Make Every Day A Vacation

Vacuum Every DAY

There are 5 months left until my wedding. I honestly can’t believe it.

WHERE DOES TIME GO?!?!?

So as you can imagine, my days and weekends now consist of cake tasting and shoe shopping and picking out invitations.

But a few weekends ago, we had NO appointments scheduled, so I took the opportunity to make our weekly trip to my parent’s house- this time to relax, hang out with my brother and sister, and not talk about wedding stuff.

First things first… had to pick up some alcohol!

I swung by Walmart and decided to try Palm Breeze for the first time.

Palm Breeze Walmart

It wasn’t expensive at all…$7 and change for a box of 6. One tiny problem though…two different tropical flavors of Palm Breeze to choose from.

Ruby Red Citrus and Pineapple Mandarin Orange.

Palm Breeze Ruby Red Citrus Mandarin Orange

Um…red’s my favorite color, and I love drinks that have a citrus flavor, so I grabbed the ruby red and ran out the door before I had time to change my mind.

Once a week, Joe and I head over to my parent’s house to hang out with the family.

Usually, though, the day consists of everyone on their iPads…that’s what relaxing has come to these days!

But not this time!

I yelled at everyone…told them to put their iPads down…and we all went outside!

You know, to enjoy sunlight and stuff.

Mom and dad’s backyard, ladies and gentlemen!

Beautiful Backyard With Pool

I used to spend so much time out here. Pool parties and tanning…

Lately, life’s just so chaotic and we never get a chance to hang out here. And I miss it!

Because it’s awesome! It’s super relaxing, and exactly what I need after a long week at work.

That, and a drink!

Ruby Red Citrus Palm Breeze

No lie, this stuff’s delicious….

Palm Breeze is considered a flavored malt beverage, so think super-refreshing and a little bubbly.

This ruby red citrus flavor has the exact citrus flavor that I love, so it’s my new go-to drink for the summer. I especially love that the makers of Palm Breeze have no problem saying that it’s a drink targeted towards women.

Sisters Love Palm Breeze

BUT…this guy over here, who’s super picky about everything, is giving it a thumbs up, so I’m guessing that means guys can drink it too!

Guys like palm breeze too

LOVE that I got to try a new drink, and that I got to hang out with these crazy people that keep me going.

Because, you know, we always talk about how important vacations are. But when we think of vacations, we often think about spending tons of money to be on an island somewhere far far away for 2 weeks. And since we’re not millionaires and have to work for a living, we don’t always get to do that.

But we CAN make every day a vacation…just by switching things up a bit.

By spending time with our families, and our friends, and making lasting memories.

By trying something new, and putting our phones down for just a few hours.

And if you CAN’T put your phone down, then just have an awesome selfie-party with whoever you’re with.

Selfie time with the little brother

So this summer, go be social. Go spend time with awesome people.

Travel…go outside…soak up the sun, and when you do, grab a Palm Breeze to make it even better!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Other stuff you might like:

Follow me on:

Twitter// Bloglovin// Facebook// Pinterest// Instagram

 

Friday Roundup 5/22/15

Friday Roundup Blog Posts May 22

Alright, guys!! Here are some of my favorite posts from this week! Enjoy :)

1.  How To Embrace Change: Here I Scribble

2. 6 Productive Things To Do When You Have Nothing To Do: The Wonder Forest

3. 10 Daily Habits to Improve Your Self-Esteem: Little Flecks of Gold

4. 10 Ways To Reset For the Week: Beauty In The Mess

5. 10 Simple Pleasures To Make You Happier: Simply-Nicole

Now, on top of making this a roundup post, I want to share a few things from the week that I’m super thankful for…

1. This awesome mac-n-cheese bacon waffle sandwich that Joe decided to bring home for me a few nights ago! Thanks, babe. That’s why I’m marrying you.

2. My momma, since it was her birthday on Wednesday! Thanks for everything you do for us! Celebration at Finka was perfect.

Happy Birthday Momma Bear!! Love you! 😘❤️ @alicruz101106 A photo posted by Kayla Cruz (@kcruz012) on

3. These beautiful things. Are cannoli’s anyone else’s weakness??

Other stuff you might like:

Follow me on:

Twitter// Bloglovin// Facebook// Pinterest// Instagram

 

Feeling Stuck In Your Career As A Young Professional

Feeling Stuck In Your Career As A Young Professional

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching about my career, lately.

