Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Currently Reading: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

I'm currently reading Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg.
source: amazon.com

Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook and worked at Google before that. I've watched a TEDTalk and other clips of her presenting about her career while maintaining a successful marriage and growing family. She encourages women to 'sit at the table', take challenges, and 'lean in'. She also started a website, http://leanin.org/,  dedicated to encouraging and supporting women (and men) to lean in to their ambitions.

After I finish reading the book, I'll post a review about it. I can guarantee it won't be as long as the Maker book review I did. That was for a graduate class and I thought it would be nice to share. When {and if} I post a review, it will probably consist of quotes from the book, inspirations, and thoughts on how I can improve my life, and encourage others to do same. My goal after reading the book is to be more aware of things I might be unconsciously doing that could be setting me back from my peers or slowing me down from reaching my goals.

Has anyone read this book, her articles or watched any of Sheryl's speeches? If so, let me know your thoughts and how you have grown from the knowledge.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Book Review: Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson

Some of you may know that I am working on my masters degree in Management of Technology. I recently completed a class in Supply Chain Management and below is a paper that I submitted as a 'Critical Review' of Makers: The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson. The paper had to include a brief overview of the book, highlight the impact on Supply Chain Management, and include a critical review or critique. Enjoy!

source: amazon.com


Executive Summary

The newest book by Chris Anderson, Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, describes an innovative cutting-edge age for transforming American manufacturing. A Maker is an entrepreneur who is industrializing the do-it-yourself (DIY) spirit. Through the use of the Internet they can harness the power of communities across the globe to utilize tools for both invention and production. The author sees the Maker as the catalyst for the resurgence of American manufacturing.
Anderson opens by sharing a historical recount of the process of invention using a story about his own grandfather. He believed that only because he was in the wrong time period; before Internet was invented, his grandfather was not able to become the entrepreneur he needed to be to get his product off the ground. However, the new industrial revolution that Anderson proposes is upon us now. A person can be both inventor and entrepreneur, thanks to the proliferation of the Internet and technological advancements.
Technology improvements over the past couple decades provide us all with the tools to become designers. The use of computer software design applications helps us to create virtual models of our ideas. The hardware tools for transformation that Anderson highlights are: the 3-D printer, CNC machine, laser cutter and 3-D scanner which help us turn designs into physical products.
The rise of open source software and hardware availability enables individuals and communities to contribute and support in the creation of an idea into reality. Leading private organizations have even tapped into the open market to supplement their in-house expertise. Once a design is perfected, Makers utilize websites like Kickstarter to host the financial backing of the product. Anderson explains the unique opportunity that Kickstarter provides to inventors/entrepreneurs as having the ability to simultaneously generate pre-sale orders, market and promote the product, as well as gauge market receptiveness.
Throughout the book, he shares stories about real people who turn what may have been a hobby at first, into a profitable livelihood. He also explains how the use of the Internet has opened manufacturing to the wide reaches of the world. Anyone can take their design to almost any manufacturer to create their product just by harnessing the power of the Internet, and all from the comfort of their home. The final chapter describes how the DIY movement is prevalent in biology. Anderson relates what is already done in nature with DNA, to what is potentially the future of biological science. What can now only be done by a small number of professional labs will soon evolve to a point where not just trained scientists can have all the fun. The Maker Movement is upon us; if you can imagine it, you can make it.

Supply Chain Management Impact

The book highlights a number of key areas in supply chain management that are transformed through this new industrial revolution. First and foremost, the Maker movement is about taking an active role in invention and following through to fabrication of a product. When a product design is shared openly, anyone can add value by improving or modifying it. Through the use of communities of like-minded, driven individuals, research and development can be expedited faster than a normal product development lifecycle. Just because the consumers might be located all over the world, doesn’t make it harder to manufacture and deliver products. Currently, there are even manufacturers that no longer charge for intellectual property.
The impacts of this model are profound. In the new model, a Maker can send a design via the Internet to be produced at a manufacturer closer to the customer to avoid paying additional transportation costs. All these steps improve the time it takes to get a mass customizable product to market and enables production closer to the customer so that they get their goods sooner than traditional methods. In the future, there would be no need for centralized warehouses or even necessity to maintain inventory. The future will be a highly decentralized model, manufacturing closer to the end consumer. This decreases transportation costs and minimizes the costs of inventory storage. This new way of manufacturing is also capable of mass customization, the ultimate supply chain oxymoron. The time when manufacturing required expensive custom machines that had to make the same thing in huge numbers to justify the tooling expense is fading fast. Setup costs are decreasing with the improved accessibility of 3-D printers and their inherent costs decreasing as well. All these factors create a supply chain that is highly agile and adaptive to consumer needs; and since the design is shared in an open-source community, the designs constantly evolve to meet the needs of the consumer.

