Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Outfit: Blackwatch Tartan

As the weather continues to cool off, I am able to dig deeper and deeper into my coat collection. I love this Blackwatch Tartan cropper blazer I picked up on sale at Anthropologie years ago. Sadly, it's no longer available but I did find this one on sale at Ralph Lauren. I went for a simple look with Madewell dark denim jeans, a white top from KK Bloom, Kate Spade pearls, my Louboutins, and a matching tartan bow. 

Can the weather stay like this year round? Please! 



Monday, October 27, 2014

Desk Decor

If you follow along on Instagram, I've posted a few pictures of the spectacle that is my desk. I spend anywhere from 40-50 hours there per week so I do my best to make it a happily decorated space. I discovered most of my favorite online decor shops through Instagram and thought I would share my favorites here. 

I love Ashley Brooke Designs, she is all about the #Hustle. I received this mug as a gift. Since I don't drink coffee, I often use it as a vase. 

Charm and Grumption is another favorite. I love her print packages and notepads too. 

Amanda Catherine Designs also has a bunch of prints that I love. Since I have so much cork board space, I love prints. 

Another fun one from The Everygirl

I love Mackenzie's shop, Design Darling. I have the Monogrammed Acrylic Pen Cup and love the Kate Spade Stapler and Mint Julip Cup Vase. 

This tassel garland from Charmingly Kristin was part of my birthday decor but I loved it so much I decided to leave it up all year. 

No desk is complete without an Inslee calendar

I love how bright and colorful Poppin's desk accessories are. 

Push pins can be so boring, I love these gold bow pins from Kate Spade. 

For my notebooks, I use Sugar Paper LA

Happy shopping!



Friday, October 24, 2014

Forbes Under 30 Summit

Wow, I am definitely still in recovery mode after the past few days in Philadelphia for the Forbes Under 30 Summit. If you follow me on social media, you are probably sick of hearing about it but I thought I would do my best to summarize my highlights in one (overly long) blog post.

The Summit started on Sunday with a music festival featuring Wiz Khalifa and Afrojack. I had no idea I was such a fan, but if you happen to follow my SnapChat story, you saw how quickly of a fan I became.

Monday was the first official day and started with a motivating one-on-one interview with Peter Thiel. He spoke about how their were only two businesses in the world; ones in competition and ones that are one of a kind. He touched on how we are almost programmed from grade school to be in competition with each other and the value on being in competition if you come in as #2. Very interesting thoughts and something I will definitely dive deeper into in a later blog post.

Then, we heard from Monica Lewinsky. I will admit, I too was apprehensive about hearing her speak and was skeptical about why she was selected. By the end of her speech, I was standing up along with every other person in attendance giving her a standing ovation. I didn't realize this was her first public speaking engagement in ten years until she came on stage and told her story. I think I was ten when we all learned her name. I had no idea of the depth of the scrutiny that went into her life and couldn't believe she was 22-24 while this was going on. That's two years younger than me. The actions that lead to her name recognition have been put into perspective for me and I have a deep admiration for her honesty. I've heard a lot of comments since mentioning that I heard her speak and some ignorant jokes but I ask that you please take a moment and suspend your judgement to read the transcript of her speech. She spoke on the power of one's story and is using her own to speak out on cyberbullying. When you hear about the complete destruction of her character and the comments that were made against her for the world to read, its deeply saddening. Even now, 16 years laters, people are still critical of who she is. I am so impressed with her courage to speak out and take on such a public role to prevent others from falling victim to cyberbullying and media destruction.

That afternoon, I attended a panel featuring Kat Cole, the President of Cinnabon. She spoke a lot about women in the workplace and how having a seat at the table and having a voice at the table are two completely different things. After doing research, I discovered that she too is from Jacksonville. She started working at Hooters in high school and had opportunities with the company and was eventually named a Vice President at 26. (SERIOUSLY?) Of course, there was a lot of criticism and she too commented on how she went from Hooters to Hot Buns. She shared one of her favorite quotes from her mom, "Don't forget where you came from but you don't you dare let it define you." Really powerfully speaker and I instantly became obsessed.

