Goal Setting…Like You Mean It

I know what you’re thinking… “Of course I know how to set and hit goals.  I’ve been doing it my whole life!”

Yeah…that’s what I thought too.

Everyone has goals (at least I hope so), but very few of us set meaningful, specific goals that keep us motivated on a daily basis.

Think about it.

When was the last time you set a workout goal that lasted for a couple months or maybe even only a week?  Been there, done that.

Or, when was the last time you let yourself off the hook when it came to when you wanted to achieve a goal?

Let’s be honest.

Very few of us have mastered goal-setting and the art of making and keeping promises to ourselves.

This past month has been especially trying for me when it comes to hitting major goals…but it’s also been extremely rewarding.

March was the first month that I actually believed I could almost double my monthly sales to hit the magic number of 100 units.

Long story short, it’s not common for a rookie to be a 100 unit producer, and selling at that level is respectable for sales professionals at any tenure.

I lived and breathed 100 units.  I dreamed about it.  I goal-set for it.  I had meltdowns over it.  But I constantly had my eye on the prize.

I hit it…by the end of week 3.

Suddenly, I realized I had the opportunity to shift my goal to 142 units so that I could hit an incentive to take my sister to my company’s national sales meeting in Boca Raton, Florida.  How cool would that be?

Boom. Done.  That was it.  I was going to do it.

Now, I was living and breathing Boca.  It wasn’t going to be easy, but it was within reach.  I did everything in my power to make it happen, and it did!

I am not going to say that I can produce whatever I wish at any given time, but my advancements in goal-setting most definitely led me to more than double my best month yet in sales.

Disclaimer: I do not, by any means, think I’m a goal-setting guru, but I’ve gotten much better at setting and hitting goals since I started following these golden rules of goal-setting…

Set goals that stretch you but don’t paralyze you.

The best thing to do when setting goals is eliminate the term, “realistic.”

I’ll admit, this is one of the most difficult things for me, personally.  However, as a former student-athlete, I often think of Roger Bannister when I feel locked in to my own perception of reality.

It wasn’t realistic for Roger Bannister to run the world’s first sub-four minute mile.  However, it has now become the standard for professional runners worldwide.  How crazy is that?

He believed he could do it…that was the difference.

So when it comes to setting your own personal goals, it doesn’t matter what the norm is.  You just have to believe, deep down, that you can achieve them.

Visualize it!

Think of what your life will be like after you’ve hit your goal.

If you need to make a vision board, do it! Add photos that symbolize your goals and remind you of what you’re working for on a daily basis.

For example, when I was goal setting to take my sister to Florida, one of my best tools to push myself was thinking of how I would feel when I told her, how excited she’d be, and I also had a picture in my mind of the two of us laying out by the pool relaxing with my coworkers, who, coincidentally, are some of my closest friends.

Powerful stuff.

Eliminate your fear of failure.

Okay, so this seems super counter-intuitive.

How in the world are you supposed to set high goals and then not be afraid of failing?

This is one of the most common reasons that people don’t set good, specific goals for themselves.  We live in a world where people are constantly judged, which leads to massive fear-of-failure.

Trust me…this is one of my greatest weaknesses.

It always makes me want to vomit when I have to tell my coworkers or clients about my big goals because I know that they’ll know if I fail, which makes me way more accountable.

You just have to swallow your pride and let go of the “what ifs”.

In the words of the great Bambino, “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.”

Yep, couldn’t have said it better myself.

Get serious about your time frame.

A goal is not a goal without clarity.  There is way more room to let yourself off the hook if you don’t set a definite time frame.

Think it through…

If you’ve set a goal to buy a brand new BMW X5 without deciding when you’d have it, it could be this year, in 5 years, or when you retire…who knows?

Leaving out a time frame is another way to avoid accountability and fear-of-failure…

Don’t be that person!

Set a distinct date of when you will accomplish your goal.

