Image

Taste: my take on the juice cleanse

Tags

, ,

Taste: my take on the juice cleanse

The popularity of all kinds of fancy eating regimens and diets has been growing at a rapid pace for several years now, some of which include vegan, organic, gluten-free and paleo, to name a few. A big one that I have been reading about lately, as well as hearing about from many people that I know is the Juice Cleanse.

Juicing has become a very controversial subject on the topic of health and dieting. On the one hand, if done right, a juice cleanse can have several health benefits that include ridding the body of toxins that stick around from the frequent consumption of things like caffeine and alcohol. On the other hand, if used as an excuse not to eat for a few days and [hopefully] drop a few pounds, juice cleansing can actually lead to weight gain, loss of energy, and a slower, less active metabolism.

Really, a juice cleanse just further encourages what our parents and doctors have been telling us our whole lives: to eat more fruits and veggies! A positive middle-ground would be to substitute one of your later-in-the-day, smaller meals or snacks with a nutritional juice. One (or two) a day is a good way to regularly consume more produce, especially if you don’t incorporate as much fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet as you’d like. If you add juicing regimens to an already healthy diet, you will see productive side effects on your skin, energy and focus levels, and an overall cleaner, healthier interior and exterior.

Now, like everything, this is circumstantial. I have a friend who suffers from unstable Crohn’s and Colitis, and she completes a juice cleanse once in a while in order to flush out her system and help her feel rejuvenated from the inside out. Juice cleanses have been said by doctors to have positive side effects on people with stomach and intestinal medical conditions, because their organs lack the ability to naturally detoxify as regularly as the rest of us. In this case, it is beneficial to one’s health to only drink these types of juices for two to three days. Many people will undergo this challenge in the hopes of losing weight…and yes, you may feel lighter and weigh less throughout the process. But just know that the results of a juice cleanse used for losing weight are like any other “yo-yo” diet; you will most likely gain all of the pounds you shed back when you start eating solid foods again, and sometimes even more. You can also do permanent damage on your metabolism when you shock your system by not eating.

On another note, if you are going to start adding freshly made juices into your diet, I highly recommend taking the time to look up good recipes and making them yourself – unless you’re prepared to practically empty out your wallet (*the average individual juice costs min. $13 a bottle, and buying into a 3-day juice cleanse can be up to $300).

If you are interested in these juices, whether store bought or homemade, the best way to go is by adding them into your regular eating routine as opposed to using them as supplements. If you have tried a juice cleanse or are thinking about it, I would love to hear about your opinions and experiences!

*image courtesy of blisstree.com

Image

Look: remembering L’Wren Scott

Tags

,

Look: remembering L'Wren Scott

In the last ten years, L’Wren Scott became one of the most famous New York fashion designers, making beautiful pieces for A-list celebrities like Nicole Kidman and Penelope Cruz, and was also well known for being Rolling Stones Mick Jagger’s girlfriend since 2001. Vogue Magazine editor Anna Wintour described L’Wren as “a total perfectionist, someone who absolutely embodied everything her marvellous clothes stood for.” Instead of discussing in length her death announced today, I would like to pay respects to the talented designer by remembering some of the unbelievably exquisite looks that she brought to life:

See image here of Sarah Jessica Parker in L’Wren’s multicolour stripe dress that the Sex and the City star wore to the 29th Annual Fashion Group International Night of Stars in New York (October 2012). The colour assortment of this dress is red-carpet worthy, with a vibrant look, but still elegant and not over-the-top. The way that this dress fit SJP’s body is a perfect example of why L’Wren’s designs were most famous for their ability to perfectly flatter a woman’s body.

Although I’m not one to rock sequins or sparkles, I respect anyone who can and does. One of her most beautiful looks seen here, Nicole Kidman wears this L’Wren Scott sequined mermaid dress to the 2013 Oscars and absolutely glows on the red carpet. The shape of this piece is breathtaking on Nicole’s beautiful body, and the features that L’Wren put into the bottom and train of the dress shows her attention to detail and aesthetics.

Amy Adams showed up to the 2011 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in this gorgeous midnight blue sequinned gown made by L’Wren. The rich colour of the dress mixed with the glamorous shine from the sparkle was one of Amy’s most memorable looks ever. This piece by Scott solidifies one of the design qualities that she was famous for: the shape and fit of the dress is so flattering from any angle, and compliments the configuration of the wearer’s body.