Tuesday morning started with a Rocky Run which concluded at the iconic steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum where we were joined by the Temple band playing the notorious Rocky Theme Song.

Sara Blakely spoke later that morning and she was another one who I instantly developed a girl crush on. I had no idea Spanx was a $1B company. She is a hilarious story teller and told her story from the start when she worked as a chipmunk at Disney. Her story was so impressive from how she saved $5,000 selling fax machines door to door, found a manufacturer in Charlotte to make a prototype, wore her red back pack from college to the presentation with Buyers at Neiman Marcus and then pulled them into the bathroom to have them try Spanx on when she suspected a lack of interest, to calling friends and making them purchase Spanx in Neiman stores across the country, to hosting her a pretend staff meeting in her living room for the Oprah's favorite things show. My favorite quote, "I did not have the most experience in the industry or the most money, but I cared the most."

That afternoon, I attended sessions with co-founders of Birch Box, Rent the Runway, and Dannijo. The Dannijo girls were the sweetest duo I've ever met and I loved hearing the role social media played in the development of their businesses. (PS. I gave them each one of my business cards and they complimented me on my letter press! Thanks Dad!) After the panel, I stepped out in the hallway and spotted Lauren Bush Lauren. I've been a fan of Lauren's since high school when she first launched FEED and I knew I had to speak to her. I awkwardly stood around until I could I introduce myself and discuss hunger with her. Guess what? She knew about FeelGood! This was a real pinch me please moment and I loved speaking with her!

The programming concluded with a  much anticipated one-on-one with Mala Yousafzai. I've been reading about Malala for a few years and my excitement for this conversation only increased when she became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize a few weeks ago. I loved her candid conversations and she even told a story about how one of her English teacher's showed no mercy for a late assignment after she won the prize. When asked about her paper Malala responded "Miss, I won the prize and was quite busy." If winning a Nobel Peace Prize isn't an excuse to be late on homework, then what is? She spoke freely about her brothers and their relationship and that despite her advocacy for education, she did not support them having iPhones. At 17, she was one of the most articulate and humble speakers I have ever experienced. She spoke on her passion for girls' education and how we should fight terrorism with books and teachers instead of weapons. When asked if she thinks about how different her life would be if everything had not happened she responded by saying "this is what I've chosen for myself and I am happy with it." She spoke about living your life based on the happiness that you bring to others. Again, so poised and impressive... I want to be her!

Over the course of the conference we heard from quite a few entrepreneurs who have created insane products such as Uncharted Play, Kano, and Enrou to name a few.

The Summit ended with a delicious food festival featuring some of the Top 30 Chefs Under 30. The winner made an incredible Sunchoke Soup. I don't even know what sunchoke is but I went back for two cups.

On the final day, I did a Social Entrepenuer tour of Philadelphia with the Mayor of Philadelphia and Randal Lane. I sat next to Randal Lane at lunch and impressed him with my food Instagram skills.

If you made it this far, thank you for reading. This event was so meaningful to me and I am honored to have been able to attend. I find that life is made up of peak experiences that motivate and change  you at your core and this was one of those peak experiences for me.



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Outfit: Kate Spade Cheetah

This fall, I've stepped outside of my comfort zone and really embraced the animal prints. Remember my leopard shoes? Well, I've also embraced another wildcat with this cheetah print Kate Spade skirt. I'm not sure how much my walk on the wild side counts with Kate Spade and Tory Burch but at least I am dabbling. I recently snagged this Leopard scarf on sale at J.Crew (you can too) and it has been keeping quite warm at the Forbes Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia this week. 


Adra top (on sale)        

What are your thoughts on the trend? I'd love to hear.



Friday, October 17, 2014

Outfit: Feeling Fall

"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address." 

You've Got Mail is one of my all time favorite movies and that quote just epitomizes fall for me. I love fall. The leaves. The layers. The sweaters. The crisp refreshing air. Back to school. It's like a time for a fresh start and I love it. While I'm not in New York, it's starting to get a little fall-like here in Charlotte. There is a tree outside my apartment that has turned bright orange amongst the shades of tarnishing green and I'm captivated by it everyday. I received this J. Crew skirt from Santa two Christmases ago, but it makes for a great staple every fall. 

