Five Lists To Make Right Now

House of Marbury - To Do Lists

[Photo credit:  Filmnotes.net]

The benefits of list-making are many, but to-do lists shouldn’t be used only at work.  Here are five lists that we keep and update regularly to ensure that we’re spending our free time in the best ways possible:

1.  A travel wish list

A travel wish list is fun to make and having one keeps you motivated because you have something to look forward to.  If you have the time and ability to travel multiple times throughout a year, consider dividing your list into two sections – short trips and longer, larger trips.

Right now our short travel wish list includes:  Nashville, Savannah, Cape Cod, and Washington wine county.  Our larger trip list includes Peru, Argentina, Ireland, and New Zealand.

2.  A reading list

A reading list is also fun to make and it can be a great conversation starter.  Keep this list on your smart phone, if possible, so that you can add to or share the list anytime.

3.  A shopping list

Creating a shopping list is an utterly practical way to build your wardrobe and to make smart and worthwhile purchases.  Update this least seasonally and keep the list readily available for consultation and editing whenever necessary.

4.  A “bucket list”

A bucket list is a great way of setting goals for yourself outside of the professional context.  It can include all sorts of things from running a marathon, to meeting a certain person, to going to a certain restaurant, or taking on a certain personal project.  Whatever the event might be, build a list so that you ensure you conquer it!

5.  A future goals list

Creating a well thought-out list of future goals, both personal and professional, helps us stay focused and make good choices.  Goal setting is arguably the first and most important step in ensuring we reach those goals.  Similar to the travel list, make both short- and long-term goals for yourself and update them annually, at a minimum.

What lists do you keep and why?  Share with us in the comments below.

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The Ultimate Meal For Summer Entertaining

House of Marbury - Summer Recipe

Last weekend when the weather was warm and sunny, we were in the mood for seafood and had a group of friends to entertain that evening.  We decided on the classic french dish bouillabaisse, because it’s delicious, simple to prepare, and easy to serve to a crowd.

This seafood stew turned out to be one of the best dishes we’ve ever prepared, so we had to share the recipe with you.

For four servings, you will need:

  • Whitefish:  we used 2 halibut steaks, but cod, tilapia, or sea bass filets would work well
  • Assorted shellfish:  we went with lobster tails (1 per person), calamari, shrimp, and mussels, but feel free to mix and match with those
  • 3 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
  • 1/2 cup Clam Juice
  • Parsley
  • 1 large Lemon
  • 3 tbsp. Butter
  • 3 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 6 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 large Shallot, minced
  • 2 Carrots, diced
  • 4 stalks of Celery, diced
  • 1/2 tsp. Saffron Threads
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 6 sprigs Thyme
  • 1 tsp Smoky Paprika
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Good-quality Crusty Bread

Directions:

In a large pot (we used a large dutch oven) sautée the mirepoix in olive oil and butter over medium heat for 3-5 minutes; add three cloves of the garlic, preferably pressed or grated, and sautée for another 1-2 minutes.  Add in the stock and clam juice, and turn the heat down to medium-low.  Add the saffron, thyme, bay leaf, and paprika and continue to simmer.

After 5-8 minutes, add in the whitefish, calamari, and shrimp and continue to simmer for two minutes, flipping the fish over after the first minute.  Add in the mussels, and lobster tail, and cover to allow for the mussels to steam open.  Turn the heat to low and wait 5-8 minutes, until the mussels open.

Discard any mussels that remain closed and serve with toasted crusty bread (tip: if you like garlic, rub raw garlic directly onto the crusty toasts and serve!).

Pair with a crisp, chilled ChablisBon appétit!

What recipes are you excited to serve this summer? 

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Style Guide – The Professional Event Of Your Life

PicMonkey Collage

[Photo credit: glamradar.com]

You are coming up on the professional event of your life. It may be an interview for your dream job, a presentation of deliverables you’ve been working on for months, or a jury trial in a complex commercial litigation. For this edition of Style Guide, we’re styling you head to toe so you can focus on doing your best work possible.

