As always, the last week of sweet summer comes with a mix of emotions for me. I love the long nights of summer when it’s warm enough to be out sans jean jacket and the weekly country fairs, cottage weekends, and patio dinners that summer brings. At the same time, I actually really love everything that September brings with it. Maybe it’s because I consider myself a lifelong student but I love how September feels like a fresh start. After a summer of too many meals out, poolside sangrias, and sleep ins, the start of September can be a great way to get back on track for the final third of the year and a second chance to finish 2016 feeling great and on a positive note. This past summer has been especially busy for me. I travelled around Australia, Japan, and Korea and then came home for two weeks filled with get togethers with friends and familys while at the same time trying to pack up to move to Windsor to start a new graduate program later this week. The craziness of the past two weeks (and three months) has made me really want to use to September to focus on my health and organization. First up on my list? Getting my finances back on track.
Mad’s post, “An Opportune Time to Start Saving” from last month was the exact inspiration and perfect reminder I needed to get back to reality financially after 8 months of travel and holidays.
I completely agree that finding balance between cutting expenses as much as possible while still enjoying yourself is key to loving your life. I’ve been living the student life for seven years now and therefore have some excellent ways to be financially savvy and thrive on a student budget.
Disclaimer: I am not a coupon clipper nor do I consider myself a Sally Saver. I’d much rather go to the gym than spend hours browsing flyers for sales. For these reasons, I think my tips are perfectly achievable for 20-somethings trying to juggle a million different things.
Make it automatic- a proud moment for me as a 20-something was setting up automatic withdrawals from my chequing account into a few different savings accounts. It feels so good to know that I am taking a pro-active approach in saving for my future. Most of the time I don’t even realize the money’s been taken out and it’s a guaranteed way to make sure I don’t skimp out on my monthly savings when I do a bit too much retail therapy. As Mad’s post suggests, saving between 15-20% of your income is ideal, but remember that something, no matter how small, is better than nothing. The sooner you start saving, the faster it adds up.
My old roommate, Syd, (check out her guest post here), gave me the suggestion of buying whatever produce is on sale each week. It’s an easy way to save money and also gives you a great variety in your diet. Because of this, I automatically switch up my fruits and veggies every week and never get bored with what I’m eating. Plus I end up trying a lot of new recipes! I’ve taken this one step farther and applied the sale rule to my cosmetic products. I stock up on my shampoo, facewash, and moisturizer whenever they’re on sale and trust me, the savings add up!
Finally, I am very much pro goal-setting. I use lululemon’s goal setting guides and try to update my goals every 6 months. Starting with where I want to be personally, professionally, and financially in 10 years and working down to the upcoming year, helps me put into perspective the things I need to be doing now to get to where I want to be. Acknowledging your financial goals, whether it's a house, car, or holiday, is an excellent motivation to start saving. September also means an excuse to buy a new agenda. Writing my important dates down for the upcoming months in my new ban.do agenda has already helped me get on track with my goals for the remainder of 2016.
Enjoy your last sunny days of summer 2016!
Lots of love,
As much as we hate to admit it, we’re almost halfway through August which means summer is slowly coming to a close. But have no fear! There are still a few weekends left to make sure you end Summer 2016 on a high note. Our best tip? Schedule in a last minute road trip or a girls weekend with your closest friends! Mad and I try to do an annual trip every year and even if it’s just somewhere close by and more of a staycation, we always end up making so many memories. Last summer, we had an unreal weekend at the cottage with our favourite girls and we can’t wait to repeat again next week when we both reunite for the first time this year (stay tuned)!!
For some inspiration to plan a spontaneous getaway, here are some of the highlights from our 2014 and 2015 trips!
