Work Wardrobe Wednesday

work_wardrobe_wednesday_extravaganza

This might not be suitable for the more conservative offices out there, but I am loving the va-va-voom in this outfit and with closed shoes it would make a hell of a work outfit on days where you can get away with a little bit more.

Make sure to head over to Imaan’s blog for some more great inspirational outfits, it’s amazing how this woman defies the elements and is wearing high heels no matter what the wheather.

Picture courtesy of The Hijablog

Saying goodbye to my favourite hobby

jade-split-dark-corners

Poledancing is a hobby and not a mean to pay off your student loans

I did poledancing for about two years and I loved it. It gave me muscular strength, mental strength and amazing self-confidence and most importantly it was another major factor in helping me through this slump here.

Then one day I tried the figure shown above, called the Jade spilt. And it actually worked, that was when Marion Crampe my absolute favourite pole artist was spotting me and just let go of me for about 30 seconds.

At the same day later at normal practise I tried to show the girls in my poledancing class what I was able to do. Even though at the beginning I was so tired I just wanted to sit there and watch the others dance because I was so destroyed by the private lesson I had  that morning and the workshop on the day before, both with Marion of course (Check out her facebook here, she is the most energetic person I know, and so adorable)

But then we didn’t practise our choreo as we would have normally done, but could try out some tricks and work on technique. So naturally I had to show the girls what I had learned in the past two days. I went into the Jade split and then the teacher stepped aside for a quick moment to let my friend take a picture.
And of course I fell and I fell hard.

I had to wear a cast for one month and stop poledancing for even longer. Then came my move back to my home town and I stashed my pole away in the attic, waiting for university to begin so that I could restart poledancing.

Now in my new flat I was so excited to get my pole up again and start training. But the tenant before lied to me and I idiotically didn’t check if that was really a concrete ceiling. Of course it wasn’t and I nearly destroyed the ceiling whilst putting up my pole.

Now I have to live without my favorite hobby and whats even more annoying without any exercise other than doing all the grocery shopping and commuting to campus [5 min by foot :-) ].

Some lessons I took away from that accident:

  • You have to listen at what your body tells you.
  • You are not defined by your hobby or what you do, but who you are at your core and when every activity or external attribute is taken away from you.

I am still an outgoing person that loves to dance and try new things and having lost the poledancing attribute isn’t so bad in my new environment. Because it would have been even harder to educate people around me about poledancing being a normal and quite strenuous sport.

For all you gals and guys! if you haven’t tried it before, just go and try it. If you find a studio that focuses on the exercise aspect and less on finding your inner stripper, I am sure you will enjoy yourselves. And for all my readers out there already poledancing:

Keep on poling !

moi pink

picture courtesy of Platinum Stages

Part IV: Finally changing my life

Changing my life

This is Part IV of a little mini series where I try to share with you how I came from trying to fulfill everyone’s expectations to setting my own rules and started to not only breathe but live. If you are interested you can also read Part I , Part II and Part III.

Making that change in life

In the last part I told you how a therapist put my distorted views into perspective and the internal struggle I had to overcome in order to finally being able to say that I wanted to change my life and truly believe that I am not a prisoner of my current circumstances.

The talk with my parents was in November and in early January I went to my boss and we had a meeting about my contract, which would have ended in March. He named the meeting “permanent contract”. His opening statement, before I even had the time to sit down was that he would be able to get a permanent contract for me asking the executive board for an exemption from the company wide “hiring and prolongation ban”. Ending his introduction by:’ that is if you even want to stay here’

I told him No, but …

My aspiration is to start a full-time master degree, but I could only do that if I wouldn’t have to pay back the study fees which the company paid for my bachelor degree.

After putting this proposal through various committees I signed a follow-up contract until June so that there was time to find and train a replacement and then I was free!

Leaving my old life behind and still not knowing what would come then

I felt so good and relieved and free after that only interrupted at times by worries about getting accepted at a university and of course the financing, because even though I had put aside some money during my three years of working there I would still need some more to get me completely through my masters degree.

I eventually came up with the conclusion that in order to cut out the stress of having to rely on my dad I will do this on my own and finance myself. I think it took me about eight or nine moths to come to this revelation. To stop blaming myself for having started the dual study programme so that he wasn’t obliged to finance me further, even though he did not finance my first education. Being pissed at my brother for being how he is and that he is able to live with the pressure of having his support cut off. Being pissed at both my parents for financing my brother a flat in the very town where both of them live. Whilst I waited to move out from home until I had finished my apprenticeship and had serious moolah at my disposition so that I could finance my own way of living.

