Monday, October 31, 2011

Take two [outfit]

W118 by Walter Baker dress from Off 5th - 2011 - $30 on clearance / Gap blazer - 2005 - $40? / Enzo Angiolini pumps from Piperlime - 2010 - $35 on sale

Just popping in with this outfit since I wore it last week. (More guest posters to come.)

Now this is more of what I had in mind when I bought this dress. It's a little on the short side, but I could see this outfit working great at a casual networking hour or on a date. I've always extolled the leg-elongating magic powers of a knee-length pencil skirt, but this shorter length is pretty flattering, too. Dilemmas, dilemmas.

What is the most flattering skirt length on you? How do you figure?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Color Rotation Challenge [Guest post]

Hi, I'm Colleen from Scrap and Run.  I created a challenge about a year ago and will be starting it up again.  It's called Color Rotation Challenge.  I did it in October of 2010 and March-April 2011. It all started because I noticed I would wear the same colors all the time or go a few days in a row wearing one color and then move onto the next color for a few days. You could join or do something similar. You will learn a lot.

The Rules are simple but I also have an entire post about it last March.
The Rules: 
  1. Rotate colors in your closet (1, 2, or 3 times) 
  2. Don't repeat the specific articles of clothing.
  1. Wear a wide variety of clothes in your closet 
  2. Wear a variety of colors in your closet.
I've actually participated in quite a few challenges over the year. Some are more fun than others and they all teach a little bit of something.
  1. Ruts: It helps you stay out of ruts you can get in when getting dressed.
  2. Speed: Focusing on a particular color decreases the amount of time it takes to pick out your clothes for the day.
  3. Veterans: Having to rotate helps you break out some veteran items from your closet.
  4. Accountability and Accomplishment: If you say you will do a challenge, you follow through and feel accomplished at the end.
  5. Remixing: It helps you remix items better so that you don't wear your favorite cardigan on the day of the color or else it would be out of your rotation for the rest of the challenge. 
    As with every challenge, it isn't as easy as you think when you start. The troubles along the way make it more worthwhile though. I will be starting my next challenge on October 31. (I was going to pick November 1 but I'm wearing pink throughout the month of October for Breast Cancer Awareness and don't want to add another day of pink right away.)  Please join if you want to give yourself a fun and exciting challenge. You can link up on my blog or look at the blogs of others who have linked up. 

    Now the Color Rotation Challenge isn't the only challenge that I have participated in.  I notice they are all over the internet. I participated in the Summer Blackout Challenge that Already Pretty hosted where you went a week without wearing black.  This was my first challenge and black was always a staple for me. This challenge was great for the middle of summer and it taught me a few things about color being good and white being a nice replacement for black in the summer.  I have also participated in Kendi's 30 for 30 challenge three times.  The 30 for 30 challenge taught me to remix items in different ways. I was always wearing the same shirt with the same skirt even though I had 40 shirts that would go with the skirt.  The third time was the most challenging because I wouldn't let myself pick my favorite items and I chose items that I wasn't wearing regularly. It was a great experience.

    Join a challenge. They are great at adding some interest in your life. They make getting dressed a little more interested. 

    Thanks Angeline for letting me guest post. It was fun thinking about all the past challenges. 

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    Double dobby [outfit]

    Dobby camp shirt from Target - 2009 - $13? / Pleated skirt from Goodwill - 2011 - $6 / Franco Sarto boots - 2010 - gift from mom / Leaf necklace - 2010 - $22 / Braided belt from Bows & Arrows - 2010 - $7

    Since my post on Monday reminded me that I own this great shirt, I thought I'd bust it out this week since I haven't touched it in a while. For some reason, my mind went immediately to this skirt, which I originally thought was more pinkish, but with brown accessories looks a lot more beige. I'm still not sure what color it is exactly, but I'm just rolling with it.

    So add this to the list of ways to wear a button-down.

    [No, this outfit itself does not contain a double dose of dobby dots, but this is the second dobby dot post of the many dots!]

    I'm taking a quick break to do some life, so starting tomorrow I'll have some guest bloggers up in here. Hope you enjoy them!

