Thursday, June 30, 2011

Snap and scrap [outfit]

sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional gap dress franco sarto boots banana republic necklace
sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional gap dress franco sarto boots banana republic necklace
Gap dress - 2011 - $25 on sale (similar) / Banana Republic bib necklace - 2010 - $12 on sale (similar) / Vintage braided leather belt via Bows and Arrows - 2010 - $7 (similar) / Franco Sarto boots via Macy's - 2010 - gift (similar)

Outfit analysis: When I looked at the weather report for early this week (highs in the 60s/70s), I knew I had to squeeze another wear out of this cozy dress. I've paired this dress with brown before, but the boots and necklace give this a totally different look than last time. This almost has a country vibe, which was great. I had the first of my several goodbye lunches this day, and the flat boots were perfect for our walk across Capitol Park.

This weekend, K and I grabbed the last of our stuff from our parents houses. I'd already edited my childhood stuff into one medium sized box before I got married, so this weekend was just a little walk through my college life. I grabbed a few books to keep and put the rest in a donate pile. I took photos of my scrapbook pages, ripped all my photos out of my scrapbooks to scan later, and tossed them. I brought back one plastic bin. I call my process "snap and scrap."

K, on the other hand, hadn't gone through his stuff in ages. He did a quick sift through a few of the boxes, but several others he just brought back entirely to look at here. He brought back 3 bins, 2 large boxes, and two shoeboxes of stuff. He's started going through the bins, but while I'm content to keep a digital copy, K is a little less decisive. He's been asking me what to do with stuff, and I'm at a loss. So far we've edited out an entire box, and the shoebox content will be easy to place, but there's still a lot to do.

Do you part with stuff easily or do you hang as long as possible?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How to deal with annoying coworkers | Latebirds, oddballs, and [you fill in the blank]

Sometimes annoying traits are something you can point out to a person to help them out (say, your best friend or kid brother). Other times, you just gotta work around it. While the traits I've covered the past several weeks can be grating, they're generally harmless, and are part of what makes our workplaces diverse and interesting. If everyone were just nice and well-behaved and well-groomed, it'd be a little creepy (Stepford Wives, anyone?). Check out parts one, two, and three of this series.

  • Late (duh)
  • Doesn't follow deadlines
  • Full of excuses
  • Shifts blame
  • Busy body
Why someone might be a latebird: Latebirds fall into two categories: those that are apathetic and those that are well-intentioned but just can't keep to a clock. The apathetic latebird will habitually shift blame, for example, "I didn't get to project X because I was working on project Y" (even though you know there was time for both). They often just "haven't gotten around to it" and feign busy-ness rather well. The well-intentioned latebird often actually has a large load of work on their plate, and once they get to the project at hand, can usually knock it out of the ballpark.

How to deal with a latebird: A key point in working with latebirds is keeping expectations and communication clear. One strategy is also to ask the individual how long each task will take before setting the deadline, to make sure you're on the same page. Sure, they'll probably pad it a little, but if it fits into your time frame as well, then you may be in luck when it's actually done. It's also a good idea to follow up with latebirds as deadlines approach, but be careful not to micromanage. Open communication throughout a project helps, too.

What if you are a latebird? Be honest with expectations and timelines when starting a project. Don't procrastinate...tackle a little at a time if possible. Don't make frivolous excuses, and be honest about your workload. As for punctuality, if the office start time just isn't working out, try talking to your supervisor about adjusted hours...if the flexibility isn't there, it's still your responsibility to be present, so do what you have to (12 alarms, 3 double espressos, etc.). A little extra productivity won't kill you.

  • Overly obsessed with something...anything
  • Rambles on about their obsession of choice to anyone
  • Has trouble concentrating on something other than their obsession
  • A little quirky
Why someone might be an oddball: They really like their hobbies. Like, really really like. Perhaps they've taken up an interest as a way to meet people or to set themselves apart, and it's just spiraled into an all-consuming passion. There's really nothing wrong with being an oddball.

How to deal with an oddball: Oddballs, in my opinion, are rather endearing. If it's not interfering with work, listen to them as long as you can stand, or try to engage them in your hobbies. They're usually pretty interested in anything of the hobby sort, since it shows that you're passionate about something, too (even if it's not the same thing they're into).

What if you are an oddball? Be aware of when folks get shifty-eyed and ready to leave your cube. If people are interested, they'll ask questions. Don't be afraid to show your hobbies, just be sensitive to others work schedules and interest levels...if it's interfering with productivity at all, you should avoid it.

Now I want to know... 

Which type of coworker annoys you most and how do you deal with it?  Do you have any tried-and-true advice for dealing with difficult people?