New York City- Summer 2014
Cottage- Summer 2015
Lots of love,
It’s a quote seen all over social media in varying ways but always along the lines of “the magic happens when you get outside of your comfort zone” and I could not agree more. I’m the kind of person who’s extremely shy in crowds when I know no one but outgoing when I’m in a group of people I’m comfortable around. And when I’m in a new situation and out of my comfort zone, I can feel really nervous and quite emotional. I was the child who called home in the middle of the night to get picked up from any sleepover I attempted. And I always hated going to summer hockey camps and trying out for new teams. I remember trying to hold the tears back in the locker room and during the drills, because I hated the feeling of being alone. After making it through the first hour, things would start to look up and I always ended up really enjoying myself. I made incredible friendships, was apart of great teams, and developed my hockey skills well enough to be recruited by NCAA universities.
Fast forward 10 years and my parents have just moved me in to my dorm room in Plattsburgh. Unknowingly, we moved in on the Friday while pretty much everyone else moves in on the Saturday of Move-In Weekend. I cried myself to sleep after we said our goodbyes on the first night and for the first half of the next day. I felt lost, alone, and extremely scared. I didn’t even know where to go to get breakfast! I survived the night and the next morning I asked someone how to get to the dining hall. As the day went on and I met the rest of my freshman class and teammates, my nerves gradually disappeared. The first few weeks were filled with unknowns and too many learning experiences to count. Over the next four years, I learned to embrace the unknowns and take every new experience as an opportunity to grow. My years at Plattsburgh State really shaped me into who I am and who I want to be. The memories and friends I made are lifelong. I know now that my university experience would never have been the same had I not taken the risk to go to a university in a different country where I knew no one.
It’s four days after my graduation from Plattsburgh and Mad and I have just checked into our hostel in London after our first meeting with the Contiki crew. We’re about to have an incredible three weeks travelling around Europe and some of the most fun I have ever had but I am feeling so nervous and homesick. Even though I have my best friend with me, it’s still a situation where I have no idea what to expect and barely know anyone in the group. Luckily, I once again survived a scary first night and the next three weeks turned out to be life changing. We both really caught the travel bug and I realized I wanted to see and experience as much of the world as I possibly could. Our contiki tour set the foundation for my current location and everything I’ve experienced during the first seven months of this year. By putting myself in an uncomfortable situation, I allowed myself the opportunity to see new places and try new things and I realized I loved every single minute of it.
When I arrived home from our Contiki trip, I knew I wanted to see more of the world. I eventually decided on a working holiday in Australia after the completion of my Masters. Of course, my fears followed me on my flight to Sydney last December. I was in tears during my connection in the Vancouver airport and completely questioning my decision to take the year off instead of finding a real “big-girl” job. I’m so happy I overcame my fears and took the leap to just do what I wanted to do. This year has been the best year of my life and by stepping outside of my comfort zone, I was able to realize what I want from my life, both personally and professionally. I’m coming home in two weeks with so much clarity that I know I wouldn’t have, had I settled into a job and location where I was comfortable.
I’m the first to admit that it’s scary to do something you’ve never done or to go somewhere you’ve never been. My best piece of advice? Always remember that the hardest part is making it through the first night. Once you do, you’ll realize that the reward and what you stand to gain is always more than worth the risk.
We'd love to hear from you- feel free to share a time when you've gotten out of your comfort zone and tried something new!
Lots of love,
In honour of my last few days in Melbourne, I'm sharing my favourite things and my must dos in this amazing city. My seven months in Australia have been nothing short of amazing and living and working with a local family paired with my Aussie boyfriend gave me the perfect combination. I was really able to experience Melbourne from a local perspective and learned about all the hidden gems that many tourists miss out on. If you're someone with Australia in your upcoming travel plans, I highly recommend you include a stop in Melbourne on your itinerary.
As expected, first up on my list is the food. Checking out new restaurants and bars has to be my favourite thing about visiting a new place. Ant and I take our food seriously and spend just as much time researching what cafe we're going to eat breakfast at as what hotspot we're going to visit that day when we're on holiday. Enjoying local cuisine is one of the best ways to experience a new culture and Melbourne will not disappoint. It really is a food and drink lover of any level's paradise.
