My Five Business Trip Packing Tips To Avoid Embarassment

I'm Portland, OR bound for business in a few weeks, which I was pondering last night when I couldn't sleep.  I started thinking about previous trips--business and personal--and mistakes I've made in packing.  I assembled this list of tips, the kind of tips that will keep you from embarrassing yourself in front of colleagues.  Well, at least embarrassment as it relates to clothes.
  1. Bring an extra outfit and under-things in your carry on.  I envy you if you're one of those super packers who use their carry on for everything.  I always have to check a bag, and I live in fear it won't make my destination.  My fear eases knowing that I have an extra look and undies with me.  I don't risk having to wear the same thing two days in a row, especially if I'm flying casual but wearing professional to business events.
  2. Pack nice pajamas.  Have you ever watched that scene in Lost in Translation where the hotel has a fire drill and everyone is milling around outside in their PJs?  Imagine wearing the rattiest, most stained pajamas you have at 2am surrounded by co-workers.  Wouldn't that whole scenario be slightly better in a nice night gown and robe or a set of pajamas that match? 
  3. Be mindful of adding a swimsuit to your bag.  If you're going to Florida or Hawaii or a destination where it's obvious the company expects you'll lounge by the pool, bring a suit.  BUT, if you're not, then think about your co-workers seeing you in your skivvies.  I have been the person wandering a hotel looking for a hot tub in this scenario.  I ended up in a elevator in a towel with a higher up, and it felt A-W-K-W-A-R-D.
  4. Bring shoes that you can walk and move in.  If I could pull off a 6 inch heel, I would, but I have neither the dexterity nor the feet for that height.  I pack shoes I know I can walk to seminars and around conference floors in.  Don't be that poor person who is in pain by 10am running to their hotel to put on sneakers.  Or worse, you can end up the person scrambling to find affordable shoes in a new city when you already have plenty of pairs at home.
  5. Do your research before packing.  Everyone will be wearing polos and khakis, right?  It's never cold in Florida?  These are the kinds of assumptions that make you stick out like a sore thumb.  Check the weather and ask colleagues about what they've worn or plan to wear to events.  Think about having to run out and buy something you probably already have at home, and this tip might be the most important of all.  You can look professional and you won't freeze or sweat to death.
Any tips you guys have for not standing out like a sore thumb on a business trip?

Having A Little Fun

With all of the work and crazy that's been going on off the webs, I decided to treat myself to a little fun.  I got so carried away I ended up slacking off on the whole actually posting thing.  I promise to get caught up later this week.  Now, go and have yourself some all encompassing fun, too.

Random, True Things 8

We're on number eight of this series already which feels impossible.  I didn't think I could think of that many random and also true things.  I'm starting to wonder if I'll have to start throwing in some random, untrue things later in the year.  Maybe.  For now, let's talk about music, which I love but don't really talk much about on the blog.

  1. I love, love, love Adam Ant.  His music is always in my Pandora rotation, and I really need to just go out and get a few CDs. 
  2. Yes, I realize most people just download music, but I prefer CDs.  I always have and while I own an ancient iPod, it finds most of it's use in my car when the radio is being a d*ck.
  3. My ancient iPod is totally full because it's back from the 8GB days.  I could put music on my phone, but works owns and pays for that, so I don't.
  4. I learned to play flute mostly on my own in high school so I didn't have to march in Mardi Gras parades with a full-size xylophone.  Smart choice, too.
  5. While teaching myself to play said flute, I bruised my lips into a very flattering. purply shade.  I didn't know such a thing was possible until my friends asked what shade lipstick I was wearing.

The Girl Next Door, Fluffy Like a Marshamallow

I like a light hearted movie with a love story, especially a complicated, goofy one.  Enter into that category, The Girl Next Door, in which a high school senior who does everything right meets a girl who turns his world upside down.  I've seen this movie countless times, and it always makes me smile.
Matthew is living life with one big goal:  get into Georgetown so he can become president.  Then, Danielle starts house sitting next door, and he's transfixed.  You see, Danielle has a past that includes some pretty shady characters including Kelly, an ex-boyfriend and business associate.  Matthew screws up when he learns more about Danielle, and then Kelly puts him into an impossibly difficult situation after he tries to get her back.  Hilarity ensues.
I don't know if it's the sweetness with which Matthew pursues Danielle or the fact that he comes into his own in this movie, but it's a big favorite of mine.  I was one of those goody two shoes kids in high school who slowly tested the waters and realized that I wanted more and I wanted to make my own choices about what was right in life, morally and personally.  I see a little bit of myself in Matthew--a tiny bit.  I would never do most of the stuff he gets up to.
I also really enjoy the performances in this movie.  I love Emile Hirsch, and he's done a bunch of really great films in his career.  Plus, Timothy Olyphant plays a terrifyingly likeable bad guy, and of course, Elisha Cuthbert balances her character's real life persona and job persona beautifully.  Go see this movie.
Are there are any teen movies, you guys love to watch over and over?

Slouchy Slutty, Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Did that title, slouchy slutty, make you scratch your head?  Let me explain.  This top is super slouchy which seems to be a new favorite for me (i.e. batwing dress).  I like batwing sleeves like I enjoy food these days... all the damb time.

The skirt is a bit slutty, kind of.  I mean it's a going out skirt from Forever21 and not so much a going to work skirt.  I am theorizing that since I bought it a size up and I always wear stuff that covers my bottom and belly it's okay.  Probably not, but I'm still doing it.  Ergo, slouchy slutty in my non-maternity clothes.  Plus, it's a fun title!

