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Bright Lipstick In The Office...Yay or Nay?

Russian Red by MAC Cosmetics
So...a few weeks ago, I headed to San Francisco and met one of my girlfriends to hang out for the weekend. She actually lives in the NYC area, but she was in San Francisco for work and asked me to come join her for a weekend of shopping and sightseeing...I was all in! I'd never been to San Francisco, and I certainly need no excuse to do some extra shopping. I hopped on a plane Friday night and I was out!

On that Saturday, my friend and I made a beeline for the shopping areas. And there were plenty of areas to see! We "stumbled" onto the Westfield San Francisco Centre Mall and "tripped" over to the MAC Cosmetics counter at Nordstroms. Somehow, we started trying on lipsticks...I was looking for a "shocking" red lipstick, and my friend happened upon a hot pink-ish color. I completely fell in love with my Russian Red lipstick and the accompanying Night Moth lip liner, but my friend was a little apprehensive about purchasing the hot pink lipstick...even though it looked AMAZING on her! Like me, she's a lawyer, and she had some pause about where she would wear such a bright color. I immediately responded that she could wear it anywhere outside of the why did I instinctively go there? The truth is that I had no intention of wearing my new red lipstick in the office. In fact, I am not a fan of wearing any bright, outstanding makeup in the office...but especially not a bright lipstick. Not surprisingly, my friend agreed.

Which brings me to my question for you Divas. In a professional, office environment, is it appropriate to wear bright lipstick? What about bright makeup in general? Does your answer vary depending on one's profession? Or one's office culture? What say you?!

Shapewear is Not the Devil!

Divas....let's talk shapewear! Better yet, let's talk about the stigma associated with shapewear, or spanx, or girdles, or whatever you feel comfortable calling them. Before I continue, let me just say that shapewear is not only for those women who are overweight. Shapewear is not only for those women who have a little extra weight on their mid-sections, or who are looking to slim their thighs. Shapewear is for everyone! Ask Kim Kardashian. Kim is always coming under fire because she unapologetically wears shapewear. Say what you want about Kim's choice, but you can't say that she doesn't look amazing in her clothes.

I recently had a conversation with a seasoned female colleague regarding professional apparel and shapewear, and we both agreed that shapewear can be instrumental in presenting a polished look in the professional world. We both admittedly have worn some sought of shapewear to the office because it made our particular outfit look better. Whether it be full slip or a pair of control-top hosiery, I've worn it. And guess what...I, like Kim, look amazing in my clothes, too...yeah I said it!

Honestly, I don't know what the big deal is with shapewear. My colleague, who has been making her way up the corporate ladder for 20 years, has said that it is borderline unprofessional when women choose not to wear shapewear in a professional environment when appropriate. Her biggest issues: "back rolls and booty jiggle." Her words...not mine! But I can't disagree with her. I'm a little bit old school when it comes to booty jiggle. I grew up in the house with a grandmother who made me wear "panty girdles" under my dresses to church to minimize booty jiggle. It wasn't appropriate for church, and it's not appropriate for the office...but that's just one Diva's opinion.

So my question to you is this: Why is there such a stigma against shapewear? Why do some women feel ashamed to acknowledge that they wear shapewear? In speaking to other women, the consensus seems to be that shapewear is associated with being overweight or out of shape. Some associate shapewear with being fake, or presenting a faux silhouette to hide flaws. Whatever the negative connotations may be, I can only see good in wearing shapewear, as necessary, in professional environments. And for those of you who have no problem with shapewear in the office, below is a quick mini-guide to wearing shapewear with your most common office wear. For those of you who think that shapewear is the devil, check out the guide anyway....maybe I'll change your mind! Enjoy!

A Professional Diva's Guide to Shapewear

Sheath Dresses
What Shapewear Can Do - Shapewear can diminish the appearance of back fat and/or back rolls, and can also flatten your stomach to create a smooth look underneath a sheath dress. Shapewear can also minimize booty jiggle. Don't judge the terminology...especially since you know what I'm talking about!

Type of Shapewear - Full slip shapewear is the perfect way to smooth your back and your front in one shot. Be sure to get a brand that includes a bra with adequate support. If your goal is to only smooth your stomach, try half slip shapewear. This will also eliminate booty jiggle. Also, be sure to select a nice pair of hosiery to give polish to your legs; many brands have a control top option that can also provide light support to smooth your stomach and eliminate booty jiggle.

Dresses Made of Jersey Material
What Shapewear Can Do -Jersey material is common for traditional wrap dresses. While extremely cool and comfortable, this material is notorious for showing back rolls and rear-view muffin tops. Depending on your body structure, booty jiggle may also be an issue.

