Monday, June 30, 2014

How to Survive the Job Hunt (AKA Don't Be Like Me)

Maybe you're fresh out of college, like me. Or, maybe you're just looking for a summer job before you head back to school.

Either way, the job hunt can be pretty intimidating if you're hoping for something specific.
I know everyone says that you're not going to find your dream job right away, but that also does not mean that you have to settle for whatever job happens to land at your feet first. 
You don't want to be miserable at your job, because that makes going in even more difficult than usual.

That's the first rule:

  1. Don't settle.
    Yeah, you don't want to be unemployed for a long time. But you also don't want to be stuck in a miserable job, working paycheck to paycheck, just because you didn't wait until something better came along. I've already turned down 3 job offers because I knew they weren't what I really wanted to do, but I almost considered accepting the most recent one just because I was sick of the job search. Wait for a job you'll be happy with. I promise that you (and I) will find it.

  2. Search Actively.
    I'm sure you've heard it said a thousand times before: Searching for a job is like a full time job. And honestly, it is. You may not be applying for every single job that you spot online, but the time you spend searching can take up a lot of time. I'm pretty sure I'm at my computer for at least 6 hours a day searching and applying for jobs, and those are just the ones that I am qualified for and feel I would enjoy. It may be kind of disheartening to sit at your desk all day just clicking, "apply," but think of it this way: you're preparing yourself for your future job!

  3. Personalize It.
    Okay, first of all, I don't care if an application doesn't require a cover letter. Write. One. Anyway. That shows initiative and it shows that you are truly interested in this position. Now, it's okay to have a cover letter that you use as a template for all of you applications, but these are not one size fits all. Every time you sit down to write a cover letter, you should be considering the job description and ensuring that you're including details that hint to your skills and how they match said description. For a while, I just changed out the position and company title and sent the same cover letter with every application. Not so surprisingly, it wasn't very good and I didn't hear back form most of those companies.

  4. Don't get Discouraged
    The job hunt can be a trying time; believe me, I know. But don't let it get you down. Just because you've sent out 50 applications and haven't heard back from anyone doesn't mean you're a failure. Maybe they just haven't gotten to your application, or maybe it got lost in the chaos. Contact the companies and check up. Make sure they got your application and ask about how the application process goes; they'll appreciate your initiative and maybe even ask you in for an interview right then (trust me, it's happened). But even if they don't, just keep on keeping on. You'll get the best job for you when you get it!

So, while it may seem never-ending, the job hunt will eventually come to a close for everyone. Hopefully sooner than later, but whose to say what can happen and how it will happen? I know I'm not going to settle for a job that will not make me happy, and I'm sure you're the same. If money is an issue, you can always work a part-time job on the side while you continue your job hunt! I'm currently a hostess at Mellow Mushroom while I send in my applications and go on interviews! 

If you have any job search advice or even just a find story, let me know in the comments or an email! I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Prepare for Paradise: St. Thomas

21 Days!

Okay, first of all: Sorry for the late post!!
We've been having some technical difficulties with our internet recently and I haven't been able to get anything done!

But now I'm back!
On with the paradise!!

image from Carnival website

The third island we'll be visiting is St. Thomas, one of the US Virgin Islands!!
I feel like we're constantly visiting this island on cruises, but I never run out of things to do!

