Thursday, January 29, 2015

Riversdale Deli and a Toddler Tea Party

This past weekend was absolutely wonderful. It was a perfect mix of being busy or having places to go and relaxing with people that fill me with joy.

Saturday was especially enjoyable. My friend Maria (whom you've met before) and I made plans to meet up for a visit in the Riversdale area of Saskatoon. There are so many unique restaurants, bakeries, and coffee shops (and soon a juicing storefront - Thrive) in the area that it was difficult to decide where we should go. After running late and then assisting my neighbour who was locked out of both her house and her car I finally met up with Maria - over an hour late. She's super patient, that woman!


We settled on the Riversdale Delicatessen & Market on the corner of Idylwyld Drive and 20th Street. I had the Motherlode Sandwich and a cappuccino and Maria had the Oven Baked Trout sandwich. The food was great! Both Maria and I really enjoyed what we had ordered. I had never had a sandwich quite like the Motherlode and I'm excited to go back and try the other sandwiches. It turns out that I know one of the partners, Chef Darby, who is the brother-in-law of a friend that I went to school and dance with. He caught me snapping some photos for Instagram and pointed it out - yes, I might have been standing on the rungs of the bar-height chair to get a good angle; please tell me I'm not alone in this?! Anyway, if you ever have the chance you really should visit the Riversdale Deli and let me know what you think!

After lunch with Maria I went to my boyfriend's brother and sister-in-law's place for his niece's 2nd birthday party. His sister-in-law (who recently started blogging over at Joy Observed!) decided she would like to try having a real tea party with the little ones; as in, using the real china. It was so much fun, absolutely beautiful, and the children all did so well! Head over to her post about the afternoon to see some more photos of my boyfriend's nieces and nephew being oh-so-careful while using their tea cups!

I know we're closer to next weekend than last weekend already, but how was your weekend?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Take It All In

That feeling I sometimes get when I realize that I'm seeing my city through different eyes - it's not just the daily, the mundane. I'm seeing it as I would see a new city, one that I am exploring and taking in through a much deeper way, not necessarily for the first time, but differently for sure. It's much more intentional. I appreciate every building, every street corner. That bench with the man and the dog, the beautiful clock that looks like it was placed there for a movie. This morning I was walking to grab coffee for a mid-morning break, and on my way back to the office I was struck by the still, calm air, the birds chirping, the crisp coolness, outside of my warm, cozy coat. Maybe it was because I'm used to bracing myself against the frigid January temperatures and the strong, chilling wind and instead had pleasant spring-like temperatures and absolutely no wind to contend with that I could move my focus to something else, something more.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Liebster Award, Round Two!

Back in August I was nominated for the Liebster Award and I was recently nominated again by Marissa Clair at Clair With Charm. Since I was already nominated once, I decided to do it a little differently this time around. I'm just going to answer Marissa Clair's questions, since they are created by her and different from the original ones I answered. Feel free to check out my original post and to check out Marissa Clair's post too!

Marissa's questions (and my answers!):

1. How did you decide on the title of your blog?
I actually named my blog a couple different things when I first created it. It was the first month of university, I was living on my tiny campus (there were only 6 of us living on campus, so lots of alone time), and I had just learned about blogs and was reading them constantly so I decided to create one. I never thought I would ever have a reader and so for quite a while the name kept changing with my mood. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I actually got into posting and maintaining my blog and finally chose Sweet Spontaneity.

At the time I was really into alliteration and I also had an extremely wandering heart. All I could think about was going on grand (and not-so-grand) adventures, but I was also in a very transitional part of my life where I was learning that it’s great to have an idea of what you would like your future to look like, but you really can’t fully plan it because it’s ultimately God’s plan that will happen and not your own. Before this I had my whole life planned. I was very attached to it and had placed a lot of my identity in how that plan was supposed to work out. That plan was completely shattered. I couldn’t be more thankful now, but at the time I was completely devastated. So, with this new understanding, I was really embracing the excitement of the unknown and the idea of (responsible) spontaneity. When Sweet Spontaneity came to mind it gave me the same feeling that the phrase “The sweet taste of freedom” gives me… The sweet taste of spontaneity.

2. What made you decide to start your blog?
I just realized that I kind of answered this in number 1, but I’ll explain a bit more. I remember having Googled “what to wear to college” while in my first month of university, and I came across College Fashion back when the Editor Zephyr was the only person contributing content and was still writing under the pen name Briana. From there I found Cupcakes and Cashmere, Fashion Toast, and a bunch of other blogs. My love of blogs kept growing so I thought I should make one too. It was kept secret from absolutely everyone in my life for a really long time before I finally told my first year house mate Jackie about it when we were studying one night a couple years later.

What made me decide to start blogging regularly and actually sharing it was seeing so many awesome people just sharing about their lives, their faith, their travels, and whatever they saw fit! I love how you can make your blog your own and I wanted a place that I could share about my adventures, big and small.

