Friday, April 30, 2010

Executive Summary: Links for your weekend

Happy Friday!  This week has been exhausting, so let's jump right in!
  • I love a good pop of color or detail under a well-cut suit.  WorkChic gives a rundown of pretty business blouses. (Are you still wearing boring button downs under there?)
  • Traveling for work is always tricky.  What do you bring and how do you fit it all in so it's still wearable when you get there?  Corporette has some answers in this post.  I'm so trying that blazer trick next time.
  • Of all the fashion blogs I read, this is my favorite work outfit this week, from Pixie in Pumps.  I love love love print skirts (more on that soon), and she's also rocking nude-ish pumps!  Plus she's just all around adorable.
  • Did you know Cosmo used to have articles other than "[x number] of ways to [x sexy thing] your man"?  I didn't.  Sociological Images showcases the evolution of Cosmopolitan over the years.
  • Martha Stewart has some great ideas, but are they really realistic for us normal peeps?  Maria from Bachman's Sparrow tried out a Martha project this week, and the results were awesome.  Now I need to get me some glass bottles.
  • Near my work, there sometimes this artist who sits and makes pen drawings of the downtown Sacramento building-scape, and his work is displayed in the local yogurt shop.  I just love seeing a city from an artist's unique perspective.  This week, the Storque featured San Francisco artists and their takes on the city...feast your eyes here.
  • I'm a geek at heart, and really enjoyed Inspired Magazine's How Comic Books Can Make You a Better Designer.  I'm not a designer, so this taught me a lot, and is interesting to boot!

Work (and Work#2) are gearing up soon, so apologies if these next few weeks see scarce and brief posts.  This weekend: Work #2 project, family in town, and a baby shower.

What were your favorite articles from the week?  Share them below!

Freakin' A, it's Friday

Somehow I end up in the same place every Friday, and that place is Incredulous Island. I take weekends off from the blog, and just realized that I've never posted a Friday outfit before. This is my first job where I've had casual Friday. I had no idea what I was doing in the beginning but 2.5 years in, I think I have some idea. Here are a few of the Friday outfits I haven't posted, just for fun.
Shirt: Swapped - 2010; Necklaces: DIY and old rings on a random chain; Jeans: Old Navy - 2010 - $12; Shoes: Nina (from Ross) - 2009 - $16

Blazer: Gap - 2006 - $40; Shirt: Gottschalks - 2009 - $12; Jeans: I Generation (from Renew Denim) - 2009 - $30; Shoes: Calvin Klein (from Off Broadway Shoes) - 2007 - $70

Cardigan: Ross - 2009 - $12; Necklacec: DIY gray seed beads on stretch magic thread; Black tank: Old Navy - gift; Gray tank: Target - 2009 - $8; Jeans: Rockabilly (from Renew Denim) - 2010 - $40; Shoes: Blake Scott (from DSW) - 2010 - $40

Ok, so that last outfit was actually worn on a Thursday, but would probably fly for a casual Friday in a more professional office than mine.  As you might be able to tell, I love the bootcut/trouser jeans and pointy-toed heel combo...comfy and chic.  I get my jeans mostly from Old Navy, but do have a few more "designer" pairs (so the store says) from a denim boutique that specializes in providing designer duds for $99 and under (think like a TJ Maxx -- buying designer overstock -- but just jeans, and an adorable boutique environment).  I'm talking Paige, Sevens, Rock & Republics, J Brand, etc.  Those are mainly the $79-$99 ones, so I stick to the sample side, which is how I snagged the I Generation and Rockabilly jeans.  If you are anywhere near Davis, California, and like denim, I'd encourage you to check them out (for what it's worth, I am not affiliated with the store in any way, just a very happy repeat customer).  I have a few other pairs from them, too, since they are actually on my block.  Shopping diets suck when you walk past your favorite store on the way to your car every morning.

What do you wear on casual Fridays?  Are you a designer denim fan or will any ol' jean do?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Eatin' Etiquette

We can't always have food from the Taipei airport, but lunch doesn't have to suck.

