Friday Five

Posted on March 17th, 2017

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After twenty consecutive days of rain, we had a little life-changing visit from the sun yesterday.  The perfect way to pregame Friday!  I’m looking forward to tracking my March Madness brackets and seeing Beauty & the Beast this weekend.  The rain will be back, but those are indoor activities anyway!


Watching… the Great British Bake Off.  It came to my attention that two additional seasons of the loveliest, most calming show were added to Netflix, so we’ve been working through them diligently.  I can’t decide which is more inspiring between the beautiful bakes and Mary Berry’s on point jacket collection.


Celebrating... the Oxford Comma.  After it became the subject of a court case in Maine, I feel validation in my choice to eschew modernism and litter my writing with punctuation.


Pinning… this kitchen facelift.  What I love about this is it feels like an attainable before and after.  So many “kitchen makeovers” seem to feature an entirely different house at the end after a $4 jillion renovation, but this clearly shows the magic of paint, hardware, and countertops.  The industrial light fixtures and stools aren’t quite my vibe, but I think they’re a very logical choice for the rustic Utah setting.


Planning… to pare down my closet a bit this weekend, and I’m putting it on the internet to hold myself accountable.  It’s a bit of classic spring cleaning, but it’s also great timing since it’s the end of the season and surely those sweaters I didn’t wear a single time because they didn’t look quite right have got to go.


Stitching… new needlepoint canvases!  I just started a new belt for Ian that I’m hoping will be finished for this summer, and I also just ordered a sunglasses case canvas from Lycette Designs.  Very superfluous.  I can’t wait.


Hope you and your brackets have an amazing weekend!

Workwear Roundup

Posted on March 16th, 2017

To round out this week’s batch of career related posting, I’m sharing some options from my four key workwear categories.  When buying workwear, I follow the Three Seasons Rule– everything I buy for work must be able to be worn in at least three seasons of the year, and bonus points if adding tights enables a seamless transition from summer to winter.  To get by when it comes to dressing myself for work, I rely on four areas as the base.


  1. A big bag that fits all of your essentials, your laptop, a pair of shoes and/or a set of workout clothes
  2. Basic dresses that can be worn with our without a sweater, and preferably do not need drycleaning
  3. Oversize cardigans to protect from freezing winter temps or freezing summer air conditioning
  4. Versatile black pants that can be worn with sweaters, blouses, heels, flats, etc.



Bags- I’ve had the best luck with the three options pictured above.  Barrington Gift’s St. Anne tote is customizable and roomy, but doesn’t have any closure at the top.  A Longchamp can hold a whole week’s worth of essentials and is good in the elements, but you risk looking a little collegiate.  The York buckle tote isn’t quite as spacious, but holds a laptop safely in a center zipper pocket.  I haven’t tried this option, but it looks good, too!


Dresses- Green with button pockets (on sale!), scalloped shift, pleated ruffle shift, tweed fit & flare, laser cut flare, scalloped inset, grey sheathstriped dress for casual days!


Oversized Cardigans- Wheat cashmere, super soft jersey (have this in black, size down!), open sweater coat, summer weight option


Black Pants- If you find a pair you feel fabulous in and they cost $400, you should probably still get them and get two pairs because black pants are forever but the right fit is few and far between.  Pixie pant, Twill, skinny stretch (Any you particularly recommend?  I wouldn’t say I’ve found my forever pant yet!)


Of course options abound for all of these, but you get the idea.  The right “fun” pieces will crawl into your wardrobe and pop up overtime, but when you’re just starting out, setting a baseline with these options will get you on the right track so your great outfit matches, but doesn’t detract from, your dazzling career performance!

Best Things I’ve Done for My Career

Posted on March 15th, 2017

Among the blogs I follow, career-based content is relatively rare.  This is in part because a lot of the bloggers I follow blog full time and have non-traditional career paths, and in part because people are reticent to share too much of their professional lives with strangers on the internet, which I totally understand.  (Although I did love Krista’s recent post on the topic!)