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Is makeup mandatory in the office?

    As you've seen, the change from office to work-at-home has inspired a new level of casualness in my wardrobe. But that's not all...I've also drastically changed my makeup routine from what it was just a few months ago. Which got me to makeup mandatory in the workplace?

    It certainly felt like it for me. Even though I didn't start wearing makeup regularly until college (my mom wasn't so keen on it when I lived in her house as a teen), it's become a near-daily part of my life. In almost four years at my last job, I think I went to work without mascara once. I wore my ratty old glasses once, for half of a day after coming back from the optometrist (turns out I had the exact same Costco glasses as our web guy at the time...yippee).

    Is makeup mandatory in the workplace?
    No, as long as you still keep a professional appearance. Here's how I gauge it: I've never noticed when any of my coworkers or business contacts were not wearing makeup. I can definitely remember noticing makeup on women in the workplace (good or bad), but lack of makeup? Doesn't register. It's certainly possible that every one of my female coworkers wore makeup, but I wouldn't know the difference. And to be honest, it doesn't really matter to me. Now, if you send me an email with 20 million exclamation marks or mix up insure/ensure or aid/aide, that I'll remember. But coming to work without makeup? Whatever.

    Why I wear makeup
    To me, makeup is part of getting ready and putting my best face forward (literally). I don't think there's anything wrong with my un-made-up face, and I don't have any qualms about going about my day without makeup on, but it just adds a slight spring to my step when I have it on. And regardless of whether it actually affected my work, I felt that I performed better when I thought I looked better.

    Now that I'm not an office everyday, I still find that I put on makeup almost everyday. But not nearly as much makeup and not nearly as consistently. It just seems to put me in the right mood and helps me smile a little wider when I know I have pretty gloss on. But I've always been a makeup girl. I like this stuff. I love that Ulta now organizes its bargain brands by item (lips, eyes, face) rather than by brand. I could spend hours there.

    Do you think makeup is mandatory in the office? How do your in-office/out-of-office makeup routines differ?

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Ladies who lunch [outfit]

    BR Factory t-shirt - 2011 - $5 on clearance / LOFT skirt - 2010 - $70 / Target flats - 2010 - $18 on sale / Forever 21 leaf necklace - 2010 - $5 / Rings on a chain

    Sometimes you just feel like you need the day off. And sometimes, you can. This was last Thursday for me. I had just wrapped up a project Wednesday morning, had a productive meeting Wednesday afternoon that had me headed in a great direction on another project, and it had *finally* stopped raining in Miami. So I put on a cute skirt, walked myself over to the little neighborhood village, found an adorable new boutique (still have some birthday money left over), had a 3.5 hour lunch with a new friend, and grabbed a box of mini cupcakes from my new favorite cupcake place (dangerously walking distance from my apartment).

    One of the best things about not being in an office anymore is being able to use my shorter skirts. I definitely made good use of my knee-length ones in the office, but during the two days a week that I had to myself, I rarely ever felt like tossing on a skirt. If you have a super-long memory, you'll recognize this skirt as the one off of the suit that was my first cheater purchase on the Great American Apparel Diet. I wore it to work twice (1, 2) before I had to deal with the reality that this is just too short to be appropriate for a business casual office. But it was so cute and had pockets, and is finally getting worn. Still not thrilled about the wrinkle-prone fabric, though.

    What do you do with items that are no longer (or that you realize later on) just aren't office appropriate?

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Wear and wear again | Dobby camp shirt

    One of my favorite things to wear for work or for casual days is a crisp button down (or button-up...they're the same thing, right?). But to be honest with you, they can get boring unless they have some cool detail or texture. And this top has both. Score.

    Purchased in 2009 off of Target's clearance rack (I think it was $12 or $13), this black dobby camp shirt is a workhorse in my closet, both at work and at home. The three-quarter length sleeves are perfect for nearly every season, and the dots are just such a fun touch. And as with any other collared shirt, a sweater on top creates the perfect preppy look. I've worn it with everything from trousers and jeans to pencil and A-line skirts.

