Saturday, December 14, 2013

Planning for the New Year



Wow.  It's almost January.  I try not to plan (pun intended) too far in advance which calendars I'm going to use for the new year.  Call me superstitious, but I don't like to get ahead of myself.

And, yes, I'm a person who still uses a paper calendar.  Of course, I have Outlook on my computer and calendars on my smartphone, but nothing beats paper for my purposes.  I like to see the written word on paper to process it and take mental note so that I'm constantly aware of what is coming up.

This brings me to my latest dilemma.  With some many different options (although there are fewer companies making paper planners each coming digital year), I can never decide which color, style, make or model to buy.

So that's my project this weekend.  Finding a planner that I want to use and look at for the year.

Stay tuned.  I'll let you know what I come up with.

Featured Brownline Planner from Urban Girl

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Can't Go Wrong With Chocolate - Holiday Gifts for the Office




Chocolates are always appropriate for your office mates and bosses.  Unless, of course, you know that they're allergic to chocolate and then maybe not.

And, what says "simply stated elegance," better than Godiva?


Monday, December 2, 2013

"Mr. Sick Stuff, Who Do You Think You Are?"




They say sharing is caring.  Except when it's a cold or flu.

Honestly, the boss might not mind because she can close her door.  But, the rest of us in the office pool, mind very much if you cough, snort, sniffle, blow your nose and generally wreak havoc and germs throughout our common areas.

You put your germs all over the copiers and surfaces and then before you know it, the entire office is falling like dominoes.

We all want to enjoy the holiday season and get through the winter months, relatively healthy.

So, if you wake up with a scratchy throat, coughing, sneezing and generally feeling bad - take two personal days and call us when you're better!

A healthy worker is a happy worker.




Friday, November 29, 2013

Palais Des Thes - "My Tea for the Office"



Black Friday seems like the perfect time to start the Holiday Gift Guide.

For the next three weeks, I will integrate my posts with, what I think, are nice and appropriate gifts for your co-workers, bosses and industry colleagues.

First up, "Palais des Thes" "My Tea for the Office Collection."  

Features 48 sachets of assorted cotton teabags.


Darjeeling Margaret’s Hope: fine Darjeeling black tea
Blue of London: a superb black tea with bergamot
Thé du Hammam: our most popular green tea with berries
Fleur de Geisha: a Japanese cherry blossom green tea
Thé des Sources: a delicate green tea with mint and bergamot
Thé des Alizés: a fruity green tea with peach

Retail Price:  38.00

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

"Notorious Nineteen" by Janet Evanovich (A Book Review)




I enjoy Janet Evanovich's books, but for the last couple of years, I've been on a hardcore mystery roll.  My tastes tend to veer more toward the hair standing up on the back of my neck, jumping when someone enters the room-type mysteries.

Last year, my book club went to see "One for the Money" (with Sandra Bullock as Stephanie Plum) at the theater.  Cute movie.  Totally enjoyed it.

So, it was nice to pick up "Notorious Nineteen" and find all my favorite characters there, along with a couple of others that I missed somewhere between 14 and 18.

At any rate, sometimes it's nice to just have a few laughs without being so serious about everything.  It is a form of entertainment, right?  Even though some of the slapstick humor isn't necessarily going to win a Pulitzer. I get enough of that during the day.  Remember, I work in a law firm.

Stephanie Plum is cute and funny but Lula, that's my girl!  Oh, and Ranger is one hot dude.

Book Description:

After a slow summer of chasing low-level skips for her cousin Vinnie’s bail bonds agency, Stephanie Plum finally lands an assignment that could put her checkbook back in the black. Geoffrey Cubbin, facing trial for embezzling millions from Trenton’s premier assisted-living facility, has mysteriously vanished from the hospital after an emergency appendectomy. Now it’s on Stephanie to track down the con man. Unfortunately, Cubbin has disappeared without a trace, a witness, or his money-hungry wife. Rumors are stirring that he must have had help with the daring escape . . . or that maybe he never made it out of his room alive. Since the hospital staff’s lips seem to be tighter than the security, and it’s hard for Stephanie to blend in to assisted living, Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur goes in undercover. But when a second felon goes missing from the same hospital, Stephanie is forced into working side by side with Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, in order to crack the case.
The real problem is, no Cubbin also means no way to pay the rent. Desperate for money—or maybe just desperate—Stephanie accepts a secondary job guarding her secretive and mouthwatering mentor Ranger from a deadly Special Forces adversary. While Stephanie is notorious for finding trouble, she may have found a little more than she bargained for this time around. Then again—a little food poisoning, some threatening notes, and a bridesmaid’s dress with an excess of taffeta never killed anyone . . . or did they? If Stephanie Plum wants to bring in a paycheck, she’ll have to remember: No guts, no glory.  (from Janet Evanovich.com)

And, I get an email today from Barnes and Noble - and what do you know?  "Takedown Twenty" is in stores now!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Socializing at Work - Should You or Shouldn't You?



