Frugal Beautiful

 

Okay, so now we know how average we are with our cellphones and our grotesquely excessive water usage- what are you going to do to make your weekend and your life above average?

Drop your thoughts in the comment box!

 

Think globally, live locally and thrive. ¬†ūüôā

On a budget this weekend?  Put some zest into your weekend plans with ONE DOLLAR.  Donate a buck, feel good and get that oomph to have a kick a$$ weekend!

I got totally teary eyed when I saw that that as a group, we were able to reach a huge goal of $13,000 to help a family purchase an assistance dog for their children with autism. ¬†Every month is a new family, a new chance to do small things collectively for big impacts. ¬†Signing up is easy- and for a $1 a month (or more if you’re so inclined) you can know that you are part of some of the most heartwarming, tear jerking YouTube videos on the net is totally worth $1.

Here’s a message from JMoney and Nate at LoveDrop:

Last month the Love Drop Team raised over $13,000 (and 3 iPads!) to help two little boys with autism receive a service dog. They were beyond touched, and we did this in only 1 month – that’s it. Everyone came together and gave a few bucks each to impact one family’s life. If you were a part of it, THANK YOU! You can check out the final video of us showing up to their house here – it’s pretty cool.

This month we start all over again and rally behind Katie, a single mom out in Dallas battling not only two brain tumors so far (she’s knocked out one, and currently working on the other), but who’s also dealing with hydrocephalus. We’re teaming up with folks at Blissdom this month to not only bring the community her way, but to make a huge dent in her medical bills.

Wanna help? Here are 3 ways we could use you:
Give $1.00 – This is the best way to help out and join our team at the same time.
Join our blogger network – Blog about our Love Drops each month like I am ūüôā It’s easy, it’s rewarding, and it REALLY helps spread the word (which in turn helps our families). Love Drop will give you all the content you need.
Give a gift or provide a service – Gift cards are always helpful. Places like Target, Safeway, gas stations, etc would definitely help them out.
Thanks for reading! Here’s to love, baby.

I asked the question, perhaps too late, “What can I do with a graduate degree in sociology,” ¬†and the timing was such that I really had to ask, “What can I do with half a graduate degree in sociology.” ¬†Truth be told- nothing.

I spoke to two of my professors last week, and neither really knew what to tell me. ¬†For the reasons I had to stay, I had equally compelling reasons to quit- namely my cost-to-benefit comparison based on passion vs. affordability. ¬†If you are passionate, it’s hard to argue something is “too expensive,” in most situations- but what if you are confused like me?

My professors asked some hard questions: ¬†Did I have something else in mind? ¬†I did not. ¬†Sure- I love to write- but am I confident enough in my skills as they stand to walk away from a possible degree? ¬†I am not sure that starting over at this point and trying to stay afloat based on my entreprenurial skills alone would be wise. ¬†I love to blog and explore different markets and niches- but I feel my inexperience would kill my passion if I were to step out at this point. Having a graduate degree could be beneficial for someone like myself who is at this point in the process. ¬†For those who still have time to choose- take that time and ask lots of really hard questions before you commit. ¬†But of course, sometimes all we can do is to assess the “known unknowns,” and take a step forward.

I also voiced my concerns about the cost of grad school. ¬†They sympathized that costs are high and post-graduation prospects for employment are low- and at least are not up to expectations for newly minted degree holders. ¬†What they did say though, is you can do nothing with half a master’s degree, not even get some kudos for “some graduate level courses” on a resume. ¬†The sad truth is- there is no way to to know if the amount of debt I’m taking on is going to impede my chances to succeed in other areas, nor is a graduate degree an automatic key to success.

The debt itself will not prevent¬†me from affording a wedding, car or hell, a piece of Tiffany, just as the degree itself will not ensure my immediate success- but my efforts outside the classroom will. ¬†The only thing preventing me from being able to afford the life of my dreams is simply my inability to make them happen- and I can work on that. ¬†My time in the classroom (or out of it) will not find me a man to love ¬†or a dream job, nor will my debt stand in the way of buying a house or starting a family or starting my own company if that’s what I choose to do. ¬†What will stand in the way of those things is my fear: ¬†Fear that debt will ruin my future, fear that I’m not on the right path, fear that I’m not making the right choices. ¬†Fear needs to be taken into consideration- it can be a very smart survival tool, but being too cautious blocks progress.

