Wednesday, January 28, 2015

5 Unusual Tips For Bloggers

So I'm deeming these tips unusual not because they're totally weird and you'll read them and end up being like "what is this girl on right now", but simply because they are tips that I haven't seen out there. They're also "unusual" because they aren't tips that many bloggers think to donot because you're not on top of your blogger game or anything, just because they aren't the most obvious of tips. You may end up thinking these tips are totally normal and pointless, but read them to find out for yourself!

Photo Cred: Rob Faulkner
  1. Always take pictures. Literally of everything. Any time you go out and see something interesting or amusing to you, even if you're just running an errand. Go ahead and take a bunch of shots of the scenery around you. Snap some photos of your outfits on days you're really digging it to be saved for a rainy day. Just snap, snap, snap. You may not even end up using 99% of these pictures, but as a blogger you ALWAYS need to have pictures ready and available to use for every single one of your posts. This way when you're writing a random post you will most likely have some kind of relevant picture to put in. 
  2. Boring posts don't have to be boring. There are days when you write a post and it can be about the most boring topic ever or just some random "daily life" kind of post. I will be frank with you—no one wants to read about that. Well, maybe your stalkers do. The majority of people, however, will not want to read something boring about how your day went or blah blah blah. That doesn't mean you can't write about it, though! Be creative. Get funny with your writing. Throw in some of your personality. Hell, throw in all of your personality. Break out of your shell. Make your writing something that people will actually want to read, regardless of how mundane the topic may be.
  3. Keep a "swipe list" on your phone. A swipe list, or file, is basically where you jot down every single blog post idea that ever pops into your head. You just keep on filling that baby up, non-stop, 24/7. This way when you don't really have any ideas or are looking for something to write about you can head on over to your swipe list and just "swipe" one of the ideas out. I have "swipe lists" pretty much everywhere, but I do have two main ones. One I have on my computer and the other is on my phone. The one on my phone is super important because I pretty much always have my phone with me which means anytime I get an idea, I try to make sure to add it to my list. 
  4. Don't post every day. You might have actually heard the opposite or something along those lines, but hear me out before you think I'm nuts. When you first start blogging, or maybe just during a period that you have a lot of creativity oozing out of your brain, you might start to go blog-crazy and post every day or almost every day. While that's great and all and will certainly help you gain followers and page views, you may want to take it down a notch. Why? Well, several reasons. First, you'll get burnt out. I know from experience. I blogged like crazy in May and then the next couple of months I just sizzled out. I hated how that looked on my archives list. I wanted to be a consistent blogger and I had totally blown it. Oh well, live and learn right? Secondly, you may have all this awesome content you want to put out and share with the world and you're so excited to get it out therebut hold your horses! Go ahead and write these posts and have them all set to go, but schedule them to be spaced out a bit. Or keep them as drafts. You'll be grateful at one point that you did this when you have massive writer's block (which happens to all bloggers, beware). 
  5. Use lists, bold font, italics, sub-headers, etc. in every post. Don't just write a post like you would your own private journal entry. People these days have the attention span of a gold fish and they also seem to think there is not enough time in the day (which may or may not be true...) so they scroll through blog posts like a cheetah. If all they see is blocks of textpeace out. You want to have parts of your post stand out. You don't have to have some kind of list in every post, but definitely try to bold important words or italicize. Sub-headers are also great ways of creating breaks in your text. You can even use pictures. Whatever it is, just make sure that your post is fool-proof for those people who like to just scroll on through. 
Do you have any of your own "unusual" tips to share?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Work Tips for the New Young Professional

So you finally landed your first "real" job? Awesome! Congrats! It's a wonderful feeling, especially if you landed a gig doing something you truly want to be doing. You may have had jobs in the past or done internships that help you prepare for your new job, but there's a learning curve with any new job and the better prepared you are for the "professional" world, the more chances you have of succeeding and moving up the corporate ladder, so to speak. It's especially important for young professionals to get a good start on their career. Starting a "real" job can be intimating for many, but as long as you're prepared and know what to do to succeed—you'll be fine.

