Friday, April 29, 2011

FBFF: Fitness and Fashion

Have you been seeing the Friend Friday posts but aren't quite sure what they're about? Click here to read all about it and here to meet Katy, the creator!

1. Do you keep some kind of fitness routine? Why?
I do. I typically use DVD workouts by The Firm in the mornings Monday - Friday. Since I have to be at work by 7:30AM, I wake up at 4:30AM to make sure I can exercise, shower and take blog photos all before leaving the house. And why? Because exercise relieves stress, helps regulate metabolism so I don't have to watch my food *quite* as much, tones muscles, keeps my heart healthy and generally makes me feel better.

2. Has working out, maybe training for a marathon or something of that nature, helped with your own perception of body image?
That's an interesting question. I don't think working out has helped my perception of body image as much as style blogging has. Working out does make me feel like I'm being more productive and taking better care of myself than if I didn't exercise, but seeing how so many women (and men) of such varying shapes and sizes are able to dress their different body types and still ALL look fantastic has helped my perception of body image to change.

3. When you are hitting the gym or just going out for a long walk what do you wear? Is it about functionality or fashion?
Considering that I don't do the gym and instead work out in the privacy of my own home, it's all about functionality for me. Although I must admit, I do try to make sure my colors coordinate just for my own peace of mind. :) My standard workout uniform is exercise pants or capris and a sports bra.

4. Do you feel there is a cultural perception of what you ‘should’ be doing for your own physical fitness?
Yes and no. It seems like most people consider a gym membership to be the gold standard for someone who is serious about exercising. However, I can't drag myself to the car to get to the gym, nor can I justify spending a monthly fee for a membership (even $10). There also seems to be the idea that you should jump on the bandwagon of whatever trend is happening (zumba, anyone?). I think it also depends on your circle of friends. I have a lot of friends who train for marathons so I feel like maybe I should be running too (side note: I hate running. Nor can I see myself doing that at 4:30AM by myself when it's pitch black outside. Nope.).

5. Dream big… what would be your ultimate fitness goal?
Honestly, just to find something that I enjoy doing so much that I look forward to it. Take my ex-husband, for example. (If you haven't checked out his blog yet, you should! Click here!) He's had lifelong struggles with his weight and trying to be healthy; he's done every single fad diet you can think of (including Transformations). It's always been easy for him to lose weight, but difficult for him to maintain the program. Now though, he's made the conscious decision to find foods he enjoys preparing as well as eating, along with activities that he has fun doing either by himself or with friends (typically long bike rides, like 20+ miles, and training for different events like the Warrior Dash). My ultimate fitness goal is to be more like him. He has been dedicated, motivated and motivational. He's had fun and enjoyed time with friends. He feels better and has lost a lot of weight. I want to be like that, rather than feeling like I *have* to wake up and work out, or I *can't* have that cookie. I want to be comfortable with what I'm doing, I want to enjoy it and I want to be motivating and encouraging to everyone around me like he has been. That's my goal.

So tell me friends: what do YOU do for fitness and health in general?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Daily MelWear: Special Days

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you may have seen my tweet regarding my boss yesterday. She drove herself to the ER because she was having "chest cramps." She's still in the hospital and will have a heart cath today (just to be safe), but everyone is of the opinion that it's not her heart and more likely just stress. That's a relief!

Thursdays are jeans days at work, which also means that we're allowed to wear cropped pants as long as they're no higher than the ankle. My first attempt was with my white skinny ankle pants (as evidenced in the shoe shot below) but seriously, I'm SO glad that wide-legged pants are coming back because skinnies just are NOT a good look on me. At all. So I changed into jeans.

By the way, these sandals? From the GIRLS' shoe department at Target. I can fit into a size 5 girls' shoe. Yay for cheaper shoes!!! They were on sale for $12 so I bought these along with the tan ones.

This top is another from my aunt. It's sheer so I layered a pink tank underneath and added the necklace for an extra pop. I don't normally dress this casually at work but I'm going to lunch with my birthday buddy today (we share the same birthday so our annual tradition is to have lunch together each year to celebrate!) and wanted to be a bit more relaxed.

Hope you are all having a great day and for those of you in the midst of all the storms, I'm praying that all of you, your family and friends, are able to stay safe and sound.

