Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Top 5 of 2015

2015 is nearly over! I wanted to put together some sort of highlight post, since I was scrolling through my instagram feed. So here are my top 5's for 2015. Lots of good memories and some closet additions that I've been loving this year. Hope you all had a great holiday and a happy new year :)

Top 5 Clothing Purchases
1. Ted Baker Leather Jacket
2. Lo & Sons Saffiano Pearl
3. Everlane Heavyweight Tee
4. Nike Roshes
5. Warby Parker Glasses

Top 5 Eats
1. Cemitas Puebla in Fulton Market
2. Smylie's in Evanston
3. Ba Le in Uptown
4. DMK in Lake View
5. Bruges Brothers Food Truck

Top 5 Sights 
1. Lake Michigan from a summer rooftop party
2. Chicago River on a cloudy fall day
3. Lake View during a cloudy fall run
4. West Loop in the Spring
5. Loop in the Winter

Top 5 Songs 
1. Alright - Kendrick Lamar / To Pimp A Butterfly
2. Angels (ft. Saba) / Chance the Rapper
3. Belize - Wayward / Ugestu
4. Reflektor - Arcade Fire / Reflektor
5. Supreme - Postiljonen / Supreme

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Gifts 2015

I love giving presents to my family. I spend a lot of time thinking about the perfect gift for each person, and I love to see their faces when they open them. For me though? I don’t ever have much of a Christmas list, and even I think it’s hard to come up with what I might want. But I was very pleased this year to receive some really useful items, as well as something off of my clothing wish list.
1. Garlic Press - I HATE mincing garlic. It always leaves my hands smelling like garlic for the rest of the day. My sister recently bought one for herself, and then one for me. I whipped it out to try for one of my mom’s sauce recipes, and it works like a charm!
2. Boscia Sake Eye Masks - Another gift from my sister. I’ve yet to try this, but I’m excited to! I’ve tried a hydrogel mask before, and it was very hydrating. 
3. Stacking Egg Measuring Cups - Last thing from my sister - At home, what I use to measure is a Starbucks mug that I know holds 12 oz, and I eyeball it. These are much needed, and look so cute in the kitchen.
4. Everlane Silk Sleeveless in Slate - My mom has started to shop at Everlane ever since I introduced her to the brand. I actually have this shirt in a dusty rose color, and have been wanting to add another one in this same color!
5. Sony MDR-V6 Studio Headphones - My boyfriend got me these for Christmas and I’ve been using them every time I’m at a computer. I’ve only ever used iPhone headphones, so these are a huge upgrade. I’m not an audiophile by any means, but listening to music or podcasts with these are a joy.
As for how my family received my own gifts to them -

It turns out the Petra Market tote that I got my mom overwhelmed her frame. I agreed - it’s very large on a 5’2” frame, in my opinion. If you’re into that oversized look, I definitely recommend it! The leather is buttery smooth, and doesn't seem like it would scratch easily. The hardware is very pretty and understated. Overall, a very luxurious bag that looks like it'll age very well. Anyway, we’re exchanging for the Petra Magazine tote in Camel, which hopefully she’ll like!

I also decided to get my brother tickets to Bulls vs. Celtics at home, which we are going to next week with my boyfriend! Should be a fun thing to do to ease back into the work week after the holidays.

Did you get anything interesting for Christmas?


Monday, December 28, 2015

11 Pieces of Career Advice from a Millennial

December 30th will be my 2 year anniversary entering the work force post college. Since then, I’ve worked at 3 different jobs and 3 different clients. I’ve worked client side and services side. I’ve interviewed at countless places, and have negotiated a bunch offers. I’ve also been fortunate to work with people who have been great mentors to me. I’ve learned a ton in this short amount of time and I wanted to write them all down in this list-icle.

Know what you're worth and go out and get it. I was underpaid at my first job at the ad agency. I was fresh out of college with no experience outside of my internships. It was a fantastic job, good people, good benefits, fun clients. It was an almost-perfect job, except for the pay. Leaving it was scary, but I was able to get a 25% pay increase and a promotion in doing so, which set me on the path to maintain that level of income.

Never take a job for the money. No explanation here - if you take a job for the money, but hate any part of the role, you’ll hate going to work, no matter what.

