Building a Professional Wardrobe on a Budget

Today I have Crunchy, Crafty and Highly Caffeinated gracing the blog discussing profressional wardrobe tips. Which I am excited as you are…because maybe one day I won’t be wearing khaki pants. But then, I would have to change the name of the blog…

Trish asked me to share a bit of my 30-something wisdom on building a professional wardrobe with her readers today. This is such an important topic that I really wish that there was a course or at least a seminar in college for.

When I graduated I was CLUELESS about how to put together and shop for a proper outfit for a job interview. I only had a few things that I had rotated through my sorority chapter meetings, but they were getting pretty drab.

So I took to Crocker Park with my 2 best friends and headed to H&M. This store was still pretty new to me at the time because I had zero money and even less fashion sense. We chose to go here because most of their clothes were pretty affordable and there was some good variety. By the time we left I had found like 2 pairs of pants and 3 shirts. From the outside this sounds successful, but one of those shirts recently got donated to Goodwill after not being worn in 7 years and I am pretty sure I ripped the pants within a month. It was a waste of time and money, but trendy.

Now that I am a little older and wiser I have figured out the best ways for me to build my wardrobe for my “Corporate Casual” workplace.

5 Ways to Building a Professional Wardrobe on a Budget

1) Basics – You MUST have your basics and there is no reason to pay out the booty for them. When it comes to needing tanks, cardigans, and basic tops Old Navy and Target are the places to go. They both offer all of these items in a rainbow of colors and if there is not a sale, there is a coupon or vice versa…or on the occasion BOTH!

2) Business Standards – Black pants, khakis, a few button downs, the little black dress (LBD for those in the know), a good (comfortable) pair of heels, and some ballet flats. If they fit…buy them. Yes, this may mean that you need to splurge a little but it is worth it! I bought the most amazing black dress in college for WAY outside my budget (thanks mom and dad!) and I wear it no less than once a month!

3) Cheap accessories – You don’t have to break the bank to get the to-go-withs. Forever 21, Claire’s, and Etsy can be great for grabbing a cheap pair of earrings or scarf to jazz up your boring basics.

4) Kohls - This pains me to say this. I HATED Kohls when I was younger. It is only in the past few years I have learned to appreciate that they ALWAYS have a sale, coupons, and Kohls Cash going on and they have everything that you could possibly need. Do not pay full price for anything there…that’s just silly.

5) The Internet – Now that I am finally settling into the corporate world and have some spare scratch I have taken to getting a Stitch Fix every month. Stitch Fix is a personal shopping service that you pay $20 to pick out and send you five items to try on with your current wardrobe and then send back what you don’t want within 3 days. The $20 is applied towards your purchase and you get a 25% discount if you buy everything (and this is sometimes cheaper than only sending one or two things back!). After you get signed up you will get a referral code to send out to your friends and earn credit. (And I would appreciate if you signed up through mine HERE) If you would like to get an idea of what the Fixes look like check out my posts over at Crunchy, Crafty, and Highly Caffeinated!

6) Hand-Me-Downs – Hand-me-downs aren’t just for kids anymore! My friends and I really like passing down our clothes to each other when we are tired of them, or we have moved on to another size. My cousin recently gave me a ton of clothes that she didn’t want anymore and I basically got my new favorite pair of black pants for free!

How do you build your professional wardrobe on a budget?? Share your tips in the comments and be sure to find me around the web!

Twitter: @CCHCBlog




This was so fun. Thanks for having me, Trish!


Dos and Don’ts of Healthy & Fit Working Gals

GR_SidebarHey {New} Friends! How’s it goin?

I’m Giselle of Diary of an ExSloth and I’m so excited to be filling in for Trish today!

I’ve got a question for ya: Have you ever heard of Working Woman Weight Gain?

No? I’m not surprised- I just made it up. It’s kind of wordy, so I’m open to renaming suggestions.

Anyway, what is it you ask? Well it’s basically the adult version of the freshman 15.

My Brush with the Freshman 15(x2)

When I was in first year, I gained almost 30 pounds- I was homesick, depressed by the cold and had seemingly unlimited access to all the junk food in the world. That did not make for a healthy Giselle.

It took a while, but eventually I figured out how to stay mentally and physically healthy in school, the pounds started to come off and I breathed a sigh of relief.

But this summer, I learned something while trying to juggle a full time job, blog responsibilities, volunteering positions and my social life:  Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can be a lot harder in the real/working world than doing the same while in school. Fortunately, it’s not impossible.

