Thursday, 16 October 2014

Tray 2.

Last week I wrote this post about revamping a thrift store tray to put on the coffee table, and mentioned I was working on one for keys and what not as well. Finished it tonight! Here are some pics:

I started off with this basic white ceramic platter, and painted it with chalkboard paint.

After painting, I added some detail with a bronze sharpie. 

Mission accomplished. 

Saturday, 11 October 2014

The Beginner's Guide to Surviving the Job Hunt

Someone once told me that she thought the three of her least favourite things in life are cleaning the oven, moving, and looking for a job. In many ways, I have to agree, particularly on the job front. As I’ve mentioned frequently in the recent months, job hunting is the worst, especially when you’re a new grad or are early on in your career. I’ve been extremely fortunate and keep getting extended at work even though my contract should have ended at the end of August, but as far as I know I only have a week and a half or so left at my current job, so I have been job hunting fervently.

I have kind of a different perspective on job hunting, because I work in HR. My most recent contract was in recruiting, so I spent the whole time on the other side of the job hunting process. I would get calls from applicants all the time who wanted to know why they weren’t getting interviews, and what they could do differently, and I know from both this and my current personal experience that it is a frustrating and at times demoralizing experience, particularly in our present time when most applications are processed online in a very impersonal way. Here are some of my tips for motivation and eventual success during the job hunt:

1.       KNOW WHAT YOU ARE APPLYING TO. I can’t stress this enough. What I mean by this is, know what the organization you’re applying to is and what it is about before you even apply. Is it public or private? How many people work there? Is it national? Global? All of these things should impact how you go about your application, because there are major differences between how you should approach applying to a job at, say, the federal government, versus applying for a job at a manufacturing company, even if the jobs themselves look similar. This leads into my next point.
2.       DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME. This is probably not what most people will tell you. I hear people say all the time that you should apply for a job even if you don’t have all the experience they’re looking for, because, well, you never know, right? For many cases, this is true (up to a point). If the posting is asking for 3-5 years of experience and a college diploma and you have a university degree and 2 years, go for it. If it’s a private company and you have even less experience, go for it. But, if it’s a public or quasi-public organization like the government or a public university or hospital, or largely unionized organization, you are probably wasting your time. I worked for a public post-secondary environment, and would constantly see people applying for positions with very vaguely related experience, or none at all. They would have taken the time to go through our application process and tailor their resume to the posting, which definitely takes time, and it would be totally wasted. Many of these people would also follow up (because that’s what everyone tells you is the right thing to do), and check in with me weekly regarding the status of their application. While being eager is great, and while this may be helpful in a smaller organization, a large organization with strict guidelines is not going to bend their rules and go out of their way to give you a chance. Maybe there is the occasional exception (although I have not experienced it), but you have to think about this process in terms of your time being valuable. Think of the other jobs you could be finding and applying to, the calls you could be making, or the professional development you could be doing while you are applying somewhere that is really not going to give you the time of day. Save your time and effort.
3.       Stay motivated, and think positive. Job hunting is hard, especially when you’re starting out early in your career, so staying motivated is key.  I’ve told myself that when I get a full-time job, I’m going to buy myself a present from Tiffany & Co. I don’t usually buy myself jewelry, so this is great motivation, and gives me something to look forward to. Find something you want (nothing totally outrageous, but something that is a bit of a treat), and promise it to yourself as your reward for getting a job.
4.       Set specific, short term job hunting goals. I find it helpful to say things like, “I’m going to apply for 10 jobs this weekend.” I usually tell Chris, because it makes me feel like I’m accountable to someone. Once you’ve completed your goal, let yourself rest. It is easy to get burnt out and discouraged when writing cover letter upon cover letter and filling out a million stupid online application forms, so make sure you give yourself time to relax and enjoy life after you’ve completed your goals.
5.       Everyone has heard this before, but NETWORK. Schmooze. Talk to people. Use LinkedIn. If there are professional organizations for your field (in HR we have the Human Resources Professionals Association, etc), join them. Attend networking events. I know a lot of people find networking awkward, and you don’t want to feel like you’re trying to push yourself on people. Just try to be friendly, open, and yourself.  When communicating with connections you’ve made, ask specific questions and seek specific guidance. In the era of impersonal online applicant tracking systems, having a personal connection can make all the difference. 

Next up, I’ll write something on acing a job interview, and hopefully by then I will have aced another one of my own! ;)

Oh, and a very happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canucks! Cheers friends! 

