The Working Woman’s Guide to Avoiding Perfectionism, Eating Well, & Good Conversation at the Table

This time of year, with holiday deadlines approaching — buy the turkey! Trim the tree! — and a limited number of days left in the calendar, life has a way of speeding up, and it often seems impossible to fit all of those to do’s in just twenty-four hours a day.

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Star’s Holiday Reading List

One of my favorite things about the holiday season – aside from delicious food, amazing bonding with family, and cozy sweaters – is having the time to sit down by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book!

A few books I am loving right now are:

Thrive by Arianna Huffington


I love Ariana’s message in this book – though I’ll admit it is much harder to put into practice than it is to read about!  Thrive is about the importance of balance and personal fulfillment…and the realization that that is the true secret to success.

Give and Take by Adam Grant

Give and Take

This was one of my favorite books of the year – it describes people as either a giver, a taker, or a matcher.  Takers take as much as they can, givers give as much as their resources allow, and matchers try to “trade even” – never giving away too much, but never gaining much either. What is amazing is that the most successful people – and the least successful people (at least according to studies) – are givers.  The difference is how you give.

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

5 Love Languages

I am only a few chapters in to The Five Love Languages – and after hearing such high praise for this book for the past few years, I had very high expectations. Two words. Love. It. The lessons taught in this book can positively change even the best relationships.  It’s a great reminder to listen to others – and appreciate that every person has his or her own way of communicating, appreciating, and showing/receiving love.

Spaces We Love: Houzz’s Irvine Office


It’s not surprising in the least that – the world’s leading home remodeling and design website – has an impressive office itself. For the billion-dollar internet company, which Hughes Marino CEO Jason Hughes described as “kind of a mashup of Pinterest, Yelp, and an ecommerce site all devoted to home design,” it only makes sense that their office would perfectly represent their brand.

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Fall Essentials for the Millennial Working Woman

I’m not sure if it was the long summer – or my love of all things comfy and cozy – but I couldn’t be more excited that fall has finally arrived in San Diego!  Here are a few of my fall favorites that are both work appropriate and versatile for those much needed rest days!

Cashmere and faux fur mittens from Mark & Graham.


Wear-to-work comfortable ankle boots from Ivanka Trump.

Ivanka Trump

A bright-colored peacoat from J.Crew.


Polka dot tights from Spanx.  Enough said.


A flirty + formal long-sleeve Banana Republic dress.

Banana Republic

A festive Burberry wool scarf.


A cozy and cute cashmere Bloomingdale’s sweater dress.

Bloomingdale's Sweater Dress

Day-to-night crop jacket from Joie.


Anthropologie frosting for your hair.


A fun Smythson day planner.  Get excited for 2015!

Smythson 1

Room With a View: How to Capitalize on Your Office’s Window Line


Whether you’re moving into a new office, expanding your existing office, or thinking about rearranging your office setup, it’s important to consider how to maximize the impact of your window space – and its accompanying views – to align with your company’s priorities.

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Female Executives Can Inspire Young Women to Pursue Math and Aim for Success


I recently came across an article that gave me more than a few moments’ pause. It was about one of my idols, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer.

At age thirty-eight, Mayer became the CEO of a multi-billion dollar corporation and turned the struggling company around seemingly overnight. Incidentally, in addition to being one of the few women in charge of such a large, visible company, she’s also a mother, and a bit of a fashion icon (certainly in the tech world). In my mind she embodies the “everything woman.”

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On the Road & On Top of Work

traveling business professional

With the holiday season just weeks away, travelers are gearing up for family visits, international adventures, ski trips, and R&R at the beach to escape the cold. As fun as travel is, leaving work can be very stressful. To help plan for and prevent that stress, it’s important to set vacation guidelines to ensure a happy, relaxing, and reinvigorating trip – not an overwhelming one.

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Small but Mighty: How to Create a Wow Factor in Small Office Spaces


Even after years of working in commercial real estate and viewing hundreds of offices of all shapes and sizes, I still find myself walking into certain offices and thinking “WOW!”

That wow-factor doesn’t just happen. It’s created by tenants who make the effort to ensure their office conveys an impressive outward appearance, and reflects who they are and what they stand for as a company. What many smaller and younger companies don’t realize is that you don’t need a huge office to generate your own wow-factor. A grand entrance that will have employees and visitors enchanted, inspired, and eager to conduct business with your company can be achieved even in a small space. Here are a few design tips to help you make smart design choices when planning your new space.

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Spaces We Love: Dropbox’s San Francisco Headquarters

DropBox Headquarters

In the beginning, it seemed like 87,000 square feet of commercial real estate at 185 Berry Street in San Francisco would be plenty of space to accommodate cloud storage and file sharing giant Dropbox and its 200+ employees. But then the company kept growing. And growing. Today, with more than 500 employees, Dropbox now occupies 200,000 square feet on Berry Street, plus additional space at 333 Brannan, a 10-minute walk from the main office.

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3 Millennials Shaking Up Their Family Businesses

By Julie Besonen

Shay and Star Hughes

‘We’ve had fast-paced growth,’ says Star Hughes, noting that her family’s business, Hughes Marino, has more than doubled in size, from 15 employees to 41, since she came on board.

