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Surviving the Holidays with Style

Its that time of year when parties abound – office parties and parties with friends.  And don’t forget December 31st and New Year’s Day.  Here are some tips for surviving and enjoying those holiday parties in style.

Office parties:

  • Remember it’s the office party and your image is just as important.  This party is NOT the time to let your hair down.
  • Clothes.  If the party is an afternoon open house, casual is appropriate but avoid the tattered jeans and sweats.  If the party is in the evening, dresses and pantsuits are great for women and suits, sport jackets and blazers are great for men.
  • Food. If a food is served that you are allergic to or don’t like don’t say anything to the host.  Just don’t eat it.  The host is NOT obligated to address the tastes of their guests.
  • Behavior.  Don’t get drunk – it’s not appropriate at the office party or a get together with your friends.  Remember not to speak with your mouth full of food.  Avoid using toothpicks in public.
  • At Midnight.  When the clock strikes 12 toast to the New Year and then make your exit soon after.  Be sure to thank the host on your way out.
  • Don’t be the last to leave.  If it’s an open house leave when the time frame is over.
  • If it’s a dinner party be sure to be on time.
  • If the party is at someone’s home.  Bring a gift for the host(s) such as chocolate, flowers, or a bottle of wine.  If you don’t see ashtrays, don’t light up especially in the bathroom.
  • Conversation.  If an office party talk about topics other than “shop talk.”  Consider traveling, books or movies.  Avoid off-colored jokes, politics and religion.  Try reading the headlines of the newspaper or listening to the news on TV or the radio or topics to talk about if you’re normally a wallflower.  Keep foul language out the conversation – for either gender it is not cool.
  • At a sit down dinner talk to both partners seated next to you.  Rather than pointing out the fly in your salad focus on positive topics.
  • Remember to introduce your significant other to the people you meet.  Be sure to include them in the conversation.
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What to Wear in a Season Called Transition

Here it is October already and fall clothing is on the racks and you are, as in my case, still melting with summer heat.  In other parts of the country the weather is cooling a bit.  I bet in Alaska it’s getting cold now as well as parts of Maine and Minnesota.  But fashion has a season called transition that is the time before fall really hits and temperature start to decline for real.  In California, it is cool in the morning and night and hot during midday that probably describes this time of year the best.  As in most of the country it’s called an Indian summer.  Anyhow it is so difficult to dress for this part of the year so here are some tips that may help you handle the season of transition.

  • See what is being advertised in the fashion magazines for this period and choose one or two items that will work with your wardrobe and up date it.
  • Dress in layers.  If it is cool in the morning, try a sweater set where you can shed the sweater later in the day in your office.  But when a client or the boss comes in, put the sweater back on.  It is like your jacket.
  • You might consider wearing a suit and blouse with a v-neck sweater vest or open vest that coordinates with your ensemble.
  • Consider purchasing a light jacket like an all weather raincoat and just wear it without the liner.
  • If it’s really cold in the mornings, consider a leather jacket rather than a suit jacket that coordinates and looks business like.
  • Forget the sandals at this time.  Although in California it is still hot consider sling backs rather than mules.
  • Consider going into darker fall-like colors as opposed to summer ones.  Muted bronzes, olives, black, charcoal gray and navy are good choices.
  • In summary, to handle this up and down season, dress in layers but remember, your outfit must look complete when everything is on as well as off.

Travel Light and Right

So summer is here!  Enjoy your travels without the hassle lugging tons of suitcases.  You can travel light and right for any trip with these tips:

  • Never bring more than you can carry yourself.
  • Make sure that the last items you pack are the first things you will need when you arrive at your destination.
  • Make a checklist.
  • Bring one or two color combinations that you can mix or match for the best results.
  • Place heavier items on the bottom and things you’ll need right away, like pajamas and toothbrush, on top.
  • Pack a collapsible lightweight bag if you plan to bring home more than you take.
  • A full but not overstuffed suitcase helps to keep clothes wrinkle-free.
  • Any unfilled spaces should be stuffed with tissue paper so that the contents will not slide.
  • Luggage tags should be placed on the inside of your suitcase as well as outside.  For the outside tag, your business address should be used to avoid a robbery at your home while you’re away.
  • A copy of your itinerary taped to the inside of your suitcase will enable the airline to locate you in the event of misrouted luggage.
  • Select clothes that are washable and drip-dry.
  • Keep two packing lists-one for short trips and one for long stays- inside your luggage.
  • Take the packing list with you so you know what you have.
  • When packing items that can wrinkle, close all buttons, zippers, and snaps.
  • Fold each item along its natural creases.
  • Drape each garment across the suitcase so that the ends hang over the side.
  • Alternate putting the top of each garment on the right and left sides so that the thickness remains uniform.  Next fold each items around the other, alternating the over hang from right and left sides.  Your garments cushion each other, thus preventing wrinkles.
  • Include a few plastic bags for dirty or damp clothes.
  • Bring sentimental items to put on the night table next to the bed.
  • When packing a hard-sided suitcase begin buy putting all heavy items like shoes and toiletry kits on the bottom near the hinges.  Then roll the clothes that won’t wrinkle (i.e. sweaters, socks, T-shirts) and place them around heavier items.  This prevent heavy items from sliding and wrinkling clothes when carrying the suitcase.
  • Always have an additional small pouch packed with commonly needed items such as aspirin, bandages, or small sewing kit.
  • Shoes should be placed in plastic bags to prevent them from soiling other clothes.
  • Small, soft items such as socks and stocking may be used to stuff clothes that easily lose shape, like a man’s shirt collar.
  • If traveling overseas be sure to have an adapter kit for your electronics with plugs that are appropriate for the country(ies) you’re traveling to.
  • When flying, wear slip-on shoes so you can get through security quickly.
  • Have a TSA approved laptop and cover so time at security is reduced
  • Purchase luggage with wheels: Most of us will be handling our own luggage up to the point we either store it in the overhead compartment or check it in at the airline desk.  You have several choices for wheels: spinners that rotate 360 degrees, oversized that can go over curbs and bumpy roads easily, or the most popular, in line skate wheels.  Make sure that the wheels are recessed so they don’t get torn off.
  • Check out the handles and seek either dual tube or soft handles for comfort especially if you’ll be handling your luggage the most. Consider luggage with adjustable handles so you can attach a smaller bag easily.
  • Consider fabric when selecting luggage and choose a hard side case if you have valuables to protect to various grades of nylon such as ballistic nylon, which is extremely strong to your average variety polyester.
  • Make sure the bag has lots of pockets to separate and store your belongings on the inside as well as the exterior of the bag.
  • If security is an issue, have a TSA approved lock. Check out their site for more information tsa.gov.
  • Look for luggage that has enclosed spaces to store your liquids.

Be the Best YOU can Be!

“Be the best you can be”  It is my mantra so to speak in everything I do and guides me in how I approach my day, in interactions with others, and how I take care of myself.  I have found that although you can dress yourself up on the outside following these tips will make sure that you are on top of your game everyday inside and out and will feel better in the long run!

  1. You are just as important as the next person,
  2.  Learn from the past, prepare for the future, but LIVE IN THE PRESENT,
  3. No is another opportunity for yes,
  4. Respect yourself and others will respect you,
  5. Trust your instincts,
  6. No one cares about what you know until they know how much you CARE,
  7. Nurture Yourself First,
  8. Do you Really HAVE to be right?
  9. Learn to Manage Yourself,
  10. Take Responsibility for Making things Happen,
  11. Make Professionalism a Lifestyle,
  12. Be thankful for the things you have rather than upset about what you don’t have.

A Super bowl Party at the Boss’s House?

So you’ve been invited to the Boss’s house to watch the Super bowl.  Are you going? – make sure to RSVP! Given that this is an opportunity to be noticed in a good and not so good way, consider what you’re wearing and mind your ps and qs.