Ask lots of questions. Don't worry about being annoying, you're just trying to do your job well. When I was an intern, I hesitated to ask for help. I wanted to figure things out on my own, and I didn’t want to be annoying as a young student out of her element. But I started to tell myself “I’m just trying to do my job” before I hit send on any email that asked a “dumb” question. At the end of the day, you’ll save everyone a lot of headache if you ask a lot of questions early on.

Leave a job when you've stopped learning. This piece of advice is from my manager at my first internship. When you’ve stopped learning new things in your role, and you don’t have any more room to grow at your job, then it’s time to leave. If you’re coasting at work, seek out new challenges, ask for more work. If there isn’t anything more for you to do, or your manager balks - time for a new challenge elsewhere.

Always be uncomfortable. Surround yourself with people smarter than you. Seek out A players. It's okay to feel like you're two steps behind, to feel like you’re the dumbest person in the room. This applies to finding a job as well. Job postings are often self selecting. If you see a job you want, but don’t think you’re ready for, or you don’t meet all the requirements - apply to it anyway! You’ll learn on the job and grow into it.

Never accept a first offer. Negotiate everything. Salary, signing bonus, vacation, perks. It doesn't hurt to ask. I always regret not negotiating my first job’s offer. I thought that I couldn’t because I had no experience. When I started, I realized that one of my coworkers did, from the same no-experience position as me. Women are more likely to not ask, so if you’re a woman reading this, ask!

Learn how to work with your manager. This will be your most important relationship at work, so develop it. Learn how they like to communicate. What do they want to accomplish? How can you help? Are they hands on, hands off? Part of this too is learning how you yourself like to work. Do you like a boss that is more hands on? If you both are opposites, sit down and set expectations. Find a way to compromise so you both are happy. Ultimately, they’ll be the keys to the rest of your career at the company, and your advocate during promotions/raises/etc.

Always leave work feeling like you were productive that day. I start my day writing down 3 things I need to accomplish by end of day to have been 'productive'.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. I’m usually the youngest person in the room, and I sometimes feel like I have to prove myself. At the end of the day, it’s just a job! I constantly have to remind myself to not give af, especially when things get stressful. Actively think good thoughts and have a positive attitude.

Don't apologize or undermine yourself. Trust your knowledge and support with data and facts. You know what you know, so stick to your guns whether you're the youngest in the room, the girl, the newbie to the industry.

Always be looking for a new job. I get an email sent to me every week with job postings that I might be interested in. I also keep in touch with my analytics recruiters, and they send me jobs every so often that they think might be a good fit. It’s not that I’m disloyal to my current job. It’s more along the lines of always knowing what else is out there. It’s also handy for colleagues and friends in the industry that might be looking for a new job. And, you’ll never know if your dream job suddenly pops up.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Next Year

a shot of my work-from-home desk at my parents' house
Each year, I think about where my blog is going and where I want it to go. It’s almost completely influenced by what my goals are for each year. When I started this blog, I had just started my career, and I wanted to dress in a way that was professional and made me look older than I was. To be taken seriously. I think this year, that was definitely accomplished, despite not have written about it. I have silhouettes that I stick to, I know what materials and shapes and colors I like.

For the next 3 years, my primary goal is to save as much money as possible to pay for an MBA. In 3 years, I’ll be 26 and have 5 years of experience under my belt in marketing and advertising, and I’m considering it as finishing school on the way toward a leadership position in the far future. Of course, this all requires money, so I’ll be pulling back a lot of spending in different areas of my life - basically food and clothes. I’ll have a lot less to write about - not zero! - but a lot less.

So the point of this is that in the coming year, the posts here on dorigamii will be a little bit different. A lot less revolved around consumption, and a lot more revolved around a real life - loving the clothes I already have, and carefully saving up for the few things that I want.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

2015 Holiday Gift Guide

A quick post now that I've FINALLY gotten all my holiday shopping done. Here's a gift guide based off of what I actually got my family for Christmas.

Everlane Petra Market Tote in Black - quietly luxurious for my mom, whose fashion sense is way better than mine, and truly lives a minimalist lifestyle.

Bose QuietComfort 25s - noise cancelling headphones for my dad, who commutes into the city everyday by train from the suburbs and loves listening to music.