Dos and Donts Healthy + Fit Working Women | @ExSloth

4 Habits of  Healthy + Fit Working Women

Eat breakfast everyday

I know there’s been talk recently about whether or not breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but for me, it is. If I don’t have a good breakfast I either eat twice as much as I usually do or I don’t eat at all. Neither of which is a healthy option.  So, my pantry is always filled with the fixings for a number of healthy breakfasts that don’t take too much time.

Plan your meals

Most Sundays I take the time to do a massive food prep for the week. I cut up fruits and veggies, portion out lunches, snacks and breakfasts and generally set myself up for a week of good eats. Having healthy lunches and snacks on hand at work, makes it easier to avoid those bad eating habits that can creep up on you.

Be organized

Channel your inner Type A and schedule the eff out of your life. Don’t give yourself the opportunity to slack off. If you have a schedule you’re more likely to get everything done, including your fitness time.

Carry your gym bag

This one is the probably my most useful tip. If I even set foot in my apartment after a long day at work I’ll never make it to the gym. So, whenever I want to go to the gym after work, I carry my gym bag with me in the morning. It saves time since I avoid that intermediate trip home and my chances of going to the gym increase.

3 Things to avoid when balancing Work & Healthy Living

Working through lunch/eat at your desk

It’s probably happened to you at least once: You’re racing against a deadline and your only option is to eat at your desk. That’s okay, once in a while, but getting into the habit of eating while you work is a gateway to mindless snacking. Unless you absolutely can’t, carve out some time for lunch and focus on eating before diving back into work.

Keep food at your desk

Speaking of mindless snacking…Try not to keep your lunch bag or snacks at your desk. If you always have food at your fingertips, you’ll be more inclined to snack constantly. Even if your snacks are healthy ones, too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. Remember that.

Eating out or relying on vending machines

The first couple times you go out to buy lunch or a snack from the vending machine, you might decide to splurge on something healthy. But, speaking from experience, as the months go on, you get a lot less discriminating in what you choose to buy. Save money (and your health!) by walking with healthy lunches and snacks. It’s worth it, I promise.

Bonus: Don’t Stress

If you slip up at anytime, stressing about it isn’t gonna help. Take a step back, reevaluate and try again. And while you’re at it, check out these tips for reducing stress like an islander.

What about you?

What habits do you have that keep your healthy lifestyle on track? Any bad habits you’re still trying to kick? How do you relieve stress?

Share in the comments below!
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p.s. Thanks again for having me Trish!

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Reward Programs: Reward Yourself and Do Something Good

Hi there Beyond the Khaki readers! I am Jamie, from SnapGinger Blog. Trish was kind enough to let me guest post for her while she enjoys her Hawaiian vaca. Thanks Trish, don’t stow me in your suitcase or anything!! :)

Jamie G @  SnapGinger - A Lifestyle Blog

SnapGinger is a lifestyle blog where I share all of my favorite things. Tasty recipes, fun fashion, simple entertaining, handy tips, money sense, and great deals! I want you to live a wonderful and snappy life!

Part of the snappy life is knowing how to make the most of your time, and get rewarded for it! I’d like to introduce you to two reward programs to do this, and two ways to do something good and pay it forward!

Reward Programs

PayPal Select- Reward yourself and Pay it Forward -  SnapGinger - A Lifestyle Blog


PayPal Select is a loyalty program reserved for PayPal VIPs. They’re calling us their “most valued customers.” I say it just means we all have a bit of a shopping problem. Tomatoe, tomahto.

Select is a customer appreciation program, replacing Advantage, offering access to special offers and experiences. There is no fee to join, membership lasts for one year, at which time you’re eligible for renewal. PayPal explains that customers are invited on “the basis of their frequent account activity and excellent customer history.” SEE! Told you it’s because we have a shopping problem!

PayPal Select just launched, so I’ve only gotten a peek at a few offers, but they’re pretty good so far! They vary by store, here is what I saw:

  • $10 off $50 at Target when you pay with PayPal
  • $20 off $100 at Wayfair when you checkout with PayPal
  • $25 off $250 at Overstock when using PayPal

I read a few notes about the program and it looks like some other advertisers have signed on as well:,,, Footlocker, Neiman Marcus,, and Puritan’s Pride.

There is a separate section for eBay Deals, and these looked pretty sweet: Sateen sheets for $19.99 (60% off), iPad mini for $329.99 (17% off), Canon EOS 70D SLR Camera and 4 Lens bundle $1269.95 (33% off), RayBan Aviators $79.99 (48%) off!

A bonus of the program is first rate customer service treatment. You will skip over the common-folk and receive responses and help first! Pssshawww.