Today's outfit:
Jeans: Kohl's
Top: From my aunt
Pink Tank: Charlotte Russe
White Sandals: Target
Pink Necklace: Wal-Mart

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Daily MelWear: Blue and Gray

Blue and gray are just the outfit colors, they're not how I'm feeling today. :)

Although I am fairly exhausted, regardless of the fact that I forgot to set my alarm last night so I woke up an hour and a half late and didn't have time to work out or eat breakfast. Oops. Yay for extra sleep?

This is an outfit I've had in the back of my mind for a while and since I hadn't picked anything out for today, this worked for a rushed morning. Easy outfits make me happy.

This dress is one of four that I have in different colors: gray (obviously), lilac, brown and black. My spring/summer weekend uniform is typically one of these dresses to wear around the house, and then if I leave for any reason I throw on a belt, sandals, some jewelry and I'm good to go! Oh how I adore these dresses.

Today is Administrative Professional's Day! If you supervise admins, leave a comment and tell me what you're doing (or did) to express your appreciation. If you're an administrative professional, tell me what your boss is doing (or did) for you!

Have a great day, everyone!

Today's outfit:
Gray Dress: Ross
Blue Shirt: Ross
White Belt: Wal-Mart
Gray Heels: Payless

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Daily MelWear: Khaki and Red

Hi friends!

I don't have a whole lotta time today, so I just wanted to stop in real quick and say hello. We have our board meeting tonight using the brand new system for the first time, so we're busy converting projects and reassigning and building the agenda and all sorts of fun things.

By the way, I have NO idea what's up with the fuzzy effect on the top of the photos. Does my camera lens need to be cleaned already or something?

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Today's outfit:
Khaki Skirt Suit: Ross
Red Shirt: Target
Red Heels: From my mom
Black Belt: Can't remember

Monday, April 25, 2011

Proper Professional: Design. Refine. Be. Mine.

The Proper Professional feature was birthed out my desire to spread the blogging love while also gaining some insight into professional and business attire in various situations. My goal is to feature bloggers from all different professions, whether stay-at-home moms, mega-corporation executive assistants, work-from-home employees, small office staff, business owners or more, to view different perspectives and opinions on what is appropriate, acceptable, and professional. Hopefully you'll be inspired and introduced to some great new blogs, too!

Today's feature is Rachel of Design. Refine. Be. Mine

Tell us a little about yourself and your blog.
Hi guys, I'm a thirty something working mom. I love fashion but by no means feel I'm on the fashion forefront. I love to make things so I make a fair amount of the things I wear. I tend to stick to classic silhouettes and neutral colors. 
How did you come up with your blog name?
Well, my blog name is Be. Mine but it's full name is Design. Refine. Be. Mine. So how did this little name come about...I am a designer and feel most things need to be designed whether it's an outfit, your hair or a room. To go at something without a design intent usually ends up looking like it was thrown together. (Picture clothes flying around a room, some land on you, throw them on, out the door you go, hence thrown together). Refine, is what I try to get in the finish...something worked and refined and that truly works in the end. It doesn't always happen but the fashion thing is still a work in progress for me. And lastly, BE. MINE. is just a cute little ending that rhymes.  

Do you work from home (a stay-at-home-mom IS an occupation too!) or outside the home, and what do you do?
I'm an Interior Designer for Architectural and Engineering Firm. 

Do you have a dress code by which you need to abide (either corporate or self-imposed)? If so, what is it and how do your co-workers (if applicable) approach the dress code?
There is a dress code, I’m sure, but I have no idea what it says. Most of the people in my office wear suits and slacks and that type of thing. I try to stick somewhere near that line of professionalism. Part of the question was how do your coworkers dress. Well, that’s an interesting thing in my office. The younger ones dress down more than the older ones. My thought is you dress for the job you want, not the job you have. I feel like the more you look like a put together person the more your boss is going to want to put you in front of the client because you make a good impression on them. 
Do you choose your outfits in advance or in the morning, and how long does it take you to get ready in the mornings?
I always plan outfits. Most of the time I have them laid out before the week starts. I usually draw them in a spare minute here and there. I can get ready in 30 minutes to an hour. It depends on if I have to wash my hair or not. 
If you were commissioned to rewrite the dress code, what would you change (if anything)?
I wouldn't change anything. I'm pretty happy with what I can wear to work.

