Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Virginia Tech Co-op & Internship Job Fair: February 19-20

Hey Hokies:  Looking to get some great experience this summer or Fall semester?  Check out the Connection Job Fair on February 19-20 in Squires Student Center.  Tuesday, Feb. 19 is the fair day and Wednesday, February 20 is the interview day.  Remember, career-related experience is one of the top 3 things an employer looks for on a candidates resume.  Make sure you have some!!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Zac Brown Concert kicks off a great weekend!

On Friday night I got to see one of my all time favorite bands in concert.  I drove through a snowstorm to see Zac Brown Band and it was amazing.  I was about 10 people back on the floor and had a great view of the whole show.  Here's a couple of pictures:

I absolutely love ZBB.  This is the third time I have seen them and I would definitely go any chance I had.

After the show we ran into Blackberry Smoke who opened up for ZBB.  They were just hanging out in the pit listening to ZBB.  Here's a picture of me and my hubby with a couple of band members.  I think it was the guitarist and the guy who plays keyboard.  If you like Southern Rock you will love Blackberry Smoke.  I've seen them twice and I think they are great.  They are a lot like Lynrd Skynrd, The Allman Brothers, and even Kid Rock.

On Saturday night I got to watch my nephew, Brandon, and the Blacksburg High School varsity basketball team win an amazing game against our district rivals Christiansburg.  We were actually down by close to 25 points at one time.

And finally, on Sunday I celebrated Bid Day with Kappa Delta as we welcomed 54 new members into our sorority.  It's so much fun watching girls meet new sisters who will be their friends for a lifetime.  I just love it!

Hope you had a great weekend too!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fashion Friday: College Casual Inspires Business Casual

People always seem to be in search of eternal youth and I'm here to tell you I have found it!!  It lives in college towns all across America.  As the years pass by, I keep getting older and my students stay the same age!!  They somehow continue to remain between the ages of 18-24.  It doesn't quite seem fair but there are a lot of benefits to being surrounded by eternal youth.  My students keep me young, keep me up-to-date on current trends, and can always help with with my computer and technology problems.  They also generate some great fashion inspiration.
Look familiar??  Black leggings, brown riding boots and shirts seem to be the uniform for many college women these days. I think it is a very cute look, but obviously not office appropriate.  Recently, I took this style inspiration and with a few simple substitutions made the look business casual.  Here is something similar to what I wore:

What current casual trends have you made office appropriate?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Great Furniture Finds

I have spent the last three months planning a renovation of the Kappa Delta house on campus.  I have spent the last three weeks executing that plan and working very hard to get the house completed before the sisters returned to campus for Spirit Week and Formal Recruitment.  This involved many sleepless nights and worry over whether or not it would all come together.  It was an ambitious renovation, to say the least.  We installed new flooring, wallpaper, and window treatments in the foyer and purchased new furnishings for the foyer and small TV/ study room.  I had to deal with fire doors and codes, angry wallpaper installers, and layers of University bureaucracy to get it done.  Not to mention the University was closed for almost 10 days during this whole process.  Renovating your own home is one thing but having to work  There are so many details and logistics that go into a renovation and if you know me then you know I am not really good at logistics!  I tend to be more of the creative and big picture type.

The creative part was LOTS of fun for me.  It was so nice to spend someone else's money for a change!  We were on a pretty tight budget so I had to do a lot of bargain shopping to make my vision a reality.  During this process I discovered a couple of great design sources. 

The first is  I ordered a loveseat and buffet from here.  I found great prices and the delivery fee is only $2.95 on any purchase.  It's amazing.  Here's what I found:

My husband had to put together the buffet, but it looks really great in the house with the new floors.  The loveseat came fully assembled.

The other great find was Joss & Main.  This website hosts various boutiques that are only open for a limited time.  Most of the items come in at great prices.  But, you have to be willing to commit to what you want quickly because they run out of items quickly and the boutiques only stay open for a couple of days.

I also discovered West Elm.  This is a great place to find Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma items, as well as others.

Of course, I did a lot of shopping and Pier 1 and TJ Maxx and found some great deals. When you live in a small town your options are limited.  I don't usually feel comfortable buying furniture on-line when I haven't seen it first, but I had to get over that fear to find the pieces that I wanted.  I purchased throw pillows for the foyer, chapter room and TV room from Pier 1 and Target.  I'll post pictures once recruitment is finished and the house is put back together.  I'm just waiting on some rugs and trying to find the perfect study table and then the project will be complete!