Fonda Windsor- Mexican has to be my all time favourite dish and Fonda's relaxed and contemporary spin on authentic Mexican has made it a regular on my local eateries list. Try the Mex-Bim-Bap bowl for a fresh and yummy meal. Want to heat things up? The “F*** You” sauce will leave your mouth burning for the next three hours (I now go for the Jane Fonda sauce to be safe).
Naughty boy- Melbourne takes breakfast to the next level and I've shamelessly gone for brunch pretty much every Saturday and Sunday since I've arrived. Naughty Boy is the first brekky spot Ant took me to and it didn't take long for me to realize why. My "InstaShake" was more than Instagram worthy and my "Eve's Garden" is still the best breakfast I've ever had.
Chin Chin is a South East Asian fusion spot in the city centre based around the concept of sharing dishes. Be prepared to wait for 2 plus hours as they only take one 10 person table reservation a night. It's more than worth the wait though and you can pass the time with a few drinks in the GoGo bar downstairs. Go stress free and just order the "Feed Me" option. You can relax while you're served the restaurant's best and favourite dishes.
The Swan- one of my favourite bars may come as a surprise to the Melboure Locals but I haven't had a bad night at The Swan. I love great cover bands more than concerts and The Dirty Bird (as its referred to by locals) has an awesome one. They play the best singalong throwbacks mixed in with Australian pub songs that I never know the words to but trust they're classics by how loud everyone else is singing them.
If you're in Melbourne between the months of April and September, be prepared for Footy Season. The best way I can describe it is to compare it to the way Canadians live for the NHL Playoffs. Australian Rules Football is played across Australia but the biggest following is in Melbourne. 10 of the 18 professional AFL teams are based here so attending a footy game at the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground is a must. While you're at the game, make sure you enjoy a meat (or vegetarian) pie and a hot jam donut!
The Great Ocean Road is a can't miss spectacular coastal drive and well worth renting a car for if you're just visiting. Make sure you plan to spend about 8 hours cruising along, because between traffic and pulling over to take in the incredible views, you'll need every minute of it! The road pretty much wraps up with the 12 Apostles but I recommend continuing on to Warrnambool or Port Fairy for the night to take in a few extra beautiful coastal views. The inland drive back to Melbourne the next day is only about 3 hours.
**Full disclosure** I am a non-coffee drinker and amongst the very small percentage of people who have made it through a thesis without a cup of coffee. However, I swear Melbourne coffee comes from a different planet. There’s none of the instant or drip coffee that North Americans are accustomed to. It’s all expresso and lattes and coming from someone who doesn’t even like coffee flavoured ice-cream or chocolate, I actually really enjoy my soy lattes at brunch on the weekends.
The Mornington Peninsula is only a bit over an hour drive from Melbourne and well worth the drive. I’ve done four or five day trips to different areas there and still feel like there’s more to see and do. Check out the Peninsula Hot Springs for a relaxing soak, Portsea Pub for a yummy lunch with a view, and Sorrento Back Beach for some incredible running trails. You can also spend the day winery touring around Red Hill. There really is something for everyone!
As we're always saying, our 20s are for exploring, seeing the world, making memories, and enjoying as many different experiences as we can and that’s exactly what I’ve spent the past seven months doing. After taking a mini “time-out” from reality, I really feel as though I’ve found myself here. I’m leaving motivated, inspired, and ready to continue making the most out of every day so that I can build the best life possible for myself. Travel truly is the only thing we can buy that makes us richer and you never know what you may discover about yourself once you’re out of your comfort zone.
Lots of love,
Hannah: the girl with an exuberance like no other, she's been there done that! Mad and Teal have both been involved in so many memories with Hannah there's really no place to start! She can adapt to anything thrown her way and brings only positivity to a group. Hannah inspires us both to travel as much as possible, experience everything we can, and to always be up for an adventure! We were so honoured when she agreed to write a guest post for bronze & gold and we couldn't be more excited to share!