I only just started my first "real" official post-grad job and so far I'm really liking it, especially since I already have some autonomy and room to share my ideas and help expand the firm on some level. There's always a period of training that comes with any job so don't be too worried about being the new person. Many young professionals feel that because they are new and young, they don't hold as much value to the company they are working for. That's not true at all! Don't let yourself fall into that mindset. From day 1, go in there believing (and confidently knowing) you are a valuable asset to the company.

Although this is my first professional job, I've had many part-time positions in the past that have helped me come up with some of these tips. I've also heard many stories from friends about their work experience that have helped me along the way. Luckily, I was raised by parents who always instilled a strong work ethic that I carry with me today. Thanks to all of this I have come up with this list of work tips that will be helpful for any new young professional starting their career!

[Photo cred: David Wall]
  • Keep a planner specifically meant for work to jot down what you did every day. This is especially helpful if you have to report what you did each day and it's also a good way of showing your boss/supervisor that you are actually doing things and not just slacking off. It can also be helpful if you ever need to look back on a day to remember when you did what (trust me, this might save your [work] life one day!) 
  • At the start of each day, make a "to-do" list and continue adding to it as you remember things throughout the day. At the end of the day, jot down whatever needs to be done the next day so you don't forget. Starting a new job can be overwhelming because you'll be learning a lot of new things and being trained to do this and that. It's your job to remember what to do and when to do it, because you will only have the excuse of being new for so long. Get into the habit of keeping track of what your responsibilities are and what people are asking of you. If you don't already have some kind of procedures manual, make one of your own for future reference.
  • Keep notes of what you have to do in the upcoming days, the following week, that month, etc. Breaking it down into time periods will help you stay organized and on top of things. Make sure you're constantly checking your notes so you don't miss anything. It's probably best to make a reminder of what needs to be done a few days before it's actually do, just in case things get super busy. To get extra organized, print out a calendar for each month and write down important dates for the year ahead—including due dates, events, days off, etc. 
  • Have a binder where you can place all important information, your job responsibilities, anything new you learn, etc. This binder will probably save your life at some point. No doubt you will have a lot of training. As you go through training and learn new things, write notes (lots of notes) and then re-write them on the computer (so it's more organized) and print them out. Place it in your binder. Keep sections in your binder so when you need something you'll have an easier time finding it. Can you tell by now how important organization is?
  • Don't be afraid to speak up. This goes in two ways. First, if you ever have any doubts or questions, don't hesitate to ask. It's better to find out the right way to do something than to just give it a go and end up making a mistake. Secondly, don't be afraid to speak your mind (in a nice way) just because you're new. Don't be intimated by the fact that you may lack professional experience or you're younger than other people working there. You're your own person and you have valid opinions!
  • Plan your outfit the night before OR plan your outfits for the week on Sunday. So far I've been guilty of not sticking to this tip at all. I try to plan outfits the night before (and sometimes I do!) but most of the time I'm scrambling in the morning trying to figure out what to wear (and what's clean...) Trust me, it's not the best way to start off your day. This may or may not be an issue for you, but it's certainly something worth trying out to see if it helps you in any way.
  • Go above and beyond. There will be things that are expected of you. Do them. Then there will be chances for you to do things that aren't expected of you or no one even thought about. Do them. This is a great chance to get creative and figure out new ways of doing something or proposing ideas that can help the company. Basically, it's all up to you how you choose to perform. There won't always be time to "go above and beyond" but any opportunity you have to do so, take it. Which leads to the next tip...
  • Don't confine yourself to just your job. Sometimes people have this mindset that just because  a certain task isn't part of their responsibilities they shouldn't have to do it. Don't be that person. Be a team player and willing to help out when needed. Obviously your own job responsibilities come first, but if you have the time to help out, you absolutely should. People will take notice of this kind of attitude.
  • Arrive early. Yes, sometimes things come up and you end up being late to work. Make it a habit to always be early. When you first start your job, you'll probably need to figure out the best ways of getting there and how long it takes, especially if you're dealing with traffic. That's why it's especially important that you're early your first few days. Most people stick to that. Keep doing it, though. I'm not saying show up half an hour early—but it's always good to plan to get there 15 minutes early or so. If anything it can give you time to grab some coffee before heading in!
  • Leave work at work. So this tip may only work for some. There are certainly careers (teachers for example) that require you to bring your work home with you. It also depends on your position and how serious you are about your job, etc. However, when you're a new young professional starting a job can be exciting and overwhelming all at once. You may want to bring some work home (if you're anything like me) but it's best if you leave your work at work. When you get home you want to get the chance to unwind and just relax. If you start bringing work home with you, before you know it you'll become a workaholic and your stress levels will be out the roof. This same tip applies to work problems, gossip, etc. Once you're home, forget about work. Or at least try!

