Food & Drink

Chicken Lettuce Wraps.

I am back on the homemade Chinese food kick… I hope you are ready! (if you missed my last venture with Chinese food and Kung Pao chicken, click here for the easy to follow recipe)

This time, it’s chicken lettuce wraps on the menu! All you need for these is a handful of ingredients and 20 minutes of your time. How can you came up with an excuse not to make these? They are perfect as a snack, an appetizer or even as a meal, whatever you prefer!

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Here is what you need:

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1/2 yellow onion – diced

2 cremini mushrooms – minced

3 cloves of garlic – minced

1lb ground chicken

black pepper to taste

1/4 cup of hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of oyster sauce

1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil

1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger

1/4 cup of water chestnuts – diced

2 green onions – thinly sliced

1 head of butter lettuce

Sriracha – optional

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Here is what you will need to do:

♥ In a large skillet over medium heat add olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add onion and cook for 3 minutes before adding the mushrooms and cooking for an additional 3 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add the ground chicken to the skillet and cook until browned. Crumble the chicken as it cooks and drain off any excess fat.

Season with pepper, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, ginger and Sriracha. Stir until combined and then add the water chestnuts and green onions. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes then remove from heat.

Spoon 3-4 tablespoons of the mixture into the center of the lettuce leaf, serve with carrots, crispy noodles or chopped toasted nuts.

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You may need a new napkins after this but it will be 100% worth it!

Which Chinese dish should I attempt next? Do you have any recipes I should try?

XOXO.

B.

Real Talk

Adulting.

These are the last few months of me being a 20something and getting my life together has been at the forefront of my mind. There are days when I feel so #adultish and some days where I feel like I could be doing way more. Do you ever feel the same way?

I think part of it has to do with this transitional time in my life – someone once told me your late 20s are really the biggest shift in life for a lot of reasons. I definitely think I’m at a point where I’m craving a more stable, organized life that feels grown-up, but I know I have a ways to go – and I may never truly feel like I’ve got my “act together.”

After catching myself say this phrase time and time again, I decided it would be an interesting thought experiment to try and actually define what this “ideal” is that I’m comparing myself to or daydreaming about. Like, what does it actually mean to get or have your life together anyway? It’s such an overused, broad term. It likely looks very different for every person, but I was up to the challenge of breaking it down and sharing my thoughts with you. As always, this is 200% up for discussion and in fact, I encourage you to weigh in via the comments section (please!).

When it comes to making changes, size doesn’t matter. The way I see it, something is better than nothing. And sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference in our lives. I got a little overwhelmed before/during writing this post as I tried to think about what it really means to “get your life together” but I decided to push through my perfectionist (have-to-have-it-ALL-amazing-before-I-press-publish) tendencies and forced myself to just write down what I could. Preaching to myself here – something (a mini blog post) is better than nothing at all (or sitting on this “draft” for months waiting for it to be fully comprehensive). Of course there’s more I could cover here, but these are the first few things I thought of – and things that would make me feel a little better about my life/situation right now. Plus, I’d love to hear your contributions to the list as well!

How to get your life together.

Here are 22 actionable things you can do ASAP to get your life just a little bit more “together” – aka how to get your life together:

  1. Write things down. Better yet, get a notebook to carry around with you so you’ll have a place to write it. If you write “it” (all the things) down, you won’t have to stress about remembering it. Just make sure you’ve got it all in the same place. Indigoalways has the best notebook selections!
  2. Simplify your to do list; learn how to separate the urgent from the important and prioritize.
  3. Go to bed 30 minutes earlier – try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday next week (not counting the weekend of course).
  4. Embrace batch processing – set specific times to answer emails.
  5. Go to the dentist – yeah, just handle it. You should be going once every 6 months. I promise, it’s worth it.
  6. Quit hitting snooze – just set one alarm and put your phone on the other side of your bedroom. Snooze is a state of mind – don’t let yourself do it.
  7. Empty your inbox – grab some coffee, play some gangster rap and handle it. Oh, and unsubscribe from stupid stuff while you’re at it.
  8. Plan your meals for next week on Sunday. Do it!
  9. Throw out expired food/stuff in your fridge and freezer. Check weekly.
  10. Deposit money in your savings account, like often.
  11. Check up on your retirement fund. Wait, you have one right?
  12. Review your last month’s expenditures (I could write a whole post about this one).
  13. Quit binge-watching Netflix (or at least give it up for a month or so while you pursue getting your sh*t together).
  14. Start taking care of your skin.
  15. Sort through your snail mail.
  16. Clean out your purse.
  17. Sort through your socks and throw away the random singles.
  18. Pick your clothes up off the floor and put them away!
  19. Drink less soda. Sparkling water is what’s up. Or just water in general.
  20. Clean out your car and then wash it. While you’re at it, do you need to change the oil?
  21. Floss your teeth!!!
  22. Clean out your junk drawer in your desk/kitchen/etc.

