Workday Reading

Belle’s Weekly Reading: January 24, 2014


When you have dreams and ambitions, there are always a few people who relish telling you that you’re not good enough.  Growing up in rural Montana, I heard all the time about how I wasn’t good enough to achieve my goals.  One teacher was especially cruel.  She liked to hold up my homework and tell the class how I did “just enough to get by” because I knew my “Daddy would always be there to bail me out.”

Last month, I went home to help my Mother with the local debate tournament.  Guess who was volunteering at the event?  Guess who kept referring to me as “one of her favorite students” and telling people how proud she was.  It made me kind of sick to my stomach but it was also sweet revenge.

Everyone has goals and dreams.  Some people achieve theirs, some people don’t.  And sometimes when people don’t go as far as they aspired to, they take out their sense of failure on others by tearing down their dreams.  Don’t let people like that get you down, turn their derision into fuel.

Your number one goal should be to be content and satisfied with your life, what anyone else thinks doesn’t matter.


1) I adore Emily McDowell’s Etsy shop.  Her greeting cards are whimsical and funny.  This “Awkward Dating Card” is a winner, but my favorite is this sassy one.

2) Bauble Bar sells some of the chicest jewelry on the Internet.  The delicate crystals on this long, station necklace make it perfect for any occasion.  I also love this thin-banded infinity ring and this super-chic bracelet set.  And if you need to store your baubles, don’t miss their selection of reasonably-priced jewelry boxes.

3) He is The Most Interesting Man in the World…(she’s no slouch either).

4) Apparently Dolce & Gabbana decided to take a page from Vera Bradley’s book and bring back garish prints for spring.  And, not to be outdone, Versace put them on a pair of slouchy ankle pants perfect for the label-craving, shuffle-board loving octogenarian in your life.

5) I enjoyed this article titled the Top 10 Ways to Make Sure Your Best People Quit.  And I couldn’t agree more that how you feel about your workplace during the first 60-days will color your experience there.

6) Has anyone ever tried the Kevyn Aucoin beauty products? I’m intrigued by the Sensual Skin Enhancer and the Airbrush Foundation.

7) Having a unique name can make ordering at Starbucks an exercise in futility.  So a few years ago, I developed a “Starbucks name” to speed up the process, and according to The Atlantic, I’m not the only one.  So what name do I have written on my chai lattes?  Belle, of course.

8) I’m always on the lookout for cool cocktail attire.  This Zara two-tone peplum dress certainly fits the bill.  And I would be more than happy to find an occasion for this long, red Anthropologie maxi dress.  Plus-size ladies should check out this uber-chic Melissa Masse dress with a cool drop neckline.

9) These magnified photos of beach sand are incredible.  Who knew the individual grains–made up of tiny shells–could be so beautiful.

10) I have a love/hate relationship with The Outnet.  I love their clearance-priced designer wares, I hate the impact it has on my wallet.  Who can say no to a Tibi coat as fab as this one or this inexpensive snake ring?  So many discounted-diamonds in the rough, so little money.

11)  One of my goals for 2014 is to travel more.  The article 23 Resources for Cheap, Free or Paid Travel was a real eye-opener.  I also found this article on the 10 best budget destinations helpful, my friends have been singing the praises of the Dominican Republic for years.

12) Many fashionable “It girls” are eschewing technology in favor of pretty journals and day planners.  And with so many pretty ones to choose from, who can blame them?  This one from Barney’s has gold foil and lizard print and this pocket-size notebook from Trina Turk would fit perfectly in your purse. I also like this DC-themed journal from Blackberry Press.

13) And since we could all use a little pick me up on this dreary, cold day, don’t miss this article about the power of empathy.



  1. Lynn says:

    1) That teacher made my jaw drop. 2) Even when you have a pretty simple name (I mean, is “Lynn” really that hard?), Starbucks gets it all kinds of wrong.

    January 24, 2014/Reply
  2. Jennifer says:

    Preach! Thanks for the reminder Belle!

    January 24, 2014/Reply
  3. Anie says:

    Thank you for that opening bit — something I needed to hear today.

    Also, LOVE the travel resources. Very useful for us grad students trying to go somewhere or other. 🙂

    January 24, 2014/Reply
  4. GoGoGo says:

    More suggested reading on travel:

    “How To Fly For Free: Practical Tips The Airlines Don’t Want You To Know”

    Step by step guides to the art of opening credit cards for the miles to get to certain destinations. Includes different options for the more and less conservative card user. (But people with a history of bad luck managing credit cards should probably proceed with caution.)

