If you care to join me at my new blog site, go to http://professionality.tumblr.com/
Nothing against TypePad, I was just drawn to Tumblr. My latest post is on professional workwear for the curvy women.
Fair the well, Professionalista!
I assume this is a common blogger's delimma: Who's your audience? I woud guess that successful bloggers - and writers in general - know their audience and consistently write to them. (I know this because my lovely parents paid a lot of money for me to be an English major at the University of Vermont.) Successful bloggers understand their brand. I'm still working towards my Professionalista brand. As a person, I've got it down - so why is the blog challenging? Busy life? Stresses? Pshaw.
I'm a Gemini; honestly, I am of two minds. I love being professional, work-oriented and tailored. But I'm also quriky, slightly vapid and pretty darn snarky. So here's what I'm thinking: I'm going to start a second blog. (I already know what I'm going to name it. I always wanted to be a headline editor. I like naming things.) The SECOND blog will be my professional self and this blog will dwindle into inanity.
I'd appreciate any thoughts.
Happy New Year!
I have several mottos/credos/words of wisdom I live by.
1. Better late than never. (Note my Happy New Year! greeting.)
2. Let not the fear of the thorns keep you from the rose. (I first saw this spray painted on a cliff side near Saratoga, NY when I was 20 - I've always attributed it to a) the tagger and then b) Wm. Shakespeare, but am not sure - but I'm not afraid to misattribute the quote, obviously.)
3. Wear skirts just above the knee.
4. Too soon we grow old, too late we grow smart. (old Swedish proverb that was emblazoned across a bright yellow tape dispenser in my childhood home.)
5. Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday and all is well. (I don't always agree with this one, but it helps me to be hopeful.)
This post is about #3 - Wear skirts just above (or at) the knee. Another very important issue brought to you by l'il ol' me, Professionalista Dawn.
This past fall/winter, the trend is longer or even longer (i.e. maxi) skirts. Note that a trend is something that lasts a season or a year (think neon in 1984). And I am hopin' this is a flash in the pan. I'm guessing Mad Men has had something to do with bringing this back into vogue. I may be wrong (note the quote I am attributing to Shakespeare).
Just about every designer seems to be on board (note Michael Kors and Tommy Hilfiger). And I think the look can be very sweet/stylish/retro/Annie Hall/Little House on the Prarie/Vermont Granola. It's also a look that I don't think looks terrific on any woman under 5' 6'. Not only are legs useful, but when exposing them just enough, they give short little women a lengthier - and thinning, I might add - look. Now, for many of us, who are not tall, slender, willowy - whatever! - our legs from the knee down are a slender part of our bodies. When you cover that up - or cut it off mid-calf - you don't allow that allusion.
Style is about what looks good on us - not what's a trend. So, if you're not one of the lovely amazon women (bless you all), consider motto #3. Also motto #5 - it'll help get you through the day.
I usually write about workplace etiquette, relationships, personality quirks and fashion. I'm also interested in cooking. At some point (maybe when the kids were beyond fish sticks and apple sauce), I realized I actually enjoyed planning and creating meals. Honestly, I'm not into baking - especially bread making - but am happy to follow the most complex dinner recipes.
My hubby and son were always rabid omnivores, but my daughter has never liked meat - the texture and taste initially put her off. Now, she is just as clear about disliking the consumption of meat for ethical reasons (I'm more on that boat). And now my son is decreasing his red meat consumption. Anyway, for the past couple years I have been adding more and more vegetarian options to our weekly rotations. Here are three recipes that I concoct over and over again and everyone always says, "I love this!" Sometimes I make them all for the same meal with some nutty brown rice.
Sesame-Maple Roasted Tofu (we used to call it Toe-Food)
This recipe came to me via my friend Matt Bushlow via Eating Well (VT!). I often double it (I have an almost-16-year-old-almost-6-f00t-tall son!).
1 14-ounce block extra-firm water-packed tofu, rinsed, patted dry and cut into 1 inch cubes.
