Monday, August 31, 2009

Jobs Are Like Boyfriends

This post is dedicated to my two best girlfriends, Elaina & Katie. Elaina is a Medical Assistant working on her Master's in Business/Marketing. She'll graduate in spring 2010 (Hallelujah!). She is currently applying for jobs and internships in her new field. Katie is a recent graduate with a Master's in Speech Pathology. She's ready to apply all that expensive learnin' to her new job this fall. They are two of the most brilliant, creative, committed people I know and I'm so proud to claim them as my best pals.


Although I don't have a degree, I've been rockin' the corporate workforce since age 18. I've applied for a lot of jobs, bombed a lot of interviews, worked for crappy people, worked for awesome people, been pushed around some, seen the benefits of hard work, shed a lot of tears, and have written a few resignation letters. After several years, I'm now finally established with employer that I believe will suit me long-term.


Job hunting is like man hunting. You spot the job of your dreams. Maybe find the it online, in the newspaper, on a bulletin board, or hear about it from a friend. The job sounds perfect.


You start thinking about this job. It's so mysterious. It looks so good on paper, you know it would be even more awesome in person. You pursue the job, make the first move. Write up a flawless cover letter and resume. Let the job know you're interested.

Wait by the phone for days, maybe weeks for the job to call. Finally, the moment arrives. The job wants to meet you! The date is set for the two of you to meet. You panic about what to wear for your first encounter with the job. First impression in crucial. The day finally arrives. You've rehearsed in front of the mirror, have all of the professional jargon memorized, and look like a million bucks. But butterflies take over your insides as you drive to your destination.


What if I slip and say something really lame?
What if it asks me a question I'm not prepared for?
Am I overdressed? Underdressed?
Whatever you do, do not bite your fingernails or twirl your hair or clear your throat more than twice.


The moment finally arrives and you meet your potential job face to face. Seems nice. Nothin' super special, but it's good enough. It's the only interview you've had, so this must be the one. Job says it'll call you within a few days/weeks. So you wait again. Sit by the phone. Check e-mail every 5 minutes. No way will you let this one go. It's meant for you.


You can't stand to wait one more day. Call the hiring agent and politely ask about the status of the job. "Sorry, you were perfectly qualified, but we've chosen another candidate. We'd like to keep your resume on file in case anything else comes up."


You don't know what to feel. Rejected. Angry. Confused. Really, really hurt. What the heck happened? You were ready for a relationship with that job and it just kicked you to the curb (tears, cussing). You'll never have a chance at a job like that ever again. (sniff). Not ever.


Don't worry. You'll show that job what it's missing. You go right to the computer or newspaper to look for your rebound job. Apply to everything for which you're even remotely qualified.
Repeat process above approximately 41 times. Swear off jobs forever. Who needs to pay bills anyway?


THEN ONE BLESSED DAY.


A job recognizes your talents, your abilities. Offers you a position. You don't even need to wait a day to think about it. You accept immediately. What is this job again?


OK, so it's not all you hoped it would be. Your salary is several thousand dollars below industry standard. You're hidden away in a sea of cubicles with bad, florescent lighting. Days seem to last weeks and weeks, months. You're unhappy with this job, but you worked so hard to get it, you need to just suck it up for a little while then ask for a raise. Surely, more money will make you like the job.


Years go by and the company suffers with the economic decline. Job cuts. But the job would never do that to you. You being it's most loyal, hardest worker ever.


You and the job go in for "counseling" (HR). It's just not working out. You're no longer what the job needs. The job is letting you go. It'll be bringing in an outside contractor to handle your responsibilities. Slut.


After being off the market for so long, you don't even know if you'll ever be able to get another job. It's only when daytime television becomes unbearable and you're out of Rocky Road icecream but you can't afford the gas in your car to go get more that you even make an attempt at another job.

Repeat job hunting process above.


(Ring-a-flippin'-ling). "We've reviewed your qualifications and would like to offer you the job. Your starting salary would be (enter worthy amount here)."


