This article on Thrillist certainly garnered my attention today! For any of us that have been frustrated by the airlines, thanks to missed flights, delays or baggage loss, this article will certainly give us some tools to put in our toolbox for our next airline run-in.
Welcome to Playground Chatter! Our new blog series, where we get to profile and chat with some of the best executives in town! Sure, we could ask about all their fancy business stuff but since we are fun monsters, we want to know how they spend their spare time on the playground of life!
Your nickname? Dang, don’t have one – although I have been “affectionately” called many things from my team – mostly including a reference to my Lucy Ricardo moments or the multiple times I may have tripped, spilled or goofed.
What is your grown up job? Director of Sales & Marketing for La Valencia Hotel.
Tell us where you spent your childhood years. Is there one year you remember most? I grew up in Wilmington, DE, no one year but just the summers which seemed always long and lazy. I lived next to a park and tennis courts and we bounced around the courts all day long, feeling so grown up and part of the crowd – my best friend and I, with our respective crushes on Bjorn Borg [me] and Jimmy Connors [ my girlfriend].
Favorite part of the playground to hang out in? Kick ball ally
Lunch pail, brown bag or did you buy lunch? Always the brown bag – envied the lunch buyers!
What would be your ideal recess today? I swing between me on a chaise lounge with a book or a blend of activities that challenge [ like a hard hike, spin class, bootcamp ] but still has moments in between motions to bond with friends. This happens all the time, steep wind-sucking climbs and then breathtaking beauty to share, killer spin but a song comes on we all get to sing, giggles on our mats as we grunt between ab crunches.
Does your company encourage recess for their employees? Absolutely, hospitality is built around a happy welcome – personal happiness in our staff carries through and touches our guests, definitely one of our human truths of connecting through shared stories.
If I deemed you Playground Monitor for the next 15 minutes, how would you rally your employees? What activity would everyone participate in? Laughter yoga – getting all differing staff to open their arms, stretch, break down any resistance to being silly and do a little laughter yoga.
What rules did you learn on the playground that you still utilize today? Rule #1, if you don’t try to do something you will always sit on the sideline and watch. You aren’t always invited to play, so you need to self invite and get in the game.
When does time disappear for you? Talk about your hobbies. I have often said that I need longer days – more time to work, more time to play, more time to laze…….the waking part of the 24 hour day just zips by me. My current loves are being at the beach with my yellow lab Elvis Costello, pure joy and totally in the moment. My week is always revolving around how I can fit a Bikram yoga class in or connect with my spin gals whom I adore. I am an ex pastry chef so any chance I get to bake for friends and family = joy. I have had a great time doing some hikes such as part of the Appalachian Trail with my sister, and rim to rim day hike of the Grand Canyon – as well as the great San Diego trails with friends. I really need to plan events that I can challenge myself and train for, I love the anticipation as much as the event. When “at rest”, the true love for me is the hobby of quiet time, being with my husband and sweet dog, and a book – that is the most wonderful feeling.
What is one area of your life where you need more recess? Travel 🙂 life is so full, I wish that I could stop and have a month to travel to faraway places……just need more time!
What is your authentic intention (that thing that you really, really want to do or accomplish?) What are you doing to get there? Hard to explain, my most expansive goal is to harness creative talents, ideas & thoughts and use that energy to leave a mark of who I am, my own personal legacies – with work success, or with a friend that I can be more open to, a team that I can mentor. Each day I write a sentence at the top of my to do list – “set my intentions”. This grounds me, my list needs to be the tasks of work I have promised to complete, connections I need to make, projects that are due or just inspire – but at the start of every day I need to set my intention to dive in with a fearless heart, no matter what the list. A few years ago when I needed to prepare for a professional challenge, instead of spending hours memorizing data I tripped across a TED talk with Shawn Achor on the Happiness Advantage. I immediately connected, bought the book and dove into what I knew all along – the power of positive thought /psychology. It dialed back my core knee jerk mantra of work harder work more hours to reach my goal, and pointed me in the direction of connect more, be more grateful, spend more time on social connections – it redirected my path and altered my course. Now my goal has flipped to being more present in practicing the Happiness Advantage, and what I find? It brings me more success……even when I don’t finish the list, I just get up the next day and do it again.