PicMonkey Collage

 

#1. Theory Blazer and Pant – Net-A-Porter.com – $395.00 & $265.00, respectively

#2. Equipment Slim Signature in Star Cluster – Equipment.com – $258.00

#3. Mikimoto Cultured Pearl Earrings – Mikimoto.com – $1,150.00

#4. Kate Spade New York Cedar Street Harmony Medium Tote – Nordstrom.com – $298.00

#5. Cole Haan Bradshaw Pump – Colehaan.com – $268.00

(Note: This week’s outfit is better suited to a conservative working environment, but we believe this is a power look that would work no matter your profession. Next week we’ll style you for a more creative or casual event.)

What are you wearing to the professional event of your life?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Memorial Day Thanks

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[Photo Credit: Boktowergardens.org]

Happy Memorial Day to our American readers and a huge thanks to our soldiers for all you do to keep us safe! We are so thankful. Enjoy the day!  We’ll be back to posting HOM content tomorrow.  See you then!

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Why The Lace Skirt Changes Everything

why the lace skirt is a game changer

[Photo credit: We The People]

We all know of the slimming effects of a pencil skirt, but as temperatures warm up into summer, we all need something lighter to replace our favorite black pencil skirt(s).  Enter the lace skirt – preferably in lighter, neutral tones and materials.

You can style a lace skirt with pretty much anything – a button down blouse (chambray looks so good!), a light summer sweater, or a silk shell with a blazer. Whether you choose a monochromatic look or contrasting colors, you’re bound to look professional, yet stylish.

Here are some of our favorites:

lace skirts for every budget

  1. My Fair Daisy ivory lace skirt, LuLu’s, $57
  2. Netted lace long pencil skirt, Rebecca Taylor, $350
  3. Pink lace skirt, Wallis, $49
  4. Lace midi skirt, Calvin Klein, $129.50
  5. Floral lace skirt, Joe Fresh, $59
  6. Pleated guipure-lace skirt, Joseph, $431
  7. Lace skirt, Burberry, $1,438
  8. Lace skirt, H&M, $34.95

Do own a lace skirt? If so, how do you style it for the office? 

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Becoming A Professional Wardrobe Minimalist

A friend and reader recently shared this article with us, featured on becomingminimalist.com.  Today, Kate shares why she began adopting a minimalist perspective on clothing and wardrobe.

House of Marbury - Professional Wardrobe Minimalist

[Photo credit Samuji.com]

You may think that as one of the writers behind House of Marbury, I would reject the idea of limiting ones wardrobe to a mere uniform.  The reality is, though, a fashion lover doesn’t require a massive wardrobe.  These days I prefer a minimalist, foundational wardrobe accessorized with seasonal jewelry, shoes, scarfs, etc.

Now that I’m in my 30s and have been practicing in the same profession for several years, my fashion needs are more aligned, which makes becoming a minimalist far more practical and appealing.  Today, I have far less time to experiment with wardrobe than I did several years ago.  I want a well-tailored piece that is versatile and can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion.  I now know which colors and styles look good on me as well as what I feel most comfortable wearing for various professional events, and I’m able to invest in fewer, higher-quality pieces than before.

For all of these reasons, I have departed from my eclectic shopping habits to become a wardrobe minimalist, and especially a professional wardrobe minimalist.

Here are 10 pieces I am using right now as a foundation for my minimalist wardrobe (tip:  I use black and white as neutrals, and add in color and texture through jewelry, shoes, and accessories):

House of Marbury - 10 Minimalist Professional Wardrobe Pieces
  1. A great trench coat, like this Kensington trench by Burberry
  2. A classic wristwatch, such as the Classic Sheffield Lady by Daniel Wellington
  3. A black pair of flats, like these Pointed Ballerina flats from ZARA
  4. A neutral blouse, like this Prudence Silk-Pieced Shirt from Club Monaco
  5. A neutral pump, like these Adelina D’Orsay Pumps from Banana Republic
  6. An animal print pump, like these Loeffler Randall Pari Pumps
  7. Statement earrings, such as these Tassel Drop Earrings by French Connection
  8. A sophisticated yet simple dress, such as the Tory from MM.LaFleur
  9. A textured belt, such as this Everyday Exotic Belt from Ann Taylor
  10. A cropped jacket, such as this Framed Tweed Jacket from Banana Republic

What do you think about the minimalist fashion movement?  We’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Frida’s Found Objects

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A photographer recently discovered various items from the wardrobe of Frida Khalo.  The pictures are strange and a little disturbing (two pink booties with differing heel heights; a lace up red boot for her prosthetic leg) but also strikingly colorful and beautiful.

