Tag Archives: Clothing

My Mother; The Blogging “Expert”

Acquiring blog readers is hard.  Simple as that.  At times, the vast technological universe that many of us partake in can make it difficult to attract those that are the target audience you are searching for.  However, that involves you actively trying to attract an audience.  When I started this blog back in January of 2011 it was for me to share experiences that were taking place at work, at home and within my day-to-day structure.  I’ve blogged about my divorce, my job changes, working with other managers, fashion, sewing, dating, dancing, running and living with Fibromyalgia just to name a few of the most popular topics.

I started the blog as a way for me to get things off my chest that I wasn’t able to openly talk about until people started mentioning my blog.  Placing links to my blog on my personal Facebook was a way for me to share with my friends and family what I was going though.  During my marriage I lost touch with many people and have been trying to rebuild those relationships ever since.  I thought that maybe if people had an opportunity to see all the pandemonium that was going on in my brain they would understand what had been going on when we lost touch.

Outside of my circle of friends it never occurred to me that there might be others out there that are interested in hearing about my sewing projects or management techniques.  Who knew that my stories of being a 21st Century Gal would be that interesting to others?  Oh yes, that’s right…my mother!  Even at 29 it is still hard to admit that my mother is almost always right.  See what I did there with the “almost” part?  I’m sure there is something out there she might not be right about; such as biomechanical engineering or space travel.

It was my mother who started blogging before me and has shared her tips and tricks, so I guess I haven’t acquired these readers all on my own.  I might make management sound amusing, but you should see what my mom can do with the topic of cancer.  Never thought I could be laughing about cancer, but that’s how things work under her roof.  Anything and everything has the potential of being funny.  I’ll tell you what, it is rough knowing that as a teenager but quite amusing when you finally grow up and realize your parents aren’t as uncool as you once thought.

Thanks mom for sharing yet another life lesson with me.  Check out her blog, The World According to Alexandra, if you’re looking for a good laugh.  She even makes bodily functions funny instead of shamefully disgusting.  Thank you to my readers who stop back regularly.  For those of you who are just lurkers I invite you to subscribe to my blog and stick around for a bit.  There are some big changes on the horizon and I can be you won’t want to miss out on them.

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Filed under Blogging, Culture, Dance, Dating, Fashion, Female Management Skills, Friends, Parenting, Sewing, Taking Charge of One's Health

Threading The Needle of Family Traditions

Family traditions can be hard to continue on as so many things change from generation to generation.  From as far back as I can remember my grandmother has been stockpiling fabric for her amazing sewing projects.  When I was young I used to watch my mom and grandma work together on creating me a new wardrobe for school or dance wear for all of my classes.  It was always fun to go to the fabric store and get to pick out what kind of Lycra I wanted my leotard’s made out of for that year.  Little did I know at the time that many years later I would still have some of those dance wear pieces since they were made with such attention to detail.

As a child I took sewing lessons at the fabric store and then continued to learn more by working on projects at home with mom and grandma.  Earlier this year I was passed down my very own sewing machine for the first time.  It didn’t take me more than a few weeks to decide to tackle my first project.  It’s been more than a decade since I had sewn anything, but you just don’t forget the basics.  It’s a bit like riding a bike.  I took on a very easy project as a start to get my feet wet again.

I LOVE the look of those infinity (multi-way) dresses, but I don’t like the fact that they cost between $65.00 – $85.00 before tax to get them from most retail stores.  I found a few on Etsy that I had thought about considering, but they were just barely cheaper than the retail price.  After a little online research, my mom and I had a loose set of directions to wing it by.  Without a pattern I took on my first dress with none of the proper tools of the trade and managed to pull it together.  Without pins, weights, a pattern or even a cutting board I managed to turn a pile of fabric into my new favorite dress for only $16.00.

As soon as I made it I immediately decided I knew a good friend of mine that deserved a dress equally as awesome for herself.  After another trip to the fabric store and a few borrowed tools from mom I began her dress perfect for her measurements.  I found myself holding my breath while cutting as I knew this dress was actually going to someone else.  It was one thing to experiment on a dress that I knew was meant for me, but a whole other story for me to be making something for someone else.

The first dress for myself was made out of a casual summer material and the dress for my friend is as well.  A big online fabric sale prompted me to buy material that can pass the “little black dress” test.  I have enough for one whole black dress and another that will be black and kelly green.  I have an event to go to in July so the plan is to crank out both of these dresses soon so that I can wear one of them that evening and revel in the fact that I’ll be the only one there with an original dress, that I made with my own hands and spent less than $20.00 on.  While everyone else if flaunting their fancy designer labels I’ll be enjoying how my hard work will allow me to be comfortable and creatively stylish all at the same time.

