Tag Archives: social work

Reader Request: What I Wore my First Week of Work

What I Wore to Work collage

I remember when I was hired for my first full-time job. I was a freshman in college and home for the summer. I signed on as a marketing intern for one of the¬†fortune 500 companies in Kentucky. I was used to wearing leggings and sorority sweatshirts all day everyday and was in for a shock when I had to start dressing in business casual attire Monday through Friday. I thought that meant black pants, button downs and cardigans, so my mom and I headed to LOFT to overhaul my wardrobe. I’m pretty sure I bought the same “work trousers” in black, navy and brown. I still cringe when I think of my weekly wardrobe during those days (and for the record, my mom still buys me cardigans ūüėČ ).

Fortunately, I’ve become a little more creative in my work wear. Of all the occasions to dress for, I actually enjoy putting together a business casual look. I find that the majority of my¬†closet is tailored towards career clothes, which makes it easy to conceptualize an outfit every morning. Now, if you asked me to dress for a casual weekend brunch, I would end up in yoga pants and an oversized Patagonia. I just can’t get a handle on “weekend wear.”

While I am definitely not a fashion blogger, I do love nice clothes, style and shopping¬†as much as the next girl.¬†The catch is that I’m a bargain hunter.¬†If I want that $1,000 handbag, I¬†will wait for it to go on sale or track it down on eBay. Lately, I’ve been all about buying investment pieces, items that might be pricey, but that I will wear more than once per week, are highly versatile and will last me for years to come.

I recently received a message on Facebook from a¬†college friend (hi Katie!). She was interested in where I bought the clothing items from one of my recent posts.¬†This is an exciting moment for The Magic Tree, as today’s post is my first Reader Request!¬†(If there is something you’d like to see on the blog, please let me know!). Without further ado, a roundup of everything I wore to work during my first week.


Blue dress

Note: I ended up wearing the belt on the left.

Dress: Tahari via TJ Maxx | Blouse: Ann Taylor (old) | Belt: on left Talbots, on right LOFT (old) | Tights: Hue | Shoes: Franco Sarto | Bracelets: Betsy Pittard 


Black tunic outfit

Shirt: Joan Vass via TJ Maxx | Pants: Tahari via TJ Maxx | Shoes: Antonio Melani (very old) | Necklaces: Rose pendant (very old) & James Michelle nameplate


white blazer navy

Blouse: LOFT (old) | Shirt: unknown brand via consignment | Pants: Banana Republic | Blazer: Zara | Shoes: LK Bennett 



Blouse: Ann Taylor | Skirt: Ann Taylor via consignment | Tights: Hue | Shoes: Tory Burch via consignment | Necklaces: Pendant necklace is Coach via consignment & James Michelle | Bag: Kate Spade


Gray Sweater

Blouse: H&M | Sweater: Max Studio via TJ Maxx | Pants: Max Studio via TJ Maxx | Shoes: Madewell | Necklace: old via Groupon

What I Wore to Work collage

There’s been a little fashion talk on the blog before.¬†In case you missed it:




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Filed under Fashion, Reader Request, What I Wore

Thoughts on a Thursday

Good morning!

Your regular reading has been a little different this week as I slowly acclimate to my new work schedule. Thanks for sticking with me! Any full-time workers +¬†bloggers out there? I would love to hear your secrets. I thought I would keep today’s post more true to form, a little tangential and more about what’s going on in my world. Sound good?


Yesterday I just could not wake up. I snoozed a couple of times before turning off my alarm and stumbling out of bed. Transitioning¬†from a couple months of not having a¬†schedule to working a busy full-time job is not pretty, ya’ll. I am so fortunate to have this new position; honestly, it feels like a dream. However, the schedule is a little wonky and will take some time getting used to. Most of my days start at noon and end closer to 8 or 9 p.m. Sometimes they will be longer like 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. I am most definitely not complaining though. Like with anything, my body and mind will adjust in time!

I started my tired morning with 20-minutes on the treadmill following a modified version of this routine.