But I overcame all those shitty, negative thoughts and decided that it would be best for my own mental health and overall well-being to continue my path as an independent woman.

I first told my stepmum that I will not ask my dad for financial support and she encouraged me to tell him, saying that he would be positively surprised and proud of me. When I did tell him he was really baffled, mind you the inner battles that I fought over this matter was something he and no one really knew of, so his last status was that I wanted to sue him for the money…

Now I am sitting at my desk in my new home in a small university town and I am still proud of my decision to quit my previous job, but university turned out a bit harder than I thought, but I will leave an exploration of those struggles and doubts for another post.

Changing my life in the sense that I finally took ownership of my own decisions and stopped blaming the circumstances is what I believe to have made me a grown-up. And even though it took me nearly five years of struggle I am proud to be able to say that I am where I am because of me and the work I have put and will continue to put  into myself and my relationship with myself and the world.

Have any of you made similar life changing decisions and did it take you so long to come to these decisions as well?

Picture by me feel free to use it as your wallpaper

Work Wardrobe Wednesday

work_wardrobe_wednesday_looplooks

I found another very stylish working woman on the interwebz. Meet Erin Vanderberg, a personal style blogger from Chicago focussing on officey outfits. Oh and if you’re from that area she also offers closet consultings. 

The outfit above is amazing, I find that a beige colour palette always looks so sophisticated, you don’t even notice the blouse is sort of see through and it does not take away an inch of the classyness. The darker belt breaks up the two lighter pieces perfectly and saves the ensemble from looking too bland. I am not sure though how beige would look now on me as a newly coloured blonde.

Any of you gals have any experience on how beige looks on blondes, fake or real? :-)

Picture courtesy of Loop Looks

Not a digital-native after all

Twitter_75only75

Hey Gals,

as some might have noticed I installed the twitter widget and I am now even planning on using Twitter [had already an account for the blog, strategic marketing minx that I am,  but never used it] !

The trigger to take action with Twitter was because I was mentioned in this tweet, which landed in my e-mail inbox. And it got me freaked out, I did just not and still don’t, understand what that means.

What is paper.li ? Am I considered an adult ? I am not even 25 ! I am in grad school, that’s hardly considered adult learning, is it? Still so confused..

But as it is with Social Media: it set me under pressure to act. I logged in and than sat paralyzed in front of my screen just staring blankly at the Twitter GUI. And it just felt overwhelming. What is all this : retweet , fave, and what about the @ in front of my name and what does this even mean?

Then I sent an emercency text to my best friend and the only person I know  using twitter and she didn’t respond right away. So after waiting 5mins, still staring blankly at the screen I just came over my fear of the unknown technology thingy in front of me. Remebering that I had the same paralyzying deer-in-headlights feeling when I first joined Facebook some years ago was very helpful, because now I am a facebook whiz [yepp, modesty is not my strenght]

So I ignored the confusing tweet, looked at my Interwebz hero Sarah von Bargen from yesandyes.org tweets, saw that she was looking for new style bloggers, recommended Sarah from Sarah’s Real Life. Got an immediate response from Sarah vB, saw that, had to restrain myself hard from jumping up and down and just acting like a crazy fan girl [see Jess below].

newgirl gif

Then Sarah RL responded (do you still say that with Twitter?) and started to follow me [at this point I was resembling Nick in the GIF above]

And BOOM now I am in love with Twitter, especially because I don’t know how this new Facebook policy http://www.yesandyes.org/2014/01/7-ways-to-work-around-fact-that.html  would affect my blog’s Facebook page ( Which I can’t even find on Facebook [Still not taking back the Facebook whiz, when in doubt blame the algorithm :-) ]… and I don’t even recommend “liking” me over there, because I only have the post updates going up…) .

But, back to Twitter

Only negative thing, the 140 character limit, I tend to write a lot more. But I will tackle this as another challenge and a good writing excercise in being concise.

So can you make any sense of the tweet? Hints are very welcome in the comment section and tell me your two cents about Twitter and embracing new technologies into your life.

gif courtesy of vulture.com

Work Wardrobe Wednesday

Sarahsreallife

It’s still cold over here and as the temperatures make me not wanna leave the house right now I only found it fitting to show you an outfit from a personal style blogger who thought that bloggers should not be forced to shoot outside in every temperature.