So there you have it folks, my list of work tips for the new young professional! I'm sure I could keep going for days as I brainstorm, but then I'd never get this post published. I'm hoping these tips will help out some of you. I know that after I graduated college I certainly didn't feel ready for any kind of professional job and I think reading some of these tips would have eased my mind a bit. If you ever need any kind of advice when it comes to post-grad work life—don't hesitate to reach out to me!

What are some of your own personal work tips?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Thoughts Lately: Momentary Hiccups

I often struggle between deciding whether or not I want my blog to be strictly "quality" posts with specific and useful topics or if I want to let it run more like a diary. It's one of the reasons I don't post as often as I'd like to. I don't have as much time as I'd like to to write those "quality" posts I'm talking about, but I also don't want to leave my blog just up in the air. So I think maybe I will try to find that sweet spot of a balance between the two kinds of posts. FYI: this post will run along the lines of random diary entry, haha.

Momentary hiccups. I'm not sure why that phrase came to mind when I had to think of a title for this post. I guess I'm trying to relay that I'm currently going through a "momentary hiccup" or at least I'd like to look at it that way. It's good to look at life's bumps in the road as just that-momentary hiccups. Something that will pass and shouldn't be a big deal. Good mindset to have; not always the easiest to maintain.

Life lately in photos:

(you know, just me & Leyla~)
(office decor & being stuck in traffic -_-)
(view of the reservoir from my office)

Some thoughts on my mind lately:

  • "The Originals" - I watch the Vampire Diaries (although lately it's the same old love triangle BS that's getting real old) but I never gave the spin-off show a chance because I thought it would suck. I was so wrong! I actually enjoy it so much more than TVD. It doesn't revolve around love triangles and melodramatic hoopla like it's sister show. I'm almost done with season 1 thanks to Netflix and a weekend of laying in bed. Even if you don't watch TVD, I recommend this show because it has a far greater plot (lots of importance on family, awesome historical flashbacks, tons of juicy drama between all the supernatural groups in New Orleans, hot actors & actresses with cool accents, etc.)
  • Learning to let go - This is a common theme in my life and no doubt there's a reason why I have to keep learning the hard way. I have trouble letting go of people who are toxic and don't bring me more joy than unhappiness. I like to believe in people and that they can change, so I often give more than just second chances. Now it's time again to let go. It never really gets easier, but I do learn from each experience (however unpleasant it may be...) Maybe I'll just listen to Frozen's "Let It Go" on repeat while I let out all my aggression on the elliptical.
  • Having a job is awesome - For lots of reasons. I'm actually doing something with my life, starting my career, learning things in the field I want, getting paid and starting to save up to move out, etc. But there's also cons. Like still not getting the hang of a good sleep schedule. Coming home too tired to do anything productive. Not having as much time for blogging. No time to actually use my gym membership (because, you know, too tired...and lazy). All things that can be worked on, though.
  • My absurd closet - This has been on my mind for MONTHS now. I have clothes overflowing from my closet and drawers and bins left and right. I keep sorting things out to donate or sell, but it's never enough and I'm starting to feel like I'm drowning in clothes. This is such a first world problem. I'm kind of ashamed. I really need to tackle this issue. Also because I want to eventually buy new wardrobe staples, specifically for work, and right now there's just no space. I was recently sent Marie Kondo's book about tidying up by an awesome blogger (Jenn over at Rych In Love) and plan on reading that ASAP.
  • Where did my tiny tooth go? - This story is either really funny or borderline disturbing, so read at your own risk. I've had this really tiny tooth next to a "normal" tooth for years now. I used to call it my "snaggle tooth." It wasn't noticeable because it was in the back of my mouth but it was annoying from time to time. The past week or so, for whatever reason, it started to wiggle much more than usual. I kept playing with it (with my tongue, not finger, ew) because it hurt and truthfully I kind of wanted to just yank it out. Well I guess I must have loosened it up quite a lot because now it's gone and I don't know where it went. Worst part is it happened while I was eating dinner. There is a slight chance I swallowed my tiny tooth...

