Archive | February, 2011

Work Wear in the 21st Century

27 Feb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love these two work looks from The Limited.  Great examples of how you could be stylish and professional.

Growing up, we were told to wear suits and button up dress shirts, which I hate.  I have a few left from my high school, college, and post college days of trying to get hired.  My mother encouraged this growing up. Considering her upbringing and the philosophies of her generation, this comes as no surprise.  She is neither wrong nor right, but things have definitely changed.  Update your work wardrobe to include separates.  Leave the predictable stiff dress shirt behind that costs you time in the morning because you have to iron it.

There are great benefits of no longer having to wear matching suits and dress shirts: saving money and the ability to mix and match separates.  Keep one suit for interviews and about two to three dress shirts just in case, depending on your job industry.

Here are work wear items that repurpose themselves in so many ways and wear over and over:

  • Blazer (black, navy, and/or gray. H&M is great for these)
  • Pencil skirt (of any color)
  • Camisoles and lightweight shirts of any color and style. Skip the cleavage, however
  • Turtlenecks (fall and winter)
  • Cardigans
  • Cropped fitted leather jacket (goes with skirts and pants. Flowy shirts make them feminine)
  • Dress pants or my awesome option because I am tall, ankle length/cropped pants (booties!)
  • Sheath dresses (go with any type of cardigan or jacket)
  • Belts (thin and wide fasten at the waist around a cardigan or dress)
  • Booties (can be worn with skirts and dresses)
  • Broaches
  • Watches
  • Scarves
  • Pumps (Black and Camel are basic)

Places to shop for these items for less:

  • Ross $
  • Marshalls $$
  • TJ Maxx $$
  • Thrift stores $
  • New York & Company $$
  • The Limited $$$
  • H&M$$

Tips

Yes, shop at thrift stores.  I tweeted this list a while.  Here it is again: a list of thrift stores. I found most of my pencil skirts thrifting.  Pencil skirts are timeless and most thrift stores have them.  For $5 – $8, you will have a brand new skirt for your wardrobe.

Save yourself time in the morning by hanging all of your work clothing (fewer wrinkles).  Buy washer and dryer safe clothing. I believe they call them Wash and Wear and Wrinkle-Free.  Don’t be fooled.  Some Wrinkle-Free clothing could use an iron.

Purchase almond or round toe pumps with a slight platform and great color.  They are more comfortable and don’t date as quickly, if at all.

 

 

 

 

 

As always, don’t be afraid of a little tailoring, especially on thrift finds.

 

 

She giggled or laughed? Pass GO and collect $200

24 Feb

For some reason or another, no matter how old I get, I become giggly in the company of someone I like.  Something takes a hold of me and pigtails with barrettes grow from my scalp. I imagine I look and act like Goo from Fosters Home of Imaginary Friends.  But you know what…I like the warm feeling, how slightly uncomfortable I get, a bit off my square, and compelled and intrigued all at the same time.

My anecdotal conversation usually follows laced with analogies and references. Yet, I haven’t had someone do the “it was nice talking to you” while walking away giving a lazy wave and barely there smile. Whew…but seeing as to how I act, I figured I could give a friend advice.

Weeks ago, my friend told me he was crushing on a girl. Awwwww. LoL. He tried to downplay his interest and do the it’s cool whatever, but hey you’re asking for advice so something’s up. I told him “you’re going to lose your opportunity sitting on the sideline while someone else makes the play.”  Yea that text message was nice, but most often text messages will not get you a date.  The more passive you are the more likely you will be friend zoned. 
 
Of course, he was nervous about approaching her.  Understandably so, he previously made a flat advance.  But from the details he told me, it wasn’t a dead end.  He needed to put himself out there to see if he had a chance.  Time was a factor for this girl.  My response to this was show her you’re serious by becoming a little more aggressive. Call, no messaging.  Her tone and openness will indicate whether she is at least willing to get to know you.  Problem: He did not have her number.  But, a mutual friend did! 

I told him to get her number from the mutual friend with permission.  If she picks up, you’re on to the next level.  Just put it out there how you got her number.  She knows anyway, but don’t steer away from it just get it out of the way.  If she doesn’t giggle, laugh, or make light of this, it might be a “no-go.” He told her how he got her number and she GIGGLED admitting she knew. DING! DING! DING! SHE GIGGLED! The conversation continued and he invited her out.  She agreed to meet him at the destination for their first date the very same day.  Score! 

A huge indicator that a woman likes you is laughter.  This a redundant point, but so true. Had that conversation been stale and she at no point lightened up, I would have told him to “abort!”  Had she not answered the first time, I would have advised he try again later and leave a voicemail, if she does not answer.  No returned call? Let it go.

A guy was standing next to me while I was having this conversation in Home Depot, testosterone central.  The smile/smirk and glance over either meant he was amused or knew that I was right.  I hope the later. Welp, both.

I am infatuated with Wikihow and Ehow.   I love the brevity, which I apparently haven’t figured out.  For this post, great conversation skills via Wikihow. Be careful. Make sure you feel it out before jumping to conclusions or just ask, no assumptions or guessing necessary.

