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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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Monday, February 28, 2011

Birthday Gift

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dress: Spotted Moth (gift) ~ shoes: Marc Fischer via Macy's ($36) ~ necklace and bracelet: both gifts

Date: February 28, 2011
Ensemble message: Today was birthday celebration #3 with my co-workers!  (#1 and #2 happened over the weekend.)  For people's birthdays, we always bring in snack food, which is nice because the entire team can enjoy it throughout the week.  I'm the "health nut" of the group, so the treats included fresh blueberries and grapes, trail mix, clementines, whole wheat pretzels, whole grain tortilla chips, and cake.  Because birthdays, no matter how healthy you are, are not complete without cake :)  Do you celebrate birthdays and other special events in the office??

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On a different note... in the past couple months I've either been gifted or bought 4 clothing items that are orange or rust orange in color.  This includes today's dress, which my lovely little sis bought me from Spotted Moth for my birthday.  I can't tell yet if this is a weird coincidence or new obsession!
Friday, February 25, 2011

Sponsor Opportunities!

Feb 2011 2

Sponsor opportunities for Employed Panache are available for March and beyond!  Readership is steadily increasing and there will be a number of collaborations with other bloggers this year.  If you think your brand is a good fit for advertising on Employed Panache, please visit my sponsorship page for more information!
Thursday, February 24, 2011

Like a Blanket

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dress: F21 ($20) ~ cardigan: Babette Ballinger via Filene's Basement ($24) ~ shoes: Steve Madden via Famous Footwear ($14) ~ necklaces: gifts
Date: February 24, 2011
Ensemble message: No meetings today!!  I love collaborating with other people, but today I needed to be a hermit at my desk and plug away at a number of tasks.  So, this was a good opportunity to dress a little more casually and push the envelope with over the knee socks.  I love these socks... they are thick and nubby and do not get shown off enough.

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But the true star of this outfit is my cardigan, which feels more like a blanket to me!  The front drapes nicely and it looks great loose or belted.  I wear this cardigan a lot more than it shows here on the blog.  Because it can go over just about anything, from a t-shirt to a button down to a dress like today, I find myself reaching for it more often than not.  What do you have to stop yourself from wearing all the time? 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Expanding Your Wardobe

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top/dress: Delightfully Tacky ($20) ~ shirt: Old Navy ($8ish) ~ skirt: H&M (ancient, so not sure) ~ booties: Sam Edelman via Nordstrom Rack ($100) ~ earrings: Express (gift)

Date: February 23, 2011
Ensemble message: I led a meeting today, attended several others meetings, plus had lunch plans, so I wanted to look nice.  This "top" is actually a dress I bought from Delightfully Tacky when she was raising money for her cross country trip.  I love extending my wardrobe by make a dress look like a top or skirt!  Sorry, not much else to say... it's been a busy and sort of overwhelming week... but if you have tips on how to extend your wardrobe, please let me know! :)

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

3 Best Interview Tips



If you have ever been on an interview, you know that there are a gazillion elements to think about leading up to that day:  “What is the quickest route to the office?  Did I contact all my referrals??  Is my breath fresh???”  But in comparison to the actual interview, these details are minute and can distract from the main event.  Follow these three tips, and you’ll be ready to rock the interview… plus have time to eat breakfast :)

1. Research the Company: I think most everyone does the bare minimum here, which probably means browsing the company’s website.  Go a step further and dig for current news articles mentioning the company.  This will give you an understanding of how your skills can be applied to real-time business issues and changes.  It will also allow you to ask meaningful questions. 

2. Become a Storyteller:  I think every company that I have interviewed with uses behavioral interviewing techniques.  This is where the interviewer will ask for examples on how you have demonstrated your skills.  What behavioral interviewing does is allow the interviewer to assess how strong your skills actually are.  Sub-tip 1: You will know it’s a behavioral interview if the interviewer asks something like, “Tell me a time when…”  Sub-tip 2: Make sure you have not stretched the truth on your resume, because false details are easily identified through this technique.

3. Practice Makes Perfect:  If there is one thing that is guaranteed to ease your nerves, it’s practicing.  And the more you practice, the easier it will be to answer any curveball question that gets thrown at you!  Find anyone who will listen to you: your mom, your friend, even your dog… they do not have to know the right answer to the practice questions, though it helps if you want feedback!

