I have Exciting News

I have decided that I don’t want to be just another fish in the sea, I want to make waves. I have never settled at an average life and now that I am graduating college that is exactly what I am afraid of becoming. So in order to prevent that from happening I have decided I want to take ACTION.

holiday-shindig

I want 2017 to be the best year of my life yet and in order for that to happen I don’t want to sit back and wait for opportunities to approach me. So I have decided to further pursue my ‘career’ in blogging my starting my own blog. Yes that is correct.

Im starting my own blog!

I have decided to launch my own website which will host my blog and be an upgraded and even better version of my blog today. In January 2017 I will have my blog on the internet to share with all of you. I know it is going to take a lot of work and dedication but I truly love blogging and want to continue as I take the next big step in my life after college.

In a little over three months I will have been blogging for a year and I want to continue for many more year. Blogging means a lot to me, while it is a lot of work on the back end it is totally worth it. Blogging inspires me to research and learn. It give me a creative outlet to share all my thought with other like minded people like myself. All of you motivate me to try new things in life and being able to share them with all of you makes it even better.

I have a lot of plans for my new blog and I hope all of you will continue with me on this lovely journey called life. I try appreciate each and every one of you. Reading your comments and seeing your support makes me so happy.

One of my main new years resolutions to create so much more content not only on my blog but also on my social media accounts as well.

So I would love all of your support and love it if you could comment something you want to see on my blog.

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4 Steps to Acing Your Interview

Recently I was searching for a new part time job and I quickly realized that I was not prepared. All of the jobs I have worked have been lifeguarding jobs and I wanted to branch out and gain more experience. I was working a lifeguarding job on campus but would no longer be able to work there after I graduate in December. I wanted to find another job off campus to gain more experience and guarantee I have a job after graduation. When I started my job search I thought it would be easy but quickly realized it wasn’t. After countless applications and many interviews I have a new job in marketing and I am excited to see where it takes me.

Throughout my experience I feel that I have become well educated in filling out applications and attending interviews. All of my interviews were one on one but these tips could easily be adjusted and applied to any interview setting. Since my interviews were for part time positions they were more laid back than they would be for a full time position so be prepared to step it up of your interviewing for a full time job.

Step #1 Preparation

Attire

It is important to look the part when going into an interview. Consider the job you are applying for and what you would be wearing on a daily basis to work. Invest in some interview attire that you only wear for interviews until you secure a job. This would ensure that your clothes look neat and clean and not run down. It is better to go into an interview over dressed than under dressed.  People often forget about shoes. Make sure that your shoes are polished and clean.

Research

Take time to look into the company before the interview. Check out their website and reviews of the company on other websites. Make sure you understand their mission statement and the products or services they offer. One thing I do is search the internet for employee reviews. Employees often review the company and their experience working there. Also look for recent news articles on the company. If anything bad has happened in the past it will most likely be covered in the news. Lastly make sure you fully know the job description and what the job entails. If there is something you are unclear of make a note of it so can ask about it during the interview. I will cover more about asking questions later on.

Another thing I do when looking into a company is directly ask employees questions. I applied for a job at target and ended up getting an interview. Before the interview I went to a different target location and ask and employee who was helping me. I asked simple non offensive questions that she was happy to answer. I simply informed her that I was thinking about applying to work there and was wondering what the staff experience was like. I was lucky she was happy to respond honestly but just be cautious as some employee will refuse to answer. I would also not recommend doing this in a small company.

Step #2 Right before the Interview

What to bring

Double check that you have everything you need before leaving for the interview. I always take a copy of my resume and/or the application, a small note pad and pen and a bottle of water. Also make sure that your pen is woking. When I arrive at my interview destination I take a small drink of water to make sure my mouth is not dry before the interview. When taking my resume I make sure that I have several copies of my cover letter, resume, and references. Having several copies would ensure that you have enough to give to everyone in the interview if there is more than one interviewer. Once again better to be over prepared than under.

