September 2015

4 Ways to Dress a Dress

One of the things that excite me most about doing a post on work clothes is that I can take my own advice. What you may (possibly) see here is a woman that looks put together with a planned outfit. But what I know to be true (behind closed closets…shhh) is a gal who gets out of bed many mornings ready to put on the traditional lazy uniform: black and gray. With that confession out on the table (wipes head in relief), let’s proceed to the dress.

1. With heels and a bold bag.



[Photos by K. Williams]

Black heels have a classic office look. Pair with the burgundy clutch (or other bag, color, etc of your choosing) to add a pop of color.

[Dress: Target; Clutch: Aldo; Heels: Forever 21]

2. With refreshing white and mixed prints.



The black and white flats create a comfortable option yet amps up what can be a very traditional look. Factor in the mixed print element that the flats bring. Congrats! You’ve just turned potentially drab to fab!

[Necklace: Forever 21 (similar); Flats: Aldo (similar)]

3. With jazzy black details.



Now the idea of any black accessory could easily be interpreted as boring or too traditional. But with the right pieces that could be up for a very convincing debate. Take the flats for example, the patent leather look gives a casual feel but they are dressy enough to hold their own sparkle. The gold detail of the necklace stands out against the black and green while the black roped detail pulls together the black theme.

[Necklace: Fashion Trend LA (similar)(similar) ; Flats: Aldo]

4. With earth tone compliments.



The tan boots and purse provide simple yet complementing aspects to the dress. This pairing is professional enough for the office yet cool enough for a weekend look. Consider adding a jean jacket to transform into a Saturday look.

[Necklace: Forever 21; Purse: H&M (similar); Boots: Aldo (similar)]

31 Life Lessons


I thought I’d do something a little different today in honor of a day so special to my heart. Through my conscious years on this earth…as in the years I was old enough to remember…I’ve gathered quite a few life lessons. The little girl in the picture has done a lot of growing from that 3rd birthday party.

I may not know everything, but I know a few things… (*clears throat*) 31 to be exact. Some of these statements are well known quotes and others are just conclusions I’ve come to live by. I hope that through this post you are either reminded of certain lessons or that you gain support and a new perspective with any ups or downs life may throw at you.

*Note: “31” Lessons doesn’t necessarily imply that I’m turning 31 (*wink, wink*). Perhaps I was so excited about turning 21 that I added 10 bonus lessons. 🙂

  1. Laugh – as much as possible because life can be tough.
  2. Take all advice with a grain of salt.
  3. Stay prepared – always.
  4. Treat everyone kind, you never know who you’ll need.
  5. Treat everyone kind, you never know who needs you.
  6. If you can’t treat them kind, walk away but just don’t sacrifice your kindness or energy. It’s not worth it.
  7. Positivity is powerful.
  8. Keep 2 things private: your love life and your salary.
  9. Stay connected to a higher source daily – pray, meditate…whatever that source may be to you personally.
  10. Have at least one confidant.
  11. The best advice comes from those who have been there…wisdom is golden.
  12. Treat your body good (exercise, diet) and it will be reciprocated.
  13. Don’t settle.
  14. Embrace dark times and strive through them. Blessings are often right beyond the pain.
  15. Follow your heart because even if it’s wrong, you’ll never live with regrets.
  16. Set boundaries or people will test you.
  17. Express your feelings because no one can read your mind.
  18. Treat trust and loyalty like money…spend wisely.
  19. Strive to master the art of patience.
  20. Never miss an opportunity to show appreciation. “Thank you” is a heavenly phrase.
  21. Don’t live the life that others want for you.
  22. “When you don’t know which way to go, be still.”
  23. Trust your gut.
  24. Don’t be afraid to splurge every now and then – you deserve it.
  25. …But know your financial limits.
  26. Be slow to bash the opposite sex, we need each other. If you feel the need to bash, question who you’re exposing yourself to.
  27. Keep your circle small.
  28. “You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.”  Unknown
  29. Office politics are a given. Learn the game and roll with it.
  30. Dress for the job you want.
  31. Set goals through every phase in life.