20 Minute Treadmill Workout

If you’re looking for a quick calorie burn, this PopSugar interval workout does not disappoint. It was challenging, but it was also over quick enough to even notice. I also completed a 10-minute yoga video¬†(<– I actually do not recommend this video. It was a little slow and the instructor is kind of annoying!)¬†in the group exercise room alongside two meathead-like men who were grunting and panting the whole time. It felt a little awkward and I couldn’t wait to get out of there. Ha! I guess it’s my fault for trying to follow a yoga video outside the comforts of my living room.

Fortunately, I had prepped a bowl of oats the night before and they were waiting for me patiently in the fridge. Otherwise, I might have eaten my arm for breakfast.

Overnight Oats

Old fashioned oats, almond milk, plain greek yogurt, truvia and chia seeds mixed together and left to sit overnight. In the morning, I added honey, walnuts and craisins. 

A couple more thoughts about this week…

  • My meals have been monotonous, rushed and probably not the most balanced. However, my weekend meal prep has literally saved me this week. I might have eaten the same things, but they kept me from devouring¬†microwaved popcorn for every meal.

Eats from the Week

  • Getting fitness out of the way in the morning has been key¬†to feeling productive. Since I don’t have my evenings anymore, the morning hours are my time to get thangs done.
  • Speaking of fitness, on Sunday I took quite the embarrassing photo. It’s on my Twitter feed and you’ll just have to go there because I can’t find the actual photo to post.¬†I wasn’t paying attention to how I was dressed myself (mindfulness, anyone?) and ended up in all pink. Um…
  • Coffee really is my bff. I have a sleep shirt with that saying plastered on the front and Bobby loves to make fun of it.

Coffee in bed

I don’t have time for a filter, so just ignore my dark circles, beautiful hair and the fact that I’m typing this from bed, mmmkay?

  • Since I’m really great at transitioning, speaking of Bobby… I arrived home late on Tuesday night and he had dinner waiting for me! How awesome is that? This isn’t even a #humblebrag. It was like the nicest, most needed gesture ever.

Chicken fajitas

I had the above serving of chicken fajitas x2.

  • Valentine’s Day is next weekend. Excuse me? How is that even possible? It’s one of my favorite holidays and I really need to get my *shat*¬†together.
  • I forgot how much I love business casual clothes. I find work outfits to be the easiest to put together. Now if I had to wear “nice” jeans everyday I would end up in leggings and sweaters.

Work Wear

  • Since I know how much you love cat pictures, I will leave you with this one. He’s also had a long week.

tired baxter

Questions for you:

  • What is your work schedule like?
  • Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? What do you do? <– When I was single, I once hosted an all-girls party and my teeny tiny apartment. We had a blast!




Filed under Breakfast, Miscellaneous, Workout

New Job Anxiety

new job anxiety

Last night Bobby brought it to my attention that I haven’t talked a whole lot about my new job on here. I included a few details in a Favorite Finds post¬†a few weeks ago, but other than that, my mentions of it have been sparse.¬†Funny, because all I’ve been thinking about lately¬†is¬†my new 9-5.

Well guess what? Next Monday,¬†I start a job that I’ve been dreaming about for three years!¬†I’ll be a staff therapist for a small private practice that specializes in treating eating disorders.

I didn’t know what an eating disorder was as a kid. Weight was never a topic of conversation in my family,¬†and my mom purposefully¬†kept “fashion” magazines out of our house. She didn’t want me to¬†develop a negative body image, for which I will always¬†be grateful. I¬†danced ballet into my teen years and watched friend after friend¬†go to¬†“dance¬†camp” for the¬†summers. In reality, as I would find out later, they were in rehab for an eating disorder. While I never developed eating issues of my own (thank God), I became passionate as to¬†why someone develops a compulsion about¬†food and what the health consequences can be. In my late teens into early twenties, I read so many memoirs and fiction novels about women with eating disorders. I couldn’t learn enough. I enrolled in graduate school two years ago with the sole goal of working as an eating disorders therapist. At the risk of sounding too trite,¬†I feel like it’s the reason I was put on earth.

There is literally nothing else I would rather be doing with my life. 

Even though I (will be) making a living by listening to others,¬†I have a hard time opening up about myself. Yes,¬†I write a blog that’s about my life, but my primary goal is to inspire others to live a balanced life.¬†I guess my fear in talking too much about my career would take the focus off the “healthy living” genre that is this blog. I thought that emphasizing how happy I am that I’ve found my dream job and how proud I feel would be too “me, me, me!” I figured that expressing my anxieties about starting anew and not being a good enough therapist would seem too negative Nancy. I worried¬†that you come here for overall¬†health inspiration, not details about my working life.