    October 2010
    September 2010
    December 2010
    November 2010
    November 2010
    January 2011

    Looking back through these photos, my tendency to wear the death out of an item for a season and forget about it is extremely apparent. Speaking of which, it's almost November...time to bust out the dobby dots again.

    Some fun camp shirts from around the web:

    What's your favorite variation on the classic button-down/up?

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Executive Summary | Links for your weekend | 10.21.11

    No more latte. :(

    I know, I know, my posting schedule has been rather wonky this week. But I've been having a great load of fun and productivity offline, and am working on a bunch of things that get me really excited. As I mentioned last week, I really want to make the most of my flexible schedule. This week, that meant blogging whenever I found the time instead of scheduling posts days in advance, taking Thursday "off" and having a 3.5 hour lunch with a new friend, getting completely caught up on half-marathon training, immersing myself in HTML and CSS, and cracking open some books (err...opening up my Kindle app). 

    While I'm writing and HTMLing this weekend, why don't you sit back and enjoy some of my favorite reads from the past two weeks.
    What good reads have you found lately?

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    Weatherproof [outfit]

    Eclair top from Nordstrom Rack - 2011 - $13 / Banana Republic suiting pencil skirt - 2010 - $60? on sale / Nine West Outlet boots - 2009 - $50 on sale / Natural pearl necklace - 2007 - gift

    For the first time since I've been in Florida, we've had nasty weather. Like, really nasty. Horizontal rain, tornado warning, flood watch nasty. As much as I'd love to hunker down at home (and as free as I actually am to do so), sometimes I know it's better to just suck it up and get on out there. I'm fortunate that my building's garage is attached, so I don't actually have to go out into the rain to get to my car (a major step up from my last apartment), but my destination did not have a parking garage, so I pulled out my non-rain rain boots.

    I'm all for rain boots. I love mine. They're from Target and were a Christmas gift from my in-laws a few years back. They get worn basically whenever it's wet out, even if the rain has stopped. Back when I used to take the bus to work (the first 2.5 years of my last job), I'd wear the rain boots for my commute and bring shoes to change into. But for a quick volunteering stop, something that would be awkward to change shoes at? Not so good.

    My happy medium—these faux-leather tall boots. They protect my calves when I'm wearing a skirt, keep me from feeling any wet hemlines from I'm wearing trousers, and can even handle skinny jeans tucked in. The heel is thicker than my usual stiletto pump, and the rubber soles are a major plus for wet weather. They're not made for rain, of course, so I wouldn't walk through an ankle-high puddle the way I would in my normal rain boots, but it is nice to know that I'm not putting my leather goods at risk. They weren't cheap, but they've already gotten two seasons of wear and look nearly new.

    How do you weatherproof your work outfit without dressing it down?

    *bonus points if you've noticed that the boxes in this pic (taken Tuesday) were finally gone yesterday (pic taken Wednesday). I also wore this outfit to do some more unpacking. Slowly, but surely. I hope to be unpacked by the time we move again.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Colors for a cause [outfit]

    Banana Republic sweater - 2008 - ?? but on sale / Target t-shirt - 2011 - $7 on sale / Target jeans - 2011 - $18 on sale / Calvin Klein pumps from Off Broadway - 2007 - $70 on sale / Scarf - 2010 - swapped

    October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

    I'm wearing purple because relationships should not be abused for power. Because everybody deserves respect. Because you don't have to just sit there and take it, but you do have to take the first step and be committed to changing your life.

    Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behaviors — physical, sexual, psychological, and economic coercion — used by one intimate partner against another (adult or adolescent) to gain, maintain, or regain power and control in the relationship. Batterers use of a range of tactics to frighten, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, often injure, and sometimes kill a current or former intimate partner.

    1 in 3 families are affected by domestic violence.  If you look at the ladies you're lunching with, chances are one of their families has been affected by it. Some people that I love dearly have been affected by it. It crosses all racial, economic, educational, and geographic boundaries.

    If you are in danger, please call 911, your local hotline, or (in the U.S.) the National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-7233 or TTY (800) 787-3224.