  1. Magen's Bay Beach
    Okay, first of all: Magen's Bay is absolutely beautiful. It is also, however, absolutely crowded. Don't let that deter you from visiting, though!! For a small fee you can hop on a bus and head to Magen's Bay where there are lounge chairs, fruity cocktails, and tons of activities! There are icebergs like the one in Grand Turk, in-water bouncy castles, and even jet skis! Of course, you can also go parasailing...if you're in to that.
  2. Coki Beach
    If crowded, touristy beaches aren't your thing, Coki Beach is perfect for you. Hop in a taxi and head on over to this quaint little beach and you'll be able to relax and have fun! The sand is soft, the water is beautiful, and they offer snorkeling!
  3. Coral World
    Love touristy attractions? Love cute sea animals? Coral World is the place for you!! It's basically a fancy aquarium, except the fish aren't in "captivity," so you see them in their natural habitat. And there are a ton of sea horses! Exciting! You can also pet turtles, sharks, and sea lions!
  4. Explore
    Okay, disclaimer: I haven't actually done this one! But I have heard killer reviews from my friends and family. So, what is it, you ask? You take a sailboat and explore the secret coves around the island! How exciting is that? If you're up for adventure, definitely try this!! I'm definitely hoping to try it this year!
  5. Shop
    Like I said, I'm probably going to say this about every. Single. Port. But at St. Thomas, it's a different type of experience. The shopping "center" is in the historical part of St. Thomas and is absolutely beautiful! There's also a great variety of shops for you to browse and, if you need a break, some nice spots for food!

The biggest thing about St. Thomas is to just enjoy it! I really can't wait to be back next month!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Prepare for Paradise: San Juan

24 Days!

Only 24 more days until my Caribbean adventure!

Our second port will be the beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico!
In my opinion, Puerto Rico is more of a place to do touristy things, rather than relax. I don't quite enjoy the beaches here as much, but the historical sites and the shopping are absolutely fab.

Here are my favorite things to do in San Juan!

  1. Drink (like a fish)
    Would you like to know what beverage company currently calls Puerto Rico home? Bacardi! Yes, since being run out of their original home country of Cuba, they've put down roots in this lovely commonwealth. And do you know what that means? Free drinks. If you pay for a ferry ride ($1.50. I think you can spring it) you can head over to the Bacardi factory and distillery to enjoy a tour of the facilities! It's not as in depth as it used to be, apparently, but that's not a big deal. Why? Well, while you're waiting for your tour to start, you get to enjoy a variety of cocktails made with Bacardi products!! (You can also pay a few bucks if you want a blended beverage, like a mojito or daiquiri.) The Bacardi Factory is probably my favorite part of Puerto Rico. Last year I bought at $80 bottle of rum (but it came in a fancy box, had my name engraved on it, AND came with a nice bag!)
  2. Explore
    San Juan is absolutely beautiful. I mean, it is breathe taking. As the carnival website puts it, "this is where the old world meets the new." There's no better way to say it. You can walk around shops while also experiencing so much history, it's ridiculous. If you're up for it, there are even some tours to take you around the city and explain important sites to you! Or, you can just wander around yourself! I definitely recommend you get on of the smoothie-type bevs they serve from carts on the street. (There's a special name for them that I can't remember...) They are absolutely delicious, plus they're perfect for refreshing yourself after some intense exploring!
  3. Night Life
    If your ship is staying in San Juan for the night (or at least part of it!) I definitely suggest you experience the night life of the island. Almost every restaurant and bar offers a great atmosphere for just enjoying the night, so just go and have a great time with your friends! What happens in San Juan stays in San Juan, right? Just make sure you're back on your ship in time!
  4. Shop! (Again!)
    Okay, I'm probably going to say this about every port. But, I mean, it's not every day you get the opportunity to shop in these adorable shops and buy your friends and family some fabulous, authentic souvenirs, right? Budget yourself right, and you can get your friends (and yourself!) something special from every island (and still have money left over for the ship stores!)

There's so much to do in San Juan, so if you ever get the chance to go, I'd definitely say come up with a plan beforehand!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Morning Routine

I have something I need to get off my chest:

I'm a morning person.

Whew. Glad I got that out there. 

Some people ask me "how" I do it, and honestly...I don't know. I've always been one to just get up, get out of bed, and get stuff done. If I don't, I feel like the whole day is just going to be a complete wreck.

