Bloggers Meet-Up and an African print #OOTD

One of my favourite things about blogging is the community. I've found fellow fashion bloggers to be so warm, supportive, and welcoming. I wore this to a #blogott meet-up at Equator coffee shop last week. In addition to networking over delicious coffee, we got to learn all about Equator and their rich history of coffee roasting and giving back to the communities they work with. It was really cool to learn about fairtrade coffee and how it benefits the lives of farmers. I don't often think about where my cup of coffee comes from so it gave me some perspective. And perspective helps me to have gratitude for things I take for granted. 

The second half of the evening was for networking and chatting with some lovely ladies. I got to finally meet all the bloggers I follow on insta and put a real life face to the avatar! Real life is pretty cool sometimes. We shared so many laughs about blogging woes and silly things that happen to us while taking blog pictures. We exchanged blogging tips and ideas. I am really happy to be a part of this community. 

My outfit centered around my new african print tunic. I found it at a garage sale in a church last weekend and fell in love with it. I've always adored african prints but this one especially spoke to me. I think it was the pastel colours mixed with the gold! The fabric itself is so light and airy, it was perfect for one of our last summer days. I noticed a little card attached to the shirt that said "This dress is made in Nairaobi, Kenya, by women living in the Mathare Slum". All proceeds from the sale of clothing go to a Canadian charity called Project Chance Africa, who help children go to school. I didn't see any links on their site to purchase clothing but if you can spare a few bucks, it looks like a great charity to donate to. 

Special thanks to Katrina Turnbull of Oui c'est chic for hosting this month's event and to Shannon at Equator for having us and teaching so much! 

Headscarf: Thrifted, $2. Tunic: Garage Sale, ProjectChanceAfrica. Leggings: American Apparel, $32. Heels: Expression, The Bay, $30.

Equator Coffee, located in Westboro at 412 Churchill.
Back Row: Katrina, Coralie. Front Row: Sophie, myself, Katie, Emily, Symone, Alisa, Rosie, and Kay. Photo: Katrina Turnbull. 

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Public Relations: Life after Graduation

You've written one hundred press releases, you can come up with strategies, key messages, tactics, and objectives in any situation, and you can do a media interview on the spot, so NOW WHAT? 

As a proud public relations college graduate, PR is a topic I'm pretty passionate about. While I learned so much in school and gained experience, I found I had a difficult time adjusting to life after school and job hunting. I've been working in the field now for over three years and I've learned a few things.

Grab a tea or coffee and a note-jotting device! (I say device cause like who uses pen and paper anymore?) *raises hand*

A brief backstory: I studied public relations at Algonquin College from September 2010 and graduated in June 2012. I just had to reference a calendar to bring you those dates. Wow. 

I simply adored the program, the people, the courses, everything. I learned so much and would re-take it if I could. After graduation though, I was slightly panicked about finding a job. The place where I did my internship couldn't hire me full time and so I was working in retail while job searching. I freelanced for them on a very part time basis and was eventually hired for more and more hours. I've been full time for almost three years now. Time flies! 

Here are five tips to help you in your job search.

1. Find a job that will pay your bills whilst searching for a PR job. 

I know you're itching to work in your chosen field but someone's got to pay those bills! You might get very busy like I did. I worked full time in two consignment clothing stores but found a way to incorporate PR into it. I began creating the stores newsletters and managing their social media. This allowed me to put my newly learned skills to the test. Grab lunch with your boss and discuss ways you can help their business with your new skills. Create a proposal or plan and present it to them. (I created a document with a social media plan to show ways I can help grow their accounts). I also started my blog a few months after graduating and that helped me hone my writing skills. 

2. Keep at it. Stay in it. Don't drift. 

The thing about college is you pay a lot of money and spend a lot of time learning new skills in hopes of getting a job you'll love. But the thing about learning is you have to continually practice your skill to build on what you've learned and mostly to remember it all. If you don't find a job right away, find other ways of staying connected to the field. Start a blog, strengthen your social media skills, grab a coffee and pick the brain of a former professor or mentor that you met in college. Write something, even if only you will see it. Keep learning. The best way to do this is to volunteer or do an internship. It might be tough to do if it's unpaid and you're living on your own but try to make it work. Even if it's on an event basis, just a few hours per week, you have to make time in your schedule. Think of an internship as a prolonged interview. It's a chance to show what you can do and prove your skills are needed. Even if they don't hire you at the end, you will learn so much and network with people who can help you. 