For anyone who knows me, the appropriate question to ask is usually “where are you now?” or “where are you off to next?”. For the majority of my very young adult hood I’ve been on the move…nomadic you might say. I realized recently that I have not lived in once place continuously for more than 8 months in seven years. And baby, did I love it. My resume reads like a weird travel guide, probably titled something along the lines of “ beautiful places, crappy wages and housing that is usually subsidized.”
Here’s something I have come to terms with recently though; staying put, snuggling in, and coming home has become one of the greatest adventures I have ever had. I moved home to Ottawa a little over a year ago; freshly graduated, single, and bored to tears with the thought of living in the capital. Despite my outlook, I knew I was so fortunate to work for a company that allowed me to transfer seamlessly, that a room had become available in my sister’s apartment, and that Friends was finally available on Netflix. My main motivation for moving back after spending 8 months in Vancouver & Whistler was because my sister was getting married and I was a big part of the party.
But let me take a time out and confess, I knew it was time to come home. You know that little voice, that teeny tiny one that always knows exactly what’s right- it had been screaming at me for a while. Because I’ll tell you something, seven years on the go takes its toll. It forces one to buy more clothes hangers than a sane personal can handle. Seriously, it is a pain in the butt to move them and even worse to have to shell out cash for new ones. Ok, I won’t get too hung up on my pet peeve. Suffice it to say, I needed to touch my feet down here for a hot minute.
And guess what, Ottawa is actually awesome. See my hashtag #ottawaisactuallyawesome on instagram for proof. Ottawa and my job here have challenged me to get real uncomfortable with not having an escape plan. I’ve invested in things like a relationship, a job and a city that have helped me grow as a person beyond my wildest dreams. These are things I never put too much stock in while galavanting; it’s easy to ignore the places you need to work on within yourself when you’re constantly viewing the world through a kaleidoscope of fun. Sidebar: please do not get me wrong; I still have all the fun all the time and I do not intend to spend the rest of my waking days in Ottawa. I needed to get real with myself & what I want in life though and a little stability helps that cause.
So here I am, content to be sitting pretty in the capital city for a little while longer. I’ve got goals though, big ones to travel and explore. There’s no way I’ll reach 30 countries until the age of 30 by sitting on my behind. But what I know now is that my future travels will be different. I’m more conscious and aware of why I’m going where I’m going, and not just for the cheap rent. I’m still flying by the seat of my pants but this time with a compass in hand. And I have accepted that it’s ok to sit still for a second. That it’s ok to want to stay if it means where I go next will be rad because I wholeheartedly chose my next adventure. Basically, that it’s ok to be the first one asleep at a sleepover because you never know what kind of sunrise you’re going to wake up early for.
Preface: to set up the way I think, this post is coming from a stereotypical Dutch girl who gets a rush of excitement when she drives in the rain. Why? It’s a free carwash. I like a good bargain.
I first met Lesley-Anne Scorgie when I was in 2nd year university. I was a delegate in the Queen’s Canadian Leadership Conference and she was a keynote speaker. At that point she was the author of two books, Rich by Thirty and Well-Heeled - books geared at helping people make the most of their dollars. I’m sad to report, though, that my immaturity didn’t take advantage of the ideas she presented and I spent the next 4 years of my life continuing to do what I did best…. Spending every penny my parents dished out, taking train trips like they were no big deal, procrasti-perusing Urban Outfitters more often than I should, and treating myself to celebratory Lululemon on the reg.
Looking back, my older and wiser self now sees that blowing all my (albeit minimal) money on these things didn’t make or break my university years, but I’m sure glad I got it out of my system. Fast forward to spring 2016, a Facebook friend of mine booked Lesley-Anne as the keynote for her sweatworking event. While I was unable to attend, my now grownup interest was piqued when I saw her name come across my social media feeds and I followed her instantly. Lesley-Anne was running a promo: ask her a financial question and I could win a copy of her newest book, Modern Couples Money Guide [click to be linked to where to buy].