Feel free to use any of the personalities I've profiled or another type I haven't covered. I'll pull together your responses in a round-up post next week!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Happy hours and lunches [outfit]

banana republic factory store tiered tee
the limited tulip skirt
sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans french braid
BR Factory Store tiered tee - 2011 - $6 on sale/clearance/coupon (similar) / The Limited tulip skirt - 2009 - $20 on sale (similar) / Mossimo pumps via Target - 2010 - $10 on sale (similar) / J. Crew Outlet belt - 2011 - $5 on clearance (similar) / Necklace via Gottschalk's - 2008? - $6 on clearance (similar)

Outfit analysis: Aside from the shoes, which are just bearable, this has to be one of my most comfortable outfits yet. I like that this skirt doesn't cinch too tightly at the waist and has a forgiving tulip shape. I love the softness of the tee (although it could use an ironing...those tiers did not weather the washer well at all). I like the colors, which are soft without being too pastel and girly. I like the hair, even if it doesn't look as nice in the back as I imagined and especially because it was a happy accident—I braided my still-wet hair so it would be out of my face while I put on my make-up and just never took it down. It did need a bobby pin by midday, though, since my layers are still a little too short for this hairstyle.

The countdown is on...eight working days left at the Day Job. It's also celebration season, so this outfit was worn to work and then to a happy hour to celebrate a coworker's graduation from business school. Leaving in the summer is apparently a bit awkward, since several of my coworkers will be on vacation on my last day, which means the happy hours and good-bye lunches will be starting soon. I already have most nights this week booked: my last book club meeting tonight, my last Sacramento fashion bloggers meet-up, and my last Sacramento Rivercats game. For the next 2.5 weeks, everything I do will be titled "the last _____ (while I live in CA)."

This past weekend was full of see-you-laters as well. We spent four days immersed in family and friend time in Southern California, visiting our parents, K's grandma and grandpa (on different sides), K's sister and her family, and our closest friends. Of course, with just one weekend to spare, there were many faces we missed seeing, but it's comforting to know that we'll still be gravitating home for all the major holidays and any other excuse we can come up with. One of the things K and I are most grateful for is the closeness of our families, in geography and in relationship. Our parents live less than an hour apart and communicate pretty regularly with each other. It's not something we thought about much before we got married, and our parents never hung out much before that, but we're really happy with how things have developed.

Enough with the sappiness. Happy hours and lunches, happy hours and lunches. All good things.

How do you celebrate or mark milestones at work? Do you prefer after-work happy hours or midday lunch breaks?

Go Chic Or Go Home [giveaway]

I am all about organization and planning, and while that's easy enough to do with emails, papers, and schedules, my closet is a little harder to tackle. I have long wished for an easy way to look at my closet items and match them together for inspiration (my flighty brain just doesn't hold ideas long if I don't get them out somewhere). So when I heard about Go Chic or Go Home, a social site that combines a photo closet inventory and easy ensemble creation with friends and shopping, I jumped in with both feet!

My favorite features:
  • Online closet.  Goodness I have a lot of clothes (and I'm not done yet). It's also fun to get inspiration from stuff others have posted into their closets.
  • Ensembles. Great way to try out outfits using clothes you actually have. Fun and practical.
  • Exploring. See what others are up to and how they're styling things from their closet. In addition to ensembles, members can also post outfit photos.
  • Points! The competitor in me love anything where I can get points. GCOGH gives points for uploading photos, interacting with other members, and participating in other fun challenges. Points can be redeemed as donations to a charity or gift certificates to a retailer.
  • Wish List. Shop leading online retailers (including some of my faves like Banana Republic, Macy's, and Piperlime) with GCOGH's easy in-site shopping and members-only discounts. Click on over to the retailer and purchase or add an item to your wish list for later.
Take a look at my profile, my closet, and member ensembles.

GCOGH is giving away a $50 gift card to a GCOGH retailer of your choice to one lucky New Professional reader!
It's easy to enter:
  1. Become a member of GCOGH. Follow this link to get started.
  2. Leave your thoughts about the site below in the comments, along with a valid email so I can contact you if you win!
Giveaway closes Friday, July 1, and winner will be announced on July 4. Open to international readers as well.

Once you're there, be sure to follow me and check out the contents of my closet (any outfit suggestions?). I recommend clicking over to the GCOGH blog as well.

So what you do think of Go Chic or Go Home?

*Go Chic or Go Home is a sponsor of The New Professional and generously donated this giveaway prize. No compensation was exchanged for this review and the above opinions are solely my own based on my personal experience with the site.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The brighter, the better [outfit]

Hawaiian dress - 2011 - swapped (similar) / J.Crew belt - 2011 - $10 on sale (similar) / Nine West pumps via Ross - 2009 - $25 (similar) / Faux pearls (similar)

Outfit analysis: This dress is a tad loose, but a skinny belt cinches it in nicely. I love the fullness of the skirt, the front pockets, and the bright colors. Simple accessories let the print be the star of the ensemble, although I think I could have coordinated the shoes better with my other accessories.