3. Networking: Awkward? Yes. Important? YES! 

SO IMPORTANT. Public relations is all about building strong relationships with people. Be it clients, reporters, bloggers, non profits, and the list goes on. Don't be afraid to reach out to an old boss, or your new boss, or a former professor, your friend's cousin, your mom's friend, you get the point. I had a coffee with a former professor who was the communications person at my ex-boyfriend's dad's ex-fiance's work. THAT was a mouthful. Point being: she helped me so so much at that time in my life. She re-inspired me to push myself to my full potential and gave me so many great ideas. She even offered me a part time job. Don't ever underestimate the power of coffee and face-to-face interaction. Accomplished adults want you to succeed. And they want to help you! 

Networking events are great ways to meet new people. During school, I attended as many as I could, often going alone. I highly recommend attending these solo, as scary as that may be! It's the best way to practice your networking skills and that way you are forced to talk to people. Even if I attended an event and only talked to one person, it was still worth it for me. You never know who you'll meet. If you're in Ottawa, check out IABC or CPRS. MeetUp and Eventbrite may also have these type of events. Psst- they also have apps and systems that can send you a weekly round up of events in your city! TRES COOL. 

If you're not sure who you could ask, I would say it's not uncommon these days to add someone on LinkedIn and message them if you have similar interests. Just remember that everyone is busy and if you get to the point right away and have a clear objective, you will get a positive response. Add me on LinkedIn if you haven't already!

*this is just my opinion of LinkedIn because I'm speaking from experience. Some "gurus" may say to not ever add someone you don't personally know. 

4. Follow up. Be annoying. But polite. 

Like I said in my last bullet, people are busy. That's not to say they don't care. It's likely that it's just slipped their mind or haven't gotten the chance to get back to you. If you haven't heard a response from a job or a coffee meeting invitation, there is nothing wrong with a friendly follow up message. Maybe choose a different form of contact than you originally used. Send a friendly tweet or instagram comment. "Love the new glasses! Hope to meet up soon!" Or "I see you're attending that event, I'll see you there!" 

5. Frame of Mind: Set to Positive

You might not hear a response right away about a job, or a meeting, or a proposal. That's normal. You might drift into a spiral of negative thoughts. Feeling like you're giving a lot of effort to receive nothing in return can lead to a thought like "Nobody wants me." Please, please, challenge that thought!! You are brilliant and will find a job you love. It just takes time. Practise positive self talk or write yourself daily reminder post-its on your laptop or desk so that you remember how awesome you are. If you don't believe in yourself, it will be hard for potential employers to. Keep building up your confidence because it will translate in your messages, meetings, interviews, and when you do get your first pr job! 

I hope this post helps you along in your career path. I have so much more to say and will be posting more about this topic on here. I wish you the best of luck and am always here to answer any questions you may have! 

Keep shining!

Here's a special work #OOTD for you. I literally wore this to work last week. 

Top: Value Village, $5. Jeans: Reitmans, $16. Similar here. Shoes: gifted, thrifted. Purse: gifted, vintage. Necklace: Forever 21, $12. Similar here.

Tweeting at all times. 

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Smiley 50s Housewife

My sister told me I looked like a 50s housewife in this outfit. As much as that can be a very classy look, I can't help but laugh! If you know me, you'd know I'm near opposite to wanting to be a house wife. Women have so many opportunities today than in the 50s when all they could amount to is cooking and cleaning for their husband and children. Not that those experiences aren't profound and life changing too, I just feel so lucky and blessed to be living in a free country with so many golden opportunities and I want to experience as much of that as I can. I just want to live a life true to myself, help others, and keep dreaming big. 

This dress was the only thrifted piece of clothing I bought in England last summer. I didn't adore it at first but couldn't leave the country without something thrifted! While packing up my clothes this summer, I came across it and almost gave it away. I just couldn't. The granny inside of me needed it. 

It's one of those pieces that doesn't look good on the hanger. You might even mistake it for a table cloth at a quick glance! Once I tried it on again, I remembered that I actually love the fit. 

I wore this to meet up with Rosie and grab some bday balloons. I'm now a 24 year old!!! It feels weird to say but I do enjoy aging. I find it classy. Aging means that I've survived another year and I'm grateful to have had so many beautiful experiences. I'm reading Oprah Winfrey's book right now, yes me, I'm reading!! And in her gratitude chapter, she talks about aging and how it's actually such a wonderful thing. I completely agree. So many children and teenagers don't live to see 24 because of illnesses, accidents, and suicide. So who am I to moan and groan that I'm OLD?! I won't. 

I've also been a follower of Advanced Style for some time now and that blog has truly changed what aging will look like for me. I WILL be an Advanced Style lady someday and I'm looking forward to it. 

Dress: Thrift store in England, $10. Necklace & Earrings: Joe Fresh, $4-6 each. Backpack: Giant Tiger, $20. Similar here. Shoes: JuJu, Little Burgundy, $40. Similar here.