Across the country youthful energy and ideas are helping family businesses — from real estate brokers to bakers of cheese crisps — evolve. Millennials, the official term for people born between 1980 and 2000, are learning from, and teaching, their Baby Boomer parents how to stay relevant now and future-focused with customers of all ages. We talked to three American entrepreneurs under the age of 34 who were happy to reveal their family recipes for success, and how they are helping to reach this next generation of consumers.

Star Hughes, 24, Hughes Marino, San Diego, Calif.

Star Hughes has spent the past four years working as a broker and the director of San Diego’s leading commercial real estate company, Hughes Marino, which happens to be run by her parents. The company represents only tenants, not landlords, giving them a no-conflict niche in the industry. “We’ve had fast-paced growth,” says Star, noting that the family business has more than doubled in size, from 15 employees to 41, since she came on board. They’ve branched out from San Diego to broker leases all over Southern California. Her work week is often 70 to 80 hours, which she says is common for her generation. “If it’s a company we love and believe in, Millennials are pumped up and passionate and willing to work incredibly hard,” she says. “There’s less of a line drawn between work and personal life. It all blends together.” At Hughes Marino, company retreats, which range from staying at a nice resort to getting a box at a baseball game, include significant others and children. “It helps to make everyone feel a part of something much bigger,” explains Star. Her cohesive team often meets for communal breakfasts and lunches in the office’s huge kitchen, and take breaks for games of pool in the sunroom and workout sessions at the in-house gym. Flexibility in the workplace is key to people her age, she says. “You don’t have to leave. I joke with my parents about putting a cot in my office.” For Star, there is no downside to being in a family-run business where there are open lines of communication. One of her brothers also works for Hughes Marino, as does her boyfriend. “Every single thing in my life ties into this company,” she says. “That’s who I am.”

Jessica Tubman, 32, Circle Furniture, Boston, Mass.

Circle Furniture was founded in Massachusetts by Jessica Tubman’s grandfather 60 years ago. Today, the company boasts six locations in the state. As the director of business development, Jessica is making sure the company’s high-end products have 21st century appeal. The MIT business school graduate joined forces with her father and uncle in 2012 and plunged into revamping the website, entering the world of e-commerce and adjusting the marketing mix to reduce print ads and switch more to online.

Jessica Tubman, a MIT business school grad, joined her family's business in 2012.

Jessica Tubman, a MIT business school grad, joined her family’s business in 2012.

And how do her father and uncle feel about that? “They know we need to do it,” Jessica says. “To protect your core business you have to reach out to Millennials on the web. They’re going to be a bigger group than Baby Boomers.” Staying ahead of the curve, the company is using videos and online advertising to broadcast the value of investing in well-made, long-lasting sofas and cabinets instead of cheap, disposable starter kits from IKEA. Essentially, it’s a re-education process. “It’s a struggle,” Jessica admits, “but I know how to speak to Millennials.” For instance, she knows that people of her generation care deeply about things that are American-made and eco-friendly. “We’re more in tune with where and how things are made.” That’s why Circle Furniture lets shoppers know that their wood comes from sustainable forest practices. Says Jessica, “We literally know the people who make your dresser and couch, the woodcrafter in Vermont, the upholsterer in Ohio.” Another way the Millennial buyer is different from the previous generation, according to Jessica: “We’ve been trained to click and buy and have something show up a couple of days later. But Circle Furniture is custom-made, which means it takes time to complete orders. “People are able to get exactly what they want. If we let them know the work that goes into it, Millennials appreciate that quality takes time.”

Seth Novick, 33, Kitchen Table Bakers, Syosset, N.Y.

Seth and his father Barry Novick stand behind their booth at the Fancy Food Show.

Seth and his father Barry Novick stand behind their booth at the Fancy Food Show.

After getting a business degree from Indiana University in 2003, Seth Novick did not intend to join his father, Barry, at Kitchen Table Bakers. The company was a start-up, manufacturing savory parmesan crisps from a double oven at Barry’s home in Long Island, N.Y. Instead of joining his father, Seth went abroad to teach English in Prague. “When I was ready to come back, my dad really needed some help,” recalls Seth, who started out in the kitchen. “I was baking the parmesan crisps in our house and would take a shower and still end up stinking like cheese.” Within a year, to Seth’s relief, a professional baker in Brooklyn took on the role, and Seth was finally able to escape the smell of cheese. Ten years later, Seth is the vice president of a company that has won several sofi Awards from the Specialty Food Association — a coveted prize that is often likened to the Academy Award of gourmet products. And Seth has used his Millennial status to help grow the company’s product line: Knowing that his fellow Millennials love spicy food, he ushered in Jalapeño Parmesan Crisps, in addition to “Everything” Crisps, which are loaded with onions, poppy seeds, garlic and sesame seeds and are based on the everything bagels Seth has loved since childhood. But he didn’t stop there: Seth pushed for a stand-up pouch of mini Parmesan crisps, which come in packaging that has a lower carbon footprint than the plastic clamshell his father originally introduced. “We care about the environment,” Seth says of his fellow Millennials, who gravitate toward more informal snack foods. “The mini crisps are something you can grab by the handful and don’t have to set out on a plate.” Seth and his dad see eye to eye on almost everything except the speed at which business decisions are made. “I want to move twice as fast on things and my dad has a more cautious approach,” he admits. “We meet somewhere in the middle.”

This article originally appeared on the Coca-Cola Journey blog.

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