03.09.2015

Public Speaking

Public speaking - presentation This post is quite different from what I usually post but I thought it could be of interest. Public speaking is very scary for most people, including me. If I can get out of a presentation, I’ll do it in a heartbeat. It doesn’t matter if I’m the expert in that area,  create the presentation, and train someone else to present it; I would pay to get out of it if I could. Unfortunately, this is not how it works, which is actually good. Doing something scary is always good. You learn and at the end you realize that it wasn’t that bad after all.

Public speaking is not something they teach in college and it should be mandatory. You go through all those years of study, get a job, your boss says that you have to present something and you don’t even know where to start. Fortunately, they are teaching it now starting in kindergarten, unfortunately this is happening only in private schools, at least in San Francisco.

In my case, I was lucky to have a great teacher in business school who gave us incredible tips for effective presentations. Since I’ve learned them, I’ve been paying attention to all the public speakers I’ve seen and trying to learn from their styles.

Here are some of these learnings:

  1. Address your audience. In public speaking you can’t just talk to one person, you have to look at different people around the room and make eye contact as if you were talking directly to them. This actually calms me down.
  2. Don’t read the power point. I can’t address this enough. We can read, so please don’t waste people’s time. If for some reason my slide is so detailed that it would make more sense to read it, I still try to paraphrase it.
  3. Walk around the room if you can. This is self explanatory. You add movement and you make your audience more engaged. Now, this is not always possible or necessary, but the idea is that there’s some movement and you don’t stand still.
  4. Gesture. Now, I have to say that Spaniards and other cultures, probably Italians, have this to their advantage. We gesture a lot which tends to keep people interested. See point 3.
  5. Your speech needs to have a beginning, middle, and end. I really think this is very important, and the truth is that not everybody does it. You open your speech with a “why we are here” or “what we are going to talk about today”, and then you follow with the issue at hand. Then you close your speech with a recap, conclusions, recommendations, etc. Sometimes this may vary, but this is the basic structure.
  6. Props. I’ve found that if I have some props, something to hand out, a video I want to show from YouTube, or even asking questions to the audience, this will help break the ice and calm me down, so I relax and stop shaking!
  7. Pace yourself and speak at the right volume. I have a strong voice so I don’t need to do much with the volume, but pacing is another story. I can speak too fast. Ideally we want to pace ourselves and have the right volume. I heard someone presenting the other day and she was way too loud, which is very annoying.
  8. Practice, practice, practice. 

So here are my tips which I hope will help you to have a more polished presentation. Needless to say, I’m not an expert, I’ve only done this a few times so I’m learning, and I still want to get out of every single presentation. But what I found out is that if you are prepared and know what you’re talking about, you may be nervous the first couple of minutes but then you’ll be fine.

03.02.2015

Pretty Lashes – My favorite mascara

Mascara Let’s talk mascaras, shall we?

I’ve never been a makeup girl, seriously, I’m very lazy. My rule was that if I didn’t wear makeup then I didn’t need to wash my face at night… Well, this has worked for pretty much my entire life, but there was a moment when I decided that it would be a good a idea to wear some makeup. The thing is that I’ve always liked to buy it, but not to wear it. That has changed in the last couple of years, although I wear very little/light makeup. Now I feel naked if I don’t put something on. I know, first world problems.

One of my favorite makeup products is the mascara. I really think that it makes a big difference although it’s a pain to remove, and believe me, I’ve tried different makeup removers. I also try to avoid waterproof formulas because of the extra difficulty trying to remove them. I have to say that I have spent way too much time and money trying to find the perfect one, and I think I found it: YSL Babydoll. I believe it was released a couple of years ago and I’ve been using it for almost two years. I got to test it when I exchanged my points at Sephora and fell in love with it. It doesn’t clump, it doesn’t make my lashes heavy, and it makes my eyes look pretty natural. Again, I love natural looks on me.

YSL Babydoll mascara

 

There are other mascaras I’ve tried that I liked too, for example, they’re Real from Benefit. I got it on my birthday set at Sephora and really loved it, but when I removed it, it felt like I was removing a waterproof mascara and that was the part that pushed me away from it.  Lancome Hypnose is another good one, but Babydoll is my favorite. I really like Covergirl LashBlast Mascara but it starts flaking after a couple of hours.