Money questions, I had plenty. Don’t we all? But what I wondered most as I am about to embark on my journey as a career woman is what percent of my income I should tuck away. I wanted to start from my very first big girl paycheque.
Getting a tweet back from someone famous is a thrill. It’s only happened to me a couple of times and has always had to do with the hockey sportscasters I bother. This time, I not only got a tweet back but my question was the first one chosen and I would now receive my very own copy of Modern Couples which from that moment forward I held closely and referred to as “My Finance Book”. This book and Lesley-Anne’s wisdom came into my life at such an opportune time what with my new employment adventure coming up. Appointments with my RBC Advisor, pre-empted by readings about saving and investing saw me inspired and excited about my frugality. Her response? Smart savers tuck away between 15 and 20% of their income.
A lot of us dream about buying something wild with our first paycheque. Before my brother spoiled me with a fancy shmancy designer bag for my birthday, that had always been my goal. But now I see myself inspired to save from my very first paycheque, knowing what it could turn into and knowing that the old soul in me is after the comfort of a little security.
I’ve already posted about ways to save when it comes to food (read: Chapter 35 - Waste Not Want Not). But there are a number of other things you can do to avoid frivolous spending that really isn’t adding value to you or your life. I’m not talking about being a fun sucker… if going to a concert or buying that pair of jeans will genuinely make you happy then do it! I try my best not to get sucked into the FOMO social media generates. Instead of feeling like I’m missing out by not going to EVERY SINGLE country concert, I choose one a year to treat myself. Last year it was Shania, and this year I’m hoping it will be the Dixie Chicks… two very epic, once in a lifetime experiences. Similarly, when it comes to shopping I’ve learned to do a couple things: there comes a time when we need certain items (a good pair of jeans, a suit for interviews). Other than those times, when it’s something tempting and unnecessary in the grand scheme, I calculate how many hours I have to work for it and then reconsider how badly I really need it.
I’ve also taken advantage of the sharing society we millennials embrace. I drive a lot, as my mom would tell you my car is always tearing one way or another up and down the 401. In a long distance relationship Joey and I quickly learned the benefits of subsidizing our weekend visits by offering rides on Rideshare. In doing this we made our gas money back (usually in full, sometimes with enough of a profit to cover the weekend’s spending money) and we enjoyed meeting new people to chat with for the long ride. Something we’d be doing anyway, but covering the money it costs and having company for the trip.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that as 20-somethings in an image driven culture it seems that getting your hair, nails, waxing, and tanning done is a necessary monthly expense. But me being me, I get my hair cut twice a year. I get more of a thrill of posting up on the side of the tub and doing my own pedicure for free. Tanning… I’m a redhead so that’s virtually out of the question. And waxing, okay here I admit… your eyebrows and your bikini will thank you for dishing out the moola, there are some things you just can’t do yourself!
Again, these are all just things that I’ve evaluated as fitting for what it is I want to achieve financially and what I prioritize. Having just moved to California I’ve embraced the fitness culture by enrolling in a gym that I would have seen as way more than my frugal self wanted to spend. But for where I’m at right now, not knowing anybody and having lots of time to devote to my wellbeing, I put it at the top of my list of priorities and splurged. When it comes to money everybody is different and that is what makes the world go around. I think that is what’s great about Lesley-Anne’s books… they appeal to whatever kind of spender or saver you may be with tips and tricks for everyone. If you’re looking for a kickstart I highly suggest giving one a read because even those of us with engrained-Dutchness can use some updated, tried and true methods for saving yet having what it is you need/want.
10:13pm, Monday: I just tucked mom and dad and Hennie in for the last time for awhile. The time I've spent at home the last couple months has been unreal. Very old-lady, bed by 10 kinda unreal - let me clarify. But I've connected with my parents like I hadn't ever before. Maybe cause I finally matured. Who are we kidding, that’s probably it. I'm trying not to cry as I take in the smell of the laundry, or hug the pillow Joey sleeps on when he's here. This isn't goodbye, it's see you later. This will always be my home, no matter how long my adventures take me away. Today the boys loaded two of my million suitcases into the truck. At this point I have no clue what I've put in them.
