Fashion Fridays: What I’m Loving

Well, it’s fall even if it is 90 degrees in Houston.  Fall and spring always makes me want to explore doing fashion a little differently.  Here’s three things I’m loving I thought would be fun to share with you:

  1.  The Black Sheath


Here are three of the dozen ways I wear my black sheath dress:

One day I had to go to work, a funeral, and a luncheon.  Pairing the sheath with kitten heels, a teal cardigan, and a fall print scarf, made this outfit functional for various tasks.


One day (where it fell in the 70s – gasp!), I wanted to really pull out the fall feel and it translated from work to a fashion show – dark tights and boots paired with an oversized sweater and chunky necklace felt perfect for fall but still work appropriate.

Finally, for an executive breakfast I’m partnering my Kate Spade blazer with stockings, high heels, and pearls to strike a more formal career look.


You can also take it out for date night with some chandelier earrings and a scarf as a belt worn on the diagonal along with a pair of strappy sandals.  Poof.  You’ve transformed your work dress.

2.  Blue Shoes

I have written an ode to blue before.  But I now officially have more blue shoes than black.  Why?  Because I firmly believe they are more versatile.  I don’t like pairing brown or black heels with another dark neutral (e.g., black shoe with a navy pant or brown skirt), but blue you truly can pair with anything.

I know it’s a little uncomfortable for all your brown and black pumps career girls, but you must try it.  These three are my latest work shoes, are comfortable, and are all reasonably priced at DSW.

I wore these in the fashion show and got a ton of compliments, why not try on a pattern for size?


I love these teal pumps for work as our company’s campus is so large.  I’ve had people stop me while walking to comment on how pretty they are.  They are also comfortable AND less than $50.


Finally, I was in desperate need of a simple pair of navy heels which weren’t fraying.  After I tossed mine, I found these.  Classic style with a lovely bow embellishment.  I adore them (wish I couldn’t have gotten the cranberry pair too!).


3.  Effective Undergarments

Okay, these are my two favorite underthings right now – for slimming, not for enticing your husband.

I have always loved Spanx stockings.  Not only do they slim you right up to your bra line (I slide the top under my bra to ensure it stays in place), but they make your legs look fabulous.  Most stockings are obvious, and if you’re pale like I am, a less than flattering skin contrast.  But Spanx Shaping Sheers come in an assortment of shades, including In the Buff for me, that look positively fantastic on.


They are pricey but they last a long time as long as your careful when dressing.

Also, I found some super soft underwear the other day that include a stomach panel.  Most “slimming” undergarments are so uncomfortable I will only wear them if I have a formal event to attend.  But Yummie shaping briefs are soft and not too restrictive.  I can comfortably wear them under a suit or a Sunday dress.  Now make sure you change before heading to bed with your darling hubby because they are not pretty, but if you are trying to make sure everything lays smoothly, these are a great option.


So what are you loving this season?  Share the link in the comments  so folks can find it!

A Homecoming 20 Years Overdue

obu4It felt familiar as we drove into town.  The Taco Bell and Waffle House where we spent many 2 am mornings during finals still stood just off the Interstate.  The open fields where the boys wanted to go cow tippin’ hosted fresh bales of hay.  The stadium before turning into the main campus was filled with football fans.

I lived for four years in Arkadelphia, Arkansas while I attended college at Ouachita Baptist University.


I’ve never typed that sentence before.

In large part, I’ve spent the past 20 years hiding from that fact.

There’s a bunch of muddled reasons why.  Partly because I have some personal issues with the denomination and partly because it didn’t feel prestigious once I’d gone to Vanderbilt Law School with folks carrying fancy pedigrees and partly because of a radical shift I underwent while at OBU on issues as wide ranging as drinking, politics, and judgment-based Christianity.

So I shut those four years up in a closet and almost never revisited them.  When asked where I went to school I said Vanderbilt or, if pressed on my undergraduate, I said in Arkansas.

I was wrong.

Really wrong.

The only thing that shocks me more than how wrong I was is how long it took me to recognize it as wrong.

I spoke knowingly about authenticity serving as a critical foundation in leadership all while having a hole in my own credibility.

Every life period, at least mine, come with good and bad.  There is no perfect season.  We’re human.

I left home for Ouachita sheltered, shy, fearful, and idealistic.

I changed my major from Pre-Med after failing to meet my unrealistic straight A standards and was unsure where I would land.  Because of smart, caring professors, I ended up with a new life course and a major in History and Political Science.  Professor Cole, my amazing history prof who has passed away now, told me I would make a great lawyer so I went to law school.  When I walked by the study lab in his honor, I was able to show my children a photograph of the man who pointed me into the profession of law.

I was terrified of speaking in public, so Dr. Buckelew encouraged me to do something I was comfortable at for Intro to Speech (a required course).  I told him I was only comfortable in front of children, so my first speech was reading The Giving Tree to the class like they were preschoolers.  I made a 100 and went on to minor in Speech because of him.  I threw up before every speech I gave but pressed on because of his encouragement.  I’ve spoken to thousands of people because of Dr. Buckelew seeing something I couldn’t.