As you may remember from my cubicle survival kit, I keep quite the stash of food and drink options at my desk. Hey, when you're sitting or walking or meeting or typing or browsing for eight hours a day, you get sort of hungry. I eat frequently to keep my stomach from growling (distracting everyone in our row of cubicles) and also to keep my energy up for meetings.

Ideally, we'd all get to leave the office for a leisurely one-hour lunch break with a good friend or fun coworker. Realistically, that happens maybe a few times a week, due to time and money constraints (eating out adds up!). I've gone through stages of eating out a lot and bringing my lunch a lot; right now I'm in a period of brown-bagging.

But eating in the office is not the same as eating at home. Oh no. Messy things should be kept to a minimum and soup slurping stopped. I'm not a stickler for crunchy items (I love crunchy cereal, chips, crackers, and biscotti), some folks might find that a little grating as well. It probably helps that most of us at work have headphones to drown out ambient noise when we've got to concentrate.

As an experienced and frequent office eater, here are my tips for keeping your tummy happy while you work.

Snack time:
  • Keep a plate and/or bowl at your desk for snack time, and pour your snack out before you munch.  Eating out of the bag is messier and is harder for portion control.
  • Many people think they're hungry when they're actually dehydrated.  Make sure you're drinking enough water (or tea or juice).  Bring a reusable water bottle (bonus--they hold more than your typical disposable cup so less trips to the water cooler) and mug, and keep a nice variety of drinks on hand.  I drink 5-6 cups of tea a day, and switch around between the three or four varieties I keep in my cabinet (always green tea in the morning but different herbal teas later on).
  • This tip is fun--share!  Especially if your coworker hears you fumbling around for your grub, invite them to have a bite.  It's like kindergarten, you can make a new friend.  You may even be able to get them to start contributing to the snack pile, too.
  • If you know you have a long meeting and might get tired or hungry in the middle, plan a preemptive strike by noshing on a pick-me-up beforehand, like chocolate or nuts (I prefer trail-mix type snacks with both!).

Lunch time:
  • Prep facilities in most offices are minimal: a fridge, sink, and microwave. Use them strategically. While a frozen dinner or leftovers are easy (just nuke 'em), you can also try a hearty salad by packing your warm items (meat or other) separately and warming those up while you rinse some baby spinach in the sink (or prewash them at home and pack them in a baggie with some paper towels to soak up extra moisture).
  • Especially if your office has a sink, keep a plate, bowl, and mug at your desk.  Heck, why not a set of silverware, too?  Those cups, plates, forks, and spoons add up quickly, both in cost and environmental impact.  So maybe we don't feel the cost directly, but at least you'll be prepared if your company decides to cut those perks.
  • If you eat at your desk, you probably dispose of the trash at your desk. Which means your cube will smell like your lunch for the rest of the day. Consider this when planning your meal or take a stroll to the break room (or any other room) to dispose of your trash there, where it will mingle with everyone else's smelly lunches.
  • There are a variety of things you can keep at your desk without having a fridge. Healthy Choice has its Fresh Steamers, there's various types of instant noodles (nowadays even organic). And a tasty PB&J will keep the whole day at your desk (and you'll eat the evidence away, leaving no smell behind). Instant oatmeal or cereal or granola bars can also be a great pick me up mid-day when you're not super-hungry.
  • If you enjoy eating out but are watching your wallet, plan on eating out earlier in the week and save half of your meal away for the next day's lunch.  You don't even have to bring it home (but should probably label it in the fridge).
  • Alternately, if you want to maintain some flexibility in your lunch schedule, bring your lunch earlier in the week, and stash it in the work fridge.  That way if you end up with Monday lunch plans, you can eat the goodies on Tuesday, or any other time in the week when making it out of the office just isn't going to happen.

So there you have it, my advice to any fellow food-addicts (or even just dabblers). For some easy tips on how to bring your lunch more often, check out this article from All Recipes.

What tips do you have for keeping the munchies away or lunching at work? What's your favorite brown-bag lunch?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Lighten up, it's Tuesday!

For no good reason, I've decided I should title my outfit posts with the day of the week it is.  Trying to gear my brain up for the upcoming headline writing season.  So, my dear readers, you'll have to suffer through the duds so that the magazine at work can get my gems later on.  That's just the way things go (unless you want to pay me to come up with good headlines).

