My 23 Goals for Turning 23

Thursday, September 18, 2014

birthday-goals

Writing this post was a little hard to comprehend, since it feels like I was just singing a horrible Taylor Swift song to myself and writing this post. Turning 23 doesn't feel overly special (unlike the thrill of turning 21), but that doesn't mean it's a year that I want to waste. The past 12 months brought some big changes to my life, and so many of them were positive. Why not continue that positivity into the next year?

Instead of birthday wishes or lessons learned, here are my 23 goals that I want to accomplish this year:

Personal Goals

Get back to my goal weight
Take at least 12,000 steps a day
Give up soda
Run in a 5K
Visit my college town
Learn how to make something new
Read at least 15 new books
Make a video tutorial for the blog
Reinspire my personal style

Big Girl Goals

Move into a more "permanent" apartment
Put away $2,000 for a car
Redecorate my living room
Volunteer for a meaningful cause
Add one "big girl" item to my closet each month
Try a new place in Portland each month

Professional Goals

Outline (and write) a novel
Get more involved with PRSA
Develop my photography business
Get published
Set-up a home office

Life Goals

Take at least three trips
Move past recent heartbreak
Find time to write every single day

Campus To Career: The Maxi

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Did you miss the second installment of Campus to Career? This series shows how to transform your favorite college staples to fit a post-grad dress code. Every month, we feature an old campus favorite in new ways appropriate for the office. Have a request? Let me know in a comment!
 
campus-to-career-maxi

Even as a short gal, the maxi has become one of my favorite closet staples. The obsession didn't start until senior year of college, but I'm making up for it quickly. Maxi skirts and dresses feel effortless to me - one of those things you can throw on without thinking but automatically look thoughtful and put-together. Better yet, they can also be worn to work. Here's how to transition your favorite maxi into the office:
maxi-dresses-for-work

However, there are a few things to remember before picking out your next work-friendly maxi: 
  • Fit is key. Just like any piece of professional clothing, your maxi skirt or dress needs to fit. That includes the right hem length. Shop the petite/tall sections or take your new purchase to a tailor.
  • Look for classic shapes. Now isn't the time for wild cut-outs or open backs. Opt for a modest neckline and enough fabric to cover what your office dress code requires.
  • Go for sleeves. Now isn't the time for a strappy, Hawaii print maxi skirt held up with elasticized gathers. Look for sleeves or thick straps that won't fail you during the day.
  • The print counts. A solid or subtle/classic print will take you so much farther than Hawaiian flowers.

Add a blazer or cardigan

maxi dress

One of the easiest and most effortless ways to transition a maxi is throwing a cardigan or blazer over it. This doesn't work for all things, but it will here. Opt for a structured jacket or clean-cut cardigan that will flatter. Layering will also help if your maxi has straps or a low-cut back that might be inappropriate worn on its own.

Add a sweater and belt it

maxi dress

Slightly less formal, try paring your maxi skirt with a polished sweater. If the sweater is loose, belt it at the waist. If it's more fitted, wear your belt around the hips and try a front tuck - tucking only the front part of your sweater into the belt and skirt. Polish off the look with a bright statement necklace and cute flats.

Add a classic blouse or top

Finally, you can always mix a classic, professional top with a maxi skirt. Try pairing a dressy blouse or button-down, either tucked in or worn loose. Mixing a professional piece is a great way to dress up a less-that-formal skirt. Add a pair of wedges or heels to polish off the look even more.

Would you try a maxi skirt or dress at the office? Let me know your thoughts in a comment below!

How to Deal With a Stressful Work Day

Monday, September 15, 2014

workplace-stress

No matter how much you love your job, there are going to be days that suck. It might be an upcoming meeting or business pitch. Or it could be the length of your to-do list, that seems to stretch across your desk and trail down onto the floor. In the moment, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Been there, done that. But stress can easily drains you of the energy and motivation needed to tackle the day, unless you can take control of it.

We all need a go-to process for when the going gets though. You might have a method that works for you already, but here's my trusted way of beating those stressful days at work:

1. Walk away

Get up and physically walk away from your desk. Take your lunch hour or go for a walk around the block. When the stress sets in, it's time to remove yourself from the situation - even for 10 minutes. Take a breath, clear your head and focus on something else.

2. Unplug for a moment

When you get back to your desk, clear it of distractions. That means closing your computer, turning off the phone, and putting email notifications on silence for a few moments.

3. Make a list

On a piece of paper, jot down all the things you need to accomplish that afternoon. Write down everything - even if it's replying to an email or editing a report. Get everything down on paper.

4. Prioritize the tasks

Once you have your tasks down in writing, use sticky notes to divide up them up by urgency or deadline. Each sticky note represents a different level of urgency - what must be done in the next hour, before the end of the day and what can be put off until tomorrow. Move each task from your list onto the appropriate sticky note, and then display these somewhere on your desk.

Or think in 15 minute increments

If you can't group your tasks by urgency, start thinking about the day in increments. Organize your list in the order of what you'll do next. First, work on clearing your inbox for 15 minutes. Then, spend another 15 minutes editing a report. Instead of thinking about the day as a whole, narrow your focus to only 15 minutes in the future. A few minutes is much less daunting than an eight hour day. You can even set a timer on your phone to keep you moving from one task to the next.

5. Jump back in

Once you have your tasks down on paper, and organized by priority, take a deep breath. You've just created a clear game plan for the rest of your day - what needs to be done and when it's due. Jump back in. You've got this.

How do you deal with stress during busy days at work? I'd love to hear your best tips or tricks.