     Spread the word. Purple and pink go well together, don't you think?

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Camera knows best [outfit]

    These outfit photos really need to be put in context.

    I picked an outfit to wear last Thursday to volunteer at Dress for Success. I initially started out dressing business casual whenever I volunteered, until I realized I was looking really out of place so dressed up. So trouser jeans have become my go-to.

    And then I saw the outfit photos and HELLO PINHEAD. Down came the hair.

    Better. Off I went to volunteer, but the afternoon was cut short when the office closed early. With my latest Ulta coupon burning a hole in my pocket and a newfound passion for my eyebrows, I went shopping.

    Two stores and an eyebrow pencil later, I'm in the dressing room at Nordstrom Rack when I notice there is a black pencil mark on my left boob. On a white shirt. Almost certainly from trying out eyebrow pencils on my hand. Darn darn darn.

    Luckily I'm wearing a plain white tank underneath. So the shirt goes into the purse and this is how I go about the rest of my day.

    Banana Republic cardigan - 2011 - swapped / Old Navy polo - old - cheap / Mossimo tank from Target - 2011 - $9 / Merona trouser jeans from Target - 2011 - $18 / Nine West pumps from Ross - 2011 - $25 / AE outlet necklace - 2011 - $4 on clearance

    Do you tweak your outfit throughout the day? If you're a blogger, do you ever tweak your outfit after photos?

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    To tuck or not to tuck [outfit]

    LOFT outlet top - 2011 - $10 on sale / LOFT pencil skirt - 2009 - $13 on sale / Nine West flats - 2011 - $20 on sale / Canvas and leather belt - 2010 - swapped

    Or tied up, to be more accurate. I like to wear my hair up, but it doesn't happen as often as I'd like because it looks sort of makes my face look like a boy's (the fact that even when I wear make-up it barely looks like I'm wearing make-up doesn't help).

    I've been thinking a bit lately about when to tuck your shirt in and when to let it hang out. There are a lot of factors: volume of shirt, volume of skirt, waistband, ability or inability to belt, neckline, etc. I've worn this shirt tucked into a skirt before, but when I tried tucking it into this skirt, the look was not pretty, for several reasons. This skirt sits lower on my waist, giving the shirt a lot more space to billow between the waist and shoulder. This skirt's waistband is also less conducive to belting (partially due to it sitting lower on the waist). This skirt is also quickly becoming too small for me, which makes the looseness of the shirt even more obvious (I bought it without trying it on...go me). So this shirt + this skirt = untucked.

    While I finally made peace between my top and skirt, these shoes still look a bit out of place. I was trying to give my nude flats a rest, but alas, I probably should have worn them for the fourth day in a row.  I love them, just not with this outfit.

    How do you determine whether to tuck or not tuck your shirt? Do you have any rules or do you do trial-and-error each time?

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Freelance Files | Time management

    For anyone who thought my desk might actually look like this on a normal day, here is a more accurate picture of my "tidy" desk during the week. And yes, this is after clearing off space.