Today was a complete wash--that is the world was awash with gray, the sky with clouds, and the ground with rain.  My ankle has been sort since Sunday evening, most likely the result of weeks in heels and shlepping around the Asparagus Festival on Saturday in unsupportive sandals (yeah, my feet feel old).  So today was a flats day.  And tomorrow will be, too.

Aside from that, I generally tried to keep my spirits up by picking some light and bright (not to be mistaken with Light Bright) colors.
Blazer: Old Navy - 2008 - $40; Blouse: Banana Republic - 2007 - $20; Necklace: gift;
Pants: Old Navy - 2006 - $20; Shoes: Target - 2010 - $18

So after a long residence in my closet, this blazer is finally getting some wear.  I got it with matching pants, so it's technically part of a suit, but why limit it to just that?  These shoes I bought just a few weeks ago, when I was sick and needed some retail therapy (it works, trust me).  So I bought myself a pair of clearance shoes at Target (I know, I'm wild).  I desperately needed some brown/tan flats (all of mine are black, red, or glittery), and these can work in the office and pull together a casual weekend outfit.  *love*

A close-up of the shoes.  I'm typically not a fan of bows, but these aren't overly girly.  Also, you can see here (sort of) that the pants are pinstriped.  They were one of those so great I bought two (I had a pair in gray that I recently retired after wearing them to death).  They were a great buy on a grad student's budget.

Details: Ruffled blazer, ruched blouse, and natural pearls.

Not bad, considering this is the only pair of dress pants I have that I can wear with flats.  And I got called into two impromptu meetings today, so I'm glad I made the extra effort with the blazer.

What adjustments do you make when your normal style gets off track?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunny Monday

For the past several weeks, the Sacramento weather has followed a bit of a curious pattern: super-sunny and hot Saturday and Sunday, followed by a 20 degree drop, clouds, and rain Monday through Wednesday.  Today we got the tail end of weekend weather (although it's after 6 p.m. now an the clouds are already rolling in for this week's showers).  So I took full advantage of the sunny day for legging-less legs and a sleeveless blouse.

Jacket: Gottschalks - 2009 - $12; Ruffled blouse: Gottschalks - 2009 - $12; Skirt: MNG by Mango - 2007 - $15;
Belt: Borrowed from husband; Shoes: Nine West (from Ross) - 2009 - $25; Watch: Anne Klein - 2008 - $50

This skirt doesn't have a matching blazer, and this outfit doesn't call for one.  The cropped blazer adds a springy feel, as do the floral ruffles.  Can you tell this is one of my favorite shirts?  It's been on my blog a ton of times, but this is the first time I've worn the blouse buttoned all the way up.  I think I like it, and it balances out the bare arms and bare legs.

Another view:

Fun fun!

How was your Monday?

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Make Believe Monday | Like Jenga, but better

Seeing as last week's Make Believe Monday ultimately led to me cheating on my shopping diet, I'm sticking to safer territory this week with some more wish list shoes.  Now that summer is coming along, I've been dying for a pair of shoes with stacked wooden heels.  These stable goodies are not only easier to walk in (less teetering, more strutting), but they just scream summer to me.  I'm probably going to go with a pair of chunky wooden sandals for the summer, but I've found some great office-appropriate options, too.

For a heel that shares its name with a cartoon character, these are amazingly appropriate for the office, under skirts or pants.

Okay, so I think these are cork, but cork comes from a tree, so it counts.  This is sort of what I'm looking for, but the enclosed back and mostly enclosed upper could push this baby into business casual and definitely casual Friday wear.  Think of it like a ventilated peep-toe.

I love this pair because of its low heel--it would be great for walking to lunch--and the interesting pleat and grommet detail on the front of the peep-toe.

This wing-tip inspired pump is perfect for the office and the thick heel offers some nice support.  Bass shoes are pretty comfortable (one of my first pairs of heels in high school was from Bass).

Often wooden heeled shoes will have a brown upper; for black uppers, especially pumps, the wood is often painted (I think) black.  But I love the effect of the natural wood look against the stark black, which is commonly only seen in sandals.  These were the only pair of decent-looking black on wood pumps. If you find an affordable pair, let me know (please!).

