Last Friday afternoon I accepted a volunteer leadership position with an organization I am a member of. It is a fantastic opportunity for me to do legal work in a field I care about, and a great way to expand my network since I’ll be moving to Chicago and basically starting my professional network there from scratch.
Once I’d accepted, I received a final request that said (paraphrasing here): “Thanks! Please submit your professional head shot to xxxxxxxxx at [email address] for inclusion in our leadership directory.
…. ummm, my professional head shot? Do people normally have those just sitting around?
Working as a government policy-maker (and not in an Office of General Counsel or fancy-schmancy law firm) has some great perks. I get to make decisions like, we should do this instead of that “for policy reasons.” So, even though an idea is technically legal I can argue against it just because it sounds stupid/inefficient/like a bad idea/is unsupported by research/ or is otherwise unlikely to help families and children as much as another idea could or would. I never have to work more than 40 hours each week and I get great benefits. But there are things the job doesn’t include that I miss: things like CLE and bar expense reimbursements, administrative leave for lawyer training events and conferences, business cards (yes, really), and a reason and venue for taking professional head shots.
I’ve been working a little at a time to fill these tiny gaps in my portfolio. Earlier this year I ordered beautiful name cards from www.minted.com to use while networking, and I was incredibly impressed with the quality of the design and paper/printing. Today, I had an emergency photo shoot with Gretchen from Honey I Shrunk the Gretchen so I could send a head shot to the organization. We met up during my lunch break today and had a 30-minute photo shoot plus meet-and-greet in the L’Enfant Plaza-Smithsonian area. The weather was perfect, Gretchen was fantastic (and funny!), and our hastily planned quick-and-dirty photo shoot was a huge success.
Check out a few photos from today’s session! I think Gretchen did a wonderful job of making me look smart AND pretty, and that’s exactly what I was hoping for. We were able to squeeze in a few more casual shots too, which I will be revealing soon as the blog gets a facelift over the next few months. Adding professional-quality photos to the blog, linked-in, and other social media accounts has been a goal of mine since last November, and I’m excited to have one more item checked off of that list.
Alternate title: why working for America is sometimes awesome.
I have so much more to write, but things have been crazy and so my five-things post, my things I loved during May post, and my life-move-standard-update post will just have to wait until tomorrow.
Today I was sent to a meeting at the EEOB (that’s the Eisenhower Executive Office Building) and it was awesome. I went through security and sat in a meeting inside the exterior White House gates and I walked past the Administration’s General Counsel’s Office. . . and I took a few photos to prove I was there.
*Sorry about this awkward outfit, it was a rough morning and I did not know about this prime photo-taking opportunity before I arrived at work today.
Well, you guys know I hate going to the dentist already, but in case you weren’t aware: I hate all types doctor’s visits. It’s a sliding scale of hatred — a great chain of hatred, if you will.
**This is a reference to the Great Chain of Being. It’s a thing you should know about- google it if you don’t!
Today, on the less-terrible end of the scale, I had my annual eye exam. I hate the glaucoma puff test (sometimes I call it the gonnorhea test by “accident,” ahaha). I hate how they shine bright lights in your eyes and tell you not to blink. I mean, seriously? Your body is designed to shut your eyes in the face of danger. Flashing bright lights are dangerous.
Well, today I was a vision-testing rock star. I made it through the puff test in one try per eye. That alone is a minor miracle. I also aced the flashing lights and insane eyeball photos with minimal re-dos.
And…I purchased new glasses. My most recent pair were tornado-insurance glasses, so I haven’t actually paid for glasses since, ummm, 2005. And that was definitely still my parents’ money so in reality, I have never once paid for glasses. That is pretty impressive even for me.
I have a pretty typical style — reddish purple metal frames with a squared-off face. I almost bought a new pair that was right along those lines.
But, I didn’t. I bought large tortoise-shell plastic frames by Michael Kors instead.
Aren’t they cute? They’ll be back on my face in about two weeks. Boring mold-breaking for the win.
