Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How I survive 9-5: a cubicle tour

Something a little different on the blog today! No outfit to share. Instead, I have something else that's very important to have dressed up: my cubicle at work.

When I graduated college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. None. For all those of you who haven't graduated yet and don't have an idea of what kind of job you want to have...well, it's not necessarily a path I would recommend, but it has definitely worked out in my case. I majored in something I loved - creative writing - and was lucky enough to find a position that used those skills. I was (and still am) very grateful for that.

However, I never really saw myself as a 9-to-5er. It's great for paying bills, but it has certainly been an adjustment. So that's why I took it upon myself to make sure my cubicle was as welcoming and cozy as possible. We recently moved offices, and though my cube is ever evolving, I thought it would be nice to give you a little snapshot of what I see 40 hours a week. Without further ado:

Pictured, in no particular order: my niece and nephew, Chris and me, my sisters and me, an icon, various vintage photos from antique stores

If there's one area that's lacking in my cubicle (if you can call an almost-completely-covered cubicle lacking), it's the personal photos. I never really realized before, but since almost all of my photos are digital, I almost never have physical copies! It's a sad state of affairs, and one that I definitely hope to mend soon...

Besides my corner for personal photos, I have to have things that make me laugh:

As well as lovely things:

Lots and lots of tea (my boss always jokes with me that I should open up a tea shop) and fresh flowers when possible, this time picked by my coworker Erin:

And, always, as much art as I can cram on the walls - most of it Alphonse Mucha. The moment I knew I would get along with my coworkers was when I was there for orientation and saw that two of the people I'd be working with had Mucha prints in their cubicles!

Pictured, in no particular order: Beatles poster, random vintage sheet music, an autographed photo of silent film star Dorothy Janis, random art, and a print from an essay reading I gave in college

Left to right: Chris's painting of Annie Clark/St. Vincent, a fox print from a local artist, and Chris's gorgeous birthday present to me this year (I cried when I first saw it!)

And the final ingredient for surviving a 9-to-5 job?

Why, coffee, of course.

Do any of you artsy types out there work in an office? What are your survival tips?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Heal for the honey

dress: Francesca's Collections | belt: vintage | tights: Target | shoes: Charlotte Russe

If there's one color I gravitate towards more than any other, it would probably be this shade of yellow. (My family is probably laughing right now: they would say it's definitely this shade of yellow. You should see my closet.) I've never really been one to pay attention to what colors actually look good on me...mostly, I just pick out colors that I like. Chances are, if I like the color, I'm going to feel good in it. And that's what counts.

This is definitely one of those feel-good dresses. It was another Cinderella story: I walked into the dressing room with an armload of things to try on, and this dress was draped over a chair. There may as well have been a beam of light coming down on it from above: it was not only made of pretty lace, but it was yellow, and it was my size, and there didn't appear to be another dress like it in the store. Trying it on was really just a formality, since I knew I was going to buy it regardless.

I've been making an earnest attempt as of late to get rid of things I don't need - especially in the clothing department. As a result, my closet is now neat and organized (and more or less color-coded  - one of my quirks) for what is probably the first time since I moved into this room. It's funny; I'm the strangest mix of sentimental packrat and total anti-materialist. It makes getting rid of things into a huge mental ordeal. I would feel really weird getting rid of all my cast T-shirts from all of the plays and musicals I did in high school...but really, are they serving any purpose in my wardrobe? I wore them while doing mission work in Romania, but that's about it.

Really, it's my goal to know and love everything in my closet. So while getting rid of things is hard, I'm trying to focus on loving what I have, and rediscovering forgotten treasures: flowered sandals I bought in Spain, a genuine hippie dress with an Alphonse Mucha print that I bought on Ebay but never wore. It's time those items saw the light of day, I think.

I hope you all are having a beautiful summer! It's hard to believe that the longest day of the year has already passed us by. I may not be crazy about these sweltering days, but I'm determined to enjoy the time we have left. Chris and I made our summer to-do list, and I can't wait to get started on it.

What's on your summer to-do list?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Colors and the kids

headwrap: ModCloth | top, shorts, shoes: Forever 21 | tights: Target

Well, I hope you like this hairstyle and headwrap, because you're probably going to be seeing them a lot this summer. This is pretty much the only hairstyle I know how to do, really, besides a basic braid or something. But if I can only master one hairstyle, this is a good one: it keeps my hair out of my face and it's perfect for dressy occasions as well as not-so-dressy occasions. Case in point: I've worn it to a wedding, and traveling - such as this day, here. We were trying to get to the house of some dear family friends for a reunion, but instead of taking us on the freeway, Google Maps took us through a meandering tour of Amish country. It was an absolutely gorgeous drive. However, I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I hadn't been stressed out and worried that the directions were leading us completely astray. I think I'll use a GPS next time!