And as a result, I’ve been a crazy mess full of anxiety!

But before I get into that, let me just make sure everyone understands something…

My life isn’t terrible! I really don’t don’t have much to complain about, at all.

I have an amazing fiance, we’re getting married in November, and our new house is supposed to be ready by then too.

So no, definitely not a terrible life.

But I’m 24 years old and I feel stuck.

Stuck in my career.

Stuck in a career that I’m not really passionate about.

Again…disclaimer here…I am SUPER THANKFUL for my job. SUPER THANKFUL for the amazing people that I get to work with.

But does the idea of doing this job for the rest of my life make me want to jump for joy?!?!?

No, I don’t think so.

Could I do it?

Sure…I’m pretty confident that I could perform really well at almost any job (with some training, obviously).

But do I WANT to do it? Do I WANT to do it forever?

That’s an entirely different question.

Call me naive, that’s fine, but I still really hope and believe that it’s possible to find a career and a job that you’re passionate about.

And more than that, I believe it’s what you should be striving for.

Sure, a job is a job and there are inevitably going to be days that suck…Days where I have no desire to get up for work, and instead want to spend my entire day binge-watching tv shows on Netflix.

But I want to wake up excited about the work that I’m doing.

I want to wake up and go to work and know that it’s something that I love and that I’m good at.

Something that I’m passionate about….

Something that does bring me a sense of personal satisfaction…

While knowing that I’m helping others in the process.

So when I think about what that is, I know the answer to it…

More than anything I want to be an On-boarding & Employee Development Specialist.

I want to work with companies, developing training sessions that will benefit both their employees and their leadership team.

I want to coach individuals to perform their best at a job, and I want to provide them with resources that help them get there.

If I could do that everyday, I’d be a really happy camper.

I know it.

But it’s not always so easy to transition into a new career field.

And I know I’m not the only one in this situation, for sure.

Especially us young professionals.

I mean, come on. We had to pick a major, something to study, when we were like 18 years old. At 18, I didn’t even know how to do my own laundry (thanks, momma, for all your help with that).

So I chose a major. And I got a Bachelors degree in Healthcare Administration. And I then went on to pursue a Masters degree in something that I assumed would complement my undergraduate education.

I earned my Master’s degree in Public Administration, as well as a Graduate Certificate in HR, and through that entire crazy process, I came to develop a passion for human resources and employee development.

Hence the creation of this blog, 3 years ago.

And you know what? It’s so great that I finally found something that makes me light up when I talk about it!!

It’s such a cool feeling!

Except for one thing…

I’ve never held a full-time job in HR!

So at this point in my career, when I’m already making a decent income and have a wedding and house to pay for, can I afford to take a job as a secretary in some HR office, hoping to climb that corporate ladder?

Not really.

Actually…I just looked at my bills for this month, and no….no I VERY MUCH can’t afford it.

(On a sidenote: think about how many young professionals out there are in a similar situation. They studied their butts off and studied something that they love, but got a job in something TOTALLY DIFFERENT because it paid the bills…because it allowed them to pay off their student loans. And now, 5…7 years later, they’re stuck at a job that they don’t really love, all for the money.)

So what are my options, then?

I can work really hard and continue to pursue this passion of mine in any way that I can, and hope that one day a company will allow me the opportunity to become an OED Specialist based solely on my volunteer experience and the content that I write on this blog…

Or, I can sell out.

I can do a job that I’m NOT passionate about, because it pays well.

And as the years go by, I can feel that much farther away from my dream.

Yea, it’s a little dramatic, but you know what I’m trying to say here.

Maybe it’s just me, and maybe I’m totally crazy, but I feel like I’m way too young to sell out. I’m way too young to not work towards the things that would make me happiest.

I’m way too young to make my career decisions solely on the digits that appear on my paycheck.

Because I really, truly believe that if more people did the things that they love to do, the workplace would be so much better.

If more people woke up excited to perform their job responsibilities, people would be happier! And people wouldn’t be so nasty at work! And people would be more productive! And people wouldn’t be so stressed all the time! And as a result, there’d be less heart attacks every year.

So I think this is the end of my rant. It’s been a while since I just word-vomited on a blog post.