A few months ago I shut down my Facebook account.  I'm very happy that I did.  I read a study that said people who use Facebook are less happy than people who don't.  The reasoning was that often you like a person's post/picture and they don't like yours back.

If you're a person, who like me, is a "work in progress," especially when it comes to seeking approval/affirmation, then Facebook might not be the best social media outlet for you (or me).

Which brings me to today's post.  

I've always been a "social" person.  That is, I like having "friends" at work.  Or, at least people that I can talk to about current events, hairstyles, coffee shops and go out to lunch and coffee with once in a while. 

Okay, honestly, I like having friends at work.

But, lately, I've been thinking maybe not.  

There is this one woman, in particular, who never eats with anyone, she never comes into the lunchroom and she never makes friends in the office.  Oh, sure she communicates, as needed, to get the work done.  She's an extremely hard worker, very professional and polished.  The picture of what a professional secretary/assistant should look like.

I've always secretly admired the fact that she doesn't need interaction at work.  I'm sure it's saved her a lot of stress from workplace conflict, office politics, drama and office gossip.  

I once commented to her how much I admired the fact that she's able to operate effectively on her own. Her response was that it didn't come easy.  It requires hard work.  She said it took her a long time to finally get to where she is now.

Then this week, I read an article in the latest issue of a popular women's magazine which said people who socialize with their co-workers are happier.  

I guess the key is to find a good "middle road" and take it.

I'm looking.  If you can offer any suggestions, please let me know.  I could use all the help I can get.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Taking Good Care of Your "Inner Self"




When I first heard the news about the White House stenographer who interrupted the congressional vote last week (after the 17 day shut-down) with a religious rant, I immediately thought, "It could happen to anyone."

Obviously, I don't know her so I can't say for sure she didn't plan her outburst, or that she's not part of some deeper conspiracy, but my best judgment, life and work experience tell me she was just plain stressed out.  Clearly, she experienced a break of some sort.

Stress manifests itself in many different ways.  By all accounts, she was a well-respected, professional, dependable, soft-spoken woman.  And, let's just say she was under the influence of religion, we all seek comfort in different things.  For some it's religion, for some it's alcohol and for some food.  

I think the lesson we can all take away from this is, yes, we need to work.  Yes, we are grateful to be gainfully employed.  However, if you don't pay attention to that inner voice when it says, "you need a rest," the results are most often not good.

I think, as women, and men, we tend to expect to be super-human in the workplace.  But, it's important to take time to "smell the roses," for lack of a better cliche.

Which brings me to the point - I need a vacation.

Here's wishing Ms. White House Stenographer a full and complete recovery.

Take your breaks - lest you break.  Pun fully intended.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Best Lashes in the Office - Could This Be You? Guerlain's NEW NOIR G



Noir G Mascara
Refillable, Exceptional, Complete Mascara

 This is for all you eyelash "G's" out there.  This girl's lashes are not what they used to be, so I'm always looking for the best mascara for optimum results.  

Confession:  I haven't actually tried this one out - but I plan to check it out.  It might mean foregoing a week's worth of cafe lattes, but, can you really put a price on great lashes?


From Guerlain's Press Release:


Guerlain’s NEW Noir G is the first mascara to combine the extravagant luxury of a jewel case with an extraordinary formula for perfectly defined eyes. This fabulous case jealously guards a unique, complete formula that combines the power of color, extreme intensity and the secret of beauty. The lush texture makes it easy to achieve an intense, dramatic lash look without any risk of smearing, smudging or clumping. Like a magic wand, the ground-breaking Noir G goes one step further with a refillable wand applicator, making it convenient and easy to switch to a new one as soon as you need it. Pull on the case and with a click, the hidden mirror is revealed. Add a quick twist and the brush appears for exceptional lash results.  