Tartelette In Bloom palette and a design book for my sister, who is a makeup addict and industrial design student.

NBA 2K16 & $50, for my brother who is a decision science student and loves basketball and video games and always needs cash (ha)

The BeardBrand Tree Ranger Suite of beard care for my boyfriend, who is a PhD student and can grow a truly mean beard (it’s so prickly!). This is more of a gift for myself than him, ha.

Rhodia Meeting Notebook for the coworker in professional services. I personally have one of these notebooks. They're made in France and the paper is seriously so nice. I love the way the pages are designed with a column for action items.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Lo & Sons The Pearl in Saffiano Review

I recently bought the new version of the Lo & Sons Pearl in Saffiano Leather during Black Friday at a pretty steep discount - 30%! Rounding out to about $173 total for the crossbody. It's on sale now for the holidays at 25% off, or $10 more than what I got it for. I've had my eye on the full grain nappa leather version of this purse for a while, but could never pull the trigger on it. A crossbody bag for me is very well loved, and the leather seemed a little too soft for me to want to trek around with. That, and from the other blog reviews about that version, it seemed like any lumpy item would show through the bag.

When the Saffiano leather version came out, it seemed perfect, and I'm here to write today that it is!

The Pearl in all its glory
 The leather feels really good, and is advertised to be scratch and water resistant. One difference between this version and the prior version is that the logo is now imprinted into the leather, and not gold stamped on, which gives it a much more minimalistic and sleek look to it. The bag itself comes with two straps - a longer strap if you're wanting to use it as a crossbody bag, as well as a short strap that hooks itself onto one side if you want to use it as a clutch (or if the longer strap is too short for you!). I'm 5'2" and I only use the long strap on its own, adjusted so that it hangs right on the body.

The Pearl  is split into 3 different compartments - 2 zip ones that surround the middle, larger compartment that can be buttoned closed, which offers a bit of security! When I first looked at this, I thought that I'd be able to fit the length of a notebook in these zip compartments, or an iPad mini, but it's not the case. The two zip pockets can't accommodate the length of my work notebook. I also just tried to slip in an iPad mini with a case on it, and it just barely went in (took a little effort). On a completely different note though, I've also noticed that any lumpy items (cushion compact) don't show through the leather, which is a difference from the nappa leather version that Lo & Sons has. 

The middle compartment has two padded pockets as well, which can protect a cell phone. Personally, I never use it - I always keep my phone in my coat pocket. I just put it in here for demonstration ;) The middle compartment holds the most, and is where I keep my meeting/work notebook. There is also a key chain in the center compartment of this bag, and although it's a small detail, it matters. The keychain is actually long enough to reach my door without having to unhook my keys from! 

 Close up on the hardware
The Saffiano versions of The Pearl only come in gold hardware for now (which I prefer). It feels very premium and solid. There is a hook at each end of the bag, where the straps (lobster claw) will hook into. If you want to use the shorter strap, you just hook them to the same side of the bag. It's very versatile! 

Regarding the construction, it's very well made. The stitching is nice and even and secure. The inside is lined with their hummingbird logo in a smooth poly. It's a structured bag, and doesn't really flex like the nappa leather version seems to do. The crossbody strap is thin - I can definitely see this being uncomfortable if you really pack a ton into this bag. But if you're only carrying a few things, it's quite comfortable.

Here's a quick snapshot of what I usually carry around in it. I use it for days when I know I'm not carrying my work computer home, or on the weekends. One note is that I can fit my nice camera into the center compartment (Sony a5000) which, if you're familiar with the size of that model, is surprising! Overall, I'm really happy with the purchase, especially at the price I got it at. It's something that I've wanted to buy for a while (structured crossbody), and this fits the bill almost exactly. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

August - November Purchases: An Analysis

I stopped writing these types of posts in August because I had really slowed down in buying clothes. Some of these, I've mentioned in prior posts, but I figured I'd just recap a full 4 month's worth of purchases. I categorized them into whether they were planned or not. NOTE: Prices listed are what I paid for them likely on sale - they may be different now!

Planned ($787 or 86% of Total)

TOTAL: $913 since August, which comes in at around $228 per month for 4 months. I have to be honest, as I was writing all of this out, it was a scary amount of money that I was seeing myself retroactively spend. But after dividing it out over the amount of time, it doesn't actually seem that bad, and actually fell under what used to be my monthly clothing budget.