Okay that’s all I got for you today – although I could go on. Honestly, posts like these seriously motivate me and I truly hope they do the same for you.

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.

Real Talk

The negotiating habits all wildly successful women share.

I find, there are two types of women in this world. The first are the ones who say they want to advance in their career and be the best version of themselves – yet they don’t apply themselves or do anything about it. The second are the total #BossBabe ladies who get out there and grind and demand their worth and know what they want and make it happen. Which category do you fall into? Listen ladies, it is time to woman up and take control of our careers!

If you’ve just been offered a new job (or you want to get paid more in your current position), the first thing you need to do is figure out how to effectively negotiate your best salary. And yes, you can—and absolutely should—negotiate the first offer.

On average, women are less likely to negotiate than our male counterparts. Why? I think it’s because we often lack confidence or guidance. Aside from leaving money on the table, that hesitation is a reason—at least in part—that the gender wage gap still exists. But we want to change that statistic. To help you take control of your future, I’m trying to  uncover tips that will help you manage your career and your future. Ready to take it head-on?

The first (and biggest) mistake we make in their careers is not negotiating because we take whatever first offer we’re given, assuming that’s the final offer. In other words, we tend to assume that once we’re given an initial salary offer, that’s it. Done deal.

When in reality, it’s just a jumping off point to start negotiations. Yes, it’s scary. But you know what’s even scarier? Working alongside a man who makes more than you for the same job just because he was brave enough to speak up and ask for more and defend his worth.

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But, you need to be prepared and know the right way to ask for what you want. In my experience and from talking to other professions, here is everything you need to know to effectively negotiate that first job offer, from salary-comparison research to how to resist the urge to talk too much.

Ask for more.

If you’re negotiating your pay for a new job, ask for more than the salary they’ve offered you. That’s right–whatever offer they give you, you can (and should) ask for more. This is the best time to negotiate and you shouldn’t be afraid to do it. Your boss is used to it, and will expect it. Think about it – they want you. They just offered you a job! So, muster up the strength and ask.

How much more should you ask for? Typically you should be negotiating an increase of 5% to 10% on the initial salary offer. Picking an exact number rather than a range is more specific and indicates you’re serious and not into playing games with them. And, while you’re at it, negotiate for more than just money.

If your employer won’t budge on the increase in salary, try negotiating for flexible office hours, more vacation time, the ability to work from a remote location one day a week? That’s like money in the bank too. Remember, this is the best time to have these conversations.

Outline your “glows”.

Negotiating for a raise or jump in the totem pole means defending your worth. Show your boss you’re more eligible than any other employee. The intention is to state your value to the company.

Remind your employer of your superb qualifications with a list of tasks, accomplishments, contributions, and any statistical growth you contributed to the company. Exuding confidence will add assurance to your statement.

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Prepare your counter arguments.

Similar to the first initial interview with your boss, come prepared to be grilled. Instead of panicking on the spot, contemplate possible scenarios and points of discussion. Consider persuasive counter-arguments that will surprise your boss and force him or her to reconsider any doubt. This means researching the market for statistics that will back up your stance.

Embrace the silence.

After you make the ask, let the silence hang in the room.

One of the most important tactics to an effective negotiation is learning to become comfortable with occasional bouts of awkward silence. Learn to become comfortable with these. One of the most important tactics to an effective negotiation is learning.

Women tend to avoid negotiation because doing so can present a socially awkward situation (silence)—a phenomenon called the “social cost of negotiation.” But, we shouldn’t be afraid.

So, stop selling against yourself. Ask a question, then be quiet and give the other person a chance to respond. Let them break the silence, which will prevent you from saying anything you will regret.

Be prepared.

As the saying goes, “Practice, practice, practice–and then practice some more.”  Practice negotiation with a family member, your friend, a roommate–anyone. The key is to remain calm and avoiding any sort of an emotional appeal. In other words: Focus on your value to the company, or how you’ll make the company better—not for personal reasons. And have your number ready.

You can play both you and your boss, or maybe even cast your BFF as your boss. In both scenarios, creating and acting out the possible scenarios will reduce jitters and keep you confident when you’re ready to go in for the meeting.

Go get ’em ladies!
Have you ever had a conversation with your boss about a raise? How did it go? I’d love to hear about it in the comment section!

Don’t forget to subscribe to LiveLaughLearn.blog to stay up to date and follow on Instagram @LiveLaughLearn.blog

XOXO.

B.