Friday, March 29, 2013

Fashion Friday: Lace in the Workplace

Today's Fashion Friday post is dedicated to the trend I have been loving lately...LACE.  I think lace is great for so many different occasions.  It's a delicate, feminine fabric yet it is very strong and structured.  That's why they have made bras out of lace for so many years, it holds its form very well (and we could all use the extra support!).  You can find styles that are casual, dressy and business casual.  Here's how I wear lace in the workplace:

This set has so many of my favorites.  Represented here is not only all kinds of lace, but also animal print, peep toe shoes, pencil skirts, white pants, hot pink and turquoise accessories.   I love it all!

Of course, there needs to be some guidelines for wearing lace in the workplace.  Lace could go from classy to trashy pretty quickly if you're not careful.  Here are my guidelines:

  1. It should NEVER look like you are wearing lingerie in the office.  That is a big NO NO!  It needs to be clear that you are wearing a lace shirt and not that your bra is showing.
  2. Lace should be paired with structured pieces like pencil skirts or slacks.  Or lace should be on a tailored item, like this pencil shirt.  If you wear a lace full-skirt it may look like you are heading to church or a bridal shower.
  3. Limit yourself to one lace element.  A shirt, a skirt or maybe even a shift dress but don't overdo the lace and be sure to ground it with stronger fabrics or accessories.
One of my favorite blogs, MarionBerryStyle, did a trend of the month recently and here is what she said about lace.  Part of her trend of the month is to have people submit the ways they wear lace.  You can see all kinds of ideas here, even though they aren't all office appropriate you can still get some inspiration.  I spotted one of my favorite casual lace looks from Js Everyday Fashion blog.  See it here.

I was in Target the other day and found a white lace peplum top that I can't wait to pair with jeans for a casual look (like Js) or a bright pencil skirt for the office.

I'm desperately waiting for spring to arrive here in Blacksburg so I can finally start wearing some of the items off my Spring Wish List.  How are you wearing lace this season?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

What happened? My suit doesn't fit!

Have I mentioned I love my job??  This morning I conducted a practice interview with a sweet student who is preparing for her campus committee interviews in preparation for applying to medical school.  It's part of the process the students go through.  They interview with a faculty committee here who then writes a committee letter on behalf of the student.  It's a nerve-racking experience I'm sure.

At the end of the interview she stood up and asked if what she was wearing was okay.  She was supposed to wearing a suit but instead she was wearing black cotton slacks, a black cotton shirt and a black blazer.  She said, "I have a suit, the pants just don't fit anymore.  I didn't realize I was eating so much!".  And then tears filled up in her eyes.  I knew this was about more than pants that are too tight.  Then she said, "but I have two weeks before my interview so I will hopefully fit into my pants by then and I can wear my suit".

I asked her, "what will happen if you don't fit into that suit in two weeks"?  And she admitted that she did not know what she would do if that was the case.

Basically, if the suit pants don't fit her in two weeks she is going to be
1.  Stressed out and trying to pull together something to wear to the most important interview of her life (thus far) on short notice AND
2.  She will beating herself up over the fact that the pants still don't fit!  She doesn't need that negativity or stress in her life right now.

At this point I had her sit back down and take a deep breath.  I told her she did not need to spend the next two weeks worrying about whether or not she was going to fit into those suit pants!  She needs to focus on fine-tuning her interview responses, preparing for the interview and keeping up with her school work.  I told her she should dress for the body she has RIGHT NOW.  I suggested that she have two options for what she will wear to the interview.
Option #1 can be the suit.
Option #2 needs to be something that fits right now.

Ideally, she would have a suit that fits for her medical school interviews just like we encourage students to have suits for their job interviews.  It is the expectation, I know that.  But, money is an issue for her right now as she pays her way through school and knows the cost of attending medical school is daunting.  Buying another suit right now does not fit into her budget.  So, we spent the next 15 minutes going through her wardrobe and coming up with combinations she could try as an alternative to her suit.  We wanted to model the idea of a suit as closely as possible using the clothes she already has that are of a more dressy fabric.

