Bzzz, bzzz ~

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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, December 28, 2010

Sponsor Employed Panache

Employed Panache is looking for sponsors for 2011!  My readers are professional women who love fashion and want to bring that part of their life into their work environment.  I have a variety of sponsorship options, and will discount for a multi-month purchase.

For more stats, please visit the Sponsor Me! page.  If you are interested in working together, e-mail me at with the subject line "Sponsor Inquiry"

I'm looking forward to working with you ~ Happy New Year!
Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Employed Panache will be taking a posting break over the next week so that I can be present while celebrating the holidays with family and friends.  I'll also be working on content and new projects behind the scenes :)  I hope you all have a wonderful holiday if you celebrate Christmas, and an amazing New Year!  See you in 2011!
Thursday, December 23, 2010

Review of 2010

Can you believe we have about 1 week left of 2010?!?  I can't believe that I've been blogging for 6 months now!  It's pretty amazing to see how my personal style has changed over this short amount of time.  I would certainly be lying if I said that my style would have changed whether I was blogging or not.

As I looked through all my photos, I can clearly see how over the summer, my style started out more relaxed.  Still office appropriate, but what I wore could easily be worn on the weekend too.  Then one post changed how I viewed my style, due to the overwhelmingly positive feedback from my readers.  From that point forward, I decided to work more traditional professional pieces and menswear inspired pieces into my wardrobe.  I think that the change is clear, but I obviously still like to dress more relaxed from time to time.  Growing up as a tomboy, I don't think that will ever change ;)

Do you have a favorite Employed Panache outfit?  Let me know, I'd love to hear!!

I also loved looking through these posts and seeing how the format of the blog changed, remembering what I learned about blogging and networking with others, and re-living accomplishments ( anyone?!?!!).  2011, bring it on - I'm ready for ya! ;)
Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Orange Sweater & Plaid


sweater: JCrew (gift & OLD) ~ skirt: Gap Outlet ($19) ~ shoes: Steve Madden via Famous Footwear ($14) ~ necklace: Macy's ($11)

Date: December 21, 2010
Message ensemble: Not really sure why I wore a skirt to work yesterday... it's a slow week, I had no major meetings, and it was freezing out!  Maybe it's because I've been wanting to wear this orange sweater with my plaid skirt since before it got cold enough for wool sweaters :)  Actually, I wore a similar outfit several weekends ago, but I paired the skirt with a burnt orange sweater from my Hubby's side of the closet... unfortunately, the over sized look isn't really office appropriate.

Has your office been super quiet this week too?  Or are you one of those who aren't even there (if so, good for you!)  Well, other than that, not much to say today... I definitely have Christmas on the brain!  I ended up wrapping gifts last night and never even thought about blogging.  Please don't take offense... it's just that Christmas rules all!  And, at least I got the Husband's gifts wrapped and hidden before he got home... total win! ;)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Graphic T-Shirt & Layers

t-shirt: Threadless ($10) ~ button down: H&M ($15) ~ sweater: Banana Republic (gift) ~ belt: Target ($17) ~ jeans: Target ($14) ~ boots: Bandolino via Macy's ($85ish)

Date: December 3, 2010
Message ensemble: Very simple - it was Friday and I wanted a laid-back look!  And, I wanted it to revolve around my new graphic t-shirt from Threadless (yay Black Friday sale :)  I don't often wear graphic t-shirts to the office, but I know that the Day Job will tolerate them on Fridays.

I had also recently read this post by Tamia of Style Sample and was inspired!  What do you guys think - did I pull off the many layers well?  I can see myself layering similarly over the upcoming 4 day weekend :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cubicle Chic Guest Post

TGIF!  If you've been as busy as me lately, then you may not have known that Lindsay and Meredith over at Cubicle Chic hosted a Work Style Week.  Today was my day for a guest post!  I took one fun and festive skirt and created 3 ways to wear it from the office directly to the party afterwards.  Check it out!
Thursday, December 16, 2010

Granny Chic

shirt: Limited (gift) ~ sweater: Target ($16ish) ~ skirt: thrifted via Goodwill ($8) ~ boots: Ann Klein via Macy's ($115) ~ brooch, bangle, mittens: gifts ~ earrings: Jess LC ($16 holiday sale!)

Date: December 15, 2010
Ensemble message: The goal for today was to be comfortable sitting in hours upon hours of meetings, but to also look pulled together enough to make an appearance at a NY Style Blogger soiree right after work.  I didn't really have time to put together a second outfit to change into at the office, so I needed something that would carry me through the day.