My morning routine goes something like this:

  • Wake up (woah, how innovative), typically at 5 am
  • Make my bed, start some coffee Or tea, depending on what I'm in the mood for that day.
  • Exercise. his also varies based on my mood. Sometimes I go through a Zumba video, other times I just wing it, if I have Snickers I'll take him on a walk. It all depends on the day! A few of my friends like to judge me because sometimes I do Blogilates. But you should definitely try it!!
  • Breakfast time! I almost always eat either a bowl of cereal or a cup of yogurt, with that cup of coffee (or tea) I started earlier. Or, you know, 5 cups of coffee. If you recall from this post, I have a coffee maker right next to my bed. I don't have a problem. I swear. Okay, I might.
  • While I eat breakfast, I also take the time to read the news and catch up on my favorite blogs. I love to use Feedly for this, because it separates everything into categories and formats it so it's simple to read everything in one place. I have it on my phone, my tablet, and my computer. I definitely recommend it. Sometimes I do this in the chair by my bed, but I also love to take it out onto my balcony and get some fresh air before the rest of the complex is up (and loud. So very loud.)
  • Now it's time to actually get ready. I shower, brush my teeth, do my hair and makeup, and get dressed. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half.
  • Start the day! Yep, that's the last step. After I'm done with my morning routine, I just start on whatever I happen to have on my to-do list. (Have you used Todoist? It's basically saved my life.)

So I guess that's how I do it; that's how I'm a morning person. I have a routine and I stick to, it I basically just run on auto-pilot until I get dressed. Once you establish a routine that fits your lifestyle, it really isn't that difficult to maintain it. So, if you want (or need) to become a morning person, I definitely recommend establishing a routine for yourself!!

Obviously, I'm not telling you to wake up at 5 like I do; that definitely doesn't work for everyone. Just find something that works for you and stick to it! You'll be amazed what you can do (and how early you can do it) when you really put your mind to it!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Prepare for Paradise: Grand Turk

26 Days!

Only 26 more days until I will be enjoying a fabulous cruise to the Caribbean!

Out first port is Grand Turk, which I have to say is definitely one my favorites.

The water is beautiful, the sand is soft, and the drinks are delicious.
This isn't an island where you're running around trying to see everything; you just want to relax. Okay, and maybe have a little bit of fun.

Here are my favorite things to do in Grand Turk!

  1. Relax
    Yes, relax again. Because you are on a cruise; you're supposed to be relaxing. Grand Turk has a beautiful beach with chairs and cute little canopies so you can sit out in the sun (or not) and enjoy a nice, cold beverage.

  2. Rock Climbing!
    Kind of! In Grand Turk, you'll find one large "iceberg" and one small one, in addition to a trampoline--in the ocean! It's a whole bunch of fun, and a great way to spend your time if you're not relaxing.

         I may look ridiculous, but I'm having fun!

  3. Surfing
    Okay, it isn't real surfing. But Grand Turk has a FlowRider surfing attraction, so you can try it without all of the terrifying sea creatures to worry about! This is also right by the pool, barely off the beach, so if you don't want to deal with the sand--you don't have too!

  4. Margaritaville
    Basically, I don't consider it paradise unless there's one of the following: SeƱor Frogs or Margaritaville. Grand Turk boasts the latter! Stay in the cool, air-conditioned restaurant enjoying an ice cold margarita and some "gator bites" while the rest of your family is in that nasty sand and sweltering heat. And of course, there's the shop attached, so you can go ahead and buy some souvenirs. Or a ridiculously large margarita glass. I'm not judging.

  5. Shop until you drop!
    This is probably one of my favorite parts about every place I've ever visited. But I couldn't NOT include it, right? Grand Turk has a ton of cute, local shops as well as some mainstream ones, like a fabulous Ron Jon Surf Shop. If you don't get any souvenirs at Margaritaville, you'll definitely want to check out the Cruise Center: they have everything you could possibly imagine. Including alcohol. SO much alcohol. It's duty-free, so I bought a ton of Caribbean rum to bring back to my friends last year (I swear I gave it to my friends. Promise.)

If you ever find yourself in the beautiful paradise that is Grand Turk, make sure to try everything on the list! And if you've been, you should definitely tell me your favorite things to do! Since I'm going again in less than a month, I'd love all of the tips I can get!