  • Ladies consider jeans or a denim skirt with layered tops or a shift. Try a turtleneck with your denim bottoms. Consider boots or sandals but no flip flops and try to stay away from strapless sundresses and terry velour fabrics.
  • If in a business where jackets are optional try twill pants or skirt with a polo top and sweater over the shoulders or good jeans with a tunic blouse belted. Consider boots or tie shoes that are in good condition that coordinate. Accessorize with earrings and perhaps a dramatic piece at the neck for impact.
  • If in a business where suits are require, for the Super Bowl consider trousers or mid calf skirts, cardigans and turtleneck tops. Or choose an interesting blouse or tailored shirt worn over pants with an interesting belt.
  • For men put your best foot forward and consider dark colored twills like Dockers that are cleaned and pressed topped with a dress shirt tucked in, belted with nice shoes. Even if it’s a barbecue avoid the hoodie, hats, flip flops, and body piercings as you would when you go to work. Consider a good pair of jeans and a sport shirt that is pressed.
  • If you are in a business where jackets are optional, consider dress slacks in a wool or cotton blend with a dress shirt tucked in and belted with a blazer. Or try a long sleeve dress shirt with a cardigan or sweater over the shoulders and trousers or your good jeans and perhaps a turtleneck with or without a blazer.
  • For both men and women, party hearty but don’t over do it.  Being drunk, loud and obnoxious will work against you.
  • Don’t be the last to leave as you notice your host yawning.  After the game is over its probably time to consider going home.
  • Be sure to send a thank you email, call, or note to your boss for the time.  As a gracious guest you will always be invited back!

Being the Dream Guest

Polite guests reward the time and effort of throwing a party, and they are remembered for this. Indeed, an essential part of projecting a successful image is conducting yourself properly when invited to a restaurant, a reception, or the company picnic. As your client’s or boss’s guest, you are being evaluated in these environments.
Here are some tips on how to be the dream guest:
• When invited to lunch or dinner, remember that it is not your responsibility to pick up the check. It is common for a woman to invite a professional colleague to lunch. If it truly is an invitation, let her pick up the check.
• When a client, associate, or your boss invites you to dinner, give your response within 24 hours. If something comes up and you have to cancel, place the call yourself. Don’t let the secretary or leave a voice mail.
• Confirm an appointment, whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Call the day ahead if it’s for a breakfast meeting.
• Arrive on time. Ten minutes late is considered rude. If you know you’re going to be late, call to change the time if possible, or call the restaurant to have your host notified.
• If you happen to beat your host to the restaurant, wait in the lobby of entry hall until he or she arrives. If you notice that the restaurant if filling up quickly, you can ask the restaurant host to seat you and to have the rest of the party directed there as they arrive.
• If your host is at least 15 minutes overdue, call his or her office. Wait for your host for about 40 minutes; if she still hasn’t shown up, either tip the waiter five to ten dollars or have something to eat.
• When there are more than two people in the party, don’t sit down immediately when you’ve been led to your table; wait for the host to direct you.
• With a large party at a restaurant, observe what other people are ordering. If they haven’t ordered an appetizer or side salad, don’t be the only one. And don’t order the most expensive item on the menu simply because it’s the most expensive.
• When there are just two of you at a restaurant, it’s polite to wait until both have been served before eating. If there is a long delay, then the one who has not been served should urge the other to start eating.
• At a dinner where spouses or partners are present, remember to talk about other subjects than business.
• If someone tells a good joke or you’re having a great time, it’s okay to laugh; just keep the noise level down so it doesn’t interfere with others.
• Don’t “table hop.”
• If you must make or receive a phone call, excuse yourself and go to a phone away from the table. Keep your conversation short.
Don’t get drunk! If you have had too much to drink allow someone who is sober to drive you home. Refrain from being loud, obnoxious, or embarrassing -It’s time for you to “call it a night” or regret you every came.
• After the event, party or get together, write a thank you note. This is extremely important whether the party was a social or business one. This will truly ensure that you are considered the dream guest and invited back in the future.

Do I look Fat? Clothing Tips so you Don’t

Nothing makes you look bigger than you are as when your clothes don’t fit.  Either too tight or too lose clothing draws attention to your figure flaws without having to say a word. Here are some tips so you don’t.