Young Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence wears this mid-length dress by L’Wren at the 2011 Critic’s Choice Awards. The neckline suits Jen perfectly and exudes the perfect combination of sexy and elegant, and the unique hue compliments her natural blonde hair and skin tone. I love the length design of this dress and the way that it allowed for her to show some leg and her shoe choice, without taking away from it’s romantic feel.

In 2008, Penelope Cruz wore this unbelievably gorgeous L’Wren design to the 58th Berlinale Film Festival (for premiere of Elegy). I adore the contrasting two tone of the harsh black body and pale pink tulle that accentuates the tail of the dress. The lace detailing adds a feature of delicate femininity, and while this piece isn’t the typically snug fit of L’Wren’s usual styles, it still enhances Penelope’s lovely figure.

The 49-year-old designer left behind a fashion legacy that will always be remembered. There is no telling as to what L’Wren was going through when she decided to take her own life but I for one will honour her in this tragedy by commemorating her brilliant talent and creations.

*image courtesy of culturevultureexpress.wordpress.com

Image

Think: some of the best TV shows of all time

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Think: some of the best TV shows of all time

Especially for those of us who live in a place where winter lasts 10 months of the year (good old Canada, eh?), a great way to pass those cold and gloomy days is by getting lost in a TV series. Of course, my list is completely biased – but if you’re looking for a new (or old) show to get caught up in, here are my suggestions:

Friends (1994-2004, 10 seasons). This is, without a doubt, number one on my list. There are two types of Friends watchers: the ones who have seen the few episodes that are aired on cable TV on a loop, and the ones who can confidently say that they have seen every single episode at least twice (and probably own the DVDs). The latter are who I identify with. While Friends is a light and easy show to put on while you’re making dinner and not really paying full attention, it is exponentially more enjoyable when you know the background of each character and can understand the underlying meanings to the jokes that are made within the dialogue. I can guarantee that if this is how you watch the series, you will become emotionally attached to each of the characters. Above all, it is relatable and heartfelt, while addressing common personal issues that they work together to solve. I highly suggest investing your time in watching the Friends series from start to finish.

Breaking Bad (2008-2013, 5 seasons). Beware, this show will change your life. It is heavy and will get comfortably into your head (and maybe your dreams, as well…). Despite the entertaining action and twists and turns of the show, there is a genuine brilliance behind the character and plot development that captivates viewers. Breaking Bad is compelling because of its intense capacity to effectively portray the dangerous domino effect that comes along with power, fear, and of course, money. The actor performances are at a level that defines true talent in its finest form, to the point that Bryan Cranston received an email from Sir Anthony Hopkins when the series ended noting that – and I quote – his performance as Walter White was the best acting he had ever seen. Lastly, the writers do a phenomenal job of wrapping everything up in the series finale (as many shows with complex plots do not, e.g., Lost) and committing to leaving the viewers satisfied. If you are looking for a multi-level mind-blowing, not-so-light series to watch, Breaking Bad should be your go-to.

Modern Family (2009-present, 5 seasons). Each episode of Modern Family is short and sweet, and conveys an important but gentle message in a light-hearted way. The documentation of three intertwined families and their daily lives is conveyed in a hilarious yet realistic manner. All of the characters are extremely likeable, each with their own quirky qualities and habits. The dialogue is written with simplicity but cleverness, making the show easy and all-round enjoyable to watch.

Entourage (2004-2011, 8 seasons). Based on Mark Wahlberg’s experiences as an up and coming filmstar, Entourage follows the life of a sought after Hollywood movie star, Vincent Chase and his close companions. Each episode never fails to entertain with an abdunance of excessive partying, money spending, sex, and expected Hollywood drama – with an outrageous but excellent performance by Jeremy Piven as Vinny’s agent (based on real-life Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel), who comically conveys the anxiety and stress that comes along with managing an A-list star and playboy party-animal. The episodes are short, so you will be able to get through them pretty quickly, just in time for the Entourage movie that is apparently hitting theatres summer 2015…