In the past 4 months, I've worked at two different jobs with vastly different dress codes and client interaction AND gone through 3 different seasons (summer, fall, and winter). I've gone from super casual, jeans + top + sneakers at the start up - to business casual/business professional depending on if I'm meeting with a client or not. I've been at my new job for a full 5 days now, and went through some panic after the first couple, realizing I didn't have enough clothing to last me through the week... or through the winter. But it's interesting in that my impulse/fear driven purchases only take up 14% of the total budget in this time period. Most of the money that I spent, was planned for (86%). However, because they were planned for, I was a lot less price sensitive, more willing to pay a higher $ for something I knew I wanted. 

I've noticed that my impulse/fear purchases all fall below a certain price point - $20. I never realized that until I wrote this out now. Next time I am out shopping, I'll need to mentally signal to myself that if an item is $20 or less, it's most likely that I'm deviating away from the plan. But at the same time, my impulse purchases have been very well loved. My fear purchases are now the workhorses of my work wardrobe when combined with the more expensive items that I had planned to purchase, or already own. They've all been largely successful, and there's not one that I regret since they're all basic items. 

The Old Navy Pixie Pant are a great dupe for my go-to, Banana Republic Sloan trousers, at a MUCH lower price point AND they're wash and wear. No dry cleaning needed. The Uniqlo blouse and the Old Navy one are great drape-y rayon blouses that can be dressed up at work, or down on the weekend. The Uniqlo Legging Pants are my go-to comfy pair of jeans that don't show a panty line even though they're technically leggings. I think through careful inspection of the impulse purchases before they're purchased (seams, fabric content, wearability), I can avoid any buyer's remorse. 

Anyway, this was a very long post, mainly useful for me since I've learned a lot about my spending habits. Note to self: don't go shopping when driven by fear or boredom. And stay away from anything $20!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Korean Sheet Mask Haul

Basically what motivated this was that I was tired of buying sheet masks at > $5 each. That, and I had one too many drinks one night and went on Amazon. Buying it through there worked out to be around a dollar per mask, with free shipping. I decided to try out the TonyMoly ones, upon recommendation from my sister, and then decided on the Etude House ones as well. A total of 31 masks here, which was super excessive! Never going on Amazon under the influence again.

But I'm excited, and was excited to open this box. There are some pretty interesting masks that I'm excited to try - particularly the Etude House snail mask. I've heard a ton of things about snail slime and how great it is for your skin. Other ones I'm excited about are the TonyMoly Red Wine (pore care), the EH Pearl (brightening), EH Vita Complex (nourishing), and the TM Broccoli (vitality).

Some tips for ordering on Amazon:
- Check the seller reviews! You can find out who the seller is if you look underneath the checkout button. You'll see text that says "Sold by XXXX, fulfilled by Amazon Fulfillment." Obviously stay away from anyone who's got negative reviews.

- Check the customer reviews as well; order these reviews by most recent first!! This is the most important tip, and how you can see if recent customers are happy with the product or not. Amazon has a tendency to highlight the best reviews first to increase sale conversion. Always check the most recent!


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Holiday Go-Bag: Thanksgiving

It’s almost Thanksgiving here in the US, and that means I spend a week back in my parents’ house. It’s one of my favorite week’s in the year, bookended by two weekends spent eating big feasts with my family. This weekend is my grandparents’ đám giỗ, aka death anniversary. In Vietnamese culture, we celebrate the death anniversary of our ancestors by spending the day cooking a special meal, to be served at the alter, and then burning incense to honor them.

Then, the weekend after is of course, Thanksgiving! It’s my favorite holiday of the year, much like Christmas, but without the presents and all of the great food. The one difference is this year, I start my new job at the beginning of the week - I work 3 days, and then am off for the next two days for Thanksgiving. So I’ve got to pack accordingly. Here’s my little Holiday/Work capsule.

L&S Catalina Bag - aka, the weekender bag I wrote about here

Plain black shoes to go with every outfit, casual or dressy. 


Some basic tops, with the option to layer the sweater & the silk blouse. Also, 3 dressier tops that can double for casual for office and the holidays.

