5 Financial Mistakes College Grads Make

5 Financial Mistakes College Grads Make (and How to Avoid Them)

With graduation season coming to a close, college students around the world have happily thrown their caps into the air, ready to rush headfirst into the “real world.” In fact, according to a recent survey by Accenture, the class of 2015 is one of the most optimistic in years.

But new grads may want to temper their expectations after landing that coveted first job. The majority of their millennial peers from the classes of 2013 and 2014 made $25,000 a year or less at their first jobs. What’s more, the average 2015 grad has more student loan debt than any class that preceded them.

How can you keep a positive outlook while dealing with the realities of the economy? When every penny counts, a smart financial strategy can keep you on track, while anything less could have a disastrous effect. Here are five common mistakes college grads should avoid:

1. Not having a financial plan.
Creating a strategy for managing your money is key, no matter what your salary. One common route is to engage a certified financial planner (CFP) to help you devise a plan. Unlike a financial advisor, CFPs typically don’t care about your net worth — most charge a one-time fee for creating a financial road map based on your current situation and future goals. For a more cost-effective CFP, ask your parents if they use someone who might give you a family discount, or look for a CFP who is at an early stage in her career.

2. Going on a spending spree.
When you score your first job, it’s tempting to splurge. Goodbye ramen noodles, hello prime rib! However, having a “pay yourself first” mentality is how you’ll eventually build wealth. Splurging on the latest iPhone or a new car seems like a way to enjoy the benefits of landing a first job, but research shows that spending money on experiences (not things) actually boosts happiness in the long run. Plus, many “quiet millionaires” will tell you that those habits can turn small change into big bucks.

3. Letting student loan debt overwhelm you.
Student loan debt is pretty much a fact of life these days, even for families with high incomes. Heck, even President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama had thousands of dollars in student loan debt when they graduated from their Ivy League colleges (and things turned out pretty well for them).

The worst thing you can do is put your head in the sand and pretend your student loans don’t exist — because they’re not going away by themselves. Take charge of your loans by proactively looking into new solutions for dealing with debt. For example, if your loan payment is overwhelming your paycheck, check out income-driven and extended repayment plans for your federal student loans. And if you’ve landed a well-paying gig and have taken great care of your credit, you may be able to refinance student loans at a lower interest rate, reducing payments and saving money on interest to boot.

4. Neglecting to take advantage of free and low-cost tools.
There’s a reason why “there’s an app for that” has become such a ubiquitous catchphrase. These days, it seems like there’s an app, tool, or website designed to help people do pretty much anything — and managing finances is no exception. Whether your goal is to create and stick with a budget, invest in the stock market, or get a handle on yourstudent loan debt, there are a ton of great tools out there to help you achieve your objectives.

5. Not finding a financial mentor.
You may have already been advised to find a mentor for your career, and this tip can also help you in your financial life. The great thing about mentors is that they’ve already been through it, so you can tap their experience without having to reinvent the wheel. Whether your mentor is someone you never talk to — like Warren Buffett — or someone you meet with on a quarterly basis, like a family friend whose advice you trust, there’s a lot of free financial advice out there. You just need to take the time to ask.

Photo: Getty Images

8 Must Have Body Language Tips for New Grads

8 Must-Have Body Language Tips for New Grads

We’ve talked about the importance of body language time and time again. You can talk the talk, but it doesn’t matter at all unless you can walk the walk when it comes to how you present your body. We’re not just talking posture, but everything from your handshake, the way you walk, to what you do with your feet at a table. Of course, for a lot of us, you have to learn how to perfect your body language. There’s an art to it. Though you may have taken public speaking in college and honed a few tips, there’s a lot of body language skills you need for just basic daily career situations. We talked with renowned body language expert Carol Goman about some of her most essential body language tips for new grads in the workforce.