Maybe this job fits you perfectly. Maybe it doesn't. It's likely better than the last. And it sure beats unemployment. Look back over the process. You've learned so much, established lots of different relationships, and have experience to add to your growing resume. Take the job or don't, but whatever you end up with, make it the very best job you possibly can.


When you find your dream job, all this crap...totally worth it.




Friday, August 28, 2009

Braless

Bra shopping. Again. The girls need help. Both of the dresses I purchased on ebay will only work with the proper bra. I'm desperate.




When I went bra shopping with friend Teresa a few months back, I learned that I am a 32DD. It was hard enough to find 34DD's before I was enlightened about my true size. Now, it's just ridiculous.



A few ladies in my life have tried to console me by saying sweet, positive things like, "That sounds ideal...to have a little body and big boobs." Nice try. But wrong. It's awful.



Perhaps I wouldn't mind so much if I were properly balanced. I'm not. I have a short torso and narrow shoulders. If I were to wear a "regular" bra, I would look all boob from the waist up. Not acceptable.




2 years ago I found minimizer bras at Target in size 34DD on clearance (light from heaven, angels singing). They were ugly then and they're even uglier now, but they get the job done right. The only problem is the seams. I don't like visible seams on any undergarments, it limits what can be worn over, and I don't like limitations. So I search. And search. And search for the one bra that will hold 'em in, hold 'em up, and look smoooooth. Does it exist? Some say yes, but I have my doubts. I fear that I'm asking too much from a simple bra. Oh that the fabric wouldn't pull and oxfords would button properly!



You better believe that if these girls don't shrink after children (fingers crossed), that I'll be buyin' me some different ones. They'll be a sensible C and they will be beautifully perky.



Can you buy bras in cute colors and patterns with darling matching panties? Do your shirts button without gaping? If so, be ye grateful. Tis a luxury some will never experience.




Image found here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Knots and Wedges

Whoops! Missed a couple of days! I never had the intention of posting every weekday, it just kind of happened. Now I feel rather guilty when I miss a day or two.

I've been distracted. Now it's time to focus.

I am really looking forward to this weekend. Steve and I will be attending a much anticipated wedding on Saturday. Isn't it wonderful when two so-divinely-matched people tie the knot? I think so. Our friends Josh and Elissa are like that.

Steve will be playing the role of videographer and I will try to help in any way I can. It will be a casual, outdoor wedding with the reception in a classic, red barn....SO perfect. I will try to snap some good pictures for you.

I'm struggling with what I should wear for this glorious occasion. Steve and I like to match whenever possible so that's a whole other element to consider. A dress with flats or wedges would be the most appropriate. What about cowgirl boots? Comfort is key if I'm going to be helping with video, playing yard games, and dancing till the sun goes down. Golly, I can't wait.



Barnyard Wedding


Dresses from Modcloth. All items under $50.


I've never been to a wedding in a barn before but it sounds sooo very romantic to me. Tell me your thoughts. What would you wear if you were me?

Monday, August 24, 2009

I Won!

I just so happened to be the lucky winner of Fab Finds Under $50 Famous Footwear gift card giveaway! At the first possible opportunity, I high-tailed it to the closest FF to spend it!


Spotted these little red's online. Now all I need is a white and blue gingham dress and pretty alto vocal cords. The shoes received good reviews (that rhymed) so they were the first thing I looked for in-store (that sort of did too). I have a pair very similar but no matter what I try they give me lots of grief. I think these are a very worthy replacement. Wore them around the house a bit when I got home. No issues that I can tell. We'll see how they hold up at work...


And of course Famous Footwear was having a Buy One Get One 1/2 Off sale! In considering footwear needs for my upcoming cruise, I opted for these comfy little deck shoes. Might have to exchange for a smaller size, but I do believe they are keepers as well.


With the $25 giftcard and BOGO sale, I walked away with both pairs for less than $25! Bargain!