Do you think companies should take into account the potential cost for certain dress codes to be achieved and if so, should they be concerned about the cost being equal for both men and women?
No, there are just certain costs to having a job. I think it’s to everyone’s benefit to look the best that they can in the price range they can afford. There are lots of ways to look good on a budget. If you’ve done Kendi’s 30 x 30 you know that looking good can be done with not a ton of clothes. In my opinion, looks can get you far in your job. I think without the look you may get passed up without consideration for lots of potential jobs.
What is your definition of professional attire and would this vary if the business is a small business compared to a larger corporation?
I think looking professional changes according to your job but no matter what the office you should have slacks, pencil skirts and heels or fancy flats and all in nice fabrics. But you know, if you work at home then that is out the window. So it just depends on your job… I have to say if I worked for a small business I’d dress the same. I want to look like a professional and put my best foot forward no matter what level of the working work I’m in. I just think it’ll get you further in your career.
What are some pieces that every woman should have available in their professional arsenal?
A pencil skirt. They look great on almost everyone. They're sleek, polished and versatile.

What pieces are never professionally appropriate regardless of the situation?
I'm going with clear heels. Hopefully, you know what I mean. {Um, *unfortunately* I know what you mean!}
Describe an outfit you'd wear in each of the following settings (feel free to include a picture for any/all of them if you have photos!): 1. A typical day at work. 2. A formal business meeting. 3. An informal meeting with co-workers. 4. A business dinner with co-workers and superiors.
1. Skirt, blouse, jewelry and heels. 
2. Jacket, blouse, slacks, heels, jewelry. 
3. Skirt, blouse, jewelry and heels. 
4. Skirt, blouse, jewelry and heel. Maybe a jacket and possibly denim trouser pants instead of skirt. It’s off hours after all. 
Big thanks to Rachel for sharing her point of view with us today! If you haven't checked out her blog yet, click here to take a look!

If you'd like to be featured here (or if there is another blogger that you'd like to see featured and get their perspective), go NOW to your email and send me a message at aworkingmomscloset at!

Have a great Monday, everyone! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Daily MelWear: For Evaluation

You know those blogs where the writer seems to wear an entirely new outfit every single day and never wears anything twice?

This isn't that blog. :) The skirt and top are both pieces that I bought pre-weightloss and I had them altered after I hit my goal weight.

I've worn pretty much this same outfit (with a few very little differences) before but it's been long enough that I can't remember when it was, so I'm guessing (and um, hoping) that you can't either. If you do remember, pretend you don't. :)

My annual evaluation is scheduled for this afternoon and I figured this was a simple enough outfit that will hopefully please my boss. I guess we'll find out later! If you're so inclined to pray, it will be at 2PM. So start now.


Oh, and guess what? I'm one of several bloggers featured on Colleen's blog! Go check it out!

Hope you're all having a great week!

Today's outfit:
Black Skirt: Kohl's
Top (actually one piece): Um...I can't remember now
Red Sandals: Payless
Red Belt: Salvation Army

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Daily MelWear: Spring Polka

Well HI!!! I feel like I haven't posted a Daily MelWear in forever. It hasn't even been a week but it feels longer for some reason.

Did you all enjoy Monday's Proper Professional feature with Sara of Destrahan's Daughter? And then yesterday...oh yesterday...that was a BUSY day (hence the scheduled post with my story!). We got to the office at 6AM, drove over to the conference center for our annual spring conference and I left work around 6PM. It was a LONG day, but we stayed busy and I really enjoyed listening to and socializing with our speakers. If anyone's interested, I wore a black pinstriped skirt suit with a teal blouse and a purple belt. Sorry I didn't take a picture. Maybe I'll wear it again soon. :)

I have no idea what's in store for us today. Our data is still in the process of being converted to the new system so we don't have any of our regular submissions to work on, but I'm going to have some paperwork to complete to process the CEUs offered to some people for attending the conference yesterday. This is still a "new" job to me and this was my first conference, so I really don't know what our recap workload will be.

Tomorrow is my co-worker M.'s birthday so we might go to lunch today or tomorrow. Yay! annual evaluation is tomorrow afternoon. Thankfully my boss did tell me this morning that my outfit is nice so hopefully that combined with the past two days' worth of suits will keep any attire discussions to a minimum. We shall see!

Oh, by the way...yes, I know the blog still looks wonky. Photobucket says they've fixed all but .001% of their accounts and apparently Nelah's account is in that unlucky percentage of still messed up. Poor Nelah. She's had some other computer troubles but will work on fixing up the design as soon as possible.

So how's everyone doing? Obviously I haven't been able to visit or comment on blogs lately and I'm sorry. I miss you guys!