If it hasn’t been obvious, let me spell it out to you: it all comes down to preparation!  If you want to get that dream job, all the time you put into preparing for those interviews will be worth it.  What's your fail proof interview tip?  Please share, I'd love to hear them! :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Moving Day

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sweater: Banana Republic ($13) ~ leggings: Target ($20... but thick, really worth the money!) ~ scarf: H&M (old... $8ish?) ~ boots: Bandolino via Macy's ($85) ~ bracelet: gift
Date: February 21, 2011
Ensemble message: Today definitely did not start off on a good note.  First, it's Presidents' Day, but The Day Job does acknowledge this as a company holiday (boooo).  Second, it snowed AGAIN!  But the news actually didn't hype up the bad roads when they should have... so instead of working from home, I drove in and my 4 wheel drive car was all over the road.  Third, this was my first day at my new desk, so I knew I would be unpacking boxes.

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Well, things didn't go quite as planned, and my boxes never showed up!  Not a good start to the week, but then again, things can only go up from here right?? :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Slim & Sleek

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turtleneck: Gap (gift) ~ skirt: Banana Republic (old - $35?) ~ belt: UO ($14) ~ shoes: Marc Fischer via Macy's ($36) ~ necklace: Macy's ($11) ~ earrings: Jess LC ($15 on sale)

Date: February 15, 2011
Ensemble message: I was just going for something simple on Tuesday... I was still not quite with it yet after a week off, but I think for a last minute outfit, it works!  Those tights are sage green by the way... but they look grey in the photos.  Sort of a mod look, no?  Maybe it's just the black turtleneck :)

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I'm also seriously obsessing with keeping my skirts high on my hips.  One of the Lucky Magazine editors said in the March 2011 edition (sorry, I can't remember and don't have the mag in front of me!) though it might be counterintuitive, wearing higher waist lines can create the illusion of a longer torso.  I still stand behind this belief despite a couple readers' opinions from this post.  Maybe the skirt was too full or too long?  Or did it actually look fab?  What's your opinion of high waisted skirts?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Borrowed Cardigan

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cardigan: The Hubby's ~ shirt: Anthropologie (gift) ~ skirt: Gap Outlet ($19) ~ shoes: Steve Madden via Famous Footwear ($14) ~ watch: Fossil (gift) ~ bangle: NY&Co ($10ish)

Date: February 16th, 2011
Ensemble message: Today's outfit was designed around stealing The Husband's grey & white striped cardigan.  Plain and simple :)  He has so many grandpa cardigans and looks adorable in them... and I'm envious that I don't have some of my own.  But why buy more when I can shop for free on the other side of the closet, right?!  (Love you ;)

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Oh, and this adorable grey ruffly top was an early birthday gift from my sweet sister in law and her fiance!  Even though I hope to see them the weekend of my birthday, it's not so bad stretching out the celebration ;)

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Evolution of the Cubicle: Part 1

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Source

Cubicle comes from the Latin cubiculum, which means bed chamber, and is a familiar setting for many of us in the corporate world.  Despite the root of the term, cubicles (or "cubes") are meant for work and not sleeping (though naps would be nice once in awhile :)  The design of the modern day cubicle has progressed, as has our definition of the work environment.  The predecessor of the cube is actually the carrel desk, which reminds me of studying in my college library:

Ok, enough history :)  The real inspiration for this post (and any follow-ups) is the fact that in my 3.5 years at The Day Job, I have had to move twice, with a third move scheduled for this Friday and a fourth planned for sometime in the next 4 months.  Yes that's right, pack up and move my entire desk along with all my files, office supplies, etc.  What's even more interesting is that The Day Job has several "generations" of work spaces, and today it dawned on me that I would be upgraded twice during my next two moves.  So follow me through the evolution of the cubicle... well, MY cubicle!  I start you off with something that is circa 1994:

Desk 1

Desk 3

Desk 2

Notice the items I pointed out... they are to create a more personalized space, but really, the overall look is very blah.  Next month, I will post my next cubicle, which by default must be better than this!  What does your desk look like?  How do you overcome the blah?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sort of Anti-Valentine's Day

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t-shirt: souvenir ($20) ~ sweater: Babette Ballinger via Filene's Basement ($24) ~ skirt: Old Navy ($15) ~ tights: c/o We Love Colors ~ shoes: Pink via Daffy's ($26)

Date: February 14, 2011
Ensemble message: This morning, getting dressed was tricky... it's Monday, my first day back from vacation, and Valentine's Day.  Nothing about this sounds like the start to a great day.  Don't get me wrong, I don't really have anything against this holiday, it's just that I'm not really for it either.  I think it's a mix of the popularity aspect (from back in school) and grand expectations that usually fall short.  The Husband and I will probably have a typical night in... maybe with a glass of wine.  Anything more than that will be a pleasant surprise, haha!