And I will leave you with that to reflect on! 

Until next time loves,


Friday, January 16, 2015

"Your heart just breaks, that's all."

It's almost 3 a.m. and I can't sleep. I've been in bed for hours, tossing and turning, not really sure why I'm dealing with insomnia tonight. I'm a long time insomnia sufferer and I can usually pin point why I can't sleep, but tonight was weird. As I lay in bed trying to relax and shut off my mind, it only took me a minute to finally figure out why I was still wide awake.

It's when I realized the truth. A moment of clarity, but not really something I wanted to admit to myself. I guess you could say it's been weeks of denying reality and the very things I tell my friends time and time again. The truth is, when it's your turn to practice what you preach, you always seem to find excuses. Of course we want to hold onto any glimmer of hope that, no, this won't turn out like all the other stories and that this time is finally the magical exception. A happy ending to a turbulent fairy tale. But I know better by now that that never happens and I'm only harming myself by keeping toxic people in my life, no matter how much I care.

I haven't been keeping up with my blog the past couple of weeks or so because I finally started a new job—one that I'm really excited about, by the way. I worked long and hard to get to where I am now career-wise and I'm really happy about how things are turning out for me. 2015 started off spectacularly, with high hopes in all areas of my life. I thought this was the year that I finally got everything right.

It's not to say that it won't be that year, though. It's only January, after all. But I still can't help this melancholy feeling that's washed over me lately. I should be really happy and excited about my future. In a way, I am. But you know when there's that one thing that you just want so badly that when it goes totally wrong it kind of blurs out everything else? I wish that wasn't the case, but realistically we can't control our emotions. Obviously some people are better at it than others and I wish I was one of those people right now.

You can hear endless amounts of advice or reassuring thoughts from your friends and family, but we all know that doesn't change how you really feel. The only true cure for heartache is time. And time's a bitch. I know that all too well.

So, it sucks. It really does. It sucks when things don't turn out the way you envisioned them. It sucks when people don't turn out to be who you thought they were. It sucks when you're the one that cares more. The whole lot of it sucks. But if I've learned anything in almost 24 years of life, it's that you need to put yourself first. Deep, deep down, you always know the truth. You know what's best for you. You owe it to yourself to listen. And I hope you have the courage to do so.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Songs I'm Loving Lately #7: All Kinds of Rock

All of these songs are some variation of rock. Like I've mentioned many times before, I love all types of music, especially the rock genre. Usually for these music installments of the blog I add a little blurb for each song/video, but this time I decided instead of boring you with details, I'll just provide my favorite line from each song.
Twist - Frightened Rabbit
"Twist yourself around me, I need company, I need human heat"

Lightshow - Plants and Animals
"Well maybe I should change my point of view"

Poison Cup - M. Ward
"If love is a poison cup, then drink it up"