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

DIY Gold Coffee Table Tray

I've been wanting trays lately. Two trays, to be specific. One for the coffee table to put the TV remotes on, and one to go on our counter where keys, cards, and random stuff accumulates. I went to Target today after work to look for said trays, because I know Nate Berkus usually fulfills all my housewares whims. Unfortunately, on this particular trip, there were no trays that were exactly what I wanted. There was one in the summer collection that I loved, but I never went for it. Curses. Anyway, I digress. I decided to go to the ol' Value Village to see what they had, and I ended up picking up two trays for 2.99 each, one metal and one ceramic. I'm currently working on the ceramic on and the metal one I finished earlier this evening.

 This was the tray when I bought it.

After washing the tray and drying it, and applied a couple of coats of gold spray paint. I forgot to take a picture before the next step, so that is why this one already has some marker on it.

I used a regular black sharpie and a gold metallic sharpie to draw the feather.

And finally, I have a nice tray for under $10.00!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Weekend Recap

This weekend was the first weekend that really felt like legitimate Fall. It was cloudy, chilly, and the leaves are starting to change quickly. Hurray! I am happy, Chris is not. 

I like cooking in the Fall. There's something nice about knowing it's cold outside but you are inside and your house is warm and smells like food. I typically go into a sort of cooking hibernation in the summer and rarely make anything, but this chilly weather is waking me up. On Thursday I only worked a half day at work, so I spent a good chunk of the afternoon making a lobster/scallop mac and cheese, and an apple crisp. 

The mac and cheese was actually reeeally good. I will have to post the recipe at some point. I took some inspiration from Jamie Oliver's Lobster Mac and Cheese from his Comfort Food show, but kind of just made it up as I went along. The apple crisp was decent too. 

Yesterday Chris and I went to see Gone Girl. SO GOOD. We had both read the book and weren't sure how the story would translate into a film, but it was done really well, probably because Gillian Flynn did the screenplay. One of the best films I've seen in awhile, and probably the best adaptation from a book I've seen. You should go see it right now! 

Today we went out for brunch with some friends at Bier Markt. I had the Bavarian Benedict, and like other times I've eaten at the Bier Markt, I left feeling like I probably wouldn't go back again for food. Beer yes, food meh. After brunch (which was at 1 so was actually basically just lunch), we went to our friend's place for a bit, and then we went to Starbucks were I accidentally stole somebody's soy latte. Oops. 

I hope you all had lovely Fall weekend as well! 

P.S.: I got this sweater at R W & Co and I am madly in love with it. 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Sleepy Hollow Chalkboard

It's October!!!! Also known as, the most wonderful month of the year. The air is crisp, scary movies are always playing on TV, the leaves are changing, the food is delicious, and I could go on and on. The start of October called for a new chalkboard, so it was time for Jaws to get wiped away...

Last year I did this moon cat chalkboard for Halloween, but I'm on a bit of a textless kick so I did (or tried to do)  a scene from Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, which is one of my favourite movies to watch at this time of year.

There was more detail than I'm used to, which was pretty trick and tedious as chalk on a not-fantastically-smooth chalkboard is not the most forgiving medium. Oh well. Challenges are good!

If you have any Fall chalkboard designs (of any style or skill level!) I would LOVE to see them! :)

Friday, 19 September 2014

Five Friday Favs

Happy Friday everyone!

Fall is definitely arriving here in the GTA, and I'm getting pretty excited to busting out the pumpkins and fall themed chalkboards. If it was up to me we would have fall until mid-December, then a couple of weeks of winter for the holidays, and then back to fall temps again until March. But anyway...

1. This Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin candle from Bath and Body Works. Perfect for fall. It kind of makes me hungry though.

2. The Mount Athos Diet. Amazing!

3. Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing lip balm. I got a a free one in a Clinique promotion, and I'm totally amazed by the colour. The colour I got was Budding Blossom, and it looked like a pale, baby pink. On my lips it showed up as more of a hot pink, the colour lasts more like a stain but feels like a balm.

4. These R  W & Co leggings.

5. This R W & Co sweater.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Five Friday Favs

Hello friends!

I was slacking last week and missed my Five Friday Favs blog, but I didn't want to repeat that! Here are my five favs from this week:

1. This movie. It's definitely silly and outdated, but I promise you will laugh at least once.

These antique brass bar accessories.

3. This lipstick. Marvelous Moxie, bareMinerals by Benefit. It's pink but not too outrageously pink, and it is gorgeous. 

4.One Million - Paco Rabanne. I love this scent. 

5 Everything Art Deco.