1. Fix your posture.

Goman says this is essential for your first job. She cites research at Harvard and Columbia Business Schools that show that by simply holding your body in expansive, “high-power” poses (aka the Wonder Woman, which Amy Cuddy first mentioned in her famous TED Talk) for as little as two minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone—the hormone linked to power and dominance—and lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. “Try this when you’re feeling tentative, but want to appear more confident. In addition to causing hormonal shifts in both males and females, these poses lead to increased feelings of power and a higher tolerance for risk.” Basically your physical posture can literally change how not only people perceive you, but also how you feel. A study found that people who sat up straight were more likely to believe the positive comments they wrote about their qualifications for a job. Those who were slumped over their desks were less likely to accept their own statements as valid.

2. Open up.

Uncross your arms and legs. Yes, it may be more comfortable to sit with your arms crossed, but then you seem defensive. Plus, and this is something women notoriously do, but when you cross your arms and legs you make yourself smaller, which puts you in the opposite of a high power pose. Your testosterone will automatically decrease and then cortisone will quickly increase.

3. Squeeze a ball in your left hand.

Another tip that works especially well for athletes is to squeeze a ball in your left hand, Goman says. “When seasoned athletes underperform they may be focusing too much on their movements (which, for right handed people, is a right hemisphere brain function) rather than relying on the automatic motor skills developed through years of practice (which are associated with left hemisphere function). Research found that athletes who squeezed a ball in their left hand performed better and were less likely to choke under pressure.” This is something super easy you can do while sitting at your desk.

4. Back, back, back it up.

Literally stepping backwards will help you, Goman says. Research at Radboud University, Netherlands, showed how backward motion was a powerful way to enhance cognitive control. The researchers found that when people encounter a difficult situation, getting them to step back boosted their confidence and ability to cope.

5. A little touch.

Some people just naturally touch people more. If you aren’t one of these people, work on it. Goman points out that touching someone on the arm, hand, or shoulder for as little as 1/40 of a second creates a human bond. “In the workplace, physical touch and warmth are established through the handshaking tradition, and this tactile contact makes a lasting and positive impression. Studies show that people are two times more likely to remember you if you shake hands with them. The researchers also found that people react to those with whom they shake hands by being more open and friendly—which is definitely a confidence builder!”

6. Smile.

Not like a creepy forced smile, but a genuine smile can make a real difference. Goman says it not only stimulates your own sense of well-being, but it also conveys to those around you that you’re approachable, cooperative, and trustworthy. “A genuine smile comes on slowly, crinkles the eyes, lights up the face, and fades away slowly. Most importantly, smiling directly influences how other people respond to you. When you smile at someone, they almost always smile in return. And, because facial expressions trigger corresponding feelings, the smile you get back actually changes that person’s emotional state in a positive way,” she says.

7. Hand jive.

Get those hands moving! Broca’s area in the brain, which helps produce speech, is active when we’re talking and when we make gestures with our hands. This is great news for those of you that tend to use your hands when you talk. It actually helps you form clearer thoughts, Goman says.

8. Keep it down.

Before a big phone call or interview, Goman says keep your lips together and make the sounds “um hum, um hum, um hum.” Also, and this is especially for women, practice to make sure your sentences don’t end on a higher pitch. Be authoritative. Try to keep your voice low. Think Johnny Cash.

Photo Credit: Photo: Lily Roadstones / Getty Images


The Brief: Angelina Jolie Can Now Add Professor To Her Resume

Professor Jolie

Is there anything Angelina Jolie can’t do? The actress and humanitarian can now add London School of Economics Professor to her resume. She will serve as a visiting professor next year. She will teach a Master’s course on women, peace and security, which will be run by the school’s Centre for Women, Peace and Security. Jolie and William Hague, Britain’s former foreign secretary, launched the center in 2015. “It is vital that we broaden the discussion on how to advance women’s rights and end impunity for crimes that disproportionately affect women, such as sexual violence in conflict,” Jolie, a special envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, said in a statement on Monday, May 23.  “I am looking forward to teaching and to learning from the students, as well as to sharing my own experiences of working alongside governments and the United Nations.” We’re not sure how well people will concentrate in the class, but it should be a good one especially if Brad drops in. (RELATED: 8 Successful People’s Advice for Soon-to-Be Grads)