With new internships and new post-graduation jobs right around the corner and the ongoing need to be a boss always lingering, I wanted to share a few of the things I’ve done in the first few years of my career that I feel like have made the biggest difference for my professional growth and advancement so far.  As with all posts of this type, I’m obviously not pretending like this is the one right way to conduct yourself or that following these tips will definitely be a good fit for you and your situation, but they have made a big difference for me.





I always have a point of view.  When identifying possible solutions to solve a problem or presenting different options for approaching a situation, I share my educated opinion on the direction to take.  If I realize, as I’m assessing the choices, that I don’t know enough to have an educated opinion, I do the research to change that.  Of course, it is equally important to listen and be receptive to other points of view, but sharing yours helps your business partners solve problems more efficiently, and will also give you increased credibility as a subject matter expert.  I used to be worried that I would seem too pushy or presumptuous, but when I was promoted recently, that behavior was the #1 thing mentioned as the way they knew I was ready for a higher title and increased responsibility.  I mean, I have an opinion about everything else in life, so why shouldn’t I when I’m at work, too?


I have a personal vision and goals.  When I was graduating from college, I was really reluctant to identify one single five year plan, thinking that instead it would be wise to keep my options open.  I’ve since realized that those two things are not mutually exclusive, and if you lack a personal vision for yourself, it is all too easy to lose focus and spend too much effort on things that do not align to your longterm goals.  Every week (if not more frequently!), I’m able to ask myself what I did at work that helped me grow closer to that vision.  I contextualize my personal priorities with what I envision my next step to be.  I’ve also been very transparent with the leaders on my team, and being able to articulate what I’m looking for to them enables them to set me up with opportunities to keep going down that path.  Of course, my path and my goals may change as I learn and encounter more, and that’s okay, too.


I view my professional identity as a brand.  How do I want others to perceive me?  Is the way I’m conducting myself reflective of that?  Is it different when I’m home vs. when I’m at work (yes!)?  These are questions I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about.  I see credibility as the key cornerstone of this, but at the end of the day this mostly means I behave more intentionally and thoughtfully at work.


I raise my hand.  If a workstream needs driving or a committee needs joining or a team outing needs organizing, I’m stepping in to do it.  This not only signals that you’re willing to take on new challenges and responsibilities, but also gives you exposure to people, parts of the business, or processes with which you might not otherwise interact, expanding your knowledge base and growing your network.


I am hungry for context and knowledge.  Whether it is a Harvard Business Review article on President Trump’s use of social media or a deck put together by the merchant team with their strategy for the upcoming season, a lot of what I read is only very loosely and tangentially related to my specific job.  Nevertheless, I try to connect how they should impact my team’s priorities and processes, which keeps me on my toes and ahead of the curve as changes filter throughout the industry and company.  To circle back to the idea of always having an educated point of view, staying informed and having context also helps me with my goals to be a subject matter expert to lend credence to my opinions.


I’ve read a few books that have really helped me with my professional approach, and want to mention Primal Leadership and The Leadership Challenge as being particularly impactful for me.  I find this topic really interesting, so I’d love to hear your thoughts, whether you’ve read something great or have a mantra or strategy to share.

Pretty Pleats

Posted on March 14th, 2017

Even as I attempt to be creative with my workplace attire, 9 times out of 10 I still feel like my best professional self when I wear classic dresses.  It’s been a while since I embraced the pleated skirt, but it seems to be having a moment, and I pounced on a dress that was under $70 and doesn’t need drycleaning.  Plus, the skirt is great for twirling, so 6-year-old Helen would approve.