I just thrifted this long wool skirt the other night on a spontaneous trip to Goodwill.  I like that it's long, because it is FREEZING in the NYC area this week.  I also like that the plaid, colors, and overall style feels very wintery and holiday-like.  I'm already planning on wearing this skirt on Christmas Day!  I kinda felt like a grandma in the outfit, and Sammy from Sammy Davis Vintage rightfully called my look Granny Chic.  And I'm totally ok with that :)  My new earrings from Jess LC were also a great touch - perfectly dainty to wear every day!

Speaking of, last night was my first ever blogger meet up.  SO. MUCH. FUN!  I loved meeting everyone, especially Sammy and Lindsay & Meredith of Cubicle Chic, who I all speak to via the interwebs pretty much on a daily basis.  As soon as I get copies of the pictures, I will post them :)
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Shine Into the New Year Winner!

Hi everyone!  This week is bananas already, and I've been working at home until late hours.  But I didn't want to forget to announce the winner of the giveaway!  Congratulations to Katie W!!! gave me 2 as the result.  Katie, I'll e-mail you in a few, be on the look out! :)

Well, back to work for me... but, I'll try to squeeze in an outfit post tomorrow.  I'm trying to get as much work done as possible because I have a NYC Style Blogger Soiree to attend tomorrow night!  Definitely don't want to miss that :)
Monday, December 13, 2010

Casual Holiday Party

blazer: BCBG via Macy's ($55) ~ t-shirt & scarf: H&M ($8 each) ~ jeans: Target ($14) ~ shoes: Sam Edelman via Nordstrom Rack ($100)

Date: December 10, 2010
Ensemble message:  Last Friday, the HR department had their annual holiday party.  We had an afternoon get-together at a local pub, which was pretty much schmoozing, eating fried appetizers, and having the Day Job buy me a couple rounds.  Very laid back, so I felt no pressure to dress up.

I did want to be somewhat festive, so I donned my black blazer and a sparkly scarf.  Just enough to show everyone that I do care about the holidays, but not overboard with holiday sweaters.  Indeed there were several folks with full-on festive sweaters... I can't say that any fell in the "ugly Christmas sweater" category, but it was definitely a bit over the top for me.  Either way, it was nice that everyone showed their holiday spirit and escaped the office a few hours early, despite it being a busy time of year for us.

How did your office celebrate the holidays this year?!?
Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hello Blogosphere!

source: The Upside of Wonder

Happy weekend!  My typical Friday post never occurred due to an afternoon holiday party at the Day Job.  You'll get to see what I wore on Monday :)  It was laid back and fun, and over by 5pm... so I went directly out to dinner with The Hubby and friends.  It was kinda nice to ignore my blogger duties for 12 hours, but now I'm back :)  Just a few quick things for you this morning...

  • Amanda at The Upside of Wonder featured me in the 5th edition of her "Hello Blogosphere!" series.  It's a great way to discover new bloggers, and Amanda has a sweet vintage style that I personally love.  Plus she has an Etsy shop full of thrifted and vintage finds!
  • Don't forget to enter my giveaway!  I know some people had issues commenting (which I'm still working on, sorry everyone!) so I'm also allowing you to e-mail me with your entry.  So far I've had only a few entries, so don't forget to get yours in.  Just 3 days to go!
  • Finally, Friday posts are usually reserved for Friend Friday topics, but I decided to take a back seat this week.  See, the topic was on reader connectedness and how you draw people to your blog.  I feel like I am not one to comment yet on this because I am still very much figuring it out myself!  Head over to ModlyChic to check out Katy's answers and links to everyone else's.
Ok, well, that's it for this morning!  Enjoy your weekend everyone :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Purple Polka Dots

Giveaway Update: If you are having trouble commenting, please send me an e-mail and let me know how you are following Employed Panache.  I don't want anyone missing out on the goodies!!

shirt: Gap (gift) ~ skirt: Kensi via Macy's (free with gift card) ~ cardigan: Target ($15) ~ belt: Target ($17) ~ shoes: Marc Fischer via Macy's ($36)

Date: November 23, 2010
Ensemble message: I wore this outfit a couple weeks ago but never got to post it.  I believe it was still fairly warm out (compared to the 20's now in the morning), and I remember really, really loving this outfit!  If we get an odd day with highs in the 40's I will probably wear it again.