I continued working for Dr. Everett as head of the Chemistry Department even after I changed my major because we just liked working together.  I worked for him for three years as an assistant.  I studied at Moscow State University because Dr. Bass and Dr. Reid encouraged me to go on this brave trip after my junior year and helped me raise funds to be able to go.

Even more significant than the life path Ouachita set me on are the relationships I formed there.  I met a beautiful bubbly girl named Alicia at the freshman mixer before college started who had been assigned randomly as my roommate.  She was from Dallas, so we planned our peach and mint green matching bedspreads and room accessories over the phone after reviewing the selections at Wal-Mart.  We lived together freshman year and half of sophomore year, and she is still one of the most important girlfriends I have ever had in my life.  She and I are also still friends with wonderful other freshman from Perrin West hall – girls who bonded over a shared hallway bathroom and $5 Sunday pizzas.  My junior and senior year, I roomed with my dear high school friend Valeree.  We lived in our first ever apartment our senior year – a rundown mess of a place we loved in the campus owned (now demolished) Starlight Apartments.



I pledged a local sorority on campus, Tri Chi, and those girls and I have hysterical memories.  I have photographs of pledge week when we were upperclassmen that still crack me up.  I saw several of those sweet friends at Tiger Tunes this Homecoming weekend.




I walked all over the campus with my husband and children and remembered all the good.  The wedding I was in at Berry Chapel.  The Tiger Tunes performances we suited up for in the speech building next to Jones Hall.  The Saturday morning prep sessions for the LSAT in the poli sci building.  The walks underground to the mailboxes in hopes an envelope might await me.

Those four years were beautiful.  There was heartbreak mixed in with the hilarity and problems mixed in with the progress, but how foolish to let all the good get tucked away.

This weekend ended up being such a surprise to me.  I am tremendously grateful for how those four years formed who I have become, more transformatively than any other period I can identify.

Maybe my story can encourage you.  If there’s a piece of your history you have tucked away because it doesn’t fit into some imaginary storyline or it wasn’t perfect and untainted, then let me encourage you to dust it off.  There is good there, and there is you there, and we shouldn’t bury part of who we are or the process of becoming.

Leadership Lessons


It was so frustrating to him.

It was the exact same item but priced $30 higher. He had the points to get the $30 pricier item for free, but the principle of it sat on him like a burr in a saddle.

So he talked to the customer service representative. Calmly. Patiently. She said there was nothing she could do. They didn’t price match. He asked to speak to customer care, politely. She remarked, “but you can get this item for free.”

“I know,” he replied, “but points equate to dollars and this item $30 higher than if I went to your competitor. You can understand that, right? It’s tough to swallow the same item would cost $30 more.”

“Yes,” she replied, “I can understand that. Okay, we’ll drop the price.”

He emerged from his office victorious sharing his news. I agreed it was impressive and mentioned his experience showcased some impressive leadership qualities.

“You’re going to blog about this, aren’t you?” he questioned.

“Well YOU could blog about it,” I responded.


Well, there you have it. So darling, here’s the leadership lessons your telephone interaction teaches us all:

  1. Show respect. No matter who you’re dealing with, they deserve your respect and polite engagement.
  2. Appreciate the value. Here, even though the item would have technically been “free,” it would have cost him the equivalent of $30 more in points for the exact same item offered elsewhere for less.
  3. Negotiate. You never will know if you can get a better deal if you don’t ask.
  4. Make it relatable. “Can you understand that?” Such a great leadership question. You’re asking if the person on the other end appreciates value as much as you do. Make sure it’s a question folks can relate to, but basic questions appealing to human decency, appreciating value, and understanding a predicament can build a bridge to common ground where far more can be accomplished.

Thanks for the leadership life lesson, babe!


Fashion Fridays: Rock the Runway

Y’all, yesterday was SO fun!

I was named a Role Model by GHWCC (one of my favorite recognitions ever, because that’s really all we want to be – a good role model for those coming up!), but they didn’t tell me before I accepted the award the Role Models have to actually model. 

That’s right. 

Ballroom. Runway.  Spotlights.  Music thumping out a beat. 

I am a particularly uncoordinated gal, so you can imagine my visions of catapulting off the stage into someone’s lunch plate.  Nonetheless, onward I went. 

It was such a blast.  So you’ll have to indulge this Fashion Friday as I blog a little about my fun fashion experience!

My best friend went with me to my fitting a week ago.  Three boutiques sponsored the show (which raised money for girls scholarships in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields), and the models were randomly assigned a shop.  So in we went to this small boutique in upscale Houston and I fell in love with the first thing I tried on – a gorgeous cobalt blue Hugo Boss dress with Etro hand dyed scarf.   

Sigh.  Yummy. 