Arriving

Never be late for an interview. I often map out the location then add 15 minutes for early arrival and add on an additional 20 or 30 minutes of travel time. That way if there is a traffic jam or road closure I have plenty of time to make it to the interview. If nothing occurs during traveling and I arrive very early I park in a parking lot near by and go over my questions I have prepared and make sure I have everything in order one last time. I also review information on the company and job description to make sure it is fresh in my mind. I generally arrive to the interview ten minutes early. This shows that you are time orientated.

Something else to remember is to silence your cell phone. You don’t want it to start to ring or vibrate during an interview. It is also very important to keep it out of sight. If you arrive early to the interview keep it away while you wait. Look around you or at the receptionist. I often learn things that I wouldn’t have from the website.

Introduction

From the moment you walk into the building until you return to your car remember to be polite to every one and keep a smile on your face. People often reveal what they are thinking through facial expressions without realizing it. When walking into an interview be sure to introduce your self and shake hands with your interviewer.

Step #3 During the Interview

These tips are simple but often go unnoticed. Body language during an interview is very important and can be the deciding factor in the hiring process.

Posture

Sit up straight and be confident. Not only will it make you look better but it will show the interviewer that you are professional and interested. Slouching in your chair gives your interviewer the message that you are relaxed but to relaxed and possibly uninterested.

Show Expression

When the interviewer is talking nodding will show the interviewer you are interested and still listening. Also keep in mind your facial expression. Smiling and engaging through body language during the interview is very important.

Hand Gestures

Use hand gestures when speaking but don’t go over board. Also be aware of your surroundings so you do not hit anything.

Collect Information

Not only do you want to ask questions you have about the job and company but also contact information. Remember that note pad you brought into the interview, if you haven’t used it yet you will now. Get the name, phone number and/or email address of the person interviewing you. This may sound strange but keep reading to find out why this is important.

Step#4 After the Interview

The interview does not end until you drive off the lot. After the interview you get in your car and sit there, people may still be watching you from inside. Once you pull out of the parking lot and onto the road your interview is over.

Follow up

Later in the same day as the interview send a thank you email. Email the person or people who interview you. Simply tell them who you are and thank them for taking time out of their day to interview you and then inform them that you are looking forward to hearing from them soon and are also looking forward to hopefully working with the company.

Then if you do not hear back after a week follow up again with another email or a phone call. I personally call and once again thanking them. I feel that a phone call shows initiative and is more personal. It can help the interviewer remember you and then if they answer it forces them to talk to you and most often they will tell you the status of your application or if they decided to go with someone else.

YOU GOT THIS

At the end of the day going into the interview and knowing you did your best is all that matters. If you don’t get the job keep trying.

Not so Secret ways to Save Money

As a college student I have learned very well how to save money in the past few years but every time I look at my bank account it still has a low balance. I have learned how to live off of a part time student income. It involves a lot of planning and budgeting but it does not mean I don’t get some of the luxury things I want. Below are some tips and techniques on how I save and monitor my money.

The first step to saving money is knowing where your money is going. Start now and monitor where you spend your money. Every time you spend money or make money record it. Write down the date, amount, what the money was spent on, and why you spent it. Or how much money you made, how you made it, and when you made it. You will want to do this for at least a couple weeks if not a month. By monitoring where your money is coming and going you will be able to visual see where your money is at.

Once you have monitored your spending for a month take your list and examine it. You will be able to see what part of the month you spend the most money. You can see how much money your making and how much your spending. You can also re-organize the list by categories. Organize your list into needs (bills, food, insurance, etc), wants (clothes, alcohol, candy, etc) and luxury (tanning, gym memberships, entertainment). Also examine when you get paid and when you spend money. People often spend more money right after they are paid.

Now that you can see when and where your money is going you can make several decisions. These decisions will help you to make a budget and better control your money. Your first decision is to decide how much money you want or need to save? By when do you want to have that amount of money? Then take your amount and divide it up into months or pay periods. Now that you know how much money you need to save each month you can can determine where you need to spend less. I recommend looking in your luxury section of your spending and cut back or eliminate it.

1. Eliminate unnecessary expenses

If your budget is so tight that you don’t have a luxury category the examine your wants and needs. In your needs column you have food. Are you cooking food, eating out, or ordering in? When you eat out are you having fast food or sit down food? Eating out, even fast food is expensive so if you have the time to cook then do it. When you go to the grocery store price check different stores. Larger name stores are often more expensive. Also check store coupon policies. Some stores double coupons and let you use them on sale items.