Dress // Bag // Shoes (dupes here, these have a little bling!) // Bracelet // Watch (similar)

I think this could look fabulous with a belt, too, or with sheer black dot hose in the winter.  The fit is a bit on the looser side, but I hate having things tight at work, so I chose not to size down.  Obviously, this dress could be styled in a bunch of different ways, with heels or flats and with more or less jewelry, but I paired it with big vintage gold studs in the shape of the sun because I work for a retail company so that’s allowed.
Scroll through to shop my dress, and similar looks, below: (Everything under $125!)

Shoe-Based Goals

Posted on March 13th, 2017


In general, I think it is a good thing to be ambitious.  You can’t make the world a better place if you aren’t working for more.  I don’t often rest on my laurels; I’m constantly trying to push forward for the next thing.  But I have realized that if you never pause, even for a minute, to acknowledge your accomplishments, you might end up feeling like you’re not enough.


When I started my corporate Nordy Girl almost two years ago, I set a goal that when I achieved a certain level of promotion (and discount), I would buy myself an “investment piece.”  Classic, timeless, and versatile, Chanel flats seemed like the perfect symbolism.  They could remind me of what I had done, while making sure I don’t forget all that I have left to do.


I was so excited when the news was shared with me in early February that I was being promoted to that next level (it felt better than I had even imagined it would), but I had second thoughts about the shoes.  It suddenly felt like an indulgent and frivolous act, and I certainly didn’t want to give up any of my carefully cultivated self-discipline.  Who sets shoe-based goals, anyway??  I decided I would think about it a bit more while we were on our honeymoon.


And as if the picture didn’t make it abundantly clear, you can see where I landed.  Last weekend, I stopped by the store and allowed myself a moment of celebration.  I’m ready to hit the ground running to face whatever comes next– and I’ll have fancy footwear while doing it.

Friday Five

Posted on March 10th, 2017


A delicious poke salad bowl from the coolest shop up the hill from us.  As tasty as it is aesthetically pleasing, and challenging because chopsticks and salads are a tricky mix.


Daydreaming… about Hawaii (still) because Gray Malin just released a stunning new collection.  Do we think it’s a coincidence that he releases this 10 days after our honeymoon and one of the photos is of the resort where we stayed on Kauai, or is it a sign that I need to buy it?


Scooping up… coats on major sale.  This is the time of year when retailers think it’s spring but we all know it’s clearly still winter, so you can get gorgeous jackets at gorgeous prices, wear them for a few weeks this year, and then have a fresh look ready to go when the brisk air returns in the fall.  I got this red parka for our upcoming Canada trip, but I love the statement of this print, the elegance of this silhouette, and the versatility and durability of this style.


Applauding… the Fearless Girl statue.  Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the awesome, captivating statue of the girl in front of the bull on Wall Street, placed there just ahead of International Women’s Day to encourage companies to add more women to their corporate boards.  I love the idea, love the execution, and love the attention it is getting.


Baking… snickerdoodle bars.  I don’t have a reason.  The ingredients were in the pantry.  Bakers gonna bake.  (PS the Island Pecan Pie was very well received!)


Staying… hydrated.  I’m probably just a little bit too into the Lilly x S’well collaboration.  I haven’t been as much of a Lilly girl since moving to the Pacific Northwest, so I think that suppression has caused an inappropriate attachment to colorful little water bottles.


I’m planning some career-related content for the coming days that I’m looking forward to sharing– so I’ll see you next week!

Big Island Bliss

Posted on March 8th, 2017

Let the record reflect that as I write this final Hawaii post, it is currently 39 degrees in Seattle, it is raining, and the gusts of wind are causing the windows on our high rise to shudder and shake.  A poetic contrast.


Ian and I were definitely in agreement that while we wanted to have some uniquely Hawaiian experiences, we were also tremendously excited to just relax and enjoy a week away with the sunshine and with one another.  The Four Seasons Hualalai was the perfect jumping off point to make that vision come to life.  Only fifteen minutes from the airport and harbor and twenty-five minutes from Kona you do have easy access to a range of things… except that the resort makes it kind of difficult for you to find the motivation to leave.