It’s Sarah, the newest addition to my Nerd altar, as she has set up an elaborate excel sheet to calculate her shopping budget :-)

Any-I-am-so-much-in-love-with-excel-I-even-track-my-posts-with-a-spreadsheet-ways, let’s talk fashion. Great layered look from Sarah here, I was surprised to see that brown boots with a reddish hue can go together so well with an otherwise black and grey outfit. I once wore brown boots, very similar in colour to hers, with grey tights and a red dress on top and it looked horrible. I still hadn’t hung my mirror then, big mistake… 

The peplum jacket is gorgeous, I haven’t gotten my hands on anything peplum yet and now I am not sure if it might be too late to jump on that waggon.

What about you? Have you tried a brown and black combination before? And am I the last person not to have something peplummy in their closet or are there fellow peplum less readers out there?

Picture courtesy of Sarahsreallife.com 

Part III: The process of reclaiming my life

mistakes

This is Part III of a little mini series where I try to share with you how I came from trying to fulfill everyone’s expectations to setting my own rules and started to not only breathe but live. If you are interested you can also read Part I and Part II.

I was now at a point in life were I didn’t like the career path I had taken, which also consumed nearly all of my free-time as it was a dual studies programme where I went to evening classes after a day at the office and I had almost no friends in the city I lived in, all my old friends were far away as well and keeping up seemed impossible. So I was stressed out and terribly lonely. I wrote about how horrible I felt in the second part.

Finally asking for help

Then one day I called the therapist, a friend if mine had recommended me, on my way home from work. I still remember as if it were yesterday it was a beautiful sunny day even though it was cold. She was hesitant at first but somewhere during the call, tears started running down my cheeks and I even walked well past my apartment because I just wanted to get all my shit out of my system and tell this woman who was hopefully able to help me. I was very grateful when she took me on as a client and even more grateful to my now defunct grandmother and my dad that they helped me out financially with her bills, because she only took on private clients and didn’t take insurance.

I half-heartedly tried to look for a therapist before, but the one’s that take insurance had waiting lists for up to 9 months and I didn’t have the energy to call and get my name on such a list. Even tha task of choosing where to call seemed overwhelming as they had weird office hours and I would have needed to snug out of work to make the call.

I began to see my therapist on a regular basis, in the beginning I think it was weekly which quickly changed to bi-weekly sessions.

With her help I began to see again that there was a way out of my imagined misery and that I didn’t have to stay in this same job forever and that I am not a failure just because I didn’t finish the bachelor degree in the provisioned time and that having your bachelor degree at 24 and already three years of working experience is actually an asset and that I shouldn’t put myself down for not having gone to a normal university.

She did this through various techniques, but the one that helped me the most were drawing a time bar and scheduling rewards whenever I passed a milestone. The list with the milestones and the linked rewards I put into my wardrobe so that I could see it everyday.

As I described in the last part I was often feeling very sad and was lacking energy, I pressured my therapist hard into giving me a diagnosis, because I am the person who needs a name for everything, be it inanimate objects, conditions, feelings or people, in order to deal with it. Further on we had a case of suicide in our family and this came from a depression expressed in an irrational fear of poverty. I was therefore very aware that depression is a real and severe disease. As it happened in my father’s part of the family he was also aware of this and was as supportive as he could be. That meant a lot to me for a) the financial aspect and b) for the fact that he recognised and accepted that I had an illness for which I could not be blamed.

For him that was a big step. I believe that still today he does not accept my migraines as an illness but thinks that I am hangover or just blowing out of proportion a tiny headache. As he is seldom ill I believe it has to do with privileges much like the white male privilege discussion in feminism today { see wikipedia or this great checklist } the dl to this is that you are blind to discrimination unless it happens to you.

The therapist eventually told me that I have a depressive mood and just a tiny case of it, so I did not need a lot of therapy and going through all my options with her and just putting things into a better perspective and not my screwed perfectionist one helped me a lot.

Involving the main player in my support network in the decision of quitting my job

When I made the decision to quit my job and go to grad school, I had an adult conversation with both my parents together, thank god the divorce is so much in the past that they are now able to talk normally again. My main worry was financing my Master not even in terms of school fees, because those were abolished in nearly all of Germany (cut to me getting accepted in the only state where they still exist…) but in terms of living and housing cost. I too had some irrational poverty fears, but my biggest problem was that I expected my dad to pay for my graduate degree as he didn’t have to pay for my undergrad. There is a whole other discussion of unequal treatment of siblings behind this, because my brother is getting financial help from my parents for his undergrad degree and they even pay for his flat although it’s in the same town as both my parents live in, but I am somewhat okay with this now.