We had the suit jacket, the black blazer, black dress pants and a few blouses to work with.  Here's what we came up with for "suit alternatives":

  1. Pair her suit jacket (black pin stripe) with black dress slacks, a white blouse and black heels.
  2. Pair her black blazer with black dress slacks and a bright colored blouse or top and black heels.  The bright color will hopefully draw attention to waist up.  Because the black blazer is more "casual" looking, when a bright top is added it won't look like she "failed" at a suit but rather that she is wearing slacks and blazer even though they are the same color. 

We came up with some great ideas and she felt much better about the process.  If the suit fits, then wear it.  If not, wear the second option which has been well thought out.  Hopefully, how she sells herself and presents her thoughts and ideas in that interview are going to be more important than whether she is wearing a suit or slacks and a blazer.  Either way, she will be presenting the best version of herself.  I feel sure she will do a great job in her committee interviews.

Thinking through "suit alternatives" can be helpful for students who are looking for internships and summer jobs as well.  Most students don't invest in a suit until their senior year, so considering alternatives and options is a great way to plan for interviews in advance.  Maybe you are just entering the workplace again after years out, or you're applying for a new position but haven't had to wear a suit in years, either way I hope these suggestions can help you as well.

I had the opportunity to, not only meet that amazing student who is preparing for medical school, but also ease her stress and worry over a really important experience in her life.  That's why I LOVE MY JOB!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Thanks for reading my blog!

It was just about this time one year ago that I finally decided to just "go for it" and start a blog.  I had been tossing around the idea for about 6 months and then I went to an advising conference session on using a blog to connect with your students.  That session gave me the courage to to give it a try.

It was scary and overwhelming to think about.  So many questions ran through my head:  Would I have time to keep it up?  Would anybody even read it?  Did I care if anyone read it?  Was I opening myself up for criticism on the advice I provide?  How do you even start a blog?  How do I learn HTML?  How do I make it ME?

Many of the answers came to me in the form of my wonderful intern, Christina.  She helped break it all down for me and taught me SO MUCH along the way.  I took the leap but she certainly helped me "build my wings on the way down".  I am now in the beginning stages of learning how to use Photoshop, I purchased my first DSLR camera, I know how to set up and make changes in my blog layout, and I've learned some great new design tricks.

I launched my blog six months ago and as of today I have had 55,090 hits!  That makes me excited.  I wanted to say "thank you" to all that have read my blog, taken the time to post or contact me.  Not only to I get to release my "creative energy" but through the past six months I have realized that I am reaching many more people than my students at Virginia Tech.  I'm happy to provide any assistance and advice I can about career development and style inspiration for professionals.

Keep checking back this week, I've been making some changes to my blog design.  Tell me what you think.

Thanks for helping me build my wings!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Top 4 Skills needed for career success in the 21st Century

I just finished reading an article called, Meeting the Needs of the Changing Workplace by Shirley Rowe, in the Spring 2013 edition of NCDA Career Developments.  It is great summary of "21st century skills" needed to be successful in today's workplace.  That prompted me to check out The Partnership for 21st Century Skills which provides a framework for teaching and learning these skills.

Generally, there are different types of skills that help us be successful in our work.  First you have "content/knowledge skills".  These are the skills that we gain through academic study and learning in a particular discipline (ie:  knowledge you gain from your major or just general reading, writing and math skills, or other skills like counseling, computer, etc).  The other types of skills are often referred to as "transferable skills".  These are the types of skills we pick up from one job or activity that could be transferred into another work environment.  Rowe suggests that there is another set of skills called "employability skills" which prepare us for success in the 21st century workplace.