1 medium red onion
2 tsp vegetable/canola oil
2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 TBS tahini
1 TBS reduced-sodium soy sauce (really, you don't need the full-sodium version)
2 tsp pure VERMONT maple syrup
1 tsp cider vinegar (I usually use rice vinegar)
3 cups sugar snap peas
1 TBS sesame seeds
1. Preheat oven to 450 F
2. Toss tofu, onion, canola oil, sesame oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Spread on a large baking sheet and roast until the tofu is lightly golden on top and the onions are browining in sports - 15 - 20 minutes (or a little longer if you're doubling)
3. Whisk tahini, soy sauce, maple syrup and vinegar ina small dish until combined. Remmove the tofu from the oven, add snap peas and drizzle with the VERMONT maple sauce; stir to combine. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
4. Return to oven and continue roasting until the peas are crisp-tender, 8 - 12 minutes (but if you go a little longer, it gets all carmelly - yum!).
Makes 4 servings (but not really if you have a 16-year-old-boy).
Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Roasted Peanuts
This recipe came to me via Matt Bushlow (again!), this time via Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
3 TBS raw peanuts
2 tsp roasted peanut oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 lbs bok choy (I luv the locally grown baby bok choy at Sweet Clover Market in the summer)
2 TBS peanut oil
4 garlic cloves, minces (I often cheat and used the pre-minced jar)
4 tsp minced ginger
2 TBS soy sauce (again, I recommend reduced-salt type)
1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 3 tbsp stock for stir fries (read veggie broth)
1 tsp roasted peanut oil
1. Fry the peanuts in 2 tsp roasted peanut oil until they're golden. (Listen, if you don't have raw peanuts, just used the salted cocktail nuts and don't bother roasting them. Really.)
2. Chop with the pepper flakes and a few pinches salt and set aside.
3. Slice off the bok choy stemps and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Leave the leaves whole.
4. Set the wok over high heat. (I used a large non-stick high-sided skillet and have it on medium high.) Add the 2 TBS peanut oil and roll it around. When hot, add the garlic and ginger and stir fry. (The recipe says for 1 minute - but, as Alton Brown says, burned garlic is not good eats). Add the bok choy and a few pinches salt and stir-fry until wilted and glossy.
5. Add the soy sauce and cornstarch mixture and stir-fry for 1 or 2 more minutes until the leaves are shiny and glazed. Add the crushed peanuts/red pepper, toss and serve.
This side dish is from Taste of Home: 2007 Annual Recipes (via contributor Marianne Bauman of Modesto, CA). Salute! to all good home cooks!
2 cups fresh (or frozen, I suppose) broccolis florets (I cut up portions of the stalk too.)
1 TBS sugar (I actually just do a heaping tsp.)
1 TBS olive oil (Honestly, I sub in vegetable oil; I love olive oil, but this is an Asian-type dish)
1 TBS soy sauce (you know what I'm going to say here)
2 tsp rice wine vinegar
2 tsp sesame seeds, toasted
1. Place the broccoli in a steamer basket and steam it (or boil it briefly, if you prefer). You want it tender crisp.
2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine sugar, oil, soy sauce and vinegar. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved.
3. Transfer the broccoli to a serving bowl. Drizzle with soy sauce mixture; sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.
Enjoy! (Please know that the photo came from the Eating Well website).
Winding up the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Ate. Napped. Read. Shopped (a little). Now it's time to get crackin'. Back to work. But before I get there, thought I'd share a few websites and thoughts.
Let me know of any websiste that you frequent. I'd love to check them out. Now, back to the old grindstone.
I've been comparing and contrasting e-readers. Which is most cost-effective? Which is most user friendly? Which has the best selection of e-books? Which has the most easy-to-use options/apps? And, ultimately, which is coolest?
We all know anything Mac is going to be the ultimate is geek chic. The iPad is hot. I didn't order an iPad.
I'm pretty sure Amazon's Kindle would be next in line. Smaller, easy to use, lots of people seem to love it. I didn't order a Kindle.
The most pedestrian of the three? The Nook by Barnes and Noble. I ordered two. It has some solid features:
I placed my order today - and should have them in hand in four days with plenty of time to download some books and apps for the kids before the big day. Now how cool is that?