What can you do to design your life to better incorporate more recess? (Pinky Swear). The best way for me right now, is to continue to balance hours of work vs. work hours…………….finish work and treat my personal commitments as very important appointments. We live by our meeting schedules some days, I schedule my life happiness appointments – workout and yoga class schedules, dates with my loves , my friends…………you need to commit not to break appointments with yourself. We started the playground chat talking about the concept of time, how it disappears – to capture it with playtime, get it on the schedule as unbreakable. It’s fun!
If you are reading this article, it’s more than likely between the hours of 9-5 and you are sitting at your desk (which is owned by the company), reading this on your computer (which the company provides) and taking a “break” from your “demanding” work (which the company pays you to do). From the outside, you look busy because your eyes are aimed at the screen. This should make your manager happy. The reality is that this virtual “smoke break” will not be just the standard 15-minute break from your workload. Instead, it will morph into 2.09 hours per 8-hour workday, not including your lunch break or allocated break time, according to American Online and Survey.com  That’s 2.09 hours PER employee. Now multiply that by the number of employees you see in your immediate eyesight and you realize that there is a whole lot of nothing being done each day. The research by American Online and Survey.com has shined a bright light on the fact that employees are wasting twice as much time as their employers think they are wasting. And to really add salt to the employer’s wounds, Salary.com ran the numbers and found over $750 Billion (yes, with a B!) is spent on salaries (translation= compensation for actual work) for work that was never performed. Who’s pulling a fast one on whom?
Now before the employees start muzzling me for exposing the dirty little secret, it’s important to take a look at why they are spending so much time sitting at their desks without actually producing any relevant work for their employers. Given the current economic climate, it’s easy to justify the feeling of burnout most employees are experiencing and the overwhelming inability to manage work / life balance.
53% of employees would opt for a personal assistant rather than a personal trainer. 
Only 14% of Americans take two weeks or more at a time for vacation. The average American spends more time in the bathroom than on vacation. 
88% of employees say they have a hard time juggling work and life. 
70% of working fathers and working mothers report they don’t have enough time for their children. 
64% of Americans report that time pressures on working families are getting worse, not better. 
Work is inevitable but does it mean we have to give up our personal life for the sake of a paycheck? Not at all. It just means that employers should recognize that work / life balance is a huge motivator for employees. So if you can’t beat ‘em, why not join ‘em? A corporate concierge program can bring sanity to an otherwise scattered workplace filled with unsuspecting managers overseeing unproductive workers.
Texas Instruments is a perfect example of a company that understands happy, stress-free employees make for profitable champions for the business. According to the Texas Instruments website, in 2010, their concierge program served more than 2,900 U.S. employees and fulfilled more than 8,000 requests. They also expanded on-site services, providing 1,276 employees an opportunity to save a trip away from the work site during business hours. 
Implementing a corporate concierge program equates to:
The ability to retain and recruit quality talent
A far more productive and engaged workforce
A reduction in absenteeism
A lower level of stress within the workplace
Corporate concierge programs can be operated either virtually, with employees having access to the concierge through email or a dedicated website, or on-site, where employees can interact with the concierge in a face-to-face engagement. The concierge is retained to provide a solution to the employee’s work/life balance problem.
Frequent requests include:
personal assistance and
Imagine stopping by the concierge desk in the morning on your way into work with a request for designing and planning tonight’s dinner party; only to leave the office 8 hours later armed with the necessary groceries, a customized cd for background music, a paired wine selection and personalized favors for each guest. A corporate concierge becomes the one-stop solution for the time strapped employees. Without a concierge, the employee must manage this to-do list from their own desk and their lunch hour is spent running the errands.
As the workforce begins to shift from retiring Baby Boomers to Generation X & Y prodigies, employers need to evolve. What worked “back in the day” in terms of designing a workplace is completely foreign to today’s up and comers. Gen X & Y demand instant gratification because they have grown up in a world of access.
Although this might seem extravagant to those over the age of 45, the “children are the future.” (cue Whitney Houston). I think this is what Darwin would call “survival of the fittest.” The strongest employee benefits package will become King of the Jungle. If you don’t make their life easier, I’m sure your competitor would be glad to invite them over. Now is the time to be a trailblazer and create a workplace that can be a place for a Gen X / Y’er to park themselves for a while because their work/life balance needs are met, versus just being a hop, skip and a jump on their resume.