This always makes me get creative in my last-ditch efforts to get it done.  That way, even if I fail, I’m failing forward.

Connect your goals to your larger vision of yourself.

This is the way to make your goals strong and meaningful.

You must first decide who you are and who you want to become.

For example, I see myself as a high-achiever who is above average.  I want to be someone who inspires others to think big and persevere.

Therefore, my goals are above average, and when I want to give up, I am able to remind myself of who I am and who I’d like to become.

You have to be able to think about the image you’re projecting and figure out if it aligns with your vision for yourself.  This will help you set goals and keep them in the forefront of your mind.

Break your larger goals down into smaller chunks.

It’s exhausting and frustrating to think about your larger, longer-term goals and stay connected to them daily without breaking them down into smaller wins.

Within your goals, you should have mini checkpoints along the way that you can celebrate.

You’re biggest goal isn’t the only one worth celebrating.  When you hit a short-term checkpoint, get pumped!

Go get drinks with friends, get a massage, splurge on a fancy meal…do something that brings you joy!

These smaller goals also keep you on track and excited about your larger goal.

Write them down…every single day.

I know, it sounds super cheesy.

At least I thought so…until I actually tried it.

I was at a company-wide meeting, asking a fellow sales professional (who has achieved a major goal I want to achieve) what it was that changed her business.

When she told me the difference was in writing down her goals every morning, I thought “REALLY? You’ve gotta be kidding me!” while inwardly rolling my eyes.

But, hey, what did I have to lose?

I tried it and have been writing down my goals every single morning for about 4 months now, and it has changed my life.

Yep, its magic.

Not really, but keeping your goals at the forefront of your mind and reminding yourself of them daily really impacts your smaller actions.

It impacts how you react to situations, how you carry yourself, what you think of when you want to head to Happy Hour with your friends and leave work early.

For me, writing down my goals has led to consistency in sales and also in my attitude.

It’s a constant reminder of why you’re doing what you’re doing.

Go get ’em!

Seriously, I know it seems like unicorns and rainbows.

But I urge you to try all of these strategies out for just a month and let me know if anything changes for you.

My guess is you’ll feel better about yourself and be hitting goals left and right.

Happy goal-hunting, friends!


Ayubowan From Sri Lanka

When the wave of dense heat hits you and that first bead of sweat forms on your forehead. When you get the first whiff of ripe papaya mixed with a faint rubbery scent. When your ears pick up the sound of short, passive car horn honks.

That’s when you know you’ve finally arrived in Sri Lanka.

I know, for me, all of those senses are mixed with an overwhelming feeling of happiness and excitement.

My dad and I recently got back from an amazing two-week visit in Sri Lanka. We had a blast visiting with family (especially my super hip grandma), exploring, relaxing, and eating. Yes, I said eating…I’m not even going to pretend that I stuck to a strict, carb-free diet.


I love Sri Lanka for so many different reasons, from the wildlife to the lifestyle, and everything in between. I’ve been visiting since I was an infant because my dad’s parents have lived there my whole life. I know…I am super lucky:)

This time, I really wanted to share little snippets of life in Sri Lanka with everyone, so I took regular, short (less than 2 minute) videos for you! Of course, they don’t capture all of the awesomeness of this beautiful country, but they will give you a little glimpse.


Feel free to comment about the last awesome trip you took!

Top 5 Drugstore Mascaras (with photos)

You may be wondering what qualifies me as the mascara expert

Well, ever since my mom bought me my first tube of Maybelline Great Lash as a freshman in high school, I’ve been on a quest for the most lash maximizing, eye popping mascara out there.  I’m telling you, I have tried it ALL (in washable and waterproof).  I’ve found that drugstore mascaras are just as good, if not better than the fancier mascaras that you can only find in department stores, Sephoras, or Ultas.

As you can probably guess, I have a wide collection of mascaras in my makeup drawer, so I decided to choose my five favorites, wear them on consecutive days, and take a photo each day so that I could rank them (and share with you).

I’ve always been the girl to Google “best mascaras”, and it’s hard to trust random articles without photographed proof!  But don’t worry, girls…I’ve got you covered:)

So here they are (duh, duh, duhhhh!)…my top 5 favorite drugstore mascaras:

5) CoverGirl The Super Sizer Washable Mascara

Covergirl Super Sizer

Pros: This mascara is easy to apply, and looks great for everyday wear! It adds volume to lashes without making them look “overdone” (if you think there’s such a thing). It also comes off when wash your face at the end of the day but doesn’t smudge throughout the day (that’s always THE WORST).

Cons: Lashes lack length (in comparison to some other mascaras in this review). The formula is a little dry and sometimes becomes flakey. The brush is thin and can be difficult to use on lower lashes.

Bottom line: This mascara is a good “everyday” mascara that’s more natural and easy to remove when you’re ready.

4) Maybelline Lash Sensational Luscious Washable Mascara

Maybelline Lash Sensational

Pros: This mascara fans out lashes. It adds a little more length with about the same amount of volume as Covergirl’s The Super Sizer mascara. It’s quick to apply and to remove.

Cons: The brush in Lash Sensational tends to clump lashes together, and the formula is a bit more “wet” than other Maybelline mascaras, in my opinion, which makes it messier.

Bottom line: Lash Sensational is a great mascara to maximize lashes for everyday wear.

3) L’Oreal Telescopic Washable Mascara

L'Oreal Telescopic

Pros: This mascara brings out the natural beauty of your lashes. If you are the kind of girl who goes for the “no makeup-makeup” look, this is the mascara for you! Telescopic lengthens and defines lashes beautifully.

Cons: I’m not a fan of this brush. The bristles are small and plastic, and the formula is a little on the “wet” side, which makes application a bit challenging and messy.

Bottom line: This mascara is great for a lengthening natural look (and it’s also my mom’s favorite:)).

2) Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express Waterproof Mascara

Maybelline Colossal Volume

Pros: This mascara has been one of my favorites since high school. It’s a trusty summer go-to for me. Colossal Volum’ Express is invincible! I wear it in the pool, to the gym, hiking, golfing…pretty much everywhere that warrants mascara smears, and guess what? It never smears and adds tons of length AND volume.

Cons: This mascara is industrial strength, and it’s very difficult to remove, even with eye makeup remover for waterproof mascara. Sometimes it feels like I’m ripping my eyelashes out when I scrub it off.

Bottom line: Colossal Volum’ Express is great for all-day wear, especially during active days, but it can be a pain (literally and figuratively) to take off.

1) Maybelline Pumped Up! Colossal Volum’ Express Waterproof Mascara

Maybelline Pumped Up

Pros: This mascara is my personal favorite! It makes anyone’s lashes pop with volume and length. The brush is perfect for easy application. Pumped Up! stays on and doesn’t smudge during everyday wear, but it (mostly) comes off with hot water or in a steamy shower.

Cons: It can make lashes a little too clumpy for some people (but I obviously don’t mind that part)…the more dramatic the lash, the better, in my opinion!

Bottom line: Pumped Up! is a great mascara to unleash your diva for a full, fanned out lash look.

So what’s in my bag, you ask?

I ALWAYS have three active mascaras (yep, I’m that girl).  I keep a washable mascara at all times, and after doing this experiment, I’ve decided that L’Oreal Telescopic is my favorite of my washables.  I also always keep Maybelline Colossal Volum’ Express waterproof mascara for super active days and beach days.  Of course, you can guess that I keep Pumped Up! Colossal Volum’ Express waterproof mascara on hand at all times too.  It’s kind of an “in between” mascara, and it’s the one I always run out of first.

Now that you’re inspired, hop your little (educated) booty off the sofa and out to the drugstore to pick up your new fave mascara;)

6 Steps to Landing Your Dream Job Right Out of College


Okay, so it sounds next to impossible to actually land your dream job fresh out of college, right?

I always loved how, as I was searching for jobs, I would find “entry-level positions” that required five years of experience.


How does that even make sense? Can someone please look up the definition of “entry-level”?

Everyone always says, “Just take what you can get, and don’t expect your dream job right out of school.” Now, this is somewhat true if you want to be the CEO of a multibillion dollar company, but it is totally possible to find a job that you love and that is related to your major and interests.

I am a graduate of Appalachian State University with a major in Business Management (concentration in Entrepreneurship) and a minor in Apparel Design and Merchandising.

I found the perfect combo of my interests in a job as a custom clothing salesperson (aka haberdasher) for Tom James Company, the largest custom clothing retailer in the world.

When I landed my dream job before graduation, I thought, “Man! I sure am lucky,” but when I really think back on it, there were a series of small but critical steps I took in order to get that job.

Warning: This post is somewhat lengthy, but I really thought it was important to put all of this information in one place. So, hang in there with me and learn how you can master your skills to land your dream job right out of college!

1.  Resume

You have butterflies in your stomach as you approach your potential future employer. The only sound you can really hear is the thump of your heart and the clack of your brand new black pumps on the tile floor.

However, you know your resume is perfection!

You shake your potential employer’s hand with confidence and hand over your resume, printed on nice cotton bond paper. You’re beaming on the inside because you know that your resume will knock their socks off!

Your resume is the first impression that you make on your potential employer, so it’s extremely important to have a clean, professional resume, no matter how little work experience you have.

Employers won’t read it word-for-word, so making sure it is organized and easy to read with plenty of white space is essential!

A resume should never be more than one page long, even if you have to use small font and half-inch margins. However, your font shouldn’t be smaller than 10-point Times New Roman.

You should be sure to include information about your education, work experience, internships, extracurricular activities, awards and achievements, and leadership experience.

To make sure your resume looks polished, right align dates beside each achievement.

So, now you may be wondering what to add in if you don’t have much work experience. Do you add in extra accomplishments from high school?


You know those guys who still live in their high school glory days? Don’t be those guys.

Never include any high school accomplishments, even if you were a rock star.

I speak from experience…no one cares.

I know it sounds harsh, but as a competitive athlete, I practiced golf throughout high school and college as if it were my job. It did earn me a college scholarship, but it made my resume look weaker than some of my friends who’d had an internship every summer and worked during school too.

Instead of adding in high school accomplishments, make your resume more impressive by describing some of the important activities you participated in and your critical roles in those activities or what you learned from your experiences.

This way, you can capitalize on the awesome stuff you’ve done that will be valuable to your employer.

If you’re interested (or you think it might help), I’d be happy to send you a copy of my resume for reference.  Feel free to comment below!

2. Interview Skills

So now you got a call from your potential employer about an interview.


You feel a wave of overwhelming excitement and accomplishment…but that feeling is soon overcome by nerves and a twinge of self-doubt about your ability to close the deal during the interview process.

I was the exact same way…the thought of an interview for a job I really wanted was terrifying.

I’m going to let you in on a secret: you don’t have to be an extreme extrovert or an articulate walking dictionary to be great in an interview.


Now picture this…

You are seated in an office chair across the desk from your potential employer. You are definitely nervous for your interview, but you know that you are prepared and ready to answer whatever question your interviewer may come up with.

She asks you some basic questions and then hits you with, “Tell me about a time that you faced adversity in a leadership situation, and what did you do about it?”


You have this one in the bag! You’ve already thought about a million different scenarios and experiences that showcase your drive and skills. As she finishes up the question, your well-thought-out answer just rolls off your tongue, and you’re overcome by a feeling of satisfaction.

With some practice and preparation, anyone (even YOU, my friend) can amp up their interview skills and feel confident walking into their first interview for the job of their dreams.   