Think you know what millennials need and want? Well, then you could be very rich soon. Companies like Oracle, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. and Time Warner Inc.’s HBO are hiring millennial consultants and paying them $20,000 an hour to tell them how to keep millennials the happiest of employees. “There is somewhat of a disconnect between young people, their hopes, goals and expectations, and what companies think young people want,” Lindsay Pollak, who has advised Estée Lauder Cos., Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. and LinkedIn Corp, told The Wall Street Journal. “I see my role as a translator.” And apparently it isn’t all about giving millennials free food and foosball tables. It really comes down to how their managers communicate with them like advising clients to take out numbers from internal presentations because millennials prefer stories to data. (RELATED: What 5 Millennials Learned From Working Abroad)


Selfie Affliction

Think you look really good in that selfie? Think again. According to a new study, people who tend to take a lot of selfies think they are way more attractive than they actually are. Researchers at the University of Toronto looked at 198 college students, 100 of who reported being regular selfie-takers. The subjects were asked to take a selfie and then a picture taken by someone else. The subjects were asked to rate their photos as were 178 members of the public. The selfie takers thought they were more attractive in their own photos while the independent raters didn’t think so. Plus, regular selfie-takers were also judged as looking “significantly more narcissistic” than the non-selfie-takers. Not sure if we needed a study to clarify that, but maybe now you’ll ask someone to take a group picture instead of you just doing a selfie. Remember, just say no to duck face. (RELATED: How to Take a Professional Selfie)

Levo Loves…

Well Adele had a good weekend. The singer has reportedly signed a $130 million contract with Sony Music, the biggest record deal in history for a British musician. During last night’s Billboard Music Awards, Adele took home five trophies for the album, including Top Artist. She also released her second new music video from the album for the song, “Send My Love” during Sunday’s ceremony.

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The WhoWhatWear Founders On Why You Need To Look for the “Yin To Your Yang” in a Business Partner

Watson and Crick, Simon and Garfunkel, Bert and Ernie: They were all great partnerships. And another one that could easily make that list are Hillary Kerr and Katherine Power, the Co-CEOs of Clique Media Group (Who What Wear, MyDomaine, Byrdie, Obsessee.) These women turned a little blog site into a media empire in just 10 short years and now they are sharing their career advice in the new book The Career Code: Must-Know Rules for a Strategic, Stylish, and Self-Made Career. This is one of those career bibles that should rightfully take a place on your shelf next to Lean In and #Girlboss as it goes over everything from resume and cover letter tips (the right font choice is imperative) to email emotions to finding that perfect interview outfit.

They also know quite a bit about the power of a strong partnership. At a recent talk in Manhattan they talked about the essentialness of being able to work well when you are building a company. Both women took a chance on eachother as they hadn’t been friends for long. The two had worked together at Elle Magazine briefly when Power came up with the idea for WhoWhatWear. Power said, “I needed someone who could write cause I couldn’t. All though I was an editor I was not a writer. She was, I mean, still is, such an amazing writer so I called her up and said, ‘Hey I kinda want to do this thing and it’s like trend reports on the internet and we’ll send it in a newsletter everyday, but I need someone to write it. I can find the photos and put the products together but do you want to do it?’ And she said, ‘Sure!’ And I was like, “No, but I’m really serious. It’s OK if you don’t want to do it but I need you to really commit,’ and she said, ‘Sure.’ And she was super dedicated from then on out.”

Dedication is definitely a must, but also having complementary skills. Though you may think starting a company with someone who thinks the same way and agrees with you on most topics would be useful in a cofounder, it can backfire. You need that difference of opinions to balance things out. Kerr said, “I think always the fact too that we’ve always been yin and yang in that Kathleen in the beginning was so cool and wanted to put the cool things on [the site], but I was like, ‘Yeah, but for the rest of us what about we add a little of this in too?’ She kept us edgy and I actually like factored in the real world. We always had that combination of sensibilities where if it had just gone super edgy I don’t think it would have had as many people and if it had just been like, ‘Everything’s great!’ it wouldn’t have worked either. I think it goes back to the fact that we have very different strengths, but ultimately we realize to appreciate those qualities.”

Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Clique Media Group



The Morning Routines of 7 of Our Favorite Mentors

There are so many amazing women out there we would love to be our mentors. They have different career paths and stories but one question we would ask all of them is what they do for their morning routine. After all, a great morning routine can really set the tone for your day. Here is the AM routine of a few of our favorite mentors.

Barbara Bush

The co-founder and CEO of Global Health Corps starts her morning off with fitness, but first she writes down three things she’s grateful for (that may be even a little better than Instagram.) Then she takes a run along the West Side Highway. Next it’s time for iced coffee at her local shop where they have her order waiting, along with a protein shake.

Tory Burch

The fashion designer has a surprisingly low-maintenance morning beauty routine. She told Into The Gloss, “In the morning I usually walk out the door with a wet head, put my hair in a low ponytail and go out for the day—not very exciting. I don’t blow dry my hair, except when I go to a party, just so it’s a little bit more presentable. I prefer the look of my hair when it dries naturally—not too perfect or too straight.”

Kerry Washington

The Scandal star scans the news post-workout while rehydrating with some coconut water. Unlike Thatcher though, she relies on social media. “Breaking news always hits Twitter first,” she tells Self.

Joanna Coles

The Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan, walks her dog before 7:30 a.m., even on weekends, to get her day started. “She’ll start walking round the room, and then I will get up and take her out for a walk. I normally walk her for about an hour in the morning. It’s the only time of day I get to myself.”

Lauren Bush

The CEO and co-founder of Feed Projects told The Cut, “If my baby is awake, I’ll go love on him for a little while. On good days, I normally start with a workout. It could be a class or going to the gym or running outside. It varies. And then I’ll definitely try to play about 40 to 45 minutes with my baby.” She says she doesn’t always eat breakfast, but does always make sure to get a morning latte.

Katherine Power

The Co-Founder and CEO of Clique Media uses working out first thing to brainstorm. “Exercise wakes me up and gets my juices flowing. I get my best ideas working out or on a drive back from the gym to the house,” Power tells Self. “Well, I obsess on them the whole class. And then I got to my car and I open my Notes on my phone, and I either type it or make a call to somebody who will listen to me at 7 in the morning.”

Arianna Huffington

The Founder of Huffington Post says, “A big part of my morning ritual is about what I don’t do: When I wake up, I don’t start the day by looking at my smartphone. Instead, once I’m awake, I take a minute to breathe deeply, be grateful, and set my intention for the day.”

Photo: Getty Images


How To Find a Mentor in 4 Steps

When I first heard my friend Rachel speak at a women’s networking brunch, she seemed unattainably cool and accomplished—she had two books under her name and a killer résumé. Rachel had so much going for her that I wasn’t sure if she’d want to chat with an aspiring writer, but I approached her anyway, attempting to strike up a conversation. To my surprise, she agreed to meet with me one-on-one, and before I knew it, we were brainstorming writing projects over dinner and swapping stories about our editors.

I’m pretty lucky to have someone to bounce ideas off and help keep my career on track, but there are countless other smart, successful women who would also make good mentors. Here’s how to find them:

Get out there. Go to events in your industry and ask intelligent questions. Research the speaker or panelists in advance to see if they attended your alma mater or worked with one of your colleagues. This information can be a good icebreaker. Once you’ve started chatting them up, remember that your goal is not to tell them your life story or how much you’re dying to work for their company. Just get permission to follow up, and let them move on, because there are countless others wanting to make a connection.

Don’t limit yourself by industry. People in other fields can be helpful too. For example, if your goal is to open a spa, then a restaurant owner or a real estate agent might know what obstacles you’ll face or where the high-traffic neighborhoods are. Regardless of their focus, successful people know how to navigate office politics and negotiate their salary, so they can help in those areas. Plus, you may want to switch careers someday and you’ll have a head start by knowing people in many fields.