Friday, August 21, 2009

G2 Treasures, Part 2

Thursday


The dress! It's been cold and wet and nasty 'round these parts, but that didn't stop me from wearing this silky frock from Express. If I'd had a chance to dig through my winter wardrobe for some tights, I would've worn them instead of leggings. Yes, it's been that cold. I ended up wearing my jean jacket most of the day.





Since I don't have any amazing accessories to share with you, perhaps I should explain why I'm in this barn. We have family that live on the cutest little farm in Wisconsin. They invited us out for a most amazing meal last night. Of course we had to check out the new litter of kittens while we were there. I'm very allergic, but they were just too cute not to hold. So I guess the kitten is my accessory.


----------------------------------------------------------------

Friday

The cords! Good grief, people. I'm wearing corduroy in August. Another cold, rainy day. I thought I'd have to set aside these Gap Cords for at least another month, but here they are.


The tank top! Can't see much of this little stripey number from J. Crew, but I layered it over a white t-shirt. I think I like it.


There you have it, friends. I wore something from G2 every (work) day this week. Most everything else that I bought will have to be saved for the winter months.

I'm looking forward to a fun-filled, sun-shiney weekend! I hope you are too!

Giveaway!



Who can pass up funky accessories? Not me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

G2 Treasures, Part 1

Monday

The Dress! I actually have the same one in a different print. It's been my go-to comfy dress for a couple years, so when I spotted this one, I knew I would wear it a ton. And if I ever want to play twins with someone, Girly Muse has this dress - and maybe a few other friends do too, now that I think about it. Guess we all have good taste.


I did not find these shoes at G2, but had to get a close up because they deserve a little appreciation. I bought these when Banks (a designer discount store) was temporarily in town. If memory serves me right, I picked these up for less than $10. They go perfectly with my dress!



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Tuesday

Elaina's dress! Elaina's dress is from Arden B. and looks like it's never been worn. Fits her great and is perfect corporate attire!

My shirt! It's silk Kenneth Cole. Yes, it feels looooovely. I wore it a little differently for work with a tank underneath and a cardigan over...wasn't super happy with it. Then I went home and put this sheer, purple blouse under it and felt much better! Should have taken a close-up...


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Wednesday


The skirt! Ohhh...when I saw this I snatched it up so fast. I love everything about it. Super girly and good for twirling!


Yet another item I'm featuring just because it's fab. I didn't find this purse at G2. It came home with me from my Las Vegas trip earlier this year. I don't use it nearly enough.





More from G2 coming soon!



Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Instant Anticipation

There's something about the instant gratification of an in-store purchase.

The ability to assess the item in person. See the color. Touch the fabric.

There is the option to try the item on before handing over hard earned cash. The dress may be the right size. The shoe might be the perfect style and color. But nothing is certain until you try it on.

There is comfort in knowing the item can be easily returned should it somehow transform into something completely different upon entering your home.

These are all great reasons to shop in the box, that is, the physical store. However, there is a whole other shopping world out there, where comes a whole different set of fuzzy retail feelings. Shopping in cyber space.

Here's what we like about cyber shopping:

The ease and comfort. Don't have to drive anywhere. Don't have to park. Don't have walk. Don't have to share shopping space with anyone else. Don't have to wait in line. Don't have to wear a shirt or shoes or anything for that matter.

The anticipation. Go out to the mailbox everyday since that fateful click knowing it will take 5-7 business days regardless of how excited you are. Everyday it doesn't come is one day closer to the day it will arrive. When the mailbox finally produces the glorious package with your name on it, it's like a gift. A gift that you paid for. Oh well, it feels like Christmas morning none the less.


Here's what I'm learning. Shopping for nothing in particular is best done at the store. It's likely where the best deals are to be had. It's where you can be 99% sure that you really want to buy something, knowing that it is exactly what it is. The risk is low.


Shopping for a specific item can be a bit more time-consuming, a bit more frustrating if limited to the physical store. This is where online can be SO helpful. Plug what you want into a search engine and your options appear before you in seconds.


Browsing the interwebs for nothing in particular can produce fantastic results as well. Especially on resale or overstock websites such as Ebay or Amazon. But be careful. Shipping fees and return policies can put a damper on a purchase you didn't need in the first place. Make sure it's worth the risk.