I'm going to be honest—I wasn't so sure about this dress. I grabbed it off the table at a swap, glanced at the size and saw it was somewhat around mine, and took it home with me. It sat in my closet for months, and I glided right by it for many an event...weddings, dinners, graduations. It caught my eye at the swap, but for some reason I hadn't even tried it on once since I brought it home.

One day I decided I had to try it. I'm purging as much as possible before the move, so I needed to know if this piece would work or if it needed to be tossed. Gosh it was pretty. The colors were so nice. The fabric is heavy and elegant. The pockets are adorable, even if they do form a slightly unflattering dropwaist look. The length was perfect.

I zipped it up, turned around...and was not all that impressed. It looked pretty shapeless. I apparently had swapped on one of those days where I mis-perceived my own size (in no small part due to the crazy large lunch I had right before hand). If I'd been buying this at retail, I would have needed an entire size down. But it wasn't retail, and there wasn't another. The label is some Hawaiian sounding brand I can't remember (and I'm at my parents' house typing this so I can't check). So it was either make do or throw out.

Last ditch effort: belt it. And wha-la. The dress lives to see at least one more day. Still not sure on the shoes, though...what color shoes do you wear with such a loud dress?!? Even so, I'm glad this piece found its place in my closet. This sheath-lovin' gal has found a place in her heart for an A-line dress. World peace is possible.

How many chances do you give a piece before you pass it on to its next destination? Do you kick it out once it stops working for you or do you hang on just a little longer?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Executive Summary | Links for your weekend | 06.24.11

I painted this for my brother's birthday...oh, must have been freshman or sophomore year of college. He's a talented musician and I am a not-so-talented artist. Needless to say, he moved to Texas eight years ago, and this ol' thing still sits in "his" room at my parents house.

Happy FriYAY! Another week down, one week closer to moving day (three weeks left, but who's counting?). I'm taking today and Monday off to spend some time with family in Southern California before we move, since the last time K and I were both here was Christmas. So I'm writing this from my parent's living room (and I took some extra pics last week so you'll have an outfit post to enjoy Monday as well).

Move, move, yadda,'re here for links? Well, here you go!

Style and fashion
Career and office
After hours
Blogging bits

What good reads did you find this week? Any fun weekend plans?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Throw on and go [outfit]

Ann Taylor top - 2010 - $20 on sale (similar) / BR Factory Store skirt - 2011 - $20 on sale (similar) / Enzo Angiolini pumps via Piperlime - 2010 - $35 on sale (available) / H&M leather mini duffel - 2007 - $40 on sale (similar) / Premier Designs faux pearl necklace - 2010 - free with purchase (similar) / BR Factory Store sunglasses - 2011 - $8 on sale

Outfit analysis: I'm not sure if green and purple are supposed to go together, but I was feeling it. Another qualm I had about this outfit was the pleats on the skirt and the top...I have a preconceived notion that if one piece is detailed, it should be worn with a simpler piece. But this seemed to work okay, too. I like how the paper-bag waist of the skirt stands out more because the upper ruched part of the skirt blends into the top (does that make sense? Not sure how to explain it). Neutral accessories help the colors stand out.

This had to be one of my laziest mornings ever, and to be honest, I loved the result! This outfit was pretty random. I picked out the skirt and top separately as things I might want to wear together, and just put them on. I air-dried my hair (usually I blow-dry with round brush...not really a blow-out cuz my hair is straight already). And to top it off, I even ate almost the same meal for lunch and dinner: chicken and french fries. Out of one rut, into another.

What odd color combo do you like to wear? How did you discover it?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How to deal with annoying coworkers | Bad habits and backstabbers


We're on week three of annoying coworkers! We've already covered the downer, the bulldozer, the oversharer, and the eager beaver. Today's topic: people with annoying bad habits and backstabbers.

Bad Habits
  • Smelly
  • Loud chewer
  • Hums, whistles, or talks to themselves
  • Foot-tapper
  • Loud phone talker
Why someone might have a bad habit: Oftentimes, this coworker does not know that they have a weird habit, or even if they're aware of it, they may not realize how annoying it is. Some bad habits are a nervous tic, so they may just be wound tightly.

How to deal with someone with a bad habit: Don't take it personally. If you are in a position to offer advice, kindly pull them aside one-on-one and mention that this habit might be inhibiting work productivity or may be holding them back. Be kind but direct, so you only have to make one pass (one convo is awkward enough, a second is torture).  "I'm pretty impressed by your whistling skills, but it distracts me and others when we're trying work. Would you mind not whistling during work?"

What if you have a bad habit? If you're not sure whether you have a bad habit or not, ask a trusted coworker. Be open to hearing the truth. And be willing to come up with an alternative, such as eating your lunch in the breakroom instead of at your desk. Have your trusted coworker keep you accountable to rid you of your bad habit.

