Finding balance

Fall outfit with charcoal suede jacket and burgundy pants — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Idaho style blog outfit with suede jacket — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Charcoal grey suede moto jacket fall outfit — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
BlankNYC suede moto jacket in charcoal — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

I know I talk about my new job a lot (it's about three months old now), but it's the biggest change to happen to me since...well, I started grad school five years ago! I'm not the greatest with change; it gives me a lot of anxiety, even if it is good change. This change has brought with it its own set of challenges, the biggest being balance. I'm trying to figure out my own version of work/life balance (which is essentially work, blogging, and life balance since blogging is a big enough part of my life to need its own category!).

Now that I'm gone around 9.5 hours per day, I don't have a lot of extra time for everything else. I've been spending my evenings on my blog. I get distracted easily while working on the posts (mostly by reading other blogs), but some of the posts do take a few hours to put together. I still have to squeeze in time to make dinner (sometimes my boyfriend does it, thank goodness), tidy up the house, unpack the rest of the boxes (yep, still not completely done), shower, and spend time with my boyfriend and kitties. It feels like a never-ending struggle to fit everything in. I haven't worked out since before I started my job, and I'm definitely feeling it. I want to start trying to organize and decorate this place now that it's the holiday season. I like spending time with family and friends...sigh.

Most of the reason why I shifted my blog schedule was to give me one weekend day off per week (if I wanted, but I usually do a little bit of work depending on my boyfriend's work schedule). I needed some more time to do stuff that wasn't work- or blog-related!

Working ladies: HOW DO YOU DO IT? Or do you struggle with balance as much as I do? Please tell me I'm not alone, haha! I don't know how people with kids do it all.

In outfit-related news, this is somehow the first outfit I have blogged with the suede moto jacket I bought back in June! I've worn it a few times this month and I always feel so badass when I have it on. I absolutely love the fit of it, too. I can't layer thick sweaters under it but that's okay! It's perfect for mild fall and spring days. I am so excited to wear it in the spring with a dress!


BlankNYC jacket / similar from Revolve or similar from Nordstrom
Everlane sweater / old; exact style or similar by Uniqlo
Madewell pants / old; similar by Mavi Jeans
Sam Edelman boots / exact in suede
Le Specs sunglasses / exact
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in rosé / exact

Black attack

Blank NYC Life Changer moto jacket outfit with black skinny jeans — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Fall outfit with black patent chelsea boots — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Camel bateau striped sweater outfit — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Everlane midrise skinny jeans in black — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Marc Fisher Yommi chelsea boots in black patent — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

I don't know what it is about fall, but every time it comes back, a switch in me flips and I wear all of the black. So far this fall, I've worn and blogged eight outfits featuring black in some form (including today's look), and I've got two more outfits coming atcha next week featuring—you guessed it—black!

I'm not sure what it is about the color, but I can't get enough! It's probably a combination of the gloomy weather, shorter days/earlier sunsets, and the hints of Halloween everywhere making me feel like I need to dress witchy/extra spooky. These boots have such great witchy vibes, don't they?! Every time I put them on, I threaten to stab people with the tips. I'm not sure what that says about me...but watch out! ;)

This was my first time wearing my new Everlane skinny jeans out and about! I'm planning to put together a new Everlane review post soon, but here are my quick feelings about them. I mentioned in last month's budget post that I ordered two sizes and wanted to keep the smaller of the two sizes (my regular size in denim), but the pair I got dug into me when I walked. I finally got the replacement pair and love them. I'm still getting used to the feel of denim that isn't as stretchy as Madewell denim, I should probably start working out again to get rid of the belly pudge I've gained since starting my job, and I literally have to lint roll myself nonstop because they're black, but they're worth it so far! I'm so happy to finally have a pair of black denim. Fingers crossed the color doesn't wash out!

One last thing: Did you notice the new sunglasses?! After almost two years of wearing the same pair, I finally got something new to mix things up! I still love my Moorea Seal sunglasses the most and will wear them until they die (or more likely, I lose them) but it's nice to have another option.


BlankNYC jacket / exact
Gap sweater / old; similar by LOFT (last seen here)
Everlane jeans / exact
Marc Fisher boots / exact
Le Specs sunglasses / exact
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in rosé / exact

How to gain confidence for a new job

As you all know, I finished my PhD this year and started my professional career. I was lucky to have gotten the only job I interviewed for, and I was especially lucky that the position wasn't filled at the beginning of the year when it was originally listed. I was so excited to be employed yet terrified at the idea of being in a new place with new people and having real responsibilities (not that grad school doesn't have responsibilities, but generally if you don't do any work, it only affects your progress and no one else's).

It's common for my self-confidence to shake a little bit when I enter a new environment. It could be any environment—the first day of school, when I take a class at a local gym, meeting new people at a conference, starting my first real job—and even if I prepare myself, I still become unsure of my knowledge, abilities, and myself in general.

There are three things I've been doing in particular to increase my confidence in my new role...

