Monday, 03 December 2012 04:42

Style | How to Dress for Holiday Parties

Style // December 3, 2012

They are as inevitable as the extra calories you will consume: holiday parties. Whether it’s an office work party, a friendsgiving, or a New Years Eve out on the town, they are in full swing as we speak. While I’m sure our resident fitness expert, Christine Kwok, can help you keep your calories in check, I am here to help you figure out what to wear.


Some girls (like yours truly) really love piling on the bling for holiday parties. But for those of you who think too many sequins can be blinding, there are more classic options as well:


Wear a sequined separate if you don’t want to be overwhelmed. A skirt or top paired with solids can add just the right amount of festive. I love these two options: one is a trendy ombre and one is a classic pencil.

For those of you like me who like going bold and mixing trends, you will love this color block sequin dress. Simply throw on a blazer and pumps and you are good to go. No jewelry needed.

Good news, shoe fanatics: you can now wear your sparkle on your feet! If you work in a conservative office environment, simply change into these heels after 5 o’clock and head out, ready to party.


A great alternative (or addition) to any sparkle is a spot of shine. Look to textures to pair with any piece, be it patterns or basics.

This is your classic blazer, except it has a super slick collar done in leather. Wear it with literally anything. Think: the leather jacket, gone formal.

Brocade is trending right now. That means great patterns with great shine. I love the way this shows up on a pant; it’s just the right amount of something special without going overboard.

A skirt or dress in any metallic will be the perfect pick for a party. I like this skirt from ASOS because you can wear it with a strapless bodice or a long sleeved blouse, depending on how flirty you want to look.


Everyone is flocking to the trend of attaching plumes to everything for a festive and flirty look. Give this a try:

The perfect party frock. Black, so it is great for evening, and feathered for the right amount of fun. At $158 it’s extremely affordable too.

If a dress isn’t your thing, choose a fun, ombre feather skirt. This one’s affordable and can work with a blazer or collared shirt.

I am all about a feathered purse. This one from Nordstrom is so fun in red and is under $100, but it looks like it cost so much more!

I think adding feather lashes to an otherwise ordinary outfit is a fashion “do.” I would love to see someone rock these at a New Year’s party. 

Sometimes something as simple as a headband can completely elevate an outfit. This feather fascinator is affordable and can be used time and time again. Opt for black or another fun color to veer away from a bridal look.

I love the idea of this bodice. Wear with a pair of skinny jeans, heels and a blazer, and you’ll have a fun, sexy ensemble.


Your outfit is only as good as its accents. Add these into the mix to be even more festive.

I love these tights. You can never go wrong with black tights under a skirt or dress, and the dash of rhinestone is genius.

You may not need to wear gloves the whole evening (this isn’t the 1950s) but with these crystal embellished stunners, you may want to.

If you are absolutely against buying more clothing or buying anything “sparkle motion,” you can just get a statement piece of jewelry. This necklace from Tasha Bib is only $28 and it comes in a variety of colors, so you can match it to any outfit you want to party in!

Whether you want to try a trend or stick to a classic, make sure you wear what is most comfortable for you. When you are most confident, you have the most fun. Happy Holiday dressing!

Published in Fashion
Monday, 19 November 2012 09:14

Style | Accessories for the Office

Office Accessories // November 19, 2012

You already know how to coordinate your outfits to look like a power player, but what about your accessories? Focusing on the details can do a lot to complete the picture of a self-assured, capable business woman. Whether you’re climbing your way up the corporate ladder or hustling your way to the top as an entrepreneur, it’s important to look the part. Here are some items that can help you do just that:

Statement necklace

Don’t go unnoticed. Make a statement with a bold necklace like this one from Aldo. Made of metal but woven together in a braided design, the “Frigold” is a sure attention-getter. At only $18.00, it’s a steal!

Here’s another option for a statement necklace. While simple in design, this “Capri” necklace by True Birds draws the eye. Wear it with a button up blouse and a skirt and show them who means business.


I love catching a glimpse of sparkly studs. Tiny in size but big on classic style, these “Lubine” studs from Aldo are just plain cute. Add them to any outfit as a way to show off your style in a subtle way.

The Purse

This “East End” purse from JustFab is definitely a bag for a busy power player. The black faux leather, gold zippers and hardware demand attention. And the snakeskin pockets on the outside offer extra space for organization. The rich, deep blue lining on the inside also add to the expensive feel of this bag. But it’s actually a bargain at only $39.95, and no businesswoman should turn down a bargain!


Like a little color? How about these bangles by Vince Camuto? Bold but sleek, they will brighten up any outfit for $78.00. Not ready to commit to so much bang in your bangles? You can opt for a smaller set for only $48.00.

Subtle and chic or big and bold, don’t forget the details when planning your next outfit for the office!

Published in Fashion
Sunday, 07 October 2012 23:49

Lifestyle | How to Unplug on Vacation

October 8, 2012

Brace yourself. I am about to divulge my morning routine. Perhaps when I find my one and only, I’ll spend my first waking moments staring at his handsome face while he sleeps. Until then, here it goes…

6:30am: Alarm goes off.

6:31am: Hit snooze.

6:41am: Hit snooze.

6:51am: Open eyes. Check text messages.

6:52am: Check missed calls and voicemails.

6:53am: Check emails.

6:54am: Check Facebook.

6:55am: Check CNN

7:00am: Morning run.