2. Avoid eating out by cooking at home.
3. Use coupons when ever possible.

Also look for the sales when shopping for anything. When I buy clothes I always look at the clearance racks. Any more clothes are expensive and to by them full price is ridiculous. So use coupons, shop the sales, check the clearance, or look at second hand stores. Many people have problems with shopping at second hand stores because the clothes are used. When a second hand store buys or receives clothes they carefully look them over and will not sell them if they are well loved or older styles. Second hand stores are perfect if you need something for a one time use or costume.

4. Check the clearance racks.
5. Shop or sell to second hand stores.

Another great thing is that some second hand stores buy your clothes back. If you have an over flowing closet or even just some old clothes you don’t wear any more try selling them. I try to sell clothes to Plato’s Closet about every other month. This helps keep my closet emptier and my wallet fuller.

6. Dress warmer or cooler

When at home you can save money by keeping the thermostat at a reasonable temperature. In the summer try dressing a little cooler and having the air condition on a higher temperature to save electricity and money. The same in the winter. Dress warmer and turn the heat down so it doesn’t run as much.

7. Use reusable products

Another way to save money is to review your needs. While you need plates to eat on you don’t need to buy them every month so use reusable products such as silver ware, plates, cups, and even bags. When shopping some stores will give you a discount if your bring your own bag so see if any one your local stores do that.

8. Do you really need that “need”?

When using your reusable cup take a look at what your filling it with. While you may love that Starbucks coffee every morning the price really adds up. So save money by making coffee at home or only drinking water. You already have to pay for water so why waste money on unhealthy sugary drinks. Take a look at some of the other things you think you need as well. While browsing through the store for groceries you come to the candy isle. I know every one has a sweet spot for sweets but just keep walking. Not only will it make you healthier it will save you money on an unnecessary purchase.

I know I jumped around a lot but I hope you will try some of these tips. Even just monitoring your spending and seeing where your money goes will help you to save money. Comment any other things you do to save money that might help other people as well.

Camping DIYs and hacks

First off I want to apologize that this blog is two days late. I know some of you have said things about my consistency and how I haven’t been making my Mondays posts any more. I am sorry for that. Now that summer is here and my summer classes have started I am very limited on time. This blog isn’t just something I throw together Monday morning to post there is actually planning and time involved. It takes me at least an hour to just write the post let alone actually do the DIY and perfect it for all of you. Also I hope all of you keep in mind that I am a normal person just like  you and I do not get paid to do this blog. I do it because I like to share my creations with all of you. Unfortunately because my schedule is crazy with summer classes I haven’t had time to visit my parents let alone write a blog. That means I sometimes have to put my blog on the back burner for a bit and I hate that just as much as you all do. I am currently working on changing the day I post to later in the week so it gives me more time. When I work through all those details I will make another post letting you all know what is happening. I also plan to do some of the DIYs I promised in the past once I find a few minutes of spare time. For now you will have to just work with me. I appreciate all of your support and understanding. I do this for you guys and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. If you have any requests of future DIYs you would like to see, comment or send me an email and I can definitely try to make that happen.

Ok enough of that lets get into the DIY.

It is officially summer and for many of you including my self that means camping. I started RV camping when I was younger with my grandparents. As I got older every year I attended some type of summer camp as well. When I was to old to be a camper I became a camp councilor. When I couldn’t be a councilor any more I started working at a camp grounds as a lifeguard and would stay out there almost every weekend with friends. Sadly that was in my home town and since I have moved away for school my camping has slowed down. The past couple summers I haven’t done much camping and I decided with me graduating soon that needed to change. I am going through a time in my life right now where I want to do as much as possible before I get an adult job and don’t have any free time. So I bought a tent along with about $300 of camping supplies.