It looks like if you weren’t invited, but start using PayPal more frequently (And if you aren’t, why not?! It’s so safe!), you might be able to earn an invite for to the program.

Find out more about PayPal Select here.

Interested in learning about more ways to get rewarded for shopping? Check out my #top5 Loyalty Programs post at SnapGinger Blog.

Rewards Programs-E-rewards- Reward yourself and Pay it Forward -  SnapGinger - A Lifestyle Blog


E-rewards is one of the world’s leading opinion panels. Users complete surveys and earn E-rewards currency based on the length and value of the survey. Membership is free and the currency adds up fast! I have earned hundreds since I joined a few years ago, and have cashed in for extra airline miles, Starbucks gift cards, and discount codes. I have a current balance of $68, because I just cashed in $30 of E-rewards currency for a subscription to Real Simple magazine. That’s how I roll.

You have to be invited to join, but if you shop at any of the participating retailers, and provide them with your email address, you should receive an invitation. I think mine came from either Express or United Mileage Plus. I’m not sure, as I mentioned, I shop a lot.

“Tell me again how it works?” You earn currency by completing surveys. Some of them are longer and more valuable, some of them are shorter, and pay out less, and some you might not always qualify for. If you don’t qualify, you will earn on average $0.25 for answering the classification questions, so it’s not a total waste of your time. More info on that here.

The rewards center is loaded with gift certificates and discounts from retailers such as Starbucks, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Best Buy, several major airlines and hotel chains, and a wide variety of magazine subscriptions. See all of the options here.

Just for good measure, here are the E-rewards FAQs. I know you’ll love this program!

Rewards Programs-SurveyMonkey Contribute- Reward yourself and Pay it Forward -  SnapGinger - A Lifestyle Blog


SurveyMonkey is not just for surveys. It’s one of those sites that makes you feel good about yourself too! You can set up an account with SurveyMonkey Contribute and receive short surveys to complete, based on your profile.

As consumers, our opinions are extremely valuable, and retailers use the survey answers to make better decisions. As a reward for your time, they give you monies, and you donate it to the charities you choose. You will receive a variety of surveys, about once a week, and SurveyMonkey respects your privacy and doesn’t share your information with its partners.

Once you’ve completed a survey, $0.50 is donated to the charity of your choosing. I went with the Humane Society, because I like animals better than people. There are many human-based options too!

Next you’re given the chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. I haven’t won one yet, but, silver lining, I’ve donated $37.00 to the Humane Society of the U.S.! Just for clicking my mouse a few times.

It couldn’t be simpler, and every little bit helps! After all the rewards you’ve given yourself, isn’t it time to give back to others? It just makes you feel all warm and gooey inside! Find out more about the joining the program here.

Rewards Program-AmazonSmile- Reward yourself and Pay it Forward -  SnapGinger - A Lifestyle Blog


AmazonSmile was introduced late last year, and is pretty awesome if you ask me! When you shop on, instead of the regular Amazon site, the company will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to charity. You have your choice of charity, almost a million to choose from. Can you guess which one I picked?

Head to the site to register, select your charity (Think of the puppies and kittens!!) and get shopping, it’s so simple! Almost every item is eligible, so if you’re prompted by Amazon to flip over to AmazonSmile, please click yes! Or head to now to start shopping! Find out more about AmazonSmile here.

I hope you enjoyed my tips and tricks for getting rewarded and paying it forward! Come and see what else I’ve got up my sleeve at SnapGinger Blog! Snap to It!

Jamie G @  SnapGinger - A Lifestyle Blog

Three Years

Aloha! Currently, AV and I are in Maui for some R&R. Today happens to be over our third wedding anniversary. Our trip wasn’t exactly planned to be over our anniversary, but with the way our schedules were this summer, it kinda worked out this way. Instead of writing some sappy love post, here are a few ramblings from a lady whose been married for three years.

Three Thoughts from Three Years of Marriage

Gifts are not our thing// AV and I routinely skip gift giving for holidays (Birthdays, Christmas, Anniversaries, etc). After every event, I frequently get asked what AV got me, and I always say “nothing”. Although, he usually sneaks a bag of candy under the tree because I have a major sweet tooth. For some reason, I always get weird remarks. “You have to give each other something!”. Uh, no we really don’t. Usually, we try to exchange cards or letters instead. We decided to skip gift giving years ago in lieu of saving money. Often these savings were for bigger things like travel, new experiences, and there’s that whole ‘house-buying thing’. We love to travel and try new restaurants. There isn’t anything we ‘need’ from a store. I would much rather experience something new than have a new shirt in my closet. It works for us.