Sunday, June 22, 2014


I'm sure you've heard of them: people buy the pieces from the LACK series at IKEA because of the price, and then spruce them up themselves to make them more personalized and, well, attractive!

I didn't intend to do one of these projects for a while, but when I went to IKEA and saw a LACK coffee table for $7 (it was a display piece and had a scratch), I just COULD NOT say no!

So, when I get back from my cruise, I'm going to embark on this little adventure: to hack my lack, if you will.
Okay, that wasn't as cute as I thought it would be. Gold star for trying though, right?

Here's my plan:

Scrape off the sticker residue and then pray it with a white primer, both to cover up the scratch and provide a better surface for painting.

I had a thought of maybe painting a Lilly Pulitzer print (this one, specifically) on the top and leaving the rest white, but I came across a couple of potential issues: I would have to alter the colors of the print to make it match my decor (if you can call it that) and I would worry about having such a Summery print on my coffee table in the Fall and Winter months.

Trivial things, I know, but things that bother me nonetheless.

So then my inspiration led me to Kate Spade. Obviously.

I wanted something timeless and classic.

I wanted black stripes.

Think this tablecloth:

 Only actually painted onto the table!

I'm planning on having the black stripes start on the ends, with the stripes extending all the way down the legs--so the outside part of the leg will be black, as well. Then the stripes will alternate black and white. Duh.

I'll leave the rest of the table white and it'll be done!

This is all probably going to be ten times more difficult than I'm anticipating, but...oh well. It's what I want to do and I'm GOING to do it!

I can't wait until I actually get started on it and get it done! There will definitely be a post featuring the finished product.

What do you think??

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Back on Track!

At least, kind of.

This morning, I woke my roommate up at 6am (she wasn't too thrilled) and we took her dog for a walk at the Riverwalk!! (Sorry, my phone is broken and I can't find my camera, so no pictures.)

The temperature was perfect for walking and there weren't too many people around, plus Cappie (the dog) got in some exercise, so overall it was great!

We walked a total of 3.13 miles (that .13 is very important, okay) and afterwards I treated us to some frappuccinos at Starbucks. Okay, so the coffee basically ruined it with all of the empty calories, but it was delicious and totally worth it.

I also bought a fitness ball recently and have been doing a few exercises with it. Have you ever done a plank on a fitness ball? That thing is hard. I could barely make it 15 seconds, and I'm a pro at planking. On the nice, hard ground.

My diet hasn't really been matching up with my health goals (I ate an entire pizza the other day...with bread sticks. Oops), but I'm doing better. Sort of.

Last night, I made pasta and asparagus. That's healthy, right?? Okay, considering all of the olive oil and spices I put on the asparagus before baking it, it miiiiight not be that healthy. And let's not even talk about the salt, butter, and cheese that I put on the pasta.

But still. Progress is progress, right? Sure, I might give a nutritionist a heart attack if they saw what I eat in a day, but at least I'm back to exercising!!

If anyone has any tips for how to make healthy eating easier, or any fitness tips, I would absolutely love to hear them!

Prepare for Paradise: Day at Sea, Part 1

28 Days!

Only 28 more days until I will be enjoying a fabulous cruise to the Caribbean!

And to start off this fabulous cruise, we have a lovely Day at Sea! These are actually some of my favorite days, because you get to explore the ship and do so much.

Here are some of my favorite things to do at sea:

  1. Relax
    Obviously, a Day at Sea is always a chance to relax, because you don't feel pressured to see every sight and do everything you can possibly do in the few short hours you ave ashore. I love to have a nice breakfast in the dining room, then take my tea (or coffee) to the Lido deck to enjoy the morning breeze and a good book before the crowds get out to the pool. Then I'll head back to the cabin, grab my towel and sunscreen, and I'm out by the pool (still with the good book, of course)

  2. Spa Day
    Another wonderful thing about cruises: the on-board SPA. The spas on Carnival ships offer a variety of different services, but my favorites are the Swedish massage and the Hand ritual (which features a manicure!) The services vary from acupuncture to detox wraps to teeth whitening, so there's something for everyone at almost any price point. (But I mean, you're on a cruise. You're going to splurge a little, right?)