Working 9-to-5 can be a bit of a drag — particularly when it’s actually 9-to-5:30 plus a 45 minute commute each way. There are days where I can barely make it out the door, much less brush my hair and my teeth and put on makeup and iron my clothes . . . but starting off in such a rush usually leads to a day of feeling frazzled and rushed. Wrinkly pants or awkwardly fitting sweaters (how is it that perfectly good cardigans turn into weird shapeless bags so quickly?) or frizzy hair can turn a perfectly good day into a nine-hour grump fest. And honestly, staying semi-focused, polite, and getting good work done is hard enough without having to worry about anything else.
Lately, I’m flexing in sparkly clothes to give my work-fashion a boost. Sequins, fancy buttons, blinged-out necklaces, earrings, and other obviously very cheap jewelry, if it sparkles and it’s in my closet, I’m wearing it. And while wearing sequins and such to the office may sound unusual, I think it is AWESOME. Sparkles are, like, seriously my favorite.
I’m unsure how to punctuate the above sentence properly. Should a comma go in between the “like” and the “seriously”? If you have advice for this problem please indicate your suggestions in the comments below.
UPDATE: My writer friend Heather has advised the punctuation as currently used above. She is a legit poet AND she is published about a million times so we shall trust her on this one. Check out her work here.
An easy way to flex sparkles into your work wardrobe is to layer with other, more neutral pieces. For example, check out this sequined tank I purchased from the JCrew outlet a week or so back:
My tank is actually lavender, and I purchased a darker plum-colored knit top to wear with it that is pretty cute. But, this is also going to be adorable in a few other ways: Under a blazer — navy blue, khaki, black. With a cardigan of any contrasting color. When it is quite chilly, as a sweater vest over a white button-up all under a blazer. You get the picture — if you treat the sequined item like any other neutral item, then it will blend right into your wardrobe. . . but still look AWESOME. And when you look into the mirror, or walk past a long window and remember that your “neutral tank” is actually incredibly sparkly and awesome, your
day life will become immediately better.
If a tank that is covered completely in sparkles feels like a little bit much for you, I also have an Old Navy tank from last season that is only partially sequined. Full disclosure, I only paid $3.99 for my striped tank when it was on clearance, but they have a lot of new colors to choose from that are still pretty good deals. I’ve machine washed and dried my Old Navy top multiple times and none of the sparkles have come loose.
And, if even these tiny little sparkles seem like a lot, a sparkly scarf can add just a touch of shine and, honestly, it won’t even look like you are trying. But really, be brave. Be bold. Sparkles are super professional.
UPDATE: Ann Taylor LOFT has some pretty amazing deals on sparkly bling today. Check out their special offerings here.
I hate running late in the mornings, but I always am. It’s pretty ridiculous, because I love waking up early and how it feels to dominate your day because you were totally prepared, well rested, and ready for action. So, I decided it was time to do something about it.
FIRST: I streamlined my options by pulling out everything that had smears or discoloration, that didn’t fit well, or that I didn’t love and sent that either to Goodwill or to the trash can. Having too many things isn’t just selfish and unnecessary, it’s also a HUGE hassle when you live in a tiny apartment. Giving my clothing a little extra space really helps reduces wrinkles and makes it easier to pick out outfits. There is really no reason to be stressed out in the mornings because you have too many things to wear, and no reason to repeatedly try on, take off, launder, and place back into your closet the clothing that just doesn’t do it for you anymore.
SECOND, I organized my closet to focus on clothing, not storage. My closet is currently looking BEAUTIFUL. The clothing is arranged from left to right: dresses, then sweaters, slacks, skirts, and blouses. I also removed all of the random storage I had kept inside the closet and simply placed a shoe rack along the bottom of the closet and an old welcome mat in the floor. The extra space makes it calmer and more comforting.
I also left an empty hook on the back of my closet door. During the day, I store my nightgown and robe of choice so that I can come home and have comfy PJs waiting for me. Once I change into my PJs, I can then pick out my outfit for the next day, iron and/or steam the pieces that need it, and hang them on the rack for the next day. It’s kind of amazing.