Sewing is a family tradition that I’m so very happy that my grandmother and mother passed along to me.  I know that one day I’ll pass the craft along to future generations, but in the meanwhile I’ve got some more outfits to dream up.  What family traditions did you learn from earlier generations?  Do you think they will stand the test of time with future generations?

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Can Your Dress Stand Up By Itself?

It’s been a while since I tackled female clothing in the workplace, but it’s time for me to bring it up again. However, this time it’s not due to some crazy outfit someone tried to pass off as “professional.” I would like to pose a question to all the ladies out there who work in an office setting that requires suits or an equal female equivalent. How often do you dry clean your work clothes?

I know many of us can’t get home fast enough to get changed into something that is less restricting…or at least that’s me. After a whole day of fitted blazers and dresses I can’t wait to rush home and thrown on something to run in. I’ll also admit that I’m not one to toss a dress or jacket into the dry cleaning pile after only one usage. Dry cleaning isn’t cheap and it’s hard for me to justify that my dress is all that dirty after a whole day of work inside a hotel that has the air conditioning set in the low seventies. Most people around me never see me without a blanket while at my desk. My Fibromyalgia isn’t too keen on the temperature gauge in the office and tends to start a war in my joints if I don’t bundle up during the times I do get to sit at my desk, but that’s a whole other story.

My detail oriented ways can slide into my life in the weirdest ways sometimes and it has most definitely entered my clothing selection process. I’m surprised that people at work haven’t noticed yet after a year of working in the same place, but I do have a bit of a clothing rotation. I do this to ensure I get the best usage out of all of my dresses and that I don’t wear out a favorite faster than any of the others. It also aids in me knowing when things need to go to the dry cleaner without me having to do a sniff check like a teenage boy.

During lunch recently a coworker admitted that she had owned her current work outfit for more than eight months and yet had never taken any of it to a dry cleaner. I will give her the benefit of the doubt that all of her shirts can be washed at home, but how do you explain the dresses and jackets? At first I immediately thought I wasn’t so weird for having my clothing rotation and taking an item to the dry cleaner after only one use. However, then I started to wonder how long is too long before getting work clothes cleaned.

Therefore, ladies I’m turning to you. How often do you wear an item to work before it goes into your dry cleaning pile? Once? Three times? Eight months?

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The End Is Near…

2011 was another year of rebuilding myself after the divorce and I think I did a fair job at keeping my resolutions to pay off my debt, get control over my health and make an effort to reconnect with my friends.  I can check 2.5 off of my list and that’s pretty good in my book.  I didn’t quite completely finish the first item, but I did make one heck of a dent and I’m just months away from accomplishing that goal despite the fact that I learned how to live a little this year.

Reconnecting with my friends reminded me why we all became friends in the first place.  I forgot how awesome it is to have people who truly understand you to laugh with.  Last night I was with one of my friends and she declared that she was going to help me start off 2012 on the right foot.  I thought I was about to get a calendar with all the dates we were going to hang out penciled into it, but instead her surprise was just proof of how well she knows me.

My early 2012 gift was a choice between two beautiful, designer purses that I have come to learn are classified as “hobo” bags.  I learned this not by reading fashion magazines, but instead when I was looking for a picture of the bag this morning.  That should tell you that I’m not the best at being all that girly.  The few things that I tend to pamper myself with once in a while are all items I picked for very specific reasons, but I’ve come to learn that my reasons are a bit odd compared to most ladies.  It seems as if my days wearing baseball caps and overalls left me a bit skewed on how to really be girly when I’m not at work and that’s a whole other subject we’ll get into.

For example, I like to get pedicures because I spend many years dancing and know that cramming my dancer feet into heels at work all day equals some gnarly looking digits if I don’t do something about it.  Apparently most girls like to do it so their toes look pretty and so they can enjoy a day getting pampered.  Who knew?  My trip to the nail salon includes acrylic nails so that I stop my bad habit of picking at the side of my fingers until they bleed.  I’ve been informed that other gals go for the nail polish choices and to bond with friends.  Clearly I missed the boat on this stuff somewhere.

In my personal life I tend to pick items for functionality and just recently began to learn how to accessorize.  Past jobs I’ve had always declared how long necklaces could be, how big earrings could be, how many bracelets you could wear.  That’s all fine and dandy but it caused me to pick out one necklace, one bracelet, one ring for each hand and a very functional watch and wear them all year so I didn’t have to mess with making any choice in the morning.  Then I started this new job and learned that with each outfit I needed to pick out accessories that would enhance my fashion choice each morning.  This is a world completely foreign to me, but luckily those around me are trying to break me into this theory.