    True story: I opened up this window to type this post around 5:30 p.m. last night. And right now it's 8:30 a.m. and these are the first words on the screen. Although I had some ambitious time management plans when I first started out this freelancing thing, reality has set in. I was always really adept at juggling multiple projects at work, prioritizing what had to get done, and churning out lots and lot of stuff. But fewer deadlines and unclear priorities are a new beast for me (I can take my personal projects at my own pace right? I ever want them to get done?). Some thoughts on my current time management situation:
    • One of the things I was looking forward to most about freelancing was a more flexible schedule. Lunch with friends, more time for hobbies, the ability to join weekday Bible studies. Not to take away from my work time, but mostly because I knew freelancing was not an 8-5 job. Sometimes it's a 12-10 job, sometimes 3-midnight. I don't want to over-plan my day, either.
    • Much (ok, almost all) of my work so far is for clients in California. This has been a huge blessing and it's really great to continue work relationships with people I love working with, but has got my hours a little wonky, since they're basically working 12-8. I do really like getting a head start in the morning on them, though...definitely keeps me from more late nights.
    • Training for a half marathon has totally thrown my schedule upside down. Exercise was never part of the plan. If you include running time, warm-up/cool-down time, and taking time to eat a nutritious breakfast time, that adds about 1.5 hours to my morning routine 4-5 times a week. 
    Things I'm learning about managing my time:
    • One to-do list. Rather than the multiple to-do lists I'm accustomed to keeping, since my life is much more fluid and flexible, I'm using just one list. 
    • Take breaks when needed. Not just computer breaks (although those are important), but coffee breaks, reading breaks, and breaks from the race of keeping up with other blogs and social networks. 
    • Make appointments. If I want to have lunch with a friend, I schedule it days in advance when possible. I also have standing volunteer hours at Dress for Success Miami, which is great to add structure to my day. Not only do appointments help me chunk up my work time and use it better, it also gives me something to look forward to and measure toward during the week.
    • Realize I don't have to plan every minute, especially when it comes to my workouts. I prefer morning workouts, but a) it's been hard to get up in the mornings lately (soreness from this new exercise thing doesn't help) and b) sometimes I get inspired when I wake up and sit down and start typing million-word blog posts like this. To keep myself on track, I make sure to put on my gym clothes in the morning and then when I do get to a stopping point, run down to the gym in my building knowing that once I get on that treadmill, it's a bigger pain to stop than it is to keep going.
    • Do something. Anything. It doesn't have to be for money. It doesn't have to be for a larger goal. Doing begats more doing, so instead of thinking about my website while browsing blogs, I'm trying to close the browser and start working on the website instead (writing in Word, for example...I know I'll need to open up the browser again to actually do web work). 
    • No more caffeine after noon. Iced tea with last night's dinner was a bad move, but I now have a whole pageful of notes and ideas (things I can do right away) that I took on my iPad under the covers. I'm paying for it this morning, though, so time to rein it in. This one's a party animal, can you tell?
    What are your biggest time management challenges?

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    Jada's Jewels Giveaway Winner

    And we have a winner for the Jada's Jewels giveaway!

    Congratulations, Jess! You will receive an email later today to get you started on using your $50!

    If you didn't win (or if you haven't signed up yet) just click on the Jada's Jewels ad in the right sidebar. New products go one sale every day!

    Note: Jess's email was tied to her Blogger account, linked from the comment. If you have a Blogger account and you have hidden your email, make sure to note your email in the comment, or else I won't be able to contact you.

    Faux-bi [outfit]

    Katerina Dress c/o Carissa Rose [review | disclosure] / Nine West peep-toes from Ross - 2009 - $25 / Natural pearl necklace - 2007 - gift

    I almost titled this post "Who died?" because it looks like I'm going to a funeral. Nope. No one died here. Wore this for a little trip to South Beach to check out a jeweler's proposed designs for a commissioned Dress for Success Miami piece. It was gorgeous. I'm not a rich philanthropist type, but if I were, I'd want one. Time to kick the freelancing into high gear.

    My favorite part of this outfit is the belt. The first time I wore this dress, I went with a classic front bow. This time I tried an obi-style. The ties are sewn into the side seams of the dress, but I'm seriously debating taking them off the dress and sewing them together to form an independent waist-tie (and so I can use other belts with this dress). Shouldn't be too hard, right?

    Speaking of sewing I've been on a major sewing kick lately. This weekend, I made a new pillow for my office chair (based on this pin), and sewed a little tool belt for my three-and-a-half year old nephew (from this book). Next up: making a baby blanket for my brand new nephew (born on Monday!), new throw pillow covers for the couches, and finally doing this skinny pant DIY. I'm putting it off because even though it looks simple enough on screen, it's slightly terrifying to me to do such a large alteration myself.

    Are you a crafter? What kind of crafts do you do?

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    When a friend gets laid off

    In this economy, lay-offs are nothing new. As a child, I remember them being talked about only once, briefly. They were an adult thing. And then I got into the workforce, and the economy tanked (in that order, thank goodness). In the nearly four years I was at my previous company, I saw and survived three rounds of lay-offs. A few friends were also laid off from their jobs. As an employed person, I wasn't quite sure what to do or how to support my friends, especially since I had never been in that situation. But through the years I've learned a few ways to help a friend after they've gotten the pink slip.
    • Be a listening ear. Unless you've been there before and have good advice to give, just sit and listen. Even if you do have advice, it's good to listen first. Losing a job takes a major toll not only on a person's income, but on their self-esteem and overall security. I don't know about you, but those are things that I'm not equipped to address.
    • Offer to connect them to your networks. If you know the person to be reliable and you happen to know others in their field (even if they're not hiring), introduce them. It will help keep the recently laid-off friend in the circle of their industry and perhaps even lead to something more. One of my favorite people to refer folks to is my dad...he's super connected and almost always has good advice about positions or occupations that match the individual's skills, however high or low they may be. 
    • Be sensitive about their finances.  Don't leave them out, just get creative. Help your friend's savings last longer by inviting them over for a potluck instead of eating out. Or watch your latest Netflix with homemade popcorn—don't forget the chocolate chips and hot sauce for customizing to your taste (I don't recommend them together). It's okay to pick up the tab every once in a while when you do still go out, but don't make it a habit or it will start to feel like charity.
    • Maintain friendships with laid-off coworkers if you were close before. Being employed while a coworker is laid off is an awkward situation. There is no way to sugarcoat that. If you weren't friends before, you don't have to start now, but if your lunch buddy got axed, don't give them the cold shoulder, too. Just steer clear of employer-bashing or too much work talk, and definitely don't have them meet you at work.
    • Be interested in their job search. Lay-offs are like the giant elephant in the room (or is it the pink elephant? Or the pink gorilla? Cliche schmiche): No one wants to talk about them, but is avoiding the topic doing your friend any good? Don't speak up if you're just reminding them about their situation. But if you know your friend is actively searching, ask them how it's going and encourage them to talk about it. Take the taboo away.
    Have you ever been laid off or survived lay-offs at your company? What tips do you have for helping a friend or coworker through the experience?

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Keep it simple, sillyhead [outfit]

    W118 by Walter Baker dress - 2011 - $30 on clearance at Off Fifth Saks Fifth Avenue / Gap sandals - 2010 - $20 / NYC Color nail polish in West Village

    It's been a few weeks, but I finally busted out the dress I bought myself for my birthday. Since K's present was so early in the month, I spent my birthday relaxing and doing an itty bit of shopping. I got this dress and new peep-toes from Ross—in total less than $60 of shopping for the day. Now that's what I call a treat.

    I fell in love with this dress the instant I saw it, and that is why I only shop clearance racks at stores like Off Fifth (only sales racks everywhere else)...I hate falling in love with something only to find it's out of my budget for that type of item. $30 might be a little pricy for some places—I wouldn't pay that much for a dress at Target, for example—but for something that retailed at $225, $30 is a great deal. Some quick Google-ing after the fact revealed that W118 by Walter Baker dresses were on HauteLook a few months back for around $30-$50 (it was over by the time I found it so I'm not sure if this specific dress was available), so it's not too uncommon to find a deal like this, but I wouldn't have ordered it online anyway because of shipping and sizing.

    Like always, the first outing is simple. I've already got my next wear planned out: light gray cami, black blazer, and nude pumps. Or a white button down underneath. Or maybe even over jeans. We'll see.

    How would you style this dress?

    Don't forget—today is the last day to enter the Jada's Jewels giveaway! Click here for details.

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Office Supply of the Month | Whiteboards

    As a schoolchild, I was what you'd call a teacher's pet. I volunteered for everything. Sharpen the pencils? Sure! Pass out worksheets? Yes! But my favorite task of all? Erasing the chalkboards. Something about wiping the slate clean in preparation of a new subject or new day was sort of refreshing. The downside? Chalk dust.

    The sea change from chalkboard to whiteboard began sometime during my junior high years. By high school, about half of the classrooms had replaced their chalkboards with whiteboards. They were even better. Loads of colors, easier to wipe. I used to a large, colorful whiteboard in my cubicle (Tasks were color-coded by project and person responsible. Deadlines in red, of course), and I'm still trying to figure out how to work a whiteboard into my current setup (likely in the entryway, since the office space is running low on wall space).

    Whiteboards were invented sometime in the 1950s or early '60s. Their invention is somewhat unclear.  Some think that they were invented by Martin Helt, a photographer who was looking for a wall-mounted option to jot down notes next to the telephone. He found that a sharpie ink on film negatives could easily be wiped off with water, and ran with that idea.

    Regardless of their origin, whiteboards were first commercially produced in the 60s, and were initially made of porcelain mounted on steel. Film laminate whiteboards followed soonafter. Whiteboards became popular in the 1980s, led by businesses and then classrooms, once studies began warning about chalkdust allergies and asthma. By the mid-90s, they were the classroom writing board of choice, and the rest is history.

    You can use dry erase markers on glass, mirrors, laminated paper, sealed ceramics, metal, or specially treated wood for the same effect.

    Write on them
    Draw on them
    Distract children by letting them draw on it
    Projector screen
    Permanent calendar (tape down the grid with thin electrical tape and you won't have to worry about redrawing lines every month...Sharpies wipe off when you draw over them)
    Making a cool video
    Ok, there are not that many uses for whiteboards, but they can be pretty fun

    Fun with whiteboards

    Are you a whiteboard user? Do you prefer classic whiteboard, clear glass or mirror, or some other kind of surface?

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Executive Summary | Links for your weekend | 10.07.11

    A scene from the desk. The letter tray is a new best friends got me a gift certificate to The Container Store (among other really cool goodies) so I went shopping yesterday! So crisp and clean looking to corral magazine tear-outs and hair-ties.

    I hope you all had a great week. I've got a weekend of work ahead of me, but am looking forward to the fall, which apparently is when Miami really comes to life. Festivals, markets, art fairs, book fairs...I cannot wait to see, do, and eat all that Miami has to offer.

    A few observations about my new city:
    • Everyone is really affectionate here. No one warned us about this, but that's probably because we didn't know anyone here before we got here. The most common greeting is a cheek kiss, which I've deciphered to be more like a cheek touch with a kissing sound. I tend to be sort of an affectionate person, so this suits me just fine (K is warming up to it, too).
    • The diversity here is mind-blowing! I thought California was a melting pot, but Miami is on another level. At any one table in a restaurant you can hear three different languages spoken, and almost everyone is at least bilingual (most commonly Spanish, but really everything...I've even used my Chinese here). Just last week we had dinner with K's cousin, who is of the same Midwestern stock as K's mom (but speaks fluent Portuguese and some Spanish), his wife (of German and Italian heritage from Brazil) and her son, P & A (A is from Poland), and new friends V (of Brazilian and Italian heritage from Brazil) and L (of Lebanese heritage from Brazil). And we had homemade spaetzel. I'd never heard Portuguese spoken until I moved here, and now it's easily distinguishable to my ear. It is a beautiful language.
    • Miami is a major "who you know" kind of town, more than any other city I've ever been in. Everyone I've met tells me it's hard to make it as a freelancer here because it's all based on connections. And then they give me their business card and cell phone number and tell me to call them if I ever need anything.
    I haven't had as much time to read as I'd like to, but since I didn't give y'all any links last Friday, here are some goodies from the past two weeks!
    • It's finally cooling down enough to pull out the blazers...check out how Katy's boyfriend blazer makes the rounds.
    • I'm not usually into recipes on blogs, but when I saw this mac & cheese recipe on Classic Noise right before a Target trip, I grabbed the ingredient and made it that night. I can't wait the eat the leftovers for lunch today.
    • For those Words With Friends fiends, check out this rundown of 17 vowel-free words that work.
    • This article sort of breaks my heart...Is an eating disorder part of the high-powered career woman package? It doesn't have to be. [The Grindstone]
    • In a super-timely and relevant-to-me post, the Daily Muse offers up some ways to network in a new city.
    • K and I often talk about our future home, and one of the things we want to build is a wood-fired oven in the backyard. After reading Serious Eats' post on barrel ovens, I might have a new direction.
    • As a writer, one of the most important things I can do for myself professionally is read a lot. It doesn't always happen, but these tips on how to read more from Zen Habits are a great place to start.
    • I've gotten better over the years at accepting compliments (a simple "thank you" usually suffices), but these tips from Elissa in her guest post on Beautifully Invisible are a great reminder that it's okay for other people to notice and acknowledge you.
    • Classy Career Girl share the top ten tips to transform your resume. I couldn't agree more.
    • For those that asked about my hair in this post, here is the tutorial from my new fave site, The Beauty Department (also in the under-photo credits in the post). And yes, I am wearing an elastic headband, but all of mine are black so you can't tell.
    What were your favorite reads this week?

