Tuesday Truths: Making Time for Me

claudia me

This might sound strange, but I love to work. I feel important and successful when I have responsibilities and a full To-Do list. I’ve even color coded every area of my life to make sure I stay on top of everything I have to do (DFSCC is hot pink, of course).

But sometimes it just feels like I need more than 24 hours to get everything done. And because of this, I’ve started to notice my planner is lacking a very important color (light blue aka my social life and more importantly, my ME time).

I tend to prioritize work over play, and although my motivation definitely pays off in the office, it can backfire when I overcommit myself. Not only does this hurt my relationships with my friends and family, but it hurts my relationship with myself too. So, after realizing that I need to get my head out of my planner, and understanding that I’m probably not the only one with this problem, I’ve thought of a few tips to share with you on how you can balance your work life with your social life.

Find a Hobby
Spend at least 30 minutes every night doing something that you love. Whether that’s reading a good book, watching an episode of your favorite TV show, or painting the beautiful flowers in your living room! I used to paint all the time, so the other day I bought a sketch pad and some watercolors and I’ve never felt more relaxed – and my apartment has never looked better!

Face Mask Wednesdays
Tackle hump day the right way! My roommate and I decided that when things get tough, the best thing we can do for ourselves is throw on a face mask and drink some tea (or wine). Make it guilt free by adding it to your weekly schedule so you still feel satisfied checking it off of your To Do list (plus, your pores will thank you)

Get Moving
Staying active is so important when you’re stressed out! Sitting at a desk all day can really affect your mind and body. Go on a walk or hit up the yoga studio after work with some friends to feel energized and stay social at the same time. (P.S. Soul Yoga Studio has $5 classes on Fridays)

Make Mindfulness a Priority
There have been so many studies showing how Mindfulness has huge benefits in every area of your life. Before bed, spend 10 minutes laying down with your eyes closed and the lights off. Trying not to think of anything was way harder than I thought it would be, so I tried listening to a guided meditation soundtrack and it really made a difference. Getting in the routine of relaxing my mind before bed has even helped me fall asleep quicker and have a deeper night’s sleep…zZzZ

Meal Prep
I know this might not sound like the most appealing option, but trust me! Finding fun and delicious recipes can be entertaining and relaxing, and it also frees up time later in the week. Eating well is so important to keep you at your best, both mentally and physically, but it can often be pushed to the backburner for the convenience of fast food on a tight schedule. You can even make it a party and form a Meal Prep Club – get your besties on board and make your meals together every Sunday so you can have a fun (but also productive) night!

I hope you find these suggestions fun and helpful! Don’t be scared of taking time for yourself, I know it seems like there isn’t always time but trust us, these few tips really help get me and the other DFS girls excited for our weeks!

Walking Home

CT Blog 13017

Source: http://tinygreenelephants.com

So, I don’t really know who Ram Dass is. I just looked him up and apparently he is a pretty big deal. While I may not be well acquainted with his work, I like his thinking.

A little background on me: I grew up in a very competitive environment going to an all-girls private school in the mid-Atlantic region. Everything I did was measured in terms of social value: how I performed in school, what I wore last weekend, what sports team I made, etc. It was exhausting. I left with a somewhat sour taste in my mouth and excited to embrace my new life in the South (spoiler: I am so glad I’m here). Regardless of the geographical location of my house, I didn’t necessarily feel at home.

I began working at DFS Creative Concepts completely oblivious to what the real working world was like. I wasn’t sure whether to expect the competitive, no-holds-barred environment of my background. . . Or whether this company who insists on doing things a better (read: happier) way really is what it espouses itself to be. Happily, I can say the latter held true.

We love our clients and value our connections around Greenville more than we can truly express. In my time here so far, I have realized the importance of kindness. . . Especially in this industry. Of looking out for each other (whether it’s a co-worker, a vendor, a collaborator, etc.) and of treating human beings like human beings. It could be so easy to shoot off an email to someone I will probably never meet without much thought as to my tone. When working an event, it could be easy to snap at the caterers and photographers when under stressful circumstances. It’s happened to me, and I am sure I have done it to others. Dorothy has mentioned several times, “Anyone can be rude or mean. Unfortunately, that’s easy. It’s so easy to spout off without thinking, to let your attitude get in the way. But it’s much harder, more difficult, and takes more self-control to hold back and exude positivity. A true testament of a woman’s strength is not about what unkind things she can say to prove her point, but rather what KIND thing she can say to help others see things her way.”

