Tag: Tips

Real Tips to Survive the Winter

I know I say this every year since moving back to a country where it snows during the winter, but this has been the longest, coldest, most terrible winter, ever.

No, fuck you, Game of Thrones guy.

But seeing as I’ve decided to make this frozen tundra my permanent home even after enjoying the balmy winters of Perth, I’ve decided I just have to suck it up, create a winter survival plan and get through this season that lasts 6 months longer than it should.

If you need help getting through these terrible winters, I’m sharing some of my best winter survival tips today. I hope they help you make it through to the other side of one of Mother Nature’s crueler jokes.

    • Denial: For as long as humanly possible, deny the fact that another winter has arrived. Wear those sandals and spring jackets long after the temperature has dipped below freezing. If you ignore it, maybe it isn’t really there.

    • Get a winter appropriate wardrobe: Once winter has settled in, you do know deep down in your heart that it’s here to stay for six to eleven months, so it’s best to prepare for it. Stocking up on layers of long johns, singlets, long sleeve t-shirts, sweaters, parkas and wearable blankets is the way to go. At least you can feel warm on the outside, because your cold, frozen heart won’t thaw til at least July.

      • Subscribe to Netflix: Sign up for one of those streaming TV services. There are a bunch cropping up in Canada, trying to compete with Netflix, each with a more ridiculous name than the last (Showmi? REALLY?). I’ve stuck with Netflix, but any service that allows you to binge watch works, because you won’t be going outside for at least half a year.


        Sleep

      • Hibernate: Bears have the right idea: just skip the whole winter experience by sleeping through it. It’ll be like it never, ever happened.


soup belly

    • Eat all the comfort food: Comfort food is different for everyone, but nothing helps you ignore the harsh, cold winters like baked mac and cheese or tomato basil soup.


    • Drink: Nothing makes me forget the sixty feet of snow, slick sidewalks and cold wind that chaps my face and lips than a drink. Hot chocolate, tea, or my favourite… whiskey. Nothing makes me feel warmer on the inside than whiskey.


    • Cry: When winter’s going into its fifth month and you just don’t think you can take another twelve feet of snow or another day of -40 before the windchill, do what I do: cry. Just be sure to do that in the warmth of your home so your tears don’t freeze to your face.


      nelly-hot-in-herre-1421775412

    • Think warm thoughts: Sunshine, beaches, summer, fire, David Tennant, Chloe Bennet, temperatures above zero. Eventually, those longer, warmer days will come back and soon we’ll be able to complain about how damn hot it is again.

Only nine days until the official start of spring! How have you survived this winter? Or are you one of those people who love winter (you weirdo)?

 

 

Survival Tips for Freelancers

It’s kinda been my worst kept secret: for the last few years, I’ve been freelancing full-time.  I’ve done freelance work on and off since I graduated university, but was shoved into it on a more full-time basis when I was laid off from my job when we lost a major funder (The joys and excitement of working for non-profits!). At first it was pretty scary. Let’s be honest. It’s still pretty scary. But it’s also been heaps of fun and I have learned and continue to learn a lot about surviving as a freelancer.

Whether you’re thinking of dipping a toe into the freelance pool or diving straight in, here’s a few things I’ve learned about working as a freelancer:

Put yourself out there: Freelancing isn’t generally an ‘if you build it, they will come’ type deal.  You’ve got to get out there and tell people what you’re doing. I’m not saying you have to commission a sandwich board to wear around the city or to family functions, but having an elevator speech in mind when the ‘What do you do?’ question comes up is handy. There’s a slew of tools that can help you do this, too. Business cards, a website and social media accounts are also a good way to start putting yourself out there.

Be honest & realistic: Especially when you’re getting started as a freelancer, it’s easy to want to promise your clients the moon in order to secure new business. But you absolutely must be honest and realistic with your clients and with yourself. You want to be sure you’re making promises you can deliver on. You don’t want to risk breaking your back and hurting your reputation by not meeting expectations. Be honest and realistic about what you can do and the timelines you need to get the work done.

Be available & accessible: This probably goes without saying, but when you’re starting out freelancing, you want to be as flexible with your availability as possible. I’m not saying stress yourself out like one of Miranda Priestly’s assistants, but you are going to want to put in some extra time and energy. When I started out, I had some pretty strange hours. I’d be working away on a Sunday until well after midnight. I’d take meetings with potential clients whenever, wherever, you might as well have called me Shakira. You also want to make sure you’re accessible, so provide clients with a reliable way to be in touch with you, whether it’s email, text, mobile phone number– or all of the above.

Build your network: Start growing your networks! And I’m not talking your social media networks, but those apply, too. While it’s one of the biggest  clichés out there, there’s a reason why it’s cliché; it is kind of a thing. Building your network, both on and offline, is a great way to build a list of potential clients and let them get to know you. You’ll want to build a network with other freelancers, too. Don’t look at them as competition; other freelancers are a great resource and can open you up to the opportunities of collaborative projects.

Grow some balls: While it’s super fun working for yourself (Though honestly, you’re working for your clients, but ANYWAY), there are some parts of the job that can be awkward, unpleasant and just plain hard (That’s what she said). Sometimes you’re going to have to have some awkward conversations, sometimes you’re going to have to push back when a client is being difficult or not paying on time. You’ve got to be prepared to tackle these things head on in order to be a successful freelancer.

Be patient: Just like anything that takes hard work, establishing yourself as a freelancer is going to take some time. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen over night. Keep at it, put in the hard work and you’ll see results.

 

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying a Condo

Home Sweet Home Just over five years ago, we bought our first home. We chose a townhouse condo, and we figured it was perfect. Two stories, four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a gas fireplace. It was tucked away from the busy main street, but close to highway access. It was on the lower end of our budget; a decision we made purposefully in order to be able to afford the upgrades we wanted to do (Redo the floors upstairs, reno the kitchen, update the bathrooms). We’d be responsible for tending to the backyard, but the front lawn and other landscaping came included with our condo fees.  Past-me figured we were making a safe venture into first-time home ownership.  Man, was Past-me naive.  (more…)