I, personally, struggled with answering interview questions under pressure. I couldn’t come up with my greatest strengths and weaknesses, a time that I had been an exceptional leader, or a time I overcame adversity on the spot.

That’s HARD!

I knew that my university’s college of business offered one-on-one interview preparation with an advisor, and I desperately needed the help! So, I signed up and went for counseling and a mock interview.

It was super helpful for me to practice interview questions.

In addition, my advisor also offered me a list of the 50 most common questions asked during interviews.

Before my interview, I thought about, wrote out and reviewed those 50 questions, and guess what? I’d written out and studied almost every single question I was asked during my grueling 6 hour interview process in some way, shape, or form.

That extra preparation totally paid off and made me feel so much more confident during my interview! Speaking of preparation…

3.  Preparation


During your interview, you’ve impressed your potential employer with some great examples of why you’re the perfect fit for their company!

Then she asks you if you have any questions (and we all know, you never say “no” to that).

Yes! Yes, actually, you do have a question!

She urges you to go on, and you ask about a new initiative that the company is taking. You read about it in a news article, and you were intrigued by it.

Her face lights up at the inquiry. You know, at that moment, that you NAILED IT!

This may sound completely ridiculous and overly ambitions, but you should spend at least 5 hours doing research about the company you will be interviewing with.

Trust me, its necessary and SO worth-it.

Typically a company will send you a little bit of information about the position, company, and your interviewer.

That seems like enough information. You know what you’re doing, right?

I hate to break it to you, but there is much more work necessary in order to prepare and absolutely blow your interview out of the water in a seemingly effortless manner.

Begin by knowing exactly what the company does.

This way, if you are asked “So what do you know about our company?” you aren’t completely blindsided by what should be the easiest question ever. If you fail to answer that one knowledgeably, you’ve set yourself up for failure from the beginning.

You should also be sure to know who the current CEO is and have a little bit of extra background information on that person too.

In addition, look up some current news stories about the company and know what the company is presently focused on. It always impresses interviewers when you bring up a less-known fact or know more than the average citizen about the company’s current state.

Also, you should know what position you applied for, what that position entails, and the relevant skills you have that make you a perfect candidate!

This will not only show interest but also help you decide on what strengths you should focus on when preparing for your interview questions.

You are an impressive and skillful candidate, so make sure your employer knows that too!

Okay, so don’t call me a suck-up after I share this nugget of information, but…

You should definitely do some research on your interviewer.

If they’ve done something notable or are a bigwig in the company, you should let them know that you’ve done your research and know how important they are!

Trust me, interviewers appreciate it when you’ve very obviously studied up.

Of course, you don’t need to go to their personal Facebook page and learn about their family and their dog, Scout.

If you do that, probably don’t bring it up at your interview…that could be construed as creepy.

Just check out the company website and the wide array of news articles, and you should be good to go!

4. Appearance

Remember when your mom told you it’s what’s on the inside that counts? And never judge a book by its cover? Don’t take that approach when it comes to an interview.

First impressions are everything!

You walk into an interview standing tall and dressed to the nines. You see your potential employer raise their eyebrows for a millisecond, and you know that you look sleek, confident, and ready to take on the world like the gladiator you know you are.

For my ladies out there, a skirt suit is ALWAYS the way to go on when it comes to any interview.


Really, I mean any and every interview throughout your whole life.

One of my apparel design professors in college told our class that a woman should wear a skirt suit to every interview, even when interviewing for a job in fashion.

Can you believe that?

I always thought that one day I would land an interview with a major fashion retailer, dressed like Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada, all dazzling and svelte, after her amazing transformation.

Unfortunately real life isn’t as glamorous as Hollywood portrayals…*sigh*.

But that is why I’m here to help you!

The best outfit is a navy or charcoal colored skirt suit, white collared shirt, nude tights, matching pumps, and conservative jewelry (like pearls).

