Monday, March 31, 2014

HOW TO DO BUSINESS CASUAL

Packing for a business trip or planning your work week outfits is easy as pie. Last week at Adobe Summit, I couldn't wear my normal workday jeans and a sweater. Since I was representing my company, I stuck with business casual. And since I didn't want my suitcase to weigh over 50 pounds (it's happened before), I planned out exactly what I was going to wear ahead of time. For once, I was a good little pre-packer. 

If you're going on a trip or planning out a few business casual looks, you only need a few key items. Spring shopping maybe?

She is Moments Key Business Casual Items:
  • 1 Modest, fitted dress
  • 1 Black cardigan
  • 2 Bright silk blend tank tops
  • 1 pair of black pants
  • 1 pair of grey or brown pants
  • 1 statement belt
  • 1 blazer
  • 1 standard tank
  • 1 short-sleeved sweater
  • 1 bright cardigan
  • 2 pair of flats
  • 1 pair of comfy heels


Outfit 1: The dress and cardigan

Outfit 2: Belted neutrals with a pop of color

Outfit 3: Classic black pants with a modern blazer

Outfit 4: Subdued skirt with a spring cardigan

Shoes for the week: Neutral flats, bright flats, comfy heels

Thursday, March 27, 2014

CONFERENCED OUT

I. Am. Exhausted.

All this week I've been on a business trip in Salt Lake City with my company to the Adobe Summit. I am proud to say that the event went really well, our booth was gorgeous, and work-wise I brought in a lot of new leads to the company.

Now for my more (ahem) honest reflections:

The fact that the mountains just come up out of nowhere and surround the city is absolutely stunning.



I have never seen so much food as when we were at the Adobe Bash.




I liked Walk the Moon better than Vampire Weekend. Sorry. It's just the truth.





I rocked business casual all week. I'll be doing a post on how to pack for a business trip but here's a sneak peek.



We need more women in business. I work in digital marketing and there were 11 people from my company who came to this trade show. I was the only woman. That is just not ok. I'm so frustrated because we have many powerful women at my company but we aren't showcasing them enough. Or maybe they aren't showcasing themselves? I'm not sure what the issue is, but I plan to do some more thinking on this subject when I'm not zombie tired.

This extrovert is done talking to people for the week. Is it wrong if I skip dinner with some of the team to sit in my jammies and order room service?



This conference was not my jam. That is likely because I was working it rather than attending it, but still. I'm curious to know where my career niche will end up because I've worked in quite a few industries and am not sure I've found it yet.

Did I mention I want to talk to more smart, powerful women? Enough with the male CEOs already.

Big revelation: I really miss wedding planning! I haven't had a moment to check my email (or post) all week and other than talking to Josh for five minutes each day I've been completely disconnected from my normal life. I can't wait to jump back into it.

I'm not that into work travel. I'm so excited to be going home tomorrow.

Last random and hilarious thought... in the mornings after emailing, I watched several episodes of Freaky Eaters. Cannot get enough.

I've missed you blog and blog readers. What have you been up to all week?

Monday, March 17, 2014

GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE IRISH SODA BREAD AND A LINK-UP!


It has no gluten, no dairy and it's DELICIOUS. I promise.

Last night my mom hosted St. Patrick's day dinner and Josh and I and his parents and my stepdad all sat down to enjoy some traditional corned beef and cabbage. We had Irish beer, Bailey's Irish Cream, four different Irish Cheeses, an amazing Bailey's cake, and of course, Irish Soda Bread.




I've been trying to eat really healthily (aggressively so) since March 13th. Sound fairly arbitrary but our engagement shots are on April 13th so the one month mark made me think I should eat more veggies and less bread. :)

The thing is though, I love bread. So when my mom asked me to bake Irish Soda Bread, a la Barney Stinson, I said, "Challenge accepted!"

I hunted around for recipes for an hour or so online. Pinterest and Google really helped a lot but some of the ingredients the gluten-free recipes called for were just odd. I'm sure Xantham Gum is fine but no thanks food named like a super hero.

The recipe I made turned out really well. It's darker than bread made from wheat flour but it is still crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and has a texture exactly like wheat bread. Of all the gluten-free, dairy-free,  Paleo things that I've made, this is my favorite.



So put on your green, if you're in DC enjoy working from home on this snow day, and put a loaf of bread in the oven. 15 minutes of prep and 30 minutes in the oven and it's delicious and healthy.