Anything But Coffee

I recently posted a question on Facebook asking for advice on alternatives to coffee, brown soda, and any other sugary brown substance known to cause cavities and heart palpitations. The paraphrasing of that question goes something like: “Help y’all cause I just can’t keep living this life. What do you do to keep your energy up during the work day?”.  Surprisingly I received a variety of suggestions to counteract “the brown demon” as I like to call it. A couple of the suggestions are related to daily supplements and sleep patterns which I will refer to in a later post. For now I’d like to share 6 alternatives that you can just pick up and chug (or bite into) at your desk upon that first desperate moment of energy drop.

Disclaimer: I’m describing these sources of energy as they affected me. Though it can be different for everyone. Feel free to give them all a try to see what personally keeps you out of the snooze zone. 🙂

1) Black Tea

Mango Black Tea

Black tea is my all time favorite. I live for the iced version at Starbucks but most mornings I can barely roll out of bed and get ready, let alone make a breakfast stop. I’ve tried a few other hot versions that I wasn’t too “hot” about. (Yep, that pun was intended.) But one day I was strolling through Trader Joes. Back track… I already made my purchase but got distracted on my way out the door with all the things I didn’t see when I came in the opposite door. Sigh.

Anywho, I came across the above pictured Mango Black Tea and it caught my eye. Translation – it ended up in my cart and I doubled back to the register. I really enjoy this tea because the mango flavor gives it a fruity twist but still the great energy boost that comes with black tea. Not to mention it’s smooth because nothing is worse than bitter tea!

2) Apples

Red Apple

I was surprised when apples came up as a suggestion. No doubt the natural sugar they contain could be helpful but I didn’t realize how so. I have used this pick-me-up method on many of days around 10am when breakfast is over but it’s too early for lunch and I need something…stat! So it serves a dual purpose: snack and energy kick. For the most part I stick with the red ones since they’re sweetest.

3) Green Tea

Matcha Green Tea

This is a tricky one for me. I’ve tried hot green tea before for energy but it doesn’t seem to give me a pick me up. Though the iced Matcha green tea above does the trick. According to my sources (the great Google), Matcha is a ground tea leaf so you get all the nutrients. Which most likely explains the greater kick it gives as opposed to the brewed versions.

The tea pictured is from Bird Pick Tea. (Hyperlink will take you directly to Matcha green tea but feel free to browse the very informative and tasty site.) I used to work close by the tea shop and would occasionally get these lattes on my lunch break. Result: I’d get back to my desk and knock out all my afternoon phone calls and emails in record speed.

4) Kombucha


In short, kombucha is a fermented tea. Upon first hearing about this tea I had to head over to ole’ trusty Wikipedia because I had never heard of it before. It definitely does the job on the energy assist but I must warn you, it is strong and has an acquired taste. The first time I drank it, I was reminded of Red Bull. And similar to Red Bull, I suggest you eat something with the tea because it can give quite the rush on an empty stomach. (*Note: Please don’t be tempted to go out and grab a can of RB. Remember, we’re on a healthy kick here! Just mentioning for comparison purposes.) Above is a pineapple peach version by Kevita which I found at Fresh and Easy.

5) Yerba Mate

Yerba Mate Can

So I heard of yerba mate tea vaguely in the past but now that I have tried it, different versions are popping up everywhere! Which I suppose is a good thing implying that it’s a quick, convenient grab before picking up the coffee (hits hand mid reach). I tried two versions by Guayaki: one in a bottle and the other in a can (pictured). The can seemed to give me more energy for a longer period of time. So I would suggest going that route if you’re looking for a boost that will go the long haul. I also picked this up from Fresh and Easy.