Dark bottoms to keep it dressy for the first week of work, and of course, the mandatory stretch pant for eating large quantities of food.

H&M Camel Scarf // H&M Gold Necklace // Loft Gold Bangle // Wayfarers // Warby Parker Glasses
These have been my go to accessories. Very muted, but pull together an outfit. I usually wear contacts, but I love switching it up now and then to glasses for a smart look.

And then finally, my beauty closet for the long holiday. I love giving myself the spa treatment on my days off and really take care of my skin. I've been having an obsession with sheet masks, and treat myself now and then to one, but I recently found out you can order large quantities for SO much cheaper on Amazon. If anyone here has recommendations for some, I'd love to hear it. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Hi Again

coat - banana republic last season, this season in red / blouse - uniqlo / pants - old navy / shoes - sperry / lips - maybelline 
A quick ootd! I've been struggling to find time to blog lately. Been going through some career changes - new gig, which I'm super excited about! Hence the lack of focus on anything but job stuff.

I've been loving this Uniqlo Rayon Blouse and have worn it several times! Prior to this blouse, I had tried Uniqlo rayon and it wrinkled the moment I touched it, and looked terrible worn throughout the day. Not cute. But they seem to have re-engineered the fabric and it a great alternative to silk. Very flowy, drapes well, light, and more formal than cotton. I was able to snatch up the navy one before it sold out completely. I feel like it’s a great alternative to the Everlane Silk Long Sleeve Tee that’s been sold out of most colors at a great discount (19.90 Uniqlo on sale, vs 88 Everlane never on sale).

I much prefer the Uniqlo Rayon blouses, since they’re so much lower maintenance than silk is. They’re wash and wear, with the occasional steam if I don’t get to hanging up freshly dried clothes right away. It’s still a natural fiber, so it breathes well, unlike a polyester blouse - but with the same lightness and drape that you would get out of silk/ some poly. And you really cannot beat the price point.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Work Wear & An Updated Everlane Silk Blouse Review

silk blouse / sweater (old from h&m) / ankle pants / slippers
I wrote about the work uniform a little while ago, and was inspired to start dressing nicer. Here's my first attempt at dressing a little bit nicer, but not too nice. Relaxed, but still put together. I've been very fond of dress pants the past week, mainly because they're super stretchy and they feel like leggings.

Now for my updated thoughts on the Everlane Silk Sleeveless.

 I've been wearing my Everlane Silk Sleeveless a lot more lately now that I've found out that machine washing it and then air drying it on a hanger won't wreck it. It's held up quite well, although it needs a steam after it's been dried to get the wrinkles out. Also, I bought an XS in this blouse. I'm realizing that I should have bought a S instead, so it would fit better around the armholes. As it stands, they're a little tight. So far so good, though I've worn it probably about 10x, and have washed around 6x. The silk remains nice and soft, and the same lotion-y texture that it was when I first bought it. 

I had a tiny twinge of purchase regret, but none anymore now that I know it holds up. I think next summer, I'll add a light grey or grey one to my closet. They really are great value for what they are - $65 from Everlane, whereas I bet one from Equipment would cost around twice that.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

October Uniform & Chicago Uniqlo Opening

I've been wearing any and every possible variation on this uniform this month, which is why I haven't posted any outfits. I thought it would be boring to write about the same outfit. Long sleeve (flannel or otherwise), ankle pants, Roshes, scarf, and a leather jacket. Ever since the Work Uniform post, I've been on a dressy pant kick. These ones are a pair of Banana Republic Sloans that I accidentally washed and dried. They still fit, but I think they're a little too tight to wear to something more formal like an interview, so I've relegated them to weekend wear and my casual workplace.

In other news - Chicago now has a Uniqlo! I was able to snag an invite to the Uniqlo Train. They took over an entire elevated train and decked it out with red and white paper lanterns, hired dancers, gifts, and a DJ. The train made a loop around downtown and I was able to watch the performance, play some games, and won some movie tickets. 

