- we need to keep empowering each other, supporting each other, and reaching out to those who need a little more help to get to where we are. I am proud of where we are today and I can’t wait too see where we go in the next 20, 50, 70 years.

That’s my weekend wisdom for you- enjoy! My intellectual side needs a nap, or perhaps a glass of wine…

Living Life, and Loving It

Hi readers! I’M BACK! After over a year of being MIA and getting my life together I realized I missed this. I have lost track of my goals and what I’m passionate about, but none of that matters anymore. All that matters is that I’m here- right now.

Quick update since so much has changed since I last wrote. I do think it is important for readers to know something about the person behind the words.

I was lucky enough to land a job in the publishing industry last July, only 2 short months after graduating college, and I have been loving every second of it. I have learned so much and it makes me feel really great to do something I love everyday. My fiance and I bought a house together in November which has been quite the experience so far. Who knew being a homeowner was so much work? 😉 There’s bills to pay, dishes to clean, floors to sweep, and endless laundry. Not to mention the weekly lawn chores to be done such as raking, shoveling, and weeding. All that aside- I love my new house. It’s absolutely perfect for where we are in our lives right now- great location, great size, and just about any amenity we need. Lastly, our wedding date is quickly approaching- October here we come! There are a ton of details to tie together that are making everything become a reality. As excited as I am about my wedding day (who doesn’t like a day completely centered around them?), I can’t wait for life after the wedding. I am so excited to just live life, focus on ourselves, our house, and our careers while not having to plan the biggest event of our lives. That’s all for now, folks!

My “welcome back” post will be up sometime next week- off to a wedding this weekend.

I also started another blog- a book review blog. Please check it out- Lipstick Lit. I feel completely revived!!

Miss Smarty Pants

While browsing the internet on a desperate search for inspiration for this week’s post I came across this article from California Watch. In short, it talks about how women in male dominated majors in college (specifically engineering) struggle with constant confidence issues- many of which end up dropping the major because they feel like they aren’t smart enough or feel like an outcast. One mechanical engineering and material sciences major at UC Berkeley reported that her male classmates didn’t take her seriously and often made comments about her blonde hair. She also always felt extra pressure not a make a mistake because when she did it was often attributed to her gender.

As awful and unfair as this is, it’s a reality that women in college and the workplace are going to have to deal with at some point in their lives. Society is continually making small steps forward, but we aren’t going to see a massive change in gender equality overnight. Therefore, we, as female students and professionals, need to know how to handle ourselves appropriately and with confidence so our male counterparts don’t have anything to complain about.

Success and confidence building all starts in the classroom. Your college or university is a safe place to practice the skills in which you will need once you enter into the workplace. In college, you have a massive support system around you that wants you to succeed. Nevertheless, as demonstrated above, the classroom is also an easy and common setting for sexism.

With August quickly approaching (yikes!) and fall following closely behind, I have outlined some basic classroom etiquette guidelines below. Hopefully, this will help ease some nerves, build a little extra confidence, and make all you smart women out there be taken a little more seriously.

*Just like everything else- be on time. If you are constantly arriving late it gives us the impression that you don’t care about the class or your success. If you happen to be late, take the closest seat to the door that you can find and don’t walk across the front of the classroom.

*Dress comfortably and appropriately- especially for women. You want to be taken seriously so dress to impress. No man (or professor) is going to take you seriously if you show up to class in high heels, a mini-skirt, and tight tube top. All you are asking for is inappropriate attention- save that outfit for the weekends.

*Try to use the restroom before class. Getting up in the middle of a lecture is disturbing to both the professor and other students in the class.

*Once the professor summons the class to begin, cease all conversations. You probably don’t like it when you see other people talking while you are so don’t do it to someone else.

*Turn off your cell phone so you aren’t tempted to constantly look at it or so that phone call from mom doesn’t accidently disturb the whole class- embarrassing.

*Try to take your notes the old-fashioned way- with a pen and paper. Laptops are great but they are also a distraction. If you absolutely need to use your laptop because you are a slow writer or your professor talks really fast it might be a good idea to block your access to the internet and other games you may have on your computer so you aren’t tempted.

*Don’t whip out a book, magazine, or newspaper during class and start reading. It’s just rude. Despite how good you are at hiding it, your professor can easily tell when someone’s eyes aren’t looking at him/her. Also, don’t constantly turn your head to glance at the clock. Unfortunately, the end of class isn’t going to arrive any faster.

