What to Wear at a Startup

What to Wear at a Startup | Sassy in Sequins In September, I made a groundbreaking leap and changed careers. I went from being a conservative lawyer to a creative career in content marketing at a startup (more on this another time).Since I started working for a small startup, my work wardrobe has changed significantly. As in, I can pretty much wear whatever I want.

Not having a dress code is awesome, but also scary, as creativity craves constraint. It can be difficult to figure out what to wear when you can wear whatever you want. The past few months have enabled me to be innovative both with my work and clothing while still looking (more or less) as professional as a content writer working needs to look. As such, I've created a list of wardrobe staples that run the gamut from "preppy super-business-casual" to "lazy college student".

Oxford Shirts: Startup or not, no working wardrobe in Boston is complete without a pearl statement necklace and some button-down Oxford shirt layering. The difference here is that I can do it with jeans or leggings and still manage pull off an effortless classic look. These outfits mirror those of the preppy COO and sales guys in my office, creating a seamless flow of synergy while listening to yacht rock.

The layering look is very scalable--black pants, jeans, a skirt, or colored corduroy if you're feeling crazy. It's a responsive look as well. This look takes you from day-to-night, keeping you warm in a cold basement office yet giving you the ability to shed a layer if you end up going out for beers after work. It's a good style to have in your pipeline, sitting pretty at the intersection of preppy and cool.

Scarves: Fall is in full swing so I find myself circling back to scarves. Aside from keeping me warm, scarves are also a good way to distract people from the fact that you're wearing leggings. Also, since startup talent is fueled on coffee, scarves are good to catch or cover up the inevitable coffee stains on your shirt. 

While scarves are great, they have limitations and should not be worn while playing foosball or ping pong. No one needs to be distracted by your scarf getting caught on a roller arm.

Layers: Non-Oxford layering is another fashion strategy while working at a startup. It enables you to adapt pieces of a previous corporate wardrobe without looking like you're too good to "get shit done". It's also a way to increase the bandwidth of that puffer vest that you struggle to find ways to wear. If you work with all men, layers are game changer, confusing men and making them less likely to notice that you wore the same thing twice in a week month, if they notice clothes at all.

Ripped Jeans: I've worn ripped jeans more times that I'd like to admit. Between the comfort and stretch and ability to fold up well with my booties, ripped jeans are a low hanging fruit. I try to pair my hobo jeans with a statement necklace and jacket for a more put together look...or just give up on life. Nothing says pivot like embracing the 90s grunge look with a buffalo check flannel and a pair of Birkenstock clogs. 

T-Shirts and Converse: Last but not least is the most comfortable of all of these styles and the one that will help you blend in with developers. Depending on the culture of your office and personal style, you may be able to wear t-shirts, sneakers, and ripped jeans and still be taken seriously. Since the CEO of my company wears Converse, I took the opportunity to rock them a few times as well, both times with cardigans, because I'm disruptive like that.

As you can see, you can pretty much wear anything within reason and still be startup chic.


The Secret to Surviving Almost Winter in Boston

This weekend was one of those weekends in New England when you go from "Yay, fall is here!" to "Oh crap, winter's coming!".  A weekend where pumpkin spice lattes lose their meaning and you have an existential crisis while wrapped in a Snuggie. Why did I move to this soon-to-be frozen tundra of bi-polar weather? What's the point of eating healthy if no one is going to see my body under the 17 layers of clothes I will be swathed in over the next 8 months? Who can I hire to put winterizing plastic on my windows? Do I still have toes or are they just numb?

Winter in Boston is a beast. I can handle the snow and the cold, but the transition from fall to winter full of freezing rain in 30 degree temperatures blowing sideways through gusts of wind, was almost enough to drive me crazy. Couple that with living alone and being too tired and lazy to get my act together to go out with friends, and I had the makings of one helluva Saturday night this weekend.

Thankfully (or sadly) this isn't my first rodeo and so I found myself settling into the obligatory almost winter acceptance of the demise of fall which I have realized is the secret to surviving almost winter in Boston--a night of decorating, wine, and Netflix. 

That's right, the secret to surviving the transition from fall to winter is being a loser and owning it...or at least that's my secret because that's exactly what I did. You don't want to go out because the weather sucks? Stay in. You're bummed about winter coming? Decorate your house with pinecones and burlap (basics love burlap). You feel like a loser staying in on a Saturday night? Drink some wine and watch movies until you don't care anymore.