Today's outfit:
White Skirt: Part of a suit from my aunt
Pink Blouse: Dots
Turquoise Polka Dot Cardigan: Forever 21
Pink Belt: Charlotte Russe
Shoes: Target
Ring: Stein Mart (um...I think...)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Story

A few weeks ago, I mentioned being on my way to record a video testimonial for Medi Weight-Loss Clinics. I also promised to one day share my story with you!

Since today is our annual Spring Conference and I had to be at work by 6AM, I figured it was a good day to schedule this since I won't have time to do my normal Daily MelWear post.

This is going to be a photo heavy post! Just fair warning. :)

So, once upon a time there lived a girl who was kind of chunky in high school. {Considering that was before the age of digital photos, I don't really have any to share. Sorry about that. Man I feel old now.} Once in college, I started exercising and learned how to control my portions better, and eventually got down to a comfortable weight somewhere between the ages of 20-25. It kind of happened without me paying too much attention; I just exercised regularly, ate whatever I wanted but made sure it was within reason and when I was full, I stopped. If I didn't really feel like having more candy or another cookie, I didn't. One day I found myself wearing a size 5 pair of pants and it felt AWESOME. 
This was at my 25th birthday party.

Then when I was 26, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter! I was SO very excited. My husband and I had bought our first home several months prior, I was working in a new job with good friends and I felt like the time was right. 

15 weeks pregnant
And then...the relationship with those "good friends" took a turn for the worse. I ended up quitting my job when I was about 8 weeks pregnant. Here I was, an hour away from my family (I'm used to living 10 minutes from my parents), pregnant with my first child, no job, the mortgage was hanging over our heads, and a very, very important relationship with these friends was gone. I started to skip my workouts and began to eat whatever I wanted. I didn't really have any crazy cravings but started to REALLY like Peanut Butter Crunch cereal. For breakfast, lunch and dinner. Heh. 

I really thought when I first got pregnant that I would be one of those cute little pregnant chicks (um, see that photo of me when I was 15 weeks along? I started out so well...). With the way I was eating and not exercising though, I ended up gaining 50 pounds and was not at ALL cute by the time I was just about full term. 

By the time my daughter was born, I had a new/old job (that's a discussion for another day!) that I LOVED, the relationship with our "friends" was back on speaking terms (sort of) and when my doctor told me that I could go about my merry way again, I picked right back up into my exercise routine. I lost 20 pounds by the time she was 8 weeks old...and then promptly gained 10 of those pounds right back again.

I worked out every day before work. I tried to go back to eating my Lean Cuisines for lunch. I tried to watch what I was eating and avoid sweets and all that good stuff. NOTHING worked. I was SO frustrated! I would weigh myself every week and it never budged. If it went anywhere at all, it was UP. And no, I wasn't gaining muscle and losing fat because my clothes were either just as tight or getting tighter. 

This was about 18 months after giving birth, I think.

At a complete loss for what else to do, I ended up having a sleep study done because I knew that productive sleep can help to process the body's exercise effectively as well as regulate body weight, appetite, etc., and I felt like I wasn't sleeping well. But no, apparently there was nothing wrong with my sleep. So then I decided to have a complete physical done, blood work, the whole she-bang to make sure my thyroid was functioning, my vitamin levels were correct, etc. And THAT doctor said, "Well, apparently you're completely healthy and there's no medical reason for you to not lose weight. But hey, we're starting a new $1500 weight loss program, would you like more information?" But thanks.

And that, my friends, is when I saw it. IT. I followed a blog called Moms At Work which was written by moms at our local newspaper. They posted about a contest hosted by the paper called the Moms Get Fit Giveaway. The first leg of the contest was to submit your photo along with your story. Here's the photo that I submitted:

I think this was about two years after my daughter was born.
The second part of the contest was to get as many votes as possible! I don't think they displayed how many votes each person had, but I had so many friends rallying around me (Heather, Charisse, Leanna, Pat, to name a few), voting for me every day, Tweeting on my behalf, posting on Facebook about it, that I'm pretty sure I got a good amount of votes. The last portion of the contest was a final vote by a panel of judges. 

I remember getting an email from someone at the paper telling me that I was one of the three winners. Before I spoke with him on the phone, I honestly thought he was going to tell me that they'd made a mistake and contacted the wrong person. But NOPE! I WON!!! 