I tried on a couple of back up outfits, but the dress was the ticket.  (Mary snapped pictures the whole time as we adjusted scarves and decided which look worked.)  While I was offered a discount on the clothing I modeled, there was NO WAY I could afford the dress or scarf. 

I did learn a couple of cool new tricks on how to tie scarves effectively.  For example, on those long scarves, hold one corner up high, grab it in the middle, put the middle at your neck and throw each end over your shoulder, cross it in back and bring it back over the opposite folder, adjust and VOILA!  It’s the way I ended up wearing it in the show.  Plus, they had the coolest (pricey) jackets with zippered insets in the blazer.  So the photo shows a cool black leather inset but they also had them in sweater materials and other interesting two tone looks – super chic and simple.  Hoping someone comes up with a cheaper version of this.    

Yesterday was the show and I arrived early for hair and makeup.  Despite my misgivings, I loved the way the look turned out.  If you had told me blue eye shadow and curls, I would have thought of Miss Texas circa 1988.  But it was more subtle than that, and the biggest upside was that it shaved 5 or 6 years off me! 

The time came for the show and we lined up according to our style section (I was in leadership style – fun little twist).  They played great music with a bold beat easy to keep time with on the catwalk.  Out I went, a little trepidatiously at first.  But then my ostentatious table of girlfriends went WILD and I completely hammed it up. 



You can see how seriously I took the walk.  I even responded to their “work it” hollers by shaking my tookus.  I love these girls. 

So I had to share my first, and last, ever fashion runway show.  I have no idea what they said the trends were, something about sparkle and fur which I don’t really tout for the workplace, so sadly I have no new nuggets for you.  However, next Fashion Friday is full of helpful nuggets so it should offset today’s little fashion update. 

 Have a great weekend girls.  And to Tracy, Rebecca, Jennifer, Jana, Stacy, Amanda, Mary, Paige, Natalie, Laura, Marianne, mmmmwahhhh.

(And then girls, with my hair and make up already done, I got to go to opening night of the ballet because a friend had tickets!  Isn’t that just a golden girly kind of a day!?!?!)


Fashion Fridays: Fall via Heckle and Jeckle

Morning!  I wrote today’s Fashion Friday post from Florida with my super fun and witty friend, Kristin.

We were fresh out of ideas for Fashion Fridays, so we went trolling the Internet and fashion magazines.

Here’s some witty repartee from the peanut gallery to put a smile on your face (She’s Heckle, I’m Jeckle):

Heckle:  So, what’s the 2015 “fall color?”

Jeckle:  I don’t know, let’s check.  Hmm, according to Harpers Bazaar, one of the trendy colors this season is dried herb.

Heckle:  Dried herb? 

Jeckle:  Yes, we’d look like dried herbs if we sported it this fall.


Heckle:  What else they got? 

Jeckle:  Marsala

Heckle:  Marsala?  Show me.

Jeckle:  {Turning the screen to show this photograph.}


Heckle:  Marsala!  That is what they show as the option?!?!  It’s like…a mumu.  Marsala is not a good option.  Look, this blogger says its reminiscent of veal cutlets.  Use that. 

Jeckle : {Scrolling through the rest of the colors…}  They’ve got desert sage, stormy weather…

Heckle:  Desert sage is not a fall color.  And stormy weather is blueish gray.  Why don’t they call the color what it actually is. 

Jeckle:  Let’s try our In Style magazine.

Heckle:  I feel like these are all clothes for New Yorkers.  I wouldn’t wear this in Minnesota.  I don’t think you’d wear this in Texas. 

Jeckle:  This year’s fashion themes are Lady Danger, Arty Centric, Urban Nomad…{trailing off}

Heckle:  Fashion magazines… what is the percentage of women that can actually buy these clothes?  Who can pay $1,695 for a skirt?  Where should you really shop for fall?

Jeckle:  Who would want to pay that?  You could send a village in Africa to school.

Heckle:  I think you should write a post on where to shop on -line. There’s no where to shop in my town.

Jeckle:  Let’s stick to the task at hand.  Fall fashion. 

Heckle:  Oh yeah, right.  Okay.

Jeckle:  What do you love to wear for fall?  Or what do you want to wear? 

Heckle:  I love those leather jackets.  I’m always looking for pieces I can layer under those jackets.  I have a black one, a burgundy one (come to think of it, it’s MARSALA), and a cognac one. 


What should I wear under it?  Oh, and I just bought those emerald skinny jeans this weekend, what should I pair with those? 

Jeckle:  Those are going to be gorgeous for fall.  This blouse from Ann Taylor would be beautiful under your “marsala” or your cognac jackets:


And even though your jeans are a little darker green than these, I still love this ensemble and think it would be perfect for early fall or even early spring in Minnesota. 


Heckle: Okay, that I can work with.  This has been fun. 

Jeckle:  Yes, I think I’m going to call you before writing all my posts.  Well, actually it’s easier with us sitting at the same table.  Next vaca?