Today’s post takes inspiration from the color and spirit of one particular found object – this gorgeous, traditional mexican frock.

FridaDress

Here’s how we’re converting this look to office chic:

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#1. Red Pleated Skirt, Burberry London – $795

#2. Yellow Blouse, Diane Von Furstenberg – $198.00

#3. Turquoise Drop Earrings, Oscar De La Renta – $295.00

#4. Black Leather Court Shoe, Zara – $79.90

How would you convert Frida’s dress to office chic?

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Five Tips For Mastering Professional Communication

Whether you are a law student, attorney or other professional, these five tips will ensure you are communicating in a professional and effective manner, both in your personal and professional life.

House of Marbury - Communication Tips

[Photo credit: denniscummins.com]

1. Engage

When you are speaking with others in a professional or personal setting, you will want to demonstrate that you are an engaging, dynamic speaker. This should not be forced or disingenuous. Rather, focus on exuding a natural energy that is motivated by a genuine interest in the person or people you are speaking with and the subject matter you are speaking about.

2. Listen

The best communicators, in a professional setting or otherwise, are listeners first. Be sure to truly listen whenever you are communicating with others. Make eye contact. Respond directly to what is being said. Share empathetic nods and knowing facial expressions. By listening fully, we learn a lot about the person or people we are speaking with. And in turn, we learn a lot about what is expected of us. This ensures that we deliver on (and exceed) expectations again and again.

3. Learn

Whether you are the CEO or the summer intern, your ability to communicate professionally will depend on your openness to learning. Learn new things daily and continue to do so over the course of your career. As a professional, self-education allows you to stay ahead of the game and constantly improve your skill set. Additionally, striving to learn makes you relevant, and central to the business goals of your place of work. By learning, you are also in a position to speak intelligently and impressively on progressive or key topics of interest in your industry.

4. Practice

Like anything else, communicating in a professional manner takes practice. As you speak, present, or connect with colleagues, clients, and others in your industry, consider what communication skills you excel at and what skills don’t come as naturally. Seek out opportunities to practice, and seize those opportunities to foster your strengths and improve upon your weaknesses.

5. Disconnect

While there is value in displaying professionalism and communicating professionally in certain environments, from time to time in non-professional settings, let down your guard. Disconnect from the professionalism. Allow yourself some breathing room. Be yourself. This way, you are energized to be your best professional self when you need to be.

What advice do you have for mastering professional communication?  Let us know in the comments!

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Six Gorgeous Spring Flats

House of Marbury - the best flats for spring

We’ve been in the market for playful and affordable spring flats, and when we stumbled into ZARA last weekend, the search was over.  These lovely pairs are perfect for spring and are absolutely affordable.

House of Marbury - The Best Spring Flats

  1. Vinyl D’Orsay Flats, $35.90
  2. Moccasin in Navy Blue, $69.90
  3. Flat Shoes with Tassels, $35.90
  4. Tasseled Shoes with Metallic Heel, $59.90
  5. Pointed Ballerinas with Bow, $49.90
  6. Cross-Strap Flats, $49.90

What shoes are you loving this spring?

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Smoothie Love

{our favorite fruit smoothie recipe}

Green juice is all the rage.  And we dig it.  A great green juice (we love kale, pineapple, cucumber, and mint) is everything.  But, when we’re in the mood for something a little more substantive, a thick fruit smoothie hits the spot.

Here is our favorite smoothie recipe, made especially great by a few secret ingredients!

our favorite fruit smoothie recipe

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups or so of frozen fruit of your choice (we love blueberries and strawberries combined – buy fresh organic fruit and freeze it)
  • A handful of spinach
  • 1/4 cup of hot herbal tea – any flavor, steep for 3-4 minutes at least (the tea gives a nice flavor and melts the frozen fruit a bit so it’s easier to blend)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of applesauce, no sugar added (the applesauce gives the smoothie a thick consistency and natural sweetness)
  • 2-3 tablespoons of plain yogurt (also for thickness and tartness)
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend. (If it’s too frozen to blend thoroughly, add a bit more hot tea. If it’s too stiff, add more milk and orange juice in equal parts. If it’s too liquid, add more frozen fruit. If it’s too sweet, add more yogurt. If it’s not sweet enough, add more applesauce.)

Drink!

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