 

mascara

I know that YSL is not the cheapest one around, but I’ve spent so much money trying to find the perfect drugstore brand that this one is worth it to me. The first time I ran out of it I looked for a dupe online and I heard that L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes was the perfect substitute. Well, I went ahead to buy it and when I opened it I realized that it was waterproof. I went back to the drugstore to buy the non-waterproof formula, and yes, it was fine but I prefer the YSL one. In the end I decided that I better stick to what I know and like.

What’s your favorite mascara?

02.23.2015

Chocolate with Churros

Chocolate con churros

Chocolate con churros in San Ginés

Well, well, it’s been ages, I know, life got in the way but I’m back. Nothing too exciting has happened during this time except for being super busy at work and for the 2.5 weeks we spent in Madrid. That was fun, and I wish we could do it more often.

We went to visit family and friends during the holidays, and we had missed them sooooo much. I wish I could show you pictures, but I barely took any. Yes, I brought the big camera. No, I really didn’t use it. The thing is, since we spent most of our time with our friends, we didn’t really go out sightseeing. Even if we had gone to see other places, although I always enjoy the surroundings, I always forget to take pictures. I should get better at that.

Anyways, one of the things I do there, non-stop, is eat. I think we didn’t have any vegetables for a week, seriously, I’m not joking! One of the best foods you can have for breakfast or afternoon snack (or for lunch, dinner, I won’t judge) in Spain is chocolate with churros “chocolate con churros“. At this point, everybody knows what they are, but you will never know what you are missing until you try them in Spain, so there’s your excuse to get on a plane. The chocolate is so thick that, in my mother-in-law’s words, “you could put a spoon in the mug and it would stay up straight”. This is a little bit of an overstatement, unless my sister makes the chocolate. Then, yes, the spoon will stay up. You can make the chocolate at home, actually we always get the bars and bring them back here, but not the churros, that requires more work. Back in the day you could find the chocolate with churros pretty much everywhere, but unfortunately, nowadays there are less and less places where they make the churros. I remember, when I was young, going to the churrería (churro store) to buy them for breakfast on Sunday mornings, while my grandma or my mom would make the chocolate.

Spanish Chocolate

New Year’s Day breakfast – take-out chocolate with churros, yum!

Lucky for us, we stayed at my sister’s who lives in a little town in the mountains (sierra) of Madrid. Turns out that this little town has one incredible restaurant, or bar as we call it, that makes chocolate with churros to go. Unheard of for Spaniards, especially for us, the ones who left a long time ago. Needless to say, we order quite a few times from there. I have no words to describe how delicious that chocolate was.

Chocolateria San Gines

Chocolatería San Ginés and my mini model

If you ever go to Madrid don’t miss San Ginés, photo above, and indulge in their chocolate with churros. Be careful, they are addictive.

09.30.2014

Movies

Hector and the search for happiness

Image via City movies

How often do you go to the movies? I don’t really go. I’m lucky if I can squeeze it once or twice a year. It might sound weird to lots of you, but those parents out there know what I’m talking about.
Going out without your kids is like a mission impossible; the babysitter is not available, you have to find a new one, which is not worth it for a couple of hours, the grandparents aren’t around, the rest of the family has plans. Forget it! No movie, just playground and dinner with the kiddo.

Not last weekend. My husband and I went to the movies, woohoo. We went to see Hector and the Search for Happiness. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was actually really good. It had a dark sense of humor plus a couple of different twists in the story. It also had different actors that I knew I had seen before but couldn’t remember in what movie, which is something that drives me insane. This movie wasn’t my normal pick for the random occasion I get to go to the cinema (I like this word a little bit more than movies or movie theater). Something I found strange is that the movie theater was empty, no lines whatsoever. Is this normal on a Saturday night? Because I still remember those days where you had to wait forever in line to get your tickets

Afterwards we even had dinner at the mall! I know what you are thinking – You finally made it out of the house without the kid and had dinner at the mall where the movie played? – Yes, but just leave it to San Francisco to have a couple of fancy/gourmet restaurants in a mall. No wonder we are spoiled foodies here. Besides the typical food court area in the basement, which is a little bit gourmet too, there’s an area at the top of the Westfield mall called “Under the Dome”. There you can find a couple of really good restaurants. The advantage of this is that the wait was just 30 minutes so we went shopping. I hate waiting for food, except for brunch.

What do you guys do on your date nights? Are movies still in or it’s just me being old?

09.24.2014

Little break

Break

Sorry for being so spotty with my posts lately. I’ve been buried with work, and I will be for another month. I’ll try to post at least once a week for now, since I also need to catch up on other things, including your blogs, sorry!

Have a good day!