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Blonde Ambition / Bedtime Stories: Madonna Rebel Heart Tour Concert Look

Last night I saw my queen for the second time. It was the world premiere of her Rebel Heart Tour in Montreal

If you know me, you know that Madonna is hands down my favourite artist and icon. She constantly inspires me. She's a perfectionist and is always re-inventing herself. I love her attitude towards life and love. 

I'm not sure if you can really call her concerts just that. They're more of a broadway musical / production. From the costumes, dancers, performers, and stunts, to the props and special effects, you truly do get your money's worth. This time she had screens that lifted from the ground and dancers who would dance / fly off them in coordination with the images on the screen. Hard to explain in words, but it was really cool! She also had many stunts including men on crosses that would bend and almost reach in to the audience. My jaw definitely dropped a couple times! 

Her concerts also make me cry. Firstly when she comes out because I'm in complete awe of her presence and then again whenever she plays a song that I really personally connect to. Her music makes me feel like anything is possible and it's all going to be okay. Her performances and dancers make me feel like our bodies can do anything if we have passion, determination, and persistence. She overall just inspires me to do more, create more, and not care what anyone thinks or says. 

She played a lot of her new songs off of Rebel Heart, check it out. But of course she had to play some classics like True Blue, Like a Virgin, and Material Girl. She surprised the audience with a cover of "La Vie en Rose", it was perfect. 

Let's talk about my outfit shall we. I've always been inspired by her Blonde Ambition tour hair and make up with the long ponytail, wearing the iconic Jean Paul Gautier cone bra. You know that one! However, finding a similar cone bra is near impossible so I opted to wear a dress inspired by her Bedtime Stories album. The fur purse was hand crafted by my aunt and I felt it was perfect to go along with the "bedtime" look. I also wore a black blazer later in the evening. 

It was a day filled with the amazing sights and tastes of Montreal, constant laughter with friends, and of course Madonna! Perfect day-after-bday celebration if you ask me! 

Dress: Value Village, $4. Purse: Bev Kidd. Shoes: Expression, The Bay, $32. Lips: Deep Red lip liner, Joe Fresh, $7.


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HAPPY BDAY SOUP! Meet my twin.

If you've been reading my blog for a while now, you probably know that I have a twin. She occasionally pops up in my posts and I'm sure I talk about her more than I realize. If you're new here, welcome! And hey guess what? I have a twin! 

I've always wanted to dedicate a post completely to this amazing person and I felt that her birthday would be the perfect time. Now, before you ask, yes we really are twins. We're fraternal twins meaning we are simply two siblings who shared the same womb. That's why we don't really look like identical. I've always been grateful of this because we get all the benefits of being super close yet we have different personalities, style, and interests. 

Fashion is one interest that we definitely share. I think I got obsessed first and then she soon followed. She somehow managed to have half the amount of clothes as I do, which I attribute to her smart spending habits. Her style is kind of like mine where it can be outrageous, sequined, and glam, but then some days it can be quite casual. 

She is the talent behind most of my blog pictures and I always beg to snap a few of her. I now have quite the collection of her outfit photos, see below!  

Lisa is a Humanities student in university. She adores books and we have piles and piles throughout our apartment. She reads like real complicated literature. That's how I describe it, being more of a magazine and Twitter reader myself. I always admire her ability to sit with a good book for a few hours and get so absorbed in it. Something I am still trying to enjoy. 

Today is our birthday! 

I guess this is when I should tell you that I am three minutes older. Ah yeah. In many ways I do act older but I'm definitely not more mature. To this day, I tend to always do things first. I feel like I should test them out first so Lisa knows it's safe. She's my baby. 

I love being a twin. Growing up I always had someone to play (and fight) with, and now we're the best of friends. It's not all sunshine though. Our hearts break when we think about our eventual separation and imagining what it would be like to not live together. It's a real thing called twin separation! We googled it. 

What else can I tell you about her? Lisa has a really good idea of what is right and wrong. She is my voice of reason and I need to know her opinion on almost everything. She's a very loyal friend too. She truly cares in a genuine way and everyone knows that about her. Her heart is pure and intentions are always good. 

Her sense of style is always practical and comfortable with a sense of mystery. She loves the 80s- the music, fashion, everything. Her outfits tend to mix modern with vintage. Being very practical, she also looks for good quality materials and isn't one to pass up an awesome leather jacket, see below! She knows exactly where to spend and save money when it comes to shopping. She saves on jewelry, purses, t-shirts, and jeans, and spends more on coats, boots, and fancier tops that will last through many occasions. 

Why do I call her Soup? I get asked this a lot. It's a nickname thought up by my cousin Ashley. It began with Lisou. Then Lisoup. Then it was just Soup. And it stuck. Nicknames are something that you don't really have control over. Once they catch on, they stay.  

I hope you enjoyed getting to know my other half today and I'm sure you'll be seeing her on here some more! 

Happy Birthday Soupy, there's no one I'd rather share my bday with. 

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