There is no way to gauge your prospects based on having debt or having a degree aloneР you just have to ask questions, evaluate, and take a risk.   The  the best decisions you can and forgive yourself for mistakes of inexperience.  Get your hands dirty- at least you can say it was YOUR mess and have something interesting to say at the high school reunion.

I meticulously planned my path to grad school and based my decision on the person I was at the time.  I had no way of anticipating the process itself would change me in the way it did.  While the reasons I had in coming to graduate school are no longer the reasons I am staying- I am still confident in those decisions.  I am not the person I was a year and a half ago, and I no longer harbor the same motives or goals I did before, and perhaps, that was the point?

 

 

 

Stupid, stupid 30 Day No-Shopping Challenge. ¬†It’s nowhere near my birthday and I have done nothing notable worth gifting (aside from posting on this blog begging for some biblio-esque goodness).

Here my “Books Worth Swooning Over” (and then purchasing!):

I adore me some  Jen Lancaster- she is like a far more articulate version of myself (you know, with like a smart-ass opinion about everything).  She has written of her love of pugs and has excellent taste in handbags- what is there not to love?  I read her first book, Bitter is the New Black and was hooked.

If you need a good laugh but want it coupled with witty commentary and a vocabulary that is expansive and still hilarious- this is the author for you.  You will not go wrong with any of her books- and when I am off this damn challenge I am buying pre-ordering her book and demanding the rest of them for my shelf.  This will happen.

Jen’s sure-to-be-fabulous new book comes out May 3rd and is a stupendous deal at $13.64 for hardcover.

Pre-order If You Were Here on Amazon or other fine booksellers.

 

Jenny Blake is a popular person in the blogosphere. I adore posts, and her personal journey to getting this published is nothing short of notable and inspiring. ¬† I have already pre-ordered her book- it was available on Amazon for $9.10 with free Prime Shipping. ¬†It’s coming out later this month, but dude, that is a fabulous deal- $9.10??!

Ms. Blake’s book comes out March 29th and you can buy it here (or somewhere else if you are so inclined).

 

 

 

 

This little gem by Gretchen Rubin just came out in paperback for the fabulous price of $7.72 with free Super Saver shipping on Amazon (By it with Wish You Were Here perhaps, or you can always buy a copy for both of us?).

The Happiness Project just makes me happy- I have heard great things about this book and have totally enjoyed Gretchen’s vlogs and posts online so this is bound to be a great read.

Career Building for Women

 

Our r√©sum√© is that notorious little piece of paper that often gets neglected and put off until we start searching for new job- but don’t wait for opportunity to find you, be ready with a slammin’¬†r√©sum√©!


Leaving your r√©sum√© to collect dust in your desk or in the realm of obscurity in the depths of your hard drive might be leaving opportunity on the table. ¬†Many of us approach our r√©sum√© with reticence- we only want to face it when we want to apply for a job. ¬†It almost seems counter-intuitive for those of us who want better careers and a more rewarding job to sit around and wait for opportunity to find us- so right now, go pull up your¬†r√©sum√© or any other documents you might use, and print it out. ¬†If you don’t have one- make one.

Being proactive with your career and aware of your skills (and where they need improvement) will lead to opporuntity.  Simply being ready for opportunity will bring it closer towards you.

 

Formatting: You can find templates online or use one of my favorite websites to build it- JobSpice.com.  Depending on your career goals, include them in your search.  Formatting a résumé for graduate school applications is totally different than applying for a job in finance!

Tailoring: If you’re “not sure what you want to do,” or what your¬†r√©sum√© will be used for in the future- that’s fine! ¬†You need to start or update your¬†r√©sum√© so that you’ll be ready for whatever comes your way. ¬†Scrambling to write a¬†r√©sum√© when you have a job offer fall in your lap could reduce the efficacy of your application. ¬†Start with a solid foundational¬†r√©sum√© and leave room to take out or highlight different experiences and skills depending on the application.

Proofing: Get a fresh set of eyes and have a friend or mentor look it over- this is key! ¬†It might be hard to accept feedback on this- but don’t take it personally. ¬†This is all about presentation- an employer will probably spend a minute or less reading this over, it needs to ROCK and do so quickly@ ¬† You may be really proud of your volunteer experience with Habitat for Humanity, college G.P.A. or a special honor- but if it distracts or detracts from your tailored, marketable skills for your industry that employers are highly discriminate over- it might be best to take it off without getting offensive.

