Friday, September 30, 2011

Home office: Revealed!

It took a few weeks of waiting for our local Ikea to get the Expedit back in stock, but they finally got some more in and my home office plans were saved. You remember my mood board and how my office looked earlier this month?

Well, here's the finished product.

Not to shabby, eh? I love the new set-up, although I'll admit the desktop is rarely as clean as in the photos above (which I took in the excitement of finally getting things put away, before I sat down to actually work). Even though almost everything in this office is old, I love how it came together for a (mostly) clean and inspiring feel.

One of my favorite new additions to this space is my super-chic wall calendar, which I purchased from Sweet Musings Paperie on etsy. I loved it when I ordered it, but when I got in the mail, I LOVED it. I love looking up at Michelle's illustrations throughout my workday for a little pick me up, and there are 15 more months to go. Michelle is offering the New Professional readers 15% off on anything in her shop through October 31. Just enter NEWPROF in the coupon code box during checkout on Paypal and it will be applied to your order.

So...what do you think? Could you work in a space like this?

[Edited to add: Those boxes still between the desk and bookshelf are going to K's office...they are chock full of heavy books so he's taking them one backpack-ful at a time. Once those are gone, that space will be nice and open. Forgot they were still in the photo!]

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pin-up [outfit]

Olivia top c/o Carissa Rose (available) / Merona trouser jeans from Target - 2011 - $18 on sale (similar) / Nine West peep-toes from Ross - 2011 - $25 (similar) / Random chain necklaces
[Worn: 09.27.11 | To: Volunteer, errands, exploring]

I'm a firm believer that you shouldn't be comparing your body to the shape of clothes, but that you should make clothes fit your body, whatever shape you may be. Case in point—this shirt, which was sent to me for review by Carissa Rose (along with the dress I reviewed earlier this month). This is the Olivia in 4RE, and they mentioned that it might be a bit large in the bust, but nothing a tailor couldn't easily fix. Before I went the alterations route, however, I wanted to try the shirt as is.

  • Nice print, rich colors
  • Fabric feels nice...thin but not cheap (perfect for the Florida fall--still hot, just not as humid)
  • Hook and eye closure really prevents any gaping
  • V-neck that doesn't go down too low
  • Flattering diagonal seam under bust
  • Sleeves are rather puffy, all the way down do the wrist cuff. I wish the sleeves had slimmed down toward the wrist instead. You can really see the sleeve shape in the product photo on the website.
  • Their smallest sized shirt was baggy all around on me. The fanning out of the shirt under the bust was especially disproportionate on my body (although I think their semi-fitted or tailored silhouettes would have worked better for me; this shirt is urban fit).
I thought it was weird that this shirt, which sounded like it should have been smaller than the dress (size 6WE), actually fit much looser. When I look at their sizing chart, the two sizes I was sent have the same bust measurement, just different waist measurements. I continued poking around their site, trying to find more about this, and I found what I was looking for in the "size & fit" section of the Katerina dress.

"Black Caviar runs small, please order one size up"

So the 6WE dress actually ran closer to a 4WE, smaller than this shirt. Good to know my mind isn't just playing tricks on me. Several retailers do provide information on how sizes fit and whether they're true to size, run large, or run small (In addition to Carissa Rose, I know Piperlime, Zappos, and Shabby Apple also have this info).

Back to the fit of the shirt. Like I mentioned before, I like to make clothes fit my body instead of lamenting how my body isn't ideal (much easier when a garment is too large rather than too small). A quick tuck and pin of the placket right at the under-bust seam and a roll of the shirt sleeves gave the shirt a more elegant silhouette, almost reminiscent of Carolina Herrera's ubiquitous dress blouses. I don't know that CH would wear jeans with this, but if she did, I imagine she'd wear a trouser style, too.

2 befores and 1 after. Doesn't look so bad in pic 2, but I'm not going to walk around all day with my arms spread out.

I fanned out the collar and bottom of the shirt to emphasize the cinch at the waist, and while it looked nice from the front, it did create a faux-preggo look from the side. I think I will try alterations next.