Prison Break (2005-2009, 4 seasons). My dad and I used to watch this show religiously. Besides Wentworth Miller being quite the site for sore eyes, the plot is intriguing and constantly taking unexpected turns. Prison Break is based on a man who purposely has himself sent to jail in order to save his innocent brother who was incarcerated due to a corrupt political and justice system, with the ultimate goal being to break them both out. You might find the dialogue a little cheesy, but it is nonetheless creative and entertaining and an interesting way to perceive what jail [might] be like. The storyline is a combination of mysterious and dramatic, with unique aspects of symbolisms and underlying significations. Above all, the best part of Prison Break is the dynamic between the two brothers, and the likability of the “bad guys” vs. the “good guys.”

Family Guy (1999-present, 13 seasons). When I was in University and lived with four other girls, one of them would argue with me everytime I put on Family Guy. Her annoyance with the show is not uncommon – many viewers find it obnoxious and over-the-top. I, however, think it is extremely clever and quite amusing, as it addresses political and societal issues in an extreme, comical manner. Seth MacFarlane is the creator of the show while ALSO voicing four of the main characters, and satirically harps on the average all-American family lifestyle (which is arguably why he is the subject of many harsh critiques). Although it is a cartoon series, Family Guy is by no means meant for children with its constant reference to politics, sexuality and American culture, while using discriminatory (and possibly offensive) language and subjects. Nonetheless, I will always turn on Family Guy if I’m looking for a good laugh, or if I need to catch up on my American current events…

The Newsroom (2012-present, 3 seasons). You may remember him from Dumb and Dumber, but Jeff Daniels puts on a truly outstanding performance in The Newsroom. Note: in order to enjoy this show or even follow what is going on, you need to be alert and address your full attention as the dialogue is spoken at full speed. The majority of the show takes place in the headquarters of the fictional cable news channel, exhibiting the fast-paced culture of what it takes to deliver news to the world. My favourite aspect of this show is how it conveys what it’s like for the producers and anchors of a global news network to provide millions of viewers around the world with breaking headlines – I know that before I started watching this show, I never really considered or gave much thought to the behind-the-scenes of the news. Now, I have a totally different perspective of what it takes and the pressure that comes along with these professions. The Newsroom does an incredible job of taking this theme and using it to convey the impact that some events have had on our world in the last five years. One thing is for sure: you will know whether or not you are hooked by season 1, episode 1.

*image couresty of familyfocuseyecare.ca

Image

Look: sneakers for her

Tags

, , ,

Look: sneakers for her

Recently, “Sneakerhead” culture has grown exponentially due to prominency in the music and fashion industry. In addition, female celebrities considered style icons such as Miley Cyrus and Rihanna have started to rock sneakers. And I don’t mean Converse Chucks or Nike Frees, I mean full-blown athletic shoes designed under the names and inspired by basketball superstars like Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Patrick Ewing and more. Advanced and well-known fashion designers such as Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, and Valentino have started creating and merchandising their own branded sneakers. In the picture here, I have shared the start of my personal collection.

The Debate

This is one of my favourite conversations to have with my fellow fashion-lovers. Some say that if worn properly, sneakers are a stylish way to complement a trendy or girly outfit. The other side of the argument is that they are designed and created for boys and men who play basketball, and do not belong on a woman’s foot.

My View

From the moment we started dating, Jason started trying to convince me to wear sneakers, and I refused. I took the same stance that the opposing side of the debate takes – that these shoes are meant for men on the court (and I am definitely not a basketball player). However, when Isabel Marant designed the Sneaker Wedge, my mind opened a little. I figured, maybe any sneakers – if worn the right way – could be a valuable addition to a fashionista’s shoe collection.

How To

Here are some suggestions on how to make sneakers work without having to sacrifice your visible fashion smarts:

Throw on a collared blouse with a cropped sweater over for a preppy look. With skinny jeans, a slouchy beanie if the weather permits and your sneakers, you will maintain a trendy and feminine style, with an extra pop added by your shoes.
If you’re buying your first pair of sneakers, you’re most likely going to pick neutral colours (black, white, grey, etc.). Pair these with accented pants – for example, camo jeans, cream or burdgundy corduroys, or any colour leather leggings – and wear with a neutral t-shirt/longsleeve. Layer on a bomber jacket or a fur vest that matches, and your sneakers add a refreshingly fashionable touch to your outfit.
This option is a little more risky. If your style is like mine, you’re girly but not over-the-top (frills just DO NOT do it for me), so I sometimes like to tone down a casual, daytime dress with the right pair of sneakers. Try a t-shirt dress that has pockets or a dress with longsleeves and leather detailing. When you add sneakers, your look will be casual and bold, with a “boyfriend” style added. If you’re not into the dress idea, try a one-piece romper instead.