Be sure to choose the right proofreaders though- it might be tempting to have your best friend take a gander at it, but find someone who can offer you poignant, constructive criticism- because your potential employer won’t be kind

Additions: I recently graduated at the top of my class with a B.A. in Sociology and Women’s Studies. ¬†Employers thought that was great, but could I format a document? ¬†Did I know how to use Excel or Photoshop? ¬†Do not underestimate the importance of simple skills around the office coupled with computer expertise or think that simply having a degree/job experience will be enough to make you competitive. ¬† In my experience, I found that a lot of employers wanted computer skills most of us don’t get in college. ¬†Look at your¬†r√©sum√© and find holes in your skill sets- you can identify this by doing a job search online and gauging what potential employers in your field are looking for in addition to degrees or job experience.

 

Articles on Résumé Building:

10 Tips to a Kick Ass Resume @Bargaineering

10 Overused Resume Buzzwords to Avoid @LinkedIn Blog

How to Write a Resume @WiseBread

 

Military members perform "Gitmo jump-off."

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

‚ÄĒ¬†Nelson Mandela


I heard this quote several years ago and remember thinking “What the h*ll does that even mean? I’m not afraid of myself and my potential, my fear is that I’m not good enough!” ¬†I sit here, blogging, nearly 5 years later and I think I’ve come to understand this famous quote- ¬†we may fear that we are inadequate, but what scares us most is realizing that we can dream and live however we want, but the we are the only ones responsible to make it happen.

Whoa, isn’t that scary? ¬†We hide our dreams and goals behind the fear of inadequacy, but truly, we are hiding behind the knowledge that nobody is holding us back but ourselves and in order to realize our own potential, we must look within ourselves. ¬†There’s no book, pill or bullet list that can figure it out for us- we have to have confidence in what we are now, and faith in what we are to become.

Lack of Vision: If you have heard yourself sarcastically utter, “Sure it’d be nice to….(lose weight, sign up for flight school, increase your income)” ¬†the key to what’s holding you back is not so much your lack of time, energy or resources- but really, the fear of what it would require to achieve those goals. ¬†“It’d be nice,” to have your retirement years paid for, but can you really see yourself doing it? Why not? ¬†If “it’d be nice,” then it might be a goal- but what’s keeping you from making it a goal? ¬†Why can’t you envision yourself doing it?

Ignorance: When I started blogging, it opened up my vision to all of the stuff I had no clue about: ¬†wordpress, graphic design, basics of HTML/CSS, social networking. ¬†I had read blogs for years and loved it- but never got how it really “worked.” ¬†I started realizing there was so much I didn’t understand and nearly shut down. ¬†I didn’t even know where to start- ¬†but take it day by day and enlist people to help you that have the knowledge- whether through friends or by reading up on it. ¬†You will not know everything when you begin a journey towards your goal- but start anyway. You will gain more from the process than from the finished product.

Alienation: Happy, fulfilled people aren’t obnoxious aren’t they? ¬†They’re always smiling and talking about whatever they’re working on with such zeal and enthusiasm- gross. ¬†But yet, don’t we long to be those people? ¬† It’s true, sometimes we fear that living a dream-oriented life and working towards it will change how people perceive us, and how we perceive ourselves- but trust me, it will change you and it will be worth it. You will love the person you are, and anyone else that doesn’t? Well, they can get out of your way- but it needs to be said that the transformation can be scary before you start it. ¬†After you start it, you won’t want to go back.

Intimidation: Off the top of your head, you can identify the people you admire and want to emulate. ¬†They have the life or the career you want. ¬†It’s like, they know something we don’t- but truly they’re just doing something we all know: ¬†find your goal and work on it a little bit every day. Don’t be intimidated by the size of the goal, or put off by the fact that it takes daily effort- ¬†if you’re doing what you love, small efforts make daily happiness.

It’s okay to be afraid, but do it anyway! ¬†I leave you with a quote:

“(S)he who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” ¬†-Ralph Waldo Emerson

So go get ’em Tiger! ¬†Ruby says “Rawr!”

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