The Backstabber
  • Pounces on others' weakness
  • Often cozy with the higher-ups
  • Gossipy
  • Burns bridges
  • Benefits from others' misfortunes

Why someone might be a backstabber: Much like the bulldozer, the backstabber is a insecure. But they also take it to the next level--instead of just running over people to be heard, they try to tear down those in their way for long-term negative consequences. This is just mean.

How to deal with a backstabber: Don't offer any information they could use against you. Keep records of correspondence and work completed so that you'll have evidence if they try to attack. And be aware and steer clear of who they associate with, too; backstabbers often have a little gaggle of followers or a small group of confidantes that are equally as mean.

What if you're the backstabber? Cut it out! You may think you're serving some greater good by tattling on a coworker for your own benefit, and it may offer short-term results, but in the end, burning bridges is a bad, bad idea. Even if no one is saying anything, if others notice this type of behavior, it could come back and bite you in the future (not-as-positive referrals, losing future contacts, lack of trust from others).

Have you encountered these personality types? What tips do you have to deal with them?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Comfortable combos [outfit]

loft outlet top
 franco sarto hot sandals
sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans
LOFT outlet top - 2011 - $14 on sale (similar) / Textured pencil skirt - 2010 - swapped (similar) / Franco Sarto sandals via Piperlime - 2011 - $45 on sale (available) / Canvas and leather belt - 2010 - swapped (similar) / Ball chain necklace (similar)

Outfit analysis: This outfit isn't really anything new for me (I love ruffles and pencil skirts) but I do like how this color combo turned out. The top is a bit of a stone color...not quite gray but not quite brown. It reminds me of Linley's top that I borrowed way back when. This belt + shoe combo is quickly becoming a summer favorite, too.

Ever since my shopping diet ended, I've been shopping up a storm. These shoes and this top are just a few of my latest purchases. And unlike my usual formula, I didn't try either of these on before I purchased.

The shoes
—I got these from Piperlime, knowing that I could return it for free. I already have a pair of Franco Sarto boots, so I know the brand runs relatively true to size

The top—I got this from the new LOFT outlet in nearby Vacaville (the outlets are the same distance away as the regular mall for me). I didn't feel like trying things on so I eyeballed it. Unfortunately I cut the tags off before I tried it on at home, and it's slightly large. I don't think it will be a huge problem, but with this fitted look it felt a little awkward.

Lesson learned: try it on!

Do you try on clothes or eyeball your size? How often do you miss?

Monday, June 20, 2011

How to shop the outlets

Outlets, sometimes called factory stores, are a great way to find deals on your favorite brands and an affordable way to introduce luxury brand names into your closet. Usually located on the outskirts of metropolitan areas, outlet malls are much larger than your neighborhood mall, and can be a bit intimidating. But with some patience—and strategy—you will be pleased with what you find. Some of my favorite outlet store finds have been my BR Factory Store cardigan and skirt, my Ann Taylor Factory Store suit and dress, and my Calvin Klein outlet top.

What exactly are the outlets good for? Well, they began as a way to get rid of retail store extras and cheap prices. When retailers realized that there was a huge market for more affordable goods, many began producing items especially for the outlets, often using slightly cheaper material, not lining skirts and pants, and keeping designs simple. Most of what you see at stores today are made just for the outlets, so while the style may seem just like what's in your mall store, there is something slightly different, even if it's just color or fit. For example, BR Factory Store produces a Ryan Fit Flared Trouser, which fits me like a dream. It isn't lined, but can often be found on sale for about $20 at the outlet, so I have a few pairs. There isn't anything like it in the mall store.

Some tips on getting the most out of your outlet shopping experience:
  • Do your homework. Just because it's from an outlet, doesn't mean it's going to be cheaper than retail across the board. There is often a "compare to" price on the tag, which compares the price of the outlet garment to a similar item in the retail store. But don't be fooled...usually with a lower price you are giving something up, too. I still wait for outlets to go on sale before I buy.
  • Check your email. Many factory stores, including Banana Republic, Gap, J. Crew, Ann Taylor, and LOFT, have mailing lists or Facebook pages just for their factory stores (for Ann Taylor and LOFT, it is an option when you sign up on their regular email updates, not a separate site or sign-up). These emails will alert you to sale events and may often include printable coupons, too.
  • Be patient. Sure, a 40% off sale may seem exciting, but many stores have perpetual sales so don't be tempted to jump on everything. It is worth waiting it out for additional discounts or coupons.
  • Be stubborn. If you have mental limits on how much you are willing to pay for an item, hold your guns. Or even lower your mental limit a bit for the outlets. You can sometimes find things on sale in the mall for less than the non-extra-sale outlet price, and you'll be getting the mall quality, too.
  • Check the return policies. Since outlet items are usually slightly lower in quality than retail stores, you will probably only be allowed to return items to another outlet store.
  • Double check the seams (and everything else). Since items produced for the outlet tend to be slightly lower in quality, it is worth a double check of the seams. Don't assume that dress trousers and skirts will always be lined, even if they are at the brand's retail store. If you want certain things, like linings, make sure you check for them before you purchase.
Like with all shopping, outlet malls can be hit-or-miss. I guess that's why it's called shopping rather than just buying. For more general shopping tips, check out this previous post: How I Shop For Cheap.