I recently won 2 dresses on Ebay for minor pennies! I'm anxiously awaiting their arrival and hope they are as great on me as they are in pictures.






Please fit. Please fit. Please fit. Oh please, please, please.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pink on the Brain

There has been a lot of discussion going 'round about color. All the chatter has me thinking about my color preferences. What colors am I naturally drawn to? Which colors do I wear most? One color that I'm very drawn to yet own little of is pink. What happened to my pink stock? Hmm. I might have to do something about this. Now is the perfect time to wear pink. It's fresh, sweet, summery, and flirtatious to boot.


Click on the images below to get your fill of pretty, pink items at even prettier prices (less than $50!).

Pink

Did you know...


Pink is associated with gentleness, softness and calm. Those who choose pink as their favorite color are often calm and sensitive and care about others feelings. Pink lovers are also generally sympathetic and compassionate and dislike controversy of any kind.


Also...


Pink is the color of universal love. Pink is a quiet color. Lovers of beauty favor pink. Pink provides feelings of caring, tenderness, self-worth, love and acceptance.



Wear pink when you want to present yourself as a peaceful, calm person who is not threatening. The softer shades are very feminine and darker shades will alleviate feelings of friction.



Yes, yes. I love pink.


Source here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

G2

Saturday, BFF Elaina and I began our shopping adventure together with a lovely brunch at a local Finnish Bistro/Dunn Bros. near our Goodwill Outlet destination. As you can see, it was all sorts of yummy. This is actually one extremely large serving that we shared.


Then off to experience G2, as they call it. It was a large warehouse with several large tables, piled high with clothing. There were about 8-10 conveyor belts coming through wall. On each belt was maybe 10-12 bins full of merchandise. Through the spaces in the wall we could see the other side of the warehouse which must have been as big, if not bigger, than the shopping space. We detected enormous bins packed high with goods.



Upon arrival, we were rather confused. There were a lot of people there, but only a few appeared to be shopping. People stood with their carts alongside the walls of the large space. It looked like they were just hangin' out, waiting.


We weren't there long before we realized that new merchandise would roll out from the conveyor at regular intervals. If we'd been keeping track of time, we may have figured out how often this occurred so we could be among the first to pick. (Light bulb) This is what the people were waiting for.


For what it was, it was well-managed and orderly. There were unwritten 'rules' that Elaina and I were quickly made aware of:

Rule 1: No carts near the conveyor.
Rule 2: Standing room only on one side of the conveyor.
Rule 3: No touching until all the bins are out and signal to begin has been given.



Just when we thought we had dug through it all and it was time to tally the damage, yet another load would come out and the next round of claims would begin. It was addicting. 39 items, $25.16. and 3 hours later (that's just what I bought), we finally had to call it quits. Clothing is purchased by the pound, but if I were to break it down to cost per item, I spent roughly $0.65 per piece. I bought for my sis-in-law, nieces, friends, and myself, of course.


We were hot, sweaty, thirsty, stinky messes when it was all said and done, but golly it sure was a great trip.


Elaina's pile


My pile.




My dirty laundry pile. (The only thing not fun about thrifting!)




I'm very excited to share some of my grand purchases with you in the near future! I'm going to attempt to wear something from Goodwill Outlet everyday this week - I think I can do it!

Friday, August 14, 2009

If I Had Three Thumbs...

... they'd be up. Two will have to do.

See this movie. You won't be disappointed.


Goodwill

Everyone knows about Goodwill, right? If you've never been a Goodwill shopper, then perhaps you've been a donator. Or maybe you know of someone who has been helped by their non-profit services. If completely unfamiliar, you can find out what Goodwill is all about here. And while you're there, read a few inspiring success stories! Amazing!


"When you buy items in Goodwill retail stores and online at shopgoodwill.com, you're helping fund Goodwill services that prepare people for job success. More than 84 percent of Goodwill's total revenues are used to fund education, career services and other critical community programs."