I know for many of you just getting into camping that seems like a lot but it really isn’t. If you know me you know I went for the best products possible. For me that means the cheapest product with the best quality. So while I may not have the highest quality or the newest equipment, I have what I need. Due to limited time I can only camp on the weekends and last weekend was my boyfriend and I’s first camping trip of the summer. I am going to be honest it did not go as well as planned. I was a pile of accidents and injuries all weekend. Yes I am very clumsy especially when I am excited. All in all though we had a great trip and plan to go again shortly. Knowing that we would have more than a few camping trips this summer and into the fall I did quite a bit of planning to be ready for all possible camping trips and activities.Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 8.34.38 PM

Hacks

Going camping is a lot of work especially if their is more than one person. I want to take a moment and applaud all the parents that take their kids camping. I hope one day this will be me but I see now that it is going to mean even more planning. So knowing that you need to plan for camping here are a few hack I do to make camping easier. Keep in mind I am camping in a tent so I have to plan to take everything and that includes the sink.

  1. Make an extensive list. I am a list person and honestly I make a list every day. So when I was planning I made a long detailed list of everything I needed to pack. I also made a separate list of what meals we will eat and the food I need to buy and pack. When it came time to pack, it did not take me long at all. I went off my list and gathered all my supplies into a general are. Once it was in the middle of my living room floor I checked it once off my list. After I had everything, I grabbed my totes and bags. As I packed my items I did a second check on my list. This really helps me and I find the amount of time it takes to make a list in the beginning saved me time packing. I also realized that I did not forget anything for my trip.
  2. Pack using plastic totes. Yep that right. I went to Walmart and picked up two cheep totes. One of them was large and the other was medium size. I used the large to pack all my camping supplies that I would use every time we go camping (cooking supplies, bug spray, sun screen, shower supplies, flash lights, etc.). Then I used the other to pack all the food that didn’t need to go in the cooler. Now I know what your thinking this takes up a lot of space in your car. It might not be as versatile on how you can pack it but it cuts down on all the bags of things you will have. It was really easy for me to look inside my tote and be able to find what I was looking for without having to remember what bag I packed it in. Also my large tote with my camping supplies stays packed. When we got home I washed some of the cooking utensils and put them back into the tote. I secured another list to the lid of the tote so when we go camping again I know exactly what is packed inside and things that possibly need restocked. Then with the food tote I didn’t have to worry about animals getting into our food. I put the lid back on the tote and stuck it in my trunk when we left the campsite and at night.
  3. Buy a portable battery pack. When tent camping there are two types of site. Primitive where there is no electricity. Then other sites that have electricity and sometimes water. I was looking at camp grounds on line and noticed they rip you off for electricity. If your planning on camping and taking a lot of electronics with you then get electricity. We were only camping for three days and two nights. I was looking into ways to charge my phone and found a nice solar powered charger online for about $150 but after thinking about it I knew my car had a charger and I wasn’t going to be on my phone a lot if at all. So I took my portable battery pack and I was good to go. I made sure to turn my phone off at night and used my phone for nothing but a camera during the day and I was fine. I did not want to go without some type of charger though incase of an emergency.
  4. Freeze your liquids. When taking a cooler something that drives me crazy is having to go up in cooler size because my ice packs take up so much space. So about a week before you camp put all your drinks in the freezer. Gallon jugs work best because they take so long to thaw out but water bottles work just as good. We bought a big case of water and put half in the freezer and half in the fridge. When we went to go home on Sunday we still had a couple bottles of water partially frozen.
  5. Pack more than you’ll need. When packing I hate carrying around a lot of extra stuff but for this trip I figured I would rather have something I did’t need than need something I didn’t have. I packed plenty of food and camping supplies but we did have a close encounter with water. In my defense it was hotter than I planned and we took a six mile hike on Saturday. After our hike we couldn’t get enough water and ended up drinking all of our water that day. Thankfully there was a shower house with drinkable water so we took our used water bottles and filled them up for Sunday. Needles to say I will be packing more water next trip and probably freezing more.
  6. Bring your creativity. When camping you will be faced with situations your not used to plus you will have to solve them with supplies you don’t have every day. So be prepared to pull a new trick out of your hat and hope it works. Camping can be stressful and you can come across situations that you cannot plan for. After the trip is over you will look back on it and realize all the stress was worth it.