Here is everything I brought home after meeting the other two spectacular ladies who won: a Go Fit Ultimate Pro Gym, a Gaiam Total Body Balance Ball Kit (which, amusingly enough, comes with a resistance band for someone of "medium" height...which according to the box is 5'6" - 5'11".  I don't think I would even be as tall as the smallest height.), a Natural Fitness Balance Disc, a $500 gift card to the Reebok outlet, a certificate for a mani/pedi (to have done right away), facial and massage (redeemable about a month into our journey), and haircut/style/highlights/make-up lesson (redeemable towards the end of the journey) at Aveda Gary Lambert Salon and Spa, a certificate for 20 free personal training sessions with Taylor's Fitness Club, and a certificate for a three-month program with Medi-Weightloss Clinics.


At my very first session with James, the trainer, I honestly thought I might die. I thought he was trying to kill me. However, by the end of my 20 sessions I realized that weight-lifting = GOOD and I really began to love certain things about myself (like my biceps!). James was a constant source of motivation and encouragement, not just for me but for the other two women who won the contest as well. He was fantastic and I wish I could afford to continue training with him, but as a single mom it's just not in the budget. 

Now with Medi...oh, I was terrified of Medi. I had a feeling it was going to involve shots like Transformations. And...yes, yes it does. Two of them, twice weekly in fact! I will say that they didn't really hurt all that much and I got to the point where I wasn't fazed by them at all. This is coming from someone who almost didn't want to get pregnant in the first place because I'm so afraid of needles and I knew I'd be poked and prodded during pregnancy and labor! I'm still not a huge fan of them, hate blood work, but the injections at Medi don't bother me at all.

The Medi meal plan was tough. The very first week, when you are trying to kick your body into ketosis, consists of 500 calories per day, ALL from protein. 

I'm a VEGETARIAN. You want me to eat WHAT?

I tried, oh how I tried, to eat some egg whites and some chicken breast. I couldn't handle it. I kept 'em down, but I couldn't do it again. That week was really rough but I discovered that I do like the Morningstar Farms products (the fake chicken ones...I still can't eat the fake beef/hamburger products, they look and taste too real and I don't like 'em), I do like certain brands of veggie hot dogs. Because I'm a vegetarian, they told me that I could have two protein shakes a day instead of just one, which helped. For my first shake, I would mix it with brewed coffee instead of water, that way I could still have my morning coffee without messing with creamer AND I was having my protein shake too. During my 30 minute lunch, I'd walk on the treadmill at work and then drink a second shake at my desk. 

After that first week, I was allowed to begin incorporating low carb yogurt, string cheese, cottage cheese, a cup of veggies and some fruits into my diet. Thankfully the yogurt, string cheese and cottage cheese were considered proteins so I could count them towards my 500 calories! That left me with just a cup of veggies and a cup of fruit per day outside of my 500 protein calories. 

Appetite suppressants were my friends. Yes they were.

So, let's recap: Medi had me on a 500 protein calorie diet (with LOTS of supplements and vitamins and weekly visits with an MD to check everything and make sure I was healthy, so don't panic), plus I was walking during my lunch break 4 days per week, plus I was lifting weights with a trainer twice a week. 

Finally, FINALLY, the weight was coming off!!! 

Oh, and the bad part? This started RIGHT before Halloween. So this 500 calorie diet thing where I had to make SURE I stayed in ketosis the whole time (and trust me, having one little hershey kiss could kick you right out of ketosis for DAYS, it's not worth it) went from Halloween (oh, the candy I missed), through Thanksgiving (no pumpkin pie for me!) AND through Christmas and New Year's! 

Did I mention I was a little angry at times? I may not have been the most pleasant person to be around. I dunno, ask my ex-husband. He was around me pretty often. But hey, we're still friends so I guess I wasn't too bad. :) 

I reached my goal weight in February of 2010, so I've kept it off all on my own for about a year now. I still struggle sometimes, I still would like to lose more of my "mommy tummy", I'd like to drop another dress size or two (or three...) but I'm COMFORTABLE with where I am right now. I'm healthy. I exercise 5 days a week, I watch my portions, I allow myself to splurge (probably more than I should) and I'm hopefully a better example for my daughter. 

A few months ago, someone from Medi emailed me to ask for a short little bio of my history with Medi that they may want to use in future promotional material. A little while after that, another email came in asking if I'd be interested in shooting a testimonial video. I'm so incredibly grateful to the staff at Medi for helping me get where I am today so of course I jumped at the chance to help with any kind of promotion. 