Critical Review

My overall thoughts on this book are positive and I recommend it to anyone interested in turning their inventions into small businesses. Anderson provides a number of anecdotes and personal stories both within the chapters and some that are carried through the course of the book that help the reader understand the transformational changes that this new industrial revolution is bringing. The book is inspiring in that it is applicable to a wide audience due to the belief that anyone can be a Maker (or contributor). Anderson is helping engage and shape the American inventor and bring the economy back to making things again. At the same time, he is telling the American corporations and manufacturers about the new wave of producing things and calling them to action to jump on board.
            My favorite part of the book was when Anderson promoted the Etsy Marketplace because I feel that this website is lesser known to the common web surfer; but, it has played a big part in my personal crafting and jewelry-making hobbies. If I am unable to make something myself, why go to Macy’s department store and get a mass-produced bauble when in reality I can log into Etsy and request an artist in the marketplace to make one for me for relatively the same price. The difference is that I can feel proud about my purchase because of the uniqueness and knowing that entrepreneurial artist, located virtually anywhere, has crafted the piece just for me. It makes me feel special because I get the product I desired, unique to my taste, and it promotes an inventor becoming a Maker.
            The only neutral critique I have for the book is Chris Anderson’s repetitive use of multiple stories involving his own company, inventions or investments. Often while I was reading, it seemed like there were self-promoting plugs and it came off a bit egotistical. Overall, the book was easy and enjoyable to read. It was inspiring and provides a compelling call to action, for Americans in particular, to join in the community of making and take an active role of bringing back the American manufacturing industry. Anderson makes it all sound so easy! He makes me want to find a community where I can contribute to designs and then find a 3-D printing machine to create my own stuff. I think it is a very productive outlet that provides a huge amount of enjoyment and satisfaction that might not otherwise be achieved through a normal full-time career.

May PopSugar MustHave Box Review




My May PopSugar Must Have Box came in the mail yesterday and I was literally jumping up and down while I was opening it! The theme this month is all about kicking the party season into high gear. I love the mix of beauty, fashion, food and entertainment that they curate monthly!

Here's what was in my box:

Kooringal Giselle Mid Brim Hat (Black)
  • The flexible beach hat provides 50+ sun protection from the harmful rays when you are out all day in the hot summer sun.
  • The brim has a sturdy wire in it that allows you to shape it for your needs. Plus, it's easy to shove in your beach bag and not have to worry about ruining it's shape. 
  • I got the black one, which might not be the best in the Florida sun, but I'm a huge proponent of sunscreen and sun protection so this hat is definitely coming to the beach/pool with me every time!
  • Price tag: $27.99 from Hats Unlimited
Looking East across downtown West Palm Beach
The Modern Margarita - 6 Flavor Sampler
  • Each fun flavor only has 90 calories, which is on the lower end of the calorie range for margarita mixes {just check your grocery section!}
  • The flavors look really fun and delicious... I can't wait to try the watermelon!
  • It also comes with yellow rimming salt to add that finishing touch to your cocktails with friends
  • Price tag: $8.29 from themoderncocktail.com
50 Conversation Cards created from Mindy Kaling
  • I'm not really sure what these are, but I did read a bit of Mindy Kaling's book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, and I've watched her show a few times. 
  • The title of the box says: Questions I Ask When I Want To Talk About Myself: 50 Topics to Share With Friends. I had to up the card box and figure out what these things were...
  • So I pulled out a card that said: I have virtually no hobbies except dieting. On the back of the card is what looks like an excerpt from Mindy's book, followed by a conversational question: What is the most absurd celebrity-endorsed diet/exercise regimen you've tried? Any surprising lessons you still practice?
  • I think these cards are cute and she includes so many topics. I'm the girl who has 2 best friends, and then a whole bunch of other girlfriends that I see, but hardly know anything about. These cards would be a fun way to get to know them more, share some laughs, and make some of those margaritas!
  • Price Tag: $13.45 on Amazon (Prime price)