Are you an on-line shopper for furniture?  If so, where do you shop?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fashion Friday: Business Casual Animal Print

Animal print is a classic trend as far as I'm concerned.  When done right, I absolutely love it.  When done wrong, it scares me. I bought my first pair of zebra print mole hair shoes about 5 or 6 years ago in San Antonio.  I was there for a work conference and I wore them the whole week I was there.  I still love them even today!  They are kitten heel, sling backs and they look great with pants, jeans, skirts and even dressy shorts.  I have always loved sassy shoes and these are so much fun.  These shoes were my first step in working animal print into my wardrobe.  I now have several pairs of animal print shoes and I've added more animal  prints in the form of belts, scarves, cardigans and even an animal print pencil skirt.

Today's Fashion Friday post is all about how to make animal prints polished, professional and work appropriate.

Example #1:  a fun leopard print scarf paired with some classic patent leather peep toe shoes
Example #2:  a classy zebra skinny belt with pops of color in the teal shoes and coral necklace
Example #3:  a pair of leopard print heels paired with classic jewelry and a red belt for color

If you are considering adding animal print to your business casual wardrobe, here are a few tips:

1.  In the office, a little animal print goes a long way.  Consider wearing your animal prints in the form of accessories like scarves, belts, shoes, glasses and bags.

2.  Pair your animal prints with classic cuts and neutral or solid colors.  Since most animal prints are also neutral, consider adding some pops of color with accessories and jewelry.

3.  Don't mix animal print patterns.  SCARY!

4.  If you're unsure if you can pull it off, start incorporating animal prints into your wardrobe slowly.  Start with a scarf hanging off your purse or bag.  Once your comfortable with the animal print accessories, consider coming on stronger with an animal print skirt or top.  Be sure to pair them with classic neutrals.

5.  Don't wear your animal print too tight, you may risk looking cheap.  Again, SCARY!

Today in the office I spotted some great animal prints done right.  See my co-worker Katie and her animal print belt:

And these fun zebra print rain boots:

(Always a good idea to keep some rain boots in the office in Blacksburg)

If you scroll through my Fashion Friday posts you will see that I love animal prints.  I put outfits together with animal print heels, flats, trench coats, belts, and clutches.  I think it's both classy and fun.

How do you wear animal prints in the office?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Quote of the Week: Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.

This quote spoke to me this morning because it is the start of a new year and a new academic semester.  I  always set goals for both my personal and professional life this time of year.  A lot of people call them "New Years Resolutions" but I think of them as "reconfirmations" of what I still want to direct my time and energy towards.  I still have MANY things I want to accomplish in my life so I will set goals for myself this year.  This reminds me that I just have to try!!

Do you set goals for yourself each year?  How do you motivate yourself to get started and just do it?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Magic Inside the Make-up Bag

I remember when I was a teenager a wanted to be a "Clinique Girl".  That's what I called the girls who worked at the Clinique counter at Belk.  I don't really wear that much make-up (I can't ever make it look like it does in the pictures) but I love it.  I love the colors, the textures and the way it's all packaged.  I love to peek inside a friend's make-up bag to see what products she uses.  I have a couple of friends who I often get "product" advice and recommendations from.  There is so much to choose from these days it can be overwhelming.  Here is a peak inside my make-up bag and Christina's.  Notice that Christina's bag doesn't have any wrinkle and age defying products in it, but mine sure does!!  

I've been on the hunt for the perfect make-up bag also.  At home I have it all organized in a drawer in my bathroom, but when I take it on the road for a trip or to the gym to get ready it is always just a huge mess.  I throw it all in a make-up bag and I end up having to take it all out to sort through it.  I'm really looking for a bag that is organized and has compartments.  Here is what I have found that I like:


I may have to see if I can make one myself.  I'd like to see if I can use the ideas from these but make it a little cuter and more colorful.  I'd love to monogram one like this.

What's in your make-up bag?  Tell me about your favorite products.  I may have to add them to my bag.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fashion Friday: EMERALD 2013 Color of the Year

EMERALD has been named the 2013 color of the year and I could not be more excited!  I love emerald green.  It's one of my favorite colors to wear.  A few years ago I had an emerald green bathing suit from Old Navy that was probably one of my favorite bathing suits I ever wore.  Emerald green looks great in all seasons, works lovely with pearls and adds a happy saturation of color to everything.  I'm excited to see emerald green hit the stores throughout the year.  

How do you feel about EMERALD as the color of 2013??

Friday, January 4, 2013

Fashion Friday: Define Your Style in 6 Easy Steps

Defining your style is the first step in building a wardrobe you will love.  But, that is easier to do for some than for others.  I have been looking at fashion magazines and style watching since I was a little girl.  My favorite "toy" growing up was old school Fashion Plates.  Remember these...