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So then why am I wear a shirt with hearts???  Because it's actually a souvenir t-shirt from my vacation and says "Powder Mountain" somewhere beneath my sweater ;)

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Friday, February 11, 2011

Remix: Sheer Button-Down

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Yankee Hotel Foxtrot ~ While Our Blood's Still Young ~ Buttoned Down & Untucked ~ Graphic T-Shirt & Layers
This sheer button-down was bought as part of my quest to add more classic work pieces to my wardrobe.  And it's been really fun to style up!  The long length has allowed me to keep it untucked and the thin material is perfect for layering.  I think I am particular to the last outfit, but which was your favorite?
Thursday, February 10, 2011

Photo Job Shadow: HR Specialist

Have you ever seen photo diaries that have one or two pictures per hour of that person's day?  Photo Job Shadow is just like that, except that in this new series, you will be able to see what other people actually do at their job!  Some may choose to share their full day so you can get an idea of work-life balance as well.  I will feature a couple different jobs a month, and I truly hope you enjoy having some first-hand insight into the various careers and industries highlighted in this series.  To kick things off, here is my day as a....

Human Resources Specialist

6am ~ Time to get up and get ready!
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7am ~ Quickly take indoor outfit pics since it's cold and dismal outside.  Then venture into said dismal weather, clean off car, get to the office.
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8am ~ I always start my day off with breakfast (egg wrap & green tea that day) and check my e-mails.
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9am ~ Working in our HR system to correct any bonus or merit increase errors and meet our budget for final submission to leadership for their review (super confidential stuff - can't show you the specifics here ;)
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10am ~ Schedule a meeting with one of the teams I support. We will discuss team members who are ready for their next job and then who should backfill them (yay career progression!)  Then a conference call to prep a training instructor so she understands the learning needs specific to that group of employees.
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11am ~ Quick pick-me-up snack (dang those were salty!)  Then I attempt to create a document for the meeting I previously scheduled.  However, my phone starts ringing off the hook and IM's begin popping up with employee questions/issues/concerns/etc.
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12pm ~ A small but filling lunch!  And a mental break with some blog reading :)
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1pm ~ More work in our system and more phone calls.  I can tell by now that my to do list won't be as complete as I would have liked today!
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2pm ~ I feel a little overwhelmed so I reassess items on my to do list.  Figure out what I need to prioritize and what can wait a day or two.  Then finally complete that document that I had started at 11am.  This breaks down a ton of info by employee: time in role, performance ratings, career desires, etc.
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3pm ~ Resolve some more issues via instant messenger (a lot of people I support don't sit in my office, so we communicate in all different ways!)
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4pm ~ Finally eating my apple from lunch, and added some peanut butter (yum!!)  Also got to those last e-mails that needed to be answered today.
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5pm ~ Chip away at my frozen car (actually good stress relief :) and run a couple errands.
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6pm ~ Gym time!  I love using medicine balls!!
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7pm ~ Work on a blog post in front of the tv.  Then dinner cooked by The Husband.  Because I'm a stinky cook :)
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8pm ~ The Husband is also a fine barkeep.
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9pm ~ Cuddling with the pup (how happy/lazy does she look?!)
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10pm ~ Herbal tea (because I'm a granny like that), book, then bed.
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So there you have it!  Working in Human Resources is a fine balance of keeping those details organized and interacting with a variety of people.  Passion for working with people is a must!  The best way I can describe what I do on a whole is that I work for the company while also keeping in mind what's best for the employees.  Again, another fine balance at times.  Also, as you can see, you never know what a day has in store for you - so I'm rarely bored but need to be flexible and just roll with things.  If you have any questions or want to learn more, please feel free to contact me!

Did you like Photo Job Shadow?  Want more??  Please let me know if you would like to participate by e-mailing me at employed.panache@gmail.com.

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