Here are some pictures from our day (my mom took some of these, she and my daughter came with me because the shoot happened to be in the same city where my brother and his family live, so we met my sister-in-law and nephew for lunch before my appointment).
Airbrushing the make-up on
My daughter saw her putting blush on and announced that she could put blush on me too. The girl let her do it and said she actually did a pretty good job! That's my girl!

For some reason, she wanted to add some curl to my hair. It looked nice and actually stayed in pretty well!

The outfit they chose for me to wear, I think because the color looked good on camera. It was my LEAST favorite of the ones I'd brought. Apparently it shrunk in the wash and was too tight and too short and I was so severely uncomfortable in it the entire time!

Checking the microphone.

And that's my story! You've seen all of my recent "after" shots (heh) so I don't really need to add any of those to this post. 

I just want everyone, whether you've had children or not, to know that I understand what it's like to struggle with weight. I know what it feels like to want to hide behind everyone else in photos or to not be in any photos at all (it was tough finding some "before" shots because I didn't want to take any pictures back then). It's tough to change habits, to deny yourself comfort foods, to create a new habit of exercising or drinking more water or eating more fruits and vegetables. But I can vouch for the fact that you will feel a THOUSAND times better, happier and more energetic, when you're treating yourself well. 

And if we don't treat ourselves well, who will? Who will teach our children to treat themselves well if we don't show them how?

If you got through this entire post, CONGRATULATIONS! I wish I had some fabulous prize to give you, but I've got nothin'. Other than gratefulness, but I'm pretty sure you'd rather have a necklace or something. :) 

I hope this has been inspiring and encouraging to some (if not all!) of you. Please know that I'm always available for support and to answer any questions so if there's anything I can do to help, let me know! My email is always open at aworkingmomscloset at 

Have a GREAT day, everyone! I plan to be back tomorrow with regular outfit posts!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Proper Professional: Destrahan's Daughter

The Proper Professional feature was birthed out my desire to spread the blogging love while also gaining some insight into professional and business attire in various situations. My goal is to feature bloggers from all different professions, whether stay-at-home moms, mega-corporation executive assistants, work-from-home employees, small office staff, business owners or more, to view different perspectives and opinions on what is appropriate, acceptable, and professional. Hopefully you'll be inspired and introduced to some great new blogs, too!

Today's feature is Sarah of Destrahan's Daughter

Tell us a little about yourself and your blog. 
I have really enjoyed expressing myself through my clothing ever since I figured out what I really liked in high school.  It was more grunge meets goth back then, probably because I spent way too many years in school uniforms before that.  Really great style was something I did when I had time or somewhere specific to be in college and then entering the work force.  But, after finding style and fashion blogs online, I decided I wanted to challenge myself to look good and then feel good on a more regular basis.  I usually take pictures of myself to document what works and what doesn't at least 4 to 6 times a week.  I have been able to meet some great like-minded people, document a 30 pound weight loss and feel more comfortable and professional in my job.  I also think that I am more willing to take risks now and the flops and rewards that come with them.

How did you come up with your blog name?
I used to be a tour guide at Destrehan Plantation and it's the city where I went to high school and where my parents still live. I thought the town name combined well with Daughter and here we are.
Do you work from home or outside the home, and what do you do?
I work as a educational media producer at a university in the South. I create videos that include company profiles, business documentaries, and lecture series. I also maintain and train professors how to use our web based learning system and help out to maintain the media in our classrooms. 
Do you have a dress code by which you need to abide (either corporate or self-imposed)? If so, what is it and how do your co-workers (if applicable) approach the dress code?
If the university has a dress code, I wouldn't begin to know what it is.  When I first started, I asked my co-workers what they usually wore, but I mostly work with men.  They were in jeans and polos, which just isn't my style.  I also think it's difficult to transition jeans and polos on women into looking as professional and put together as on men.  I sort of wore what I thought was business casual appropriate when I first started.  I generally wore jeans with blouses or sweaters and then dress pants and the occasional dress or skirt.  I came from a shorts and t-shirts environment before that so I had a hard time adjusting.  Finally, after being mistaken for a student several times by faculty and staff and seeing some women wearing suits, I decided to up my game.  Now, I only wear jeans on Mondays (when I might get dirty from equipment) and Fridays, which is pretty common amongst my co-workers.  The rest of the week, I try to wear things that are comfortable, that I can move equipment and walk long distances in, and that project a sense of authority.  I try to stick with knee length skirts, no shorts, dress slacks, and no t-shirts if possible.  I do wear sleeveless and some lower cut shirts but nothing you could ever see down.  It's hot in the South so too much fabric makes me gross. {Amen to that! I feel your pain!}

