Saturday, October 22, 2011
I really admire the style of Iris. It is very colorful and projects a joy of life. Not everyone will feel good in such a bold style. If our outfits look very much like what we wore during our high school years, we may want to consider what our personal brand and image projects to others. Have we not changed since then? Have we not progressed? Don't we know our self a little more? Yes, - we are busy and it is is probably not on the top of our list at the moment. My friends and family accept me the way I am, right? If we feel down and feel like we are transparent to others, or we are not happy with our situation, or are sick, or......, we may want to spend a little time reconsidering what our priorities are. Adding a little bit of color and wearing garments that actually fit our body can make a great deal of a difference in our life. Could you learn a little more about what shape of garment would fit your body a little better and what color you could wear? Would you need some ideas for outfits? If this is the case, this blog is for you. I will give you tips of how and why on a regular basis (at least once a week). I hope to hear back from your side on how this information is helping you.
Friday, January 22, 2010
We are seeing more and more new products into your shelves. We don't always know from what source. As material and goods are traveling from place to place and retails is giving us very basic information about the product, more research may give us more background on the road of the manufacturing of this product. Bamboo is getting more and more popular and is very trendy in the green movement. Jennifer from Awakened aesthetics says it so well on her blog. This article is written on January 12, by Jennifer Nicole.
Keeping up with the Joneses used to mean buying the newest, most expensive car and parking it next to your immaculately-manicured lawn. Now it means getting a hybrid and building a compost bin.
But the idea of sustainable living – the basics of it – is not new. The hippies were doing it in the sixties, the bohemian kids kept it going through the seventies and eighties, and the nineties saw an influx of consciousness that has travelled through the changing of the decade. Now, earth consciousness is not just a movement for a few choice alternative kids; it's a way of life.
Some of us thought that making sustainability "mainstream" would be a big hurdle, but its popularity grew overnight, featuring yoga and solar power, protests and tofu. Instead, the struggle has come down to one small part of the way we live: our beauty, and our aesthetics. The reality is that making enlightened choices has always been possible, but it hasn't always been pretty. As global consciousness grows, however, the community of aesthetics – fashion, design, beauty, perfume – has had to use their creative teams for adapting to the "green trend:" creating beautiful, inventive clothing and textiles out of non-toxic, natural, and earth-friendly materials.
Many companies have turned to organic cotton, but others are using a different plant fiber: bamboo. It's no surprise, as bamboo is one of the most ecologically useful plants in production: it grows up to four feet per day, takes less time to harvest than cotton, and is quite hardy. Once processed and weaved into clothing, it's also incredibly soft. But how does this sturdy grass go from hard wood to soft fabric?
Well, that's where the harmful chemicals come in.
Bamboo: The Good
Bamboo got its eco-friendly reputation because of its naturally human- and earth-friendly properties. Not only is it hardy and fast-growing, but it also does double duty as a major oxygen producer – way more than a forest of comparable size – and its huge root network prevents erosion, even after the stalks have been harvested. It doesn't require pesticides or chemicals to grow (organic!), is naturally biodegradable, and its "forests" regenerate on their own, using that same erosion-avoiding network of roots to sprout new stalks whenever and wherever they're removed. Using the right techniques, it can be used for flooring, furniture, decorative items and, of course, fabric.
When manufactured for clothing, bamboo becomes a powerhouse, boasting ecological, health and beauty benefits. It's softer than most cottons, yet drapes so smoothly and elegantly that it can be used as a cheap alternative to silk. Bamboo is also hypoallergenic, and can even be anti-microbial, if it's manufactured mechanically. It will resist the growth of odor-causing bacteria, making it a great choice for socks, exercise clothing, and anything else you could even think of sweating in (like a dress shirt at your annual performance review).
However, if bamboo isn't mechanically produced, it can lose its hypoallergenic, bacteria-killing properties, as well as all of its claims of "eco-friendliness" and, in some cases, the right to even be called bamboo.
Bamboo: The Bad
That's right: some companies use the "bamboo" label much like others use the "organic" label: to make money. It's all part of a marketing ploy called greenwashing, and in this case, it can mean the difference between your skivvies being eco-friendly and eco-harmful.