    January 24, 2014/Reply
    • Giggling Gourmand says:

      Credit card miles can be so amazing. My husband is great at sniffing out those deals. We flew to Africa business class for just the small cost of airlines fees because of his clever card getting. We are also flying to Asia first class on points plus $500 this year for the same reason. He’s always telling me to get on the band wagon … maybe this article will finally motivate me.

      January 24, 2014/Reply
  5. NAVJ says:

    Thank you for sharing that insight into the events of your youth. Growing up in a small town, I heard similar comments. There were times they held me back and times they pushed me forward. I’ll never forget the high school boyfriend that said, “you won’t get a master’s degree, you’ll be sick of college by then.” Or the teacher that told me “all you can do with science is be a researcher and being a researcher is really, really hard,” even though I was one of her top students.

    Congratulations on your success. From the quality of your blog, it’s clear you earned it.

    Oh…and that Anthropologie maxi is to die for!

    January 24, 2014/Reply
  6. Joules says:

    Belle, I’ve been reading for a while and I just wanted to say thank you for your honest opinions and thoughtful posts. I love the links you put together on Fridays. I’m in my late 20s and work 9 – 5 and sometimes I feel like many fashion bloggers don’t identify with my lifestyle, but you do, and it makes your blog an excellent read!

    Just wanted to say thanks! 🙂

    January 24, 2014/Reply
  7. Calys says:

    I needed that quote today. Thank you.

    January 24, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I got you, Still-Favorite-Despite-Your-Love-For-The-Chiefs-Intern.

      January 24, 2014/Reply
  8. Nina says:

    Belle, thank you so much for that inspiring message. I was wonderful reading that, I definitely needed to see it. I’m still fairly new to your blog and I love it. Keep up the great work!

    January 24, 2014/Reply
  9. Caro says:

    h/t corporette, but here’s another good read. i feel like you could sub “fundraiser” for “client dinner” and it applies well to life in dc.

    January 24, 2014/Reply
    • Joanna says:

      Good link. Thanks

      January 25, 2014/Reply
  10. Terri says:

    Loved the honest writing of your lead in Belle. “Tyranny in the classroom” how I wish it did not exist.

    The links are all super today. The outnet is also the vein of my pocket book ever since you introduced me to it on your blog. Thanks for all you do to keep us defining our professional style.

    January 24, 2014/Reply
  11. Vanessa says:

    Wow. That teacher you had was awful! I really struggled with conjugation in Spanish. My Spanish teacher in 7th grade told me I must be doing really badly in my english class and when we took quizzes she made everyone announce their scores out loud. Thank God Never Been Kissed and 17 Again were just movies!

    Picking a different name for Starbucks is a great idea! Baristas never ask me to repeat myself because they always think they know how to spell it…99% of them get it totally wrong

    January 24, 2014/Reply
  12. Emily McDowell says:

    Hey, thanks for the love today! That card is one of my favorites too. 🙂

    January 24, 2014/Reply
  13. Kara says:

    Here are other examples of Sbux mishaps:

    Just for laughs 🙂

    January 25, 2014/Reply
  14. Sarah says:

    It is shocking how often people discourage others from following their dreams. My sister works in an inner city school, and when she tells people what she does, she gets almost zero support. From the get-go, people are always telling her how hard it will be. She knows it’s hard. She gets it. That’s why she needs support. Thanks for sharing your story too, Belle. We all need to support each other.

    Loved the article about the woman’s reaction to getting her wallet stolen. I doubt I’d ever handle a situation with that much grace, but it’s nice to know some people see possibilities like that and act on it.

    January 25, 2014/Reply
  15. Joanna says:

    Such good advice! recently a mean friend told me I am dreaming and should create realistic goals. Not cool. Comments like that make me work harder.

    January 25, 2014/Reply
    • Belle says:

      Dreaming and realistic goals are not mutually exclusive. If you set your goals REALLY HIGH, and you set incremental goals that are achievable, then you dream big but have a realistic path.

      January 25, 2014/Reply
  16. SB says:

    Funny, I use my last name at Starbucks because it’s much easier than my first. They still get it wrong 75% of the time. I just go ahead and answer to “Claire” anyways.

    January 25, 2014/Reply
  17. AAR says:

    In love with the long red anthropologie dress. Any recommendations for something similar in a more affordable price range?

    January 26, 2014/Reply
  18. GF says:

    Thanks for the quote at the beginning! Like other readers, something I needed to hear on Friday. I even saved it to my computer!

    January 26, 2014/Reply
  19. Pretty Squared says:

    needed this for this Monday! Always to the point haha

    January 27, 2014/Reply