Do you shop the outlets? What tips do you have?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Executive Summary | Links for your weekend | 06.17.11 [double dose]

My contribution to the break room fridge. The thing about clouds, not the corduroy (but good advice).

Helloooooo friends. How are you doing this fine Friday? I know I say this a lot, but this week went by fast! Moving day is less than a month away, and I (err...we) still have tons to do. Here's a brief checklist:
  • Book a moving company [the only thing I've done so far]
  • Find an apartment in Miami [K's job]
  • Book a car shipping company for K's car [K's job]
  • Get rid of stuff [work in progress...trying to tackle one little piece each day]
  • Inventory my apartment/belongings for the movers
  • Plan road trip
  • Plan farewell BBQs in Southern California and Northern California
  • Be as productive at the day job as possible [it's easy to get distracted] 
The most exciting part of this whole ordeal is the road trip! We're taking two weeks (and change) to drive ourselves through 10 states, seeing sights and visiting friends along the way. And when I say friends, I mean you! I'll be stopping in Salt Lake City, Denver, Dallas, Austin, Houston, New Orleans, and Orlando on my way down to Miami, and if all goes well, I'd love to meet any readers or fellow bloggers along the way. Nothing formal, and nothing too organized, just putting faces to names and learning more about you! If you're on my route and interested in a coffee chat, leave a comment below or email me!

But you're here just for links? Let me get out of your way. Here's a double dose of good reads for your weekend!

Style and fashion
Career and office
After hours
Blogging bits

Are you on my road trip route? Any recommendations for food/lodging/attractions in my destination cities?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

First lady [outfit]

Agaci blazer
kate spade pumps
ann taylor ruffle tiered top
A'gaci blazer - 2011 - $26 (similar) / Ann Taylor Factory Store top - 2011 - $20 on sale (similar) / LOFT pencil skirt - 2009 - $13 on sale (similar) / Kate Spade pewter pumps - 2011 - gift (similar) / Natural pearls - 2007 - gift (similar) / Nancy Rosetta circle ring - 2010 - gift (similar)

Outfit analysis: Speaking of small steps, this is the fourth time I've worn this blazer, and the first time I've busted out of the white tee - blue jeans combo. I started this look with the top untucked and a black belt around the natural waistline, but a) it just didn't look right and b) it definitely didn't look right once I added the blazer. I could probably have added a belt onto the tucked look, too, but I like it without just the same. And something about wearing a colorful outfit makes me reach for these shoes, but I'm not complaining.

I'm not actually a first lady (duh), but my husband does study the presidency and the piping on this jacket is just so DC chic that I went for the title anyway. But come to think of it, this outfit looks kind of like it could have been picked by the fabulously stylish Michelle Obama herself. Classic pieces. Fun colors. A mix of affordable (LOFT, A'Gaci) and high-end (Kate Spade). My husband always gets asked if he plans on entering politics (the answer is no), but if he ever did, I think I know what I'm wearing to his swearing-in.

Who is your style inspiration? What draws you to their style?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How to deal with annoying coworkers | Oversharers and eager beavers

In part 2 of the annoying coworkers series, we're going to tackle oversharers and eager beavers.

The Oversharer
  • Offers unsolicited personal information
  • Inappropriate conversation or behavior (often sexual or flirtatious)
  • Sometimes also a downer
  • Spends a lot of time talking rather than working
Why someone might be an oversharer: People overshare for many reasons, but one thing is for sure: oversharers misjudge how close they are to others and how others perceive them. While this can be true of many relationships outside of the workplace, it presents the biggest pickle in the workplace. 

How to deal with an oversharer: Oversharers aren't good at social cues (see above) so a simple look or facial expression may not get through to them. I usually stick with a simple, "Whoa, TMI!" (in a somewhat jokey manner) but another thing you could try is noting times where you don't feel the conversation would be appropriate for you to continue: "...but I shouldn't say any's a bit inappropriate for the workplace." Passive aggressive, maybe, but it shows you see boundaries without directly attacking them.

What if you're the oversharer? If you hesitate on sharing something, just don't. Let the other person lead the conversation, and keep your discussion within their preferred scope. If a joke isn't appropriate to tell your spouse's grandmother, then it's probably not appropriate for work (a sliding scale, I know, but you get where I'm headed).