Here are the 4 Cs:  Skills for Career Success in the 21st Century:

  1. Collaboration and teamwork:  build collaborative relationships; work effectively with diverse people and teams; seek consensus and compromise to reach a goal; share responsibilities; make contributions; manage conflict
  2. Communication:  articulate your thoughts and ideas using oral, written and non-verbal communication skills; listen and decipher meaning; possess public speaking skills; write clearly; use multiple media and technologies; communicate in diverse environments; use communication to inform, instruct, motivate and persuade
  3. Creativity and innovation:  utilize idea creation techniques; create new and worthwhile ideas; elaborate, refine, analyze and evaluate ideas; communicate ideas to other effectively; be open to other perspectives and incorporate input and feedback; demonstrate originality in work
  4. Critical thinking and problem solving:  use various types of reasoning in situations; analyze how parts of a whole interact with each other; effectively analyze and evaluate evidence, arguments, claims and beliefs and alternative points of view; synthesize and interpret information to make workplace decisions; ask questions for clarity and look for better solutions
There are so many opportunities to develop these skills while in college such as internships and co-ops, volunteer work, leadership in student organizations and course projects to name a few.  Maybe you are already in a full-time position but you are looking for opportunities for advancement. You can hone these skills by taking on new project areas at work, getting involved in community and professional organizations, volunteering, or seeking out opportunities for professional development in these skill areas.

This reinforces the idea that "soft skills" or Emotional Intelligence are the big factors for your career success in the 21st century workplace.  Many people have the "content/knowledge" skills but these "employability" skills are the ones that really make you stand out and move ahead.

What are you going to do to compete in the 21st century workplace?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fashion Friday: Khaki pants, what are these?

I received a comment from a reader on my SMART casual post.  She is just starting an internship for a non-profit organization and some of her time at work is going to be spent in a warehouse.  She had several questions so I decided I would devote this Fashion Friday post to answering her questions.

Here they are:

1. What types of shoes would be appropriate for this internship (which is for a nonprofit organization)? I doubt that I can wear my casual knee-high boots to work and since she specified no heels or flats, I'm really confused. 
2. What would be a typical outfit that I can wear? Some of the internship will take place at the warehouse (mentioned above) so I can't see myself wearing skirts or dresses or anything fancy. 
3. What are dressy jeans?

Her first question was actually in the post and it was my favorite.  She was told to wear khaki pants to which she asked, "what are these?".  Well, khaki is a color (a light, yellowish brown) and "khaki pants" is generally referring to a style of pants that is more casual and is made from a cotton, twill or wool fabric in this color.  I believe they originated from military uniforms.  You can also get these casual slacks in other colors.

Here's what I came up with as some suggestions for you.  Everything I picked out here I spotted at Target, Old Navy,  Rack Room Shoes or TOMS

  1. Shoes:  I picked out some clogs and loafers that were a little more substantial if you will be working in a warehouse.  I would also suggest some TOMS if you like that look.
  2. Tops:  Here I have picked out a cardigan for layering, a round neck shirt and your basic structured blouse.  You could mix and match these with different colored pants.
  3. Pants:  These are cotton and twill casual pants in black, khaki and grey.  Again, these would work with a variety of tops and with the different shoes I have picked out.  If it were me, I would not go with skinny pants.  They are even more casual and youthful looking and they would not look good with the more substantial shoes.
  4. Outerwear:  Find a great white blazer.  It will look great with all the pants and even jeans and it's a great layering piece.  I love this red trench coat I found at Target.  It looks much more polished than a fleece zip up.  That's one of my pet peeves - seeing girls put the effort into the outfit and ruin the look with her North Face jacket.  I like North Face jackets, just not with skirts and dress pants.
Finally, I would consider "dressy jeans" to be dark washed straight leg or boot cut jeans that don't have holes or extreme color fading in them.  For example:

From Buckle:  BKE Harper Boot:

Or these from Hudson:  Signature Bootcut:

I have to say that I don't typically wear khakis to work, so I had to look around a lot to put the looks together.  They just really aren't "my style" and I feel under-dressed in my office when I wear them (I feel a little bit like a camp counselor because I usually have to wear a Career Services polo shirt with them) but they do look really cute on a person who wears that style.  I would definitely avoid buying any khakis with pleats in the front, they just make you look frumpy.  If I had to wear khakis I would probably pick out some like this.

I have a lot of friends that are teachers and I notice that many of them wear clogs like the black ones shown in the picture.  They must be comfortable because a lot of people wear them who are on their feet all day.  Again, none of these shoes are really "my style" because they are more of a casual look and my office is a business casual setting.  I like flats, heels, boots and sandals but if you can't wear those I think these are a nice alternative.