So that's what I did on Saturday night. Freezing and bummed about the crappy weather and feeling slightly heavy-hearted after struggling to squeeze into a size medium dress at Forever 21, I gave up and embraced a night in. I poured a glass of my new favorite wine, Big Red Blend, from the awesome folks at 90+ Cellars, decorated my apothecary jars, and vegged out.

I made a grilled cheese, watched Clueless for the 47th time, and took a series of selfies with my hot date, Big Red. Slowly, the feeling in my numb toes came back and my hatred of all things cold and rainy diminished. 

By the time the movie was over I was feeling better about the weather. I put away the last of my summer clothes (that I will probably need halfway through the week because New England weather likes to mess with us like that), did some online shopping (because throw pillows make me happy), and purged a bunch of junk from my apartment (including the broken footstool that I had the intention of rescuing almost a year ago and never got around to fixing).

My grumbly attitude toward winter was replaced by comfort food and wine. One-liners from my favorite movie and some Paul Rudd eye-candy made me giggle and swoon, until I realized that the man hasn't aged a day since 1995 and went on a glycolic acid and eye cream online shopping binge. 

And that's how I managed to survive the beginning of winter in Boston.


Suck it, Monday

Today I thought was going to be the start of a great Monday. I was pumped about the fall weather, had a cute outfit on, and had even scheduled a inspirational graphic (#motivationmonday) for work. I was on top of the world...or so I thought.

Suffice it to say that today sucked. Not just any old suck, but a magnanimous Alexander's Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day, kind of suck. From the get-go it was like there was a cloud looming over me that no matter how much I ignored it, just kept getting darker. Except for my hair, which looked pretty good considering its unwashed condition and casual up-do courtesy of Goody spin pins, the rest of the day was horrible.

I made too little coffee. Somehow the coffee maker lied to me. The water I put in was enough to brew 4 cups of coffee...or really only 2 because somehow in CoffeeLand the 4 cups line is really only 2 normal person cups but that's besides the point. The coffee maker failed me. I expected 2 cups and got only one. I refuse to believe that I'm blind and can't read, despite my glasses telling me otherwise. Cuisinart = Liar  /gavel

There was hair in my breakfast. Despite my aforementioned up-do, my hair managed to find itself in my cooked eggs. My quasi-gross but completely unwashed hair in my incredible edible eggs.

I ate the last 1/4 of a bagel from New Jersey. This wasn't a real problem because it was the most freaking delicious part of my day (minus the Wendy's that I totally didn't eat for dinner) but it was sad to finish the bagels I brought back.

The internet hated me. In fact, all of technology hated me today, including the CSS I was attempting to change without being logged into Wordpress at work and the stupid error message I keep getting while writing this. I'm probably not even logged into Blogger right now. Stupid Blogger. Why is this blog even on Blogger? (is it even called Blogger or is it Blogspot? I should know this).

I did manage to drink 3 cups of coffee and eat a bag of Goldfish before 11am though, so I consider that a win (score!)

I stained my new white pants, felt like crap, and wanted to cry. The first part alone was enough to ruin my day.  My cute outfit was ruined...and then I had to do laundry. Double whammy.

A friend promised to bring over a puppy for me to cuddle and cry on and didn't.

I have friends who make empty promises. I did get breakfast out of them this weekend though so I can't really complain.

I whine too much. But I really was upset about my pants, feeling like crap, and the significant lack of a puppy pile.

So, I give up. Monday wins. I hope you had a better day than me. Cheers, because, wine.


Spooky World

Spooky World | Sassy in Sequins Someone once said, do one thing everyday that scares you. I spent an evening at Spooky World Nightmare in New England and have now filled up my quota of scary things for the rest of the year.

Going to a place called Spooky World seemed like a silly idea for someone who get spooked by a fallen leaf blowing in the breeze, but when the opportunity to go for free with other bloggers through Blog and Tweet Boston arose, I couldn't say no. So a couple of weeks ago I headed up to Litchfield, New Hampshire with Kate (Another Clean Slate) and Kerry (Till Then Smile Often) on a rainy Saturday night to attend the Blog and Tweet Boston event at Spooky World. 

Both Kate and Kerry are fans of scary things so they enjoyed the 5 haunts a bit more than I did. From the moment we arrived, I was freaked out. The rain only added to the creepiness of the night. 

We started out with a backstage tour to see some of the 300 actors getting their makeup done which was really impressive. It was also nice to see the actors out of character before going into the haunts. I'm always afraid there's going to be one legitimate sociopath who sneaks into these things, pretends to be an actor, and then grabs, kidnaps, tortures, and kills someone.  YOU NEVER KNOW!