Finding the Right Pairs

If you decide to take my advice and want to purchase your first pair of kicks, you want it to be a fun experience (not just your local mall Foot Locker or Champs, although these places will do the trick if you want it to be quick and painless). If you happen to be visiting New York or LA, definitely check out Flightclub (link to website here), or you can order from them online if you don’t mind paying shipping and duties. They have the best and most exclusive collection, although you will be paying resale for most pairs. If you are shopping in Toronto (there is also a location in NYC), go to House of Hoops (link to website here), owned by Foot Locker but with a much more exciting assortment to choose from.

If you happen to try any of my ideas or your own, send me a picture or share your outfit on the blog!

Image

Look: where to shop

Tags

, ,

Look: where to shop

I have always wished that I could be really good at something like singing. I often watch TV shows like The Voice or X-Factor with my parents, and frequently after an extraordinary performance, I turn to them and say, “ugh, I wish I could be that good at something.” They have, more times than not, come back to me and said, “but you ARE that good at something – it’s shopping!”

Having said that, I would like to share what I feel are some of the best places to shop in different tiers, whether you enjoy big designer brand names or good bargain sales.

Big Spender

Jeffrey, New York City. Located in the city’s Meatpacking District, Jefffrey is a beautiful boutique store that retails the biggest designer names in the world. Here, you will find the best selection of handbags, shoes, high-end and fine costume jewelry, clothing, other accessories and beauty products. When I walk into Jeffrey, I feel the same way that I do when entering a luxury ceramic or glassware store – everything that surrounds you pleases the senses and the mind aesthetically to the point that it all feels fragile. If you are making a big purchase like a purse or shoes, Jeffrey is the place to go. (Note: there is also a Jeffrey location in Atlanta)

The Webster, Miami. For shopping and fashion lovers, The Webster is an unforgettable experience. The primary location in Miami Beach is a destination for men and women who seek to shop somewhere with a chic and stylish allure. The Webster carries all of the new and most sought out collections by a range of advanced designers such as Chanel, Saint Laurent, Céline, Peter Pilotto, Givenchy, Proenza Schouler, Valentino, Tom Ford, to name a few. You can also find some of your favourite contemporary brands like Acne, Kenzo, Rag and Bone and JBrand. Besides retailing one of the best selections in existence, The Webster leaves an impression on anyone who enters. The establishment has a fully stocked bar, slick lounge, patio, not to mention the art and photography assortment that occupies the walls throughout the building. Overall, The Webster is a stopping place if you’re looking to spend big, or if you just want to feel luxe for a day. (Note: another location of The Webster recently opened at the Bal Harbour shops, with a much smaller but still beautiful assortment of women’s clothing and accessories)

119 Corbo, Toronto. In the heart of Yorkville, the most upscale shopping area in the city, stands a little boutique with big elements. 119 Corbo is two stories of un-overwhelming selection where you are guaranteed to find what you are looking for – whether it be handbags, shoes, clothing or accessories like jewelry and sunglasses. It has one of the best assortments of Céline bags, Dries Van Noten clothing, Rick Owens and Maison Martin Margiela clothing that you can find not just in Toronto, but in all of Canada.

Somewhere In Between

Intermix (various locations). This is your destination for the best assortment of high-end contemporary ready-to-wear by designers such as IRO, Rag and Bone, Helmut Lang, Barbara Bui, ALC, Herve Leger, Derek Lam, Nicholas, Yves Salomon, to mention some of my favourites. You can also find a beautifully bought selection of shoes and purses by designers that include Valentino, Proenza Schouler, Sergio Rossi, and Jimmy Choo. There is the perfect combination of elegance and trendiness within the Intermix assortment, to the point that I would go there to buy a dress for a black-tie wedding or a blouse to wear to Saturday night’s dinner. Shopping at Intermix is always a pleasure, as the environment is a pleasant antithesis of your average department store experience, with the same (and better) names and pieces to choose from.