Do you have any stacked wooden heels and what do you like or dislike about them?  Would you wear them to the office?  How do you feel about the black on wood look?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Executive Summary: Links for your weekend

Has it been another week already?  Excited to cross some things off my list this weekend and relax a bit.  What do you have planned for this weekend? Some reading, maybe?

Irate Criminal signing off.  Peace.

All grown up

Being relatively petite in size, I often get mistaken for someone much younger than myself.  I work for a  nonprofit that also employs many college students, so "Are you a student?" is a question I get a lot.  To counteract that, I tend to stay away from girlish details on my clothes, which I'm starting to rethink.  One of those things that I've been scared to try for a while are Mary Janes.

Once a staple in my high-school dressy wardrobe (for church and piano recitals), Mary Janes have generally worn out their welcome in my closet.  I have one pair of patent leather t-straps that my mom got me when I was 19.  They still fit and are still comfortable, but I don't really wear them that often, since they are a bit young looking.  Mary Janes have come a long way from those sweet little girl versions.  To me, Mary Janes are closed-toe shoes with an ankle strap, sometimes also with a t-strap.  Once the toes peep out, I generally consider them strappy sandals.

Here are some of my favorite grown-up Mary Janes:

Mary Janes are versatile--they work well with pants and skirts.  I'm especially loving the chunky-heeled t-straps above...would love to pair one of those with my khaki pencil skirt for a breezy summer look that's ladylike for the office but fun enough for a lunch with friends.

What are you preferred Mary Janes and how do you wear them?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Let's get personal

There are 168 hours in a week, 40 of which are spent in the office for a typical 8-5er.  That's a whopping 23.8%, or almost as much time as you spend sleeping (if you sleep an average of 7 hours per night, like me).  Add in lunch, and that's 45 hours per week (26.7%).

With this many hours spent in or around the workplace each week, it's only natural that many folks develop deep and lasting friendships with their coworkers.  However, it can be a fine line to walk.  Who do you associate with and who might you avoid? How much do you share and with whom?  Today's post is a quick overview of making friends at work, and the issues that come with it.

We'll break this down into familiar territory (for this j-school grad, at least): the good ol' five Ws and an H.
  • Who: It's common for employees to make quick friends of those that they work with often (or teammates), those around their age group, or those with similar interest.  Often proximity plays a factor as well.  If Jane's cube is right outside the breakroom, she probably gets lots of hellos, each of which is another opportunity to connect and create a friendship.  You don't have to be best buddies with everyone at work, or even those on your team.  Let friendships build naturally.
  • What: Friendship, and sometimes even romance (not a topic for today).  These platonic relationships can range from lunch buddies to confidants to neighbors to outside-of-work friendships that may extend even beyond your mutual employment.  It goes without saying (or I guess not) that your confidants should be chosen very carefully.  Workplace gossip is a major pit that you want to avoid.
  • Where: At or around the office.  If you repeatedly run into the same coworker at your favorite lunch spot, you will probably say hi and walk back together.  Connections can also occur anywhere if you happen to live near your coworkers.  You may even have mutual friends already.  But be aware of how others may perceive your friendships when dealing with coworkers of the opposite sex: rumors need only one speculator to start and is risky in the work environment.  You and Joe may just both happen to love jazz, but leaving alone together after work on Friday to check out a new artist may raise some eyebrows.
  • When: Work and lunch hours, and sometimes other hours as well.  Since your common ground is obviously the office, that will naturally be where your conversations happen.  Be aware of the time you spend chit chatting--while most employers won't bat an eyelash at a couple of minutes of chat time, don't make it a habit or stop at too many cubicles.  If you have that much to talk about, do it over lunch or coffee when you're not on the clock.
  • Why: Making friends at work makes the office a more pleasant place to be, and who wouldn't want that?  Building platonic relationships with folks in different departments as you can also make future joint projects smoother as you already have a rapport (although your personal friendships should not be mixed with the work at hand...see more on separating conflict and relationships here).  The office is also a great place to meet people with similar interests, so you may find yourself a new yoga or carpool buddy.
  • How: Office friendships start like many others: say "Hi!"  You may have already been formally introduced, but if not, you have probably seen each other around.  Cut the awkwardness and just ask "You work at Company ABC, too, right?  What department are you in?"  Once you have a grasp on who the other individual is (within the company at least), proceed as you would with other new friends.  Ask about their interests, express common sentiments, and maybe chat them up next time as well.