The Eager Beaver
  • Overly enthusiastic
  • Moves and speaks quickly (sometimes too quickly) and loudly
  • May take on too much
  • Often speaks and acts before they think
  • Finishes work before the deadline

Why someone might be an eager beaver: Eager beaver behavior often comes with inexperience. These people mean well and desperately want to do a good job and be liked. They're just trying to make a good impression, and don't realize that they may be stepping on toes or shattering eardrums in the process.

How to deal with an eager beaver: Offer some (but not too much) praise and recognition. Give them research-based projects to use their abundance of energy. Encourage deeper thinking and let them in on your thought process or strategy session so they see what goes into certain actions or decisions.

What if you're the eager beaver? Cut back on the caffeine and sugar (don't cut it out, it's good for you). If you find yourself finishing up your work way ahead of the deadline, lay it aside for a few hours and come back to it later to consider how you could hone it more or add more to the finished product. Read up on industry practices or strategy to inform your may be surprised at what you may learn.

Of all the personality types (including the upcoming ones), eager beaver hits closest to home. I'm pretty high-energy even without coffee, and I'm sure I've annoyed others with my enthusiastic and optimistic take on life. I've mellowed out a lot as I've racked up some experience behind me, so I can speak firsthand to how I've become less crazed rodent and more savvy Sally (but still optimistic).

Missed last week's installment? Check out the downer and the bulldozer.

Do you have an oversharer or eager beaver at work? Or are you one? Any tips to add?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Silky smooth [outfit]

ann taylor factory store top
banana republic factory store ryan fit trousers
american eagle necklace
Ann Taylor Factory Store top - 2011 - $12 on sale (similar) / Mossimo tank via Target - 2009 - $7 on sale (available) / BR Factory Store trousers - 2009 - $20 on sale (similar) / Mossimo gladiator sandals via Target - 2010 - $25 (similar) / American Eagle outlet necklace - 2011 - $4 on sale (similar) / Silver ball studs via Target - cheap (similar)

Outfit analysis: I'm sure this outfit breaks some rules...I have a loosely fitted top and relaxed trousers. No belt. No real shape to the shirt. But you know what? I love it. I found this great silky blouse a few months ago at the outlets, and I stuck it in my closet and forgot about it. I pulled it out last week to remind myself to wear it, and I decided just to keep it simple (I start small, remember?). It's one of those things that doesn't makes sense, but just works.

I'm back! I know, you barely noticed I was gone (thank goodness for scheduled posts), but I was running around like a madwoman most of last week prepping for K's graduation and our family time in town. We're really lucky—our families get along swimmingly, and we basically spent Thursday afternoon through Sunday morning together (all 10 of us...whew).

Memorable moments from this weekend:
  • Almost missing K's walk across the stage at graduation because the emcee called K by the WRONG NAME. 
  • Hearing my 3-year-old nephew exclaim, "Your bed is in your living room!" when he saw our futon made up as a bed (for my brother).
  • Discovering that I left my car unlocked for three days, parked four blocks from my apartment. Good thing we live in Davis.
  • Eating. Lots of eating. And I cooked a meal for everyone, too.
  • Watching my nephew tried using chopsticks for the first time. He plays the drums daily, so it was one stick per hand. While eating fried rice.
  • Sending Ashlee home with three whopping bags for this weekend's Stitch Swap when all she came over for was a bike (she got the bike, too).
Although my two days off last week were great (and I got to unplug a bit...lots of catching up to do), it's good to be back!

Do you use your vacation days or do you let them gather dust?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Office Supply of the Month | Sticky notes

I can't believe it's taken me a long time to get to one of my favorite office supplies ever, but I think it's mostly because I see sticky notes as less of an office supply and more of a life tool. It's true—in my home office, I have an entire desktop organizer dedicated to various sizes and colors of sticky notes

Those white drawers on the left by the lamp are exclusively for sticky notes. Flags go in the top drawer, small rectangular notes in the middle, and regular 3"x3" notes and specialty notes (stars, footballs, etc.) on the bottom.

I use sticky notes for everything: edits on documents that I don't want to mark up, to-do lists, makeshift index tabs, directions, addresses on shipments (for ops staff to send), cleaning my keyboard (sticky side down). Although my home supply is typically the smaller stuff, at work I also like the lined kind (about 4"x6") or even the large wall-posted sized ones for meetings and brainstorms. Adhesive + paper = endless possibilities.

Sticky notes were (not so intentionally) invented in 1968 when 3M chemist Dr. Spencer Silver developed a pressure-sensitive, reusable adhesive. Initially, 3M struggled to find a use for this new discovery, and it wasn't until 1974 that Art Fry, one of Silver's colleagues at 3M, came up with the idea of using the adhesive on strips of paper to use as a bookmark in his church hymnal. In 1978, Fry began marketing the product under the brand Press n' Peel, but the sales were disappointing. Post-its were officially introduced into the U.S. market in 1980. Post-it flags came soon after in 1987. The patent for Post-its expired in the 1990s, opening the door for other manufacturers to get in on the sticky note market.