They set the tone upon arrival, when you’re greeted in the lobby with warm towelettes, mai tais in coconuts, and skewers of fresh pineapple.  As you’re escorted to your room, they fill you in on the property’s pools, restaurants, spa services, health club offerings, and all of the other things you would expect to find in heaven.


We arrived that first evening just in time to watch the sunset on the beach, drink in hand.  After dinner, we headed to bed early to be extra ready for our helicopter tour on Monday.




On Tuesday, we rented a car to explore the area a bit.  Our first stop was clear: doughnuts.  Doughnut research has become a standard part of my vacation planning process, and I knew I had to try the flavors at Holy Donut in Kona.  We ordered a sampler, but the PBJ was my personal favorite.  They’re definitely paired best with the ocean view just across the street.


We were fueled and ready for a hike along the beach and through the lava fields, where sea turtles were pretty much our only company.  Before heading back to the resort, we also stopped for a coffee plantation tour at Hula Daddy, an operation started by two retirees who just kind of wanted to move to Hawaii and grow coffee.  I was relatively ignorant about the journey my espresso made to reach me, so it was so interesting to go straight to the source.


Tuesday evening was another huge highlight of the trip– nighttime snorkeling for manta ray feedings.  Our little boat left as the harbor as the sun was setting, but because it was dark and we were in the water, unfortunately I do not have a ton of photos– but trust me, it was amazing.






Wednesday and Thursday we devoted all of our time to the serious endeavors of Relaxing and Doing Absolutely Nothing.  Morning runs were followed by hot showers in our private outdoor lava rock shower, followed by the most extravagant seaside breakfast buffet, followed by sitting by the pool.  We read books, we talked about the past, present, and future, we ate.







When we woke up on the plane on Friday morning after our overnight flight, we felt as peaceful and refreshed as one can feel after sleeping for four hours on a plane (in part because of a first class upgrade– thanks, Alaska!!).  We are in absolute agreement that we should routinely take honeymoons celebrating the privilege of being together.  I only hope they are half as good as this one was!

Helicopter Tour

Posted on March 6th, 2017

Having your honey plan your whole honeymoon is a luxurious treat, but there was one thing in the back of the mind that I really hoped to see when Ian handed me my surprise itinerary on that first flight to Lihue: a volcano helicopter tour.  I had never flown in a helicopter, my parents still talked about that same tour as the highlight of their trip from their first visit to Hawaii more than 30 years ago, and where and when else in the world could I count on seeing LAVA?


The dream came true, and we set out on a helicopter excursion on the morning of our first full day on the Big Island.  They first weighed us and each of the other four passengers, coincidentally all New Zealanders, and crunched the numbers to make sure they had us sitting in seats such that the weight balance was the right distribution.  I was a bit uneasy at the idea that our vessel was delicate enough to care whether or not I had eaten a big breakfast, but again, lava was at stake, so I sucked it up.


After lift off, we headed straight for the mountains near Kona.  Every few minutes, the terrain below us would completely change, a product of the eruption history and the ground’s resulting suitability to varying types of vegetation.  The closer we were to the tops of the mountains, the less green we saw.  As we summited the mountains and started a descent, our ears popped like one long elevator ride.  But then we saw the steam rising up– a volcanic crater.



Lava, in all its glory, peeking out from be low the surface.  It looked like we were on an entirely different planet!


I was thrilled, and excited for the rest of the tour, which I knew entailed pretty much flying the whole circumference of the island.  We flew towards the ocean on the southeast side of the island.  I was minding my business, enjoying the gorgeous color of the water and the dramatic vista of the cliffs plunging into the ocean, when…. wait a minute.




LAVA.  I wish I could make an animated version of the picture above, because while I had always imagined lava as an oozy kind of substance, like the chocolate that comes out of a lava cake, this lava was coursing into the ocean like a spigot that was all the way open with excellent water pressure.  It was absolutely one of those cheesy moments where you’re just so impressed with mother nature, an episode of Planet Earth come to life.