7:55am, Tuesday: This morning was so bitter sweet. I don't think Hennie knew exactly what was going on, I kissed her mid breaky so she was awfully focused on her dish to soak up my embrace. Mom cried as we walked out to the truck, and even dad had a glint in his eye. Slate delivered me to the airport at a spry 5:45am.
2:00pm PST, Tuesday: Only now, as the plane is about to land in San Diego do I feel it's real. When I pick up my bags and then the rental car I don't have anybody to program the GPS or validate my directional skills. Tomorrow I will start working for Upper Deck, the company that makes hockey cards and memorabilia. It's my time to make a mark in the hockey world. I've studied my arse off for the past six years and dreamed about the day I would start a real job. Now that's happening and the coolest part is that it's my life experience as a professional hockey sister that is propelling me forward. All the moments of weakness where I've been unsure of my place in the hockey journey can be laid to rest.
A question I get a lot is how this all came about. How did I wind up with such a cool job in such a dream location? Well, one afternoon when I was applying for jobs like a mad woman (see my post Job hunting is a full time job) I thought to myself… Mad, you’re 23 years old. Yes these jobs are what you took in school but give it a whirl, go out on a limb, and apply to some hockey jobs. So I texted Slate, asked how far our connections reached without a conflict of interest and he suggested I check out Upper Deck. That day I signed my cover letter “Yours a hockey sister, Madison” and sent it in. I emailed it to the girl who, turns out, is now my amazing colleague/partner in crime. But I didn’t hear back until April Fools Day when Joey and I were driving and my phone started ringing from a number and Oceanside, California. He begged me to answer, insisting I had won a gimicky cruise. But I knew where the call was coming from and, as I slurped my bubble tea, I needed a second to get my mind in job mode.
After a few phone conversations the company flew me out for an in-person interview so Kare came with and we checked out the town. Carlsbad is a coastal dream, a fancy little city just north of San Diego where the ocean breeze keeps the Southern California temperatures at bay. The Mexican restaurants are a plenty and it seems they give Maserati’s away for free - I’m still waiting though. I’m living in a beautiful home owned by a lovely family and two doggies. It is really nice to come home to in these first weeks when every moment is a transition. Plus I’m living in a kind of luxury I don’t think my new grad budget could swing just yet which is a major score! The cost of living in California is nutso but renting a room in this home is a win-win.
My office is a sports fans paradise… memorabilia EVERYWHERE. When I arrived on Wednesday my department, Player Relations/Talent Acquisition, had a Crosby figurine and a Lightning helmet signed by Slate sitting on my desk awaiting my arrival. As if that wasn’t thoughtful enough, they took me to In-n-Out Burger for lunch to honour my first day in California which checked off the first stop on my Cali bucket list.
Driving along the coast, the famous Pacific Coast Highway - State Route 1, never gets old. Nor does seeing tall tall palm trees. My drive to work is ridiculous… looking out over mountains and valleys with amazing homes lined all the way to the tops.
It’s pretty surreal to be here and only feels far away when I Facetime home and see it’s already dark there while the sun is still up. So far I’ve been indulging in retail therapy to pass the time. A large part of that is scowering the aisles of WalMart for the American junk food we can’t get at home - see below. I’ve also signed up for a gym membership at Equinox (extreme levels of fabulousness, check it out!) which is pricier than the thrifty Mad would ever admit to but I’ve learned it’s part of the California lifestyle to spend time and money on perfecting yourself. I’m probably going to steer clear of the Botox and plastic surgery advertised on the radio every day so a gym membership really isn’t such a bad buy. Plus it's just plain beautiful there and I'm a working woman now. This is what us young-urban-professionals are meant to do!