Lentils. What are they? and How do i cook them?

17 Feb

No one talks about Lentils and rarely do I see them on a menu.  CPK, if they still do, has a soup, but I guarantee it is not as good as this one.

Lentils are used throughout South Asian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisine.  It is a legume, a flowering plant.  I know that sounds so unappetizing, but I figured I’d let you know.  If it makes you feel better a bean is a type of legume.  This is one of the tastiest, affordable, and most beneficial soups I have ever had; it’s high in fiber and protein.  Although it’s a soup, I have had it for dinner.

What you will need

    ½ lb Lentil
    6 cups Vegetable Broth
    2 Celery stalks
    1 medium Onion
    1 Carrot
    ½ Bellpepper
    2 Garlic cloves
    2 – 3 Red Potatoes
    1 Smoked Turkey Neck
    1 tbspn Oregano
    Pepper to taste
    Salt to taste
    2 bay leaves
    2 tbspns of Oil to sauté vegetables

Instructions

Rinse and Drain Lentils.  Make sure to remove all hard pieces and/or rocks. Roughly chop vegetables and potatoes.  You do not want them too fine.  It’s a soup, so you want defined texture in all the liquid.  Mince the garlic.  Once done chopping vegetables and mincing garlic, heat oil in pot over medium heat.  Sauté onion, bellpepper, carrot, celery, and garlic about 5 minutes.  The vegetables should be a little tender by now.  Now, pour the vegetable sock into the pot, put the turkey neck, potatoes, oregano, and bay leaves in.  Season with black pepper and salt.  Bring the pot to a boil.  Once it begins to boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for an hour.  After soup has cooked and lentils are tender, not falling apart, remove the turkey neck to separate the meat from the bones.  Discard the bones and return meat to the pot.  You can also cook this soup in a slow cooker.  Throw everything in in the morning before leaving for work.   After work, it should be done.

Good Eats!

Great Expectations…

15 Feb

I think a struggle women face, especially dating in our mid-twenties, is setting reasonable expectations for our male counterparts. A woman’s typical expectations range from the ladies who want their man to support their life of luxury and leisure and then takes a gigantic jump to those who expect nothing more than a warm body to lay next to at night.

This becomes a huge problem for us “wives in waiting”. Those of us women who patiently wait by the side line for our “prince charming” and encounter a slew of frogs who try to by our love by flashing their monetary wealth and those that simply feel they are owed our allegiance because they, well, have male genitals.

After a few conversations with some girlfriends and hearing their recent horror stories in regards to dating along with the experiences of The GWC, its time for women to take a step back and reevaluate the standards and precedents we’ve set in choosing a male companion.

Dating is basically a job interview. So just as any employer does, they set certain standards and requirements for certain positions and based on qualifications they hire the perfect candidate. If we take a deep look into what we truly need and ultimately want and desire, us women would stop making a warm body and a bank account our only requirement in selecting a mate.

Because The GWC does not support male bashing, we encourage women to set higher expectations that aren’t superficially rooted and challenge you to need more than a man to butter you up with empty compliments, take you to Philippe Chow in his G35 and lay the pipe for you to consider him the PERFECT candidate.

If we expect men to do better, we have to do better ourselves. If you give men a good plate, the right one’s will step up to it.

Cheapie Molten Lava Cupcakes

14 Feb

Meg is the better cook. Those nubs are blessed and sprinkled with sugar and spice and something nice. I’m an experimenter, which makes us a dynamic duo in the kitchen. I will explore shortcuts and different types of food. For example, Pear Sorbet and S’mores for Thanksgiving, Falafel, Lemon Dill Sauce, and Nectarine Salsa are things I’ve done. If anyone needs ice cream salt, I have plenty.

But on to this quick recipe…

You will need:

  1. 1 box of Devils Food cake
    All the ingredients the box calls for, BUT
  2. substitute water for 1 pint of heavy whipping cream, instead of milk, although I have to use about a 1/3 cup of milk to make up the difference.
  3. 1 can of milk chocolate icing
  4. Cupcake baking cups

Directions:

    Mix the batter as directed on box and fill baking cups halfway with batter. Drop a tspn of chocolate icing into the middle of the batter. Cook as directed. When done, remove wrapper from those u are definitely going to eat. You can melt some more icing if you would like and drizzle over top. After it’s cooled a bit, plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Vanilla Ice Cream with crushed Pistachio or Pistachio Ice Cream works well with the lava cakes. See! There it is! I’m taking a shortcut, Pistachio Ice Cream.

Pop a Bottle Buy Cooks or Andre for $4.99. Extra Dry and Spumante are best. I get so excited when a bottle pops. This means it’s only the beginning.

Co-workers create their own Biggest Loser

10 Feb

My company’s internal homepage lists current happenings and I came across this. Yes, this began at the New Year…another one of those resolutions. But, I like their approach! It’s a realistic and well-paced plan that realizes you may backslide, so it gives some breathing room to what could be a rigorous and abrupt change in diet and exercise. A little monetary incentive won’t hurt.

