August 15, 2013

Lo and Behold!

I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last blogged about anything! (Ugh, I’m such a slacker!) Actually, I am cutting myself some slack because life has been a little hectic lately—all good stuff, though. After returning home from a short vacation in New York City, I handed in my resignation. And a few weeks later, I started my new job in digital product management at a top financial services corporation.

Going from a 600-person non-profit media organization to an unabashedly commercial enterprise sixty times larger has been exhilarating and slightly intimidating. With exactly four weeks under my belt, I’m slowly but surely getting up to speed and already feeling more grounded. I’m learning a gazillion new things from my smart, generous colleagues and taking it one day at a time. One. Day. At. A. Time.

Anyway, back to this blog! I’ve had ideas percolating in my head but no time to compose them into thoughtful themes. So here’s a super-sized post crammed with what I’m loving right now.

Investment Piece

I admittedly had a minor internal freak-out when told that my company practices “hoteling.” While management consulting firms like Accenture have been doing it for years, I had assumed in my new gig that I was going to have a designated cave workstation where I could put my personality and colorful mementos on display à la the aspirational office of Jenna Lyons. Not to worry, I quickly got used to this brave new world and no longer give it a second thought. Besides, hoteling was the perfect excuse reason to buy a new bag. Since I’m now schlepping all my stuff between home and office plus traveling a fair amount, neither a canvas tote nor a Longchamp fit the bill. I needed a lightweight bag with more structure, polish, durability—and compartments.

Behold the Brookline 15-inch laptop bag by Lo & Sons. Color: Espresso. Price: $198.

You can read a detailed description on the brand’s website and a stellar review on the Capitol Hill Style blog. Bottom line? The Brookline is stylish and functional which gets this Practical Fashionista’s enthusiastic endorsement. (Hint: You can find discounts and giveaways on Lo & Sons’ Facebook page.)

You Can Take It With You

In lieu of a physical bulletin board, I’ve been carrying around keepsakes in the pocket folder of my Moleskine notebook. (A type of security blanket? Perhaps.)

Wayne Thiebaud’s “Three Machines” reminds me to focus on delight.

Neon Accent

I recently treated myself to this J.Crew bracelet which was on sale for $30. It’s a way for me to embrace the neon trend without buying, say, a fluorescent pink tube dress. (Nobody needs to see that.)

Flower Power

Almost two weeks ago, a friend came over for brunch and brought me these lovely flowers.

I’ve been culling down the bouquet but it’s still looking pretty darn good. (Amazing longevity!)

Progress on our Patio

From the day we moved into our townhouse a year and a half ago, the small patio out back has been our biggest embarrassment—a sad victim of neglect and procrastination. I happily threw myself into decorating each room (e.g. basement, living room, office), but the prospect of working on the landscaping outside? No thanks, I’d rather scrub a toilet. However, during the hottest week last month, Andrew and I suddenly decided it was time to tackle the eyesore.

“Before”: a barren, bleak bed o’ mulch. Yuck.

“After”: we’re hardly green thumbs but managed to plant some perennials from Home Depot.

This unexpected spray of color recently popped up.

On the steps, we placed some low-maintenance kalanchoe.

Dying (and Reviving) on the Vine

Last month when the tangle of vines snaking up this trellis had withered and turned brown, I impulsively cut them all down. Healthy green tendrils soon appeared. Then, lo and behold, they bloomed!

Sometimes, you have to start fresh in order to achieve new growth. Hmm, sounds like good career advice too…