Think beyond your backyard.
Just because you live in Phoenix and your role model is from Philly, don’t be discouraged. You’ve got an e-mail account, don’t you? You can get—and stay—in touch online. I’ve done this with several women I admire and all of them have been flattered, generously giving their advice and support over e-mail. Keep the conversation going by congratulating them on their new book release or e-mailing an interesting article they may not have seen.

Be appreciative. Most successful women are willing to help young women who have lots of potential, but mentors should also get something out of the relationship. Show your gratitude by sending a thank-you note when you land a new job or offer to pay for her coffee when you talk shop. Or ask if there’s any way you can help her. You might recommend a great new restaurant for her client dinner or show her how to upload photos from her digital camera. It’ll foster goodwill and show your mentor that she can call upon your expertise every once in a while, too.


The Brief: Low Phone Battery Anxiety is Actually a Thing Now So You’re Good

Girls Who Code

Look out STEM fields. You’ve got some, young smart ladies coming your way. According to test results for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) which is administered to 21,500 students across 800 public and private schools measuring engineering and technology aptitude, girls outperformed boys in the eighth grade. Girls scored three points higher than boys overall (45 points to 42)— which is great to see as boys typically score higher than girls in math and science testing, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Female students also did better than males when the questions were related to communication and collaboration and information and communication technology. “It is clear that girls have the abilities and critical thinking skills to succeed in tech and engineering,” said Peggy Carr, acting commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, which collects and analyzes education data under the federal government. This shows that girls have the aptitude, but what needs to happen is to keep them wanting to pursue these interests in high school, college and beyond. (RELATED: Levo’s STEM Salary Report)


Totally Draining

We’ve all been there. You look over at your phone and see you are down to just a sliver of battery power. You are in the LB zone and now you are having a full-blown anxiety attack. Like the Wicked Witch melting-type breakdown. But don’t worry, you aren’t alone. Ninety percent of people deal with “Low battery anxiety” on a daily basis, according to a new survey from LG. It’s not exactly a disorder, but at least you aren’t alone. LG even broke down what the symptoms of this affliction were: Asking to use the charger of a total stranger (how else do people make friends these days?), stealing secretly borrowing someone’s charger (and then lose new friends), and skipping the gym to charge your phone (how could you concentrate on working out when THERE IS A SITUATION HAPPENING.) So basically we resort to being friendly, stealing and neglect of our health. It’s basically The Hunger Games. (RELATED: 6 Women With Awesome Jobs in Technology)


Binge Problems

Thinking of binge watching Netflix this weekend (they released the first poster for the Gilmore Girls reboot!!) but feeling bad cause it may be nice weather. Well we suggest getting outside and seeing some friends, even if you decided this was the weekend to become a fan of all British television. Cordcutting analyzed Netflix-supplied numbers with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey and found that since on average we are watching 100 minutes of Netflix on a daily basis. This means that less than 40 minutes a day are dedicated to socializing and communicating and only 18 minutes on relaxing/thinking and exercising. Whoa. That is a lot of serious couch time. So get outside and be with the three dimensional people this weekend. (RELATED: Career Inspiration Courtesy of Netflix)

Levo Loves…

That the first promo for the Gilmore Girls reboot is here!! Where you lead, we will follow!

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10 Reasons You Should Bike to Work

May just happens to be National Bike Month and today is Bike to Work Day is Friday. So clearly the world is trying to tell you to get pedaling. Though the weather, crazy drivers and not showing up to work dripping sweat can be some things you have to think about, riding your bike to work is actually totally doable. According to Bolt Insurance Agency, over 750,000 Americans use bicycles as their primary means of commuting daily. The benefits you get from biking are amazing. Here are just a few:

1. You don’t need to go to the gym if you bike back and forth to work.

I mean, you absolutely can, but unless you live directly next to your office you’re probably getting a pretty decent workout. According to Women’s Health magazine, a 135-pound woman pedaling 12 to 14 miles an hour blasts 488 calories in 60 minutes. Boom! Plus, your legs will look fabulous. Just in time for summer.

