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Nicole Martin
New Jersey
Remixing my wardrobe to create buzz-worthy, office-approved outfits! Find out more at: Creating Panache.
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

In Love Again - A Farewell

Hello everyone – it’s been awhile! This post won’t be terribly long, but I did want to have one final check-in as I feel like I owe my readers something before heading back to the whirlwind that has become my life.

So yes, if you’re reading between the lines, I’m shutting down Employed Panache. **

You see, I started to blog mainly as a creative outlet. It was also a way to fill newly-found free time with something more meaningful than zoning out in front of the tv. But in the past 6 months, this free time has quickly dwindled down due to a number of things: A house with more projects that I care to count right now. A very demanding client group at work that requires longer hours and more travel. General holiday stress (we’ve hosted 2 holiday dinners since moving in 6 months ago). I don’t view these things negatively though... I am extremely grateful to be in our house after how long it took to find The One. And the endless projects have taught me a lot about home improvement and patience, and are great new creative outlets. The holiday stress is one I’d take on over and over again – I’m a perfectionist so I put most of the stress on myself, but once everyone arrives and is mingling (again-OUR house!) … this makes it all worth it.

On top of all this, I’m in love again... with my job. I’ve rekindled a passion for my career that I haven’t had in several years. My new client group has challenged me, made me work late, and travel more than I have in my career yet (Vegas and back in 31 hours? All in a day’s work). But the projects that I’m working through are good, meaty HR stuff – talent development, diversity & inclusion, employee relations. Passion for my job means the hours fly by, and so I end up working a bit later than planned. And I’m finding that at the end of a long day, I would much rather come home, be fully present, and enjoy the home that I’ve worked so hard to get. This also means more streamlined outfits - I just can't justify spending as much time in my closet anymore.

This hasn’t been an easy decision by any means. I am obviously proud of Employed Panache… but what I didn’t expect, so is my husband. And it was especially hard to make this decision when he gave me a look of surprise at the news and actually verbalized how proud he is. Then there are my co-workers, the few who know about EP – I know they enjoy my posts. One colleague even questioned whether I’d pursue blogging full-time. While I’ve learned a lot over the past 22 months (developing my own sense of style, how to manipulate my sad, sad point-and-shoot camera, and a bit about blogging & social media)... after all this, I know blogging could never be my full-time profession. My personality calls for a regular paycheck so that the anxiety can be kept at bay ;)

That said, I will be around in a couple forums… Instagram, Pinterest, & Twitter (when I have time). And of course I will continue to comment on others’ blogs – I will still be looking to you all for inspiration!!

So that was way more words than expected, but I want to say THANK YOU for the past (almost) 2 years. You guys are great :) I’ll see you around the interwebs…!!










** This doesn't mean that I'll never blog again... I just don't think it will be in this forum, on this topic.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Maurice's Review - New Neutral

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blazer: c/o Maurices ~ t-shirt: H&M ($8) ~ cords: JCrew (gift) ~ shoes: Mia via DSW ($60) ~ necklace & cuff: both gifts 

Date: February 14, 2012
Ensemble message: The kind folks at Maurices contacted me to do a product review, and I was happy to oblige.  After all, Maurices are not available to my geography and I'm always looking to sample a new store :)  As soon as I saw this blazer, I knew it would be the perfect review this close to spring!  From what I could tell via my computer screen, the color of the blazer would be somewhere between a pale beige and a blush.  When it arrived (and it arrived quickly!!), I was very happy to see that the color is more blush!  Depending on what you wear with it, the blush either looks more pink (like with reds, darker pinks, and purples) or less so.

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I was pleasantly surprised that the jacket was unlined.  While it's still winter here in Northern NJ, I know I will appreciate having a suit separate in the summer that doesn't make me completely melt.  I plan on pairing this gentle neutral with many different bright colors!  Or I can wear it with black, and let the blush stand out.  I'm a neutrals girl at heart, so I can appreciate this staple item in this season's new neutral.  Like it?  Check out this totally affordable blazer now!
Thursday, March 1, 2012

Knot It

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dress (as skirt): c/o eShakti ~ shirt: MNG by Mango via JC Penny's ($34) ~ boots: Anne Klein via Macy's ($? so old!) ~ necklace: gift

Date: January 26, 2012
Ensemble message: Looooovvvve this outfit!  And when I first put it on, I hated it.  I guess I was having a low self-esteem moment because as soon as I knotted the shirt, I thought, "Whoa!  Look at those HIPS!"  So silly - we need to embrace our individual features!  I know I've said it at some point on this blog, but while one person envies another's lean figure, that person is wishing they had more curves.  So much stress (and I don't know about you, but I really don't need anymore stress in my life!!)  Let's just love us for us and be done with it :)

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Which of your features do you love?  Let's declare it here!!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pinspired: Black Turtleneck

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sweater: Gap (gift) ~ shirt: Old Navy ($24) ~ jeans: Target ($14) ~ boots: Chinese Laundry via Macy's ($65) ~ necklace: Free People (gift)

Date: January 20, 2012
Ensemble message: A mid-week casual look!  I wore this on a Friday in January after being inspired by this photo on Pinterest.  You should know that my thinking at times can be very straight and narrow, so I'm always looking to expand my perceptions so I don't limit my creativity.  This outfit is a great example of this... at one point in my life, I would have looked at the original photo and scoffed that it's silly to pair a collared shirt with a turtleneck.  Fast forward a few years later, I may have admitted that it looked cool, but that I couldn't pull it off for a number of reasons.  Fortunately, an older and wiser self saw this photo and immediately thought, "Awesome!  Now I know what to wear on Friday."