Paired with my favorite Madewell Chambray shirt,  a J. Crew Cashmere V Neck Sweater in navy (on sale) and my favorite birthday present from this year, my Ferragamo navy bow flats. (On a serious note, I wear these shoes every other day. I love them. Good thing best friends know how to buy the best gifts.) 

Happy Fa-la la la la la!



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What Makes Me Happy

I was recently asked, "What makes you happy?" At the time, I didn't have an exact answer, I sort of paused and responded with another question and my lack of response and ability to articulate myself has consistently been on mind since then.

Recently, I have been overwhelmed. (I know, you've heard this before but more than usual this time. As in, I can't really remember the last time I sat still.) I launched a college advising program last year for six former students and tonight is the deadline for early action applications to two popular choices; NC State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I've been too preoccupied with editing essays, proof reading applications, and writing recommendations to notice much else going on around me. I teach religion at my church, I try to maintain a regular fitness schedule, I write this blog and have been very busy lately putting together some fun upcoming projects.

From an objective point of view, I realize that this does not leave me time to do things for me. Things that make me happy.  But as I sit in my office writing this post and reflecting on the eight college applications that have been submitted in the past two days, I realized this is what makes me happy. It is the essence of who I am. I remember being in high school and dreaming of the day when I would simply go home after school and lay by the pool like some of my friends. Instead, I was always staying after for sports practice, clubs, after school labs, group meetings, volunteer work, and tutors. Then, I went to college where I thought it would all end and I would spend my afternoons and evenings watching Soap Net Happy Hour. It didn't take long before I was involved in intramural running, FeelGood, Greek Life, and took on research work. And now, here I am in the real world, living my adult life, and doing the same thing. I don't know how to be me without taking on so  much that I constantly feel like I am on the verge of breaking. And while the middle parts can be stressful and not always so exciting, the end result is who I am and it is what makes me happy.

I truly believe that the purpose of my life is to live for others. (Not in the canonizing kind of way, because I still love my Louboutins and a good day at the spa.) I can't live my life and be happy with who I am if I am not constantly trying to make the world a better place.

While I don't have the cure for Ebola, I'm not sure how to stop ISIS, and I don't know how to bring peace to Ferguson, I can make a small difference through the life of these girls and others around me. While it is exhausting now, in a year from now when they are off to college, every deleted comma will all be worth it. I'm sure the overwhelmed-ness (not sure if that is even a word) is shown in my appearance and my lack of 8 hours of sleep the past few nights is demonstrated and my slightly sluggish pace these past few days, but please know that when I go to sleep at night and give my thanks, I am truly happy.

What makes you happy? I would love to hear.



Monday, October 13, 2014

Apple Picking

This past weekend, I took my first trip to the apple orchard. Growing up in Florida, I didn't come by too many apple trees or opportunities for picking. Definitely more orange trees (not that I've ever picked oranges.) My friend Emily and I went up to Carrigan Farms (about an hour north of Charlotte) to pick our apples this weekend. I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun it was and of course was overwhelmed with all of the apple decisions. I had a small bag to fill and wanted to carefully select each apple. No bad apples in my bag. I came home with more than ten apples and since we all know I won't eat that many apples, I plan to bake a pie! 

Although we were craving fall in Charlotte, it was still 80+ degrees for our apple adventure. 



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Dreaming of Booties

This past weekend was the first time that it really felt like fall in Charlotte. I was so excited to wear my favorite booties and since they are my only pair, I found myself dreaming and browsing for other possibilities. I shared a few of my favorites below. Am I ready for an investment or should I wait to ask Santa?

Of course, these Kate Spade Lanise Boots are my favorite. They happen to be sold out online, except in my size. I am thinking it may be fate. 

The Bow. I'm in love. 

Tory Burch was having a sale this week with 20% off for Friends and Family. I resisted the urge to splurge on these Fulton Booties but how beautiful are they? 

This Billie Boot in Suede from Madewell is equally as beautiful as the Torys but a bit friendlier to the wallet. 