Don't forget, you can get 20% off your purchase at Carissa Rose through October 13 with the code THENEWPROFESSIONAL20. I highly recommend the Katerina dress, and I really like the look of the Justina Stripe Shirt (which has a tailored fit) and Lola Pencil Dress (so perfectly retro).  

How have you made an item of clothing fit you in a pinch?

Disclosure: Carissa Rose sent me two items free of charge for review, but the content of the reviews is all mine. No compensation was provided, and no agreement was made to guarantee a post or positive coverage. Clicking on Carissa Rose links will not benefit me in any way.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The myth of the rough draft

When I was in school, I took the term "rough draft" very literally. My drafts were just that...rough. My computer caught most of my typos, but my concepts and arguments were rudimentary, and I did little if any wordcrafting. The final draft? That's where all my effort went.

Then I got a job. I prided myself on being fast, getting drafts out in record time, knowing that my supervisor would change anything he or she didn't like. And the drafts always came back with corrections. Lots of corrections. I hate being corrected, so I began spending more and more time on my drafts. I still wrote fast, but instead of sending it out right away, I reviewed my own draft over and over again, massaging a phrase here or there, selecting words carefully. Soon, the revisions lessened, and I learned a valuable lesson about rough drafts. They don't exist outside of the classroom.

Because in the work world, your drafts should never be rough. I'm going to be blunt—when I see work, no matter what stage it's in, with typos, mistakes, or missing information, I question the worker's ability to do their job. If you don't care enough to fix typos on a draft, then why should I care enough to fix your typos? On the flip side, I expect others to react to my typos and mistakes the same way, and therefore do everything in my power to make sure my draft is as polished as possible.

So what should a draft be?
  • A draft should not be incomplete. If you're showing your part of a joint project, sure you can leave space where the other person's work will go, but a draft that includes holes to plug more of your work in doesn't read as a draft at all. It reads as incomplete work.
  • A draft should never have typos, incomplete sentences, or bad grammar and sentence structure. Heck, nothing you show anyone else should, especially not in the age of spellcheck.
  • A draft should be a finished product. If the reviewer didn't have any comments, is it ready to go as is? If you answered no, then your draft is not ready to be reviewed. 
Early in your career, you shouldn't be afraid to ask for direction if you're trying out a new type of project for the first time. Even then, though, your work (and your notes) should be worked through and polished as much as possible since someone else is going to see it.

Drafts are an essential part of the work process, but presenting good work from the get-go makes things go much smoother.

How do you make the draft and review process go smoother?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Something like home [outfit]

Ann Taylor top - 2010 - $20 on sale (similar) / BR Factory Store pants - 2009 - $12 on clearance (similar) / Nina pumps from Ross - 2009 - $16 on sale (similar) / Belt taken from a suit (similar) / Necklace c/o Jada's Jewels [referral link]
[Worn: 09.24.11 | To: Work a fundraising event. Change of outfit afterward to meet K's coworkers and have a birthday dinner w/ family]

This is not what I'd normally wear on a Saturday, but most Saturdays don't involve lunch at the Fontainebleau Hotel with a Hollywood legend. Dress for Success Miami hosted a fundraising luncheon featuring acclaimed actress and filmmaker Dyan Cannon, and I jumped at the chance to help out. But what does one wear to a historic fancy schmancy hotel to be in the presence of Miami movers and shakers while still being appropriate for working (moving things around, lifting boxes, event set-up, etc.)?

I came to two conclusions: pants and low heels. I have two pairs of dress pants that work with low heels (in addition to one pair of low-heel jeans, five high-heel pants and three flats know you make the distinction, too), and between these and the brown ones, black won out. Unfortunately, my pants aren't fitting so well these days, so I needed a structured top to keep from having to adjust my waistband all day. Toss on a belt and some jewels, pull back the hair, and I was ready to go. And I couldn't have been more comfortable at the event, where I indeed ended up walking up and down stairs all day and had to bend over and lift several things.

After the event I changed into this outfit (swap the heels for sandals) to meet up with K and his coworkers at a pub after their department retreat. Got a crapload of restaurant recommendations and a new shopping buddy! And then it was onto Miami's Best Pizza for a birthday dinner with our cousins out here (hint: the Moroccan pizza is bomb). I was completely wiped by the end of the day, but there is something really comforting about having a day full of activities with new friends...something almost like home.

