Alyssa J Cori

February 24, 2021

How To Reinforce Personal Development

I didn't write last week because I got my wisdom teeth out last Monday and was still in recovery mode. It was a smooth and easy process for me, though I do still have some pain and soreness with one tooth. Hoping I'll be fully back to normal soon!
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Here are the best tips to reinforce what you learn and make sure you are implementing personal development techniques


A focus of this blog has always been personal development, but I haven't shared anything new on that front in quite some time. What I've realized is that while there are always new skills to be learned, one of the most important things you can do for yourself is reinforcement. Today I want to share how I reinforce and incorporate the knowledge and skills I work so hard to obtain and how you can too. 

How are you learning and saving information

There are a few key ways that I learn new skills: books, podcasts, and courses (check out my favorites for salespeople here). First it's important to think about how you are learning so that you can set yourself up for success with retention. Let's look at how you can capture the information you are learning in each of these categories.
  • Books. Highlighting, underlining, and writing notes in the margin/on your Kindle are all great ways to save the information you are learning from books. I also like to jot down notes in a running notebook I have to save what I learn. 
  • Podcasts. My favorite way to save information from podcasts is to create playlists to revisit. You can also write down your key takeaway and the episode you heard to revisit later. 
  • Courses. For courses I have the tendency to save notes digitally and have a Google Drive folder for all of the screenshots and notes I take. 
Once you figure out the best way to record what you learn, it's time to think about putting it into action. 

Consider the skill and how you can use it in your daily life

There are two broad categories that I focus my development on: personal and professional. For either of these areas of life, when I learn a new skill or technique I try to think of examples where I could have used it in the past and where I could use it in the future. For example, if I learn a new objection handling technique for my sales career I'll think about when I'd encountered a similar objection previously and how this new method could have produced a different outcome. Then I'll think about how I could try this new technique in the future and be on the lookout for triggers that will let me know it's an opportunity to experiment. 

The same goes for learnings for your personal life. Maybe you learned a mindfulness trick that can be used in stressful situations. Think about the past and the triggers that will help you identify the chance to try it out in the future and see what happens. 

Let people know what you're working on and ask them to call you out

This is the old accountability technique. By asking a trusted colleague or friend to be on the lookout for new behavior you are working on, you can get another set of eyes and ears helping you. It's as simple as saying, "Hey Sam, I'm working on articulating clear next steps at the ends of meetings so that we can take action on important tasks more efficiently. Can you let me know if you notice that I am not doing this?"

Have scheduled personal development review days

Since you will have a few centralized places where you are saving the information you want to reinforce (notebooks, playlists, folders), you will be able to easily review it on a regular basis. I schedule an hour the first Sunday of the month to revisit the most important skills that are applicable to my life and work. For me, that's looking over my notes from How to Win Friends and Influence People and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. I consider how good I've been at using the techniques (where it's worked and where I've missed opportunities) and where I can implement these methods in the future. 

Another great method is to create a habit tracker if there are daily or weekly skills you want to be part of your life. For example, I aim to meditate, journal, and move my body each day. There are more specific skills within those categories that I am driving at (i.e. when I journal I am trying to implement self reflection techniques and when I meditate I am trying to cut down on worry), but having a reminder on a daily basis for what you want to focus on is a great practice.

My sales professor in college said something that really stuck with me. He said that there are so many different versions of advice and personal development resources, but if you've made any study of the genre, you know what you should be doing. Now you need to act on it. This review process is what helps me ensure that I am acting on what I know. It's great to learn new approaches, especially if you're delving into a new profession or subject area, but more likely than not, you already know what you should be doing. 

How do you make the most of what you learn?

-Alyssa J

February 10, 2021

An Ode to Roses

This isn't going to be a particularly lyrical post. In all honesty, I have a bit of writer's block and was brainstorming things I love (books, museums, the usual) and I thought about something I've never written about: roses. With Valentine's Day coming up, this felt like the perfect time.
Click to read now or pin to save for later for all the rose inspiration


I was obsessed with my wedding bouquet and gravitate to roses as a favorite flower (aside from the orchids I raise, of course). I love the look of roses, the smell, the texture, all of it. Today I wanted to share some of my favorite rose things for your enjoyment. Time to stop and smell the roses. 