You can be friends with your coworkers, and it's easier than you may think.  You never know what you might find.

Do you make friends with your coworkers?  Are they different than making friends outside of the workplace for you? How?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rain: 2, Angeline: 1

Two days in a row, I was defeated by the rain. Today it was in more ways than one.
  1. Wore peep-toes to the office (hey, it worked once!)
  2. Forgot my umbrella to go move my car and remembered only after walking down 3 flights of stairs. I walked through the rain in my open-toed shoes to and from the car. Bleh.

At least I remembered my jacket on that last one, though, because I would hate to have to dry-clean this thing again after just one wear. I gave a presentation to coworkers today on Microsoft Word (yes, really), and didn't think my usual Wednesday-jeans-because-I-give-up look would fly, especially with our HR director sitting in.
Suit: Ann Taylor Outlet - 2008 - $40 (clearance + f&f coupon); Top: Banana Republic - 2007 - $30;
Shoes: Enzo Angiolini - 2007 - $70 (sale)

While the suit is pretty snazzy (and a steal at $40), I did stick to plain colors again today.  It's hard to tell from the photo but the color is a deep dark-chocolatey brown.  Yum.  I popped on the peep-toes because I did my toenails last night in my favorite spring shade, and also to balance out the neck-to-toe coverage of the rest of the outfit.  It was safe, and when giving a preso in front of a pretty conservative HR director, safe is good.

Would you wear this for an internal presentation?  How would you style a suit (or would you even wear one) for a situation like this?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The rain won today

For those keeping score, it's Angeline: 1, rain: 1.

Not quite sure if this is normal, but I usually gravitate towards skirts when it rains.  There's just something about wet pant legs that really ticks me off, so I avoid it completely.  Last time, if you recall, there was a chance of rain, which I challenged by wearing pants and peep-toes (sunny skies all day).  This morning, it was clear as soon as I awoke that I would not be so fortunate again--it was pouring. And cold. Good thing I got a nice stash of tights in various textures, colors, and patterns from my in-laws for Christmas.
Dress: Calvin Klein (from Nordstrom) - 2009 - $90; Belt: Taken off the suit I swapped; Tights: gift; Shoes; Steve Madden - 2006 - $20; Necklace: gift; Watch: Ann Klein - 2008 - $50

This was definitely one of those throw on and go outfits.  While my morning wasn't as hectic as yesterday's, today's easy get-up gave me time to sit and eat breakfast while watching the weather on TV.  Good times.  These shoes are one of my fave for rainy days because they're cheap patent leather--polished looking and relatively weatherproof.

The dress was a huge splurge for me when I bought it at Nordstrom's half-yearly sale.  I love the sleeves and the length--this is actually a knee-length skirt (most of mine are slightly above).  Knee-length does come with its challenges (there was a pretty hilarious getting-into-an-SUV episode at lunch), but other than that it didn't bother me at all.  The highlight of this dress is its tailoring.  It's hard to tell, but the front of the dress is one panel down the middle, and the sides are darted into the center panel seam at thte bust, the waist, and the hips.  It comes together to create really nice curves without adding bulk to your middle.  The belt was my last-minute add on--it came off the suit I swapped (what they don't know they can't miss, right?).  The patent belt played off the patent leather of the shoes.

The fun part of my outfit today: mixing a dark gray pinstriped dress with brown tights and black shoes and accessories.

Yes, I was too lazy to turn this right side up.

So not only did the weather win today in actually raining, it somehow kept me in pretty blah colors.  In fact this whole week so far has been kind of blah.  I'm guessing tomorrow will be another blah day (have a presentation at work so will be suiting it up), but hopefully Thursday and Friday hold some fun and colors.

How do you adjust for the weather, both consciously and unconsciously (like my color choices)?  Are you a rain or sun person?


On a side note: I confessed my shopping diet cheat today on the Great American Apparel Diet blog.  Read my post here.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What's black and white and read all over?