What do you take into account the most when planning a functional and fashionable outfit?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fashion don'ts that I do

From time to time, I'll see something, either on a blog or on Facebook, asking people about some of their fashion pet peeves. Uggs always make the list, as do leggings as pants, and I agree with those (though they do look comfy). Others, though, I have to admit, I'm guilty of. Here are a few common don'ts that I do.

Embellished back pockets
I've been hiding something from you. My beloved skinnies have embellished back pockets. You've never seen them since I don't take butt pictures (you're welcome), but they're there. And they're sort of ugly. I wouldn't mind if they were cool looking, but these aren' says "J" on the left cheek and "Co" on the right. I spent well over a year looking for skinny jeans that flattered my body at a decent price point, and when I finally found these, I bought them despite the back pockets.

I've tried melting the adhesive with a blow dryer, which leaves a dark dot where the embellishment used to be. I've painted them over with black nail polish, which lasts longer than Sharpie. I'm not planning on buying a second pair of skinny jeans, so if you have any suggestions on how to get the studs off the back, please let me know.

Volume + volume = shapeless
Sometimes I just want to be comfortable. To not have to worry about whether I'll have a muffin-top after lunch, to not worry about adjusting my outfit when I stand up or sit down. Flowy clothes are the best for this, and I love pairing some trouser or wide-leg pants with a long shapeless top, usually with a skinny belt or something to cinch in just a little bit at the natural waist. Sure, I generally try to find some balance with my outfits, but sometimes you just have to do what's comfortable.

Black + brown
OK, so this one isn't really a don't anymore. But if you're still not convinced (like my husband isn't...he's just recently gotten to gray + brown), here's some evidence that it works.

How about you? What fashion don'ts do you do?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Executive Summary | Links for your weekend | 09.23.11

Birthday cards! I love snail mail. 

Happy Friday, folks! This weekend is gearing up to be chock full of good stuff, so this post will be short and sweet. Some of my favorite reads this week:
  • The Grindstone discusses how fathers affect their daughters approach to career. I didn't follow in my dad's career, but we were in the same industry for a bit (city government), and I did feel confident and comfortable there because my dad always made it seem so accessible.
  • How about this office pod? I think I'd get lonely. [via The Office Stylist]
  • It's one thing to have your boss micromanage you, but what about when they just won't give you anything? Corporette give some great tips on how to encourage a boss to delegate.
  • The next Everybody, Everwear theme is DIY, and I'm loving the tutorials bloggers have shared so far. My favorite has to be Cotton & Curls' skinny pants DIY...I have the perfect pair of chinos that need to be refreshed and can't wait to try this.
  • I love my home office, but there are certainly days where I consider schlepping to the nearest coffee shop for better food and drink. But what are the etiquette rules for working in a public place? Mashable asks baristas and their customers and gets the answers for us.
  • Unfortunately, my office chair is a little more complicated in construction and shape than this one, but I love this dressed up office chair featured on Apartment Therapy. 
What good reads did you find online (or offline) this week?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

If I could wear this everyday, I would

Banana Republic top - 2007 - $30 on sale (similar) / Merona trouser jeans via Target - 2011 - $18 on sale (similar) / Franco Sarto heels via Piperlime - 2011 - $45 on sale (available) / Target earrings - 2011 - $6 (similar) / Gold leaf bracelet - gift from my friend Stephanie (she made it!) (similar)
[Worn: 09.20.11 | To: Volunteer, errands, work]

One of the things I'm learning very quickly about freelancing is that you can't predict when you will be busy. You can't really even plan around it. It just happens. And (yay for me) it's finally starting to happen! About 90% of the work so far is for previous clients, and the other 10% is non-paid writing, so it's not like my career has exploded (or anything remotely close to that), but work is work.

This outfit was perfect for a busy day of running around and sitting long hours. Trouser jeans don't wrinkle as easily as regular trousers, and I love how breezy the top makes the whole look feel. These are my favorite jeans, hands down, and it's a struggle not to reach for them every single day.