But it’s how I feel, and I know I’m not alone.

Other stuff you might like:

Follow me on:

Twitter// Bloglovin// Facebook// Pinterest// Instagram

Career Series No. 5 – Organizational Psychology

Organizational Psychology.

What did you want to be when you were growing up and why?

I wanted to be a lawyer. I’m Nigerian American, so from childhood I was taught to be either a Doctor, Lawyer, or Engineer (lots of options lol). I wasn’t great at chemistry, and I didn’t want to do any more math than I had to. I was good at getting my point across, had strong writing skills, and loved the idea of the corporate environment. So being a business lawyer just seemed to be the natural choice for me.

What is your current job (or job that you’re discussing)?

I am a principal consultant/ co-founder of Smart Workplace Consulting. So to be general- I’m in the field of Industrial Organizational (I/O) Psychology. 

How did you land that position? (What made you want to pursue that?)

I always knew I wanted to own my own business. While I was in graduate school, I met my Smart Workplace Consulting partner. We were both very interested in modern workplace issues, especially topics pertaining to millennials & social media in the workplace. So after graduate school and working for other companies for a while, we decided to open up our own company. We want to be able to use our expertise to serve professional millennials.

The reason I went into the field of Industrial Organizational Psychology was because I used to work for a company called Nelnet, which was in the collections dept. My job was to call people and convince them to pay their student loans. As you can imagine, it can be a very stressful job, but I loved just about every second that I was at the company. The company did such a great job in their hiring process, really worked to develop their staff, and really went the extra mile to take care of us. As a result, I was inspired to go into a field where I could help other organizations better manager their people. I wanted to help make sure that employees are happy in their jobs and motivated to produce high level results. I started doing research, and found out about Industrial Organizational Psychology. From there, I applied to a couple graduate schools, and the rest is history.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

I’m at the startup phase of my company, so my days are spent developing my business. Reaching out to people to offer my services, and studying to make sure that I’m staying on top of what is going on in our field. For others in my field who are more seasoned, they’re probably involved in a lot of meetings, conducting interviews, studying data, training people, and presenting, etc. It’s definitely a field that’s broad enough to allow you to take your job in whatever direction you want to take it.

What do you love most about it?

I love making work a better place for people. We spend so much time there and organizations spend so much money on having their employees there. So why not make it a situation where both sides are satisfied? I love making this happen utilizing data and research in a “smart way.”

What do you hate most about it?

What is rough about our field is that  although EVERY company needs an I/O psychologist or someone with an I/O background to get their people where they would like to them to be, we are a small/young field and not really well-known to everyday people. So it’s definitely a struggle trying to explain to people the benefits of using an I/O professional. Not only that, but early on in your career, you sometimes have to get a bit creative in the positions that you take, to get the experience you need to continue growing.

What’s the coolest thing that ever happened to you at work? 

Seriously, the coolest thing that ever happened was when I talked to my first potential client. I can’t share their name for confidential reasons, but let’s just say that they’re in the entertainment industry, musicians use their venue to hold concerts, and they also have a restaurant component to their business. The majority of their employees would be considered millennials, or at least have a millennial mindset, which is the demographic we love to work with. I freaked out for 2 hours before actually making the phone call. Right before I made the call, my speaker stopped working (insert crying emoji here), so I had to go borrow my brother’s phone. So as I’m making this call with a client that could potentially be a game changer for us, I kept losing signal and dropping the call. So embarrassing! I could have tried to be cool and play it off, but I was honest and let the client know that I was having a lot of phone drama. He was really cool and understanding, but I still kick myself today for that incredibly embarrassing situation. Regardless, I got to interact with an awesome company.

What strengths do you think are necessary for someone to be successful at this job?

I think you need to be somewhat analytical, and you need to be someone who is great at listening without presenting your own biases or assumptions. This is because most of the time, you’re being hired to fix a problem (picture Olivia Pope for companies). So biases (we all have them) gets in the way of doing the job correctly. Also, you need to have super-strong communication skills.You could be working with an executive one minute and an employee the next, so having great communication skills and knowing how to work with different people will get you far.

What’s the best piece of advice you can give someone who’s looking to pursue this as a career?