I think I am so drawn to Dass’ quote because it highlights the profound fact that people are people. We have hard stories, broken families, ex- best friends, and tough baggage we’re towing with us everywhere. It’s inherent and true.

So here’s my Monday charge to you (and I am doing the same): Walk people home. Make them feel comfortable and loved, no matter how well you know them. Whether you’re corresponding with someone via email or text, or you are in a huge real estate development meeting with 30 c-level executives, exude kindness. Yes, work is work. But I believe that our world isn’t suited by any of us postponing joy, and exuding it.

One of my favorite song quotes from The Head and the Heart says, “You are already home where you feel loved.” So, fellow #GirlBosses, love on people today. Lead them home. Let’s be a force for good, and always remember. #YGG (You Go, Girl).

You’re One in 33 Million. Say What??

Strengths help define us just as much as weaknesses. And while we would love for the former to outweigh the latter on all occasions, that’s simply just not the case. Sometimes, our weaknesses rear their little (or big) selves right before our very eyes (unfortunately, so it would seem). . . and I learned on Tuesday at the Furman University Women in Leadership Institute that’s not entirely a bad thing. Wait, what? Weaknesses (and knowing what they are) aren’t a bad thing? Who’s moderating this institute anyway? Didn’t they get the memo: weaknesses are bad. Do I need to jump in and correct everyone? Lord help us.

But I was wrong.

Turns out, you’re not just “one in a million” as the phrase goes. In fact, technically based on the 34 strengths that we were assessed on during the first session, we are each one in thirty-three million.  Based on how we fared on our strengths (top five, top ten) and weaknesses (bottom five, bottom ten) and everything in between. . . our strengths and weaknesses make us as individual as fingerprints.

After my initial concern that 4/5 of my top strengths were in “relationship building” (I guess I’m not as well-rounded as I thought in terms of strengths), the facilitator pointed out something rather insightful out to me. (Yes, I was the girl who raised her hand, panicking that my strengths were not spread equally across the board.)

She said, “You don’t have to be strong at everything, you know. You just have to know your strengths, hone those, and find people who compliment them. THAT’s when you have a powerful situation. Whether at work, at home, or with friends. . . Find those people who compliment your strengths, such that the sum total is better than the individual parts.” Wow, thanks Dr. Kim Keefer with the Shucker Learning Institute. You pretty much blew my mind.

In a day and age where we, as women (Caro would say #GirlBosses) feel like we have to be “it all” for everyone (and trust me, there’s always someone else who needs you for something), it was somewhat freeing to realize that it’s okay not to be evenly spread across the strengths board. And that you don’t have to have it all. You can trust God, the Universe, a higher power (hey, whatever you believe – that’s your bag). . . But people are put into your life for a reason.

We then went on to list out people who we “partner” with that make us better as a whole. Luckily, this came easy to me. Apparently I know who is better at certain things than I am. (I suppose this comes from having a psychologist as a sister.) We also examined who you find yourself partnering with who might not really fit your strengths (read: takes a little bit too much, and doesn’t give back nearly what they receive).

With an office full of young women, emerging into who they become in the personal and professional world, I always try to tell them and treat them as if they are “one in a million.” I think, and don’t judge me, that once on Oprah (still sad her show is where I can’t seem to find it, but that’s another blog post). . . she interviewed someone who said “My mother treated each of us like we were her favorites, and we all felt that way.” And that’s how I designed DFS Creative Concepts. To ensure each client, collaborator and employee felt they were the very most important. That they were the one-in-a-million.

But surprisingly, and in a happy way, my people, collaborators and my clients are so much more than that. They’re one-in-thirty-three million. I’m no math genius (just ask my teachers growing up – they would see me walk in and run for dear life when I would launch into my questions), but it seems rather clear to me: we are way more special than we thought.

And it’s not only due to our strengths, but also our weaknesses, and everything in between. It all weaves together to create the fabric of who we are as people.

So for “Doses of DFS” this Friday, I guess the point of this way-too-long-post is that you’re more unique, special, and different than you think. And that’s not just because of the good stuff. But also because of the weaker parts and everything average in between.

Let’s stop thinking of ourselves as just one-in-a-million. When truly, you’re exponentially more than that.


PS: My fifth strength is strategic. And our office people have all taken the same analysis, and between all of us, we’ve got all the boxes checked as strengths. Like a puzzle, we all seem to fit together to create our little powerhouse of women, and I couldn’t feel more lucky.