So the discussion went as it always does, my mother even though she doesn’t make a lot of money offered me unconditional support and gave me a frame of how much she could spare to give to me and my father did what he does, he made demands, linking his financial support to conditions, never expressively naming those, wanting me to make a detailed plan of what I expect to be spending.

But in the end of the talk with my parents, some serious crying on my part he told me that of course he would support me and would even loan me money if I decided to pursue a degree at a fancy private uni with hefty fees.

Per se that is all not a bad thing, but at this point I hadn’t even started applying so I did not know in which city I would end up, if there were school fees, etc. Then the problem with all his demands and conditions is that he never remembers them if it does not fit his agenda. After some time I cautiously mentioned that I would feel better if I had a contract about the financing with him, because I didn’t want to be dependant on his moods and whatever he liked to remember of our agreement. He went ballistic , luckily my stepmother was there who suggested that it might not be such a bad idea to have something in writing, maybe just a quick e-mail so that nobody has to rely on their memories.

Dealing with my father was actually the part that was the hardest on me in all this months- if not even year-long process of deciding to quit my job and go back to school. I got nervous stomach pains just by thinking that I would be financially depended on my moody and effervescent dad. My brother tried to calm me down by saying that it’s not that bad and that dad threatens to cut his allowance every two weeks or so, but once he has made the standing order with the bank he doesn’t bother to actually cancel it and only threatens to do so. But I knew myself well enough then that only the threat of cutting my support would make me crazy and have me worrying about this which would result in not being able to concentrate on school work.

So what about my mistakes?

When I proposed the meeting between my parents I felt so grown.up and that I had learned from past mistakes, where my dad got really upset because he wasn’t involved in my job search for after high school and my mother always kept him out of decisions about mine and my brother’s educational paths. So I felt involving him in this major life decision would make this a discussion between adults. As I ended the discussion in tears I didn’t think that it went that well…

I also made some stupid mistakes like telling him that he was legally obligated to support me, never actually saying that I would sue him but not being very subtle about that I could. I don’t even know if that was really true. Parents are obliged to support a child through a first education and seeing that I had even completed two, the apprenticeship and my bachelor, I would have had to argue that the master’s degree is a consecutive one and it therefore forms one educational path.

So yeah, when I learnt from mistake from the past, which wasn’t even mine to begin with. Isn’t that the best way, learning from the mistakes of others and included my dad in the discussion. It turned out I acted like an entitled selfish brat who expects her daddy to pay for her education because he already did not have to pay for the bachelor. And as I felt so miserably during this time I blamed him for not pursuing a full-time degree in the first place.

More on how I overcame the selfish brat syndrome in the next and hopefully last post of this series. I just get so carried away when I write about this topic. I hope you were able to stay with me till the end, because this text became way longer than I expected it.

Next time I will tell you about how I put my idea of quitting into action.

picture courtesy of lelachi

Be a better sibling

Brother for Sale

picture courtesy of Jay’s Photography

When I started to write about how I tried to be a better sibling, I hacked away at the keyboard and 50mins later looked up to  see that I had written over a 1,000 words, because everything was just flowing out of me.

I am not sure if I ever publish what I wrote about my family and my relationship with my siblings, but the essence of being a better sibling to me is keeping in touch and caring.

Like the other day I started to conduct informal interviews with my girlfriends about big or small romantic gestures to win back a woman who broke up with one of my siblings. And he is herat-broken.

So if you have any idea about what he could do, tell me below. It is either a case of her being afraid and pushing him away or she really has no feelings left for him, but he wants to really try hard to win her back {little feminist me, is hating the pharse winning her back, as if she were an object}. So please gals and guys if you have ever done something romantic, over the top, small or little to impress or win somebody back, please shar it in the comments !

Yes I am totally trying to milk my siblings heart-break in order to hustle out my blog

moi pink

Work Wardrobe Wednesday

Caroline Issa-Working girl

So here it has gotten really cold over here and as I commuted by public transportation back when I was working I always layered up heavily. Because public transportation isn’t known for being the most punctual (Yes even in Germany). I used to take a train that would often have a delay of 20 minutes even though it was supposed to go every 20 minutes. But I guess a delay of 20 minutes looks better in the statistics than an a complete cancellation.