My first work assignment comes this weekend at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas. As I write this I just got out of the car after I started the engine, mapped out my route, Googled “spray tan allergic reactions”, and promptly turned the car off and returned to my laptop. I have been talking up the spray tan for as long as I’ve known I’d be going to Vegas but the risk of itching and burning symptoms makes the perks of the colouring null and void. I’m a redhead, it’s expected I be pale-ish. Plus I spent a solid amount of time sitting on the beach (exclaimer: eating tacos) today so au naturel is how Vegas is going to see me. And I can't wait!
Until next time, this California girl has some sun to soak up.
A song came on at spin class Saturday morning and the chorus was exactly what I needed to hear, "follow what you love and you'll love what you do" (disclaimer: it may or may not have been a One Direction song). As most of you will know, I've been living and travelling in Australia for the past six months. I've been having the time of my life but I recently made a really tough and bittersweet decision to return home and pursue a Master of Sport Management this fall.
I think for anyone who knows me well, Sport Management is a given as a career for me. I'm a lifelong athlete and truly passionate about sports plus I love administration, coordinating, and I'm extremely organized. For some reason though, it took me a really long time to realize this is what I wanted to do with my life. I talked about "Consilience" months ago in one of our first posts on bronze & gold and how it brought me to my passion. Now I'm expanding on Chapter 3 and I've decided to pursue my ultimate career goals 100%.
I have friends buying cars, houses, having babies, getting married, and starting some really amazing jobs which makes it even harder for me to imagine going back to school and the student life, especially after 6 months in holiday mode. However, one of the most important things I've realized during the first half of my 20s is that you absolutely cannot compare your journey to anyone else's. It's ok that I'm 25, starting a second Masters, and have none of those things that some of my closest friends do.
Your 20s are for finding yourself and setting yourself up for your 30s. I've finally realized that I'm pretty darn lucky to have found exactly what I want to do and have the opportunity to pursue it. For anyone out there who is feeling a little lost on what they want to do, it's ok and completely normal. I've been there and it's tough! Be proud of yourself for wanting to build a life you love. My best tip comes from a diagram I found taped up on a coffee machine one of my first weeks in Melbourne.
You can use this as a format to brainstorm potential careers. For me, as soon as I combined what I love with what I'm good at, everything finally clicked! My dad always says that he hasn't worked a day in his life because he loves his job and that's exactly what I am striving for. We have so many years ahead of us to work. Plus our jobs affect our quality of life so much which is exactly why I'm a firm believer in carefully choosing our careers. It's ok to take your time in finding the right path for you because ultimately, a job you're passionate about is a major step towards living a life you love.
Lots of love,
The other week, I was chatting with a friend about his company’s outlook on both professional and personal goal-setting with their employees. As a sales company, their employees are already accustomed and required to set goals in their professional lives but what’s unique about this company is its focus on personal goal-setting and productivity amongst their employees. The company encourages and works with all employees to set goals apart from their sales goals. These range from saving money, improving fitness, and personal career goals to name just a few. As a goal oriented individual and a to do list lover, I was amazed by the company’s mindset and inspired by our conversation. Company employee well being and goal setting are two separate posts on their own but in honour of this #MotivationMonday, I want to share some of the amazing tips I learned from our short chat and some of the other tips I’ve acquired to help you make the most out of and own this upcoming week.
As a student-athlete, I took classes on leadership and organization. We were taught time management and productivity skills because knowing how to maximize your time and being able to just get things done are essential when you’re balancing a full course load while playing a full-time sport. One of the best things I learned, that I still use all the time, is to write down anything you need to do. Seeing it in writing not only keeps it fresh in our mind but also gives us the extra motivation to complete it, sometimes just for the satisfaction of crossing it off your list (one of my favourite things to do). My friend’s company takes this one step further and encourages their employees to create a list of 3 to 5 things they want to accomplish each day. A great way to do this and also start your week off on a positive note is to spend 10 minutes on Sunday night jotting down a list of everything that you need to get done for the week. From this “master list” you can break it down into 3 to 5 things for each day which is not only less overwhelming but also gives you a plan for each day.