I don't think I'm read all over anywhere (except for me visiting my own blog from various computers within the house), but I accidentally put together an entirely black and white outfit today. If I had caught it before I left the house I probably would have added something (a colorful necklace maybe?), but I didn't realize it until I'd been at the office a while.
Top: Calvin Klein Outlet - 2009 - $30; Pants: Banana Republic Factory Store - 2009 - $12;
Shoes: Nine West (from Marshalls) - 2009 - $25

Forgive me if I look a bit frazzled. I had one heck of a morning. First I overslept my alarm (good thing K had his alarm set for about 15 minutes later). Then I get into the shower only to find that our hot water has gone out again (fourth time in the past week and a half) and have to take a cold shower. The morning eventually redeemed itself when I made it to work on time and found an all-day free parking spot just behind our office building (the last time that happened before 8 a.m. was...well, never!).

Long story short - this outfit was a success mainly in the fact that it happened and I didn't carry the crazy morning into the rest of my day. I put on the pants and needed a top to hide my mini-muffin-top (admit it--you know the feeling), and this silky, billowy number did just that without adding too much volume to my top half. The slight cap sleeves added some modesty for the office, and the square studs along the collar add a bit of a rock-and-roll vibe, which I love.
Studs and ball chains: they do work for the office!

I played up the studs with my fatty black plastic stud-ish looking ring (seen here), and added my black watch for polish.

What do you think? Black and white too boring for you, or do you like a simpler look like this?

p.s. The answer is: a newspaper.  Anyone else remember this joke from a candy wrapper or popsicle stick somewhere?

Make Believe Monday | The not-so-boring skirt suit

I've been on the Great American Apparel Diet for a little over a month and a half now, and this is the first time I've seriously consideredcheating.  I'll show you the little temptress later on in the post, but the title sort of gives it away.  The next item on my wish list is a fun skirt suit.  I know.  Suit and fun in the same sentence?  Of course!   I love the look of a good suit, and I did recently make an investment in a good classic black suit (with matching pencil skirt and all), but these fun numbers really make my closest feel empty in the skirt suit department.

There are several ways that suits can depart from the classic hip-length blazer and pencil skirt formula:
  • Cut: Three-quarter length sleeves, fun collars, or skirt shape.
  • Embellishments: Beading, embroidery, and button details keep the eye interested.
  • Fabric: A sweet seersucker make a suit perfectly light for summer.  A fun print can brighten your day.

Here are some of my picks.  This first one keeps it modern with bracelet-length sleeves and a ruched collar.  The three buttons that go up pretty high keep it modest, but not boring.

Add a flounce to your skirt with some kicky pleats.   This makes the skirt a little easier to move in as well.

And for the finale, this fun suit from Loft.  I love the ribbon detail on the blazer and the shape of the skirt.  I'm leaving these photos nice and big for your viewing pleasure.

Every diet needs a little wiggle room--the baby is slated to arrive in about two weeks.  While I try not to make excuses to purchase (in general, but especially on this diet), I think this is a purchase I can justifiably make.  I'm starting to move on up in my workplace and this suit will be perfect for summer meetings (it averages in the triple digits here in the summer months and my black wool skirt suit just isn't going to cut it).  And I am pretty sure that by next March the style will be completely discontinued and I'll spend the next decade or so kicking myself (yes, I remember things for a looooong time).  Think what you will--I'm hopping right back on the wagon now that the credit card is safely back in my wallet.

What's your favorite play on the classic skirt suit?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Executive Summary: Links for your weekend

In addition to writing a blog, I enjoy reading blogs.  Lots of blogs.  Well, skimming most of them.  But really.  Currently I have 244 sources in my feedly (it's like a pretty Google reader in Firefox plugin form).  Not all of them post regularly, although many post several times a day.

I often save or share the blog posts I like in various forms, but the vast majority just sit in my saved items collecting dust.  So I've picked a handful from this past week (well more like Fri-Thurs, since that's when I write this) to share with you all.

Be warned: These links are random. Some are extremely random. There are several that are related to fashion or office stuff (the topics of this blog), but there are some that I just want to share with you because I like them.

Hope you enjoy these reads!