And what's the point of dreaming without a little Jimmy Choo? I'm in love with these navy and black suede ankle strap boots. 

I promise myself no shopping but if a sale happens to pop up, I am not sure I will be able to resist. 



Monday, October 6, 2014

In Person Interview Tips

For some Monday Career Motivation, I thought I would share some tips on that blog that I typically share with candidates before going into an in person interview. Some of them are may seem like basic knowledge but I still like to review because if someone has an interview with my name attached to it, I expect it to be the best!

The Basics
Tips that can pretty much be found anywhere and are the basics for interview preparation.

Be Early. I know I am stating the obvious here, but it is better to sit in the parking lot for 30 minutes scrolling through Instagram than to show up 30 seconds late. Remember, early is on time and on time is late.

Bring Copies of Your Resume. It's obvious why this one is in the Basics category. If you are going to an interview, don't assume that they already have copies of your resumes. Bring at least one copy for each person you plan on  meeting with and a few additional copies incase someone decides to unexpectedly drop in.

Dress Professional. If you are working with a recruiter, hopefully they have asked the client for the proper dress code. (Steel toes and covered shoes may be necessary if a plant tour is part of the interview.) For an office interview, suit up. It's always better to dress to impress than to be under-dressed. And if you're a lady, wear heels.

The Impression Makers
Tips that make a candidate stand out during an interview and show their excitement for the job and company.

Research. I mentioned this as part of my phone interview tips and find it to be important to dig even deeper for an in person interview. Research not only the company website, but their social media platforms and articles recently published about the organization. If they make a product, find their products in stores and familiarize yourself. If it's a retail organization, visit their stores and speak to their associates. If it's publicly traded, know how their stocks are doing. Most people who work at a company are pretty excited to be there and stand behind their brand. During the interview process, they are looking for people who are equally as passionate.

Take Notes. This may be my personal pet peeve during an interview. An interview is a team for the company to get to know the candidate but it's also important for the candidate to learn more about the company, team, and the role. I always recommend candidates take notes during the interview on important aspects of the role discussed. It's always to non-verbally communicate your enthusiasm for a role. (Which happens to be the most common feedback we receive. Not that someone wasn't qualified, but that they didn't seem excited enough for the role.)

Ask Good Questions. Often times when going to an interview, candidates Google the basic list of interview questions and bring a list to ask during the interview. While some of these are important questions to know the answers to, they are not good questions. Good questions let an interviewer know that you know the job. They are questions specific to the department, role, and responsibilities. They are questions that are usually only asked by someone who has experience in the field. These questions, are what separates the good candidates from the one who gets the job.

Excitement. In person interviews are exhausting. Often times, we receive six hour agendas of back to back one on one interviews and panel interviews. (Sometimes, they even forget lunch.) It can be exhausting. As a runner, I like to compare the longer interviews to a marathon not a sprint. During a marathon, you want to set a good pace and make sure that you are running each mile consistently. Same mindset during an interview. You can't have the first hour be phenomenal and then slump during the second interview and then perk back up for the last two. They have to be consistently impressive. To do this, I often times tell candidate to turn their switch on from the moment they arrive in the parking lot. Be cheerful. Excited. Say hello to everyone. At the end of the interview, once you are in your car and have pulled out of the parking lot, you can turn it off. Relax. Breathe.

Thank Yous. Candidate's will ask me if it is antiquated to send the traditional "thank you" note after an interview and in my best Lizzie McGuire voice in my head, I scream "NOOOOOO!" Yes, you should still thank you notes, for everything but especially an interview. Make them personal. Members of a team will often share the thank you notes and feel deflated if everyone received the exact same message. Thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in the position. I find it best to send a quick email "thank you" preferably the evening following an interview and then writing a hand written note and mailing it to the company the next day. I once had a candidate that even cracked a tough to figure out email to make sure he sent his thank you note, and the client was beyond thrilled with his initiative. Did I mention he got the job?

The Deal Sealers
Tips that leave a client so impressed, they can't not offer you the job.