6) Fruit Infused Water

Fruit Infused Water

This was another one that caught me by surprise. I know that water can help keep you awake because it promotes frequent bathroom trips. (Yay!) But I’m often more doubtful than I should be about its ability as a source of energy. Low and behold, the fruit infused version is very helpful! I received a bottle (pictured) with an infuser as an office swag gift at my last job which I used to make my fruit infused water. Here is a nifty pitcher with an infuser that I found at Target. Just add the fruit of your choice (raspberries pictured) to the infuser and add water to your bottle (or pitcher). I’ve read recipes which require you to store the water overnight to get the most flavor. Though I’ve drank it immediately after assembly and it was just fine. Probably not as rich in flavor, but the most important factor was still present…the energy boost!


Feel free to give one…maybe even all of these a try! And if you have a healthy suggestion that I did not mention here, please feel free to share below. I’m open to anything other than coffee or soda to keep me going through the work day and I’m sure others would appreciate the same!

Quick Meals: Pasta Remix – The Extended Version

Shrimp Pasta

Ever find yourself at work asking “what’s for dinner?” then find yourself sinking into some deep, dark tunnel with no way out? That or checking your account to calculate exactly how much take out will put you in the hole?

Well I’ve been in these scenarios and similar others on multiple occasions. In response,  I came up with the idea of what I like to call “quick meals”. These meals are based off very few pre-prepped ingredients. Most are inexpensive so your pocket and time both win – score! I hope to share these meal ideas with others who are looking for something quick, easy and affordable to whip up after the long work day.

In this particular meal idea, I will be sharing a simple yet tasty pasta. Warning: it does contain mushrooms. The same vegetable that used to spook me as a child when I saw it growing out of the grass. (Yipes!) So if you’re not feeling the mushrooms like the young 9 to Fly Girl, then have no fear. The mushrooms can always be replaced with another seasoned veggie. Think eggplant, broccoli or perhaps zuchinni. It’s your meal – feel free to experiment.

Mushrooms and Sauce

[Mushrooms: Fresh and Easy (see link below); Alfredo Sauce: Market Pantry as sold by Target]


Ready to Cook Stuffed Button Mushrooms (Fresh and Easy)

Spaghetti Noodles

Alfredo Sauce

Boiling Noodles


1) Put about 4 cups of water in a pot and boil. (As long as the pot is deep enough to contain the water and noodles without boiling over in step 2.)

2) Add spaghetti noodles and allow to cook. Tip: Add vegetable oil and a pinch of salt to the water.

3) Place about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a sauce pan. Turn the stove burner on at a low heat and add the mushrooms. Increase heat to a medium setting. Note: I like to add the mushrooms stuffed side up in efforts to contain all the goodies while cooking.

4) Place cooked pasta (the noodles should be soft), in a strainer and rinse with cool  water.

5) When the mushrooms are just about finished cooking, add the cooked noodles and alfredo sauce. Stir the ingredients to combine. (Don’t worry if the stuffed ingredients start merging with the alfredo at this point. It will all go down the same way. 🙂 )

6) Once all ingredients are cooked and heated to your desire – serve!

*If you really want to remix the remix, add meat. The cover photo to this post shows a version I tried with shrimp. (Says the seafood lover proudly.)*


Please let me know if you decide to try this recipe and how it turned out. Also let me know if you used any substitutions. I’d be happy to hear some new ideas for one of my favorite quick meals.

Technology or Nah?


[Image from]

Preface: For those questioning the title please allow me to provide a quick slang definition. Nah= no, not, nope…and anything along those lines. All on the same page now? Good.

So I still consider myself to be fairly young. (Emphasis on the fairly.) At least young enough to be pretty familiar with technology. I think that throughout my experience in academia and in the working world I’ve learned quite a few things to earn me “intermediate level” status. Though I can’t lie. I still struggle with when and when not to go old school paper. You know those emails with the message at the bottom that read “Please consider the environment before printing.”? Well that message is for people like me. Yep, me. Love the environment and all but just can’t get off that old paper habit.

I think the foundation of my professional development occured in a time when the whole technology shift was taking flight. So the need to print everything comes from a time, in the quasi Dark Ages, when that was a necessity.