3. What is your favourite food?
Dill pickles, hands down (only dill will do!). Pulled pork and Ukrainian beet rolls are next in line.

4. Where is your favourite place to shop?
This is a little harder for me to answer, because I’ve been very conscious of what material items I bring into my life for several months now and at the same time my mindset has been shifting in regards to supporting local businesses versus grabbing a deal online. So where I would shop now (even though I haven’t really been shopping much) is different from where I loved to shop when I shopped a bunch.

Short answer: I really like shopping at the local stores in Saskatoon (where I live), but I also shop online too.

5. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be & why?
My heart is set on doing a North America road trip where I start at home in Saskatoon, drive through Canada to British Columbia, drive along the West Coast, make my way across the Southern States, travel through the Eastern States, and then dip under the Great Lakes on my way back home. I have no idea if this will ever pan out, but I would definitely be sharing about it on here if it did.

6. What’s your guilty pleasure?
I never totally know what to answer when asked this. I guess there are a few: 5 cent candies (and lots of them), Red Bull (I know, so bad for you!), and Home Renovation Shows.

7. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
Five years is so far away, yet not. I see myself owning property, advancing in my career, and still living in Saskatchewan.

8. A long lost relative gives you a large sum of money, what do you do with it?
I would set some aside for fun, like a trip or an event/experience, a portion would be donated to one or more worthy causes (definitely Autism Services of Saskatoon), and then the rest I would either put towards debt or if I had no debt then I would invest it or put it towards a down payment on a house or condo.

9. What is your all-time favourite movie?
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and I don’t even totally know why!

10. Where do you see your blog going in the next year?
In the next year I hope to keep creating posts that I enjoy writing. Maybe I’ll collaborate with other bloggers or professionals, but what I want to do most is overhaul the design of Sweet Spontaneity and add in some new aspects that have been on my to-do list for a while.

11. Where does your blog inspiration come from?
My blog inspiration comes from my day-to-day life as well as my personal hopes and dreams. When I’m not feeling particularly inspired I usually turn to other blogs to see if the posts that I read spark something within me (they usually do!)

Thanks so much for the nomination Marissa Clair!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Writing Resumes for Positions You're Over-qualified For

First, I don't actually like the term "over-qualified," but I used it in the title for simplicity's sake. Even if you have a higher level of education, an abundance of training, or many additional skills, that doesn't totally mean you're over-qualified - maybe technically, but if that's the case, please practice a bit of humility and realize that doesn't make you above that job. Ok, side rant done, now to the original point of this post.

There could be a wide range of reasons why you would be applying for a job that you are over-qualified for: you're making an industry change, you need a change in schedule, you want less responsibility, you relocated, or you're looking for any job, just to name a few. For me, I was interested in finding a part-time job to fill some of my time in the evenings and weekends outside of my M-F day job. I didn't want a job that would be completely draining, rather something that would allow me to be productive with my time and something that I could contribute to without any of the additional commitment that lots of side hustles tend to carry. (If it was purely financially motivated, I would definitely have gone the route of turning one of my passions into a side hustle, but that's not for me at this time).

When I sat down to prepare my resume to apply for a part-time job, I realized it was going to take a lot more tailoring than simply updating the dates and adding in my newest position. I'm pretty confident in my resume and have a system down for applying on jobs in my industry - I have a format that is great and I provide the information that works, but for the first time since my second year of university, I was going to have to change my format as well as include old experience if I wanted any chance of being considered for these positions.

All of my experience since my second year of university has been office administrative-type positions, and that's not what I was going for this time around. I wasn't particularly picky about where my new part-time job would be, but more picky about the atmosphere and proximity to my home and day job, so I applied at coffee shops, movie theaters, restaurants, and retail stores that I thought would be a good fit in my selected area. While a good portion of these places were the kind that hire high school students with no experience, I knew that if I only included my office experience because it was the most recent, some would look at it and not give me a second thought.

On my resume I typically include my contact info at the top, next I list skills that are relevant to the type of position that I am applying for, then I list my experience in ascending order (dates included) before listing my education and community involvement. I keep this all in less than one sheet of paper, front and back (so, two pages), so that means not all of my experience is included - just what's recent and relevant.

This time around, however, I decided to split up my experience into two sections: Related Employment History and Other Employment History. I kept the first section's title simple, but you can totally tailor the title to fit even better, e.g., "Sales Employment History," or "Service Industry Experience." I also decided to leave dates out, other than stating which was my current position, because I wasn't listing them in ascending chronological order and also because I didn't want any potential employer to get caught up on the not-so-recent dates that I gained the experience.