Roses symbolize love and romance, but certain colors of roses have their own meaning. Details below from an FTD blog post.  
  • White roses symbolize purity
  • Yellow roses symbolize friendship
  • Red roses symbolize love
  • Pink roses symbolize gratitude, grace, admiration, and joy
  • Orange roses symbolize enthusiasm and passion
I particularly love white and pink roses, though they all smell amazing 🌹

Rose Jam from Lush is one of the first rose product lines I got into. They have tons of different items from perfume to bath bombs, and I love the rose jam shower jell
My favorite rose scent to burn is from Bath and Body Works and it's a beautiful blend of rose and vanilla

Joe got me a new floral phone case, and the bottom flower looks like a garden rose to me. 


My favorite painting of roses in the Met is called Roses in a Bowl (not to be confused with Bowl of Roses 😂) by Henri Fantin-Latour. 


My favorite song about roses is Fresh Roses by Juke Ross.

My favorite roses I've ever had are the ones from my wedding bouquet.


What is a scent that you love? What's your favorite flower? 

-Alyssa J 
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All wedding photos by Sean Madden

February 3, 2021

January 2021 Monthly Recap

Welcome to a new year of Monthly Recaps! This month was very admin heavy as I was going through the process of changing my name. From getting my new license, to updating my passport, to changing my name wherever I have an account, it's been a process. I decided to leave my website as alyssajfreitas.com until it's up for renewal and then I'll switch it over. 

Most of my time in January was spent in the museum, reading at home, or visiting various government agencies and banks to take care of the name change. It makes for a not too exciting month of pictures, but I want to continue documenting this series as it's fun to look back on!
Click to read now or pin to save for later. Check out what I've been up to in the first month of 2021!

I was so excited to receive our wedding album this month! I've loved flipping through it and reliving the sweet memories.

I took my first trip to the museum without having a section I needed to visit. It was quite liberating! I went back to favorites like the 19th and Early 20th Century European Paintings and Sculpture section and the European Paintings section. 

As usual, I've been taking many walks and enjoying switching it up between the water and the park.

Sheetal and I hung out in the park, despite the frigid temperatures, and explored places to take photos. 

Breakfast in bed, featuring a chocolate chip banana muffin I made that turned out delicious! I used this recipe and substituted sour cream for milk and butter.  

On my birthday, Joe and I went to the museum with our friends James and Chrystalla and had the best time! Even though I couldn't get my girlfriends together for a meal like I normally do, I still had so much fun and was glad I was able to see some friends!


How was your January? Is 2021 off to a good start? 

-Alyssa J

January 27, 2021

What I've Been Reading Lately, Vol. X

I have a few good books to share since my last reading post. One of my goals for this year is to read The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro (it's a 1,000+ page book about Robert Moses...so it's going to take a while), which means that it may be a while before I have read enough books to warrant a roundup. Today I'm going to share a variety of books, from one on personal finance, to a memoir, to a light read, there's something for everyone!
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Check out my recent reads for inspiration for your to read list


Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout ⭐️⭐️

This novel is a series of short stories that all somewhat tie into one another. I gave a low rating because I wasn’t a huge fan of the main character and I especially did not like how there was thinly veiled commentary on politics in the form of introducing a caricature of a Trump supporter. I really can’t stand when a group of people is reduced to a stereotype, and I found it off putting. It did give a good look into how people can lean in to their prejudices, but I am not sure if that was actually the intention of the author. This is ultimately not a book I’d recommend.

Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was the perfect, lighthearted book to get in the Christmas spirit! I loved reading the Shopaholic books as a girl, and it was so sweet and nostalgic to spend time with Becky again. This is a fun novel and I’d say it’s good to pick up for a quick read.

The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As a Disney lover I was excited to read this book and learn more about the creative and strategic leadership that makes it such a great company. Iger’s book provides so much more, including lessons that serve both your career and personal life. My mother said it best when she described Iger as “being a real life Mickey Mouse” - a person who treats others fairly and operates with integrity.

Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids about Money by Robert T. Kiyosaki ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This is one of those books that could have been 100 pages, but was 300. The information is incredibly valuable - how to think about your personal balance sheet and income statement, how to acquire assets, what type of income you should focus on - and you can read it quickly by using the study sections. My main takeaway is that I need to eliminate fear of money and embrace confidence in my ability to make money work for me. You’ll only get so far as an employee, so the key is to build up your assets. Definitely gave me a lot to think about and start acting on!

Defending Jacob by William Landay ⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was a fast read and I didn’t want to put it down! Why three stars then, you ask? Because the twist came too late and wasn’t explored as thoroughly as I wanted. There were also loose ends that were never adequately addressed. Read this if you want a “oh man, just one more chapter” feeling, but don’t expect to be satisfied by the end.