In case you're curious, 3M has a fun timeline of fun facts about their Post-it product on their website.

Marking notes and comments
Index tabs
Sticking reminders or inspirations quotes in high visibility places
Makeshift lint roller
Label things temporarily

Fun with sticky notes

What are your favorite uses for sticky notes?

Friday, June 10, 2011

You the Professional: Workplace hair-dos

While I do like to try out different things myself, hair is one of those things that is harder (sometimes my hair just isn't long enough to try out styles I'd like to). So I'm happy to present some great office-appropriate hair-dos from some of my favorite bloggers!

Down or mostly down
Liz of 26 and Counting and Lindsay of Cubicle Chic

Kendi of Kendi Everyday (photo by Bryan Skeen) and Lindsay of Cubicle Chic

Colleen of Scrap and Run, Meredith of Cubicle Chic, and Suze of Miss Vinyl Ahoy (tutorial)

And an oldie, but goodie: The long and short of it all. My hair throughout 2010.

Have you tried any of these styles? Which ones are your faves?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The New Professional Gift Guide | Graduation edition

I took two days off this week for my husband's graduation! Both of our families (parents, siblings, and their families) are converging onto our little college town for a whole weekend of festivities and family time.

Although it's pretty late into graduation season, I figured that since many college graduates are entering the new professional ranks, I'd do a quick gift guide (along the lines of my holiday ones).

Top row:
  • Tie bar for the gentleman
  • Nifty book (I think the pink cover means it's mainly for ladies, but guys should know how to sew a button, too. I received this similar guide when I graduated college, and it definitely helped me navigate living on my own during grad school.)
  • Lap desk
  • Laptop bag

Middle row:
  • Tie for the gentleman (for the interview, at least)
  • Coin bank
  • Travel book
  • Passport cover

Bottom row:
  • Sophisticated scarf
  • Card case
  • Stationery
  • Watch
What was your favorite graduation gift you received? What is your go-to gift for new grads?

BTW, I got K this leather messenger bag to carry his laptop and papers around campus next year. It looks more professional than the backpack he currently uses, and will hopefully prevent people from mistaking him as a student (he's 28 and will be an assistant professor. I'm married to a freakin' rock star).

Mad, mad world [outfit]

gap dress
nina paladin pumps
vintage frame bag
business casual
Gap dress - 2011 - $25 (similar) / Nina Paladin pumps via Ross - 2009 - $16 (similar) / J.Crew outlet belt - 2011 - $5 (similar) / Vintage frame bag via Bows and Arrows - 2010 - $12 (similar) / Necklace via Gottschalks - 2009 - $6 (similar) / Silver ball studs via Target - cheap (similar)

Outfit analysis: The sleeves, wide neckline, and defined waist of this dress really hearken back to the Mad Men days. I think the bag only adds to that vibe, and I like it. Looking back at this outfit now, I sort of wish I'd tried it with my braided leather belt, to carry the color of the bag through to the outfit, and maybe another necklace. Although I really do think the leopard print of the belt is a nice touch. Well, that was rambly. Bottom line: I liked this outfit. It was easy. It was comfy.

When I get a new item of clothing, I tend to start out simply and then branch out. That was the case with my gray Target dress (iteration 1, 2, 3), and that's how I'm approaching this dress as well. Sure, I have an idea of how I'll be styling the item when I buy it, but in reality it often takes me a few tries to figure the piece out. This styling isn't all that different from the first time, but hey, it's only my second try, so cut me some slack, okay? Any ideas for my next try with this dress?

How do you approach working a new piece into your wardrobe? Do you try out the waters one toe at a time or do you cannonball right in?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How to deal with annoying coworkers | Downers and bulldozers

If you caught my tweets or Facebook last Friday, you'll know I spent a chunk of my morning at the Fox 40 Live studio in Sacramento doing a brief segment on dealing with annoying coworkers. I only had about two minutes. If you're keeping track, that's 7 minutes of local TV fame, eight more to go (I better start spreading these out more).

We profiled two imaginary people with traits that are often found together to help viewers visualize the tips and how they could be applied. This is in no way comprehensive, so I will be exploring other potentially annoying traits as well, and spreading these posts over the next few weeks.

I'm talking from experience here—I know I have been the annoying coworker at one time or another (ok, a lot of the time). I think the key is to recognize when these behaviors are appropriate and how to not let them interfere with your work relationships.

First up, the two imaginary profiles we talked about on air: the downer and the bulldozer.