  3. Eat Around the World
    On the Lido deck, there are tons of different style foods to try, and I like to try at least one new thing a day. I'm very picky, so the fact that I can just try a little is definitely a big deal to me. Carnival has tons of different food options, ranging from American to Mongolian to Mexican, so it is entirely possible to eat something different for every meal! They also have this great thing called the "Taste Bar," where you literally just get to taste a delicious new food every day!

  4. Shows
    There is never a shortage for entertainment on a Carnival cruise. They offer shows, music, cocktail parties; it's absolutely fabulous. I love to stop by the piano bar right before dinner and enjoy a cocktail while listening to the pianist play jazz pieces and even some top 40 hits! I also love to check out the comedy shows and dance performances they have on stage.

  5. Get Fit
    There's no reason to fall off the bandwagon on a cruise, because they offer so many different ways to stay in shape while you're aboard. There's a fabulous track, wonderful gym facilities, and even group classes! I'm a fan of the elliptical, but sometimes I'll take a walk around the track in the morning. Even if you're just wandering around the boat, you're getting exercise, which is pretty nice, considering all of that food you scarfed down at lunch! 

So, there you have it! My favorite things to do while out at sea, waiting to reach paradise! 

Friday, June 20, 2014


I'm having trouble finding it, recently.

I (obviously) garner inspiration from my personal life, so now that nothing is going I have very little to talk about. As such, I have very little to blog about.

And even when I do feel like I have things to post about, they aren't really things I'm sure are interesting to other people. I AM blogging for myself, but I would like the blogging I do for myself to help someone else, as well.

I've said it before: my biggest blogging inspiration is Carly at the College Prepster. Her writing style personal, yet immersive and engaging. That's what I want.

I want to blog about things I find interesting, but that other people find interesting as well.

I don't just want to talk to myself or at others. I want to start a conversation. I want to meet people because of my blog.

I know it's not going to happen immediately, and I obviously need some more experience, but that's what I'm striving for.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Cruise Countdown!!

30 Days!

That's how long it will be until I will be boarding the Carnival Liberty for 8 days of relaxation and fun!

This is a "Friends and Family Celebration Cruise" to celebrate all of the high school and college graduations, as well as the 3 family members/friends who turn 50 this summer! It's going to be super exciting.

I haven't been able to buy any new cruising outfits (damn you, unemployment!) but I have a few pieces picked out and ready! (I did find a cute swimsuit for a good price online that I might go ahead and get...we'll see!)

But I am just so excited to be getting away from it all.

We're going to 4 ports and spending 3 days at sea, so I'm going to do a series about all of my favorite things to do in the ports and, when we're at sea, on the ship!

Carnival offers so much stuff to do it is literally impossible to get bored.
(Unless you eat questionable burgers in Honduras that give you food poisoning and you stay in your cabin all day trying not to puke. Then it is entirely possible to get bored; entirely too possible.)

If anyone has any suggestions for what I should do on this cruise, let me know! I love to try new things (not a big fan of new food, however) and I'm super excited to open myself up to a ton of new experiences on this vacation! We leave South Carolina on July 18th and board the ship on the 19th!


My blogging has been rather sporadic over the past couple of weeks. I've been back and forth between my parents' house and mine, searching for a job, searching for another job, and overall just doing entirely too much.

And it has taken its toll.

All of the healthy lifestyle changes I had made have suddenly gone out the window.

And I've gained 8 pounds. I mean what? How did I gain 8 pounds so quickly?

But I know exactly how I did it. I started eating a crap-ton of junk food and I stopped working out. Obviously I was going to gain weight.

But not anymore. I am going to get back on track and follow my schedule.

I've always been a schedule kind of person, so living without one since my college graduation has been rather hectic. I tried to stick to my normal schedule, but waking up at 5am and having absolutely nothing to do all day makes a person crazy.
It also makes a person take a lot of naps.
And eat a lot of junk food.