*If you are chewing gum, do so softly. Don’t blow or pop bubbles. It’s probably best to just save the gum chewing until after class.

*If you are so tired to the point that you are going to fall asleep in class you probably just shouldn’t go. There is no point in being there if you are just going to sleep through the whole thing.

*Hand everything in when you are supposed to. If your professor usually collects papers at the beginning of class don’t arrive twenty minutes late. Show that you care about your work.

*If you need to leave a class early let the professor know either before the class starts or a few days before. Also, try to get a seat right next to the door so you don’t have to walk across the whole classroom.

*Don’t hurry the end of class by packing up your books and zipping your backpack up a few minutes before class is over. Again, it’s rude and distracting. Plus, you may miss the opportunity to write down some essential information about next class, the homework, or an upcoming exam. Class isn’t over until it’s over.

If you handle yourself with confidence, show that you care, and have a genuine interest in learning and furthering your education you will be taken seriously. Showing your weaknesses gives people an opportunity to beat you down. Do what you love and don’t let anyone (man or woman) scare you away from it.

Now, go practice your ‘lipstick confidence’!

The Nightmare before the Vacation

Hello from Sunny Florida! Yes, I am in Florida this week with friends celebrating the fact that we have survived four years of college (I can’t believe it’s really over). But before we reached our final destination we had to face the ultimate nightmare: the airport. There is so much that can go wrong at the airport. They are usually overcrowded and people are just plain mean. Everyone hates the airport, so why don’t we try to make it a little easier for us all? Here are a few quick fixes that travelers could easily do to make everyone’s airport experience a hell of a lot better (not speaking from experience or anything – wink, wink):

*Before you even get to the airport, in fact before you even start packing, look up airport guidelines for carry-on luggage (i.e. what you can/cannot bring). Security is the worse part of air travel so anything you can do to expedite the process would be appreciated by everyone (and even the grouchy security personnel- just remember, they are only grouchy because they deal with so many people who don’t follow the rules).

*Before you leave your house to go to the airport- shower. It’s really that simple. You are going to be in a small space with a lot of people for a long time and you might not even notice it yourself but the tiniest of odors is much more noticeable in a crammed airplane.

*If you opt to use a moving walkway (and they are pretty awesome) and you want to stand rather than walk, simply stand to the right. Most people use the moving walkway because they are in a rush or need to be somewhere soon so make sure to leave room for these people to walk (or run) past you.

*In the terminal, don’t hog space in the seats in the waiting area around you. Despite what you may believe, your laptop bag does NOT need a seat of its own.

*Make sure to board with your assigned zone. It really just makes the boarding process go by so much faster and the people who are boarding first are doing so for a reason. Plus, who really wants to get on that airplane before they have to?

*Put small stuff, like purses and small bags, under the seat in front of you rather than in the overhead bins. Other people need as much space as possible to put luggage that actually won’t fit under the seats in those bins.

*Get everything that you need from the luggage you are storing in the overhead bin before the flight takes off. It’s really annoying to watch/maneuver around someone rummaging through the overhead bin during the flight.

*Let’s face it- the middle seat sucks so let that unlucky traveler get the arm rests. It’s only fair.

*If you want to recline your chair (and you do have the right to do so) it’s polite to look behind you first. Make sure the person behind you knows that you are going to recline so they can brace whatever is on their tray table or move their legs so they don’t get jammed.

*Try to be polite and friendly to the airplane staff. They have to deal with so many complaints and nasty people every day that I don’t blame them for being a little feisty at times (so don’t take it personally).

*Let the people in front of you off the plane first. If people from the back of the plane start jamming up the aisle rushing to the front of the plane, the exiting process will just take longer for everyone.

*Last stop: the luggage carousel. Try to find the least crowded spot to wait for your luggage and stand back from the carousel a little. There is no reason to stand right up next to it until you see your luggage coming. If you have my luck your luggage will probably be the last one anyways.

Going on vacation is great- once you get there. The airport can be a complete disaster and a bad experience can really ruin your entire day. Let’s try to make everyone’s day a little happier one vacation at a time.

Go practice your ‘lipstick confidence’! Now, I’m off to the beach!