My favourite part of our chat came following his daily to do list suggestion. I’m a sucker for motivational quotes and to be honest a sucker for any good quote that comes my way. So when my friend told me about his company’s mantra to “Eat the Frog First”, I was instantly intrigued. It’s a simple concept but has been a big game changer for me. The idea is to look at your list and identify the “frog”,the thing you really don’t want to do but you actually need to. By eating the frog first, in other words, doing what you’re dreading the most at the start of your day, you set your day up for success. Instead of spending your day worrying about how hard that paper is going to be to write or how bad that phone call is going to go, and more than likely imagining circumstances that make it much worse than it actually is, it’s already done and you’re free to move on with your day. Maybe it’s a workout, maybe it’s cleaning your car, or maybe it’s a tough conversation you need to have with a friend. Regardless of what your frog is, you’re guaranteed to feel a lot better once it’s out of the way because often it’s not as bad as you’ve been imagining. You’re also guaranteed to have a productive day because you’ve started on such a positive note and gotten the toughest part of your day out of the way. I’ve been “eating my frogs" first for the past couple weeks and it’s had an amazing impact on my productivity. I’ve been able to get some things done that I’ve been putting off for awhile by simply sucking it up and getting them out of the way first thing.
Regardless of what you need to get done and what frogs may be weighing you down today, we encourage you to try making a daily to-do list and eating those frogs first thing. Let us know how it works for you!
Lots of love,
Izzy (left) is the kind of girl you dream about being. Cool beyond belief, extremely laid back, life of the party, and an undercover genius! She and Mad were paired together for a graduate seminar presentation (for which Mad wildly underprepared) and have been friends ever since. She's an avid runner, enthusiastic knitter, surprise lover of inappropriate rap tunes, and oh yeah, pulling a Legally Blonde and going to Harvard Law School in the fall (but her humble self would never admit that!) **With a special excerpt from Izzy's former roommate Yunlin (right) who is also wildly successful and cool! A true power pair - there had to be something in the water!
When Madison asked me to write for her blog I was flattered and excited beyond what was probably appropriate for a coffee shop setting. First, this was early in our friendship and Mads is very cool and polished—the type of girl I would have been terrified to talk to in middle school. Second, writing a blog post gave me an excuse to talk about myself, my second-favourite hobby besides snaughing (cyclical snorting and laughing).
My dreams of mega-fame promptly came crashing down, however, when I realized I needed something interesting to say. Mads suggested I write about getting into law school; the initial plan was a How-To Guide. But as they say, the best-laid plans are often mangled beyond recognition. As I was writing, I was inspired by my former roommate and eternal love Yunlin Xue, who sent me a Princeton Professor’s CV of Failures.
I began thinking: why aren’t we proud of our failures? In terms of public personas—and on social media in particular—there is intense pressure to present a sanitized version of our lives in which we are always happy, successful, and standing with our heads tilted to one side (often accompanied by a hand-on-hip).
Well, fuck that. I consider my rejections not only funnier than my accomplishments, but in some ways more impressive. It’s easy to persevere when we’re succeeding. What’s hard is to keep pushing when you’re getting doors slammed in your face—when all you’re hearing is that you’re not good enough; haven’t worked hard enough; that you aren’t needed.
Both Yunlin and I are lucky in that we’ve experienced virtually no real adversity. But as any fragile Millenial flower will tell you, rejection still hurts. I don’t know if failure makes you stronger, but—as our lengthy CVs attest—it won’t necessarily keep you from getting into law or med school.
So, without further ado I present:
“WikiHow to Get into Harvard Law: An Annotated CV of Failures.”
Scholarships I Did Not Get
Jobs I Did Not Get
Feeling inspired by the idea of writing a CV of Failures yourself? Here's Yunlin's CV for another awesome example!
How to get into U of T Med
Post-undergrad programs I did not get into
Programs I wanted to apply to but didn’t think I was qualified
Job applications I never heard back from
Awards/Scholarships I did not get
General life failures