While my mother any boyfriend have headed up the earring, necklace, and bracelet front my friend from last night decided that she would throw her hand into the game and start on the purse front.  I have a few purses, messenger bags and a briefcase for work.  Each that I selected was based upon function and not style.  Each that someone picked for me was based upon style and not functionality.  Laying them all side by side it is clear to see which ones I picked for myself in my sad attempt to be cutting edge.

2011 was the year I learned how to accessorize with jewelry and I guess 2012 is the year I complete the outfit with a proper purse.  After almost 20 minutes of her trying to explain to me the redeeming qualities of each bag, how you don’t lose items in bags that large and the fact that either of them would go with anything I wear; I made my decision.  Ladies and gentlemen, meet my newest (and largest) purse!

I don’t think I would have made this step on my own, but it looks as if I might just learn how to be a real gal after all.  Readers of my blog who’ve read my past posts about fashion (It’s Bootsy Its Got To Be A GoorinAlright Pooch Cough Up The Goods, Don’t Forget To Stretch Before Trying Those On, It’s A Matter Of Jacket Equality, or Is Ke$ha Her Fashion Icon) might find it odd that I don’t know how to pull that into my personal life, but my close friends know it’s possible to still teach this old dog new tricks.  Tomorrow night I will be meeting Miss Megan at my very first live basketball game.  It will be the maiden voyage of my new purse and my chance to thank her for being such an amazing friend through the years!  Now I have between now and then to figure out how on earth I’m going to organize things in this new bag so I can find it all later.

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It’s BOOTSY!

With the colder season upon us it’s time, even here in central Florida, to break out the heavier jackets and long-sleeved shirts.  This is my first year of working in an indoor office though so it has raised a few questions.  I know that might sound weird, but my last job was a bit out of the norm and therefore I wouldn’t include that on my list of “indoor offices.”  My theory is if almost half of your work day is spent outside,  your “office” is really a desk in the corner of a 60 degree break room, and you can hear dogs barking and a pig squealing all day then your job is usually not considered a normal one.

With the start of my new job in June it was obvious that a new wardrobe was going to have to accompany it.  My mom and I had a blast shopping for my new work outfit.  It might be the only time in my life that I’ve allowed myself to buy such wonderful designer names and have tailored suits and dresses.  It was an amazing experience and I’m excited that not using most of my vacation days at my last job allowed me to make it possible.

While we were shopping this summer we tried hard to pick pieces that were classic and versatile, so I have had no problem finding a wear to wear most of them even now that it is cold.  A thicker jacket and a pair of black tights go a long way in stretching most of my summer wardrobe into choices that I can wear in the winter.  The only new additions since then have been 1 winter coat, courtesy of my amazing boyfriend who has picked up my deal grabbing shopping trait, and a few pairs of new shoes.

I grabbed these awesome ankle boots from DSW.com on Cyber Monday and after using my membership number for free shipping, taking advantage of the fact that they were already marked down and using several coupon codes the website practically paid me to buy them.  With them I ordered my first two pairs of over the knee boots that were also priced to make me jump for joy.  It’s not even a question that the ankle boots, that I ended up getting in black as my signature color was sold out in my size, go with just about any dress that I wear dark tights with.  However, do over the knee boots have a space in the workplace?

Both pairs that I bought were flat so that I could get optimal use out of them with all the walking I planned for them, but I keep questioning if they are appropriate to wear to work.  I tested out the water by first wearing my stiletto boots, which just barely come to the knee, with a pair of black leggings under a Calvin Klein dress on one of the few days that it dropped below 60 degrees.  Many of the other women at work commented on how amazing the boots were and then just days later I noticed several other women in my work area breaking out their high-heeled boots.

Just last week another cold snap prompted me to try testing the water with both pairs of over the knee boots.  I received a ton of compliments, but I’m still left questioning if they are really appropriate in a business casual office situation.  They are the “in” shoe of the moment and you see ads all over the place with women pairing them with stylish outfits meant for the office, but does that really mean that it is now acceptable?  I’m putting this out there to my fellow trend setters because we all know that I don’t want to look like Ke$ha is my fahion icon!  Do you think over the knee boots can be paired with a tailored designer dress and jacket to wear to work in the winter so you can get the most out of your year round dresses?

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Don’t Forget To Stretch Before Trying Those On

I am a minimalist when it comes to shoes.  If I had a huge walk-in closet and suddenly won the lottery, I admit I would spend some of the money on shoes I ordinarily pass up.  However, I pass up shoes for not one, but two reasons: price, and what I like to call the “blood factor.”  I grew up as a dancer.  I am well versed in taping my toes and other parts of my feet in preparation for a dance rehearsal en pointe.  Therefore, I turn away from some of these new shoe styles when I think the “blood factor” is too high.  If it is going to take me more than 5 minutes to strategically tape up my feet, so I can wear a pair of shoes without leaving a trail of blood behind me with each step, then I don’t even try them on.