Scoop NYC (various locations). The sizes and collections at each Scoop location are different, but for the most part, you can find a good variety of brand names that you love as well as lesser-known but still desirable fashion lines. Scoop has everything from clothing and shoes to bathing suits and beach wear for both women and men. It is known in the retail world as “The Ultimate Closet,” where shoppers can obtain everything they need for their chosen lifestyle.

Fashionista on a Budget

Zara (various locations). While I personally find Zara to be a hit or a miss, a few of my favourite pieces in my closet were findings there. It’s a great spot to find trendy fashion pieces or clothing to wear to work. Most of the items you’ll find at Zara are completely affordable, and it feels justified to go there every weekend to find something reasonable and new to wear for your night out. I particularly like the jackets, costume jewelry, and collared blouses (and sometimes high heels and boots) that you can find if you have the patience to handle the usual Zara crowd.

Top Shop (various locations). If you don’t know your way around, Top Shop can definitely be overwhelming and thus unsuccessful. However, if you have the patience, you will find some great everyday pieces, like sweaters, jackets and t-shirts, all at relatively reasonable prices. They also carry a great shoe assortment, with everything from fall combat boots to lace-up sneakers to high fashion stilettos. Top Shop is a good destination for trendy yet affordable pieces.

Joe Fresh (um…your local Superstore). I know what you’re thinking – it is beyond strange to be shopping for groceries and clothing at the same time. Nevertheless, Joe Fresh actually – more times than not – has an impressive selection of clothing to choose from. If you’re shopping for nice workout gear, they have it. New pair of jeans? Winter jacket? Sweaters and blouses for work? Pajamas? All of the above (for men, women, AND children!). In a completely bearable and [usually] pleasant layout might I add. Canadian fashion designer Joseph Mimran who is the creative mind behind Joe Fresh was also part of the initial team that launched Club Monaco, and brings the same kind of polished styles to the JF brand as he did for CM, at a much more affordable cost. What better way to spice up a boring grocery shop than by picking up some new pieces to add to your closet?

Happy shopping!

*image courtesy of thepeakoftreschic.com

Image

Taste: where to eat around the world

Tags

,

Taste: where to eat around the world

Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means a travel nor food connoisseur (although, I aspire to be both in the future). But I am most certainly one thing: a big fan of eating. No matter where I am taking a trip, I am always sure to research where the top food spots are. In the last few years (thanks to my boyfriend, Jason, who will devour almost anything in sight and has indirectly influenced me to do so as well), I have learned to try new foods and be more adventurous. I would love to hear about where and what your favourite resaurants are. For now, here is some information on mine:

Bond St – Noho, New York City: okay, seriously. I cannot go to New York without eating here. The dishes are absolutely stunning in taste and in presentation. The atmosphere is simple, trendy and a great way to start off your Saturday night. Recommended dishes: Big Eye Tuna Tarts, Spicy Crispy Shrimp, Broiled Chilean Seabass, Tuna Crispy Rice (price range – $50 and up per person)

Lucky’s Cafe – Tremont, Cleveland: a DDD destination that if you ever happen to be in Cleveland, Ohio, this is your #1 place to visit during lunchtime. It is small and quaint, with an old-fashioned and friendly warmth to it’s environment. Recommended dishes: Lucky’s Reuben, Baked Mac-N-Cheese, Biscuits (price range – $11-$17 per person)

Moyo – Johannesburg, South Africa: if you take a trip to this beautiful country, this is an authentic and delicious way to experience African cuisine. When you arrive, the staff who are dressed in traditional exotic outfits will ask if you want your face painted (you should definitely say yes) and seat you at a table in an exciting atmosphere embraced by African culture. The steak and meat dishes are so fresh, you can practically taste the safari. Recommended dishes: Samoosas, Springbok Carpaccio, Flamed Filet (price range $50 and up per person)

