Tag Archives: Culture

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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Filed under Culture, Fashion, Friends, Sewing

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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Filed under Culture, Fashion, Female Management Skills

R U Kidding Me?

It’s hard to believe that educational standards can change so much over time.  When I was in school computers were added to the curriculum in slight ways so we would at least be familiar with what they can do.  I did learn to type on a typewriter however, my cousins who went to school about 10 years behind me have expressed their heavy involvement with computers over their academic career.  I always thought that besides budgetary constraints the only other area that would change educational standards would be technology.  Yet I still find myself shocked to learn that cursive is being eliminated from most schools across the United States.

I’ll admit that in elementary school my cursive was atrocious and it took many years of practice at making it look a bit more legible for it to improve.  However, it was character building and for the most part it can tell a lot about a person.  I used to see crime dramas that brought in handwriting experts and now they show IT experts who analyze the way text messages were written.  Is script becoming a distant memory of the past?

In a post on iVillage, Sally Farahat Kassab points out the reasons that many of us feel cursive writing should still be taught such as:

“the personality that shows through in one’s handwriting, like how you curl your Qs; the value of realizing that it’s worth it to take time to complete something you’ve handwritten; the discipline and fine motor control that comes with penmanship; the need to sign a check or official document; the ability to read historic documents in their original form or heck, your grandparents’ love letters.”

I was frightened enough when I once saw a letter to my grandma written as if it was a text message.  She felt like she needed a decoder ring to be able to figure out what the heck it said.  As someone who is technically savvy I can understand this move, but as someone who likes tradition it’s a bit hard to stomach.  At least I’ll be able to read historic documentation of my family tree.  Will your kids be lucky enough to do the same?

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Filed under Culture, Parenting

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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Filed under Culture, Fashion, Female Management Skills

‘Tis The Season

It is that time of year again guys and gals.  The time to be surrounded by our families and all the craziness that goes along with that is upon us.  It is time to enjoy hot cocoa and the plethora of sweets that surround us everywhere we go.  The tree has been up, the presents are wrapped and I’m still trying to vacuum all the glitter out of my carpet from the bows I chose to use this year.  Nonetheless, it’s a time to sit back and reflect upon the year that is about to be behind us before the next one is off to a running start.

My life has changed drastically in the last two years, but I wouldn’t trade a moment of it for anything in the world.  I changed my job, changed my car, and the company of those that surround me.  For the last few years I lost touch with my friends and regretted each moment I missed out on.  However, 2011 gave me the opportunity to reach back out and apologize for my distance.  I am thankful that I did as it has reminded me how awesome many of my friends truly are.  Those who welcome you back with open arms are the kind of friends you know that will be a part of your life for the long haul.  While sitting around a table enjoying the brisk fresh air, just the other night, I was reminded how wonderful it can be just sitting around and talking about nothing with those who know you best.

I am thankful for this beautiful holiday season, for my friends whom I once again hold near and dear to my heart and for my family who supports me no matter how crazy I might seem some days.  This is my very first holiday season that I’ll be facing with the knowledge of being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  That’s another thing to be thankful for…my diagnosis.  There are many health issues my family is facing amongst us, but the most important part is knowing what we are up against and learning how to handle the holiday season appropriately.  This holiday season I’m thankful for each moment I get to spend with those I love and I urge you to consider what you are thankful for.

Are you thankful for your new bike that Santa brought you, for 8 days of Hanukkah celebrations you’ll have with your family, for your new boyfriend that fate led your way, or even the possibility that your most recent Rituxan therapy might be your last one?  It doesn’t matter what you’re thankful for as long as you take the time to see how lucky you are and enjoy the holiday season.  To those of you who are facing health difficulties or harsh economic times just remember that there is a silver lining in each situation if you will just allow yourself to see the glimmer of hope for even a moment.  I wish everyone a Happy (late) Thanksgiving and hope that there are Happy Holiday’s ahead.

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Filed under Culture, Friends, Taking Charge of One's Health

Is There A Handbook For That Stroller?

I will start by saying I am most definitely not a mother; at least not yet at this time in my life.  However, I do work in the hospitality field in Orlando and therefore get to see many families that are on vacation each year.  My friend John once pointed out to me a child that one would assume is much too large to ride in a stroller still and ever since then I have been noticing just how often I see this.  I am aware that there is not a handbook that is distributed for stroller etiquette, as if there is I would clearly not get hit by them so often walking through the theme parks here in town, but I do wonder at what point do parents put their foot down about stroller usage.  One parent in the Mothering.com community posted the following rules as to when a stroller should stop being used:

-he grows to big to fit in the seat,
-his legs grow long enough to drag the ground,
-he learns to propel the stroller on his own, or
-he decides he would prefer to walk than ride.

In my world those don’t seem like bad suggestions.  It is understandable that each child is different and therefore there is no specific age set in stone to stop using a stroller.  In all of these instances I am discussing children who are not facing any type of disability.  With Give Kids the World right down the street I am very accustomed to seeing their sweet faces in strollers and small wheelchairs, but this is specifically aimed at children who have no limitations.  Cafemom.com even did a poll to find out when most people have decided to do with their kids.  Their poll results uncovered the following:

Question: What age did you stop using a stroller?

1 year old: 0%,  2 years old: 27%,  3 years old: 34%,  4 years old: 10%,  5 years old: 3%,  Other age: 24%

Out of 29 voters it seems like the most common answers were between two and three years old.  However, here in Orlando you can walk through any of the major theme parks on any given day of the week and see large quantities of 8, 9, even 10 year old children in strollers.  They are easy to identify by their feet dragging on the ground and the way they are hunched down to even fit under the canopy for shade.  Granted sometimes you can see a younger sibling in toe and therefore you can understand why the stroller was originally brought to the theme park, but usually there are no younger siblings in toe and only an older child directing his or her parents around from their royal stroller seat.

Borrowed from TooBigForStroller.com

This trend is one that I am having extreme difficulty understanding.  I grew up as an only child so I’m not used to having anyone younger than me in tow on outings, but I don’t remember being in third grade and still utilizing a stroller because I just didn’t want to walk.  Is this a sign that parents are giving in to their children so as to keep the complaining to a minimum on family trips?  Or is this one of the many items that is contributing to childhood obesity?  Taking a look at TooBigForStroller.com you’ll see many of the photos that author Laura Miller has collected that demonstrate exactly what we see daily here in the theme parks.  Although many may find her points to be way off the mark, I can’t help but agree with her about how funny a sight this is.  It seems as if pediatricians might be on her side while they say that it could be a disservice to growing children to use strollers well past toddlerhood, but obviously there are parents out there that disagree.

Since I know many of my friends have children (obvious by looking at my Facebook news feed about first steps, first foods, and the lack of adults in most profile photos) maybe one of them will be able to explain this to me.  This isn’t the first time I have brought up this topic so it’s apparent that I am really hoping to understand this, so please feel free to let me in on your opinions and feel free to start a parental debate on the subject so those of us not yet parents can understand.

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Filed under Culture, Friends, Parenting, Vacation