Some of these new styles are adorable…if I was Barbie.  Honestly, who fits comfortably into a pair of Jessica Simpson heels?  I would really like to know.  Go ahead raise your hand because I am just baffled that she keeps selling these styles.   After 2 decades of dancing, I am admitting that my feet are still not skilled enough to permanently stay in the shape of Barbie’s so that I can even try Jessica’s style on.  I wish she didn’t make such lovely looking shoes.

Then there are the crazy ones, with what feels like a million straps holding them together.  These shoes need an instruction manual to speed up the process of trying them on.  I feel like I’ve just survived 10 minutes of intense stretching in a Bikram yoga class to get both shoes onto my feet, only to find that they are designed with an awkward angle making it unnatural to walk in them.  Imagine that, shoes that aren’t designed around the main purpose for their existence.  Yet, I am always drawn to them like a starving theme park tourist to a turkey leg.

Just when I thought the designer styles couldn’t get any more fabulous, but completely unwearable, I stumbled across the Target knock offs.  These easy to grab styles are still adorable, a lot more affordable, but also equally uncomfortable.  Who doesn’t love it when you can walk into one store and get cute strappy sling backs and a gallon of milk all at once?

I spend all day walking around in circles at work.  I have a personal rule that on meeting days and other important occasions I wear heels to work, but I have added the addendum that bringing a pair of flats to stow in my bag (just in case) is necessary as well.  Usually I will hold out until the last minute, or until I feel the warm puddle in my shoe, before I give in and put on my flats.  Even with the preemptive taping and “gellin’” insoles I eventually end up wearing my feet raw from all the walking.  Yes, you heard me right.  My feet, that are used to handling the punishment of pointe shoes and years of torture, are not prepared to hold up to this.

The other women in I work with often comment that they don’t know how I can do it.  They always ask “How do you make it through the day in those?”  They don’t see the insoles, the strategically placed toe tape, or the spare flats in my bag when asking.  Which leads me to wonder, who are the designers making all these crazy new shoes for?  If other women around me aren’t wearing them and I can barely even try them on without getting a foot cramp, then who is buying them?  I see younger girls out at night attempting to wear them, but generally failing miserably as they shuffle their feet along with their knees bent so they don’t topple over.

I guess for now I will continue to enjoy my small and minimal shoe collection.  Hopefully trends will change and I can at some point afford/fit into the new trends.  It sure would be nice to own more than one shoe in a specific color.  After all, it’s rough replacing worn out shoes when you know the ones you get will have to match everything you wear with that specific color.  My closet might be as versatile as possible right now, but I not-so-secretly hope it can one day hold a pair of really fashionable heels.

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It’s A Matter Of Jacket Equality

Okay jacket manufacturers you win!  Obviously you are in cahoots with handbag manufacturers and I get it.  This is something I picked up on a long time ago, but it has taken me until now to start waving my white flag.  Can we have a truce or do you insist on continuing to torture me well into the future?  Do you understand how your little “pocket game” is inconveniencing others?  You may think that you have won because I have been trying unsuccessfully for years to beat you at your little game.  However, those around me do not appreciate having to pick up your slack.

All I am asking is for one measly inside pocket.  You make them for men’s jackets, so I know it is possible.  Why can’t any of my coats have one as well?  Men have 3-5 pockets in a jacket and I’m lucky if I get 2.  Why is that?  I have much more stuff to carry then a guy.  Has it ever crossed your mind that I do not wish to always carry a bag with me?  Maybe I want to have both hands free, without having to rock the “across the body strap” look, so I can shop or interact with others freely.  Although there are plenty of trendy purse choices out there, I just don’t want to be bogged down with holding it at all times.  I admit I like a stylish purse and have a few, but that is not an admission of not needing an interior pocket like my male counterparts.

Gals, it’s time we unite and stand up for our right to bear a lip gloss inside of our jackets where it won’t slide out and onto the floor every time we sit down.  It’s time we take a stand against forcing others to carry stuff for us so we don’t have to cram it into the tiny pockets in our pants.  It’s time that we show these jacket manufacturers who’s boss and stand up for our much needed 3” x4” strip of additional fabric that would solve all our problems.  Who’s with me?  Hello?  Bueller…Bueller…Anyone?  Seriously,  am I the only one who thinks about the convenience of added interior jacket pockets?  Fine.  Continue on with your adorable purses, but one day you too will tire of having the burden of a bag and flip over to my side.  It might not be today, but rest assured I will continue hoping that jacket companies come around.

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