As a native of San Diego, I have been fortunate to grow up surrounded by the beauty American’s Finest City has to offer. With our breathtaking views, growing economy and perfect weather, San Diego is home to a lifestyle found very few places on the planet.
San Diego Magazine has recently published the “27 Reasons to Love San Diego,” and I found myself nodding along as I read the article. What makes San Diego loveable is the reason we are also envied. It’s an exciting time for our region with continued growth, cultural enhancements and architecture. Gone is the little sleepy beach town with a downtown you didn’t dare enter. The enhancements to San Diego continue to impress this native. Regardless of where the planes may take me around the globe, there is no place like home!
Check out San Diego Magazine’s article by clicking on the link below:
In Chapter 1 of my book, Permission: Stop Competing & Start Creating the Life You Want to Live, I ask the reader if they are the “architect of your own life?” On the surface, it seems easy to say yes because you have checked the box on the work, the relationships and the dreams you have. But I would challenge you to probe a little deeper. Do you drive to work dreading your job? Are you in a relationship that is “fine” but not extraordinary? Just because there is nothing wrong in a relationship doesn’t mean everything is right. Are you just existing instead of thriving?
I realized that I was allowing my life to live me; which is why I found myself in a job I didn’t love, a relationship that felt like I was wearing a heavy emotional trench coat, and a life devoid of dreams. When I called my architect up for duty, things began to change. I found my voice, and with that voice came a power and internal authority that had long been missing.
Being the architect of your own life forces you to start living life, not just letting life live you. You have to be present, engaged, and always committed to a bigger cause – your personal happiness! I had to draft a blueprint, like every good architect, that illustrated what it was that I wanted to build. (Permission, Pg. 7)
Do you believe you are the architect of your own life? Do you feel present, engaged and committed to your personal happiness? Most importantly, do you feel like you live life or does life live you? Happiness is a destination only you can build.
Drop a comment below and let me know what you are doing to design the life you want to live!
One of the highlights I will take away from 2014 is my personal 30-day challenge of doing something new and unique every day. I loved committed to taking time for recess every day for 30-days straight! I was able to learn, explore and create memories.
Here’s the final list of my 30-day journey:
1. Jumped high at a trampoline park
2. Played 18-holes of soccer golf
3. Learned to knit
4. Took a tour of the new San Diego Central Library
5. Explore Leo Carillo Historic Park
6. Took an aerial silk class
7. Took a new hike in Scripps Ranch
8. Learned archery
9. Visited the Butterfly Garden at the Water Conservation
10. Learned the business of flowers at Organic Elementa
11. Attended a domestic violence fundraiser
12. Learned how to ride a dirt bike
13. Visited the Meditation Garden at the Self-Reflection Center
14. Had a head massage
15. Hiked to the top of Canyon Hills Open Space
16. Took at pizza making class at Great News Cooking School
17. Volunteered at Homecoming at USD
18. Took a swing dancing class
19. Attended the Little Italy Festa
20. Walked over the suspension bridges in Banker’s Hill
21. Took time out to meditate
22. Attended the Pit Bull & Enrique Iglesias concert
23. Took at boxing class
24. Attended a single’s event by Match.com
25. Staffed the Vista Hill Gala
26. Visited a bird sanctuary
27. Took a fall cooking class at Pirch
28. Had lunch with my prom date
29. Attended a Court Appointed Special Advocate Informational Meeting
30. Took a police ride along – 10 hour shift
I can’t recommend enough committing to a 30-day challenge – it shakes life up in a fun and exciting way!
The school bells are ringing again. Welcome to a new school year. Whether you are sending off your little one for the first time, are lamenting over the fact you now have a high school senior, or anything in between, with a new school year comes a new rhythm. If you are like most families, getting kids up and out the door is now as challenging as the schedule shuffle that takes place after school with all of the extracurricular activities kids participate in every week. Do any kids just come home after school and get time to play? No kids we know!
To help manage the craziness of the back to school grind, we offer these helpful tips:
1. It’s all about the schedule – get organized! Make sure everyone in the family has access to the same family schedule and you note every practice, game, performance, rehearsal, school nights, test dates and major projects. Don’t forget to add Mom and Dad’s schedules too. This will highlight any transportation challenges that might arise.