Good luck with your internship!  

How would you style khakis in the office?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Where the magic happens

I was thinking about this today during my "lunch" hour that I actually spent in a Pilates class.  I started doing Pilates in January this year and it was definitely not in my "comfort zone".  I've worked out most of my adult life and I actually enjoy working out.  Most days I look forward to it.  I like to work out because it gives me 60 minutes to rehash or decompress from a busy day.  It gives me some "Becca" time before I head home to my busy family life.  Mostly, it gives me a sense of accomplishment and at least one thing I can check off my list of things I started and actually completed that day.

But Pilates was a new kind of work out for me and out of my "comfort zone", literally.  Literally, it hurts and it's not comfortable!  But something magical is happening.  My clothes are fitting looser (no major difference on the scale, but something is definitely different), I feel more relaxed and flexible, and my aching knees and hips aren't aching as much anymore.  Positions I could barely hold for 5 seconds back in January I can now do.  It's like a personal challenge every week to see what moves I can do today that I couldn't do last week.  I compete with myself more than I ever have with anyone else.

This reminds me of all the times I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something that impacted my life.  I've always been a little bit of a risk-taker.  I remember even as a little girl wanting to ride the scariest roller coasters and the fastest rides.  I enjoy a good adrenaline rush.  I do think that stepping out of your comfort zone is easier for risk-takers but I think it's something everyone needs to do.  When you really push and force yourself to do something different, meet someone new, hone a new skill, or take on a new challenge you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.

I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone a few times this year and I'm so glad I did.  I've been serving as president of a state professional organization and through this experience I have practiced some new skills and learned a lot about myself.  I took on the task of re-decorating my sorority house and putting my style and tastes out there for public opinion and I think it turned out beautiful.  I started this blog and although writing, designing and offering career advice are really not out of my comfort zone, sharing them with the world is.  But, it has been a very rewarding experience and a great creative outlet for me.  I'm so glad I went for it!

If you think about it, our comfort zones are actually very small and there is a whole big world filled with people and experiences that are way outside of our comfort zones.  Often we have to leave the comfort zone to see what this life has in store for us.

By the way, I'm not kidding you, but as I am finishing this post Brad Paisley's song "Southern Comfort Zone" is blasting from my radio on my desk.  Life is funny, isn't it?

How do you step out of your comfort zone to find some new magic?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

12 Tips on How to Hunt for a Job

I found this great infographic on Pinterest here.  It appears it was put together by
I agree with almost all the great tips and advice here.  Here are my thoughts on a couple of the tips that I don't agree with:

Tip #1:  Make a visual resume.  This tip suggests that text resumes are out.  I would argue that most recruiters and HR managers would say that is not true.  I think there is definitely a place for visual resumes in today's job search, but I don't think it is everywhere or useful for every job seeker.  Depending on your field and background then a visual resume might be exactly what you need but don't delete that text version of your resume just yet.

Tip #12:  Pay someone for your job search, let the pros handle it.  Again, I disagree on this one.  Search firms do work well for some seasoned, executive level or highly technical job seekers but for most of us we can handle it on our own.  After all, you are the "pro" of your own job search.  You know what you want and where you will be a good match.  I am an educator after all and I believe it is more empowering to TEACH someone a process rather than do it for them.  It's the old "teach a man to fish" philosophy.  Job seekers should certainly seek out the help, advice and expertise of others but ultimately they should do the hard work themselves and revel in the success and accomplishment when they receive a job offer.

Other tips I would add:

  • Networking is the #1 job search method so why not use the #1 professional networking tool out there:  LinkedIn!  Use other social media to your advantage as well.
  • Identify 3-5 job listing websites that you visit regularly.  1-2 should be general sites that have all kinds of job listings and 2-5 should be niche sites that have jobs just for your field or industry.
  • Determine what you are looking for.  If you're not sure, take some time to reflect and go through the self-assessment process.  A career advisor/counselor/coach will be able to assist you with the process.