Do you choose your outfits in advance or in the morning, and how long does it take you to get ready in the mornings?
I don't usually choose my outfits in advance although I get ready faster when I do. Most mornings a shower, dressing, and running out the door take me about 30 to 45 minutes.
If you were commissioned to rewrite the dress code, what would you change (if anything)?
I might try to create a specific idea of what is appropriate when at university events. We have an annual crawfish boil, for example, where it's common for staff to wear really casual clothing. But, when we work for events or have lecture series, some people wear jeans and others wear suits. I would appreciate some guidelines but I don't want to be limited to no open toe shoes or sleeveless shirts (things like that). {Heh. Welcome to my world.}
Do you think companies should take into account the potential cost for certain dress codes to be achieved and if so, should they be concerned about the cost being equal for both men and women?
I think it's extremely important because if someone is expected to wear a suit they shouldn't be making minimum wage. I also think it's unfair to include clauses about women having to wear stockings or makeup because they add cost and no such requests would ever be made of men. {Ooooh, I should totally bring that up! Good point!}
What is your definition of professional attire and would this vary if the business is a small business compared to a larger corporation?
I define professional attire as no t-shirts, no shorts, no tank tops, etc.  I would say nothing you would wear to the beach or for an extremely casual gathering.  I think starting with khaki pants and a blouse is the most casual I would qualify as business attire. They can't be cargo pants either!  I don't really differentiate between small business and large corporations; more I demarcate between types of business.  A financial company with under 20 employees might still require suits where a large 200+ person company that does something with design or technology might be fine with people wearing slacks and tanks to work.  I think it is more about the situation and how much your appearance will affect the company's image.

What are some pieces that every woman should have available in their professional arsenal?
I think every woman needs a great pair of black pants, a professional knee length skirt, a white button up, a great blazer, a little black or grey dress, and a comfortable pair of dress shoes that goes with all of them. These pieces are easy to remix with each other and other items that are more personal to the wearer. I think the shoes are the key here because comfort with different types of looks is so paramount. I personally would recommend a kitten heel in a neutral color.
What pieces are never professionally appropriate regardless of the situation?
I don't think that clothing that is stained, ripped, or beach worthy are office appropriate. I have worked places where shorts and flip flops were fine but I still needed to be well kempt. Bathing suits and sarongs just don't ever belong in the office unless you are shooting a beach catalog as a model. I also object to club wear. If you would wear your entire outfit to a club without modification, you probably are doing something wrong for the office.
Describe an outfit you'd wear in each of the following settings: 1. A typical day at work. 2. A formal business meeting. 3. An informal meeting with co-workers. 4. A business dinner with co-workers and superiors.
1. A knee length skirt with a sleeveless blouse and a button up sweater with casual sandals.
2. A blazer, a patterned blouse and skirt or a dress with heels. 
3. Same as 1 or jeans with a nice blouse and sweater or blazer.
4. A dress with a sweater or blazer and heels. 
I am pretty stock when it comes to the items I rely on heavily within my wardrobe. I like to mix unique tops and/or sweaters with standard pencil skirts and blazers. I think that makes me feel professional but like myself.
Are there any questions you wish I'd asked or is there anything else you'd like to mention regarding this topic?
I think the biggest thing to take into consideration when getting dressed for work is comfort and function. You need to be able to perform the tasks of your job but you also need to feel professional and confident but like yourself.
Big thanks to Sarah for participating in this week's feature! If you haven't been to her blog yet, go check out Destrahan's Daughter!

Friday, April 15, 2011

FBFF: Gratitude

This marks the one year anniversary of Fashion Beauty Friend Friday (otherwise known as FBFF)!!! Congratulations and a BIG thank you to Katy of Modly Chic for brainstorming this idea in the first place, not to mention the care she's taken over the year to provide interesting and thought-provoking topics and to grow the group of participants. Katy, you're doing a great job! Keep doing what you do!

To mark this anniversary, the questions this week are about gratitude.