Type of Shapewear - A shapewear body suit may be appropriate here. The body suit resembles a swim suit, and can smooth your front and back. Be sure to get a brand that includes a bra with adequate support. If you are concerned with booty jiggle, try a body suit with a full panty or short.  As I said before, a nice pair of hosiery with a control top option may also provide light support to smooth your stomach and eliminate booty jiggle.

Full-Skirted Dresses
What Shapewear Can Do - Full-skirted dresses tend to cinch at the waist, so having a smooth waist and stomach is essential to the look.

Type of Shapewear - You can achieve maximum smoothing of the waist and stomach with high-waisted shapewear. This type shapewear could come in the form of a panty, or shorts. Not only does it smooth out the waist and the stomach, but it can also combat booty jiggle (so long as the panty is not a thong).

Pencil Skirts
What Shapewear Can Do - The pencil skirt is a staple item for professional women; however, the pencil skirt loses its thunder when accompanied by booty jiggle. Additional failure occurs when the belly isn't smoothed out adequately.

Type of Shapewear - Half slip shapewear is the perfect tool to avoid pencil skirt catastrophe. It eliminates booty jiggle and it smooths the the same time! Or, you can select a shapewear panty or short. You can also go for the full slip if you are looking to tame your upper body as well. Whichever you choose, booty jiggle will not be a problem!

What Shapewear Can Do - Booty jiggle...booty jiggle is the issue here...booty jiggle is the difference between a polished professional and a....jiggling professional. I won't discuss any further, because you get it!

Type of Shapewear - Hosiery with high support is the best option here. While I am not a fan of full leg shapewear underneath pants (too much bunching), I do like hosiery. With hosiery, there are many options to tame different areas. Control top tames the tummy and booty jiggle. There is also all-over, shaping hosiery that can tame thigh jiggle.

What Shapewear Can Do - Blouses are essential business wear for women...back rolls, however, are not. Shapewear can help to smooth your back when wearing blouses.

Type of Shapewear - A shapewear body suit would be perfect here! It will smooth your back and your waist, and if you get one with a supportive bra...double win! If you are wearing your blouse with a pencil skirt and you need some all-over smoothing, full slip shapewear will do the trick.

What are your thoughts on shapewear? Heavenly? Or devil's work? Let me know! 

Vote....That Is All!

Greetings Divas and Gents! As many of you know, tomorrow is Election Day in the United States. Now, I won't bore you with a recap of the fascinating history of voting rights in the United States. Nor will I use this post to convince you to vote for the candidates that I intend to vote for tomorrow. What I will do is encourage you to get out and vote tomorrow. Do not be deterred by long lines and inconvenient circumstances. For those of you affected by Hurricane Sandy, do not allow on-the-surface obstacles stop you from exercising your right...being displaced does not mean you have to be disenfranchised. In short, PLEASE GET OUT AND VOTE!

 In honor of Election Day, here are a few tips to help you make your trip to the polls more pleasant:

- DO be patient.
- DO be sure to bring your government-issued identification...can't vote without it!
- DO be sure that you are at the correct polling site. Also, know when your site closes.
- DO wear warm clothing (if necessary). You may have to wait outdoors and you don't want the cold to deter you from voting.
- DO thoroughly read and follow the instructions for voting at your polling place. If you do not understand something, ask!
- DO bring a snack with you. Just in case the lines are long and you get a little hungry. Bring extra for your fellow voters if you can.
- DO bring your medications. In the event of a long line, you don't want to lose your place if you need to take your meds. And bring water!
- DO volunteer to bring those who need a little extra help to the polls. 
- DO NOT bring campaign paraphernalia with you to the polls.
- DO NOT leave without voting!

And...for those of you that have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy (like myself), here is some information regarding Election Day accommodations:

New York - According to the New York State Board of Elections, Governor Cuomo has signed an Executive Order "which provides for a voter who is a resident in the federally-declared disaster counties of Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk, Westchester and of New York City (which includes Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens and Richmond) who have been displaced by Hurricane Sandy too vote an affidavit ballot at any poll site in New York State, other than their regular poll site." There are some restrictions, so please see the New York State Board of Elections website for more information.

New York City - Please see this notice regarding Poll Site Changes Post Hurricane Sandy from the New York City Board of Elections.

New Jersey -  The New Jersey Department of State has issued a directive to county elections officials to permit New Jersey registered voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy to vote electronically. This directive is also applicable to first responders who have been displaced. For more information, click here.

I hope this information is helpful. Please be sure to vote. Also, follow and join me tomorrow night on Twitter as I live tweet Election Day results...from my parents' couch! Happy Voting!