There are two ways to process bamboo into fabric: mechanically and chemically. The mechanical process is pretty straightforward: the plant is crushed, and natural enzymes are added to break down the woody parts into a mushy compound. A machine "combs out" this compound so it can be spun into yarn. It's a truly eco-friendly process, but it's also labor-intensive and costs more than chemical processing does.
In chemical processing, the same bamboo is "cooked" in acid (among other things). The result isn't an organic bamboo yarn, or even a remotely eco-friendly fabric. Instead, it's called "regenerated cellulose fiber" or, more commonly, bamboo rayon.
Unlike its mechanically manufactured counterpart, this chemical bamboo fabric is soaked toxic chemicals, including lye, bleach, carbon disulfide and sulfuric acid, and "regenerated" into a fiber that can be woven into fabric. It's a long, arduous process that not only harms the environment, but can cause serious health effects for the people that work to create the fabric:
- Breathing in low levels of carbon disulfide can cause headaches, tiredness, and even nerve damage.
- In animal testing, it also caused brain, liver, heart and fetal defects, which means a spill could destroy any wildlife and, potentially, human health and safety.
- Carbon disulfide has also been shown to cause neural disorders in those working in rayon manufacturing plants. (No studies are out in bamboo manufacturing plants specifically.)
- Even a low level exposure to sodium hydroxide (lye) can cause the skin and eyes to become irritated, making it difficult and likely more dangerous for workers to do their jobs.
- At higher levels, those exposed to sodium hydroxide have difficulty breathing, burns on the skin, necrosis, and severe burning in the eyes, ears, nose and throat.
Keep in mind that this process – all of these chemicals, all of these health risks – goes for cotton-based rayon, too. The difference is that, as of now, companies are required to list chemically-manufactured cotton as "rayon" or "cotton rayon," so you can easily avoid them by looking at the label. However, there are still no laws that force companies to make the same kind of distinction for bamboo. Every time you buy bamboo fabric, you run the risk of getting a rayon blend instead – one that may be tainted by the chemicals that pollute our air and destroy health of the workers that created it.
What You Can Do
Until there are more stringent laws requiring companies to list the kind of bamboo their clothing is made of, it's up to consumers to buy responsibly. It may seem like a daunting task – how do you know whether a company uses natural enzymes or harmful chemicals? – but there are a few ways to ensure that the bamboo you're wearing has been produced ethically:
- Look for transparency. Many of the most eco-conscious companies are happy to share their sources, both for their raw materials and their manufacturing practices. Check websites and product descriptions: if they proudly list their mechanical manufacturing (or any other sustainable practices), choose to buy your bamboo from them (and share your findings with others).
- Choose "organically processed." While some companies tout chemically-manufactured bamboo as "organic," the smart ones will make sure you know that their products aren't just organically grown, but also organically processed. Most won't go into the details, but they will list their products in a way that alerts those in the know.
- Use Lyocell. Some manufacturing facilities have found other, more eco-friendly ways to chemically process bamboo in an attempt to eliminate the ecological hazards typical chemical processing can cause. They've modified the same process used to produce lyocell from wood cellulose to produce bamboo cellulose. The process uses chemicals that are non-toxic to humans and can be captured and recycled back into the system, so only trace amounts escape into the atmosphere. Look for the word "lyocell" or comparisons to TENCEL, a similarly-manufactured product, on the label.
- Look for outside certifications. While most companies comply with the International Organization for Standardization's (ISO) industrial and commercial standards of practice, that doesn't mean they're truly green. Ignore listings like "ISO 9000 and 14000 compliant" and, instead, look for ratings and certifications from SKAL, Soil Association, Demeter, KRAV, and OKO-Tex. These independent companies actually review the practices that manufacturers are using, while ISO just lists guidelines for eco-friendly practices.
We've been battling uphill for sustainable living for decades. From our hybrid cars to our farmers markets, we've certainly come a long way. Without "the beautiful people" behind the movement, though, we'll never be able to create a higher standard of ethical consumerism. We need to begin holding the fashion community accountable for what it creates, from source to production to delivery, to send the message that it's not just about keeping up with the Joneses. It's about a better way of life.