1.  When it comes to me personally – I owe a lot of who I am to:
Five people: my parents, who started me off on the right foot (and keep me there!), my former boss  when I worked as the administrative assistant in the music ministry at the church (he and his wife both had much more of an impact on me and who I am NOW {not THEN} than they know!), and my daughter. Everything changed when I had my daughter. She's made me happier, sillier and more germaphobic than I ever thought possible. :) Last but not least is my ex-husband, who is still my very best friend. We got married when I was only 20, and they say that it's during your 20's that you grow up and become a different person. I did that while we were married and although he was only five years older than me, he walked with me through so many things during that time. My parents are an obvious answer to this question but as for my boss, he taught me a lot about how to relate to people, how to love people. One thing he would say all the time is to seek first to understand before being understood (I know it's cliche, but the man LIVES it and that's why it sticks). Another thing he would say all the time is that everyone has a story, everyone has a reason for being who they are, whether it's a nice person or not, and those who are not need a reason to be and we should help give them a reason to be, not give them a reason to continue being unhappy.

2. When it comes to me professionally – I owe a lot of who I am to:
I would have to say two of my bosses, my boss from my very first office job and then again, my boss from the church. My first boss taught me a lot about working in a professional environment to begin with, working with clients, taking responsibility. I was there for several years and although it was my first office job, by the time I left I was the office supervisor for both of the companies they owned.  My boss from the church taught me how to respect those in authority. Granted, I have always been a goody-goody, never got in trouble, was always afraid of disappointing my parents and therefore showed respect to teachers and authority figures. But my boss didn't just show respect, he actually DID respect the voices of authority. He taught me how to be a team player, how to work harder for the benefit of the team, and how to have FUN every single day. I can't even begin to express how much I miss working for him and how I wish I could work for him again. He doesn't even work for that same church anymore and I know it will probably never, ever happen for me to work with him again, but I was never happier than when he was my boss. I miss those days more than I can express. Let's move on before I start to cry...

3. When it comes to the art of blogging, I’m grateful to these people for helping me through some rough spots:
First and foremost is Kimberly of Fashion Momma! She and I clicked instantly when we first started reading each other's blogs and became fast friends because we have so much in common. She has been a wealth of information for me when I've had blogging questions, not to mention the personal support she's been to me throughout my separation and divorce, job change, moving into my parents' house and lots of other things.

Another is ML of Twenty York Street, for the support and kindness she's shown me through several different situations. She's given me so much love and been so generous and thoughtful!

One more is Hope of Hope and the Dress Code for partnering with me in Fabulous In February: A Month of Positivity!

4. One blogging challenge I’m grateful happened because it made me stronger was…
Hm...I'd have to say, honestly, the FBFF Awards that were planned a few months back. I really enjoyed reading everyone's posts and seeing who was nominated, I was in full support of them as a whole but I felt like it wasn't something I personally could do. I blogged about my reasons and since then lost one person that I thought I was close to; they just stopped commenting on my posts and haven't really gotten in touch with me at all. It makes me sad that a difference of opinion being expressed could have that effect, but it makes me go back to what my boss said, everyone has a story. To each his (or her!) own and since this is MY blog, all I can do is be myself and hope for the best. I hope people like me but I've realized that it's not always possible and I have to learn to accept that.

5. To my readers, I’d like to say…
You guys are AWESOME!!! You have NO idea how wonderful each and every one of you are! You are all filled with so much goodness, kindness, inspiration, advice and support. I've become a better person and I hope, a better blogger, because of YOU. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading, for caring, for commenting. You mean so very much to me!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Daily MelWear: Gray, Pink, Yellow

Today is my "Friday"! My daughter gets so excited when she hears anyone talking about Fridays because that means I get to stay with her, since I work four day work weeks. I love *real* Fridays with my girl!

Okay so I like this outfit in theory...but something got lost in the execution of it, maybe it's the cowl neck in the blouse or the sleeves or I don't know. My original thought was to wear the yellow ribbon belt that came with the blouse, then at the last minute I thought of my pink belt and decided that would be more fun.

Usually we get to wear jeans on Thursdays and be more casual, but we have a meeting to discuss the database transfer and conversion to our new system, plus we need to deliver board meeting packets today instead of next week due to our annual spring conference on Tuesday. The good news is that with our new system being web-based, we shouldn't have to deliver packets ever again because they can access everything online! YAY!!!

All that being said, I have to finish getting these packets ready and start getting the binders for the conference organized!

Hope you all have a spectacular Thursday!

Today's outfit:
Gray Dress: Ross
Yellow Blouse: Target
Pink Belt: Salvation Army
Gray Wedges: DSW