Glasses :: Versace
Cream lace top :: Forever21+
Black tank :: Loft
Black pencil skirt :: Forever21+
Ballet ankle wrap flats :: DSW

Shopping Bags in August 2014 (and maybe a bit of July, too)

So, I wasn't ready to make the P-word announcement at the first of the month of August, so I hid some purchases I made in July to keep my secret a little bit longer.  This month's shopping bags includes those items, and all the things I actually bought in August.  I've been approaching maternity shopping with a few things in mind: 
  • stuff should be affordable, if not cheap and on sale
  • things need to work for months 3-6 of pregnancy and post-baby
  • clothes should suit my style whenever possible, think basics with flare
  • shop plus size online instead of just maternity regulars like Target and Old Navy

Of course I thought I'd also be showing by now so I made a few anticipation purchases that were affordable and that'll I'll be using, just not right now.  Away we go....

Shopping Bags in July revised

A blue peplum top from Asos Curve for $20 is too big, which is perfect. I can take it in under the arms and utilize the ample belly space.  Plus, it's my favorite color blue.
A white peplum top with a jeweled neck from Asos Curve for $20 is another great non-maternity maternity purchase.  I can wear it with jeans, dress pants, pencil skirts and always feel very much myself.
A pair of black maternity pants from Target for $35 were a professional wear necessity.  Tight clothes = nausea = I was spending way too much time in less than professional jeans before these.

Shopping Bags in August

A black pencil skirt from Forever21+ for $8 is stretchy, professional, and cheap.  All of my pencil skirts got tight months ago, so it's good to be back in one again.
A pair of dark wash skinny jeans from Forever21+ for $15 have an elastic waist meaning they will literally grow with me over the next few months.  I sized up for maximum wear time.
A pair of black jeggings from Forever21+ for $15 can pass for dress pants if I cover my waist.  Flexibility is really important when it comes to buying clothes for a really short time span, and these are going to be rockstars.
A grey surplus tank from Forever21+ for $10 wasn't a great fit off the bat.  I'm going to have to sew the tank closed a little higher to wear it to work with blazers, but it's loose enough to get me pretty far into pregnancy.
A cream long sleeve top with lace inset from Forever21+ for $12 is soft, loose and wonderful.  The cost per wear on this thing is going to be in the negatives in no time.
A pair of black ankle boots with side cutouts from DSW for $20 via gift certificate are my aspirational fall purchase.  I bought another pair online and they weren't quite right.  When I went into return them, I found these for way less and they're leather!
A black Steve Madden purse for $25 also via gift certificate struck my fancy.  I can't justify it other than to say it will be the perfect travel purse when I'm out in September and October.
A red laser cut tunic from Asos for $18 had me pulling the trigger prematurely on serious maternity clothes.  I thought for sure I'd be showing by now.  It's gonna be on permanent rotation in a few weeks though I'm sure.
A grey swing dress from Asos for $23 has been on my buy list ever since I found out I was pregnant.  It's easy, pretty, and the best of all comfortable.
An emerald green bodycon maternity dress from Asos for $29 will be my fancy dress.  I have a wedding to attend in a few weeks, and this will make me feel so special.
A white tunic top with crochet from Asos for $14 is a bit sheer but really practical.  I had a top very similar to this one a year ago that wasn't maternity, and it went with everything. 
A black wrap top tunic from Asos for $20 is gonna look very sleek with faux leather leggings.  It'll also look cute with jeans and pretty much anything else I can think of once my bump gets here.

Original July purchases       $ 34
Updated July total                $109
August purchases                 $209
Maternity totals so far         $239

Pregnancy and Attention

I'm not a girl who's afraid to stand up and make a presentation to a large group or even act a fool in front of strangers.  I've done plays, given concerts, and led tour groups, so I wouldn't exactly call myself shy.  I do have conditions for being the center of attention though; I need to be "on".
"On" is feeling together in my clothes, hair, makeup.  Sometimes, I have a glass of wine or a cocktail.  I am "on" at work during my day-to-day meetings, whenever I meet a bunch of new people, or even if I'm with friends/family and would rather be home watching TV.  Being "on" takes a lot of effort and mental power.
It's not that I mind being "on." It's just tiring and better accomplished in small doses, which is where pregnancy comes into play.  You see I'll be continuously pregnant for the next six months or so.  When people find out, they're super excited, and they want to talk about it.  They direct a lot of attention at me, leaving me easily overwhelmed.
It's hard to explain for me, or maybe you guys understand completely.  It's not that I'm not happy or that I'm entirely avoiding talking about my pregnancy.  I'm neither of those things.  Really, I'm not naturally social, and I've had a lifetime of experiences--starting in childhood--that taught me that communication without effort on my part equals awkward interactions with other people.
What does this have to do with blogging?  Well, I've always strived to be better, more comfortable with myself, and happier through this hobby.  I've written about some of my experiences here with attention in the past and building up my own confidence.  Somehow, writing about this new awkward stage seemed to make sense.  Pregnancy is another journey that will challenge my sense of self and hopefully help me feel more at ease in the world.
I know I need to relax a little bit and stop worrying about saying something dumb or rude or getting funny looks.  I know I need to stop feeling off when people examine my middle with their eyes to see if I'm showing yet.  I know that most people are genuinely happy, and they just want to be a part of my experience.  But, knowing is just the first step.
So, if you're my friend or especially my family reading this, you should know I'm really uncomfortable right now.  It's not because I'm worried about gaining weight.  It's not because I don't deeply care about you.  It's because I feel like I'm a tiny person with a huge spotlight shining right at their head.  The attention, especially the idea of things like showers, makes me an anxious mess.  Bear with me while I try to figure out how to handle the warmth of your kind words and thoughts.  It's really not you, it's me.
Have any of my bloggie friends run into situations where suddenly they were the center of attention?  Maybe you had a great accomplishment, received an award, or even experienced a loss?  Let me know any tips you have for relaxing in those situations when it feels like everyone is staring.