Wednesday, 6 March 2019

January to February Thrift Haul(ternative)

I wanted to put together a little post on some the items I've picked up this month second-hand. I always had the belief that thrifting was really only for people who liked having quirky closets. You know - the cool girls that can throw on oversized evreything, pair it with a beat up pair of combat boots and still look put together and c~o~o~l. Since that's not really my style I was a bit apprehensive of what I could find that fitted my needs for a business casual wardrobe and still look like me. Here are some gems I've picked up during January and February.

Polkadot skirt. $9.99
This purchase was a bit of a wildcard but come spring I'm hoping it will fill some of the holes in my summer wardrobe. It's from a no-name brand and made from a polyester blend (one of the drawbacks of thrifting online is not being able to check the fabric) but it's pretty cute and similar to skirts I've been looking at buying for a while.

Blouse - Old Navy. $12.99
Before starting thrifting I decided I wasn't going to buy from any really cheap fast fashion brands as I didn't want a wardrobe full of clothing that wouldn't last one season - even if it was super affordable. That kind of went out the window when I found this blouse from Old Navy. It's one of my favourite things to wear lately and its light fabric will be great for transitioning into spring.

Jacket - J Crew. $10
I cannot believe I picked this jacket up for such a steal. I had it saved to my Poshmark watchlist at $30 and snapped it when the price unexpectedly dropped to just $10. I don't have many jackets appropriate for Spring and I liked that this wasn't just a plain green fatigue-style jacket.

Handbag - Who What Wear. $17
My last handbag was in quite good condition up until the semi-finals of the NFL this year when an entire pint of beer was spilled on the floor, resulting in my bag being the sponge that absorbed it all. I spied this cute Who What Wear flap bag on ThredUp and was pleased to note that it comes with the detachable silk scarf - two accessories for the price of one!

Jeans - Madewell. $25
My current pair of black jeans are a size too small and dig in uncomfortably around my waist. They also seem to be impossible to wash without coming out of the machine covered in white powder marks. I have been coveting Madwell jeans for a while now after hearing so many good reviews of them, but at over $100 a pair I was a little reluctant to buy them. I found this pair for a quarter of the price on Poshmark and snapped them up!

Rust Jumper - No name brand. $30
My wardrobe has quite a few white, grey and black jumpers in it and I've been looking for something in a colour that will add to my existing wardrobe. I love that this top is long enough to pair with leather leggings but not overly bulky so I can still tuck it into jeans and trousers. I have no idea what the brand name is but it's in good condition and the material is a thick knit, great for cold days.

Monday, 4 March 2019

My January - February Goal List

Since moving stateside I've experience the turtle speed slowness that January and February have crept by at. These months have always been my favourite at home. It's hot (finally) and the pace of life crawls in a good way. Nights are spent outdoors and the days feel like they're never going to end. In contrast the northern hemisphere shares many of these same attributes, it's just not as appealing when the average temperature is below freezing and it's still snowing in February. Here's how I've been tacking my goals in the depths of the winter season.

Manuscript: The hardest part about starting again on my manuscript has been...starting. I knew I wanted to make a lot of changes to my first draft - big changes - I wanted to make my main character younger so it was a firmly YA story and the overall 'feeling' my first draft gave me felt like it was too heavy. My character is going through a lot of growing pains but I still wanted my book to feel optimistic and funny. I've edited 9,000 words this month and written a much more solid outline for the book, changing up scenes I no longer thought worked or were necessary. I'm enjoying this process much more than I did when I first wrote my draft.

Sustainable shopping: Overall I think I definitely need to scale back on the amount of clothing I buy  but I'm pleased to say that 90% of what I've bought this month has been second hand, However some things have crept into my cart just because they were cheap versus an actual need for them (which I never do when paying full price). I failed in early January by buying a pair of sweatpants and leggings from Old Navy as I really really needed some warm cosy pants that I could wear at home. I also bought a warm winter coat brand new but to be honest I don't regret this purchase as it's so warm and I didn't want to risk buying something that had already been worn to death.

Read more books: I'm five books into my reading goal of completing 30 books this year which is way ahead of schedule! So far I've read the latest book in The Diviners trilogy, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, The Underground Railroad by Coulson Whitehead, Into the Water by Paula Hawkins and The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock. I'll put up some brief reviews soon!

Career: I've talked a little bit about being interested in transitioning into UX design in the future. So far I've signed up for a few free introductory courses on the subject and have really enjoyed it. I'm still interested in applying some of what I've learnt into a more practical project though as even though I find the theory interesting I want to try applying what I've learnt in a real world way.

How are your goals going this year?

Friday, 22 February 2019

3 free ways I’m challenging my imposter syndrome this year

We’ve all experienced feelings of self-doubt from time to time. Some days you just feel just ‘off.’ Maybe you blundered your way through a job interview or pitched an idea that was shot down in a ball of flames at work. These things happen and it can be hard to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off again. But what about when self-doubt starts manifesting as more than just the occasional negative thought?

Imposter syndrome, although rarely talked about, is something that up to 70% of people have experienced in their lifetime. The feeling of being a fake or a fraud has affected such successful heavy-weights as Maya Angelou, Serena Williams, David Bowie and Sheryl Sandberg. If there’s one thing we can take away from this knowledge it’s that a) literally more than half the population will feel this way at some point and b) it’s not altogether bad company to be in.

Imposter syndrome isn’t just something that can make us feel crap about ourselves it can also have financial implications. It was the reason I didn’t negotiate my job salary until I was in my third professional role and has cost me the potential job earnings of every job I’ve failed to apply for because I couldn’t do all 500 things the job advertisement asked for. Rather than just revel in the feeling of not-being-enough I’ve decided the time has come to conquer my imposter syndrome. Here’s how I’m doing it.

Reinforcing what you already know. I’ve been job hunting for a couple of months now (ain’t nothing like being unemployed to really level-up your imposter syndrome) and it’s easy to get caught in the trap of equating a lack of call backs to your - perceived - lack of skills. One thing I have found helpful is reading up on the industry I’m applying into. This has a two fold effect of often learning about some cool new things but also reinforcing that I already know this shiz. I recommend signing up to some free industry newsletters or even completing a short intro course if there’s one area of your skill set that is bugging you. I recently completed a free two hour short course in digital marketing and although I learned a few new tips and strategies, it also reinforced to me just how much I do know. 

Embracing gratitude. I’m a naturally anxious person so sometimes being given a chance to prove myself can feel like I’m setting myself up for failure. My mind immediately races thorough all the things I think I can’t do instead of what I can. Rather than embracing this glass-half-empty perspective I’ve decided to seek out opportunities as opposed to the hurdles in my way. Instead of feeling sick at the thought of leading a group of my peers in a project it’s a great opportunity for me to champion my colleagues and level up my skills in an area I want to improve in.

Rewriting my narrative. Another fun that anxious brains like to do is equate our past successes with luck rather than skill. I’m a firm believer that we spend too much time dwelling on our failings and not enough championing our successes. While it’s important to learn from our mistakes it’s also helpful (and confidence building) to remember the steps we took to earn our wins. That time you put together a winning strategy wasn’t just blind luck, it was because you did your research and crafted a well thought through response. Writing not just your wins, but how you got there, down in a journal is helpful not only for a self-induced pep talk but will come in handy in the future. You can use these success stories for your resume, at your next job interview or as a reminder that you can take on whatever challenge that comes next.
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