The biggest, most important thing in all of this that I want you to take away and that caused me to write this post is this: capitalize on your transferrable skills. Really take the time to figure out what skills you gained in your past experiences - not just work experience, but education and volunteering too! Maybe you've never worked in a clothing store before, but you have an eye for fashion, you helped out with costumes in your school's yearly drama production, you are extremely organized, you managed the ordering and receiving of shipments in a different industry, and you handled the cash register in yet another industry - sounds like you're qualified then! In my case, I had a bit of experience in a coffee shop for a few months in my first year of university, I worked in an athletic retail store the last two years of high school, and I served in the dining room of an upscale retirement home when I was 16. None of this experience is recent, but it's relevant experience. Still, that alone might not be enough for a potential employer to decide to hire me. In comes my transferrable skills. Things like managing stock in my last position could transfer to every single position I applied for, or handling petty cash and cash registers. I've also gained experience communicating with partners and clients on the phone, over email, and in person; that's absolutely transferrable to any position that involves interacting with customers (which every single position that I applied for does). Other examples of transferrable skills? Sports involvement = team work, working while going to university = time management & prioritization, school's audio-visual team = technology and computer skills. Some of the most important skills are gained over many different life experiences, such as communication, problem-solving, learning, listening, creativity, and leadership. Focus on these skills to make your potential employers see the gem of an employee you can be, and they'll be happy to train you for the position. No one shows up to a job not needing to be trained in at least some way anyway.

What are some more resume tips you can share? Have you recently had to re-vamp your resume to fit positions you were applying for? What are more examples of transferrable skills?  Want to hear more about resumes and job hunting? Let me know!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Travel in 2015: #Take12trips Challenge

Peggy's Cove, NS - Summer 2012

I stumbled across the #take12trips challenge on the Travel Hack and decided I would jump on board. I definitely already take 12 trips a year, but I want to be intentional about them. Even before coming across this challenge, I was already brainstorming ideas with my boyfriend about where we would like to go in 2015. I suggested aiming for at least one trip a month, thinking that 12 trips was a very attainable goal. Because we live in Saskatchewan, with extremely cold winters, we will naturally do a lot more traveling in the summer, so there might be a few winter months that don't actually have a trip scheduled, but multiple trips in other months will still make up for it.

With the weather Saskatchewan is currently experiencing, all I can think about is traveling somewhere warm, but I don't have any official plans for that yet. I already know I'll be traveling to Ontario twice this summer (once at the beginning of May and again in mid-August), so the rest of the places we added to the list are pretty close to home and will involve a road trip rather than a flight. The majority of our trips will be to visit family, because family is super important to us, and what better excuse for travel is there than to visit family?!

Sometimes it's all too easy to just sit back and let time waste away while only dreaming of traveling, rather than actually getting out there and going. Follow these tips (and the ones Monica listed in the original post that inspired me) to make sure you actually get to traveling in 2015.

1. Make travel a priority
If traveling is as important to you as you think it is, show that with your actions! Choose travel over some other luxuries in your life. For me, I really like to indulge in my Starbucks habit, but cut that down to once every couple of weeks and I save a bunch to put towards travel! Another way that you can make travel a priority in your life is by setting aside the time to do it. I'm all for the staycation, but sometimes you just need to schedule your time off from work when you don't have other commitments at home and actually go somewhere while you don't have to be working. Paid time off aside, weekends and long weekends are great times to travel. Block off a weekend every couple of months that is specifically for travel and don't schedule any other commitments. When you have the time available you're in a much better place to arrange travel than if you have to go about cancelling and rescheduling just to get started.

2. Have a list of places you can go on a moments' notice
Okay, maybe not a moments' notice (but then again, maybe you're able to do that too!), but compile a list of places that are nearby and don't require a whole lot of planning ahead to be able to visit. The possibilities are endless, but these tend to be places you can reach by car or public transport and that you already have accommodations available (or places that always have openings available for accommodations). My boyfriend and I compiled our wish list of places to go and a good majority of them could be places that we decide to visit on a Friday afternoon when we leave right after work. Planning ahead is good, but spur of the moment travel counts too!

3. Plan/Prepare
For the plan ahead trips do exactly that: Plan Ahead. Book your accommodations (or call your Aunt), budget accordingly, get the car serviced, research activities and restaurants, plan for your time away. This will look different for every trip, but do it, it makes going that much easier.

4. Budget
As I said in number 3, you need to budget in order to properly prepare for traveling. If you're fortunate enough to have your accommodations covered and a large amount of your meals provided by friends and family, then that's a large amount of money that you don't have to have set aside. However, you'll still have to cover the cost of getting there and any extra activities that you wouldn't normally be taking part in at home. Figure out approximately how much your trip will cost you ahead of time and set it aside - don't rely on credit! BONUS: If you know you want to travel this year, you can start a "travel fund" even before you know exactly where you want to go, then you'll be one step ahead when it comes time to plan a budget!

What are some of your tips to make sure you travel as much as you wish to? Anyone else taking part in the #take12trips challenge? Where do you want to travel to in 2015?
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