Healthy Irish Soda Bread (Gluten-free and Dairy-free and I think it's Paleo too!)
Modified from Elana's Pantry

Ingredients
  • 2 3/4 cup almond flour (I used Bob's Red Mill brand)
  • 1/4 teaspoon course salt (I use Real Salt for everything)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar (I used Raw Organic Agave Nectar from Whole Foods)
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons of caraway seeds
  • 1 pinch of caraway seeds (to top)

Instructions
  1. Heat the oven to 350 and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine flour, salt, baking soda and raisins in a large bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, agave, and vinegar.
  4. Stir both bowls individually, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir vigorously.
  5. While stirring add in the 2 tablespoons of caraway seeds and continue to mix.
  6. Once the dough is all mixed (it will be gooey all over), transfer the whole ball of dough onto the parchment paper.
  7. Using your hands gently shape and flatten the sticky dough ball onto the parchment paper in the center of the baking sheet. It should be a cylinder (flat circle) about an inch tall and 8 inches in diameter. Don't measure just eyeball it. :)
  8. Take a knife and score the top of it slightly in an X, don't cut all the way through, just leave a mark. 
  9. Sprinkle a pinch of caraway seeds on top of the dough. 
  10. Put the whole thing including the baking sheet in the oven. 
  11. Bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Turn the oven off and let sit for 10 minutes in the oven as it cools. 
  13. Take bread out, marvel at your work, and let it cool for 30 minutes. 
  14. Serve it and do a victory dance at how healthy and skilled you are. 

Meg also has a delicious Irish Recipe on her blog, Write Meg today for our Lucky Link-up! How are you celebrating St. Patty's day. Link-up below to share your favorite Irish recipe, book, song, green clothing, etc. 



Thursday, March 13, 2014

LUCKY LOOKS

I'm wearing my kelly green sweater today and I'm already excited about St. Patrick's day next Monday. With a name like Maureen you can imagine I'm Irish. :)  I have such fond memories of my mom, brother, Grandpa and I breaking out the green top hats and plastic sheleighlies and running around the house celebrating. And of course we always have corned beef and cabbage.

Since I'm wearing my sweater today, I'm still deciding what kind of green apparel I'll be sporting on Monday. Here are a few of my favorites right now - all of them will make sure you don't get pinched!


(I love that this looks like a skirt/shirt combo.)
Madewell Flats / $108 
(I need to wait for these to go on sale!


(WHAT?! I think I'm buying this right now.)


Wanelo Sweater / $39.00
(Don't really know what this Wanelo is... but I'm gonna look into it a little more, it has promise.)


In other exciting news about St. Patrick's Day, Write Meg and I are doing an exciting link-up on Monday and we'd love for you to join us!


Come back on Monday to share your favorite Irish-themed posts in our Lucky Link-Up. Meg and I will each be sharing our favorite St. Paddy's Day items and we'd love to hear what you think as well! It can be new or old posts about Irish dishes, Irish authors, Irish travels, Irish men... well you get the theme. ;)

See you on Monday!


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

OK, I WAS WRONG

It's never easy to admit but it feels so good to just get the truth out there. I was wrong - really wrong - in my assessment of The Bachelor last week. It turns out, Juan Pablo is a class act weirdo. Honestly, I don't know what happened with him from the beginning of the show to the finale to now but man oh man was the After the Final Rose episode hard to watch. 

via

Here's my recap of the Bachelor Finale:
  • Clare actually stood her ground about JP not needing to lead her on and I gained a lot of respect for her. (What kind of guy makes you give a speech about how you love him before he dumps you?!)
  • Nikki must be on some kind of sedative (read: cash bribe). She was so outspoken the whole show and she just sat there in the after show like a robot letting JP say that he doesn't love her. It may be normal for one person to fall in love faster than the other but you would think that the slower party would still seem happy and 'in like'.
  • Juan Pablo shouldn't have gone on the show because he doesn't want to talk about his life.
  • I'm still in love with Sean and Catherine. You should be too.
via

Here are some hilarious reads and other recaps:


This recap reveals the jerky comment he made to Clare!

Host Chris Harrison's blog = Amazing. Quote from Chris, "The interview with Juan Pablo and Nikki was just a bit odd. I know it was orchestrated by him not to say how he feels about Nikki." 


So what are your thoughts...

  1. Do you watch the show?
  2. What do you think of Juan Pablo: love him or hate him or just can't figure him out?
  3. How would you react if you were Nikki?
  4. Andi as The Bachelorette: yay or nay?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

SIXTY, NIFTY, AND ONE HECK OF A GUY!

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!

I love you very much and I am so proud to be your daughter. 


Friday, March 7, 2014

BRIDE DAY FRIDAY: 3 TIPS FOR TALKING BUDGET

Money is never easy to talk about. You know this and I know this. However, when you are planning your own wedding (and likely even if you're not) it has to be done and done well. Don't be scared, with these three, fool-proof tips, you can do it!

Now that you understand the big three and you have a draft guest list created to give you an idea of the size of your wedding reception, it's time to set your budget. Setting a budget at the beginning of your research process gives you direction and helps you eliminate vendors that are outside of a realistic spending range for your unique day.


To figure out your budget, 1. Sit down with your own finances and determine how much you can contribute on your wedding day. This isn't as scary as it sounds--all you have to do is figure out how much money you can take out of savings or save from now until your wedding. 

Don't spend all of your money, leave at least six months of living expenses in your savings account and then see what's left. Then look at how much you can save from your paycheck each month (after you pay all of your bills and allocate money for food and the occasional girls night). Whether its $2,000 or $20,000, be honest about this number. However much it is that you can contribute, it's awesome! Do not stretch yourself too thin here: nothing should go on credit, you should be able to comfortably give this money to your wedding. What a wonderful honor to be able to work hard and save up for a day that is so important to you. 