The Downer
  • Chronic complainer
  • Negative about outcomes / pessimistic (not to be confused with realistic)
  • Raises doubts in others
  • Slacker
  • Not concerned with how they are perceived
  • Tends to bring up personal woes at work
Why someone might be a downer: Lack of confidence in self or work, tension or troubles in personal life, don't care about work (perhaps looking to move on),

How to deal with a downer: Compliment them on a job well done (find something, even if it's small). Remind them of past successes. Acknowledge their feelings genuinely and then gently turn the conversation back to the work at hand. Something like, "I'm sorry to hear about that. I hope things work out. Do you have a few minutes to discuss [project x]?"

What if you're the downer? Try something new in life, or pitch a new idea at work. Think back to the last success you had (yes, that thing you did this morning counts) and recapture that feeling. Connect with creative friends (coworkers included) off the clock. Find something that motivates you and keeping that close by as a reminder.

The Bulldozer
  • Dominates conversations
  • Self-promoter
  • Doesn’t take direction well
  • Resistant to other opinions
  • Not a team player
Why someone might be a bulldozer: They're trying to prove themselves, they are afraid no one will see their work if they don't trumpet it themselves, they want to control their projects.

How to deal with a bulldozer: Acknowledge their contributions. This may seem counter-intuitive (they're already trumpeting themselves enough), but if it's already been said, they'll look super-silly saying it again. If you're on the same team and the person is hogging projects that you want, express interest in a project or duty first (one-on-one with your supervisor) so it's not up for grabs later.

What if you're the bulldozer? Listen—I mean really listen. Try someone else's suggestion, and if theirs doesn't work, then pitch your idea as the fallback. Acknowledge the contributions of others (none of us can do this alone). Offer helpful suggestions for others to take or leave (and don't get butthurt if they leave it).

How do you deal with the downers and bulldozers in your life? What other coworker stereotypes would you like to see in this series?

And in case you were interested in seeing the clip, here you go! Pardon the throat-clearing...I had just downed my coffee and still had coffee-throat.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Burst of color [outfit]

sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional hm cardigan limited top target skirt kate spade pumps
sacramento office fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional hm cardigan limited top target skirt kate spade pumps
H&M cardigan - 2009 - $30 (similar) / The Limited top - 2009 - $20 (similar) / Target skirt - 2007 - $6 (similar) / J.Crew belt - 2011 - $10 (similar) / Kate Spade pumps - 2011 - gift (similar here and here) / American Eagle necklace - 2010 - $7 (similar)

Outfit analysis: Red, teal, and pink? This color combination is pretty wild (compared to my usual), but I really, really like it! The belt balances out the full skirt, and the neutral cardigan and metallic heels anchor the colors. I originally picked out the top and skirt, and will probably try them together without the cardigan when it warms up.

Thanks for the great advice, friends, on how to get out of a style rut. I ended up going the color route, as evidenced by this colorful outfit. I know, it's not super out-there, but just the fact that there are more colors than there are neutrals is a big step. I've worn teal and red together before, but the red is usually just a belt or a shoe.

I've been doing a major closet clean-out as we prepare for the move. I don't mean my every-few-months get rid of stuff I don't like type of clean-out. I'm talking the toss-it-if-I-can't-see-myself-wearing-it-in-Miami type of clean-out (also known as a get-rid-of-as-much-as-possible-so-there's-less-to-move clean-out). Aside from weather, one of the biggest changes happening when I move is that I won't be going into an office everyday anymore.

What the?? Yup. I've decided to try my hand at freelancing (writing, editing, social media, etc.) for a minimum of one year. Full-time freelancing has always been tempting, and I actually planned on doing just that when I first moved up to Sacramento, but with a student-husband earning a student-income, we needed something more steady, and I was lucky to find a great job rather quickly. Now that he's got a job of his own (making more than we do now put together), it's a great time for me to pursue my dream freelance career. When else will I be forced to quit my full-time job, still have a sustainable income while adding to our savings each month, and not have a mortgage, debt, or children to support? Sure, it will be challenging—I'm prepared for much discouragement and disappointment as I start out—but since much of my work is done online anyway, I'm hoping to use the networks I've built everywhere I've worked (Orange County, NYC, and Sac) as a jumping-off point. A one-year minimum will give me time to learn from my beginner mistakes and see if this is a viable long-term career choice. I plan on continuing this blog after I move, but there will definitely be changes (still working that out).

Any tips for the first-time full-time freelancer?

Monday, June 6, 2011

In the moment

Things I love right now:

New York & Co. at ShopStyle
New York & Co. mod rubber band watch
Anthropologie at ShopStyle
Anthropologie Still Life With Pencils wall art

Merona at ShopStyle
Merona bandeau shirred one-piece from Target
(I'm debating between pink, green, blue/white dots, and black/white dots)

Coldwater Creek at ShopStyle
Coldwater Creek ribbon detail top

Which I'd love to style like this for a subtle color-blocked look:

What are you loving right now?