Joe’s Stone Crab – Miami, Florida: I know I know, typical. If you google “top restaurants to eat in Miami,” this will certainly be one of the first on the list. However, I can promise that it will not disappoint. You may wait to be seated for an hour or so, but there is a fantastic bar area to occupy yourself in the meantime. Plus, it really is worth the wait. I tried Joe’s for the first time recently; the service was phenomenal and food truly delectable. Recommended dishes: Chopped Salad, Creamed Spinach, Sauteed Shrimp, Filet Mignon, Lobster Macaroni and Cheese, and of course, the Stone Crab. Fun fact: Joe’s Key Lime Pie is actually award-winning, so if you have any room left, this is a must (price range $31-$60 and up per person)

Music Cafe – Mykonos, Greece: I traveled this beautiful country with three of my girlfriends a few summers ago, and we ate everywhere (and I mean…everywhere) from hole-in-the-wall Gyro stops to luxe seafood restaurants on the beach. This little cafe in Mykonos Town Harbour is a beautifully quaint place to get lunch or dinner, with a view of the water that is completely exceptional. The location is really what makes the restaurant memorable, as the food is not as spectacular as some of the other places I have mentioned here, but still quite good. Recommended dishes: save room for dessert – I strongly suggest you order the Nutella Waffle topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce… (price range $10-$108)

Hopefully, I will be able to have a bit of a more extensive list one day. Happy eating!

*image courtesy of farmlandgrab.org

Image

Look: eyebrows

Tags

, ,

Look: eyebrows

Have you ever imagined what you would look like without your eyebrows. No…? Uh, me neither. But in all seriousness, if you did envision this, you would realize that eyebrows are the most underrated feature of anyone’s face – male or female. Take the lovely Cara Delevingne for instance – her eyebrows are her most dominating facial feature and arguably what makes her as harshly beautiful as she is, with a unique commercial appeal for fashion and runway modeling.

The bold brow is a top trending beauty look only continuing uphill, but not all of us were blessed with thick and impeccably arched eyebrows. If you’re going for a sharp but clean brow look, I would suggest careful tweezing or threading, as opposed to waxing, which can sometimes result in thinness.

Guys, if you’re reading this, it goes for you too. A real man isn’t afraid to take a tweezer to his eyebrows…after all, even Brad Pitt couldn’t pull off a unibrow (whether it’s less obvious or the only thing people see when they look at you, if it’s there…get rid of it!)

Back to you ladies. Here are a few of my favourite brow-perfecting products:

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo (avalable in 7 shades, varies in price $30-$33 not including brush)
Bobbi Brown Natural Brow Shaper and Hair Touch Up (available in 5 shades, gel with perfecting brush $28)
NARS Brow Gel (available in 4 shades, gel with perfecting brush $25)

What are some other ways you know of to preserve the look of your eyebrows?

*image couretsy of celebuzz.com

Image

Look: CÉLINE

Tags

, ,

Look: CÉLINE

I don’t think that there are many people in the fashion world who can or would say that the growing CÉLINE hype is undeserved. Phoebe Philo, CÉLINE creative director appointed in 2008, designs out-of-this-world collections that includes ready-to-wear, accessories, shoes, and *sigh* handbags that describes exactly the nature of aesthetic luxury. While all of the collections are worth discussing, let’s stick to the pieces of fine art that we call purses.

What is it, specifically, that makes women want to go out and spend a small fortune on CÉLINE handbags. When I worked at Holt Renfrew, the structured purses were in such high demand that they didn’t even hit the floor – every last one was presold before it was even made.

As a proud owner of the EDGE bag (see image of mine here), I feel that I can speak truly to this matter. Someone who cares about what they carry their wallet and keys in can appreciate the undeniable detail and quality that goes into the making of a CÉLINE handbag. The true beauty behind these purses is that they make a statement despite what kind of outfit they are worn with. The typical CÉLINE woman is dressed in oversized sweaters and blazers with tailored or wide-leg trousers – an overall unwomanly, untraditional, but high-fashion style. However, when she throws her handbag over her arm, a quality of graceful femininity comes over her and adds not only grandeur in her look, but in the way that she feels. Carrie Bradshaw put it perfectly: “I’m thinking balls are to men, what purses are to women. It’s just a little bag but we’d feel naked in public without it.” Enough said.