2. Get organized in the kitchen – after a long day at work, followed by the after-school shuffle of activities, the last thing you want to do is come home to the burden of deciding what you want to cook for dinner. Plan ahead with weekly menu planning and go old school – bring out your Crock Pot and let the cooking happen while you are away.
3. The dinner table is sacred space – put away your cell phones, turn off the tv and engage as a family. As a child, my parents created an environment where the time around the dinner table was the most memorable. It was a place where we could talk about our days, laugh at memories and talk about family issues. To this day, the whole family comes home to my parents house on Sunday nights for family dinner. It is a cherished tradition and provides a safe space where after all the running around and juggling of balls we do all week long, we know all is right with the world around the dinner table.
4. The Rapid 15! Make a game about getting organized for the next day. Set a timer for 15 minutes before bed time and challenge everyone in the family to get organized — all backpacks by the door, school clothes laid out for the next day, all sports bags and school lunches packed. You could make it a family competition and give points to the family member who can get organized in the rapid 15 the fastest.
5. Take time for you! I remember the days when my parents would actually drop us off at soccer practice and come back 2-hours later to pick us up. There was never a line of parents lined up on the sidelines just to watch our practice. Hello helicopter parents! I know my mom cherished that 2-hours she had while we were at practice; whether she ran to do errands, went home for free time or jammed to the gym to get in a workout, my mom took the time for herself. It’s perfectly fine to be the parent that just does the drop off and actually takes practice time to focus on you! Go for a run, take a yoga class, grab a coffee with a friend or just go home and enjoy the peace and quiet. We promise your soccer star is going to be just fine at practice without you watching every shot on goal!
What other tips have worked for you? We want to know! Share your tips in the comment box below!
With our new branding, comes the introduction of Ms. Henley….
Ms. Henley is the ambassador for The Henley Co. She is the magic behind the brand and she is a connoisseur of living the good life. She has her finger on the pulse for current events, unique experiences and creating a lifestyle, not just a life. When Ms. Henley gives her approval, she is endorsing a product or service of distinction.
Ms. Henley is your go-to girl. She is sophisticated, and super connected. She always knows what fun is going on, and you can always count on her to bring any event or task to the next level. She is your Wonder Woman who makes magic happen.
Ms. Henley is the extra set of hands everyone needs and their secret superhero. She is savvy and smart, poised and professional, impeccably fashionable and contemporary.
The Henley Co., through Ms. Henley, champions the spirit of its visionary founder, Nicole Matthews. The personality of Nicole is infused in this personification of the brand, and Ms. Henley represents the level of poise and creativity that everyone in the company aspires to.
Fans of the brand can spot Ms. Henley around town making magic happen. Be sure to follow her on all Henley Co. social media sites.
On July 13, 2007, The Henley Company hung out our shingle and opened the first event management AND concierge firm based in San Diego. It has been an amazing journey, and we are more excited than ever about the future. Over time, our brand and website seemed to get the seven-year itch so we decided to make a change! Without hesitation, we called up the super-talented, design-genius, Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York and asked for her creative brilliance as we started to re-brand!
You might have known us as:
But effective July 1, 2014, it’s out with the old and in with the new! We are delighted to introduce you to the NEW Henley Co!
Operating now as an event, travel and lifestyle concierge firm, Henley Co. has a new look and a beautiful new website: www.TheHenleyCompany.com We are still delivering the same level of first-rate experiences for our clients; we are just doing it now in a cuter outfit!
Check out our new site and let us know what you think! Oh, and do us a favor, invite your friends to check out our new website by posting the following on your social media accounts:
“Ready to live the life you want? Check out @HenleyCo ‘s new website www.TheHenleyCompany.com!”
Remember, the all important day to celebrate your Administrative Professional is fast approaching! Wednesday, April 23rd is the day you should be acknowledging all of the hard work your admin / secretary / executive assistant provides you all year-long!
Here’s the deal…
Tell us why your Admin is the best of the best and she/he could win 1-hour of personal concierge service!
Go to our Facebook page and nominate your Admin by tagging her/him and telling us in 140 characters or less why your Admin is fabulous!
Easy, right? Let your friends know to “Like” your story to nominate your Admin for the 1-hour of concierge services. The most compelling story plus the number of “Likes” will equal the winner!