I would make different fashion illustrations and then hang them up all over my bedroom.  I would have the kids from the neighborhood over and we would play "store" in my room and walk-in closet.  I have always loved clothes and getting dressed up for all different occassions.  As I grew older I was surprised to learn that not everyone puts that much thought and effort into getting dressed everyday.  I couldn't believe that some girls don't like to shop!!  Their minds are occupied with other pursuits, and that is just fine.  But for someone who doesn't enjoy shopping or putting a lot of effort into her wardrobe the idea of defining a "personal style" is overwhelming.  Of course, some woman do care about their style but may be going through a "life change" that is challenging their current style.  For example:  post-pregnancy body change, new job, turning a certain age, losing weight, etc. Some life changes make us re-think and re-work our style.  That is normal.  In my opinion, your style should always be evolving because you are always evolving as a person.  I know I have had plenty of hits and misses over the years.  Haven't we all?

I am no style expert, that's for sure!  Although I have watched "What Not to Wear" since the very beginning (pre-Clinton Kelly believe it or not), so I think that should give me some credentials (ha ha).  I have also been working in the field of career and personal development for over 15 years and have given college students plenty of advice on interview and work attire.  The most important thing is to stay true to yourself and what you will feel comfortable wearing (especially for interviewing and working).

Here are my 5 steps to defining your STYLE:

1.  Pick someone's style that you admire and like and watch the person and pay attention to what she wears and how she wears it.  If she is a celebrity you can stalk her on the internet, if she is someone you know personally just pay attention to what she wears and take note of the little details that make it her "style".  If you feel comfortable, ask her to go shopping with you.  See where she shops and how she puts her pieces together.  I love the style of both Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.  I always take note of what they are wearing and how how they are wearing it.

2.  Identify a couple of designers or stores that have the style of clothes you like to wear and visit them often on-line and in person.

3.  Style watch on line.  If you haven't discovered Pinterest, Polyvore, and Fashion Blogs, you need to!  My top 5 favorite fashion blogs are:
Js Everyday Fashion:  she shares an inspiration photo and then her take on the outfit.  She posts everyday.
What I Wore:  former fashion designer, currently is a style blogger and writer
Leopard and Lillies:  former buyer and current fashion blogger, photography is beautiful
Marion Berry Style:  blogs about style for the everyday busy woman and affordable fashion
Putting Me Together:  this adorable young woman is documenting the development of her own personal style and working what's already in her closet

4.  Don't worry about trends and buying designer clothes.  Buying expensive clothes doesn't make you stylish, how you work what you have makes you stylish.  Just because something is trending doesn't necessarily mean it matches your personal style.  For example:  Aztec Sweaters - they are trending now but I will never wear one.  It doesn't match my style and I would silly in it.  Don't fall into the trap of buying stuff just because it is "in" but you don't feel comfortable in it, but keep style watching so you can stay current in the pieces that do match your style.  Style is mixing your wardrobe staples and investment pieces with fun finds from all kinds of different places.  Your style does not have a price tag.  A stylish woman can look like a million bucks in a $50 outfit.  It's all about how she works it!

5.  Use accessories to define your style.  I grew up in a small college town and we literally only had three stores to shop in:  Belk, JC Penny and Sears (I'M NOT KIDDING).  So, most of the girls in my school were all wearing the same clothes because there weren't a lot of choices and there was no such thing as "on-line shopping".  The only way to make the outfit look different was with accessories. That's where my love for shoes and bags developed and when I started wearing scarves and hats.  Now, I am obsessed with jewelry too.  The best thing about accessories is that they always fit!!!  Accessories can completely make your outfit and help you define your own style.

6.  Don't be a cookie cutter!  Add one piece that is "YOU".  Your own personal touches are what define your style.  Whatever it is, own it!

(By the way, I think these same steps can be used with home design and decorating to define your living style.)

So, start exploring who you are what you like.  Inside of me lives a little bit of a preppy sorority girl, a wanna-be rock star, and a classy Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn.  I try to channel all of these into my own personal style.

What defines your style?  Would you add any tips to my list?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Happy 2013!!!  I wish I was spending the new year on a beach somewhere but I am actually here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia freezing my buns off.   Winter is about to set in here in Blacksburg for the next few LONG, COLD months so this picture makes me "happy, happy"!

This morning I made this French Toast Bake that I got off Pinterest several months ago from Rach's Blog.  
It was delicious!!  I made it with Portuguese Sweet Bread that I picked up from Our Daily Bread bakery in Blacksburg and cut it into thick slices.  It is very rich and sweet so you definitely have to serve it with something savory.  I made sausage balls also.

After that I went to hang out with some great friends and watched Georgia beat Nebraska - Go Dawgs!!!  I'm getting ready to watch to Orange Bowl now.  I love laying around all day eating and watching football.

Do you have any New Year's Day traditions?

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