Once we did (finally!) arrive, we had a wonderful vacation. I took two days off of work, and it was incredible getting to relax and see family and friends I hadn't seen in a long time. My mom worked really hard to plan out the events, and it showed: we had 2 baby showers, a bridal shower, a white elephant gift exchange, and a ping-pong tournament. Whew! I was quickly eliminated from the ping-pong tournament, but now I'm determined to practice for next year...

Much to my delight, we got to take my 4-year-old niece and almost-3-year-old nephew home with us when we left! They live in Maryland, 12 hours away, so I don't get to see them nearly as often as I would like. I must say, during their visit I became quite the expert at healing my niece's "owies." All I have to do is ask her how many times she wants me to kiss the owie. She tries to think of a really high number and breaks into giggles. (31 is the highest number she's given so far.) Works every time!

This morning, they left to spend time with their other grandparents, and the house already feels a little bit emptier without them. They add so much color and life wherever they go. They'll be back in just a week or so, and I'm already counting down the days.

All in all, last weekend was a lovely vacation from reality. It's making me want to make sure my summer has regular little getaways planned for when my brain gets too frazzled from work. Do any of you have any vacations you're looking forward to this summer?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Walk in the park

dress (worn as top): vintage | skirt, belt, and shoes: Forever 21 | tights: Target

Is there anything better than having a couple of much-needed days off? I can already tell that I'm going to have a hard time going back to work on Monday. That's one thing I do miss about being a student - during the summer, you can completely lose track of what day it is. Working full time, I don't have that luxury, no matter the season.

I've been thinking lately about returning to grad school to further my study of writing, but I know that would still be a little way off. I haven't done a thing to prepare for it...but it would be wonderful, if it worked out! The only thing that makes me nervous is that it would most likely involve moving somewhere else, and I've really grown to love Michigan over the past couple of years. It's been 12 years since we moved here, and we had moved a couple of times before that...it's nice to finally have roots somewhere. But when the time is right, moving to a different state could be quite the adventure!

I'm determined to make this summer a good one. Summer isn't one of my favorite seasons (I would be perfectly happy to live in an eternal autumn) and, strangely, it often makes me feel a little bit melancholy. But this year, I want to take advantage of Michigan's incredible coastline and spend lots of time walking along the beach, trying out lots of new summery recipes, and generally just remaining active. I'll be off to a good start this next week - my little niece and nephew will be visiting us from out of town for a few weeks, and I know they'll keep me on my toes! Does anyone have any good summer ideas? What are your plans?

This dress and skirt are sure to be summer staples for me. Chris had to talk me into this dress a little bit - I had my eye on a different black and white polka-dot dress in the vintage shop - but this one was definitely the right choice. It's loose and airy like nothing else I own, it's easy to dress up or down, and it's so comfortable that I've been known to wear it to bed. I usually don't wear skirts this length, but I already know it's going to reach "staple" status this season. I wasn't sure how the two would fare together, but I was pleased with the result: something different, flowy, and perfect for warmer weather.

What are your summer staples?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Lost at sea

dress: H&M | shoes & headband: ModCloth | belt: thrifted

 What's this? Bare legs?? Yes, it's true, but this is definitely a rare event. In this way, I'm very much like Zooey Deschanel, who I believe once described tights as her security blanket. I'm right with you there, Zooey! So barring another sweltering Michigan summer, I'm sure I'll still find a way to incorporate tights into my outfits.

There was definitely no way I could wear tights on this day, however: our Memorial Day was a hot and humid one. I spent most of the day staying cool inside (and in the dark of a theater, watching the Hunger Games for the second time...) but Chris and I did make time to head over to Grand River Park to snap some photos and dip our feet in the lovely cool water. I've still only been there a handful of times, but that park has become one of my favorite spots in the area. I'm eager to scout out some pretty new locations (my coworker found a park that she described as a "fairy land!") but I know I'll be returning here often.

These days, life has me smiling. I feel like, in many ways, I'm really starting to get control of my life. This may sound really nerdy, but I'm going to start budgeting this month - and I'm actually really excited about it. I'm eager to shed my debt and start planning for my future! I've also started a workout routine, and after a month, I can proudly say that I've stuck with it. It's truly amazing how much better I feel when I get moving. I definitely have more bounce in my step...it's true what they say about endorphins! Finally, I've also started seeing a chiropractor in an attempt to get rid of my near-daily headaches. I've been really happy with it so far, so we'll see...

Good things are also happening for this blog! This week or next, hopefully, I'll be doing a redesign of the layout featuring some of Chris's artwork. I've been looking forward to this for a long time, and I can't wait. I'll also have to dream up some yummy new Dressipes...

What's making you smile these days?