This time, for the guys

A few Make Believe Mondays ago, watches made their first appearance on The New Professional.  Reader Curtis asked me on Twitter--what about watches for guys?

My general rule for guys is not all that different than for girls: at least one leather-band watch, one metal-link watch, and one silicone- or nylon-strapped watch (for sports/outdoors).  Add on some fun watches for weekends, and you're basically covered.

Another way to think about it comes from my brother Derrick:

i find it funny that we both have a “two watch” recommendation — only, rather than band material, i separate mine by color palette. coincidentally, my “black/greys” watch (fossil; gift from a wonderful sister and brother-in-law) has a metal band, and my “browns” watch (ted baker; $60, has a leather band.

Like sister, like brother.  In practice, not all that different.  Use whichever philosophy you can more easily identify with.

But where to start when watch shopping?  It depends on your style and your budget.  I recommend starting at stores that you already shop at...they are more likely to have something close to your style.  If your favorite stores don't carry watches, check out stores with similar aesthetics.  Another good place to start are specialty watch retailers.  For those on a budget (aka you don't want to go to a jeweler), I like Fossil and Nixon, although you may also want to check out industry standbys Swatch and Timex.

Some things to consider:
  • Shape: Round and rectangle (both vertical and horizontal) are the most classic shapes.
  • Numbers: Do you like roman numerals, 1, 2, 3s, or just plain markers?  Are you good as estimating when only 12, 3, 6, and 9 are marked, or do you need every number?  It differs for everyone.  Digital or analog?  It's a personal preference, although I do think analog watches look better for the office.
  • Features: Do you use the chronograph or day/time features on your watch?  Even if you don't use the chronograph, could you explain what it does if someone asks?  "It looks cool" is not an impressive answer.  Do you need your watch to be able to illuminate in the dark?
  • Size: This is more often than not determined based on trial and error.  Is the watch face and/or band too large for your wrist proportionally?  Too small?  Your watch should not be so large that the face covers your entire wrist from top to bottom (looking at it like you're reading your watch), but it shouldn't be too dainty, either.
  • Color: Color can be bold or used as an accent (on hands and numbers).  Generally, keep color minimal and tasteful for work watches.  Go as crazy as you want for your weekends.
  • Fit: I've never had this problem, but I imagine guys do--make sure the links on your watch don't pull out your arm hair.  I don't know if this has more to do with the link style or the length of your arm hairs, but I do know that if it's not comfortable or too painful to wear, then you're probably not going to wear it (the exception being shoes).  Don't waste your money.

Some work options I like for guys:
Nixon Chronicle




So there you go.  The possibilities of casual and sport watches out there are endless, so I'll let you guys make your own choices with those, but these are some good places to start for work watches.

Any other guy watch advice from any guys or gals out there?

Thursday, April 15, 2010


This post is a few weeks late, but I really wanted to share my finds from the Stitch Swap on April 3.  Problem is, I usually have one of my swap finds on, so it's hard to take a pic.  But here is a quick synopsis.

Gave away:
  • 1 pair of Banana Republic dress pants (so sad, they were my fave, but way too small)
  • 1 pair of corduroys
  • 1 suit (Macy's junior section)
  • 1 white t-shirt (too small)
  • 1 red Abercrombie sweater
  • 1 burgundy H&M work blouse
  • 1 green Old Navy sweater
  • 2 long-sleeve shirts (H&M and Loft)
  • 2 pairs of black shoes (not shown)

Came home with:
  • Brown velvety blazer
  • Tan corduroy blazer
  • Cream knit hooded sweater
  • Blue-green knit top
  • Mustard yellow strapless dress
  • Yellow print tee
  • Cream plain tee
  • Gray "What goes around comes around" tee
  • Soft pink lace tee

So far I've already worn the brown velvety blazer (seen here), tan blazer, cream sweater, knit top, and gray tee (my new fave).  Can't wait to see how the others will work their way in.  The best part?  Supporting a good cause ($5 entry fee went to Relay for Life and extra clothes went to St. John's Shelter for Women and Children) and knowing that my clothes went to a loving home.  No regrets, and can't wait for the next swap!