Time to run, Greenville!

2017 Greenville News Run Downtown
Run, Greenville. Run!

It’s Megan here with today’s What’s Up Wednesday. Here’s a look into our weekend…

The DFSCC girls were up bright and early on Saturday morning for The Greenville News Run Downtown 5k (venti Starbucks cups in hand, of course!). We were put to work at 5 a.m. by our fearless leader and favorite #GirlBoss, Dorothy. Anything you can do we can do better and in booties, right? Right.

Our coffee cups were put aside as we set out tables for vendors (hey, Southern Pressed Juicery!) and prepared the course for the 5k.

At 9 a.m. the racers were off! The 38th annual Run Downtown began as a mass of orange dri-FIT shirts ran down Main Street. (Orange is the new black?) After just a bit more than 14 minutes, the winner was crossing the finish line. Family members and friends lined the sidewalks of Main Street to cheer their favorite runners. We were proud to see #GirlBoss Kimberly Ruck cross the finish line as the female winner!

Needless to say the only running we did that day was off to Wild Wing Cafe to celebrate another event in the books for Team DSFCC!


Oh, I just really love this

It’s time for a #ConfessionSession: I’ve been in a major funk. Nothing in my life is going particularly “wrong,” but things have not exactly felt right. I don’t feel on top of my life like I usually do, and I walk around as if I’m living in a dream. I’m not present, not joyful, and not myself.

I recently ran into a friend who asked how my day was going. But she’s the kind of friend who gives me that look that says, “No, really. How are you actually doing?” (love those kinds of girls). I told her about my mental rut I couldn’t seem to cure, and to my surprise, she revealed that she felt the exact same way. I was immediately surprised yet comforted. My sweet friend, who has her life together better than Oprah, was also just not feeling it.

Here’s what I, and every #GirlBoss out there, needs to remember: #GirlBosses are human, too. Life does not slow down for any #GirlBoss. In fact, life will kick our butts harder and harder because we refuse to allow those tough days to get to us. As #GirlBosses, we feel the need to triumph over those inevitable days that just bite. We are resistant to emotions and keep running through our schedules when we should consider jogging.

If there is anything I have learned since working at DFS Creative Concepts, it is the importance of balance. Feelings are meant to be felt and bad days are meant to be had. There is no weakness in sitting on your boss’ couch and telling her about what’s wrong (only if your boss is as cool as Dorothy, of course). Hard times have no power over you. Let out your thoughts so you can get your head back in the game. It’s so worth it, I promise.
I love this little quote above because I am almost positive Dorothy has said this to me word-for-word. If you are also in a rut and are having a hard time finding the value behind what you are doing, stop. Take a walk. Call your friend from out of town. Eat your favorite feel-good meal. Put on a cute outfit and lots of pink lipstick. Walk with this mantra: You are brave, you are brilliant, and oh so resilient.

Dressing drinks and finding a ‘better way’

So, I kind of feel like I’m in group therapy. “My name is Dorothy…” and Caroline (my faithful comrade at DFSCC) is making me do these “Doses of DFS” on Fridays. And I couldn’t be more out of my comfort zone. I don’t even like looking into photos directly unless a photographer forces me to. As extroverted as I might seem, I actually test on the extreme introvert side of the spectrum. Nobody ever believes me, so I have to pull the results up on my phone. Extrovert by trade, introvert by nature. 

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I believe in the power of mornings

I believe in the power of mornings. It makes sense, right? How you chose to start your day is a huge indicator of how that day will go. I may be biased (I am a total morning person), but there is nothing better than a calm, productive, and invigorating morning.

I recently read an interesting article on the morning routines of various successful women on www.mydomaine.com. Hoping to be a #GirlBoss, I was curious to learn about how current #GirlBosses start their busy days. Creepy? Maybe. Inspiring? Absolutely.

At DFS Creative Concepts, our fearless leader is our head #GirlBoss. Not only is she our Founder and Principal, but she is a wife, a mother, a friend, an innovator, and a mentor. Dorothy Freeman Self truly does it all. How does she start each day prepping for all that’s on her agenda? Keep on reading. Continue Reading

I Think You Should Just Go For It

i think you should just go for it

source: lovesurf.com

We agree. And this is exactly what we’re doing.

On a side street in the West Village of Greenville, South Carolina, sits an unimposing building with a rather bland exterior and a wooden dumpster by the front door. Open that door, however, and you are instantly greeted by colors, patterns, and creativity. Continue Reading