Riptide - Vance Joy
"And I got a lump in my throat 'cause you're gonna sing the words wrong"

Little Black Sunshine - The Black Keys
"But everybody knows that a broken heart is blind"

Check out all other installments of "Songs I'm Loving Lately" here.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Inspiration Monday: Dream on Dreamer

Ironically this is my 150th post on In-Between Life and it really couldn't be a more perfect fit. This whole year has been about me chasing my dreams and not giving up, even though there were plenty of ridiculously difficult moments for me. But I charged through (and don't get me wrong, I'm still charging) and eventually all that hoping and dreaming paid off. The road is long, though, and I have a lot left to do and accomplish. I'm just glad I kept my dream alive. I want you to keep your dream alive, too. Dream on dreamer.

"Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than one with all the facts."
-Albert Einstein

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Apartment Living: Living Room Decor

Within a few months, I have every intention of FINALLY moving out of my parent's home and moving into my very own apartment. 2015 is the year, folks. It's not like I haven't lived on my own before (dormed two years in college, other two living in a house with 5 other girls), so this won't be the first time "on my own." But those four years of independence never felt 100% and of course were only temporary. I got used to it, though, and it was a difficult transition coming back that only grew more frustrating as time passed. As much as I love my parents and am so grateful for actually having a place to stay during this past year and a half of semi-unemployment, this caterpillar has long ago blossomed into a butterfly that needs to break free and fly away (even if it's only half an hour away).

While the whole apartment searching and saving up money aspect of moving out is already under way, it will probably still be a couple months or so until I'm actually in my new place. If you know me at all though, you should know I'm already planning, planning and some more planning. I get excited about future projects and get really invested in planning and coming up with ideas. I've been on Pinterest a lot more recently, pinning away every single picture I see of apartments, living room decor, DIY furniture ideas, space savers, etc. This is my way of coping with my utter excitement that has got me just a tad bit impatient. I've been dreaming of my independence since I was like 12, so you can only imagine.

I decided I would turn this excitement and crazy amounts of ideas into a new series for the blog called "Apartment Living." For now, I'll mostly be posting inspiration boards or things I want to see in my new apartment. Once I finally do move, I'll probably be posting my attempts at constructing Ikea furniture and failed attempts at DIY decor. I also want it to be a way of giving advice to any twenty-somethings who are moving out for the first time and need help budgeting. I have tons of ideas for this new series and I'm SO excited to start sharing with you!

Living Room Decor

Something that I really love about interior design is your basic neutrals with colored accents. When I picture my future home in general, I definitely want to stick with this kind of design. I'm a huge fan of having colors that pop (but not too much!) I also believe a living room should be one of the most comfortable places in your home, so that will definitely be a part of my design as well.

Here's a list of some things I want in my future living room:
  • A big comfy couch, preferably in the "L" shape. Like I said, I need a comfortable living room and you can't have that if you have a stiff couch. The L shape couches are perfect for lounging, too.
  • A soft throw blanket (or two). You can never have too many blankets, especially soft and cozy ones. 
  • A few accent pillows. I think these really help put the room together, especially if they're contrasting colors and designs.
  • A "coffee table book." Is it just me or have these become really popular lately? You know, those books that are apparently meant specifically for your coffee table so that when guests come over they have something to look through. At first I thought it was such a silly thing, but now I can't wait to find the perfect "coffee table book." Or several.
  • A painted "DIY" coffee table. Can't have the books without the table right? Ideally I want to either find a nice sized coffee table at a thrift store or buy this one at Ikea and paint it a funky color to make it look nicer (and of course, accent the place up!) This is an example of someone's redesign of that table: 
    I love it! And the black cat, too. Helps me picture Leyla next to my future table.

What are some things you love about your living room? Or something you'd like to add/change to it in the future?

Stay tuned for future installments of "Apartment Living"! 
In the meantime check out my Decor board on Pinterest.