When you are looking at colleges, make sure you do your research. Pay attention to how you’re placed into internships and the types of research your potential professors are involved in, to see if it exposes you to what you hope to accomplish after graduate school.

Start learning about organizational behavior early on. It is very fascinating (well at least I think so).If you don’t think so, this field may not be the one for you. Turn anything you hear about in the news involving a company doing something with the employee component of their business into a case study. For example, why is Starbucks really offering free education to their employees, and what are the implications? And what’s the deal with Zappos‘ new organizational structure? Getting yourself used to that kind of thinking as soon as possible will make you that much more successful in school and beyond. Best of luck!

Follow Erika on TWITTER!

Thanks for checking out Week #5! If you’d like to participate, fill out the contact form HERE and let me know why you’d like to be a part of this adventure!

How To Minimize Debt In College So You Can Be Rich Faster

How To Minimize Debt In College So You Can Be Rich Faster

Last night, I participated in one of my favorite Twitter Chats, #Millennialtalk. 

And it got me thinking about debt, college students, and just how terrible it is that most students start their lives off in debt because of the insane costs of higher education.

Because I really do think it’s terrible.

Like, really really super terrible.

But at the same time, I think we need to start taking a little more responsibility for the AMOUNT of debt we actually have.

Because some of it’s our own fault.

Now wait a second!!! Before you throw rocks at me, listen… I’m not at all saying that ALL the debt we have is our own fault…I still believe that college costs are out of control, big time. But what I AM saying is that we often have a lot more debt than we need to have because of the choices that we make.

So here are 5 things you can do to decrease the amount of debt you incur in college, to hopefully make it a bit more manageable once you graduate, and help you get rich raster.

1. Stay in state.

When we’re in high school, we can’t wait to get the heck out of of our houses! No more mom and dad and our stupid curfew!! So we seem to think that the best way to gain that freedom that we’re craving is to attend college as far away from home as possible. But you know what? That’s not the only option! And quite frankly, I don’t think it’s the smartest one.

Attending an out-of-state school, in most cases, will cost you a LOT more money. If you need to get away from your parents, you can still do that in-state. You can move to another city entirely, or you can attend a school within walking distance from your house, and live in the dorms if you really want that freedom. But in the long run, you’ll be saving tons of money.

2. Live with your parents if you can. If you need a break from the parentals, find roommates and understand that you’re not going to live in a mansion.

Yea, you’re parents are annoying most of the time. And yea, I get it…you don’t want to be told to be home by 2am. But if you can deal with them a little longer, STAY AT HOME. Because rent is super expensive. And my friends…it’s not just rent that you have to pay for when you move out. It’s:

  • Food (this alone can make you super poor)
  • Water
  • Gas
  • Shampoo, Conditioner, Toothpaste – you know, those things your mom usually buys for you which really add up, btw.

You also have to do your laundry which is a pain. You also have to deal with things like your A/C breaking or having a water leak – those beautiful, unexpected costs.

But okay, let’s say you can deal with this. Let’s say that you can afford to move out of mom and dad’s house… if you’re ready to do that, then you’re going to need roommates. Because owning or even renting a property all on your own is usually unaffordable. At least, here in Miami it is.

So instead of taking out a loan to pay for a nice, big, gorgeous place, find roommates and share the cost. Even with roommates, your house or apartment isn’t going to be a mansion. ACCEPT IT! It’s not going to look like the houses do on HGTV. Nope. Chances are it’s going to be a tiny hole in the wall. And you know why? Because it’s all you’re going to be able to afford!

And that’s OK! You’re in your early twenties! You don’t have much work experience! You’re not making all that much money! So don’t pretend that you have more money than you really do.

Pretending that you’re a millionaire when you’re not is the quickest way to find yourself $100K in debt.

So just don’t do it.

3. Get a job while you’re studying.

Ugh!!! But I can’t go to school and get a job! It’s way too hard! Then I won’t have time to roam around on campus and find cute guys on Tinder…

Here’s the reality. Some people don’t NEED to work while they’re in college. Some people can afford not to. But I would HIGHLY encourage it. Even if it’s 5 hours a week. Even if it’s just two hours. Money is money, people.

When I was a Freshman in college, I was a campus tour guide. I gave tours to students and their parents in the hot blazing Miami sun for maybe four hours a day, twice a week. Making $7/hr. But you know what? That was about $50 a week more than I would have had if I wasn’t working. And that adds up.