Presentation. I once had a candidate who prepared a presentation on himself on interviews. This presentation had a copy of his resume and a detailed Power Point presentation of his prior skills and how he had been successful in the past and planned to be successful in the future. This presentation included pictures of his trade shows, copies of his degrees, links to his published works, and he addressed specific concerns that they company had addressed during his phone interview. He has the presentation professional printed and bound and brought copies with him to the interview. While this may seem a bit drastic, he received a job offer from every company he interviewed with.

Hopefully, you will find these tips helpful on your next interview. I posted some more useful tips below.

Resume Advice

How to Get an Interview

Phone & Video Interview Advice 



Friday, October 3, 2014

Tiny Moments

This past week, a friend sent me this post by Maxie and while it took me a few days to open it from my overflowing inbox, I have been back to read it several times since.

I'm not like Maxie in that I am in futuristic, but I too don't take time to appreciate the "tiny moments." I am so routined and scheduled that often times, I look at things as only another item on my to do list for that day.

I live for my routine. My routine that I can press snooze once so I can browse Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat, and scroll through Bloglovin all before actually having to get out of bed. My routine that I walk Henry up the same street every single morning and watch the news as I get ready and have to leave my house before 7:28 each day. I have to listen to NPR on the way to work and set up my desk a particular order once I am there. I always have some type of commitment after work and its routine that I go and come home. At night, the same routine and if I have not brushed my teeth, flossed, laid out my outfit, and packed my bags for the next day by 9:30 ... que the anxiety.

As of this week, my routine has been all off. Henry is requiring even more attention than normal and staying on top of his new medication schedule is complicated. There was one day this week where I even came straight home after work. Something I hadn't done in months.

As I sat on the floor tonight having Henry eat his liver food out of my hand since he has decided that he no longer likes it, I realized that I was living in one of those tiny moments. Our lives are full of so many of them. The tiny moments when I talk to the neighbors on the street outside of my apartment because I have been walking Henry there for over a year and I know them each by name and they know us (well Henry.) Those tiny moments when the kids in Faith Formation sing a song about Guardian Angels that you found on YouTube because you forgot materials for class, and then they prance around the room singing the song about angels which is more fun than what you planned anyways. The tiny moments in your fitness class when you are really exhausted but you push yourself to do that extra push up. Those tiny moments when you dance around the office singing Shake It Off because a co-worker needed a pick me up.

Life is full of these tiny moments and I definitely need to enjoy them more, in the moments.

Hope everyone has a weekend full of tiny moments!



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Henry's Favorite Collars: Pecan Pie Puppies

Henry here. As a dapper young man, my accessory options are limited to well... collars. I always know when one's arrived because Mom excitedly opens the package in her well known Henry voice. (I can't pronounce my Rs.) Once I know the package is for me, I excitedly bounce around the apartment eager to show off my newest addition to collection. Mom usually wants to Insta so I get ready for picture overload and do my best to pose appropriately in the square. 

I've been known to have expensive taste when it comes to my collars (wonder where I inherited that quality.) One year, for Christmas, I so kindly requested that Santa please bring me a custom made needlepoint collar that was available for a steel of $150. Sadly, I was on the naughty list that year and did not receive it. 

This past year, Mom discovered Pecan Pie Puppies through Instagram, of course.  I love them! Their collars are perfect for the classically inclined stylish pup like myself. They have a pretty impressive collection of both Everyday Collars and Bow Ties. The bow ties come with the matching collar and are easily removable if you are looking for a more casual look. 

Here I am sporting the Navy Polka Dot .

Navy Seersucker for a day at the beach in Charleston! 

I've even converted my friends to Pecan Pie Puppies fans! Here, my brother, Sam, is prancing down the dock in the Navy Gingham. I have the Navy Gingham collar, but sadly, no matching bow tie. 

Trying to decide on a new option for the fall and of course, the holidays are quickly approaching. This Classic Navy Tartan is Mom's favorite, and she loves this Blackwatch Plaid option, and I adore this Royal Blue Tartan bow tie. Mom has a Black and White Houndstooth skirt so I am thinking we may have to do Mommy & Son matching outfits. 

Whew, this was exhausting. Back to sleep.