So, at least I get a morning run in, right? It’s pretty sad that the early moments of my day are spent “plugging in.” Truth be told, the only time I’m not readily connected to the Internet or reachable via text is when I’m sleeping. It’s the same way for many of my friends. No longer can we just turn our computers off and walk away from the mesmerizing Internet. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, 90% of adult Americans have a cell phone, and 50% of them use it to browse the Internet. That, combined with the fact that more people are freelancing and becoming entrepreneurial, makes it almost impossible to disconnect. Who knows when they’ll receive an important email, a job offer, or god forbid, an emergency phone call?

Learning to unplug on a daily basis may be too large a task at the moment. But what about taking a periodic vacation? It should be easy to stop working, unplug and lay on the beach with a Mai Tai…right? Not necessarily. Checking email, texts and Facebook becomes such an ingrained habit that even a beautiful, sandy shore can’t distract you. So, for right now, here are a few suggestions on how to unplug during a vacation:

Alert Those Closest to You About Your Vacation and Why It’s Important

This goes for family as well as co-workers. Of course you’ll tell your mom, your best friend and your boss that you’re leaving town. But I’ve learned that dropping hints about said vacation and its importance will encourage them to leave you alone. Emphasize the aspects of your holiday that you’re looking forward to: relaxing, spending quality time with a loved one or exploring. When a couple goes on their honeymoon no one ever calls, texts or emails them. That’s because everyone understands the significance of the moment.

Set Auto-Response on Your Email

I’ve always believed you should never email when you can call. If someone has something important or urgent to discuss with you, they will call. If not, they will email. Setting up an auto-response about your limited availability will keep those eager for a quick response at bay. Auto-response will act like your personal assistant letting clients or co-workers know who to contact in your absence. Everyone else will just be inspired by your vacation.

Travel ‘Tech’ Light

Very rarely does anyone go on vacation without work to do. Figure out exactly what needs to get done during your precious down time and if you really need your iPhone, iPad and iBook. When I have writing to complete on vacation, I leave my computer at home and bring a journal. This helps reduce my urge to search for free Wi-Fi.

Schedule Time

OK. You have work to do and there’s no way around it. May I suggest that you schedule time to plug in? Give yourself a time limit. Maybe you’ll work online from 8am to10am. Whatever you choose, once your time is up, it’s up. Shut everything down and go enjoy your day of freedom!

Vacations and holidays are supposed to be set aside for relaxation, adventure and/or family time. We usually allow ourselves a short break in discipline. So, of course it should be easier to break free from our need to be accessible during our time off. With that said, I do believe it’s important that we learn to set boundaries at all times. For the record, last week I found myself without a cell phone for an ENTIRE day. At first, I was uneasy. By the end of the day, I was relieved. Who cares that I’d missed 5 phone calls and a couple of texts. At some point, I’d forgotten about my nagging need to hit refresh on my inbox, and I took the time to be thankful for and enjoy the sun, my freedom, and the company I kept.

Published in Lifestyle

September 26, 2011

Your mini-vacation to Vegas to celebrate insert-big-event-here with your friends is quickly approaching.

Your flight is purchased, the hotel suite is booked, and you’ve added some hot new heels to your collection that you can’t wait to show off. But there is one lingering conundrum that you haven’t addressed – letting your boss in on your big summer plans. In fact, even though you had lunch with your boss twice last week and have attended several meetings together, you’ve been deliberately avoiding the conversation.  As Lauryn Hill said, “It could all be so simple, but you’d rather make it hard….” Why is this? Why is it so difficult to request the time off that, quite frankly, you deserve for all of your professional dedication and efforts?

You are not alone in feeling this anxiety that causes you to delay this inevitable conversation.  I have been in the HR field for over seven years, and I still get nervous about requesting to use the annual vacation time that was promised to me when I signed my name on the dotted line of that offer letter. Everyone needs time off now and then—even your boss.  Still, it is never an easy task to have that awkward discussion. It all boils down to how you handle the situation, which is also a direct reflection of your level of professionalism.  

The following is a step by step guide to getting time off the right way: 

Notify your boss as soon as possible.   If you ask for time off the right way, your employer will have ample time to make the necessary arrangements for someone to cover for you in your absence.  

Enlist someone to help out.  Limit your boss’s anxiety about your departure by taking the initiative to identify someone in your department who can assist while you are M-I-A.  

Wrap up loose ends.  Complete as many projects as you can prior to your last day in the office. For any projects that you can’t finish, create a detailed list or spreadsheet clearly outlining their statuses and what will need to be done in your absence.  Review this document with your supervisor as well as with any co-worker(s) who will have your back while you are drinking mai-tai’s on the beach. God love them. 

Let everyone know. By spreading the word, you are also managing the expectations of everyone else.  If they have a question or concern about a work-related issue, they can be sure to get it addressed prior to your departure.  

Set an Out of Office on Email/Voicemail. These notifications should detail the dates you will be away and the contact with whom people can follow-up.  Demonstrating this level of preparedness is a great way to express your loyalty and dedication to your employer.  

Check in Occasionally. While we all dread checking the infamous Blackberry while vacationing, it is a good idea to check your email and respond to a few.  This will really convince your boss that you’d much rather be working than sunbathing on the beach.  Okay…maybe that’s a stretch, but at least it will show how much you value your role.  

Come back ready to work. Showing up a little early to the office on the day you return will allow you to catch up on emails and greet all of your colleagues with sun-kissed skin and a smile.  This will also give you the perfect opportunity to share some photos and brag about the amazing time you had in paradise before getting back to the grind.

As a professional, you’ve done your part in disclosing all information to your boss, so you can rest-assured that your time off schedule is confirmed.  Now you can focus on flirting with that fine bartender while relaxing at the pool with a clear “work free” conscience. Bottoms up!

Published in Career