I know, what you’re thinking…ewwww. But just hear me out.

I remember getting ready for my first interview and walking downstairs in that exact outfit with my unruly, wavy hair pulled back into a neat bun so stiff with hairspray that even a 60 mph gust of wind wouldn’t even tousle it.

My mom was smiling as I walked in the room, and I said, “Mom, I look like a grandma…” She said, “No, Lily, you look cute!”

At that point my sister and I burst into laughter. I felt so hideous.

However, I realized how important my clothing choice was when, during my interview at Tom James Company, one of my interviewers told me he was able to tell I was serious about the job by how I was dressed.

He then went on to tell me about a guy who had interviewed for that job a week earlier and wore a red button-down (with an open collar and no tie), slacks, loafers, and sunglasses on his head the whole day. This kid really thought he looked cool.

But my interviewer wasn’t amused.

He said that he almost just told him to go home within the first hour because he knew that he didn’t want to hire the guy who showed up to his interview dressed like he “didn’t care.”

At that moment, I was so very thankful I looked like a grandma!

5.  Network Building

It’s all about who you know.

This statement carries a lot of truth when it comes to landing your first job.

You walk into a career fair hosted by your university each year. You’re prepared because you already looked at the list of employers and know where they’ll be set up.

You’re prepared with a padfolio in hand and 30 copies of your resume tucked away inside.

You’re poised with a smile on your face because you’ve done this (what feels like) a million times before.


In college, I took advantage of almost every networking event that the college of business offered. As nervous as I was to talk to strangers at job fairs and seminars, these encounters were instrumental in leading to interview opportunities.

In fact, I got most of my interviews through talking to recruiters at job fairs and handing them my resume.

One helpful tip for making sure that a recruiter remembers you (because they meet a million other hopeful college kids at a job fairs) is to be sure to collect the recruiters’ cards and email them after the job fair thanking them for talking to you and expressing your sincere interest in the opportunity.

This has gone a long way for me!

LinkedIn is also a great tool for networking.

It’s very easy to create one, and if you take the time to make it look appealing with a nice, professional headshot as your profile picture, you can utilize this platform to its full potential.

When I got lazy about applying for jobs, I’d go on LinkedIn, look at the jobs that the site suggested for me, and use their quick “apply” button. This literally takes five minutes.

I am not saying it is the most effective, but I’ve been called for interviews after just applying the quick way on LinkedIn.

Don’t underestimate the power of a LinkedIn profile!

6. Internship, internship, internship!

You got an internship this summer, and you’ve actually loved it! It was everything you’d hoped for.

You worked so hard all summer at your internship, and people are noticing.

As the summer is winding down and your internship is coming to an end, you are called into your manager’s office. YIKES! Did you do something wrong?

As you walk in, the excitement in your manager’s eyes lets you know you aren’t in trouble. Instead you are offered a job before you even begin your final year of college!

*proceed to internal happy dance*

Full disclosure: most of these steps, like practicing interview skills, beefing up my resume, and buying my first skirt suit, were taken before I interviewed for my first internship. I was so enthusiastic about landing this internship, and I truly wanted it to lead to a job. Fortunately for me, it did!

Even if you’ve participated and even been a leader in a lot of extracurricular activities throughout college and had a great GPA, employers love to see internship experience because it’s the closest thing to real-world work experience.

SO many of my friends in college have had internships that have led to jobs, and the overachievers have done multiple internships over multiple summers to see what they liked.

Internships are becoming increasingly important for college kids because more people are realizing their importance, and more companies are weeding out candidates without internship experience.

In conclusion…I know what you’re thinking…FINALLY…

I truly believe that if I didn’t spend endless hours working on my resume, interview skills, and preparation, buy a professional skirt suit to wear to my interview, work on building my network, and have an internship, I wouldn’t be so “lucky.”

Charge on and chase after your dream job with your tuned up skills and charming personality! You CAN do this!