The Original BeautyBlender and BlenderCleanser
  • This was THE item I jumped for joy about! I have been reading about these pink magical sponges for months! I never dropped the dough on one because I'm pretty used to my brushes and how to use those {I'm not the most makeup savvy person} but since this came in my MustHave box, I used it with my morning beauty regimen. 
  • I used my airbrush foundation brush to apply my liquid makeup over my face and then used the BeautyBlender to blend my foundation into my skin. It seemed to work well, but I think I will need to go to YouTube and search for tutorials.
  • I do love that it came with cleanser solution. I've seen all these DIYs for homemade makeup brush cleaner, but I wouldn't know how to clean this sponge correctly. The cleaner also has a light lavender-scent and is soy based, so it should be quick to clean the sponge and leave a nice scent in the air as you clean. Again I'll need to check the website or YouTube for how often I need to clean the sponge.
  • Price Tag: $23.95 on beautyblender.net {for blender and cleanser travel set}
 Pacifica Natural Color Quench Lip Tint in Guava Berry
  • I haven't tried this yet... I just went on a shopping spree at Walgreens and bought like 5 new chapstick/lip tints. {Covergirl Natureluxe Gloss Balm was on clearance for like $3.50 each so I couldn't resist stocking up}
  • The MustHave box card insert says that it is 100% vegan sheer lip color that will keep your lips moisturized and glowing. 
  • It does smell AMAZING, and the tube has beautiful gold and fushia designs.
  • Price Tag: $7.00 from pacificaperfume.com
Charm & Chain $30 Gift Card
  • I've subscribed to this website's newsletters for a few weeks now and their jewelry is GORGEOUS! They have costume jewelry, everyday classics and also one-of-a-kind heirloom pieces. They have curated selections from a number of big designers: Lulu Frost, Dannijo. Kenneth Jay Lane, Gorjana, and more!
  • The free shipping doesn't start until you order $150, but the offer is good through the end of the year (December 31, 2013)
  • Price Tag: $30 at charmandchain.com
  • Here's what I have my eye on: 
Taner Pave Bar Necklace
Gorjana Taner Pave Bar Necklace $70
Stormy Ring
Kendra Scott Stormy Ring Set $60

Special Extra:
Tortilla Chips from Way Better Snacks
  • I've been successfully avoiding carbs for about a week now so I haven't tried these chips. I need to wait until my boyfriend gets home so when I open the bag, we can try them together. {That way I don't have all the calories and avoid some of the carbs}
  • Price Tag: $20.94 for a box of 16 bags = $1.31 per bag from gowaybetter.com
The box also came with a small PopSugar tote bag. It's just big enough to fit a book, sun hat, sunscreen and a bottle of water to take to the beach/pool. I guess you have to carry your towel, or opt for a bigger bag.

Total Worth of the Box: $111.99!!! So much more value than the $35 it cost per month.

If you are interested in signing up for PopSugar MustHave monthly boxes, use this link: http://popsu.gr/cJpa

What are your thoughts on these items? Are you going to join PopSugar? I'd love to hear your feedback!

Finally, I have to give a shout-out to Lia from SmartnSnazzy.com  because I follow her blog religiously and love it! Her blog gave me the inspiration to write these reviews and she also started doing the value breakdown before I even started blogging. Thank you, Lia!!!



My Green Smoothie

I make a green smoothie about 5 times a week as an alternative to an afternoon snack. There are TONS of recipes out there, but here's my version. My smoothie always tends to vary a bit because it depends on the produce I have in my fridge/freezer.

Ingredients:
1/2 frozen banana
2 cups fresh spinach (if you buy in bulk, freeze servings of spinach for later)
1/2 cup Orange juice (Tropicana Trop50 for less calories and sugar)
1 kiwi
1/3 mango
1 tbsp flaxseed (high in omega-3) [or use chia seeds]

Alternative/additional ingredients I sometimes add:
Peeled and cored cucumber
Honeydew melon
Mint leaves
Kale
Apple (sweeter the better, I use golden delicious)
Pineapple
Ginger (use sparingly! A little goes a LONG way)

Some tips:
- I also sometimes have to add water if it is too thick to blend. Plus it adds zero calories.
- Try to keep your fruit serving down to limit calories and sugar
- Using frozen foods means you don't need to add ice to make it colder. This also helps because you can stock up on produce when it goes on sale and freeze it for smoothies later.
- I have seen recipes that add Greek yogurt to smoothies to boost the protein, but I have not tried. I did try a protein powder once, but the one I used was super chalky and make my smoothie taste horrible!

Nutritional Value: