January 6, 2015

Surfing the Crimson Wave

One of the best things that came out of the movie Clueless (in addition to the hotness of Paul Rudd and a prototype for a wardrobe matching computer program) was the phrase, "surfing the crimson wave." When Clueless came out (when I was 12! geez!), it gave women everywhere a cooler alternative to the aged phrase, "Aunt Flo". It made getting your period sound almost sporty.

Thankfully, I have no major issues when I'm surfing the crimson wave, but the first day or two I'm EXHAUSTED (and usually super-emotional - WHY DIDN'T THEY GIVE THE BUNNY HIS CEREAL? I'll be in the corner crying over that). Today was no exception. I went to sleep tired, woke up tired, and felt downright "blah" the entire day. When one feels like this, it's hard to want to wear anything that has an actual waistband. Alas, my "Oakton Gymnastics" sweatpants probably won't be tolerated at work without a serious double take and maybe conversation if I'm feeling okay.

So I did the second best thing - wide and loose errything. I found my loosest pants - a pair of wide leg trousers from Asos - and wore them an oversized v-neck tunic sweater from H&M and boyfriend style button-down blouse. I felt like a professional in the Hamptons.

And I would do it all over again. Except maybe with more elastic in the waistband.

I highly recommend everyone have a pair of wide-leg trousers. They elongate your legs, give you a reason to wear heels, and give you a clean, modest look. They are also timeless items - transcending fashion trends. And of course - great for when you need a professional alternative to sweatpants.

Find your crimson wave style below!

Button down blouses:

Wide-leg trouser:

V-neck tunic sweater:

January 4, 2015

A New Year's Eve Outfit to Dream About (While Sleeping Through It)

Happy New Year everyone! How did you all spend your new year's eve? Admittedly, I'm not much of a New Year's person. To me, it's another day with a lot of hype - I mean, technically, couldn't any day be a new year's day to count the revolution of the earth around the sun? I prefer to create my own new year whenever I feel like it or think it's needed!

I rang in 2015 in bed, having gone to sleep a few hours before midnight, waking up the next morning, refreshed, relaxed, and spent the next hour going through everyone's new year's photos and videos (my favorite were from a Facebook friend named Melissa, who posted a "dance floor" video of a living room full of kids 4 and under TEARING UP THE FLOOR. Now that's a party worth staying up for!)

However, if I did have plans, I would have ensured my outfit would be all sparkles and sequins and enough glamour to make me feel shiny and new. What I covet most is my friend Tania's Alice + Olivia emerald green embroidered hi low ball gown skirt, which she donned for her brother-in-law's wedding this past fall. I can't get over how ravishing she looks.

What it lacks in sequins and sparkly it makes up in spades in glamour. I've already told her I plan to borrow that skirt multiple times, even if it's just to go on a Target run.

Going back to sparkly sequins and shimmery clothing, I love the idea of wearing a sequin skirt - be it, maxi, midi, or full out long. I love this look below from A Pair + A Square:

Looking for a sequin, sparkly skirt that's a bit more modest than the typical new year's outfit? These skirts below are on sale - most are under $50!

I'm really tempted to get this one - my 32nd birthday is on its way! - but I've put myself on a restricted spending limit so any new birthday outfits might have to wait this year. Alas, being a grown up stinks.

So what would I have worn from my pre-existing wardrobe? Shimmery, sparkly gold eye shadow, long dangly earrings, and this top:

I picked it up from the Neiman Marcus x Target collection a few years back and it's still a resident in my closet. With the navy Sabine pleated maxi skirt I picked up last summer and a pair of ankle strap heels, I'd happily have subbed for a new year's disco ball.

While this top is sold out, pick up one of these sequin tops for your next big night out.

January 1, 2015

Modest and Modern Work Pants

As I wrote in my first real post back, work has shifted to take a spotlight in my life. I've realized that now that I'm playing the part of a successful woman, I should probably try to dress like one too. Most of my work clothes were rapid-succession purchases when I first started at my firm, mainly an effort to bulk up a wardrobe that didn't feel enough.

However, I'm still on a budget diet - shedding unnecessary purchases until I've reached a point in my savings that I can take on the extra baggage. So, for now, I will look and touch but not buy.

While work skirts - those sleek pencil skirts and flouncy midis - would make for a stylish, chic silhouette, my height precludes the hemlines from my wardrobe (save for a few, which I wear with knee-length riding boots). Instead, I opt for pants and the ones below seem to be calling my name.

(As a note, the Banana Republic items are all an extra 50% off sale online!)

Work pants

Like the Britney song goes, "It's been a while"...

"It's been a while
I know I shouldn't have kept you waiting
But I'm here now"
-Britney Spears, "Break the Ice"

Oh hello friends. It's been a while, hasn't it?

I promise I haven't been ignoring you. Every once in awhile, a person takes on so much that they have to let something go. A coworker at work told me, "don't be a goldfish." Goldfish don't know when to stop eating and keep eating as long as there is food, which is the most common cause of death amongst goldfish. (I didn't at all research that last part, so don't take that as fact.) All this is to say that I began to put too much on my plate and had to put this, my beloved blog, on the backburner for a minute.

So what have I been doing since last posting on August 18? Glad you asked. (As a note, I would have illustrated this with pictures, but then I came up with a video to post on Facebook as a "year in review" and now I'm sharing it with you! Scroll to the bottom to check out my year!)

1. Working Girl: Since spring of this year, I had been working on transitioning from my current career in federal consulting to that in the fashion and retail world, specifically in the area of product strategy and marketing. In the middle of informational interviews and networking, another consulting company asked me to interview and made an offer in a federal consulting role. After an initial attempt to receive a counter offer panned, I made the tough decision to take the new job offer. And then things got crazy.

I took almost a week to notify my client about my decision. My client is a very demanding but very kind man - a tough balance, but I think he strikes it. After congratulations, he marched into my senior manager's office and essentially told her that he would be willing to front the money from his program budget to keep me if my firm made me a counter offer. Within 48 hours, my senior manager was able to make me a counter offer equal to the 30% increase the other company was making. Considering that by staying at my current firm, I was able to retain my network, my 401(k) firm contributions, and most importantly (to me), had the unarguable support of my client, which spoke volumes for the quality of my work and contributions.

2. Charity Work: The job offer commotion went down just before Fashion With Compassion (FWC), a beauty and fashion night a charity event I executive produced. FWC featured the first-ever Northern Virginia modest fashion stylist showcase and designer runway. The night was a huge success and raised over $12,000 for the Foundation for Aid and Immediate Temporary Help (FAITH), a social services organization in Herndon, Virginia that serves the Northern Virginia area. It was a TON of fun but I think I'm still tired from it. Did you attend? There was a lot to love from the night - the pop up boutique, the make up artist demos, the amazing DJ - but the swag bags without a doubt were my favorite! I worked really hard to secure the sponsors and am so proud of the contributions various local organization made to our attendees: free month-long passes to all women's gyms, organic, fair trade chocolate truffles, skincare samples, organic argan oil lip gloss, gluten-free and organic caramel candies, new product samples of dried chick peas, coupons for spa services, and so much more!

A huge thank you to my blogger friends - Miss Al-Nahdi, A Day in the Lalz, and The Vintageista - who stepped up for the stylist showcase. They brought their A-game and so much more to show women how to creatively dress their best while still maintaining a demure look.

Also, shout outs to Seema of Modern Mary and Safura and Shyema of Kotyur. Modern Mary debuted some new designs and Kotyur debuted themselves on the runway - both designer lines an amazing success.

3. Run run run: Finally, and maybe my most satisfying, accomplishment over the last few months was running the New York City Marathon. It was not my first marathon, or even my second. I've run a few before. This one is certainly my most proud in that I ran it - all 26.2 miles - while being a kickass career woman, while producing a fashion show and charity event - 8 minutes faster than I've run previous marathons.

It was such a brilliant run. The day was literally as cold as ice - temperatures in the high 30s and 20 mph winds (I saw a table full of water get blown over by the wind, leaving an effect like waves crashing on each other) but I just felt GOOD the entire time. Almost from the start, all I could think of all the amazing and wonderful things in life that had lead me to that moment: the endless love and support of my parents, the deep and enduring encouragement of my friends, and the confidence that I have in my abilities.

And now, here's the video. Enjoy! Here's to 2015!