That day, I had a ton of meetings to go to.  The actual clothing items were professional (skirt, blouse, cardi) but the colors were so much fun.  My sister gave me this blouse for Christmas a couple years ago, and I found it difficult to wear with my wardrobe at the time.  But I saw the potential and held onto it... and thank goodness too, because now I love it!  I also wore it here and look forward to re-mixing it again.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oversized Skirt

turtleneck: Banana Republic ($30ish) ~ skirt: Gap (gift) ~ belt: Target ($16) ~ shoes: Marc Fischer via Macy's ($36) ~ necklace: Macy's ($11)

Date: December 8, 2010
Ensemble message: I had a ton of meetings today with all levels of folks, so I wanted to wear something a little more office traditional.  I had originally wanted to wear my wool shorts, but I figured a funkier look may take away from my credibility when trying to strategically influence those above me ;)  I'll save the shorts for another day!

I've had my eye on this skirt in my closet because it is made of thick, warm wool.  I knew it would be perfect once the temperatures headed downwards.  But, I discovered that it's now a little big on me!  If worn at my hips, it hits below my knees, which isn't very flattering.  So at the last minute, I hiked it up and belted it - instant high-waisted skirt!

Nail polish color is the same as the one I'm giving away - I treated myself to a bottle. Love this color!!

Have you entered my giveaway yet?  Well, why not?! ;)
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

100th Post, Holiday Dresses, & Giveaway!!

Happy 100th Blog Post to Employed Panache!!  Who's excited?!  I'm excited!!!  Ok, maybe it's just me ;)  What a great day to have my 100th post... not only do I give you my picks for office holiday party dresses, but I am also hosting my very 1st giveaway!!

First, the dresses... The key to dressing for a work party is to make sure you're not showing too much leg or cleavage, and that the outfit isn't too tight either.  But, this doesn't mean that your outfit needs to be boring!  Check out these picks... all dresses because in my opinion, a dress is the easiest outfit to style.

For those on a budget who want a fun and playful dress (all from Forever21):
Find them here, here, and here.
These dresses are perfect for a holiday party with dancing!  Fair warning: if you're really tall or leggy, be sure to try these on first... since Forever21 is a juniors store, some of their skirts can be extra short.

For those on a budget who want a more professional look (all from Target):
Find them here, here, and here.
I love these dresses... demure but stylish with clean lines!  The best part?  You are guaranteed to wear them again to another event!

For those who can afford to spend more and want something between playful and professional (all from ModCloth):
Find them here, here, and here.
Similar to the dresses from Target, but with fun details like sequins or rosettes.

For those who can afford to spend more and want something with more coverage (all from Macy's):
Find them here, here, and here.
Maybe I'm getting conservative in my old age, but I am loving every. Single. Dress!  So classy but still fun... and definitely no frump here :)

Accessories for every budget (from Forever21 and Ann Taylor Loft):
Top row: herehere, and here
Bottom row: here, here, and here

Ok, and now what you all skipped to the bottom for... 

Employed Panache's Shine into the New Year Giveaway!

As I mentioned above, this is my 100th post and I am blown away by all of YOU!  Not only have I networked with some amazing bloggers, but I also love hearing all of your comments.  And let's not forget my dear lurkers... I know you're out there, Google Analytics tells me so ;)  So as a THANK YOU to my readers, I am giving away 4 fun items that will help you sparkle and shine into the new year:

  • Anthropologie 2011 desktop calendar
  • Essence nail polish in Walk of Fame and Gold Rush
  • Target jeweled headband
It's totally easy to enter, and you can enter multiple times!  Here's how:
  • Follow Employed Panache through Bloglovin', Blogger, or Feedburner.  Then, leave a comment to let me know, along with an e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.
  • Follow Employed Panache on Twitter and then tweet about this giveaway.  Be sure to mention me, and then leave a comment here with your e-mail address.
  • Like Employed Panache on Facebook, and leave a comment with your e-mail address.
Giveaway will end Tuesday December 14th at midnight EST (in other words, late Monday night).  Good luck! :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Laid Back Chambray & Skinny Trousers

shirt: Old Navy ($25) ~ sweater: Express ($25ish) ~ pants: Target ($22) ~ shoes: Sam Edelman via  Nordstrom Rack ($100) ~ earrings: Express (gift)

Date: December 6, 2010
Ensemble message: It’s Monday.  It feels like winter (even though we are 15 days away).  My tummy has hurt all day, probably due to eating too many wings, chicken fingers, and pizza yesterday (super healthy, I know).  Oh, and my boss in on vacation and I had zero meetings because I thought I would be traveling today.  So, today called for pants, layers, and general laziness simplicity.  Nothing super exciting going on here, but I feel pulled together and really, what more could you ask for on a Monday?  

I know that it snowed a lot in the mid-west... how are you guys coping with that weather and staying fashionable?  Or are you just throwing style out the window for now??