Style by Lauren Conrad, The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

1. Dress the part

There's nothing like a new job to make it feel like your closet could use a refresh, and there's nothing like putting on a fabulous outfit to make you feel like you can take over the world!

I personally did not have much in the way of professional wear prior to starting my job, but luckily my dress code is on the casual side of business casual so I can wear the majority of my closet. Still, I've been focused on adding more "professional" pieces: blazers, tops to layer under blazers, nice outerwear, more commuter-friendly bag options, etc. 

I'm still trying to nail down my perfect "professional" style, and if you're in the same boat and looking for some wardrobe guidance, there are some resources you should know about. Feel Good, Dress Better is Nicole's brainchild: a workbook about intuition-based dressing (read my initial review). Feel Good, Dress Better is centered around body positivity and dressing for the lifestyle you have. This is definitely worth picking up if you feel like you're not dressing for yourself. Anuschka Rees of former style blog Into-Mind wrote a book entitled The Curated Closet. This book is the more typical formulaic approach to personal style. This is especially helpful for those of you interested in a minimal or capsule wardrobe. For a more general, less personalized guide, Lauren Conrad's book, Style, is a great option.

Smile Brilliant professional at-home teeth whitening — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Smile Brilliant molds for custom-fitted whitening trays — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair
Smile Brilliant custom-fitted teeth whitening trays — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

2. Smile

When it comes to my personal appearance, I like to present my best self with about as little effort as possible. For me, that means regular grooming (not letting my hair become a nest or allowing my eyebrows to claim ownership of my face) and some light makeup so hopefully I don't look as tired as I feel. That said, life happens, and sometimes things fall to the back burner when you're busy trying to finish grad school or start a new job.

For me, one of those things that because less of a priority was my teeth. I kept Crest Whitestrips with the rest of my beauty products, but I put off using them...and my teeth weren't as white as I wish they were. If you read this post, you'd know that I have a couple of fake teeth (one implant, one crown), and it seemed like they stood out more than usual, making me feel a bit self-conscious when I smiled. Smiling is something I like to do regularly for mini-boosts of confidence, so a whiter smile was definitely on my list of things to do to increase my confidence.

Smile Brilliant reached out to me a couple of months ago about trying their at-home professional-grade teeth whitening kits. It was the push I needed to finally do something about my teeth, so I happily agreed to give it a shot!

As an FYI, I have sensitive teeth; I use Sensodyne toothpaste, and there are certain areas of my mouth I tend to avoid if I'm eating something cold because I know it will hurt. It's also been a while since I last went to the dentist, so I likely also have some small cavities that need to be filled. (I'm pretty sure my disposition to cavities is genetic, too...haha. It doesn't seem to matter whether or not I floss!) Luckily, Smile Brilliant offers a whitening kit for sensitive teeth, so that's what I received.

The T3 kit includes custom-fitted trays just like you'd use at the dentist (you're sent the products to make the molds first), nine whitening applications, and nine desensitizing applications. After completing and returning your molds, you'll wait about a week or so to receive your trays—and the best part is that all of the shipping involved is included in the price. I spent an hour whitening (due to my sensitive teeth) and a half hour desensitizing for as many nights as I could over about a four-week period (it would have ended up being about three weeks of whitening if I hadn't had work travel interrupting the sessions). At the end of it, my teeth were noticeably whiter, as you can see above!

Now I can smile, feeling confident that I'm putting my best teeth forward. ;) (It's important to note that the whitening gel doesn't penetrate artificial teeth, so there is still some difference between my real teeth and the artificial teeth.)

Smile Brilliant is giving away a T3 kit to a lucky reader (worth $139)! Follow this link to enter your name and email address by Tuesday, October 31st! (Giveaway is open to U.S., Canadian, U.K., and Australian residents.)

If you're eager to try the system yourself, I have a coupon code good for 10% off a whitening kit: cottoncashmerecathair10 (no expiration date!). Please let me know if you have any questions about the product or process!

How to gain confidence for a new job — Cotton Cashmere Cat Hair

3. Trust your training...and yourself

Remember, you were hired for a reason! Keep reminding yourself that you are capable of fulfilling the duties asked of you and that you have the ability to learn new things. Most importantly, don't be afraid to not know everything there is to know about your job. Everything will come in time.

Alissa nailed it when she wrote about doubting your doubt and not yourself. Imposter syndrome is real and it doesn't seem to go away, even in the workplace. I struggle with this often! A new start should make you feel empowered versus overwhelmed by the thoughts of not being as good as you truly are. Remind yourself of that when the negative thoughts creep in.

If you're looking for more tips on how to gain confidence at work, look no further than Alissa's exact post on the topic. (Tip: If you're not following her, you should be! ;)) These posts are relevant even if you're not yet a working professional.

Do you have any other tips for gaining confidence when you start a new job?

You got this, lady! *insert praise hands emoji*

Please note that I received complimentary product for the purpose of this post but no other monetary compensation. As always, all views are my own!