2. You can do it in heels.

Yes, ideally you should do it in sneakers, but more and more women are biking to work in heels. Heels on bikes? That’s madness! But according to a number of women, heels are great for bike riding. Cyclists were encouraged and challenged to wear their “Sunday best” while biking to work. Lauren Gerrie told the Public Bikes Blog, “In fact, it makes wearing heels that much easier because your feet hurt less from not having to walk around. I put together my outfits based around the assumption that I will be riding my bike. This opens my world of options up tenfold. I tell you what, a girl cannot stand/walk around this city in four inch stilettos for that long, but she sure as hell can ride in them for hours on end.”

3. It boosts your energy for the day.

A study published in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found that bike riding improved energy levels by 20 percent and decreased fatigue by 65 percent. If that isn’t a great way to start your day, I don’t know what it is!

4. It saves you dinero.

Initially, buying the bike may be a little expensive, but chances are you already own one. It costs just $308 per year to keep bikes in shape.This is about 30 times less than cars, according to the Sierra Club. Plus, you will be saving money if you bike ride instead of belonging to a gym.

5. Your commute won’t kill you or hurt the earth as much.

Riding a bike is much better for your physical and mental health than driving or even taking the bus or subway. According to a new study by the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, the longer people have to be in a car, train or bus to get to work, the more miserable they feel. Have you ever heard of anyone feeling miserable or cramped or had to smell a person’s morning breath after a bike ride? Swallowing the occasional bug is the most annoying thing you may have to deal with on a bike commute.

Plus think of all the cutbacks on fuel emissions. Everyone will be breathing better because of you!

6. The health benefits are especially good for women.

I know we keep going back to health, but according to all these studies, biking to work will literally turn you into Wonder Woman. According to Women’s Health, heart disease is the number-one killer of women in this country. The two top risk factors for that are high blood pressure and high LDL cholesterol. In one study, researchers had 32 women ride at a moderate to high intensity three times a week for at least half an hour. After a year, they’d lowered their blood pressure and LDL. Not too shabby.

Plus, researchers from a Swedish university found middle-aged women were less likely to sustain wrist fractures if they commuted by bike. Fend off that osteopersosis!

7. You get tax reimbursements if you bike.

Starting in January 2012, cyclist commuters have been entitled to a $20 per month tax-free reimbursement for bike-related expenses if they bike three or more days to work.

8. You can wear cute accessories!

Who says you have to look goofy when you bike? Just like every kind of exercise, accessories for this sport have had a rad makeover. You can get sleek helmets, fun baskets (some will even carry your dog if you work in a really cool office), a computer to tell you speed and time, a comfy seat cover, and even a wine rack!!

9. It actually may help you be better at your job.

Cycling raises productivity. Exercising before work raises an employee’s productivity by an average of 15 percent! Forget coffee, you’ve got a bike with a bell! And for you managers, you may want to think about installing some sort of bike support program. This could include easy and safe places for employees to store their bikes, allow employees to walk around in bike clothes, sponsor workshops, or get certified in becoming a Bike Friendly Workplace. Find out more information here.

10. It could motivate a major career change.

Biking to work may make you realize you are up for a career change like Olympic cyclist Evelyn Stevens. She was working as a Wall Street investment banker and started racing bicycles on the side. She ended up quitting her desk job and headed to the London Olympics to represent the U.S. You never know!

Do you bike to work now, or plan to in the future? Tell us in the comments!

Photo: Getty Images


The Brief: You’ll Never Believe What People Think is the Best Job Ever


Doctors and bloggers are basically the same (someone please go back and tell all my pre-med professors), according to 369 people. Blogger, general practice physician, CEO, and teacher were voted the best jobs in a new CareerCast opinion poll with 369 respondents. The survey considered salary, environment, outlook and stress factors to determine who came out on top and who came in last. Apparently find the idea of creating your own hours and writing listicles about Ryan Gosling’s different faces thinking deep thoughts at your computer sounds pretty darn cool. Of course, people still think it would also be pretty amazing to save lives on a daily basis and teach the youth of America. However, at the same time general practice physician and teacher also made the worst jobs list. Other professions voted among the worst include telemarketer, garbage collector, and assembly line worker. When asked what their “dream job” would be, readers wrote in CEO, photographer, veterinarian, and oddsmaker. Being a member of the Kardashian family was also listed as an improbable dream job. (Related: Your New Dream Job Might Be In Your Living Room)


