Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How to Dress for Night Life

I am going to admit something to you. When I am dressing to go out at night I spend too much time figure out what to wear. I stand in front of the mirror in dozens of combinations and fret about my clothes. It's gotten to the point that I start planning my outfit for a night out a few days ahead of time. In fact, I laid in bed last night for an hour thinking about what I'm going to wear on Labor Day weekend when we have several people in town and we will be going out about 3 nights in a row.

So... I'm creating some rules, based on what I know now and what I am trying to incorporate.

1. You have to feel comfortable. Not pajamas comfortable, just not messing with your clothes uncomfortable. I bought the hottest dress a few weeks ago and decided to wear it to a party. The day before I tried it on and couldn't get it to sit right and I felt like I had to suck my tummy in and kept messing with the cowl-neck and straps. I'm taking the dress back.
2. Never wear new shoes when you'll have to walk or you are going out dancing.
3. Only give one hint. I mean, if you have a short skirt then you don't show cleavage. If you show cleavage then wear pants or a longer skirt. If you are wearing skin tight then make sure it covers more area. Note: If you cannot wear skin tight, don't. Please. I have times when I'm bloated or it just highlights the wrong thing too. Don't subject every one else to it!
4. Silk, satin, sparkles, beading, rouching, flashy jewelry, fun make up, fake eyelashes, all those things you want to try but never do? Try it.
5. Consider your surroundings. Boulder going out clothing is much different that Denver going out clothing. Dallas going out clothing is much different than London going out clothing. If you would wear it to a brunch wedding shower, then it is probably not evening wear.
6. Make sure your accessories are right. Get a clutch or a small purse. Your jacket or coat cannot be your normal, every day jacket. I think flats are a no no, but I guess if they are dressy and appropriate I'll give you a hall pass.
7. Learn how to do an updo. Just don't ever use plastic clips to hold it in place. An updo will take a normal outfit and make it much dressier.
8. If you can make jeans work for where you are going then they must be fitted, dark wash, long, straight leg jeans. No pleats, no poofing, no fading, no bagginess. 
9. If you ever find a dress you love and think "I'll never have anywhere to wear it", buy it. And always have one of these in your closet.
10. It is always better to be over dressed than under dressed. Always...

...QueenB Says

Monday, August 23, 2010

How I'm Prioritizing

I was in a boot camp class a few years ago. During the winter months we would go inside to the basketball courts to do all of our exercises. One of our cardio segments we would do involved running in a single file line around the perimeter of the court. The person that was last in line was to break out of the line, pass everyone, and ultimately become the leader. Once they made it, then the person who was now at the end of the line did the same thing. We did this until everyone had gone through sprinting to the front. There is a phenomenon that happens as people sprint to the front, they are supposed to slow down to the group pace, but after sprinting it's easy to slightly increase your average "pace". That means every person that gets to the front slightly increases the group pace, causing a gradual acceleration that is doubly exhausting. Also, the more people, the longer it took. So, if the class was especially large then you could end up doing several laps to get through the entire line.

Our lives are a little bit like that exercise, right? We have lots of priorities that are all trying to get to the front. We can only focus on thing at a time for the most part. Every time you add a priority the line gets longer. The more priorities you have the longer everything takes. The faster you try to go the faster everything has to go. And the more tired you get.

Just saying all of that makes me want to take a deep breath!

I made the decision a few months ago to start prioritizing better. I've quit adding new hobbies, like an art history class or a cooking class, every time I get an inclination. I'm working normal hours. I turned down a few professional development opportunities. I'm staying in more evenings. And the most difficult decision was to not return to my hip hop troupe this fall.

It's led to a slower pace that I've found I really enjoy and appreciate. It's making me enjoy the things I am doing more. It's given me time to focus on myself and know what I want in life. And it's made me love my life and my home and my family and my job even more.

I know that when I do find interests that will take my time and cycles they will be inspirational and worth it. I know that when I do spend time developing my skills professionally that it will make a difference in my abilities and earning capacity. And I know that when I go back to hip hop, I will be in a more artistic and expressive place. Why? Because I am only doing the things that mean something to me and because I am happier...

...QueenB Says

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I am Wonder Woman

Two days ago I woke up at 5:00 AM with my mind racing, a blog about prioritization running through my head. I decided to go ahead and get up and take an hour for myself, to drink coffee and write in a very quiet house. As I crossed the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot I found myself sloshing through a very large puddle of water. Several hours of panic and soaking towels and calling 24 hour emergency plumbers to find one that actually worked before 9am ensued. So now, 2 days later, I'm sitting in a house with enormous holes in the walls and ceilings on 2 of 3 floors, carpet ripped up, hardwoods that are warped, electricity in parts of the house not working, and the worst is the 11 loud fans that are running 24 hours a day for a total of 5 days. To add on to this, what started the plumbing problems was our bathroom remodel, so I'm sharing a bathroom with Jay. And that all started with a little leak.

My readers know that I'm not usually a big complainer, so I'll conclude my bitching shortly. I love my orderly, clean, peaceful, quiet house and honestly, this is a lot for me to take. It's daunting the number of workers we will need to hire, the amount of time until my house is back, and the pressure to keep our normal life running. I told my sister yesterday that I didn't think I could handle one more thing right now. Then I came home to hear that our lawnmower is broken and we need a new one. And you know what? I didn't crack. I handled it quite well: "Alright, let's go to Lowe's this weekend", with a smile on my face.

I'm definitely drawing on some of my recent epiphanies: perspective, generative coachability, and prioritization (next blog). As well as my general nature: efficiency, a good attitude, and  relying on the people around me.