DIYs

There are many possible DIYs to help with camping. I found the majority of my DIYs on Pinterest. I am not going to explain all of these but I will post pictures for every one.

  1. DIY fire starters. All you need is a toilet paper tube, dryer lint, and new paper. Take you tube and stuff it with lint. Then wrap it with news paper and tuck in the ends to secure the paper. When lighting on fire make sure to untuck the ends to allow oxygen to flow through the tube. Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 8.07.35 PM
  2. Weekly pill holders are perfect for your small quantity items. You can place a variety of medications into them or even spices. These would also work great for small hair accessories.

    3. Along with medications make sure you pack a first aid kit. These can get a little pricy so I got another very small tote from Walmart and filled it with supplies from the dollar store. We all have that moment when we think we don’t need a first aid kit. I thought this as I was making it and packing it but I needed it a lot this weekend. I ended up cutting the back of my ankle on the door as I was making my final trip out of the house for the weekend. It was a pretty deep cut but I didn’t want to ruin the weekend so pushed through. I used the bandaids, gauze, medical tape, and alcohol wipes this weekend. I probably needed stitches so I was glad I had my first aid kit.Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 8.08.49 PM

4. Lighters can be glitchy and run out of fluid so I personally recommend using matches. Taking a mason jar and putting sand paper on top makes a perfect water proof match container. Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 8.09.54 PM

5. Keeping clean while camping is important, especially when it comes to your hands. So take an old laundry soap container clean it and fill it with water. Strap a role of paper towels to the side and pack the soap. This creates the perfect hand washing station and if your water is clean and you run out of drinking water you now have a back up supply. Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 8.14.55 PM

6. If you don’t want to make the whole hand washing station pack some paper towels and a garden flag holder to create easily assessable paper towels for when your cooking.Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 8.12.09 PM

7. Worried your eggs will crack. Take an old bottle and pre crack your legs into the bottle. Easily accessible eggs and you don’t have to worry about them braking in your cooler. Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 8.12.19 PM

7. One thing I learned this weekend was cooking over a fire isn’t the easiest. I tried to cook french toast on my hobo pie iron and the eggs exploded out of the pie iron causing me to burn my arms, legs, and hands. So to have a very short prep time for breakfast all you need to do is take an old condiment container and pre-make some pancake batter in it. When your ready to cook just shake and pour. Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 8.08.23 PM

I hope you all enjoy these tips and tricks. I know they will come in very handy this summer and I am excited to get to try all of them.

 

Turn Trash into Treasure

Hello ladies and gentle men I hope you are having a great week so far. I needed to take a break from studying and decided it was time to make this past.

So in a lot of my DIYs I reuse old products from around my house and have tagged several of my posts with recycle. Well while watching my favorite show, Home and Family, yesterday they did a DIY doing something similar and used the correct term.
RE-PUR-POSING. So today I am not going to talk about recycling but repurposing. I have a lot of stuff in my craft room/ area. Since I do share my crafting space with the laundry, fitness equipment, food pantry, storage area, and all the usual basement pipes and junk I am very limited on space. So I try to organize all my crafting supplies. Plus I find it to be a lot easier to craft if everything has a place and everything is in its place. I bought this large cubby shelf from the restore and I am using small containers to sort and store everything. When I starting organizing I bought these small containers. They worked perfectly for what I needed them for and were fairly inexpensive. I quickly realized that I did not buy enough so I found other ways to store my supplies. Along with storage some of these things would be great for children to use.

I am going to post some pictures of my craft room in this blog and warning it is messy. I didn’t have the time or even want to clean up before I took these pictures so you are seeing my craft space how it usually is. A lot of what you see laying around is half finished projects or items I haven’t found a spot to store yet. Bare with me because this room is a very big work in progress.

This is the cubby I was telling you about. It is supposed to stand tall ways but because of limited space I turned it on it side and laid it on top of the desks. On the right is the containers I explained. I also went though and labeled them with some labels I found while organizing. Also on top of the cubby I have about a two foot gap till the ceiling so I store larger containers up there. I have only a few cubbies left that do not have thing in them and the top of my cubby is completely full. As you can see I am running out of space and fast. Over the summer  I am hoping to reorganize the space to create more space and hopefully have more light for my videos.