The following sources offer more information:
*Center for Disease Control – ToxFAQs: Carbon Disulfide and Sodium Hydroxide
*General information on bamboo processing: EcoVillageGreen.com
*In-depth information on bamboo manufacturing, including step-by-step processes and links to certification websites: OrganicClothing.Blogs.com
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Let’s be honest: dressing up for work is way different than dressing up for class. One of the big realities that young professional women face upon graduation is that they will need a whole new wardrobe for work. No fear, Ms. Career Girl is here!Don’t you dare go into debt over starting your professional wardrobe! You can buy one piece at a time. Here’s where to start!
- Pencil Skirt. Need I say more?
- High quality white collared shirt. Brooks Brothers has shirts that don’t wrinkle. Ann Taylor’s collared shirts are pretty high quality too. The goal is to buy a shirt that you don’t need to dry clean or iron every time it gets out of the wash. Take the time to make sure it fits like a glove. You’ll be wearing this shirt a lot and it will drive you crazy if it doesn’t fit. Don’t be afraid to get a shirt tailored to fit your body if necessary.
- Black work heels. Work heels mean they are classic, easy to walk in and worn only at work for the most part. In fact, it might be a good idea to leave this pair of shoes in your desk so they don’t get trashed at the bar, in the mud, or in the snow on your walk in. Make sure your shoes aren’t falling off when you walk. It looks stupid and you’ll be more worried about saving face than focusing on the tasks at hand.
- 2 pairs of tailored pants. Yes, I said tailored. This means that if you’re short like me, get your pants hemmed! Dragging baggy bottoms are gross and unprofessional. Even worse, you may trip! I would get one nice pair of black trouser pants (Banana Republic’s are awesome)? and one boot cut pair. Make sure they aren’t too tight. If you have to buy a size bigger, do it. If you hate looking at your size on the tag, cut it off. You do NOT want your co-workers talking about your booty because your pants are too tight.
- A great belt. Buy a belt that can be worn over your pencil skirt, over your cardigans, with a dress, and to spice up your collared shirt and trouser pants.
- Tights/Nylons. Although every office is different, my general rule of thumb is to wear nylons or tights unless it is over 85 degrees. If you work in a law firm, conservative bank, or see clients in the financial world then nylons are a must. If you work in a creative advertising agency nylons may not be necessary but they definitely polish your look. Other things:
- Painted nails. Not ones that are chipped and not hot green ones. Yes, details matter and people notice these things.
- Lipstick/gloss. There’s nothing that screams Go-Getter more than lipstick. It shows attention to detail, and it finishes your look. We’ve all heard it before: women who wear lipstick to their interviews are more likely to be hired.
- Be aware of your roots. If you are not a natural blonde (like me), you know that roots are a scary reality. There is nothing worse than a fake blonde with 2 inches of black roots. Goodbye professionalism! If you can’t afford to be blonde, then it’s time to go darker. Fake-blonde addicts: plan ahead for this expense by setting cash aside after pay day. This may change your mind about being blonde!
- Consider buying an in-expensive cropped black blazer so that you can buy fun, cute and cheap tops to go under it. I did this a lot at my last job, and I would always laugh when my co-workers would pull me aside and say, “Oh my gosh you have so many clothes!” No, I don’t. My apartment is tiny and so is my closet! I just buy cheap accessories, wear headbands and fun shirts underneath that same jacket to spice it up, show a bit of personality and change my look!
Nicole Crimaldi is the founder of mscareergirl.com, a personal and professional development blog for ambitious young professional women. Nicole works in Finance in Chicago.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
- Rule #1: Crest Whitestrips. Yup, this is a shallow, cosmetic-based tip. But I get so many letters from people who just don't understand that having coffee-stained teeth doesn't do you any favors in the interview department. Stop rolling your eyes; go buy the strips (use the store brand for all I care – I'm not picky); and whiten those teeth. Then smile. Smiling makes you look and feel younger – not bitter, old and unemployed. I don't care if you really are bitter, old and unemployed. It's about perception, remember?
- Rule #2: If you are over 40, I want you on Facebook today. No friends? You already have one: just Facebook me. If you don't know how to join, let your kids show you, or even better, have a young person at work "reverse mentor" you on how it works. Let that same person help you choose your profile picture. Seriously. Read our coverage on how social networking plays a role in the job search.