I went shopping to support my friend, C. She wanted me to help her make a decision or two. I love helping my friends, acquaitances, random strangers make decisions about what clothing works for them. So off we went to a store I don't usually shop at. Be that as it may, I naturally ended up spending more than I should have. But three of the pieces were really necessary: two scoop-necked cashmere sweaters, one raspberry and the other black, and a pair of black trousers. And then I saw this skirt in black. I tried it on with the black cashmere sweater. I reasoned that I would wear it for every holiday party. Forever. I bought it. Do I have to tell D?
I am lucky and honored to have many great friends and friendly acquaintances. I probably have at least a handful of besties (I've never been one to have only one tight bond - 'cept with my dear hubby). And there are at least 25 people in my life whom I love/admire/respect (check one, two or all) that I have become friends with through work. Most of them are from the home care agency I worked at for 13 years; a scattered few are from random and sundry jobs; the remainder are at the family business I work for now. For me, when it comes to friendships, I see no separation of church and state. Some people do. I think men do.
Is it unprofessional to be tight with the people you work with day in and day out? Of course it is if it interferes with your productivity, objectivity and/or ethics. But as I see it, life is short and work is long. Shouldn't we have joy, laughter and support eight or nine hours each day, 40 plus hours each week?
Yes, yes, I agree: tight bonds can lead to "us against them," chatter behind doors and the occassional bon mot at somebody else's expense. Bad. All bad. But positive workplaces should go a long way to negate those sort of actions, don't you think?
I find that men don't build social relationships at work. Work is work. Home is home. And never the two shall meet. Is this how they're programmed? Is this a macho thing? I'd like to know, however, that the guys in Office Space had a solid friendship in and out of work (hmmm, and we know how that worked out...ultimately for the best! In a sort of unethical, worrisome way).
What do you think about workplace friendshps? Good, bad, indifferent? More commen for women? Rarely for men?
I'm fairly new the the fashion blogosphere. But from what I've stumbled upon so far it is, not surprisingly, dominated by women. I frequent a handful or two of these (The Pioneer Woman (she has a home and style page), Karla's Closet, The Coveted, ShoeGirl, Shoe Daydreams, Grit and Glamour). But I'm trying to make myself a more rounded person...by drinking wine and eating chocolate-covered gramcrackers...joking (sort of). No, I'm trying to expand my horizons by investigating style blogs manned by, well, men.
Thus far, I've found three I really like:
The Sartorialist. I've been following Mr. Sartorialist for about a year now. He posts fresh and fabulous pics each day of stylishly dressed men and women in Milan, NYC and whatever other cities he lands in (he was recently loving Atlanta). He keeps it simple with few words. Like so many men I know.
Beyond Fabric. Fun to read. Diverse. He recently blogged on hour-glass silouette enhancing belts - such as you see on trench coats - and how it can work for men too. (I've always liked my hubby, D, in a belted trench.)
Dressed for Dinner. Blogger Kevin lives in Toronto and has an entire section devoted to dudes with beards. I'm not a big fan of the beard, but I'm trying to be open. I do like a couple friends who have beards. Unfortunately, they're women.
I say, I'll get my fix of clever fashion commentary wherever - and from whomever - I can get it. Any suggestions?
I had a lot of fun in the '80s. Asymmetrical cuts, florescent Ts and leggings, tapered jeans and oversized shirts: I done did all those things. I also wore a lot of preppy turned-up collar shirts and Laura Ashley school-girl dresses (I was in a sorority, gosh darn it! It was required!). It's easy to mock past trends. But don't you remember how great you felt in those jeans from Express with the X-tra large tank top? Or the flats with the knit skirt/sweater combo? I do. I was totally comfortable with the clothes in the '80s.
Many of those trends resurface again...and again...and again. And as someone who's been-there-done-that, I have to pick and choose carefully. Acid-washed tapered jeans might look great on Kate Bosworth, but they're not gonna work for me. So sad, too bad. I'm at a place where I'm happy to incorporate a trend here and there but I have to have some consistent standards so I don't look like a foo'. Those standards are:
If I want to rock an '80s look today, I'd happily choose one of these suits by Yves Saint Laurent that The Sartoralist posted (credit to him for the above pic).
Now excuse me while I go slip into my Frankie Says Relax florescent pink t-shirt and go to bed.