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I guess the moral of the story is to keep your mind open.  Do you find yourself limiting what you wear, eat, do, etc.?  How do you break out of that comfort zone??

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Mixing Blacks

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shirt: American Rag via Macy's ($35) ~ blazer: Marshall's ($24) ~ skirt: Atelier via Nordstrom Rack ($20) ~ shoes: BCBG (gift) ~ necklace: gift ~ bangle: NY&Co ($10ish)

Date: January 19, 2012
Ensemble message: I always tend to dress a little more formally when I have meetings with directors and VPs... pencil skirts and blazers usually come into play.  I'm personally not a fan of wearing a lot of black in the form of a suit - too *yawn* for me.  So I mixed up the the colors and prints a bit with a floral top.

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Oh, and I didn't forget - here is the winner from the Shabby Apple contest:

random winner
winner congrats

Congrats Erin!  Shabby Apple will contact you shortly.
Monday, February 27, 2012

Blustery Day

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dress: Anthropologie ($30) ~ cardi: August Silk via Nordstrom Rack ($20) ~ scarf: Gap Outlet ($8) ~ shoes: Mia via DSW ($60)

Date: January 18, 2012
Ensemble message: Just a colorful outfit for a blustery day!  Been pretty crazy around here lately - the Day Job has been highly challenging and has me going full speed all the time.  The optimist in me says that this will all be worth it...... my impatient side wants to see results now ;)

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Don't forget - you still have a few more hours to enter the Shabby Apple giveaway!
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shabby Apple - Spring Giveaway!


Guess what?  The lovely folks over at Shabby Apple, the online boutique of beautiful women's dresses, have asked me to host another giveaway!  This time, it was a bit easier to choose the prize - I recently booked a vacation to Peru, so the Inca Trail collection jumped out at me :)

This time around, you have the chance to win the "Andes" skirt!  To win this beauty, please "like" Shabby Apple on Facebook and leave a comment below telling me that you did so.  For additional entries, leave separate comments telling me how you follow Employed Panache (Google, Bloglovin', Twitter, and/or Facebook).  You can also tweet about this giveaway - just link back to me @EmployedPanache.

* Please note: Open to US residents only.  Please use Disqus to leave a comment.  This giveaway is open until 11:59pm EST on Monday February 27, 2012.  I'll pick a random winner on Tuesday February 28, 2012.

Good luck!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pinspired: Faux Collar

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t-shirt: Target ($8) ~ blazer: Zara (old - $35ish) ~ collar-actually a scarf: Express (gift) ~ silk scarf: vintage (my mom's!) ~ pants: Calvin Klein via Filene's Basement ($24) ~ shoes: Mia via DSW ($60)

Date: January 17, 2012
Ensemble message: While I love getting inspiration from my fellow style bloggers, Pinterest has jumped the ranks and is now one of my go-to places for style ideas.  And DIY ideas... and home decor, recipes, etc etc etc.  When I saw this pin, I was instantly drawn to the fur collar and silk scarf.  I personally would not have pair them together - in my head this is too much.  But they actually balance out well, and this has been one of my favorite outfits from the past month!

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My collar is a fake one - both the fur and the fact that it didn't come with this blazer.  I carefully pinned the edges to hold it in place.  What do you think - would you wear a fur collar and scarf together??

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Inspired: Off of Broadway

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sweater: Express (gift) ~ jacket: Olive & Oak via Century 21 ($30) ~ jeans: Target ($14) ~ shoes: Steve Madden via Famous Footwear ($14) ~ bracelets: self-made & old ~ necklace: gift ~ earrings: won from Acute Designs

Date: January 13, 2012
Ensemble message: I like to read style blogs that focus on professional style, but I also read many that have a more casual vibe.  Off of Broadway is one of those - Amanda has a great sense of style and wears mostly thrifted items.  Which makes sense, since she runs her own thrift store :)  As soon as she posted this outfit, I knew I could remake it from my own closet.  Amanda lives in a warmer climate, so she can get away with wearing the lightweight jacket on mild winter days, but I used my jacket as another inside layer.  This is perhaps a little more casual than a normal Friday at the office, but some weeks call for slouchy layers and flats.  Thanks for the inspiration, Amanda!

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For more of my style inspirations, check out my Pinterest account - you'll find Amanda's original photo here as well!
Monday, February 13, 2012

Olive & Raspberry

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dress: Target ($28) ~ cardigan: Banana Republic (gift) ~ boots: Steve Madden via DSW ($120) ~ belt: Anthropologie (gift) ~ necklace: gift

Date: January 11, 2012
Ensemble message: When I received this cardigan for Christmas, I immediately wanted to pair it with all things olive! I started with my favorite olive pants, so I decided to wear it with my favorite olive dress next. I really like how the raspberry color brightens up an otherwise neutral outfit. Also, I’m loving the preppy nature of the overall look (belt, boots), but that the color of the cardigan gives it a twist!

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My only regret?  Not pinning the neckline better :(

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