Have you ever swapped?  How was your experience?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Good parking, good day

It's amazing how much of my mood can be affected by parking situations, both at work and at home (I have to scour around for street parking in both places).  Today I was able to get a non-hour-restricted spot at work during my 2 p.m. move (most blocks around the office are 2 hour parking).  And then when I got home, on this, the busiest day of the week downtown (our Farmer's Markets are famous, or something), I got a spot half a block away without having to circle around (major score--last week it took 30 minutes to find a spot 1.5 blocks away).  Thank goodness, too, because I wore the shoes of death again today.

Yes, that's what I'm calling them.  For now, at least.  They kill me.  My feet were dying by the time I reached my office at 8 a.m. (not a good sign; see my daily walking schedule here).  By noon I had to take them off for part of the walk to my car.  Have not tried my trusty gel inserts in these yet, but definitely picking those up before I wear these shoes again.

But enough about the shoes, the rest of the outfit was to die for (har har).
Dress: Target - 2009 - $17; Shirt: H&M - 2006 - $12; Belt: Vintage - 2010 - $12; Tights: no idea;
Shoes: Jessica Simpson - 2009 - hand-me-down

I felt really girly today, and slim, since the belt hits right at the bottom of my ribcage.  And looking back (sitting here in my jeans and tank), it's much cuter than I remember even from an hour ago.  Funny how our perceptions are so fickle.

I bought this dress last year because it was cheap. I didn't need it. And for a while, I didn't even like it.  It didn't fit very well.  And it was way too long.  But I kept it. I hemmed it (messily--this was before I had a sewing machine). And I belted it.  I guess this dress was my first foray into the belt trend.  It is a bit more A-lined than I would prefer (I think it would be better with more of this shape), but the fabric is nice and heavy so it holds it's shape well and is really easy to take care of (it's even a pull-on zippers or weird hooks or snaps anywhere).

Some deets:

While I usually wear this dress just on its own, this morning the neckline felt super-wide and empty.  So I tossed on a blouse and a necklace.  I like how it turned out.  The pink really balanced out the neutrals in the rest of my outfit (black and gray, how original).

This dress is one of my most modest ones, yet the hem still hits a few inches above the knee (I just noticed that today--I don't wear this dress much).  Is that okay in your workplace, or do you stick to longer skirts just to be safe?

Cubicle makeover: Part 1

If you're anything like me, you think of your cubicle as a second home (I often accidentally say "this is where I live" instead of "this is where I work" when referring to my little space...Freudian slip, anyone?).  I've been at my current job for just over two-and-a-half years -- basically since I moved up here -- and I've made the space mine.  I've got photos, cards, trinkets, calendars, and flowers, but it's mostly been thrown together in a hodge podge way.

Your cubicle can speak volumes on you to your coworkers, so control your message by infusing your personal style into the space.  Obviously you'll want to stay within reason, but a few personal touches can go a long way.  What I want my cubicle to say about me: I'm organized, creative, assertive, and able to handle everything you throw at me without losing my cool.

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting back in my room -- err, cubicle -- when I really started wondering what I could do to spice it up.  It was just so...boring.  And cluttered.  And uninspiring.  Here's a look:

It all started with the pillow.  Red is my favorite color, and I picked this up on a lunchtime Ikea trip.  A little back support never hurt anyone.

Part 1 of my makeover takes place in the left side of the pic...under the cabinet and to the left of my monitor.  Another before pic:

Here is the after:

  • Covered ugly green bulletin board in pretty fabric (Joann fabrics; leftover from a project I did for my apartment; affixed with staples)
  • Organized my current project files, note pads, and sticky note into new a desk organizer (Target, $4.99)
  • Consolidated desk supplies (pencils, pens, paperclips, push pins) into new organizer (Target, $4.99)
  • Moved other non-immediate files to the front of my filing cabinet (so they're still accessible)
  • Folded calendar in half (cleaner-looking and takes up less space)
  • Filed away old resources I had tacked up
  • Threw away outdated items
  • Moved hand lotion to a drawer with the rest of my cubicle survival kit

Clean space, clear far so good!

Stay tuned for part 2--above the computer monitor (those dead flowers have got to go!)

What do you want your personal workspace to say about you?  What personal touches have you added?