Here's what the outside of the train looks like. When the doors opened, there was a blast of loud house music from the speakers on the inside, and gifts on every seat.
Here were the dancers on the inside of the train - amazing that they were able to keep their balance on the Loop train, which is very bumpy and jerky! And then the prizes were delivered via O-mikuju, which was very cute. Each person went up to the structure and untied their prize. Some woman won a trip to Tokyo! 
Decided not to come out to the storefront until tonight, hoping that Michigan Ave would be less touristy and the store less busy - but I was definitely wrong. They're out at all hours of the night, even in the cold and windy day that it is today. The store is three floors in this building, massive. 
I'm super excited that I don't have to order blindly online anymore. I went through and checked out some things I was eying online, and came away with two tops (a flannel and a rayon blouse) and a pair of legging pants. Flannels here are my holy grail. The rayon blouse was iffy online, since their models are so skinny! But I tried one on and it was perfect - exactly what I was looking for in a work blouse. And then the legging pants, I was unsure about due to the thickness, but again - perfect. I think they'll be very well received in Chicago, especially their Heattech stuff since it's so cold!

There goes my shopping no-buy!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Write. Everyday.

I find that as I get older, the less I give to the importance of writing. I'm not a good writer by any means, but not writing at all will help me to improve that. I made it a goal recently to write something every day. Anything at all.

I rarely ever sit down to write things, unless it's for this blog. Usually, it's on the train underground when I have no cell signal. Or when I'm waiting for the next connection. Or when I'm waiting for the coffee in the office to brew. Whenever a thought that I really want to indulge in strikes me, I'll write it down. It was hard at first, because so often, I sit down wanting to write something perfect, but once I let that requirement go, it became a lot easier.

Malcolm Gladwell proposed the idea in the book Outliers that 10,000 hours of intentional practice is necessary to become an expert or a master at that skill (have you heard that Macklemore song 10000 hours?). Too often, I subscribe to the idea of innate talent. But I certainly know that's not true. And that talented people have worked at it their whole life.

Anyway. An exercise in "If you want, then do." I want to be a good writer, so I'm working on that.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Happiness: Hard Work & A Little Luck

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness. And how to write about this without sounding too preachy. But have you ever had someone tell you that you were lucky, and they were not, and so you don’t understand? It aggravates me to no end, especially because this comes up whenever career and professional life come up.

And I totally acknowledge that I’ve been lucky in life.

I’m blessed to have a family and boyfriend that support everything I do. I’m blessed to have all the material things that I do. Blessed to have been able to receive higher education, and blessed to have been able to pay off the debt incurred while doing so.

But happiness past those things is a personal responsibility. Only I can see to my own happiness. It’s hard to get to being happy with yourself if you don’t know what your happiness depends on, and further, having a clear vision of how to get there. My happiness revolves around three things: my career, my family, and my boyfriend. Two of those things are constants (and they are for most people, if you’re also as lucky), so the only thing that can really throw me in a loop is if I’m unhappy with where my career is headed.

There are 3 things that I keep in mind and care for when it comes to my career success.

Short and long term visions for where I want to be. Short being in the 2 years, and long term in the next 5 years. The moment that I decided I wanted something, I plan for it. Part of this involves research and talking to people that I look up to - whether that’s someone I know, or some stranger’s career history on LinkedIn that works in the position I want to be in, or at the company I want to work for. It’s hard to find yourself in a place of happiness or success if you don’t know what you want, or how to get there.

Discipline/Hard Work
By discipline, I mean going after what you want every single day, despite wanting to give up. It’s hard to keep this up, especially if you’ve had failures and rejections. When I was in my last semester of college, I would get job rejections and feel so discouraged. And I’d mope for a day, in the hours between classes and meetings, in my dark basement apartment room. But I’d pick myself up the day after, or in the evenings late at night and just keep applying to more jobs. I’d pluck up the courage to email recruiters that had rejected me asking for feedback on my interview. I’d wake up every day, a new day and keep pressing on until I got what I wanted.

Nowadays, discipline is waking up for work every day, staying focused on the week’s goals, and making sure they’re executed. And it’s hard every day, especially at a start up. Micromanagement, changes in direction, too many things to do - not enough knowledge to do them, having to teach yourself the skills to do what is expected of you. On more than one occasion this past month, I’ve cried at my desk once everyone had left or cried in front of my boss. By far, this has been the most stressful job I’ve ever worked, but also the most rewarding.