Any other tips you would add to this list?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Southern Charm: Always be ready with a toast

I pinned this from Southern Living Pinterest board today.  I loved it for many reasons.  I'm sort of known as the "toaster" in my group of friends.  Most of the time it's just a silly rhyme but it's a fun and memorable way to honor the moment.  My dad was great at giving toasts, he could make you laugh, cry and even think.  He was definitely a very "charming" man and could capture the moment and the audience in just the right way.  I could only dream of being that good one day.  My brother inherited that gene.  A great toast is a mark of your wit, charisma, charm and ability to influence people.  The ability to deliver an impromptu (or planned) speech that connects with the people in the room and makes a person, people, or an occassion feel special is a gift but I would also argue that it is a skill and talent that can be practiced and perfected.  Communicating effectively, taking command of a room and showing respect are the types of talents and skills that impact your success in career and life.  They also give you that undeniable and sought after "southern charm" that, in my opinion, is the sign of true lady and gentleman.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Fashion Friday: Doctor Rocker

Recently, I received a comment on my Business Casual post from someone who was getting ready to start an internship as a psychologist and researcher.  She was looking for some advice on how she might start to build a working wardrobe and she described her style as "rocker".  I thought she sounded pretty cool!  I made some recommendations on how she might get started that you can read in the comment section of that post.  I suggested that she look at Victoria's Secret and Express for some inspiration.  I think both of these stores have a little more "edgy" look to their business attire.

I decided I would give her a few visuals to consider.  I'm not sure if she is actually a Dr. or PhD candidate but I thought "Doctor Rocker" sounded fun for this post title.  So here are some of my ideas:

Since she mentioned that she was just starting to build a working wardrobe and money would be a consideration I put together a mix and match collection.  I can come up with at least 10-12 different outfits from these pieces.  One pair of black pumps will work with all the different combinations.   The white cropped jacket will work with all three bottoms as well.  The bright blue peplum shirt will work with all three bottoms and the navy blue shirt and teal shirt will work with either the grey pants or grey skirt.  The yellow belt would  also look cute with the grey pants and navy blue blouse.  The animal print skirt is edgy and less conservative but still office appropriate.  The white purse matches all three outfits and compliments the white jacket.

I also found these looks from Victoria's Secret:

I found these ideas at Express:

Business casual doesn't have to be boring and you can add your own touch to it by mixing business pieces with your own favorite items:  jewelry, scarves, shoes and other items from your favorite stores.  That's the key to staying true to your own personal style.  Have fun with it!

How would you do the "rocker" look in the office?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Quote of the Week

Such simple, yet honest words.  Success and accomplishments in life take hard work and dedication.  Often times if it comes too easily we may not really appreciate what we have.  I've worked with a lot of college athletes throughout the years and I know that although many of them were born with exceptional, natural talents, every single one of them has worked very hard to capitalize on that talent and do something special with it.

What are your natural talents and how can you combine them with some hard work to accomplish something amazing?  I'm trying to figure that out myself right now.  I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

12 Traits of a Successful Resume, plus my 2 cents!

I really liked this infographic with resume tips that I found on Pinterest recently.  The original source appears to be, but unfortunately the pin does not direct back to the original source. I like it because I agree with all 12 traits of a successful resume.  So, why re-invent the wheel here??  I would like to add a couple of thoughts to this list of traits.

  1. I absolutely agree that you need to look at a job description as you start to craft your resume for that position.  Although you may have one "go to" resume, it is important to remember you will need to tweak it for each specific position.  Many people have more than one resume for different career fields or types of positions they are applying for.  The job description is your guide to what you want to highlight on your resume from your previous experiences.
  2. "Related Experience" includes MANY things.  I encourage students to have a "related experience" section on their resume to pull all of those experiences together that best support the objective or goal for that resume.  For example:  involvement and leadership in a student organization might fall under this section, undergraduate research and course projects could fall into this section along with the obvious jobs, internships and volunteer work.  You can create a different section for "other employment" that is not directly related to the position you are currently applying for.
  3. Along with language skills, you should also include computer and technical skills which are much sought after in the current job market.
Looking for more advice on writing a resume?  Check out the VT Career Services website.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Fashion Friday: What I Wore

I've received several emails from readers looking for style advice and suggestions on what to wear for specific situations and I'm delighted to try and help out.  It got me to thinking that maybe it was time for me to share an example of what I actually wear to work.  I liken it to an interview...I tell students how important it is for them to demonstrate their skills and experiences in an interview rather than just communicate the information.  (It's like storytelling, but I will save that for another post.)  So maybe I need to demonstrate what I actually wear to work rather than just show you pictures of things I like.  If you see what I actually wear, you will know that I follow my own advice.