Full disclosure: I’m not picking out my clothes every day yet — it’s only been a week and I haven’t fully developed the habit — but having the extra space in the closet and in the floor is worth it even if the outfits aren’t always pressed before I go to sleep.
FINALLY, I bought some cute new things to make getting dressed in the morning more exciting, and more successful.
1) All new undergarments. Sorry if you are one if my three male readers (hi Dad!), but this seriously makes every outfit instantly cuter. The statistics are honestly probably made up, but “people say” that 80% of women are wearing improperly fitted undergarments. Do your back and your closet a favor and get fitted by a professional at Soma Intimates, it’s the best. And no, a high schooler at Victoria’s Secret does not count.
2) Add in color. Making outfits is way more fun when you have in-season colors, particularly for the bottom-half. For me, dressing well at work is easiest when I follow this simple math problem: well fitting skirt/slacks + fitted top + longer outer layer. Belt is optional. Here’s my favorites that I’ve added in this season:
- Old Navy Super Skinnies: Colored jeans are a definite winner right now, but since it’s hard to tell if colored pants will stay in fashion long enough to justify spending much on them, Old Navy’s versions (which were $19 on sale) were the perfect option. And honestly, as you guys know already, I’m not quite wild enough for the actual colors…but the dark taupe/khaki pair I bought? Such a valuable addition to my weekend wardrobe, and I’ve found a few ways to rock them at work, too.
- Colored pencil skirts: oh man, what a good idea! These are making my work outfits so much cuter. I’ve picked up a mustard yellow and a gray-navy plaid from JCrew, and a dark teal green corduroy from Old Navy. They are so cute with a tank and blazer! Click on the photos below for samples of what I purchased.
3) Stripes. Stripes are everywhere this fall, and I am loving mixing them into my wardrobe. What looks great with my bright-yellow pencil skirt? A navy-and-white striped sweater. What enhances a blazer’s waist-slimming effect? I striped shirt underneath. While stripes around the middle can be unhelpful, when combined with a blazer or a long sweater that comes in at the waist, it can be very slimming. Try it, you can thank me later!
Now, I’m still just plain-jane MB, but the extra effort is paying off. This Friday (while wearing a navy-and-cream striped polo, with a navy blazer, my khaki skinnies and loafers), H looks over and says “Hey, you look so fancy. You are looking so stylish lately. You’re getting too cool for me.”
Yes, seriously, that happened. Success.
The bad news: I ignored a voicemail from my boss’ cell phone because I thought I knew who it was from and what it said. All day. Until 7:00 p.m.
The good news: I emailed her an apology at 7 p.m. on Friday, so at least she knows I was working late while she was away….And she’s on vacation for the next two weeks so hopefully she’ll forget by the time she returns?
The bad news: Leo peed in my suitcase of clean laundry.
The good news: Now my laundry will be done before H gets home tomorrow night to see exactly how creative I can be at making “outfits.”
The bad news: I have to wake up early and dress cute to attend an all-day Greek life advisor training.
The good news: I get to spend the entire day with Megan from Deviled Megs and won’t be frantically checking the clock for when H will arrive. Until it ends, and then I totes will be…
The bad news: My skin has been so terrible lately that I’m considering a burka.
The good news: Great reason to purchase a crazy-expensive-but-effective Clarisonic! Which I am already loving, by the way. Give me a week to be sure before you buy one on my recommendation, but so far worth it.
Okay, sorry. I know you guys are tired of checking in here to see no new posts, and that what follows is not really enough to deserve your attention. I admit this is not going to be insightful, or thought-provoking, or all that stimulating.
But seriously, this is so ridiculous. A tweed skirt will not prevent your weirdo sweater from looking weird. There is an owl poking it’s head out of your skirt, Kate Bosworth. No animals should be poking out of any person’s skirt. No amount of effort will prevent that from being weird.
Geez Louise, America.
Photo Credit: InStyle Magazine.