But what am I so afraid of? This is my blog; my corner of the world where I can write about whatever the heck I please. This new chapter in my life is what makes me me. My life is not consumed by health and fitness. I am so much more than that. I vow to be more open with you moving forward, my friends.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! ‚̧



Filed under Goals, Social Work

Favorite Finds Friday {1/9} + Job News

Hello hello!

My apologies if¬†it doesn’t look and feel like this wherever you are today.


Ok…I’m not actually sorry since I do have to return to sub-zero Chicago next week. As soon as this post is published, I¬†am off to enjoy the sunshine with the newest edition to our ladies vacation, my sister-in-law Gillian. She arrived on the red eye from Denver, CO bright and early this morning!

I won’t keep you any longer; let’s get to this week’s edition of Favorite Finds Friday¬†with a special find from the week at the end of this post. ūüėČ

  • My Kendra Scott Danielle earrings. Bobby bought me these baubles for Christmas and I’ve barely taken them off. They come in about 30 color/metal combos and I’ll take one of each please.


Laura lizzie

Wearing them out to dinner with my cousin Laura

  • Selfies with a dog are hilarious. Have you ever tried it? This is Ellie the golden¬†and she would look every which way except for into the camera. She’s a love monster with an affinity for long walks on the beach and steak frites. But really.

Ellie collage

  • Baby Sofia burp cloths. You¬†won’t see a lot of baby-related items on the blog (for obvious reasons), but these are my go-to for new moms. I used to nanny for a young mama¬†who swore by Baby Sofia burp cloths as the best gifts – she was right! I love to personalize them with different colored ribbons and monograms.


One of our friends had a baby girl a few weeks ago, Sadie Elizabeth

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 11.00.14 PM

  • 17 overnight oats recipes.¬†I recently reintroduced overnights oats into my breakfast repertoire and this roundup is giving me some major recipe inspiration.

Are you reading this?





Did you get this far?





  • I¬†got a J.O.B.!

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 11.31.38 PM

With one of my past clients on the last day of my internship

I accepted the offer last week, but didn’t want to announce it on here until everything was officially official.¬†Starting in February, I’ll be working as a therapist for a private practice that specializes in eating disorders. Honestly, it’s a dream job¬†and¬†exactly what I wanted to do from day one of graduate school.¬†I am quite proud of myself and beyond excited to dive head first into my new career. I feel blessed that I found a job so soon and I am well aware (and fully expected) that it could have taken much longer. This trip¬†has been all about celebrating my new chapter and enjoying my last real vacation for a looooong time. ‚̧


Interested in my past favorite finds?

Have a fabulous weekend, friends!




Filed under Favorite Finds

Looking Forward to 2015

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 12.13.26 PM


I sit here on this last day of 2014 with a reflective and optimist outlook. There is nothing like the start of a new year. It gives us a profound sense of shiny newness, the inspiration to set goals and a renewed sense of optimism. If days of the month were colors, January 1st would be so bright and shiny that it would blind us like the sun. Instead of recapping 2014, which had both its peaks and valleys, I want to look ahead to the new year and highlight what I am most looking forward to.

  • My week-long trip to Florida in January. In less than a week, I’ll be soaking up the sun with my favorite women – my mom, aunt, cousin and sister-in-law – without a care in the world. If that’s not the best way to ring in 2015, I don’t know what is.


  • Passing the Licensed Social Worker exam. Like the boards for nursing, I need the LSW to be considered a social worker. I will likely take it in early February and can’t wait to have that weight off my shoulder.


  • Growing¬†in my career as a therapist.¬†Step one is finding the right job. Step two is working my butt off, affecting the lives of others and developing my skills. This will be the year of the career for me!
  • Making money again.¬†I haven’t worked a paid full-time job in over two years. I am more than ready to grow a savings account, have spending money and enjoy little luxuries that make me happy – like regular pedicures. ūüôā
  • Becoming more involved in my sorority alumnae association.¬†I sit on the board of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Chicago Loop Group, but actually haven’t done a whole lot since joining last May.
  • Celebrating two years with Bobby.¬†It feels like we’ve been together for a lifetime, but it will only be two years in April. He brings a heck of a lot of joy into my life and this anniversary¬†will be an exciting milestone.