Biggest Loser Competition

A group of employees embarked on a weight-loss effort at the beginning of January in the spirit of the TV show “Biggest Loser.” As part of the program, each week through the end of February they will adopt a new healthy habit or try to curb an unhealthy one while continuing to maintain the previous weeks’ restrictions. Follow their Biggest Loser plan right here! 

Participants in the challenge weigh in every two weeks and are eligible for cash prizes of $250 based on who has lost the most weight at the end of January and February.

Week One: “No desserts” 

Week Two:

1. “No carbonated drinks or any drinks with sugar.” Acceptable alternatives: sparkling water, water, unsweetened iced tea

2. Continue with no desserts 

Week Three:

1. No potatoes or rice
2. Walk 5 miles within the week. However you reach the 5 miles is up to you. All at once or over several days, it has to be done by the end of Jan. 23.

Week Four:

1. No bread: Rolls, tortillas, croissants, biscuits, bagels, muffins, cupcakes, pizza dough, etc.2.

WALK THE 5 MILES YOU DID NOT WALK LAST WEEK! 

Recap of what we will continue to eliminate:

1.     No desserts
2.     No “Carbonated Drinks” or any drinks with sugar (sparkling water, water, unsweetened iced tea are acceptable)
3.     No potatoes or rice
4.     No bread: Rolls, tortillas, croissants, biscuits, bagels, muffins, cupcakes, pizza dough, etc.

Remember to have “will power” and to get support from your buddy!

Insecurity

7 Feb

He probably called him a “boo boo head” or something

I dedicate this post to my niece, JoJo, who is 14 years old. You’re the most beautiful girl in the world! “T” said SO! You know what that means

They meet on the Elementary schoolyard starting fights. They get comfortable like Mucinex Mucus about Middle School. You try to avoid talking about them but secretly work on them.  For example, those that were hairy shaved unbeknownst to them they would have to continue.  Then, High School you get used to these things, sweep them under the rug or make jokes about them because you have either accepted them or still refuse to discuss them candidly. 

The hardest part is the initial recognition that I am not quite like the others. I am not sure that it was something physical or that you were simply a “weirdo.” 

For me, it was being freakishly tall in elementary.  I had long legs that extended beyond uniform pant inseams; thus, the term “flooding” came about.  The first time someone said this to me, I had no idea what it meant. LoL.  There’s nothing like being ostracized and not knowing what it means.  I had big feet, too.  I was afforded the luxury of standing at the back of the line my entire grade school life for two reasons: my height and my last name. Today, neither my being tall nor having big feet changed.

At an early age, children are socialized to stringently categorize feminine and masculine traits and features via multiple stimuli.  My being tall made me feel like an outcast.  Being tall was, for some reason, masculine and meant I played sports.  But, by middle school, I was over it.  Gimme my size 10 shoe and hem my pants! People still use basketball as a conversation starter. *shrug* But there was one thing I could not shake.

My acne was/is a struggle.  My skin reacts to and is allergic to almost everything.  My mother made it an issue growing up, among other things; she frustrated me and I became nonchalant.   At first, I acted as if I didn’t care while using Neutrogena products, Clean & Clear, Black & White Opal soap, Tea Tree Oil, toothpaste, Aveeno, etc.  When none of the over-the-counter (OTC) products worked, I stopped caring because I thought it was a lost cause. 

Then, in 2007 something changed.  I grew tired of it; I got tired of looking at it.  I visited a dermatologist and was prescribed two things: Retin A 0.05% and Hydroquonone for spot treatment.  I cleared my acne in about 3 – 4 months.  I had mild acne, so the process and treatment were not intense.  For the first time, since middle school, I had clear skin; I did not think this could ever happen and turns out seeing a specialist turned everything around (Try OTC first. It’s cheaper. Then, see a specialist, if you need to)  With my mother off my back and armed with more confidence, I exuberantly began my adult life after college, until I was bothered with oily skin. 

I had to wash my face multiple times a day to control the oil.  So, I turned to a dermatologist, again, in 2009.  He scrapped the medicines I was using before and prescribed BenzaClin.  Oh.my.gosh. my forehead had a rash; my cheeks were dry; my chin was oily; my nose was red.  Disaster!  At that moment, I regretted the decision.  Controlling acne is a process, the kind that required patience I had never given it before.  My skin profile changed; it’s doing things I have never seen it do.  The previous treatments no longer work. In addition, stress was adding to the complications.  Now, I am back to step one in treating it, which is again a process filled with doctor visits and phone calls until we find a solution.

Moral of the story:

Most of us have/had something that bothers us, but it is our attitude towards the difference that makes the situation a better one.  I do not promote cosmetic surgery, but it is ultimately one’s own decision.  I promote acceptance and a proceeding confidence that allows you to deal with the issue responsibly and sensibly. Keep trying until you find what works for YOU, all the while never lacking in confidence.