Bright Lights, Bigger Waistline

We know that looking at your phone or tablet as you go to sleep (they are the grownup equivalent of a lullaby these days it seems) is bad for your REM cycle in addition to productivity. But wait, it gets worse. It turns out staring at screens may also make you gain weight. According to a new study published in the journal PLOS One, being exposed to bright light for three hours per day (as opposed to dim light) altered the participants’ metabolic function by increasing their insulin resistance. This makes you more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. And if you use your phone as your blankie in bed then you are really messing with your metabolism as evening exposure led to higher peak glucose levels which leads to body fat. If you aren’t quite ready to fall asleep when you crawl into bed there are these things called books you can also try. (Related: 7 Real Life Truths About Unplugging from Technology)


What’s in a Name?

Part of the fun of going to Starbucks is when they come up with a name to write on your cup that somewhat resembles yours ,but then really not at all. My favorite’s for mine have been “Meredeath,” “Mercedes,” Merelala,” “Melody,” “Muggle,” and “Merch.” But what if there was a coffee shop where they didn’t take your names but still somehow got your order right? In fact, at the Starbucks in Langely, VA AKA CIA headquarters baristas aren’t allowed to ask for names (why wasn’t this Starbucks included in the plot of the film Zero Dark Thirty? I guess they had more important things to focus on, but whatevs.) According to Cosmo, the nine baristas had to undergo intense background checks before getting the OK to work at the top-secret location. They associate drink orders with each individual. “There’s ‘caramel-macchiato guy’ and ‘the iced white mocha woman’… But I have no idea what they do. I just know they need coffee, a lot of it,” one barista told the Post. Glad to know the people protecting our country are getting their mini frappucinos in a speedy amount of time. (Related: 5 Ways to Make a Coffee Chat Count)

Levo Loves…

Éclair Naturals new, pure body care range which partnered with actress and author Jennifer Esposito. It’s GMO-free, gluten-free, soy-free, cruelty-free and vegan!

Also if you live in Boston or Houston please attend our Local Levo Event with The Limited on May 20! Join us for an inspiring night of career insights and learning in this special “The New Look of Leadership” event in partnership with The Limited! We’ll be exploring the qualities at the heart of the “new” leader and provide practical tools for tapping into your own leadership. Find out more here. 

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8 Successful People's Advice for Soon-to-Be Grads

8 Successful People’s Advice for Soon-to-Be Grads

While you’re savoring each and every moment of your last few days or so before graduation (and I hope you are!), you’re probably also job hunting, interviewing, looking for a decent apartment, and casually but not casually at all trying to figure out what the hell to do with your life. It’s natural to look for some direction in such an emotional, uncertain time, but you know as well as I do that the more people you ask, the more opinions you get.

I say take it from the best of the best—the people who have reached the top of their fields, people whose lives you respect and want to emulate. Here, everyone from Sheryl Sandberg to Stephen Colbert share brilliant insight to hold onto in the month ahead (and beyond), and they’ll also reassure you that yes, everything is going to be okay.

1. Sheryl Sandberg: Get on a rocket ship.

At her Harvard commencement address in 2012, Sheryl told her story of moving to Silicon Valley and looking for a job. She received a few offers, including one from Google to become their first business unit general manager. It sounds like an amazing opportunity now, but as she put it, “at the time, no one thought consumer Internet companies could ever make money.” So she sat down with Google’s new CEO, Eric Schmidt, who told her not to be an idiot: “Get on a rocket ship. When companies are growing quickly and they are having a lot of impact, careers take care of themselves. And when companies aren’t growing quickly or their missions don’t matter as much, that’s when stagnation and politics come in. If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.” Definitely something to keep in mind as you’re making decisions about your first job.