*image courtesy of celine.com

Image

Think: tips finding (and getting) a job

Tags

,

Think: tips finding (and getting) a job

It’s no secret that finding a job is a lot more of a challenge than it used to be. Our generation has been deemed “jobless” with a 7% rate of unemployment for Canadian youth. There are several political and financial reasons behind this statistic, but I would like to speak a little more personally to the matter.

On a positive note, many of us are fortunate enough to receive a college or university education and often post-graduate degree amongst other qualifying exams and courses, which [in theory] is a wonderful privilege. However, employers nowadays are often deterred by these credentials because the more educated and experienced you are, the more expensive you are. On top of that, if you have several types of degrees, diplomas, and certifications you are viewed as less capable of being “molded” into the type of employee they are willing to invest in. When I was first out of school and looking for a job, I learnt that you have a better chance of getting hired when you have less experience, as your potential employer views you as a clean slate and someone who can be trained to the company’s advantage (with less likeliness to come along with bad habits and higher expectations – after all, you’re lucky to have a job in the first place).

I’m not trying to discourage any job-searchers reading this. Aside from the unfortunate facts, we are also a very ambitious generation. The majority of us did not grow up with the same disadvantages that our parents did, and we have been raised to believe that we can accomplish anything to which we apply ourselves. We are a generation of entrepreneurs, so much so that the 2014 federal budget allocates financial support of mentoring young businessmen and women.

I have recently moved jobs within my industry and learned a lot throughout the search process. It is stressful and time consuming no doubt, so here are my tips for finding, and hopefully getting a job:

Network. In a time of enhanced social media and everyone having connections to each other, it is important to take advantage and – when looking for a job – speak to as many people as you can (with discretion). For example, if you are looking for a job in the entertainment industry, email your friend’s dad’s business partner’s son who works for an agency you’d love to be a part of that you had a conversation with once. The worst case scenario is that you never hear back from him, or that he is unable to help you. The best: he will keep you in mind and you will be the first candidate when the right opportunity comes up. Both my first and current full-time job interviews were set up through doing exactly this. The most important thing to remember is that it doesn’t hurt to reach out.

Apply. We should consider ourselves lucky that almost everything and anything can be done at our fingertips on the computer. When I was looking for jobs, I spent the majority of my free time on the internet, applying countless times on different employment and company websites. My resume is now in god-knows how many hands, and you’d be surprised how many phone calls I got from these applications. Again, if it interests you, it doesn’t hurt. The worst case scenario is that you don’t hear from them.

Do your research. When (and yes I say when with confidence) you land an interview, this is the first thing you should do to prepare. One out of the several interviews I had during my search caught me very much off guard. I went in having read little about the company and thus highly unprepared, and it was, unsurprisingly, the worst job interview I have ever had. I actually thought to myself when I left that they would have been stupid to hire me. I realized that I didn’t really want the job to begin with, which was why I didn’t prepare, but the way I felt after that interview wasn’t something I wanted to get used to. However, in the many other interviews that I did prepare for, interviewers were evidently impressed when I could reiterate information that I knew about the company and/or product. Before you go in for an interview, research the history of the organization, founder/founding team, and the company’s primary objective. It doesn’t hurt to Google the person interviewing you or look them up on LinkedIn either. Basically, the more you can tell them about themselves and their company, the more impressed they will be with you.

Think. Once you have interviewed for a job and have a feel as to whether or not you will receive an offer, think about if the position is really for you (note: this is of course only applies to people who are either already employed or unemployed but not experiencing financial pressure or stress). You wouldn’t want to go through the process of signing an employment contract and then one or two months later, realizing that it would have been really helpful had you read the job description properly when applying. Some people become too entrenched in the company name or the job title that they actually forget to disect what their day-to-day responsibilities would be if they get hired. The reason this step comes after the interview process is because when job searching, I encourage people to go to every interview they are offered. There is no harm in feeling out the dynamic and then deciding if the position and the environment is one that you want to be a part of.

Follow Up. Once you have interviewed and decided that you want the job, send out a short and straight-to-the-point email to whoever it is at the company you have been in contact with. This will show that you are still interested in the position and eager to receive a second interview or an offer. Even if you don’t get a response, you have reminded your potential employer that you are excited about the opportunity while simultaneously showing them that you are accountable for following up in business situations.