This next project is a two for one deal. I like to make home made little flowers out of Hawaiian leis. It is much cheeper than buying flowers and I can make them the size and color I want. So I just buy leis from Dollar General or thrift stores and take them apart. I like to organize the taken apart leis by color so I just use old fruit containers. I like them because they are clear and large. They also have holes in them so the flowers won’t get that musty basement smell to them. These containers would also be great for paint brushes or even small kids toys. Its great that they are basically free after you eat all the fruit. All you need to do to repurpose them is to wash them out and maybe take the label off.

This next one was kid of an accident. I was cleaning and found a ton of little containers of play dough. I was going to give it away but upon going through them I found that a lot of them had mixed colors or were dried up. So I threw away all the old play dough and cleaned the containers to recycle them. Well lazy me never took them upstairs to the recycling bin and stumbled upon a purpose for them one day. I was giving a friend a small gift that I did want to lose in my school bag so I painted the container silver and put it inside. It was so cute and unique. I also found they would be the perfect container for earrings when traveling. Also I turned some of them into bead organizers. I wanted to color code my beads and went to buy an organizer. Well I have a lot of beads and the size I would need to buy was more than I was willing to spend. So I took my little play dough containers and starting sorting my beads. They also got a label on the front so I knew what color was inside.

These were just some things that I have recently done. They were all things around my house and saved me some money from buying actual containers. I think this is a great idea especially for me because you all know how much of an organization freak I am.

How to craft on a budget

When Im in the store or online and I find something that I like but then see the high price I instantly think “I could make that for a lot cheeper”. There is probably many of you that fell the same way. Then we go to our local craft store buy all our supplies and end up still spending at least $20. Well today I am going share with you my secrets to crafting on a budget. I am a college student with a part time job that gives me very little hours and even smaller paychecks. Since I have started my blog and got more dedicated to crafting and DIYs I have spent around $200 in crafting supplies. I can honestly say that $0 of that was spent in a craft store.

I used to always go to the craft store when I needed something but with a little searching and shopping I realized that I do not need to go t0 the craft store. Not only can you find the same thing you would in a craft store at other stores but they are almost always cheeper and often better quality. I am currently saving money to do a craft haul and I will be making a post about that.

To find the best deals on supplies when you go to a store check out the art or school supply section to see what the store has. They always sneak in something that you use. I live closer to a Walmart than a craft store so it makes it very convenient when I need something. I never really looked in the art section except for the school supplies. One day my boyfriend needed something for his car so we went to Walmart. I decided to take a look in the craft section and never knew how much stuff they had there. Also the prices were a lot cheeper. The craft sticks I used on my pallet coasters I got form Walmart for $1.97 for a pack of 150. At Jo Ann Fabrics they would of cost me $3.49. It might not be a much but over time the small savings will add up.

Another store I love to buy craft supplies from is the Dollar Tree. Everything is a dollar and they are constantly getting in different items depending on the season. I recently went there and spent over an hour wondering around the small store. I only spent $20 but I got a lot of stuff. I also like to buy my ribbon and flowers form the dollar tree. I don’t use fake flowers often but when buying them from the craft store they can get pricy especially if you need several different types. Another thing I like about their store is, you can go online to their website and order items in bulk. Then you get free inshore pick up. So if you are using a lot of the same supplies you can order it is bulk.

Other stores that I look for craft supplies are Dollar General, Aldi, Ollie’s, and thrift stores. I might only find a few items at these stores but I find they are frequently changing their merchandise. I find thrift stores to be the gold mind. Don’t get me wrong they can definitely be hit or miss but when I do find something it is a lot cheeper. Also the thrift stores I shop at all the proceeds go to charity so I am willing to spend more money there. I recently went to the thrift store and bought a chandelier  for $6. Im planning on painting it and repurposing it so the few scratches it had didn’t matter to me. If I would have bought it brand new I would have spent $30 at least.

Also when crafting get creative. Look for different ways to use supplies or how to turn your trash into something useful. If you want to see what I have done recently I will be making a post called “Trash to Treasure” next week. I will show you how I  use my trash for crafting or how I transformed some items.