Features:
  • Formula complex delivers a perfect 3-dimensional look with volumizing, lengthening and curling benefits.
  • Lashes are transformed: perfectly defined, denser and cloaked in a new intensity.
  • Refillable design makes replacing more convenient.

Price: $50.00, Refill: $26.50



Thursday, October 10, 2013

"Long Gone" by Alafair Burke (A Book Review)



I love mysteries.  I almost never miss "48 Hours," and I like to think I could actually solve real-life crime.  If I didn't have to spend most of my days in a law office.

I  downloaded Alafair Burke's, "Long Gone" on my kindle a few months ago when it was a "Deal of the Day."  I thought, "Her dad's a fantastic writer, but is she a good author or just the daughter of a good author?"  Of course, I knew the name "Alafair," but had no idea about the real life Alafair.

Well, it's obvious that talent runs in the Burke family.

I was captivated from the time I met the novel's main character, Alice Humphrey.  This is a perfect case of when bad things happen to good people.  

This was one of those novels, where you started to think, "This could really happen!"

Ms. Burke's fast-pace, contemporary style, descriptive narrative and ability to keep you off track, just put her on my list of "must read everything she's written," authors.

Every time I thought I had the case solved, the story took another unexpected and bizarre turn.

Skeletons were falling out of the closet in nearly every chapter.  Highly recommended!


Author's Description:  


"After a layoff and months of struggling, Alice Humphrey finally lands her dream job managing a new art gallery in Manhattan’s trendy Meatpacking District. According to Drew Campbell, the well-suited corporate representative who hires her, the gallery is a passion project for its anonymous, wealthy, and eccentric owner. Drew assures Alice that the owner will be hands off, allowing her to run the gallery on her own. Her friends think it sounds too good to be true, but Alice sees a perfect opportunity to make a name for herself beyond the shadow of her famous father, an award-winning and controversial film maker.

The artist whose work she displayed doesn’t seem to exist. And the dead man she claims is Drew has been identified as someone else.
Everything is perfect until the morning Alice arrives at work to find the gallery gone—the space stripped bare as if it had never existed—and Drew Campbell’s dead body on the floor. Overnight, Alice’s dream job has vanished, and she finds herself at the center of police attention with nothing to prove her innocence. The phone number Drew gave her links back to a disposable phone.
When police discover ties between the gallery and a missing girl, Alice knows she’s been set up. Now she has to prove it—a dangerous search for answers that will entangle her in a dark, high-tech criminal conspiracy and force her to unearth long-hidden secrets involving her own family… secrets that could cost Alice her life."  (from http://alafairburke.com/books/long-gone)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Five Ways to Ward Off the Monday Morning Blues




1.  Paint your nails a wild new color.  One that you'd never wear in a million years.  If your workplace is a bit on the conservative side, perhaps a decal on your index finger might be an option.

2.  Set your alarm to wake up to a 'heavy metal' band.  Nothing is going to get your juices flowing like heavy metal.  If you absolutely can't stand 'heavy metal,' go for hip hop.  A little Run DMC never hurt anybody.

3.  Take a tepid shower instead of a hot one.  It will wake you make you more alert.

4.  If you usually walk your pet in the morning before leaving the house, take a slightly different route.

5.  Take time to smell the flowers.  Literally.  Even if it means "borrowing" a stem or two from your neighbor.

I know, it's easy enough to say.  But I've had enough "Monday Morning Blues" to have come up with more than one clever way to trick my mind into thinking that Mondays are cool.

Have a great week!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Upcoming Training for Secretaries in Orange County from Special Counsel






UPCOMING LITIGATION TRAINING

This 2 1/2 day in-person seminar introduces legal secretaries and support staff to the complex world of civil litigation, including:
  • Federal and California State Court structure
  • Commencing a legal action
  • Discovery procedures
  • Motion practice
  • Complexities of calendaring
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • E-filing in California Federal Civil Courts
  • Close up on legal calendaring 
 
Receive an Early Pay Discount now through October 18, 2013
Registration deadline is November 4, 2013   



www.specialcounsel.com

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Funny - "Staying Home from Work" by Ross Bollinger

Enjoy this hilarious cartoon from Ross Bollinger (permission granted)

http://youtu.be/oGqU6muITUo



"Staying Home from Work"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

"Throwback Thursday"

I'm always the first to admit that I consider myself "old school meets new school."

