Gig Tip: Have your clothes WORK for YOU

It may just be my style, or lack thereof, but I’ve decided to follow some simple rules when it comes to clothes for the workplace:

Must Have’s:

  1. It must not itch.  ANYWHERE.  Not at the seams, not at the frills, not in the collar, not under the armpits, ANYWHERE.
  2. Similar to the above, it needs to be COMFORTABLE.   You need to feel like you can run from your house (with clingy kids) to the minivan to the train station to the office and sit/stand/present/walk around and then back again back home without the clothes getting in the way.   You have enough things to worry about let alone having your focus misdirected to your damn, uncomfortable clothes.
  3. It must be FLATTERING for you.  It must work with your body and make you feel sexy.  I know you are a mother, but you are also a woman.  You need to feel like one.  You need to feel like the clothes are enhancing you – looking good on you.  DO NOT BUY SOMETHING THAT ONLY LOOKS OK BUT HAS A GREAT PRICE-TAG.     Absolutely do not do that.   You will wind up filling up your clothes with mediocrity, wasting your money, and not feeling good about yourself.
  4. The simpler, the better.   Anything too trendy does not pass the test of time, and my closet (and bank account) is limited — I simply cannot have several closets of clothes and cycle through them through the years when things come back in style.  So call me a frump.   I have thick skin.
  5. It must not break the bank.  I don’t like paying full price on clothes.   Suggested retail price is a fabrication of imagination.   I don’t mind paying more for simple, muted classics though (e.g., black blazer, black pants, etc.).

(not me, but a dress by Three Dots)

Nice to have’s:

  1. I absolutely love it when I buy something that I feel can take me to the office yet also be worn on the weekends, or with the kids, or out to a casual dinner.  You get it.   Time is too limited for changes.   Space is too constrained for multiple sets of clothes in bulk.   Streamline your life.
  2. I love it when it is made of a fabric where I can launder it myself.  I despise the cost of dry cleaning and also the piles of clothes and the extra trip/errand that needs to be done.   It is so much easier for me to collect the stuff that I can launder with gentle soap on a gentle cycle and then hang dry.  I don’t mind it at all, especially when I know it is saving me money and giving me versitility with what I am wearing.

My favorite in terms of brand is three dots.   Very comfy clothes that work well and play well.   My favorite stores right now are (of course — they make it so easy to find things, sort, filter, and find great deals) and believe it or not, Kohl’s (especially at the end of the season – you can find DIRT CHEAP clothes that feel and look great – again, the simpler the better – so great for layering or even waiting until the next season).

When it comes to shoes, I still have a lot to learn.  I keep some heels in my office drawer but have not yet perfected the shoe thing in terms of comfort, style or durability.   I’ll think about that going forward.  I have some favorites, but nothing I can fully endorse.

In short, have your clothes work for you, versus you working for your clothes.    ‘Nuf said.

What other ideas do you ladies have???   Please share!!

Hope everyone is having a good start to the week

– Mama K

December 21: Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Amazon)

Whew! It’s been a fast, long day. My writing today will be VERY brief since it is 11:59 PM and I am still getting a Christmas gift organized. Hopefully it gets here in time!

Anyway, today was a 1/2 day work-from-home day.

  • Kids were happy going to pre-school/camp:
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  • I worked at home with lots of coffee; did A LOT of laundry. Cleaned up a bit. Had some conference calls. Our client is extremely happy (whew). Was visited by SANTA!!! Yes!!! Santa Claus came to town a bit early (and as hoped) and delivered many, many packages! Thank you UPS Santa!!!
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  • Picked up kids and had them set up for a sticker project when we got home. I was solo tonight since Hubby was out so I wanted to make sure the kids had activities set up for them. All were very engaged and happy. No troubles.
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  • Ate pizza. Twin Crazy played with water from her drinking cup. The kids ate a ton.
  • Played a bit after dinner. Tickles. Big Bro stole a marshmallow from Red’s menorah. How did he ever think that I wouldn’t notice?? I asked him if he had something to tell me. He was coy at first. Then he gave in and told me his secret. I hugged him and said it was important that he feel like he can always tell me the truth. Being able for us to trust each other is important. After that we asked Red if it was OK to devour the rest of the menorah. I broke pieces of marshmallow for Twin Crazy and Twin Husky. They went nuts.
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    So now it is 12:10 AM and I am still having some troubles getting this gift to “submit” online. I tried twice and if it doesn’t go through this time I will have to try again – I’m home with all the kids tomorrow and I want to take them to a play museum – I think I’ll take them to the “art” area where they can get creative and throw some paint around. 🙂

    Wish me luck on getting to sleep at a decent hour.
    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K

    November 9: Busy as a bee

    Today we woke up very early, probably due to DST. Twin Husky was singing and woke us up.

    Highlights of the Morning:

    • Twin Husky was singing, along with Twin Crazy, but it was Red who came into our room first. She was talking about the wallet that I helped her make and the pretend money. She was explaining to Hubby that we made a wallet and money together and that Big Bro gave his home-made wallet to Red too, because I had my old wallet up for grabs. So Big Bro is pumped about my old wallet, and Red is thrilled that she has two wallets, one of which is a hand-me-down from Big Bro.
    • I grabbed the Twins from their room. They were busy playing in the cribs, doing dives and jumping and laughing. I changed Twin Crazy since she was soaked through with pee. I need to change the way we do her diapers since now she’s a 100% stomach-sleeper. We’re going through lots of PJs and bedsheets these days.
    • I take a quick shower and then help downstairs with breakfast. Oatmeal is such a hit at hour house that I need to think through a more economical way to do it. We’re going through 4-5 packets of instant per day, between 3 kids. On the weekends I make the homemade stuff which still is fast — the 1 minute cook stuff. And I add brown sugar and butter to make it delicious. I can buy that stuff in bulk at Costco. I want to start doing that during the week too so we can save money and not go through the food so fast.
    • I helped to change Big Bro and Red. Red picked out her clothes the night before which helped. The “carrot” of the childrens’ vitamins after the dressing also helps a bit to get them moving.
    • We were so early today that we all took our drop-offs together. First Red, then Twins, then Big Bro.