OH!  Some news that I hope you find to be exciting!  I'm posting my very first giveaway tomorrow!!!  It's unsponsored, meaning I bought the prize with my own money.  I wanted to do this as a small token of thanks to my readers.  I can't believe what Employed Panache has become over a short span of five and a half months, and it's all due to YOU!  So be sure to check back tomorrow :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friend Friday: Blogger Burnout

TGIF!  This has been a long, stressful week for me friends.  I'm not sure how I made it to Friday, and I don't feel like I really accomplished anything (ever feel like that??)  So, this week's Fashion Beauty Friend Friday topic truly hits the nail on the head!  Because I've been crazed all week, I opted to write up my answers though I think a video would have emphasized what burnout can do to someone ;)  So this week's questions were:

1. How many hours a week do you spend blogging? Has that number changed since you started blogging? 
2. There is always more you can do, write, read, comment on... how do you limit your time spent on these tasks? 
3. Have you experienced Blogger burnout yet? How have you dealt with that? 
4. This time of the year is always a lot busier than any other time. Will your blogging change as a result? 
5. Could you forsee a moment in which you are not blogging anymore? How would you you identify that it's time to walk away?

On average, I probably spend about 15 hours blogging per week.  This includes taking pictures, writing my posts, reading other blogs, commenting and replying to comments, etc.  Now that I have a format down pat, it's probably less than when I started.  However, there are some weeks were I can spend up to 5+ hours more if I'm concentrating on the design of Employed Panache or reaching out to others on collaborations or sponsorships.

I probably struggle weekly to cram everything into my life, and this was true even before I started blogging.  So, when things become overwhelming, I've learned to stop myself and assess what really needs to get done, what can be postponed, and what can be skipped altogether.  In this, I also prioritize my life in general... and when it comes down to it, family/my husband, the Day Job, and my friends always round out the top 3.  So if necessary, I just will not blog.  That scenario has come up a few times in the past several months, mainly when I've been traveling for business.  Blogging is a fantastic hobby, but right now, that's all it is: a hobby.  While I have high expectations of where Employed Panache could go, and I am open to re-prioritizing if the opportunity arises, there are other things in my life right now that take precedent.

I have definitely felt blogger burnout during days when life is too crazy.  That's how I figured out how to think logically through what matters most and then proceed without guilt.  So, there have been some weeks when I just did not post on all 5 days.  I also learned to deal with burnout by making myself take time off.  The Blog Herald had a great article back in August on re-energizing as a blogger, and the point about scheduling vacation time stuck with me.  I purposely do not write blog posts on the weekend, and with it being the holiday season, I have planned some time off... I blogged only 4 out of 5 days during Thanksgiving week, and I will probably not post at all during the week between Christmas and New Year's.  Again, Employed Panache is not my main source of income, and while I really enjoy doing it, in the end it's not worth stressing over.

There are several moments when I can see me not blogging anymore:  If it's not fun anymore.  If I get some sort of awesome promotion and my work/life balance shifts dramatically.  If I become pregnant (!!!)... though I hope I can keep up blogging from that perspective one day.  I think it would be hysterical to read about my experience since the Hubby and I have no knowledge or understanding of pregnancy, parenting, etc. :)

All in all, blogger burnout is very similar to burnout from work, school, etc.  You need to find that balance and prioritize what's really important to you and what makes you happy.  How do you guys deal with burnout - blogger or otherwise??

The Friend Friday project by Modly Chic is a way for fashion bloggers to share more about themselves and create a friendly connection with other bloggers.  Join the conversation by joining the Fashion Beauty Friend Friday Google Group.
Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wool Sweater & Summer Dress

sweater: JCrew (gift) ~ skirt: actually a dress, thrifted from Beacon's Closet ($14) ~ boots: Bandolino via Macy's ($85ish) ~ necklace: F21 ($5)

Date: December 2, 2010
Ensemble message: You guys.  It was a long, long day.  I watched 36 co-ops present their final projects, and also provided feedback to each.  Don't get me wrong, I love love love interacting with the co-ops, but I wish we could break this day into 2!  So, please forgive me for making this short and kinda babbling.

By the way, not sure what a co-op is?  It's an intern, but for 6 months.  These students take a full semester off to come work for the Day Job and get experience.  Yeah, we pay them too, which is a nice perk ;)  It was really nice to see each of them dressed exactly as I would expect: either in a suit or very nice professional clothes.  Clearly the business etiquette course they took at the start of the co-op really left an impression (thanks Jonna! :)

Do any of you have interns or co-ops at your job?  If you do, I really encourage you to interact with them... even if you have little experience, you could still be a great mentor to them!

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