What one item would you wear everyday?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another year older...

Every year in mid-September, I go through a bit of a crisis. OK, not so much a crisis as a time of deep reflection. Of self doubt. Of slight despair.

The million dollar question, one I ask myself every year, is, "I'm 28 (or whatever age I'm turning). What have I done with my life?" I haven't changed the world, I haven't had a great life epiphany, and I haven't starred in a Broadway musical. The 15-year-old Angeline would be so disappointed.

So what have I done with my life? Not much of anything important to the world, but a lot in terms of personal growth.

At 19/20: Stopped trying to be cool and found life was better being myself (many others agreed, though I lost a number of friends along the way). Learned to trust myself and not compromise, especially in dating. Fell in love with a guy that encouraged me to be a better person and follow my dreams.

At 21: In a year-long office internship, learned to deal with a micromanaging boss and tension-charged work environments. After graduation, ditched my college major and a full-time job offer to pursue my dream of working in magazines in New York City.

At 22: Learned to sleep well on red-eye flights. Seriously doubted my abilities and life direction, leading to lots of anxiety, which I poured into blogging to a non-existent audience. Learned the value of good verbal communication in a cross-country relationship.

At 23: Overcame my self-doubt momentarily to finish my Master's Degree. Got married and learned that I wasn't at the center of the universe (never was, never will be).

At 24: Started my first full-time job (with benefits!) and budgeted out a student loan repayment plan. Survived many faux pas and regrets as I learned to adapt to the office work environment.

At 25: Stopped comparing Sacramento to NYC and learned to love my new home.

At 26: Put myself out there (online and in person) and learned how rewarding it could be. Learned that no matter how hard you work and how good you are at something, some people will never get past their own mental roadblocks or perceptions of you. Realized that others' mental roadblocks or perceptions of you should never stop you from working hard and doing good work. Saw the fruits of my budget as I paid off the last of my student loans.

At 27: Deepened friendships new and old. Denied for a year that I was in my late-20s. Took a huge leap of faith with a big move and a big career change. Continued putting myself out there in an even more intimidating environment.

Things I'd love to say next year about being 28:
  • Learned to be a good friend from afar. I hate the phone and am inconsistent with emails, but friendships are not going to maintain themselves. I have a lot to learn.
  • Learned to take care of myself. My eating habits are not bad, but my health and exercise habits are terrible. I learned during my eczema breakout earlier this summer how important it is to care for my body, starting with a regular exercise and vitamins.
What have you learned from life so far and what do you hope to learn this coming year? 


Shameless Plug: I've entered Lucky Magazine's search for a new Lucky Life contributor! Rounds 1 and 2 were qualifiers, and now it's all based on fan votes. So if you like Lucky Magazine—or if you just like me—check out my Modern Mediterranean Birthday entry and vote! [Lucky log-in/registration required.] Voting for this round ends Friday. Thank you!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sunny days [outfit]

Gap Favorite V-neck T - 2011 - $7 on sale (available) / Yellow strapless smocked dress worn as skirt - 2010 - swap (similar) / Vintage belt via Bows and Arrows - 2010 - $12 (similar) / Black wood bead necklace - 2010 - swap (similar) / Target metallic flip flops - 2009 - $7 (similar)
[Worn: 09.16.11 | To: Write, write and work]

I love finding new uses for old pieces. This skirt is actually a tube dress, and it's one of my favorites for the beach. Yup, this is my go-to swim coverup. I think this is the second time I've worn it when not going to the beach, and the first time it's made it out of the house. Why in the world did I not do this earlier? The belt really makes the look, and the flip flops seemed just right with the casual fabric of the skirt.