I will make a schedule and I will stick to it.

And hopefully you all (is anyone out there??) are going to help me hold myself accountable.

This schedule will help me keep tabs on my nutrition and exercise, as well as other tasks I need to do throughout the day, such as cleaning and blogging.

I can't decide if I'm nervous or excited. Probably a little of both.
Because I'm afraid of failure.
And it feels like I've already failed.
I'm just terrified that I'm going to fail at my attempt to learn from my failure.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

World Cup 2014!!

I am absolutely obsessed with the FIFA World Cup. In 2010, I hosted a party and we made jerseys for our favorite teams/players while snacking and screaming at the television.

My favorite team?


So imagine my disappointment today when they lost to Chile, 0-2, and were officially out of the World Cup.

I'm still going to be watching (did you see that Cameroon/Croatia match?), but that Torres jersey I made 4 years ago (ohmygod, it's been 4 years!) is now irrelevant. Which is pretty depressing.

Now I'm going to be patriotic and cheer for my USA team.
Which means I need a new jersey!!

I'd love to hear who everyone else is rooting for this year!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Healthy Living

So, I made a goal to live healthier this year, and I was doing so well, I swear.

But basically all I've had to do lately is lay around my apartment and it's been driving me absolutely insane,  so I've been stress eating and oversleeping and I gained back all of the weight I had lost PLUS THREE POUNDS. We're not even going to talk about how much that totals up to (in just a MONTH!).

But I swear I'm going to turn it all around.

I had an interview this morning, and I think it went very well, so ever since I was full of energy and ready to get stuff done.

I cleaned up my apartment (which I really let get entirely too messy), I did a short Zumba workout, and I cooked decently healthy meals for myself (friend quinoa for lunch and grilled chicken and corn for lunch, YUM).

And I took Snickers on a walk! We walked just a little over a mile around the apartment complex and when we were finished, Snickers was exhausted! He didn't even want to climb the stairs to my apartment! I'm not saying I felt like a spring Daisy or anything (WOW am I out of shape), but Snickers was hilarious. And adorable.

Tomorrow, I'm meeting one of my closest friends to walk around our college lake (which is honestly more of a pond) and I think I'm going to do some more Zumba in the morning.

I highly doubt that I'm going to reach my goal weight in time for my cruise--it's in just a little over a month--but I can do whatever I can up until that point! Maybe I'll even exercise on the cruise...well, we'll see.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Livin' Life

Notice I just said, "Livin' Life" and not, "Living THE Life."
Big difference.

But hopefully I will be living THE life soon!

I've just accepted a position at the new Mellow Mushroom opening in my town AND I have an interview for a marketing position on Tuesday! So, it is very possible that I will be going from 0 jobs and 0 money to 2 jobs and RIIIICH.
Okay, I definitely won't be rich, even if I work both jobs. But it will be much better than living off of my refund check, savings, and graduation money.


In other news, I know I've been super MIA recently. But I have a good reason, I swear.

Firstly, I've been applying for jobs like a boss (or like an unemployed college graduate.)
But most importantly, I was taking care of my PUPPY!
Get ready for some photo spam at the end of this post.

I visited my family for Memorial Day and when I left, I asked if I could bring Snickers back with me.
They said yes.

So I've had Snickers for almost 2 weeks (and have him for another week!) and we've had so much fun!
We've been going on walks around the apartment complex and visiting some of my friends and their dogs! I even took him to the Riverwalk the other day! I met my friend who had her dog, and though she and Snickers did not particularly hit it off, once we got to walking it was all pretty fun.

Basically, having him here makes me realize more and more how much I want my own dog.
Maybe now that I'm going to be working again, I'll be able to get one!! Eeeek!

Now for pictures!

Occasionally Snickers likes to snuggle

Going to the Riverwalk!

And the ride home from the Riverwalk

He's such a sleepy puppy

I wish I understood....