  • No gaps up front: Shirts need to lie smoothly over the bust and chest area as well as allow for two fingers ease around the neck with a closed shirt.
  • Pants and skirts should fit smoothly over legs, derrier and around the waist.  Fit the widest part of your body and alter the waist so that it fits.  If its pulling at the hip or crotch go up a size.  As well, pants and skirt should close easily with enough ease that there is no “muffin top” or hangover.
  • Seams should rest on the shoulder.  Particularly for set in sleeves, you want the shoulder seam to rest at the edge of the shoulder bone so the underarm area has enough ease for freedom of movement.
  • Sleeves should come to approximately an inch below the wrist bone
  • Collars and cuffs should not pinch.  As mentioned earlier two finger ease in the collar and a finge ease in the cuff.
  • Proper length is essential.  Neither too long or too short.  For skirts, let them land about the knee as this is the most becoming length for a woman.  For pants, they should rest with a slight break on the top of the shoe and land about the heel and sole in the back.
  • Wear dark colors such as black and navy to appear 10 pounds smaller and bring attention to your best selling feature with a bright scarf or necktie near the face.
  • For women with large breasts, avoid square neck top, short sleeves and horizontal stripes that are evenly placed. Rather, focus on three quarter length sleeves, long sleeves that taper at the wrist, and long sleeved shirts.
  • Wear the classics such as A-line skirts, straight skirts, blazers, pin strip suits, tailor-notched collars shirts, and double pleated skirts. As a man, you will look pounds thinner with a navy pin striped suit that is closed. Avoid peter-pan or round collar shirts.
  • Avoid heavily texured fabrics such as tweeds and shiny fabrics, they only make you appear larger.
  • For women wear your tops and shirts outside the skirt or pant to camouflague the stomach.
  • For both men and women (and even if you aren’t size 14 or above) avoid front-pleated trousers if you have a tummy. Go for plain front pants instead.
  • Go for structure in your clothing selections. This incorporates straight lines that balance out the roundness and creates a proportioned appearance.
  • Make sure that jackets cover the derrier.
  • In accessories focus on straight, long shapes in earrings and necklaces. Avoid short necklaces, rather ones that emphasize length. Scarves should be long and worn as such. For men, if you have a 17 or above neck size, buy the extra long ties.

Your Image is part of your Identity

Image is truly part of your identity and an integral part of how others describe you.  Does your image support your intangible attributes such as intelligence, maturity, responsibility, and success?  Have you ever thought about asking your friends or colleagues what they think of you?  More importantly, does what they say support how you want to be described?

YOU have the power to manage how others see you and if you are not getting the response you want in your professional or personal life, one place to look is how you look!

Whether you tell people about yourself, how you dress and your body language is always telling people about who you are.  Do you slump or give a weak handshake? Are you constantly looking down avoiding eye contact?  Do you point your finger at someone when you are talking to them intimidating them?

How about the clothes you wear, do they fit?  Are they clean and in good condition.  Are your clothes pressed and clean and are you wearing an ensemble that is coordinated?

How you appear to others communicates a lot about who you are as a person that can either build a bridge of rapport with others or a barrier of friction and solitude.

By not taking command of your appearance, you allow others to decide for themselves who you are, limiting your success professionally and personally!

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10 Tips for Looking Absolutely Fabulous!

  1. Smile!
  2. Stand up straight
  3. Drinks lots of water
  4. Eat your veggies
  5. Sleep 8 hours
  6. Wear sunscreen
  7. Enjoy a mani-pedi
  8. Exercise daily
  9. Embrace the present
  10. Have an attitude of gratitude!

Let’s Be Civil

Whether it’s in the political arena, on the playing field, or in interactions with others, being civil is the key to keeping your A game. The Vancouver Sun (2008) identified 10 rules for being civil. Try these on for size and see if they don’t enhance your ability to succeed in everything you do.
1. Pay Attention to what’s going on.
2. Practice Compassion.
3. Act.
4. Hold individuals accountable for what they do.
5. Be clear in stating your case.
6. Listen.
7. Be prepared to change.
8. Avoid physical and emotional violence.
9. Remain genuine.
10. Treat others with the respect with which you’d like to be treated.