I love new things but I definitely respect and appreciate the old.

I don't think I'll ever get away from paper.  And, yes, I do care about the environment.

But when I looked at my tattered old Rolodex the other day, I thought, "wouldn't it be nice to update this?



So, I looked online and found the cutest pink Rolodex (TM).



Only problem is, I can't find it anywhere.

That's okay because I love a challenge.

I figure with the changing season, it's time for my desk to get a makeover!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Book Review: "Primetime Princess" by Lindy DeKoven




I must be slipping because I almost missed out on one of the best "chic-lit" reads of the summer.  "Primetime Princess" by Lindy DeKoven.

My sister called me last week and said she had seen the author on "The Talk," and since I had worked in the entertainment industry in a previous life, I might enjoy it.  I think any working woman can relate - and especially, those in the legal industry.

Suffice to say, I enjoyed it very much.  So much, that I finished it in just a week.  That's not exactly "speed reading," but keep in mind, when you get home after a long day's work, sometimes a girl just wants to be a couch potato.

This book was engaging, enlightening, funny and a fast-read.  There were a few parts that seemed to drag on, but that could have been my exhaustion creeping in.

Highly recommended.  If you liked "The Devil Wears Prada," you'll love "Primetime Princess."  

Network television is not for wimps!


"Alexa Ross has risen to the top of the Hollywood boys’ club. As the vice president of comedy development at Hawkeye Broadcasting System, Alexa has put her early years working as an assistant to Jerry Kellner, her sex-crazed former boss, behind her.
However, nepotism lands Jerry a plum spot at HBS…reporting to Alexa! Soon Jerry’s malicious behavior is destroying everything good in Alexa’s life, from the young student she tutors to the romance she thought she’d never find. Can Alexa win the battle for ratings and break through the glass ceiling, even if it destroys her—and everything she loves?
Sharp, witty, and heartwarming, Primetime Princess is an unforgettable sneak peek into the exclusive behind-the-scenes drama that occurs over the course of one TV development season."  (from amazon.com)



Friday, September 6, 2013

She Can Type, Take Dictation AND Craft!!





I'm starting to check things off my "bucket list," because - well, because it's later than we think!

The truth is that I've deleted my facebook account.  

And to calm my "withdrawals," I decided to learn to craft.  That's right, "Ms. All Thumbs" is going to tap into her artistic inner self.

I took a class this past weekend to learn all about the "Sizzix" die cutting machine.

And for a girl who didn't know what the word "die" meant, I think I did "okay."  

Holiday gifts, here I come!

Not a bad way to 'de-stress' either.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Movie Review: "Blue Jasmine"



I have to be honest and say that I’ve been boycotting Woody Allen’s films since he married Soon-Yi.

But since his latest, “Blue Jasmine” was filmed partly in San Francisco, I had to lift my ban.

I’m happy that I did.  “Blue Jasmine” is an epic film.  An exploration into a world of lies, deceit, depression, sibling rivalry and so much more.

The entire cast delivered incredible performances.

Arguably, one of the best films of the year.
Don't miss it on the big screen.
 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Stressed? Squeeze a Frog



I read today that a poll conducted by Monster.com showed that 60 percent of people in the world experience daily stress 18 to 20 times per month at work.

In the legal world, that’s a pretty good number.  I think I could double that number based on my own stress level.

What do you do to relieve stress at work? 
For me, music helps.  When I’m not doing a task that requires intense focus, like when I’m entering attorney time, I often put on a headset and listen to a few instrumental tunes.  Or, if I’m particularly stressed, I will stop and take a walk downstairs for a cup or coffee or tea.

When time permits, I’ll take a lunch-time walk to “walk it out.”

Whatever you need to “keep calm and carry on,” by all means, do it.

Many days, I’m just grateful for this little frog stress ball. 

 

It’s almost Friday!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Speak of the Devil" by Allison Leotta




The third time is a charm.  Not that the first two ("Law of Attraction" and "Discretion") weren't great, but Allison Leotta's latest novel, "Speak of the Devil" is a mystery lover's delight.  

I honestly could have read this book without putting it down, but I knew there would be a wait for her next novel, so I decided to stretch it out over four days.  

I think that Ms. Leotta's background as a sex crimes prosecutor is really the thing that makes her work so different.  And, if you're familiar with the legal field, it really will hold your interest because she gets all the little details.  