My birthday is tomorrow, and fall officially begins on Friday. Things I'm looking forward to this season:
  • The end of storm season. We've been really lucky in South Florida so far, only a few more months to go until glorious winter. We got a crash course in storm prep when Irene was still threatening Florida, so we're as ready as we can be, but you never know what you don't know until something happens.
  • Going home. My new nephew enters this world next month, and a few weeks after that I'm headed out to So Cal to help my sis-in-law out around the house and with the boys (baby and his 3 1/2-year-old big bro). So excited to do Halloween with them!
  • Fall TV. We had planned to get rid of cable TV when we moved, but our building (and rent) comes with basic, so we still have just about all our favorite channels (minus glaring holes ESPN and FX). My faves: Fringe, Glee, The Office, Bones, and How I Met Your Mother. I'm not addicted. I'm not addicted. I'm not addicted?
  • Getting unpacked. As you may have seen on my Facebook page, I have a new bookshelf background in my recent outfit pics. Still not completely unpacked yet, but getting really, really close.
  • Learning to run. I'm mostly looking forward to this. After discovering the amazing scenery of a nearby trail, I've decided I'd like to start running...err, learning how to run without feeling like I'm dying. The goal? I'd like to be able to run one mile without stopping by the end of the year, something I have never done in my life. Wish me luck!
What are you most looking forward to for fall?

Monday, September 19, 2011

In the moment

I've been lukewarm about clothing shopping lately, but making up for it in other things, namely home items and beauty products. Things I'm loving right now:

Rimmel at ShopStyle
Black nail polish. As cheap as possible.
[shown: Rimmel London, but I'll take anything sub-$5 with no shimmer]

Bobbi Brown at ShopStyle
Because flawless skin never goes out of style.
[Bobbi Brown Face Touch Up Stick] 

Anthropologie at ShopStyle
Not in my price range, but a ruffly pillow is on my DIY list.
[Anthropologie Meet Me In St. Louis pillow]

Fascinated by this five-year journal, so I used a birthday gift card to get one of my own.
[Levenger 5-year journal]

What are you in love with right now?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Executive Summary | Links for your weekend | 09.16.11

The view from my walk this morning.

Happy Friday, folks! It looks like the Expedit I want for my home office is finally back in stock, so I'll be busy allen-wrenching and unpacking this weekend. I cannot wait until I can turn my head and not see a cardboard packing box in my line of vision (aside from sticking my head in a corner). What do you have planned?

Some great reads from this week:
  • I have lots of opinions on office wear (as you've seen), but they're just that: my opinions. recently did a survey about office dress codes, and to be honest, the results aren't that surprising. What you wear affects your workplace.
  • If I could have a planner for every single purse I own, I would. Unfortunately, that would be a bad way to stay organized. But maybe I can find room for this amazing (and customizable) planner seen on Srsly Liz.
  • When it comes to fit, I rarely alter my clothing (with the exception of bridesmaid dresses). But in case you do, or if you'd like to but don't know where to start, Corporette's guide to suiting alterations is a great resource (written by Extra Petite).
  • I take my time off seriously, even if it's just a long weekend trip to see my girlfriends, but a lot of folks either don't take their earned vacation or feel guilty when they do. Classy Career Girl offers some great tips on how you can get rid of that guilty feeling.
  • These should be no-brainers, but if you work in an office, you should read Professiongal's post on break room etiquette. Just in case.
  • If you're a student stressing about your major, don't. Your college major doesn't matter (Lindsay Pollak explains). I should know...I haven't used my college major since, oh, I graduated from college.
  • I usually like to make my own pillowcases for around my home, but if I didn't, I'd get these magazine pillows. [via]
  • Co-worker competition is inevitable, and can be tricky when you're friends. The Grindstone offers some tips on how to deal in those situations.
  • Another good read from the Grindstone this week: Should corporations accommodate women's failure to negotiate?
What good reads did you find this week?

Random thoughts [outfit]

BR Factory Store t-shirt - 2011 - $5 on sale (similar) / Textured pencil skirt - 2010 - swap (similar) / Anne Klein mary janes via Macy's - 2011 - $25 on sale (available) / Dark faux pearl strand worn doubled and safety-pinned - 2011 - gift (similar)
[Worn: 09.15.11 | To: Volunteer and run errands]

Things are starting to pick up around here...I've had my busiest week in weeks! Went in to volunteer three times, ran an entire day full of errands (still getting things sorted out and unpacked), checked out a new church small group, and worked on a few client projects. Oh, and there's this blog. I did a slight redesign this week, but to be honest, I'm not entirely in love with it, so it's back to the drawing board. Life is settling into a new "normal," and I'm liking it.