  • Developing and growing The Magic Tree. I have¬†so many goals for the blog that sometimes it feels overwhelming. Must narrow them down.
  • Becoming a morning exerciser. When working full-time in the past, I discovered that hitting the gym¬†first thing in the morning was key to my productivity and sense of accomplishment all day. When I find a job, 6 a.m. workouts will happen, no matter how long it takes to get in the habit!
  • Possibly, maybe, if all goes as planned, getting a dog.¬†We¬†are both animal lovers and would love to add to our fur family in 2015. I haven’t poled Baxter yet to see how he feels about a new sister or brother.

candy cane baxie

  • Taking one or two mini-trips.¬†In almost two years as a couple, Bobby and I have never taken a vacation together. We’ve been to Louisville a handful of times and Colorado to visit family, but nothing¬†that’s just the two of us.

So cheers to 2015! May it bring to us all a sense of accomplishment, joy and peace. I look forward to sharing the next year with you. 

Have a happy and safe New Years Eve. ‚̧


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Filed under Holidays, Inspiration, Motivation

Trusting Your Gut

Good morning!

I’m currently sipping on a protein smoothie¬†while typing up this post. I was too lazy to snap a picture, but it looks exactly like this.



Recycled photo alert! 1/2 frozen banana + 1/2 C frozen cherries + 1 C almond milk + 1 scoop vanilla About Time protein powder + 5 ice cubes

I thought I would share something that has been heavy on my mind, in lieu of¬†Weekly Wisdom¬†today.¬†I’ve always been interested in the power of my gut, especially as of late. In social work school, we are taught that your intuition is one of the most powerful tools you have. If used effectively, it can guide decision making, alert you when something feels “off,” and at its most powerful, save a life. But what about tapping into your gut in regular life?


Yesterday, I spent the majority of the day in a funk. It’s normal to have days, or even weeks, where you feel down. Whether it’s about your job, your relationship, your health, or something else, funks are just part of life. But yesterday, I couldn’t pinpoint the source of my feelings. I needed to talk about it and was waiting for Bobby to get home when I received a phone call. I should preface this by saying it has been a very difficult year for my family. Without getting into specifics, which I am just not ready to do yet on here,¬†there has been a lot of change for my parents, my brothers and me. Last night I was told¬†something that was unanticipated and to be honest, threw me for a loop.

Though I’m going to be just fine, I realized yesterday how remarkable the mind-body connection can be. My instincts were telling me that something wasn’t right, but I didn’t make the connection. Tapping into your gut doesn’t happen overnight; it takes practice. This Huffington Post article says it perfectly,

“we feel something, ignore the feeling, decide something else is true, then have all kinds of emotions about what we just made up.”

There is a stark different between a thought and a feeling. Thoughts are easier to recognize, but feelings reside in your gut. 

I always create a variety¬†of New Years aspirations that I’d like to achieve – or at least work towards – in the coming year. Figuring out how to use my intuition¬†more effectively will be at the top of my list.


Of possible interest:

Questions for you:

  • Have you ever made a decision based off a gut feeling?
  • Do you make New Years resolutions?




Filed under Miscellaneous

Lunching & Learning

***I meant to post this around 4 p.m. this afternoon, but accidentally saved it in my drafts. Oops!**

As we speak, I am currently holed up in our building’s business center trying to get some studying accomplished. I needed a change of scenery to see if¬†I could gather¬†some studying mojo. It’s not quite working. I just have¬†one more final on Thursday and I am done, done, done with grad school!



I spent the morning at the post office (mailing some earrings I sold on Poshmark – wahoo!), getting a pedicure (lovely) and running a few errands in the neighborhood. Is anyone else sick of the sun-less, wet weather? I picked up a salad from Pockets on my way home and ate it in the business center.


salad close

Romaine & iceberg + craisins + edamame + walnuts + cucumbers + carrots + honey mustard dressing with a whole wheat roll on the side


Nothing¬†special on the dinner agenda tonight, just more studying and the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, of course. Have a great night!


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Filed under Lunch, Meals on the go