I recently came across this quote - which resonated with me.
“To think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself it will spiral down into ever increasing unhappiness. To think good thoughts, however, requires effort. This is one of the things that discipline and training is all about.” - James Clavell

A Little Luck
When luck strikes and an opportunity arises, but you didn’t put the time and effort into honing the skills and knowledge needed to really seize that opportunity - then it’s a waste. Luck only crosses a person a handful of times in their life.

It’s because of this I think so many people (myself included) hate hearing that they only have what they have or are where they are because of luck. But I’d be an idiot if I didn’t acknowledge or appreciate the fact that I have really been lucky in my career.

This isn't the typical type of post from me, but what do you think? Luck vs Hard Work. Do you make your own luck? Or do you wait for luck to strike with a golden opportunity?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

October Instagram Round Up

Hey y'all - just sharing some pics from Instagram. As always, link to your instagram in the comments! I love finding new accounts to follow, as well as keep up with fellow writers' lives. I've been hella busy lately at work, as well as going through some changes life-wise that have kept me busy. Hope you're all doing well now that we're midway through October.
 Display of pumpkins and gourds at the local grocery
 View from the Franklin St bridge - next to the Merch Mart, overlooking the river. Very cold and cloudy day that day. No sunshine all day!
 Taken last week, view from the corner of Clinton and Adams. I must a million shots from this corner, and they're all different depending on the weather. I love fog in the fall. You can barely see the top of the Sears Tower here.
A rural suburban sunset - taken when visiting my parents' house. So pretty!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Work Uniform

via Harper's Bazaar
Even though I write a lot about clothes and post outfits on this so-called fashion blog, I absolutely hate thinking and planning what I'm going to wear in the morning. The outfits that I actually do post are a happy coincidence on days that I actually think I dressed myself well. My whole closet is built in a way that I look, at the very least, as non-descript as possible.

I recently re-read this article I came across last year when I was still at the ad agency about an art director at Saatchi who has a work uniform. Her name is Matilda Kahl and her story behind the uniform creation is pretty interesting! It definitely resonated with me.
"About three years ago, I had one of those typical Monday mornings that many women have experienced. With a fairly important meeting on the horizon, I started to try on different outfits, lacking any real direction or plan. As an art director at one of the leading creative advertising agencies in New York, I'm given complete freedom over what I wear to the office, but that still left me questioning each piece that I added or subtracted from my outfit. "Is this too formal? Is that too out there? Is this dress too short?" I finally chose something I regretted as soon as I hit the subway platform. 
"As I arrived at work, my stress level only increased as I saw my male creative partner and other male co-workers having a "brodown" with the new boss as they entered the meeting room—a room I was supposed to already be inside. I just stood there—paralyzed by the fact that I was not only late, but unprepared. And my sweater was inside out. I had completely stressed myself out, and for what? This was not the first morning I'd felt this unnecessary panic, but that day I decided it would be the last.
I think I want to try this. Not everyday but on days when I don't want to fuss with clothes. Why? I constantly am underdressed for the level of work I'm at. I want to be taken more seriously because I'm young. I want to dress more professionally. I work at a start up so people just wear what they want, and it's so tempted some days to show up dressed like a scrub.

Here's what mine would be.

Banana Republic Sloan trousers in black - cropped in the summer and regular length in the winter. (have, need at least 2 more pairs)

Sleeveless, collared, button up tank in neutral colors in the summer (don't have)
Add a blazer or a crew neck sweater or a leather jacket over top in the winter (have all)

For comfort: black smoking slippers (have)
For height: Ankle boots (have many a pair)
For inclement weather (snow, rain, slush): L.L. Bean Boots, and changing back into normal shoes (have)

Gold cuff (have)
Dainty gold necklace (have, but want to upgrade to real gold)
Long gold chain pendant (have)
Grey or camel scarf (have and have)

What do you guys think of having a work uniform? Weird? Not weird? I love the idea of it. I feel so much more energized when I don't struggle with what to wear in the morning. Some days it comes naturally, and other days - I give up. Why not optimize for those days by having a uniform?


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Fall Lipstick Challenge

Is anyone else really self conscious when they wear lipstick? I definitely am. I love lipstick, but I only own a few since I can't justify to myself spending the money on something I'll wear on special occasions only. It's not just the self consciousness, but also the maintenance of it when it's a particularly dark color. Last December, I remember checking my lipstick in the mirror constantly to make sure it wasn't on my teeth or anywhere it wasn't supposed to be, reapplying if it was wearing down in some places.