I am trying to balance out the bad with good: flood in the kitchen with gorgeous runs around the lake; A/C not working with a dinner out; big fans running 24 hours a day with extra long shower to exfoliate and facial mask; sharing a bathroom with extra yoga sessions; holes in my ceiling with wearing my favorite dress; you get the idea... the more I can take care of myself, my well being, and my health, the better equipped I am to deal.

So, as stressed as I am, there are a lot of good things too. I am amazed by what I can actually handle as I am going through things. I am thankful for the wonderful people I work with that are understanding and my confidants for letting me vent. I am grateful for the ability to afford wonderful things and keep them wonderful. And I love that I'm mostly letting it roll off my back, keeping my perspective, and continuing to live a fun life...

...QueenB Says

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How to Buy a Bra

Did you know that studies have shown up to 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size?  I was. A few years ago I got fitted and stocked up on bras. After losing weight and lifting weights this year both my number (the circumference of your body) and letter (the cup size) changed. So, I got to throw out the old and start over. It was one of the most enjoyable shopping experiences I've had in a long time. Here's what I've learned:

  • Go get fitted. Do not try to do this yourself. Dillards, Nordstorms, Christina's (in Boulder) have lovely women who have been trained and do this every day. They will measure you correctly, help you pick out bras that will work best for you, and adjust them to perfection.
  • You need these 2 bras: A black and nude bra with no lace or detail on the cup. This will work under any fitted or thin clothing and not show through. I cannot stand seeing the top line of your bra under your clothing and any lace showing through makes you look deformed
  • Get a fun bra. This is for when you want to add a cleavage point. Or something else.

  • You may have need for a strapless bra, a bra with clear straps, a racerback bra, or backless bra. If you do, trust me when I say you need to spend some extra money on these. They can be extremely uncomfortable if you don't get a good one.
Nothing changes your silhouette like getting the girls in the right place. They need to be halfway between your shoulders and elbows, and for most of us that is not going to happen on it's own. And for a lot of us, changes in our body mean we have to continually update our collections to keep them there. So go shopping...

...QueenB Says

Thursday, August 5, 2010

QueenB's Square Dancing Rules

When I was in elementary school they made us square dance in PE class on occasion. I grew up in Oklahoma, this was normal, shut up. Mrs. McDaniel would pair us up, put us in groups of 8, teach us the steps of what would be “called”, things like Swing Your Partner and Do Sa Do (yes, that is for real), and put on a record, and away we’d go. (Wow, did you notice how that sentence eventually turned into a square dance song?)

The most mortifying part of all of this was finding out who you would be partnered with. When you are 9 years old you already understand the ramification that who you are partnered with will reflect on you either positively or negatively. It was a score if I was partnered with Mike Robertson and his cool demeanor, blue eyes with the long curly lashes, and dimples. Or Craig Griffith with his blonde hair, sense of humor, and last name (this was important in a small town). Or Rodney Eischen with his self-deprecating humbleness and adorable easy smile. Any of those boys were acceptable, they were fun, and I was okay having to hold hands with them on and off for 45 minutes. I’m positive I was not paired up with these boys every time, so sometimes I did have to dance with someone in another tier. But you know what, I still remember square dancing was fun and it did not scar me or my popularity.

It was also important that at least one of your girlfriends was in your group as they gave you someone who could understand what you were going through in one glance, they didn’t use it as an opportunity to make fun of you for dancing with your crush or with someone gross, and you had a partner in crime in an activity that was new for both of you. Hello, Tara and Kristine and Amie. Is this ringing a bell?

It’s amazing what you can learn from forced partnership in a time in your life when you are learning the social rules. And I would say all of this applies to your significant other, the friends you choose, and people you work with today:

1. Who you are partnered with is still a reflection on you.
2. Getting paired up with someone awesome is way more fun.
3. If you get paired up with someone less desirable it is never as bad as you thought it would be and no one really remembers it.
4. Having fun is up to you. No matter what situation you are put into.
5. Your girls make everything better.
6. I cannot believe how much the characteristics of boys I never even made out with influenced what I desire today. I got the blue eyed, adorable, self-deprecating, funny, cool dude after all. Ha!

...QueenB Says

Monday, August 2, 2010

Get Remembered

Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman. - Coco Chanel
I want you to think back to the last wedding you attended. Got it in your head? Now, remember that woman, the one that was totally together. You can kind of remember that she had a red or blue dress on, you know that she walked confidently and regally to her seat, she smiled at the right time, clapped at the right time, enjoyed her wine, and danced effortlessly.

Now, remember these? There was that one girl who changed into flip flops. And then that lady who's dress was 15 years old and had shoulder pads. Oh, remember that girl with the dress that was too short, too tight, and too low cut? And that lady who wore so many sparkly items she looked like a Christmas tree. What about the lady in the polyester halter dress that looked like it cost $12. And that one poor woman in the dowdy floral dress with the matching cropped, long-sleeved jacket. Then there was that one lady who's dress was okay, but her undergarments were all wrong because you could SEE them under the dress and hanging out of the dress.

The above quote was sent to me by a very regal woman that I grew up watching. I couldn't tell you what she wore, ever. Kind of like the first woman you thought of. But I know she was amazing... and still is.

The point of this post (and as my husband pointed out, "Haven't you posted this before?"... yes!):  Don't give people an excuse to not see YOU. What gives people that excuse? Ill fitting, cheaply made, too baggy, too tight, inappropriate for the occasion, dated, plain, unaccessorized, gaudy, or uncomfortable clothing. Make sure that you get remembered, for the right reasons. If you aren't sure? Ask me. I'll tell you the truth. I promise...

...QueenB Says