And let’s not even mention social media. Within the last 2-3 years I’ve felt a bit more savvy with the various platforms. But I remember a time when I thought Instagram was just a way to make your pictures look cool. (Hello to those pretty filtered flicks of my homemade sweet potato pie!) Or better yet, I remember Facebook becoming this cool new site around mid college years, back when you needed to have a college email address to have an account. Okay, now I’m dating myself.

All this to say, it’s really important to keep up with the times when it comes to technology. Many of our jobs were operated completely different 10, 5, even 3 years ago!

I am still a recovering printer paper pusher and have finally come to accept life without AOL Instant Messenger. However, there are a few strides I have made to embrace technology not only as it benefits me personally but also as it will grow me professionally.

  • Utilizing the print screen option in lieu of printing emails.

If you print screen, or even copy and paste, emails you can save them in your Word documents for future use. Allwhile obeying that little environmental friendly message mentioned earlier. (See, I’m trying to be compliant.)

  • Saving emails to a file folder within a network drive.

I like to use this option especially for meetings. When I have to organize meetings for work I create  one larger e-folder for the meeting that contains subfolders for each presenter. Within the presenter folder I put any documents they’ve sent me (Word, PDF, etc.) as well as emails that pertain to the meeting presentation or related topic.

  • Learning tips about social media for business by browsing.

So I don’t think there’s a formal class that tells you how to set up an Instagram account for your business. (Though I think there will be very shortly given the speed that technology is growing.) But I’ve learned quite a bit from simply just browsing accounts of other bloggers and business owners. The types of pictures they post on their accounts, bio details, and the times/days that they post are just a few small things that make a big marketing difference. Something that paper just can’t do alone anymore in this technological world.

  • Using one device as a store house.

I don’t have a ton of electronic devices but out of the 3 or so my favorite is hands down my iPhone. I can maintain my calendar, store my email account, chat with friends (on like 3 different apps…shame), and get directions to a new destination all in one place. So my TomTom has officially taken a hike. While I do still use a paper calendar (primarily for blogging and other business needs) it usually is due to the fact that I need to scribble multiple notes that won’t fit within the fine lines of my iCalendar.


What ways have you been able to make the most out of technology and keep current?

Tips On Leaving a Job


[Image from]

I think we’ve all had a job or two that we’ve created a movie story line for when it comes to the epic exit. You know, the “when I leave I’m going to…(insert choice action here)”. But truth is that most of those desired endings could come back to haunt you later.

I’ve definitely had my share of jobs where I would have gladly ran through the halls pulling all the fire alarms, just to tick everybody off. But time and time again I proved to myself that bowing out gracefully has always been best. I can proudly say that of any job I’ve left, I could be hired back if I applied for a position there tomorrow.

Here are 4 tips that helped me maintain my rep and possibly my sanity:

1) Always give a notice. And ample time at that.

Now I can understand that some people have been in situations where they’ve wanted to throw their hands up and take more than an extended lunch. But if at all possible, hang in there through those 2 weeks (or more if your job calls for it).

2) Establish contacts and desired references you’d like to have once you’re gone.

Not only will this help you in the future with jobs. But it may also benefit your colleagues as well in case they need you to return the favor. Also it’s good to ask while your work ethic and positive qualities are still fresh on their minds.

3) Do work in between giving your notice and your last day.

Okay I know it’s tempting to spend your time browsing Pinterest or planning for your birthday…another 2 years from then. But try your best! Okay, maybe a slightly longer lunch will suffice. (Wink) Though if you take advantage, it may later work to your disadvantage. The last thing you want is for a future employer to hear about your slacker status.

4) Show your gratitude.

Even if you’re moving on to bigger and much better things, odds are at least one person there helped you in one way or another. So make sure to say thank you! Be it in a one on one conversation, email, card – anything to express your appreciation.


Have you ever practiced any of these tips when leaving a former employer? Are there any tips I did not mention which you think others may find helpful?

The Art of the Staycation

balcony view

So I think it’s safe to say now that Labor Day has passed, many of us are wondering where the summer went. For those in my boat, we’re still thinking about that summer vacation that never happened. Well good news – it may not be too late! (Yes, you may clap now.)