I had my daughter take this picture of me when I got home from work yesterday.  It's certainly not a great shot, but you will get the idea. (Blogging 101: Invest in a good camera and learn how to take pictures.  I've been researching cameras but I haven't pulled the trigger on one yet.  Also, taking full length pictures is actually very hard, I am so impressed with the photography from the blogs I follow.)

Here's what I wore to work yesterday:

It's hard to tell in this picture but my pants are actually a deep purple and my belt is teal snake skin.  The teal was a great pop of color on this otherwise neutral outfit.  I like the purple pants and think they are a nice alternative to basic black.  The blazer is a soft grey tweed and I am wearing a short sleeved white shirt with a ruffle around the collar.  This is my pick on the "basic white button up" wardrobe essential.  I am carrying my new Spring bag that I got from TJ Maxx this weekend. (Check another item off my Spring Wish List.)  It's a London Fog and it's a beautiful shade of green, it's somewhere between emerald and teal and I think  it will  look great with so many different colors.  I layered my necklaces that I got from Silpada, one is a pearl, silver and glass beaded choker and the other is a silver chain with a pearl drop.  I always wear silver or white gold jewelry and Silpada sells beautiful silver jewelry that I love.  I completed the outfit with a pair of grey suede, round-tipped pumps.  I consider this a basic business casual look, sometimes my style is a little more edgy or trendy (but still office appropriate) and other times it is more formal, dressy and classic.  It's nice to have different looks for different occasions at work.

A basic white shirt is a great stand alone piece and layering option.  The classic white shirt is great to pair with cardigans and blazers, skirts, jeans and shorts.  I found these on-line at The Limited:  

Classic white button-up:

Weightless Sateen Shirt
Short-sleeved shell:
Charmeuse-Front Cap-Sleeve Top
Sleeveless blouse:

Lace-Trimmed Sheer Tie TopLace-Trimmed Sheer Tie Top

Other style ideas for a white shirt I found on Pinterest:

From Southern Grace and Sunshine Tumblr


From Outfit Posts blog (just found this blog and I love it so far)
Outfit Posts: outfit post: white button down, grey pencil skirt, gold belt, pink chunky bead necklace

So, that's a typical work outfit for me.  What's a typical look for you?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My whole life changed 14 years ago!

This is what happened that changed my life and my career:

Miss Grace - aka -"Gracie Pot" Scott was born and two of my life dreams were realized:

  1. I was going to be a mom
  2. I had a sweet, beautiful little girl to share my life with

Today, Grace turns 14 years old!  Look at her now.  She's taller than me and smarter than me!  She is athletic, artistic, funny, sweet and kind.  I couldn't ask for more.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRACE!!!

But having that sweet little girl changed my life forever.  It started me down the path of being a "working mom" which has been, without question, the hardest thing I have ever done.  Although it has been hard it has also been very challenging, rewarding and exciting.

Here's how my day went yesterday:
6:15 AM - make sure Grace is up
6:45 AM - make sure Grace gets on the bus
Take a shower
8 AM - Head to work
Work til noon
12 noon - Go to gym during lunch
Return to work until after 5 PM
5 PM - Stop by a store to buy my niece a birthday present
go to grocery store
head home and unload groceries
grab dinner
7:30 PM - head out to run errands and shop for Grace's birthday
10:00 PM - make brownies, pack lunches, fold some laundry
12 AM - crash!  wake up at 6:15 and do it all over again