    Edited to add: Speaking of modesty above, I totally forgot I wanted to share some more stuff with you all. File these under shameless plugs:

    Thursday, October 6, 2011

    Reader Question: Mixing beach and business

    I received a great question from a reader in the comments recently and it really got me thinking. You've probably seen Lorena's blog, which includes her daily work outfits and glimpses from around her city (check out the big houses in her neighborhood...gorgeous!). But she has a dilemma.

    I have a question I thought you might be able to help with. I have a huge convention coming up and after it ends my boss chose to invite a few of the participants—all men—to a fun weekend. The weekend will consist either flying to an island or taking a boat to the island and spending the night. The thing is, it is a work-business related trip that I am also invited to. BUT the thought of going and having to wear a bathing suit in front of these men is totally intimidating. I want to go but I want to keep it professional. Any thoughts?

    I haven't been in the exact situation Lorena describes, but I have worn my swimsuit (a bikini, no less) in front of male coworkers before. The first time, a female superior was also present and wearing a bikini. The second time, our spouses were with us and we were on different sides of a super-crowded hotel pool (for what it's worth, it was the same male colleague as before). Super-buttoned-up folks will also be horrified to learn that the bikini revealed my tattoo, which is not visible when I'm fully clothed. ::gasp:: Kosher? Maybe not, but it happened.

    Back to Lorena. Some questions to think about: What will you be doing on the island? Will there be any activities that require getting wet? Will your male colleagues be in their swimsuits? Is the outing structured and scheduled or will you be free to do whatever you'd like?

    The easy answer would be: if you don't feel comfortable in a bathing suit, don't wear one. But if water activities are on the schedule and expected of you, you should be prepared to participate. Conveniently forgetting your beach wear could come off as being unprepared, which is not an impression you want to impart on your colleagues. If you know you may get wet but still don't want to wear a swimsuit, keep your cover-up on. That begs the question: what kind of cover-up is appropriate?

    If you can avoid being in the water, a sundress and sandals can keep you covered up and comfy relaxing on the sand or even throwing a frisbee. If you need more range of movement, perhaps for a hike or sporty activity, try capris or bermuda shorts and an embellished tank or tee (perhaps something borrowed from your business wear in a casual fabric).

    If water activities will be part of the mix, try a tankini with a top that looks almost like a regular tank or halter. Throw on some bermuda boardshorts for a look that's modest but water-friendly. Bonus—you can wear it to dine or shop without it looking like you obviously threw on shorts over a one-piece swimsuit. I'd recommend against wearing cotton into the water, because it's sort of awkward wearing clothes not meant for water into the water and afterward you'll be damp for hours. Wearing something that's meant for water, like boardshorts, shows that you're not only prepared for the situation but are game for whatever they come up with.

    I think the key to make casual beach wear a little more appropriate in a potential business sense is accessories. Although I wouldn't normally wear jewelry with a bathing suit, I might put on some simple (and cheap) jewelry—something that you don't mind getting wet or putting away in your bag and leaving while you're in the water. If jewelry is not your thing, a gauzy scarf or hat will do the trick as well.

    Ashley of Ashley Getting Dressed asked a similar question last year...check out the comments on her post for their take on swimsuits and coworkers.

    What do you think? Do you have any advice for Lorena?