Most people that know me well are aware of my love for staycations. While I plan to see the world in my lifetime, my wallet just isn’t there right now. Even “every once in a blue moon” can be a stretch at this point while getting established. So any chance to get away, even if locally, is a treat.

The staycation can be conquered alone, with your mate, a group of friends, family…whichever you prefer. While I’ve had some of the best vacations with the company of others, there are times I need to unplug and opt out for the solo option. So it really just depends on your preference.

The idea of a “staycation” is staying close to home while reaping the benefits of a more traditional vacation. Those benefits may be taking in a beach view, long bike rides, shopping with friends or eating at great restaurants all while enjoying relief from rushing home to do housework or the drag of having to prepare for work the next day.

Another benefit of the staycation is avoiding the common headaches of longer distance travel: long lines at the airport, security checks, restless children kicking the back of your seat on the airplane. Ring a bell? Sometimes there’s just peace of mind in making the drive and pulling up to your hotel.

Whether you are traveling to the next city over or making a 1-2 hour trek to your town of relaxation, here are a few ideas to make the most of your trip:

  • Lay low at the hotel: Lounge by the pool, check out games from the front desk – board games or outdoor games, or just sit outside to catch up on reading.
  • Explore nearby shopping: Depending on the size of the city, shopping options could range from a large mall to a small old town area with a row of shops. Either way, try choosing options that are most unlike where you usually shop at home.
  • Look for local tours: Check out city tours that highlight common points of interest as well as those off the beaten path.

If you are looking for new, exciting places to visit near your home check out local magazines and newspapers that may provide inspiration through hotel discounts, activities or other featured articles and ads. Also, one of the best advertisements is word of mouth. Ask around! Perhaps a co-worker or friend just took a quick weekend trip. They may have some great suggestions for your staycation.

Now enough reading! Go off and day dream about your next get-away!

Co-Workers and Social Media: A Tale of Two Cities

off limits sign

[Image from]

Ever had that awkward moment when your co-worker asks: “Are you on [insert favorite social media forum here]?”? If you say no, but you really have an account, it becomes even more awkward once they pull up your page. (Smile…you’re on camera! 🙂 ) Though if you take the other route “I don’t add co-workers on my social media pages”, you risk looking like The Grinch That Stole Christmas – Early. I think it’s safe to say that you may not have something to hide on your page. (Okay, we will forgive you for those pictures of your party trip to Cancun last summer.) But maybe you just don’t want people in your business like that…understandable.

Fortunately, I have had yet to encounter a situation where someone was requesting to add me that I didn’t care to add. (Please excuse me while I go knock on wood before that happens next week.) Though I have seen it happen to others and vigorously took notes on their reactions while eating my fictitious popcorn. Here are a couple reactions I’ve heard that I thought were good come backs if nothing else.

  • “Yes, I have a [___] account but I hardly ever go on there.”
  • “I’m taking a break from social media.”

Well, we all should know the truth to those statements. But maybe they help either a) buy the person answering more time or b) give a hint to the person asking…one would hope.

Or let’s say you are in a management position and your employee asks to add you on social media. Now this position I’ve been in. I’d have to say it could be even more awkward then the first scenario. I haven’t had to have the “Adding you would be inappropriate” conversation. However, I’ve always made sure to set boundaries with employees from the beginning so that they would already know my stand point before asking. Sometimes office culture can help as well, given that it is professional and positive. I once worked in a department where we had a number of student workers. The staff in the office all had good relationships with those students. They were all well aware that we had professional relationships to maintain. In fact, one of the staff in the office had a well-known rule with her employees that she did not add them on social media until they graduated and/or stopped working for her. So she was pretty much the godfather and allowed us other staff to adopt this rule.

As a similar theory, I try to not even have the social media adding discussion with people until I or that other person leaves the job. At that point I don’t really care if you show someone a picture of me at a cookout with a plate full of ribs and my Tupac shirt on. #CarryOn

Have you ever had a social media meets co-worker situation? If so, how did you handle it?