Anyway enough about public transportation, let’s talk fashion. Pictured above is fashion week regular Caroline Issa, she came from a finance and consulting background only to become a publishing powerhouse, graciously combining online and print with still a  hint of consultancy but all in the name and field of fashion. You can read more about the amazing career of this streetstyle blog darling here. Garance even has her own tag for Caroline, so if you want to see more of her amazing outfits visit Garance Doré.

I love the simplicity of her outfit and how due to the strict black and white combination it is still very elegant yet looking so damn comfortable. Not sure about the striped pants though, they give me a Madonna in Adidas track pants vibe.

What do you say? Would you wear this to the office or is it too simple in your opinion?

BTW, I changed the picture size and I will now make them a bit larger. Do you prefer it that way or did you like the Work Wradrobe Wednedsday posts with the smaller pictures better?

Picture courtesy of Wayne Tippetts 

Part II: The break-down

nervous-breakdown

This is Part II of a little mini series where I try to share with you how I came from trying to fulfill everyone’s expectations to setting my own rules and started to not only breathe but live. You can read Part I here.

So I didn’t like the apprenticeship that came with the dual study programme, neither did I like the study programme, but I felt that two years into the programme it would be silly to quit, also I am not a quitter and pretty stubborn. I had finally found a nice apartment, I saw the ad as I already had given up hope to find something reasonably priced in the area I wanted to move to, and sealed the deal only two hours after I had seen the apartment and had a quick chat with my mum ;-)

Renovation was kind of stressful and I broke down crying on the first day, because I couldn’t start immediately as the contractors hadn’t finished putting in the new energy-efficient windows yet. Mind you I was still balancing work and studies. A dear friend of mine, with whom I originally wanted to move in together, until she crushed my dreams saying that she was going away for half a year to tutor at a Chinese university, helped me a lot during the renovation, as she is very handy and had moved a lot with her parents so she knows how to fix and build things. I am not a person with two-left hands either, but doing all the stuff needed to get an apartment nice for the first time was a bit scary at parts.

Anyways I moved in at the middle of October, had my house-warming party shortly before Christmas, all my guest still had to sit on the floor, but there was enough Feuerzangenbowle (This is a recipe video and if you would like to see why I like this drink so much, skip to the fun part here) to keep everyone happy.

I am all alone

By this time I was settling in at my new fulltime position, still going to the evening classes and just trying to get through the programme. But I felt very lonely, the handy friend had left me for China , I didn’t get along well with the colleagues my age and most of them lived elsewhere anyhow.

From my old circle of friends from high school there was no one left in my home town, which was only a 40 min train ride away so that I basically kept all to myself in my new apartment.

Half a year later I recognised that humans are a herd animals, me not being an exception, and that I had to make some human connections outside of office hours to make me stop feeling so miserable. I found a great StudiVZ group (german pendant to Facebook, but it ceased to exist after FB took off here as well) and made one lovely friend who went to the normal university in the town and therefore my circle of friends kinda grew from there.

But I had to pay a lot for that revelation, both literally and figuratively as I went to see a therapist, after it became incredibly hard for me to get out of bed and go to work. Sometimes I just came in about two hours later then usually but on the worst days I couldn’t make it out of bed and called in sick pretending to have a heavy migraine. Then I just lay in bed often two days in a row and did absolutely nothing or binge watched some stupid TV series.

I needed help and I needed it now

This part of the series is called the break-down, because at one point I figured out that I needed help, professional help. If I remember correctly it was when my boss called me into his office to offer all the help he and the company’s health department could give me to defeat my migraines. I had used my migraines as an excuse whenever I just couldn’t make it out of bed and go to work. I felt very bad for having lied to him all the time and I therefore called the therapist/coach a friend had recommended me. Writing this down seems silly, because I didn’t just call this woman. If I remember correctly it was in April, there was still snow on the sidewalk and the sun shone as if it was summer. When I left work this day I was able to walk 3 minutes until the tears started flowing down my cheek. It was then that I realized that I needed help and that I couldn’t continue to save this one on my own. I called the therapist/coach and we immediately made an appointment for later in the week.

I write therapist/coach not to belittle her or diminish my problems, but that’s what she is. She is a job development coach, helping people realize what they want to do and figuring out the steps to get there and she completed a therapy degree so that she has a profound background.

I will explain how she helped me and what my next steps were in the third part coming next week.

picture courtesy of The Medicine Owl