    I’m on the ferry now and this will be my last working day of the week. I will be off Thursday and Friday and am looking forward to the time I will be able to spend with the kids. But, today will be VERY busy for me at work. I think it will take some time to get used to this arrangement — for me, my kids, and my colleagues. I am willing to tweak here and there to make it work for everyone.

    I am particularly excited about spending more time with the Twins. Time that I never really had with Big Bro and Red. I want to do arts-and-crafts with them. I want to take them to museums. To “sing-a-longs” at the library. To the park. I mostly just want to sit and talk with them.

    Today at work I will need to work on several proposals — 3 in total. Plus find time to work on my project. Plus find time to close out some loose ends with the meetings that just wrapped up. Plus find time to refine our selling materials for our other service offering that we are developing. I will be working back-to-back all day today and hopefully my time will be efficient so I can feel good about taking off the rest of the week. I can’t drop any balls or else this arrangement will likely have to change…. Through my career I’ve learned to use my Outlook calendar religiously. There are blocks of times for meetings, but I also block out time for myself dedicated to specific work that I need to do. And I’m true to those “bookings” of time. If I need to re-arrange, I do – but I never cancel. If someone needs to schedule a meeting, then based on priority I will have them schedule around my calendar, and schedule something on the next day if needed. This system seems to work well for me.

    Highlights of My Working Day:
    OMG more discussions and I am officially a part-time employee! My day today was VERY compressed and efficient – I essentially was back to back with meetings; I think this will work well for my company, essentially they will get more out of me for each hour I spend…. here are the highlights

    • I read materials for my client project to get a better understanding of the proposed partnership opportunity we will be evaluating; reached out to subject-matter-experts and secured one interview, and am in process of securing at least 2 others. Primary interviews is research where you actually TALK to the market. You typically can learn SO MUCH MORE than you ever could just surfing the web. You need to be prepared for these discussions though…. you need to have your must-have questions fully organized but still be flexible enough to let the conversations flow – this is where you learn and pick up on other aspects of the business that you may not have otherwise. So I’m excited that we are in process of getting these set up. This was client “billable” time for me.
    • I lead a discussion with another relationship that I cultivated and we proposed for strategy consulting work. It was a great conversation and there are some MINOR modifications to the language of our proposal. They really liked what they saw. The only major thing I have left to do is price the effort – which can be tricky. We bid on fixed price projects but sometimes it is difficult to really estimate the level of effort for the project. I will need to focus on that so we can give him the revised proposal with the price estimate on Monday. This is the first of the proposals that resulted from the meetings I lead earlier last month.
    • Had more discussions with my Directors on my reduced work week. All are in support and we worked on a communication plan so that everyone is aware of my availability, reachability. I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS. They gave me hugs afterwards. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive firm to work for.
    • I had another business development meeting for a separate proposal we will prepare. I consolidated our list of questions and the Director submitted; the potential client will answer these questions and from here we will be able to craft a compelling proposal.
    • I refined/repositioned marketing materials for one of the initiatives I am leading. I will need to restart outreach to solicit potential members next week with these materials.
    • I met with a consultant who drafted a proposal for a lead that I brought in from another meeting from early last month. This is the 2nd proposal resulting from the meetings I lead earlier last month.
    • I worked with our technology team to get my iPhone set up to receive/send work email. Although I will not be working, if I see anything client-related that is urgent I will respond or forward to a colleague as appropriate.

    I AM SO EXCITED! I’m on the ferry now, thinking about what I will do with the Twins tomorrow. I’m planning on taking all four to the museum on Friday since it is Veteran’s Day and school/daycare is closed. My stress level is washing away from my shoulders and I am looking forward to being a mom to my kids.

    Dinner and Bedtime:

    • I picked up Red, then Big Bro, then the Twins.  All were in reasonably good moods.  Whew!
    • As I made dinner, the kids were all drawing.   I like giving them projects so that they are entertained as I am busy.
    • Dinner was pasta with sauce on the side.   Kids were helping me with the other kids.   For example, Red got Big Bro a bowl for his sauce, Big Bro was serving sauce in the bowls, and Red was helping with the Twins.  They really do look out for each other which warms my heart so much.
    • After dinner, there was a mad rush of activity around believe it or not, an Amazon box.   Out of ALL the toys we have in this house, ALL four kids decided that it was the best fun to play inside of this box.  They took turns individually, then as subsets of kids, then even all four of them at the same time.  It was hysterical.
    Four kids and an Amazon box

    Four kids and an Amazon box

    • Then they moved on to the parade:
    • I then got some chocolate milk for everyone to get them to calm down for the evening.  I had a “mommy chocolate milk” (AKA Guinness).  I got Big Bro started on his homework and Red started on a picture while I took the Twins upstairs.    They are so easy.
    • Then we did Big Bro homework and I helped Red color in some pictures.  She is so funny.  She draws squares, and then indicates with a dot within each square the ones that she wants me to color.   She is so decisive and delegates so easily – tells me exactly what I’m supposed to do.  So cute.
    Everyone is upstairs, I am happy with a Guinness already down, and also looking forward to my day tomorrow with the kids.  I’m definitely going to have the Twins – I’m not sure what I feel like doing with Red.   I may have her join the fun as well.
    Til tomorrow –
    – Mama K




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