Marriage comes first// While I’m all about feminism and being a “career woman” (clearly!), my husband comes first. I like it this way. I don’t see being marriage as a impediment to my success as a woman. Which often, people say. AV supports me, helps me, encourages me. He inspires me, both personally and professionally. He gives me time, space and resources that have allowed me to achieve great success, such as my doctorate degree. By fostering my marriage and relationship, I have grown in so many ways. When I say my marriage comes first, I mean it. I have never felt like marriage has hindered my independence. When it really comes down to it, life and experiences shared with someone you love are far better than any success I could achieve individually.

Nothing else really matters// Winning that argument never seemed so futile. AV and I don’t like to banter or bicker. We don’t argue often. When we have disagreements over something, we usually bet a DQ ice cream cone. We like to keep things light, because typically the topics at hand are light. We are in that phase that we are just starting to see some of our friends start to get divorced. I hate to see this happening to my friends already (we are too young for divorce, right?) And while I think that anyone should only stay in a marriage that is a healthy one. The diverse rate in tis country highlights the fact that marriage takes work in the sense of time, energy and effort. I believe if you are on the same page with your spouse on the “big things” in life, the rest is just fluff. No need for silly arguments.

An added bonus of cuteness? AV and I got married on my parents 30th wedding anniversary. Due to my PT school schedule, the weekend we got married was the only one that worked. So no forgetting anniversary dates in my family! Happy 33 year anniversary to my parents!

I know it’s cliche, but time really does seem to be flying by. AV and I have been together for 8 years. And it seems like just yesterday we were kids in college. As the years tick on, I look back at our wedding photos and think, “Dang, we look young!”. Because we were. Young and in love.

Wedding. Bride and Groom

Here’s to keeping it that way.

The Aftermath of an Internal Promotion- Trish @ The Trish List

I’m off to Maui today for a week with AV. We will be enjoying the beach and sun and I am going to take a break from this computer. In the meantime, I have a few amazing guest posts lined up that I am so excited to share with you!  First up, Trish @ The Trish List talking about career advancement! One of my favorite topics. And added bonus, no need to change the signature on this post, sweet!

Hello there Beyond the Khaki Pants readers! I am so excited to be hanging out today while Trish is out of town. Now before I confuse you all, my name is Trish as well, so at the end of this if I sign off as Trish, you won’t have that “huh” moment.  I blog over at The Trish List. I hope to see you all around sometime! Now let me stop blabbering and get on with this post…

Internal Promotion

I recently applied for an internal promotion (Yes I blogged about it) and was overly excited when I received that “can you please stop by my office” email from human resources a few weeks ago. I left the office feeling great. I was getting a new fancy job, a new salary, and maybe even my own office! I practically skipped back to my desk, trying to keep the excitement to myself until the official announcement was made. I only told a few people in effort to keep it quiet, and then I got asked that one question, “How will they transition you to the new role?”

HR did mention to me while I was accepting the new position that there would be a “transition period”, but I was so high on cloud 9 that I didn’t take in to account what that actually meant. The position I am in now is not an easy slot to fill. I can not easily leave it without someone there to fill my vacancy. I am not sure about other companies, but my company is slow as molasses when it comes to hiring new employees.

I not only have to wait for a new hire to make my move, I also have to clean up all of my loose ends before I go. I do not want to be the person who leaves all of my mess for someone else to clean up. This is not only time consuming, but also stressful. There are loose ends for a reason sometimes, and some of it may have to stay to burden the new person. Hopefully I won’t leave to much, so the new hire doesn’t go screaming into the hills on the first week.

One of the hardest parts to this kind of transition is taking on new responsibilities on top of the ones you already have. Because I am moving into a newly created position the job description is a little blurry on what all of the new responsibilities will be. I am constantly having information and new ideas thrown at me. They want to know how I feel about certain tasks, and where I feel this position should go. This is great, except I am also trying to balance all of my current tasks, along with my loose ends. It makes for a stressful work day. The new shiny feeling of the new job has slightly worn off in effort to keep my sanity through this transition period.

Now every stressful situation should have a funny ending right? With all of this transition talk, there is also a twist with my new position. There were 2 jobs created. I of course filled one of them, and then there is also going to be a co-pilot so to speak. Someone with a little bit more experience than I to take on an important role in what we are moving into. My new co-pilot is also my current boss. We will be moving in to these positions as equals. Talk about weird right?

I hope you enjoyed a little peek into my world! I hope to see you around my blog sometime! Stay tuned for more updates on how the new position works out with my boss as my equal!

 Xo Trish
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