I love being a secretary by day and mystery solver by night - except I really didn't expect the twists and turns this book took - but I sure enjoyed the ride.

Although, I have to admit some of the scenes made me jump while reading!

Another great one from Simon and Schuster:


SPEAK OF THE DEVIL—AND HE WILL APPEAR:  A Novel by Allison Leotta

On the very night she gets engaged to the man she loves, sex-crimes prosecutor Anna Curtis’s professional life takes a shocking turn that threatens everything she holds dear.

While Anna is enjoying a romantic dinner capped off by a marriage proposal, a few miles away two separate groups are gearing up to raid a brothel. A vicious killer known as Diablo—the Devil—leads one group. A few minutes later, Anna’s own investigative team heads in to search the brothel, as part of the fight against human trafficking in D.C. Both groups are caught off guard, with deadly results.

As Anna investigates the bloody face-off, the boundaries between her work and home life begin to blur. Though eager to focus on her new fiancé, the chief homicide prosecutor Jack Bailey, and her soon-to-be stepdaughter, Olivia, this case and the search for Diablo are never far from her mind.

When Anna discovers a web of long-buried secrets and official lies leading straight to her doorstep, the truth about this case threatens to rob her of the happiness she seemed so close to securing. And everything Anna counted on becomes a question mark as Diablo moves in for yet another kill.

Allison Leotta draws on her experience as a D.C. sex-crimes prosecutor to take readers into the back rooms of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the hidden world of the Witness Protection Program, and the secret rituals of one of America’s most dangerous gangs. Universally praised by bestselling authors from Catherine Coulter and George Pelecanos to Lisa Scottoline and David Baldacci, Leotta weaves fact and fiction to create her best novel yet.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Making the World A Better Place - One Post-It (TM) At A Time



The Post-it Brand Wall kicks off the Post-it Brand Dreams for Good Campaign which asks everyone to share their plans for making the world a better place. To enter the Post-it Brand Dreams for Good contestgo to www.facebook.com/postit and submit a photo of your dream for good on a Post-it Note by September 15, 2013 for a chance to win a $25,000 Post-it Possibility Grant.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

"A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet"




I was hired to be a "legal secretary."  I use the title "legal secretary," when referring to myself, my profession and the work that I perform.


Many of my colleagues prefer the title "Legal Assistant."  Some firms reserve the title "Legal Assistant" for "paralegals."  Others use the title "Assistant to John Doe."

I'm proud to be a secretary.  I feel that I have a skill-set that has served me well and feel blessed to have acquired skills (such as typing) early on.  Okay, I'm of "a certain age," but nonetheless, there is a deep sense of pride that goes along with being able to earn a decent living to support yourself and your family.

Whatever title you prefer to use, one thing remains the same, you are an integral part of a legal team, your firm, an asset, if you will.

Here's to a great week for all the legal secretaries, legal assistants, assistants and support staff who give 100 percent to keep the wheels turning!

This is your pep talk.  Monday will be here very quickly.


Friday, July 5, 2013

Salary Increases Post Recession



While on vacation this week, I received a text from a friend telling me that she was upset that her firm had sent out the salary increase letters and she felt her increase was so small it was insulting.

I told her that I preferred a small raise or no raise at all to a "pink slip" any day of the week.

I think it's safe to say that the days of big pay increases, fully stocked kitchens, and "dot-com" perks are pretty much over.  Unless you're working in-house at google or somewhere, I don't suspect you're going to find law firms spending money lavishly on staff.

In fact, a couple of weeks ago, several large national firms announced staff reductions and early buyouts to qualifying employees.

That said, I think it's safe to assume that the role of the legal secretary has changed.  No longer do firms call in "temps" when someone is on leave or vacation.  They merely shuffle work assignments.  I know some friends who tell me they have as many as ten attorneys to one desk.  Bear in mind, the younger associates aren't looking for a typist and the legal secretary is not only the person who electronically files with the court, he is the one who also makes binders (another post for another day) and is a personal assistant to the attorneys, particularly, the partners.

In the coming weeks, I will be talking more about the changing role of the secretary and the paralegal.

But, keep in mind, if you don't get the raise you want, at least you have a job!

And for those of us in San Francisco, thank God, the transit strike appears to be over (at least for now).

Happy Friday!!