2. Conan O’Brien: Don’t fear failure.

Another Harvard commencement address, another fantastic piece of advice. Conan O’Brien spoke about the fear of failure, positing that “your biggest liability is your need to succeed.” He recalled, “I left the cocoon of Harvard, I left the cocoon of Saturday Night Live, I left the cocoon of The Simpsons. And each time it was bruising and tumultuous. And yet every failure was freeing, and today I’m as nostalgic for the bad as I am for the good. So that’s what I wish for all of you—the bad as well as the good. Fall down. Make a mess. Break something occasionally. Know that your mistakes are your own unique way of getting to where you need to be. And remember that the story is never over…I will go now to make bigger mistakes and to embarrass this fine institution even more.”

3. Carol Bartz: The economy is cyclical, and your career is long.

Granted, the job market is looking better for you than it was when Bartz gave this speech back in 2012, but the gloom-and-doom headlines about Millennials are still going strong! “Look past the gloom and doom headlines, and actually don’t believe that the events of today are the ones that are going to shape your future. Because your work life is very, very long. You’re the first generation that is preparing for a 50-year work life…so think of it as a chance to find and discover new things. If you start a job or business this summer or fall or a year from now, you’re going to realize how much runway you actually have. In the past, people talked about career ladders, and that’s what work felt like. If you were lucky, and you were diligent, and you sucked up and all that stuff, you went up the ladder. Do you want to do that? No. First of all, ladders are very unstable. Do a career pyramid so you have a great base, you can change your mind, you can do a lot of different things.”

4. Maria Shriver: Be present now. 

Don’t get so caught up in what comes after graduation that you can’t enjoy your last few weeks in the fabulous place you’re sitting right now. “It’s like what we’re doing at this precise moment doesn’t even exist,” Shriver said. “Everyone is focused on the next thing. Everyone is racing to the Next Thing. Well, I got caught up in that for a really long time—so much so, that I could never really enjoy what I WAS doing, because I was always worried about what I was going to be doing.” Don’t fall into that trap. When people ask what your next move is, don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know. I’m just enjoying this time right now.”

5. David Foster Wallace: You construct your reality. 

In the greatest commencement speech of all time, “This Is Water,” David Foster Wallace gifted the world with a perspective I think about on a daily basis: “Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed.” Just take it from me and watch the whole thing.

6. Stephen Colbert: Say yes. 

Also the dominant theme in Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please!, “just say yes” is one of the most important tenets of improvisation. Go along with whatever your scene partner does, and then contribute something of your own. “Well, you are about to start the greatest improvisation of all,” Colbert said. “With no script. No idea what’s going to happen, often with people and places you have never seen before. And you are not in control. So say ‘yes.’ And if you’re lucky, you’ll find people who will say ‘yes’ back.” Sure, that may cause you to be a fool at times, he said, but always be a fool rather than a cynic. “Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying ‘yes’ begins things. Saying ‘yes’ is how things grow. Saying ‘yes’ leads to knowledge. ‘Yes’ is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say ‘yes.’”

7. Jennifer Lee: Don’t give in to self-doubt.

If there’s anyone I want to take inspirational advice from, it’s the director of Frozen, am I right? At the University of New Hampshire last year, Lee said, “If I learned one thing, it is that self-doubt is one of the most destructive forces. It makes you defensive instead of open, reactive instead of active. Self-doubt is consuming and cruel. And my hope today is that we can all collectively agree to ban it. … Think to the moments of your life when you forgot to doubt yourself. When you were so inspired that you were just living and creating and working. Pay attention to those moments because they’re trying to reach you through those lenses of doubt and trying to show you your potential.”

8. Robert Krulwich: Don’t just send resumes and wait. 

This is one of the most important pieces of advice for anyone in the job searching process: don’t be someone who waits. Krulwich explained that there are people who diligently send out resumes to all the important people and wait for a response. They may even be fantastic resumes. “But there are some people who don’t wait. I don’t know exactly what going on inside them, but they have this … hunger. It’s almost like an ache. Something inside you says, ‘I can’t wait to be asked I just have to jump in and do it.’” Be that person.

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