I'm blogging about this today because I believe as young professionals (and not so young, in my case) we  need to be aware of the challenges and issues that face working moms.  This is not a commentary about staying home vs. working full-time, I am specifically talking about working because that has been MY EXPERIENCE.  Having children impacts the course of your career.  I have not doubt that it impacts promotional paths, salaries and probably the rate or even age at which women earn PhDs.  When you are in your 30s you are laying the ground work for your career.  If you are having and raising children it slows the process down.  Some women take time off for children and then struggle to find their way back into the working world, many women continue to work but struggle to find the balance in their life between being a full-time mom and a full-time employee.  Both need your full-time attention.  I remember being at the pool one day and a "stay at home" mom asked me, "Do you work or are you a full-time mom?".  It flew all over me!  I politely responded, "Both - I work as a career counselor AND I'm a full-time mom.  My kids don't disappear when I go into the office, I'm still their mom."   I was very lucky to take the summers off to spend with my kids for 10 years.  I wouldn't trade those summers for anything!

Research suggests that Millenials are getting married later and having children later.  Maybe the women of this generation will have more time to establish their careers before they have children than I did.  I showed up for my first day of work at Career Services in August and had to tell my brand new supervisor that I was going to need two months off in March because I was pregnant!  Not the conversation I wanted to have to have with my new boss on my first day of work.  But regardless of how established you are in your career, having a baby changes everything!  And the tricky thing about it is that you can not predict or plan for how you are going to react and respond to having a child.  What you think you will do right now, may change once that little bundle of joy arrives.

I work with a lot of college students who talk with me about their future plans and dreams.  Many young women plan to stay home with children.  I have to gently ask them, "What does your future look like if it turns out you will be working?" and many have not considered that possibility.  Some will tell me they want to work for five years and then take 10-15 years off to raise children and then go back to work.  I tell them that's a nice plan and they need to be aware that when they enter the workforce again, it's going to look different.  Some will continue to work full-time and struggle with finding the balance between mom and career.

Regardless of whether you work full-time or not - I encourage women to stay interested in their passions and stay active doing things.  Look at all the amazing blogs out there being written by mom's who are sharing their hobbies and passions with the world.  Some are getting paid for blogging and others do it just because they love it.  Women get much needed self-confidence and self-esteem from working and volunteering.  My kids get to see me as more than "their mom".

I'm proud that I have been a working mom.  I love my job and the work I get to do.  I appreciate the independence and self-confidence it gives me and that I can show my 14 year old daughter that she has a big, full life ahead of her.  Being a working mom is HARD but it's worth it!

So, that's how my life changed 14 years ago.  What events have shaped your life?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fashion Friday: Spring Break Style

It's about that time:  SPRING BREAK 2013.  Virginia Tech will start Spring Break here in a week.  Although I am not going on Spring Break, here's what I would be packing if I was:

  1. A cute strapless dress.  I'd like one you can dress up or down.  I love the chevron print on this dress.  I spotted it on Pinterest.
  2. Hot pink shorts!  They will look great with a tan. 
  3. Boho white strapless shirt that will look amazing with a little sun.  Again, spotted on Pinterest which led to a dead link but I'm on the hunt for one.
  4. Sunscreen.  Please always wear sunscreen, especially you young ones.  Don't mess up your beautiful skin with sun damage.
  5. Monogrammed Hokie koozie.  How cute.  From Haymarket Designs.
  6. Colorful sandals.  These are Michael Kors.
  7. A beautiful turquoise ring.  I love turquoise, especially in the summer.  This ring is from Silpada.
  8. A monogrammed beach bag.  This one is from Marley Lily.
  9. Ruffled red bathing suit.  I love the ruffles this year.  I found this on Pinterest but it led a dead link.  
  10. Rayban Polarized Aviators.  I really want a pair of these.
  11. A little silver chain with your initial.  I love the way it looks laying across a tan collar bone.  Just perfect!  This one if from I Love Jewelry.  
Don't forget plenty of water and advil!  What else would you add to your Spring Break packing list?

casual suits for men,casual suit,mens casual suits,casual suit jackets,casual suit jacket,mens casual linen suits,casual mens suits,casual shoes, casual shoe, casual big and tall, big and tall casual suits for men,casual suit,mens casual suits,casual suit jackets,casual suit jacket,mens casual linen suits,casual mens suits,casual shoes, casual shoe, casual big and tall, big and tall