Photo credit: Kerry (Till Then Smile Often)
Thankfully Kerry was nice enough to let me hold her hand through all of the haunts. After the first two we decided to take a break and indulge in some food for strength, and possible courage. I gnawed on a turkey leg almost solely for the photo op, as I quickly realized after the first bite that I'm not a huge fan of turkey on the bone. Give me some sliced up deli turkey any day but real turkey just isn't for me. It didn't help that Kate told me it was really emu, as the rumors online suggest. I'm still not sure what I ate that night but I had fun doing it.

After filling up on mystery meat, we continued through the rest of the haunts. The rain was coming down hard and I could barely see through my glasses. I had the genius idea to take my spectacles off while walking through the haunts. It was slightly safer than closing my eyes and having Kerry lead me through--yes I was THAT scared--and it turned each haunt into a game--haha, I can't see you so I'm not scared, la dee dah!

My favorite haunt was one through a junk yard which was probably the least scary of them all. There was a creepster who followed us out the haunt and let us take a fun picture with him.

Photo credit: Kerry (Till Then Smile Often)
All in all it was a fun spooky night, but I won't be going back anytime soon. One scary attraction a year is enough for me! Thanks for a great night Blog and Tweet Boston, thanks to Kate for getting our butts there and back safely, and thanks Kerry for holding my hand!


Kitchen Kibitz: The Land of Milk and Honey

Kitchen Kibitz: The Land of Milk and Honey | Sassy in Sequins If you live in Boston and haven't heard of Kitchen Kibitz, you're missing out. The brainchild of foodie Jeff Gabel, Kitchen Kibitz joined the Boston popup movement with a focus on bringing the experience of Jewish style food to local restaurants through delicious flavor mashups...without the Jewish guilt.

My first Kitchen Kibbitz event was Southern Schmear, back in August. The popup held at State Park restaurant in Cambridge was a fusion of Southern and Jewish foods (think moonshine cured trout instead of smoked salmon and peach pecan kugel). In the spirit of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, I recently attended Kitchen Kibbitz's newest event "Land of Milk and Honey". 

For those of you not in the know, Israel is referred to as the land of milk and honey...well, more accurately Canaan, the promised land in the Old Testament is referred to by that moniker, but this is a post about food and tight pants; not religious history. Regardless, it was a fitting  name for this Rosh Hashanah popup, as the New Year is celebrated with sweet foods to signify wishes for a sweet new year. Nice, right?

The popup was held at The Met Back Bay, a great restaurant right in the heart of Boston's Back Bay neighborhood. Jeff came up with the Yemenite-inspired menu with the amazing Geoff Lukas, the chef de cuisine at Sofra Bakery. Sofra is known as "the" Israeli bakery in Boston so it's no surprise that the Yemen influenced food at this Kitchen Kibitz event was out of this world amazing.

From hummus and flatbread meze style starters to the entire lamb shoulder served with brussels sprouts and pomegranate seeds and autumn-colored rice, the food was like a party in my mouth. A self-proclaimed hummus snob, thanks to time spent living in Israel, I was pleased to admit that Lukas' hummus was quite tasty. I had brought a non-Jewish foodie friend with me to introduce him to the awesome flavors of Rosh Hashanah and warned him about eating too much hummus--it is very high in fiber!

No matter how good the hummus is (I'm talking REAL hummus, not Tribe in a tub), you should always stop before you want to, lest you find yourself too full for the main course and nursing a belly ache after dinner. Trust me on this one.

The feast was incredible and the Yemenite-inspired flavors were well accented by the belly dancer shaking her hips and chiming her timbrels. The belly dancer was amazing and a welcome change to a festive dinner. The cultural music was also a nice respite from a chorus of, "OMG this is sooo good! Wow! You try this--no, have more, this is amazing! The flavors...I just..I...I...yum!" (Dude, I know I'm right here eating it too!) emitted by my goyish guest. It's good to know that although "Jewish inspired," that Kitchen Kibitz was well received by my most critical German friend.

One of my favorite things about Kitchen Kibitz is the chef-to-table experience. In both of the events that I have attended, the chefs come out before each course to explain it to you. Chef Lukas told us about the spices used that came from Yemen and the Spice Route history of Yemen.  He explained that Yemen's Honey Trade was the impetus for using the country as the inspiration for a Rosh Hashanah menu.  

It's not often that you get first hand perspective from the chefs themselves and Kitchen Kibitz brings a unique experience to the diner. The mashup menus of Kitchen Kibitz take considerable time and creativity and undoubtedly challenge these kitchen masters. My only hope is that these chefs enjoy it as much as I did--and that Kitchen Kibitz hosts another event soon!