Need to De-stress? Ditch Your Work Phone!

Now, I know I lost most of you with the title of this post, but please hear me out! Like many professionals, my company has provided me with a cell phone so I can access my work emails while away from the office. I also use this phone to compose and respond to emails, open and edit work documents, and bill my time spent working on projects. As a result, my work phone has become my third arm. I feel naked without it, and I check it incessantly. Naturally, I didn't see anything wrong with my behavior...until I came across an article in Women's Health Magazine stating that our cell phones are a big source of everyday stress. Wait...what! 

My regular Chronicle readers know that I am always searching for ways to destress. As I have said in the past, being a professional and dealing with the everyday ups and downs of Corporate America usually brings unintended and unwanted stress. We all know that stress can have negative effects on your physical, emotional, and mental health, and I'm not with that! So I am open to any and all suggestions to alleviate stress, including entertaining the claims in the Women's Health article. 

After reading the article, I started thinking about the correlation between my work phone and stress. I then realized that treating my work phone like it is a third arm is sought of like working all day long...I am always "on." Even in those moments when I am supposed to be relaxing. And then it clicked...I need to cut off my third arm...not completely, but a little more than I have been in the past.
That being said, I started thinking of ways to cut back, and I came up with a few ideas that I believe will help me, and you, to minimize our stress and provide some much needed detachment from our work phones. In the interest of sharing, I have outlined my ideas below so that we can all work on destressing and taking a break from our work phones. Take them or leave them....but I'm willing to bet you'll be less stressed if you take them!

1. Revoke your phone's access to the breakfast, lunch, and dinner tables - A quick way to mess up the digestion process is to read an email that reinforces just how busy you are, or are going to be, at work. Use your meal time to relax and eat without checking your mail. Ideally, you can give yourself at least 2 hours per day when you are not focusing on your email and work.

2. Put the phone out of reach when it's time to go to bed - You can't read emails while you sleep, so don't have your phone within reach when you head to bed. I'll admit, I do keep my personal cell phone on my nightstand, primarily because I use my phone as an alarm clock. But my work phone is always tucked away in my work bag...on silent! 

3. Keep the phone out of the bathroom - Let's face it, having your phone in the bathroom is not the most sanitary practice. Also, just about anything you do in your bathroom can be a relaxing and relieving experience. Why ruin this time by checking your work email! Instead of inviting your phone to share a bubble bath with you, take a magazine or a book or your iPod. Anything to help you chill out!

4. In the morning, try not to check the phone until you get to the office (if possible) - I don't know about you, but I use the time it takes me to get ready for work in the morning to get my mind right for the day ahead. If you're heading to the office anyway, why not wait until you get there to check your email. I always say that if someone needs to reach you urgently, they can always call. Give yourself the morning to get it together before heading into the office.

5. Don't check the phone while driving - Not only is it illegal in many states to use your cell phone while driving, but it is also dangerous. Leave your phone in your work bag or pocket until you are done checking your email. Instead, use your drive to listen to music or relax in silence. The best part about my commute is the chance it affords me to listen to my music, and sing to the top of my lungs, and not care if the person in the car next to me is looking at me like I'm crazy. It's sort of like therapy!

That's all I got for now! Can you think of any additional times and/or places where you should ditch your work phone? Share in the comments below!

Martini Thursday...the Cosmopolitano!

The Cosmopolitano

So...last weekend, I journeyed to Chicago to attend a gala for a wonderful organization. After dinner, my friend and I headed over to restaurant to find more food (there's never enough food at these galas!) and dessert. As I am always on the lookout for martini recipes, I immediately dived for the drink menu...and it did not disappoint! I stumbled upon the Cosmopolitano, a drink that quickly caught my eye because it included both vanilla and amaretto, two of my favorites. And when it arrived, it was great! It was like dessert in a glass, and I instantly knew that I had to share the recipe with you all. So here it is!

2oz of Vanilla-Flavored Vodka
1 oz of Amaretto
1 oz of Cranberry Juice 
1/2 oz of Lime Juice
Lime Wedge (For Garnish)

1. In a shaker, combine Vodka, Amaretto, Cranberry Juice, Lime Juice, and Ice. Shake!
2. Strain mixture into a chilled martini glass.
3. Garnish with a lime wedge.
4. Take a sip.
5. Remark to a nearby spouse, friend, and/or pet how delicious the Cosmopolitano is, and how glad you are that you tried the recipe.
6. Go to your favorite electronic device and go to the Martini Chronicles.
7. Leave a comment underneath this post and exclaim your love for the Cosmopolitano.
8. Repeat as appropriate.

Enjoy! And Drink Responsibly!

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