Random thoughts today:
  • I have the KFC popcorn chicken commercial stuck in my head (again). Why pick on chicken nuggets? Or should we also be asking, "What part of the chicken is the parmigiana?" or "What part of the chicken is the cordon bleu?" 
  • Took a walk outside this morning on a little waterfront trail near our apartment. I forgot to start my Runkeeper until about five minutes in, so my best estimate is the route I took today is right around one mile. Hopefully this is the start to a good habit.
I'll be back this afternoon with some links...see you soon!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Favorites and not-so-favorites

Striped sweater via Marshall's - 2011 - $12 (similar) / BR Factory Store pants - 2009 - $20 on sale (similar) / Enzo Angiolini peep-toes via Nordstrom - 2007 - $70 on sale (similar) / Kate Spade doodles necklace - 2011 - gift (similar)
[Worn: 09.13.11 | To: Dress for Success]

After being away from my work clothes for so long, I was dying to get back into some work slacks. (wow, that's not a sentence you hear everyday.) These are my favorite. They're getting a little snug, so I reached for a looser top. In hindsight, I wish I'd added some more color. My trusty red pumps are currently out of commission (missing a heel tip), but they would have been a great anchor to this outfit. But then they'd clash with the coral necklace. Oh, what the heck.

My favorite pants somehow made their way into a not-so-favorite outfit. I think they can redeem themselves, though.

Do you have a favorite item that sometimes just doesn't work, no matter how much you love it?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Five ways to stay productive when you're in a rut

We all get into them, and it takes some of us longer than others to get out of them. No, I'm not talking about the backseat of a two-door car (is anyone else completely inept at getting in and out of those?), but a rut. Sometimes it's a mental block, sometimes it's lack of inspiration. But that time doesn't have to be wasted. Here are my favorite ways to get stuff done even when I'm not feeling it.

1. Learn a new skill. One of my favorite ways to tackle a mental block is to pick something work-related that I want to learn how to do and get to work figuring out how to do it. For me, that something usually involves HTML, CSS, and Wordpress (I'm setting up a personal website for my freelancing), which I know will involve a good amount of time spent researching online. Google is a no-brainer.

2. Read up on your field. Back in my office days, I started each morning catching up on RSS feeds of nonprofit communications and higher education marketing blogs. As a result, I began almost every day with a new idea, and I was able to suggest new ways to do things and keep up with chatter at professional conferences.

3. Answer emails or do other "housekeeping" type tasks. Sometimes mental clutter is brought on by clutter elsewhere...your inbox, your desk, your life, etc. Forcing yourself to answer every email that you can in one sitting not only gets those things off your plate, but also lightens the pressure (which sometimes releases your mental block, too). Likewise, organizing random papers can bring to light some notes (and inspiration) that you'd forgotten about. If an abruptly ended conversation with a friend is still weighing on your mind, clear it up.

4. Do whatever it is you're avoiding. Just get it over with already. In journalism school there's a saying...write your first draft, delete everything but your last paragraph, and write your story using your last paragraph as your new lede. It doesn't work all of the time, but the point is that sometimes you know your first version is going to suck, so you might as well get it out of the way. For me, that means opening up Microsoft Word and writing...whatever. Sometimes it's stream of consciousness journaling, sometimes it's a blog post, sometimes it's fiction.
5. Exercise. I put this last because it's my least favorite of the list. This may not work for those committed to a desk from 8-5, but if you have the flexibility and freedom, get your body (and your brain moving. Even a brisk 15 minute walk can help clear your head. Outdoors and along the water preferred. 

How do you get out of a rut?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Carissa Rose review and reader discount [outfit]

Katerina shirt dress c/o Carissa Rose (available) / LOFT sandals - 2009 - $10 on sale (similar) / Artisans Lane Turkish Jewelry necklace - 2010 - gift (available in other colors) / Emilie M faux leather bag via Marshall's - 2011 - $25 (similar)
[Worn: 09.11.11 | To: Church]

I love the look of a crisp button-up, but I know a lot of women have trouble with them. Fit can be off, buttons can gape. And that's for those of us who aren't overly endowed up top. It's even harder to find a good fit when your proportions are not the same as what the manufacturers use (and really, who has those proportions?).