I need to get over myself, so this month, I'm challenging myself to wear all of my dark colors to WORK. It starts today with MAC Rebel, which is my absolute favorite in my very small collection. To be completely honest, I'm working from home today, with the intention to eventually relocate to a Starbucks for some scenery change. Is that cheating?

Here are the colors I'll need to go through. Like I said, a very small collection!

  1. MAC Rebel
  2. Maybelline Color Sensational Mauve Mania
  3. Bite Beauty Meritage
  4. Revlon Lip Butter Sugar Plum (Discontinued!)
  5. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Smitten
Other lipsticks I own, but are too summery to wear in my opinion. I also have no problem wearing corals in the summer. 
  1. MAC See Sheer (Too summery, and won't be included.)
  2. Revlon Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya
  3. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Rendezvous

I invite you guys to do this as well!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Little Evening Rituals

Do you guys have any little rituals you do? On occasion, maybe once a week, I like to make a cup of green tea and eat something sweet alongside and just browse the internet. Today, it's Tim Tams! The rare seasonal treat. Sometimes I watch Netflix. Other times I read something - usually a magazine. I save my heavy duty reading for my commute, and prefer something much lighter at night.

Tonight, I'm reviewing my goals for this month which all seem to revolve around the concept of self-discipline. Here they are:

  1. Cut down on the morning Starbucks. So far, I've not gone once and have instead either made my own coffee in the morning, or substituted with water and spending the morning working at the standing desk to keep the blood flowing. 
  2. Work out consistently. As in, MWF lifting, and T/Th cardio. 
  3. Limit eating out for lunch to twice a week. Last month, I ate out for lunch almost daily. Now that it's cloudy and cold, bringing a lunch is a lot more appealing.
  4. Stay laser focused on work goals this month. In the morning before I power up my computer at work, I wrote down 3 or 4 things that I need to accomplish by the end of the day - no more or less. Last quarter of the fiscal year, so things will be getting very busy!
Let me know what your rituals are! And I'd love to hear your goals this month too.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Autumn/Winter Signature Scent: Clean White Woods

They say that scent memory is the strongest type of memory. It's actually so because of the way our brains are structured. Scents come into the nose and then are processed by the olafactory bulb, which lies next to two other areas of the brain that are associated with memory and emotion (the amygdala and the hippocampus if you're curious). Yes, this blog post was inspired by a Google search I recently did.

I recently was digging through my cold weather things I had stored away and found the scent I wore all last autumn/winter - Clean White Woods. I gave it a whiff and all the memories I had while wearing it came back really vividly. Winter time at the advertising agency. Lunch time runs to Sephora and the shops along state street in the frigid cold with my coworkers. Cooking thanksgiving dinner. Christmas shopping. This time of year seems to bring on a sense of anticipation for me. I don't know for what, whether it's the holidays or just change in general, inspired by the seasons.

I really should buy the full size of this scent this year. I got three Clean roller balls a couple Christmases ago and love all the scents, but particularly this one. It's a unisex scent, woodsy  and fresh when you put it on - very comforting. Here are the actual notes.

Bergamot Leaves, Mandarin, Black Pepper, Calla Lily, Vanilla Orchid, Magnolia, Sandalwood, Praline Musk, Amber Woods. 

Do you guys have a perfume you associate with some strong memories? I'd love to hear which perfume that is! Scents and perfume science has always interested me. Also, if anyone knows of a great true jasmine perfume, let me know as well! I've been on the hunt for one for probably years.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Cloudy Sunday

Coffee, blogging, and occasionally checking work email.
It's a cloudy and chilly day today, so I spent my morning being lazy in bed. I forgot how comfortable my winter duvet was and the bright whites lift my spirits in the morning. Here are some photos from the morning, as well as a few from the past couple weeks that don't fit anywhere else.
Bon Appetit and a Dr. Jart sheet mask - a once-a-month luxury
Mid morning snack
Walking back from grabbing lunch last week. Such a gorgeous blue sky.
Whole Foods bar, yet again.
Stained glass windows at a church in Evanston. Went to a wedding last weekend.

Hope you all had a good weekend!