- Rule #3: Know about and frequently use Google and Wikipedia. Bookmark them on your computer, and set one as your homepage.
- Rule #4: Watch an episode of "Family Guy." Discuss. Repeat.
- Rule #5: Peruse your local Apple store. At least learn the difference between an iPod Classic, iPod Touch and iPod Nano and you're on your way. And buy a set of those identifiable white headphones to keep around, even if you don't have the iPod to go with them. It's all about perception.
- Rule #6: Do not disclose your SAT scores.If for some ungodly reason you still remember your SAT scores, keep them to yourself. Not only does no one care, but the scoring isn't even the same anymore, and you'll just wind up aging yourself.
- Rule #7: Don't talk about how you're so addicted to Starbucks.Or Coffee Bean, or whatever your coffee place of choice is. It seems like this would make you appear younger, but it won't. Starbucks screams "unemployed loser." Besides, you should never walk into an interview with a coffee cup, especially since you just whitened those teeth.
- Rule #8: Pick up a copy of “Entertainment Weekly” before an interview. But for God's sake, don't take it in with you and don't let anyone see you reading it. That said, nothing gets you more up to date on the youthful world of pop culture like an issue of EW.
- Rule #9: Learn how to text.
- Rule #10: Lose the paper. Young people get their news online - they don't read newspapers. So don't carry one into an interview with you or be seen reading it at the office like someone's mom or dad.
- Rule #11: Brush up on sports. This is easy; you can still get away with talking about Michael Phelps and get credit for this one. Bonus points for knowing who's in the NCAA tournament.
- Rule #12: Make eye contact. Eye contact is so critical to being perceived as young; don't be afraid to use it.
- Rule #13: Rarely refer to your children.Never refer to your grandchildren and never ever your great-grandchildren.
- Rule #14: Go to the gym.Or at least say that you do.
- Rule #15: Never talk about the ’80s or ’90s.Never use words from "your day." Nothing at work is groovy, dy-no-mite, or tubular.
- Ever.Rule #16: Get a TiVo or DVR.Know how they work.
- Rule #17: Practice "sounding young" on the phone. Take a small survey of how old you sound on the phone, and then practice with a friend sounding younger. (A tip: Talk higher and peppier.) This is critical. In the same vein, make sure your outgoing voicemail message isn't too long or boring. Short and sweet with a positive attitude is all you need.
- Rule #18: Dress is very important: always dress age-appropriate. No 40+ man should be wearing an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt. For more tips on updating your look without looking too young, review TheLadders’ recent coverage on losing the frump factor.Take 10 Years Off Your Image
- Rule #19: Give your hairstyle a long, hard look. No wonder there are so many makeover shows! My advice is to ask an outsider his or her opinion. Someone who loves you won't want to hurt your feelings or may love your look for sentimental or romantic reasons – but sadly, that won't help you find a job. A bad coloring job spells disaster for both men and women, and let's face it, hair weaves for men rarely work. Men, don't go overboard on finding a new hairstyle – just clip your nose and ear hair and you're on the right track. Ladies, pluck or bleach facial hair.
- Rule #20: Skip the cologne and excessive perfume. And while we're on the subject, wear deodorant. You may laugh, but many people just don't do it. Okay... Feel any younger, or just berated?
Trust me, I just took 15 years off the way you come across. Yeah, some things I talk about here are cosmetic, but most are not. It's all about perception ... and perception is the new reality.
Stephen Viscusi is the author of “Bulletproof Your Job: 4 Simple Strategies to Ride Out the Rough Times and Come Out On Top at Work” (HarperCollins) and the founder of bulletproofyourresume.com, a resume writing service. You can e-mail him at Stephen@viscusi.com or call him at 212-979-5700. "
Friday, November 20, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
- Do not wear the same bra everyday (the fabric need to breath and the elastane need to rest).
- Wash your bras and shapewears in a little laundry bag made for this purpose (it will prevent it from rubbing against the tumble and will keep the fabric fresher longer).
- Wash your bras in cold water with a soft detergent.
- Never dry your bras and shapewears in the dryer, - hang them neatly on a hanger and let them dry.
- In your drawer, have your bras laying flat. This will help to keep them fresh for a longer period of time