Although I love thrift shopping and there are over 12 Goodwill stores throughout the Twin City area, I've been more of a Goodwill donator than a shopper. That may all change this weekend when I will explore Goodwill Outlet with a few girlfriends! The outlet is where items are sold...get this...by the pound!


I hear it's pretty dirty and I've been advised to wear gloves and bring lots of sanitizer. It can't be that bad, can it? No matter. I'll be prepared. I'm really looking forward to this thrifty adventure! With any luck, I'll be displaying my finds next week!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Giveaway!

Danielle of Fell 4 Fashion has teamed up with Etsy Shop ShopKim for a fabulous giveaway!

Click here to see how you could win 3 gorgeous rings!

Good luck!

Anchor's Away

My quest for nautical treasures landed me this darling trinket from Etsy Shop Amazing Collection 4 U. They have a grand selection of lockets, watches, pendants, charms and other lovely things. Their prices are outstanding, just be prepared to spend a bit extra on batteries if you purchase a watch. My local Batteries Plus shop had just what I needed to make this little guy tick for under $10.




Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Paycheck & Groceries

Steve and I joke about naming our future children "Paycheck" and "Groceries". I guess we have a mutually sick sense of humor like that. But really, wouldn't that be hilarious? Well, maybe not for the kids...


We've been asked on several occasions by newly-marrieds or soon-to-be-marrieds "How do you budget?"


That's cue for Steve and I to look at each other and say, "Budget? What's a budget?"


We are proud D.I.N.K.s (Double Income No Kids), and for now the "no budget" policy works for us. I acknowledge that it may not always be this way.


Because so much of our time is spent working, making money, we figure it would be wrong not to enjoy the fruits of our labor - at least a few grapes. Before any of our bills are paid, our paychecks are dispersed into separate accounts. Fun money for Steve. Fun money for Jill. The remaining goes to our joint account from which we pay bills, add to our mutual savings, and so on. We have no say over what one another spends their fun money on. If I want shoes, it's my money to spend. If Steve wants a new disc (for Disc Golf), he can buy it guilt-free. But once this money is gone, there is no dipping into our joint-account for more fun money, no matter how far away the next pay-period is.


We don't have individual funds for "groceries" or "gas" or "mortgage". We maintain our life as simply and frugally as possible. We live in a small space with a low mortgage payment, minimum cable, bag lunches, share a fuel-efficient car, turn the air/heat/lights off when we're not home, and watch for bargains on nearly everything. We do this because it all adds up to money we'd rather spend on fun than an inflated bill.


From my fun money account, I also have a separate savings account. A (very) small amount from my checking is transferred to savings on a monthly basis. It's surprising how fast it adds up. This money acts as a buffer in case I'm running low on fun money or if I want to save up for something big (usually a trip).


All that to say....


I made a semi-big purchase (entertainment-related) upon receiving my last allowance. So I haven't had any money to shop with for the past couple weeks. Surprisingly, I've been OK. I haven't even dipped into my buffer-money. It's caused me to re-evaluate where this money is going, why I'm constantly holding out for the next paycheck, when what I receive is certainly more than enough.


It's no easy thing to change spending habits. Mine have been gradually evolving since that credit card fiasco in my late teens. I was brought up to be frugal, but maybe missed the part about passing on things that are only so-so. The end result is a closet full of so-so things and an empty bank account.


What would happen if I were to save up for a pair of $250 shoes? And then not buy them. And what if this became my new spending habit? I'd be rich, that's what! Or, at least I'd feel rich. And then when I spot the most perfect thing, no matter what it is, I might actually be able to afford it. Whether it be $5 or $500.


I don't think this means that I should shop less. Oh contrar. I should shop more, buy less. And when I do buy, buy what I love, not just what might work. And buy better overall.





Photo here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Puffed Sleeves

"Oh, I am grateful," protested Anne. "But I'd be ever so much gratefuller if - if you'd made just one of them with puffed sleeves. Puffed sleeves are so fashionable now. It would give me such a thrill, Marilla, just to wear a dress with puffed sleeves."