What have you been reading lately?

-Alyssa J

January 20, 2021

Back in Time: The Wild Life of Colonel Sanders

It has been a long, long time since I did a true Back in Time post. It's also been a while since a historical topic has caught my fancy. Today we're going to dive into the life of Colonel Sanders. You know and love him as the face of KFC (previously Kentucky Fried Chicken), but now it's time to learn how the Colonel created his company when others his age would be entering retirement. 
Click to read now or pin to save for later! Check out the wild life of Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken

I wanted to write this post because there seems to be a lot of misinformation out there about the Colonel. One of the best articles I found came from the New Yorker in 1970. If you want to get all the details, you can check out the long article here. If not, I pulled out the highlights and made some of my own connections. As you know, I always look for some parallel to the Revolutionary period. In this post, look out for the similarities to Alexander Hamilton; out in the world at a young age, becoming a lawyer despite a lack of formal education, engaging in shootouts...tell me if you see it. Enjoy!

The Beginning

Harland Sanders was born in Indiana in 1890. His father died when he was a young boy and his mother had to travel for work, leaving Sanders and his two younger siblings to fend for themselves. His interest in cooking developed and improved out of necessity, though he never expressed much concern for being left in charge. He explained that his mother taught them well (including not to smoke or drink) and "We knowed enough not to burn the house down— I don’t know why kids are so different today. We was already firmly disciplined."

At twelve he began working as a farm hand and soon after he decided to leave school. His career was all over the place after that. From being a streetcar conductor, to a fireman for railroads, to an attorney (he learned the law through a correspondence program. And his career as an attorney ended after he got into a fistfight with his own client in court), to delivering babies (as he said "There was nobody else to do it. The husbands couldn't afford a doctor when their wives were pregnant"), to a tire salesman, to a short stint in the army (he did not become a colonel at that time), and finally to a service station manager for Shell.

The start of something finger lickin' good 

To make some extra money, Sanders capitalized on his cooking skills learned long ago to create another stream of revenue at the service station he managed. He came up with his secret recipe (that is still guarded from franchises today) and a pressure cooking method that made his chicken standout. 

Things were going smoothly and his method of promoting his restaurant was working out, until a competitor painted over one of his signs. A Shell company manager went with Sanders to confront this competitor, and the Shell company manager was shot and killed. Sanders grabbed his gun and fired back at the competitor, but did not kill him. Sanders was not charged, and went back to peacefully making his chicken. 

Until...the highway route was changed a decade later and he was not getting nearly the same traffic. This happened just as he was getting near retirement age and instead of hanging up his apron, he decided it was time to figure out another way to grow the business.

Spreading the chicken goodness

The Colonel (he was given this honorary title by the governor of Kentucky) began to franchise his operations and was highly selective in who he brought on. One notable early partner was Dave Thomas, who was so successful that he ended up saving enough money to leave and start his own fast food chain: Wendy's. 

The growth of Kentucky Fried Chicken was mind blowing. Less than 8 years after starting the business he had 600 franchise locations in the US and Canada, and a small team that worked on packaging the secret spices and mailing them out to all of the locations.

Selling the Colonel and his chicken

I love learning about a good salesman, and the man who the Colonel ultimately decided to sell his business too was just that. John Y. Brown, Jr. started out selling vacuum cleaners at 16, sold encyclopedias throughout his undergraduate and law school years, eventually becoming a district manager for the encyclopedia company because of his success as an individual contributor. When he met the Colonel and learned that there were so many franchise locations he assumed that there was a team of salesman finding franchise partners. However, it was just the Colonel who at that point did not solicit. Brown knew that the potential was massive if he could put his sales skills to work. 

He offered to buy the company, with financial backing from a partner. The Colonel at first said it was out of the question, but Brown went on a sales campaign to see anyone who was close to Sanders and would be affected by the sale to convince them to persuade Sanders, and it worked! The Colonel was not pleasant about it, and worried about quality control (and was known to express this quite vocally until the end of his life. Check out the New Yorker article for some great quotes. He also sued the company 1968, but settled out of court), but the deal was made. 

 

Brown began to market the Colonel (check out these commercials!) and change parts of the operation to help it scale all the more rapidly. There are now more than 20,000 locations in more than 125 countries. 

What's your favorite part of Colonel Sanders' story? 

-Alyssa J