Remember that any job search regardless of age, education, or experience is a challenge and often disheartening. The best advice anyone could give you is to do everything in your human power to find the position that is right for you, and go after it. Don’t stop looking just because you don’t hear back or get rejected by one or two companies, and don’t stay in a job where you’re unhappy just because you don’t know where to start searching for new ones. You have all the tools you need in your head and within your reach. Good luck!

*image courtesy of livescience.com

Image

Taste: healthy eating for the start-up cook

Tags

, ,

Taste: healthy eating for the start-up cook

So, you’ve moved out of your parents house and you’re now responsible for stocking the fridge and making sure you remember to eat three meals a day. Easier said than done.

I am guilty of a few things here: first, I still live at home, so I am speaking solely to the fact that I move into my boyfriend’s house from time to time and deem myself responsible for feeding us. Second, I wouldn’t consider myself a particularly healthy eater – I enjoy fast food and savoury snacks way too much. However, I am a fitness junkie, and when I decide to cook a meal, I try to make it as healthy as possible, so I assume this is what it will be like when I am out there on my own.

What I’ve learnt is that cooking is like anything in life: the more you practice, the better you will be at it. When I was a student I could barely make Kraft Dinner, but since I’ve moved home I have utilized the countless cookbooks and made effective use of the kitchen.

Here are some ideas as to what you can make for your first few healthy meals:

Breakfast:

Greek yogurt and homemade granola: a lot of the granola cereals that you find at the grocery store are extremely high in fat and sugar, which is why it is better to make your own. Plus, it is an easy way to learn how to follow a recipe when you’re starting to experiment with cooking. Add some sliced bananas or any berries to make this breakfast even more hearty. Click here for my suggested granola recipe.
Avocado and egg toast: I am very defensive when it comes to avocado, as it is up there with one of my favourite foods. A lot of people will tell you not to eat it because it is fattening, but what they do not know is that it’s fat substance has increasingly positive health benefits. Use a whole wheat or flax seed piece of bread as opposed to multigrain (sometimes, multigrain breads contain more enriched wheat flour than actual whole grains, resulting in minimal health benefits), and spread half of an avocado over it. Cook an egg however you like it (I usually do sunny-side-up, poached or scrambled) in cooking spray (or even water…) instead of butter or oil. Put the egg on top of the avocado layer and voila – you have a nutritious and healthy breakfast! Sometimes, I add chili flakes on top for a spicy flavour.

Lunch:

Tuna or chicken salad: this really is a no brainer. But here are a few things to remember: there is close to no nutritional value in lettuce. Instead, try to substitue with my favourite superfood – kale. The less cheese the better, and it is almost always healthier to make your own dressing (try a lemon vinaigrette or just virgin olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar). Throw in as many vegetables as you can and choose a protein – tuna (with no mayo – you won’t need it once you add your delicious homemade dressing) or grilled chicken.
Avocado and cottage cheese: slice up a whole avocado and mix it in a bowl with cottage cheese, simple as that! Add a litle bit of salt and pepper and this really does make for a filling and delicious lunch.

Dinner:

Chicken or Shrimp Fajitas: not only is this dinner idea healthy and tasty, it’s a fun activity as well. Use whole wheat, soft tortillas, and lay out small bowls of the following: lettuce, cooked vegetables (my suggestions would be peppers, onions), guacamole (homemade – soften your avocado, chop up tomatoes, add some cilantro, garlic, and lemon juice), and salsa or pico de gallo. If you’re aiming to be healthy, I would choose between low-fat versions of either sour cream or cheese. Serve with grilled chicken or sauteed shrimp (using cooking spray or water again). If you are trying to go completely carb-free, nix the tortillas and make a fajita salad with all of the same ingredients. Get on your sombreros and enjoy!
Quinoa Macaroni and Cheese: I know what you’re thinking – how can Mac-N-Cheese possibly be healthy? Well, quinoa as a supplement for noodles is a very good choice, as it is high in protein and not a carb (common misconception). Of course, too much cheese can take away from the healthiness of the dish, but if you only use the recommended amount, it will keep the meal light in calories and fat. Here is an idea for a recipe.

I hope that these suggestions help you on your start to healthy eating. If you happen to try any of my recommendations, let me know how they turned out!

*image courtesy of prevention.com

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.