The tour continued over Hilo and through some waterfalls in the mountains before we took a little break on a ridge on the north side of the island.  As thrilling as the scenery had been, I admit that I was grateful for the chance to drink some water and get a little fresh air.  We set out again, flying down the sunny west side. We saw some whales swimming right off the coast near our resort, and the aerial perspective really impressed upon me how long they are.




I’m not ready to declare helicopter flight as my preferred way of travel, but I will assert that it was the absolute best way to really understand the impact of volcanic activity and the active process of island formation.  Plus, I could have gone my whole life living an oozing lava lie.  I’ve seen the light.


Friday Five

Posted on March 3rd, 2017


The recent pretty blooms from our dining table pictured above have me excited for spring and picking up a fresh batch of flowers this weekend!


Dressing… for the Red Carpet.  Even though when I went to bed on Sunday night I had pretty much forgotten everything about the Oscars except Best Picture mixup mania, I now seem to recall that there were some pretty dresses, too.  I was most excited about Brie Larson (I always have an Oscar de la Renta soft spot!), Sofia Boutella, Viola Davis, and Isabella Huppert, and I thought Auli’i’s dress was an awesome nod to Moana, as well.  Such style at 16 years old!


Craving… a Diet Coke.  Every true Diet Coke connoisseur (honestly, I should get my palate certified or something) knows that the best Diet Coke is served at McDonalds– and it turns out it’s science.  Back in the day I used to drink Diet Coke every day, but I’ve mostly scaled back to a once weekly treat.  When I get my Sunday afternoon Diet Coke, I head straight to the Golden Arches.


Baking… Island Pecan Pie.  I’ve had this recipe hanging around my dessert Pinterest board for a while now, and coming off of our honeymoon it seemed like a good time to roll it out.  It was Ian’s turn to supply Friday afternoon treats for his coworkers this week, so we’ll see how it fares as the feedback pours in…


Annualizing… my Bar Method membership.  One year ago this weekend I started a new member unlimited month at Bar Method in Seattle, and have been going ever since.  206 classes later, it’s safe to say I’m hooked on the people, the studio, and the workout itself.


Immortalizing… Women of NASA!  Lego announced on Tuesday that they’ll be honoring five female space pioneers with a figurines set later this year.  So much to love about this, as it’s a fantastic nod to women, minorities, and STEM trailblazers, and paves the way through representation for a new generation of intellectual legends.’


Other than three opportunities to get my heart rate up– workouts on Saturday and Sunday and watching the Duke/UNC game on Saturday night, naturally– I’m anticipating a quiet weekend before another busy week ahead!

Light & White Poolside

Posted on March 1st, 2017

I mostly dress in business casual with a little weekend attire mixed in, but I feel my best when I’m in resortwear.  I don’t get many chances to flex my resort wardrobe muscles in the Pacific Northwest, so I took my Hawaii outfit planning pretty seriously.  The formula was straightforward– activewear and sundresses for daily workouts and dinners, and then some “playclothes” and poolside ensembles.


After realizing most of my coverups sported perma-sunscreen stains, I ordered one from Shopbop (love that Amazon Prime shipping!) on a whim that ended up being the perfect thing.  The gauzy material was a great weight in the sun, and the metallic/neon threads (visible in the last photo), while subtle, are a fun touch.  It was also completely comfortable transitioning to lunch around the resort, which I always appreciate.







Cover up // Sunhat // Monogrammed Sandals // Sunglasses (similar) // Croakies


My bright honeymoon manicure ended up being a perfect match!  I know everyone has this hat from Tuckernuck, but that’s because it’s versatile and totally darling.


The resortwear has been washed and put back into the special lesser used section of the closet, but I can’t wait to pull it back out in a few months!