After you know how much you can dedicate, take a weekend afternoon and 2. Discuss your number with your fiance and ask if he is able to contribute to the budget. Notice a few key words here: weekend afternoon, ask, able, contribute. This is a conversation. Pick a time that works for both of you to sit down and have a relaxed chat. Be in sweatpants, have some snacks, and for goodness sake don't do this on the phone or on geech. Face-to-face communication for the win! Basically ask your fiance to do what you did in Step 1. And remember, chances are he just paid for your gorgeous ring, so let him determine how much he can contribute. It can be more or less than your number and that shouldn't matter. It should be what he can comfortably financially afford.


You are on your way! You are a financially savvy, open-communicator and you're kicking butt. Now it's time to, 3. Have a private conversation with your parents about how much they can contribute to your wedding budget. Yes, I did say private here. (Note: if your parents are divorced, talk to each separately and be open and honest with each about what the other is able to contribute. Honesty always works.) 

This step can be broken up into two parts - you should talk to your parents on your own and your fiance should talk to his parents on his own. Traditionally, the bride's parents help pay for the wedding and the groom's for the rehearsal dinner but let your parents guide you with what they want to help financially support. Trust me, they'll tell you what they care about supporting. They've thought about you getting married just as much as you have! Be clear that you will of course fill your fiance in on the conversation (and he you). It's not a secret but it's a courtesy. You are still your parents child and they will likely feel more comfortable talking to you alone about the budget for the first time. 

When each of you talk to your parents in person (or at least on the phone) and give them the courtesy of asking them if they are comfortable contributing financially to your wedding, you automatically show them respect and gratitude. Do not expect a certain number from them. Your parents, same as you, are managing their own finances. Do not assume that they can contribute anything. Instead, ask. Your parents love you and I guarantee that they will give as much as they comfortably can to support you. Whatever the amount is, say thank you and mean it. Your parents raised you, gave you life, and now are generously giving as much as they can to financially support your wedding. They're pretty great. 

With the contributions from you, your fiance, and all of your parents, you now have a wedding budget. Add it up and write it down! This number will be your guiding light as you start to research and plan. You now know about how many people you want to have and how much you can spend on the affair. That's a great place to start!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

PERSONALITY QUIZZES

I freakin love personality quizzes. I like the ones that tell me how I am because I was born on a certain day or because of my sign or because I pick certain answers. I like them all. It's just fascinating and sometimes certain characteristics are really true!

I recently took this Jung Typology test and found out that I'm an ESFJ. I think it's pretty accurate. :)

via

Portrait of an ESFJ - Extraverted Sensing Feeling Judging
(Extraverted Feeling with Introverted Sensing)


As an ESFJ, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit in with your personal value system. Your secondary mode is internal, where you take things in via your five senses in a literal, concrete fashion.

ESFJs are people persons - they love people.

The ESFJ's strong desire to be liked and for everything to be pleasant makes them highly supportive of others. People like to be around ESFJs, because the ESFJ has a special gift of invariably making people feel good about themselves.

The ESFJ takes their responsibilities very seriously, and is very dependable. They value security and stability, and have a strong focus on the details of life.

ESFJs are warm and energetic. They need approval from others to feel good about themselves. They are hurt by indifference and don't understand unkindness. They are very giving people, who get a lot of their personal satisfaction from the happiness of others. They want to be appreciated for who they are, and what they give.

With Extraverted Feeling dominating their personality, ESFJs are focused on reading other people. They have a strong need to be liked, and to be in control. They are extremely good at reading others, and often change their own manner to be more pleasing to whoever they're with at the moment.

They usually have very well-formed ideas about the way things should be, and are not shy about expressing these opinions

All ESFJs have a natural tendency to want to control their environment. Their dominant function demands structure and organization, and seeks closure.

ESFJs at their best are warm, sympathetic, helpful, cooperative, tactful, down-to-earth, practical, thorough, consistent, organized, enthusiastic, and energetic. They enjoy tradition and security, and will seek stable lives that are rich in contact with friends and family.


Take your own test here


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

RUBY SLIPPERS

There is nothing quite as exciting as a photo shoot

Last spring I had the honor to work with my friend Traci to bring The Wizard of Oz to life in photos. Honestly, all she had to do was ask me to play Glinda and I was IN! Traci and I first worked together when she photographed Legally Blonde: The Musical and I knew from the start that this talented photographer with an infectious laugh and warm personality was going to be a good friend. 

Since then, Traci has shot a Rogers and Hammerstein concert I sang in, the Oz shoot, and oh yeah, no big deal... my engagement! Josh hired her to work her magic for our surprise engagement and boy did she ever. I am so grateful for Traci in my life and for her photos on my blog.

With a full-time photography studio, Traci just released the newly edited pictures of Oz. Take a look below and dream with me of sunny, spring days and far away adventure. 







There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home.
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