So do you have to work while in college? Not necessarily. Could you instead use the time to be free of work and just hang out with your friends and study for your classes? Absolutely. But understand that it’s a choice you’re making.

You’re making a choice to not make money. And by not making money, that’s more debt that you’re collecting.

4. Don’t buy things you don’t need.

If you don’t have a job, and you don’t have any money, do you really need $200 headphones and new speakers for your car? Nope…ya don’t.

Do you need food, and your books for school, and gas for your car, and all the other basic life necessities? Yea, quite obviously.

So…you see? There’s a big difference here.

One of the fastest ways to add to your post-college debt is to buy things that you don’t need. Whenever you’re about to buy something, ask yourself… “Is this something I really need?” If the answer is no, then put it down and walk away. You’ll thank yourself later, I promise.

Now, that’s not to say that you can’t ever treat yourself to something! You definitely CAN and you should! But if you get into the habit of restraining yourself and not buying things that aren’t really necessary, your debt-to-income ratio will be a lot less scary when you’re ready to step out into the real world.

5. Do not EVER use the phrase, “Well…I’ve already got X amount of debt, so what’s another X amount of dollars added to that?”

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard this one. And I cringe each and every single time.

So many of my friends just laughed it off… “Oh, I’ve already got $50k worth of debt, so what’s another $300 for this purse?” Um… it’s another $300, lady! $300 here and $500 there and another $1000 on that spring break trip that you can’t afford…. all of that adds up! And all of that…YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR IT AT SOME POINT!

It’s easy and it’s tempting to say, “Well…what’s the difference between $50k of debt and $75k?? I’ll pay for it eventually when I graduate and have a job.”

But it’s such a dangerous mind frame to have.

First of all, there’s a big difference between $50k and $75k. Ask anyone who’s currently trying to pay off even $1k of debt.

And secondly, let’s see…you know how hard it is to pay off $75k of debt when you land a job and you’re making $40k if you’re lucky? Let’s do the math. If you’re lucky enough these days to be making about $40k right out of college, and you owe $75k…even if every single penny of every single paycheck that you got went into paying off your debt, you wouldn’t have enough.

(And that’s not even talking about the interest on that debt.)

But realistically speaking, you can’t do that. You can’t use your entire paycheck to pay off debt. You need your paycheck to pay for your car and your car insurance and your rent and your gas and your food and your health insurance and your other day-to-day living kind of stuff. So once all the bills are paid, I promise you, more often than not, you’re not gunna have even $1k left over to put towards that debt.

So what’s my point?

Keep your debt as minimal as possible. Debt isn’t like this imaginary thing that you’ll never have to pay for once you graduate. It’s not even something that you’ll be able to pay off in a few MONTHS once you graduate and have a job (unless you’re like some super kick-ass lawyer or nuclear physicist).

It’s your responsibility to pay for every single thing that you swipe your credit card for, so with every swipe that you can’t afford, you’re doing your future self a HUGE disservice.

Be smart about this.

And yea, I get it. We’re broke at that point in our lives. Believe me, I got it back then, and I STILL get it. But if that’s the case, then we shouldn’t be blowing $100 on alcohol every Thursday-Sunday. And we shouldn’t keep buying the latest iPhone. And we shouldn’t have a wardrobe that looks like Kim Kardashian’s.

Because we got no monaaay, honaay!

But we’ll get there, eventually. With time.

And if you keep your debt to a minimal in college, you’ll find yourself way ahead of your friends when you DO graduate and get a job.

And you’ll be rich that much faster!

I graduated college with zero debt. I was lucky, but I was also smart. I made smart financial decisions. I don’t own Christian Louboutins, even though I want some really really badly. I didn’t and still don’t go to fancy dinners all the time. Friday nights consist of Publix $3.99 pizzas- which I LOVE.

But I’m 24 years old and I’ve got over $40k already put away towards retirement. And when I hit 30, that number will be even higher.

So, stay in state.

Live with your parents.

Get a job while you study.

Don’t buy things you don’t need.

And understand that debt adds up. FAST.

Any other suggestions??

Other stuff you might like:

Follow me on:

Twitter// Bloglovin// Facebook// Pinterest// Instagram