- Anne Shirley
Anne of Green Gables


So what if she might have had to "turn sideways to get through the door", her puffed sleeves were magnificent. I absolutely share Anne's love of big sleeves and am thrilled that they're back in a big way this season. I find them to be the perfect feminine attribute to just about any garment. So flirty and fun.



Photos found here, here, here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blogger's Block

Well, you'd never know it, but I've been doing some writing for this blog. I have 5 half-written posts and several others that are whirling around in my brain. Isn't it frustrating when you can't finish a thought? Or a sentence for that matter? Grr.


I love a good creative challenge every now and then. So if there's a topic you'd like covered, or a trend you're interested in, by all means, drop me line. Let's work it out together.


In the meantime, here is what's currently on my shopping list. If you spot one of these in fabulous, affordable condition, please let me know.


1. Red Dress with White Polka Dots: I have a few vintage options bookmarked on Etsy, but nothing that screams "BUY ME NOW!". So I'm patiently waiting.


2. Yellow pumps. Closed or peep toe. Thick(er) heel (no stiletto).


3. Black pencil skirt. I have a high-waisted one that I like, but I've lost a little weight since I bought it and it's just not doin' it for me right now. (I'm not complaining).




These baby's are perfect, but at $249.95, far from affordable (tear).

Found here in case you're curious.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Giveaway!


Kimberly over at Fab Finds Under $50 is giving away a $25 gift card to Famous Footwear! Her blog is all sorts of fun! Check it out for a chance to win!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Detour

Sweet friend Lori so kindly asked me to write a guest post for her blog while she's away (I'm honored!). So hop on over there, but don't stop with Shopping Olympics. Read on. Girly Muse is so well-written, straight from the heart, and covers a multitude of topics. You'll love it! Enjoy!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Outfitting

Downtown St. Paul is a really lovely place for picture taking. I hired my husband to test the new camera out on me during our lunch break. This outfit is rather special to me because the dress....it was free. I picked this little number up at this clothes swap a while back and I happen to think it's just dandy.




When I spotted it in the pile, it needed a little work. I removed the original elastic tie that was the same as the dress fabric, and replaced it with this little maroon one. Looks much better.



The shoes were my very first purchase experience with Endless.com. I paid $40 regular price (gasp!), but they've earned their keep. I had to replace the liner within the first year, they got so much use. Even at 4 1/2 inches, they serve me all day with little or no discomfort. Whoever thought of platform soles is my hero!



Dress: Bisou Bisou, Free!
Cami: TJ Maxx, $6
Shoes: Madden Girl, $40

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pink Presents, Part 2

My mother is an infamous DIYer, so this is a most appropriate birthday gift from her. I'm in love with my new, pink tools. Conveniently enough, she also bought me a darling, baby blue tool box a few years ago. My tools and toolbox are very cute and happy together. I'm going to feel oh-so-lady-like using these sweet things.


I'm sure there are numerous hardware retailers that carry pink tools. Mine are from Menards. You can also find similar varieties online at Little Pink Tools, Tomboy Tools and Ladies Tools Online.

Excuse me. I need to go fix something.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Pink Presents, Part 1

Old, dumb camera:



New, fab, pink camera:

If you missed out on my camera woes, please read here. Although I knew I'd be receiving a new camera before our upcoming vacation, I was still surprised when I received this awesome pink one for my birthday. What an upgrade! Thank you sweet husband, you're the very bestest!


I'm bound and determined to learn how to use this baby to it's utmost potential. Expect better visuals on this here blog henceforth.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Blog Lust

Ever since I laid eyes on these lovely images of from Elinkan via Blooming Leopald, I couldn't stop thinking about them. I'm smitten with this style and desperate for a pair of polka dot tights as crazy-wonderful as these are.

It was the black that stopped me in my tracks.


And if ever I'd try white tights, these would be it.


I think Elinkan holds the key to my ideal personal style. Perhaps it's the Swede in me.

Stay tuned for exciting weekend updates!