Carissa Rose is a company that specializes in making button-up tops and dresses flatter and fit women with curves and larger chests. Carissa Rose's tops use hook and eye closures spaced about an inch apart to get rid of the gaping problem.

When I first received an email from them, I was intrigued by their mission, but I didn't think it was for me, since I'm not really curvy. I wrote back to tell them that, and they asked for some of my measurements to see if they could work with my size (34B or C bra, 28.5" waist, normal dress size 2/4). They sent me the black Katerina dress in size 6WE and the truffle Olivia shirt in size 4RE.  I finally got around to wearing the dress this weekend, and I have to say...this is my new favorite dress.

  • Lightweight fabric
  • Hook-and-eye closure on top eliminates gaping
  • Skirt is single piece (no buttons)
  • Skirt is straight (not A-line), so it doesn't give off the 50s housewife vibe that many shirtdresses do
  • Sash is long and thick, and can be tied in various ways
  • Truly knee-length, which is very flattering and elongates the calves
  • The dress is supposed to be long-sleeved, but the sleeves hit 2" above my wrist (I like to roll my sleeves anyway, so this wasn't a big deal for me)
  • Unlined
For all my doubts about fitting into clothes made for curvy women, the sizing was perfect...loose enough to roll up the sleeves and be a bit airy, but fitted enough that I didn't get lose my shape. I'm excited to try out the Olivia shirt soon, and of course I'll be back to report on that.

Get one for yourself

Carissa Rose is offering New Professional readers a 20% discount off your purchase with the code THENEWPROFESSIONAL20. Discount expires October 13, 2011. Shop their website, which also includes great sizing and shopping resources for curvy women, and check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

Tell me...has fit an gaping prevented you from buying button-up shirts and shirtdresses? Have you tried Carissa Rose?

Disclosure: Carissa Rose sent me two items free of charge for review, but the content of the reviews is all mine. No compensation was provided, and no agreement was made to guarantee a post or positive coverage.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Office Supply of the Month | Correction fluid

I'm not sure about you, but I generally think of Wite Out before I think correction fluid. It's one of those brand names that's somehow seeped into our everyday vernacular, like Kleenex and Chapstick.

Back in the early typewriter days, there were very few ways to correct a document with a typo on it; usually the answer was just to toss it and start over. Inventors started by creating special typewriter erasers, complete with eraser shields to protect the type around the mistake. Then erasable bond paper allowed typos to be erased by a regular pencil eraser, but the coating also made any ink easily smudged. Then came correction fluid, and later on, correction tape built right into the typewriter, which used a sticky substance to pull the ink powder right back out of the paper.

Typewriters have a soft spot in my parents had an electric one, and even after we had a home computer, I'd pull it out to play with and use from time to time. I typed all my college applications on that machine, lining up the row so it would fit in the little spaces just right. The case was the size of a suitcase, and it took all my strength to lug it from the study room across the house to my room (good thing we still had carpet upstairs back then).

Our typewriter had correction tape built in, so I rarely used Wite-Out with it, which is why I'm so fascinated with the fact that the product has held on so long even after the technology that necessitated it has solved the problem in a different, more efficient way. Maybe folks are just having too much fun with it (see uses below).

The invention of correction fluid is traced back to Bette Nesmith Graham, a typist. Frustrated with the existing options for correcting typos, she created a tempura paint-based solution in her kitchen blender in 1951. The resulting liquid dried quickly and opaquely, and could be typed over. She bottled up her concoction, dubbed it "Mistake Out," and distributed it at work. In 1956, she started her own company and sold the product from her house for almost two decades. Somewhere along the line, she changed the name to "Liquid Paper." In 1979, Graham sold her Liquid Paper Corporation to Gillette Corporation, and the brand was later acquired by Newell Rubbermaid in 2000.

Liquid Paper (and probably other correction fluid manufacturers) has had issues with its products containing harmful chemicals in the past, and some brands may still carry small risks. There are water-based products on the market today if that's something you're concerned about, although they tend to be slightly thinner and dry slower.

