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.
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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!
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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.
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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.

Vision
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?
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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!
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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.

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

Tops
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)

Shoes
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)

Accessories
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?

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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!
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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.
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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.
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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! 
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Saturday, October 3, 2015

REVIEW: Everlane Heavyweight Tee (Breton Stripe)

in grey/cream
I've had the Everlane Heavyweight Tee for nearly 6 months now and wanted to write a quick little review on it, now that the weather has turned cool enough to start bringing it back into rotation. I was an early adopter to this shirt - ordering it as soon as it came into the store. I was able to snag one in my size (small) in the color I wanted - grey and cream.

Sizing - I was wavering between a size XS and S. It'll depend on the fit you want. I prefer a looser and boxier fit so I went up a size. Don't worry about shrinking (it doesn't- see below)

Fit - if you have wider shoulders or if you're self conscious about your shoulders at all like me, I would be cautious. This shirt is a drop shoulder shirt- meaning that the shoulder seams are actually my over your shoulder bone, but further out. This makes my shoulders seem much wider than they are. The cut of the shirt is very straight, and the fabric truly is heavyweight cotton so if you size up - you'll look super boxy since the fabric doesn't really drape. The neckline is a very highly cut bateau neck. I think they could've stand to cut the women's neckline a bit lower and still keep the bateau. I think it's fine and I've just ignored any body issues I have myself, ha. 

Quality - well sewn. The fabric (100% cotton) is great. Very heavy weight cotton, thick and sturdy. If you like the collared shirt layered look, this would be perfect for that.

Wear - awesome. Wash and wear. I dry mine with the rest of my clothes and it hasn't shrunk at all in the 6 months I've owned it. Sometimes I will air dry it instead of using the dryer in the hopes this shirt will last longer. Otherwise, super soft and comfortable. No pilling of the fabric at all. 

Overall, really happy with this Everlane purchase and totally recommend it if you're looking for a breton stripe with a drop shoulder.
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Friday, October 2, 2015

Leather Jacket Thoughts Part II

It's finally cool enough around here that it's appropriate and practical to wear the Ted Baker Riza leather jacket I bought during the summer during the anniversary sale. Aside from my leather MBMJ hobo bad that I bought during my first internship, this is the second large clothing purchase I've made in my life. So far, no regrets. I was super conscious of my rings rubbing on the jacket and any thing on my backpack or bag that might scratch it on the first day.

That night though, I wore it out for a friends birthday party at a very crowded bar. And it survived through to the next morning when I re-examined it sober. No scratches or marks, so I guess love and let live. I bought the jacket to wear, not to baby and display in my closet.

Style wise, I feel like such a badass when I wear it. It elevates every outfit that I throw together, even the scrubbiest of ones. I think my uniform for the fall are jeans, a long sleeve, my Roshes, a scarf, and this jacket.

Practically, it's super warm and has pockets that are deep enough to hold my phone, a card wallet, and a tube of tinted lip balm. I can go out without bringing a bag if I wanted to, since my boyfriend usually brings keys.

On a side note, a heartbreaking one - the jacket I have is now on sale at Nordstrom for less than I bought it for. In my size as well! Very upsetting! I have it linked here.
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Thursday, October 1, 2015

September 2015 Favorites

A few of the people, places, and things I've been loving this month.

PEOPLE

pinapple lipstick - Priscilla runs a beauty blog with some beautiful photos and great reviews. Definitely check her blog out if you're on a beauty kick like me right now.

sartorial diner - Stephanie blogs about food and travel, and her actual job is actually as a designer for women's wear. Her life is super interesting to read about, and really drew me in since I'm going through a bit of wanderlust right now!

PLACES

The Bar at Whole Foods
So I ASSUME they brand the bars different depending on the city. The bar concept in Chicago is called The Red Star Bar, based on the stars in the Chicago flag. I've been here several times this month, usually after work when I'm waiting for my boyfriend to commute back from his workplace. It's good for picking up a pint on the super cheap. The highest priced beer here is $8 a glass, and the lowest is $2. All craft breweries as well, so they're quite discounted.

THINGS

Nike Roshe Runs
I've been wearing these shoes non stop since I bought them. I feel like such a cool girl, and they go with everything and are super functional for my daily commute.

Mac Rebel & Nars Dolce Vita
I've been trying to make an effort to wear lipstick and this month, I managed it a whole one time. I've had this one for a while and have only worn it twice - New Year's Eve and just this last week going out for a friend's birthday. I love the color and I wish I were more brave to wear it every day. On a blush note, now that it's cooler - this Nars blush is back in the beauty rotation. It's a great dusty rose color.

Lush Scrub
Picked a small container of this scrub up when I was in Seattle at Westlake. I usually break it out when I've had a tough day - the lemon-lime scent usually picks me up. Plus, it leaves my hands and legs really moisturized, despite being a scrub.
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