  • Paint your nails (bonus if you can find colorful correction fluid). You can do your whole nail or use a pen for
  • Make etchings in metal more visible, like on file cabinet lock numbers (dab it on and swipe it right back off before it dries...the excess will remain in the grooves of the numbers)
  • Label keys or other items that pen ink won't stick to and sharpies may not show up on.
  • Use as touch-up paint for white items.
  • As a paint pen for crafts. 

Fun with correction fluid

Some discontinued colors (sometimes on ebay or other websites): Green, blue, pink

Do you still use correction fluid? Or did that go the way of the typewriter?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Executive Summary | Links for your weekend | 09.09.11

Office progress so far...planning wall placement and a cork squares cut down to size.

Happy Friday, folks! I'm so excited for NFL's opening weekend, I even stayed up until midnight to watch all of last night's opener (I forgot how late games go on the East Coast). And with football season comes fantasy football. I'm in my regular league w/ K and our friends and also a fashion blogger's league. For real. The Color Blockers are Linda, Liz, Suze, Jenni, Sarah, Keri, and Amanda. I've been playing fantasy sports for years, and have rarely been the only woman in my league, but there is something refreshing about playing with a group of ladies that love the sport as much (or more) than I do. Game on, friends!

If you're not too into football, or just bored during halftime breaks, here are my favorite reads this week.
  • It's great to have a job you love, but having a non-dream job doesn't have to be the end of the world. Pretty Young Professional shares some great tips on how to make the most of it.
  • I'm convinced that if I had these measuring cups, I'd be a better baker. [via Swissmiss]
  • Office + fashion = my wheelhouse. Loving the great Who What Wear workspace featured on Apartment Therapy this week.
  • On Writing Well is one of my favorite writing books, but the rest of the book on Stepcase Lifehack's list sound like they're worth checking out, too. My fall reading list, perhaps?
  • How in the world did we get to the current resume? Mashable traces the modern history of this much bemoaned (and questionably relevant) document.
  • There are only so many i'm-a-big-city-journalist-and-I-shop-all-day movie characters I can handle, so I love The Grindstone's carefully edited list of their favorite savvy female journalists in the movies
  • Business and style savvy are not mutually exclusive. Financial Times explores the role of financial prowess in fashion.
  • We all have a few bruises along our resumes, but understanding your risk factors and framing them appropriately in an interview can turn potential negatives into positives. [via Lifehacker]
What were your favorite reads this week? More importantly, will you be watching football this weekend?

A night out and regional style [outfit]

miami fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional esley dress j and company jeans kate spade heels
miami fashion blogger angeline evans the new professional esley dress j and company jeans kate spade heels
Esley dress worn as top - 2009 - $63 (similar) / J & Company jeans via Renew Denim - 2009 - $40 on sale (similar) / Kate Spade pumps - 2011 - gift (similar) / J. Crew belt - 2011 - $10 on sale (similar) / Thrifted clutch - 2004 - cheap (similar) / NY & Co. mesh bangle - 2010 - gift (similar) / Tiffany venetian link bracelet - 2011 - gift card + gift (available; similar) / Forever 21 large link bracelet - 2010 - $5 (similar)
[Worn: 09.08.11 | To: Fashion's Night Out in Coral Gables, FL]

Fashion events are not something that's usually on my schedule, and I always draw a blank on what to wear. Luckily, I have you all by my side and through quick and insightful tweets and Facebook comments, you all (really, all) picked this option: the belted dress and skinny jean combo. Several of you mentioned throwing a blazer on top, so I brought along my trusty black one, making this outfit almost exactly like this previous one.

A few of you mentioned that the jeans might be a little underdressed, but to be honest...I wasn't so sure. But I have to admit...I felt a tad underdressed (there were some women in full-length gowns, but not many). I feel that way a lot here, hence my little personal goal for the month. I've heard from many non-Californians who had been transplanted into the Golden State how laid-back California style was compared to general style elsewhere (especially the Northeast and South), but I never really understood what they were talking about. But I'm starting to.

And so, in the muggy heat, I kept that blazer on all night. And I have you friends to thank.

Have you noticed any regional style differences in your moves or travels?