Interview Tips and Tricks: Part-Time Jobs

As part of my part-time job as a Shift Supervisor in retail, I’ve had the opportunity to help conduct interviews and determine the fate of potential hires. Because of this, a lot of my friends typically ask me to do a fake interview with them before they go in for a real one, and I’ve realized that most people don’t know seemingly basic interview skills. Here are a few key things you need to remember when going to an interview for a retail position, although most of them are applicable to any workplace!

Tips:

1) Arrive 10-15 minutes early.

Sometimes we want you to fill out additional paperwork when you come in for an interview, and if you’re interviewing as part of a group you often need to sign in. Try to arrive early for your interview, being late because you couldn’t find the right room isn’t a valid excuse, you should be coming early enough to get yourself sorted out. Most places will automatically disregard your application if you arrive late, it’s simply disrespectful.

2) Be nice to anyone you pass on the way in!

In retail interviews, you typically have to enter your potential workplace for an interview, which means walking part current employees. Always be polite to these people, as your interviewer will ask if anyone stood out (in a negative way) as they were passing through, and we always take that into consideration. One time during my first set of interviewing people, I was standing in a group of potential hires waiting for my manager to finish putting the room together for the interview process. Because most people that apply for my work are typically around my age, people assumed I was interviewing as well and one girl even told me she had an interview at a local restaurant directly after (oops). Although we didn’t intend for me check in on people, it does accidentally happen and no interviewer will forget any negative things you say about the company.

3) Dress accordingly.

Typically you hear people say “you can never be overdressed”, but in retail this isn’t true! Consider where you are applying. If you’re applying at a clothing store, make sure you’re wearing their product (especially on top, since it’s more noticeable than jeans or something), and similarly if you were applying for a fast food place, don’t wear a dress and heels! Use common sense, dress well but not overly dressy or overly sloppy. In general, make sure you aren’t showing a lot of skin (yes, even in the summer!) and make sure none of your undergarments are showing. Wear clothes that fit you well (if they’re too loose you look sloppy, if they’re too tight you look inappropriate). We disregarded someone in an interview because she was showing WAY too much cleavage (my male co-worker said he felt embarrassed even interviewing her!)

4) Do a little research on the company.

We probably don’t care if you know when our company was founded, who the owner of the company is or how many stores we have nationwide. However it is important that you know the basics, especially the hours that we’re open! Have you ever been asked to fill out a form of when you’re available to work? We’re not only asking you for your availability, we’re also checking whether you know our company and our hours! If you say you can work 7am-11pm everyday, but we’re not open on Sundays and close at 6pm everyday, you’ll look ridiculous!

5) Be prepared for scenario questions!

We love scenario questions! They’re basically setting you up to fail, since we give you an open ended question and genuinely want to know what you would do. There is no right answer, but there are LOTS of wrong ones!  Automatically want to go to a manager for every small issue? Wrong answer. Don’t want to report a peer’s theft? Wrong answer. You need to practice a lot of scenario questions to master them, but I can almost guarantee there will be questions about aggravated customers, employee theft and general honesty! Practice, practice, practice!

Hopefully these tips and tricks will help you conquer your next interview! Good luck!

Broke Girl Guide to: Acne-Free Skin

There is nothing I hate more than reading an article about “Cheap Skincare Options” or “College Girl Skin Secrets” and then realizing the products they recommend are basically the price of an entire pay cheque! Ugh! Skincare doesn’t have to be that complicated, with the right (inexpensive!) products and some good habits, you can banish problem skin. Of course a minor breakout will occur here and there (this isn’t a magic formula to perfect skin, otherwise I’d be rich and not worrying about cheap skincare…), however you don’t need expensive treatments to have great skin! Take it from someone who’s tried just about every treatment out there (DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT, TRY PROACTIVE! YOUR SKIN WILL BE A MESS FOREVER AND EVER, TRUST ME the end) this really does work!

The Products

Find a brand of products that are fairly inexpensive (aka sold in a regular department/drugstore). I recommend doing a little research online to read reviews and make sure the skincare line is good for your skin type. I also suggest you make yourself a mini budget; think of how much the skincare product costs and how often you will need to replace it. Can you afford this product? There’s no point buying an unrealistically expensive product, you’ll just run out all the time and stress yourself out over being able to repurchase.

With that being said, my favourite skincare line is the Neutrogena Naturals. As someone with extremely sensitive acne prone skin, it’s important that there aren’t any ingredients in the formula that could irritate me, especially since I’m naturally prone to a lot of redness on my cheeks. I tried Proactive in the past, and it really dried out and thinned my skin, to the point that I had to go off that product. My skin went through “withdrawal” after Proactive (a symptom a LOT of people complain about, so don’t start using it!) and is finally getting back to normal thanks to this product. I did a lot of research before starting this line, and the main acne scrub (which so far has lasted me almost 3 months!) is only about $12 at my local drugstore, and is the only product of the 3 I use from them that has noticeable decreased in volume so far.

Here is a picture I posted a few weeks ago of the line’s spot treatment, which is really effective! I would definitely recommend it. I put it on problem spots before I go to bed (after cleansing) and they are noticeable better in the morning without being dried out and flaky. Definitely the best spot treatment I’ve found!

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I’ve tried a few masks out lately, but haven’t found exactly the product for me yet. It’s difficult with really sensitive skin, and is even more complicated since I’m living in residence with co-ed washrooms and feel really uncomfortable walking around with a mud mask for 20 minutes. In the past I’ve really liked a lot of the Lush masks, although they can be a little tricky since they need to be refrigerated and expire in about a month. A lot of my friends use them though, and they’re pretty affordable. Check them out!

The Habits

I don’t care what anyone tells you, without the proper skincare habits, there isn’t a product in the world that will be able to battle your blemishes!

Important skincare habits:

-Wash your makeup off before bed, ALWAYS. Overnight makeup clogs your pores, making it easy for blemishes to start up!

-Be consistent with your skincare routine! Cleanse morning and evening. Moisturize daily, and apply spot treatments when you can feel a pimple on the horizon (not just when it’s too late!).

-Wash your pillowcases, towels and other bedding regularly. This is so important and often forgotten, but how is your skin supposed to be clean if you cleanse with the perfect product and then dry your face with a dirty towel?? Clean your linens regularly, it makes a huge difference!

-When you’re going out overnight and you know you won’t follow your skincare routine (are you really going to pull out all your skincare products when you crash at your boyfriend’s, or when you stumble home drunk? NOPE!), make sure you have a secret fix stashed in your purse! A lot of companies make cleansing wipes (like baby wipes, but for your face) for situations like these! Although I don’t recommend this as part of your daily routine, it’s a great option for post-gym workouts or unexpected sleepovers. I usually keep Olay wipes on hand for situations like these, although I’m always open to giving sale wipes a shot as long as they’re from a reputable company.

-HYDRATE

-Stop popping your pimples, especially if they don’t even have white-heads on them yet! Apply spot treatment, trust your product!

-Consider hormonal influences. Obviously stress has a huge impact on your skin, but if you’re a woman, consider going on birth control! It really helped my skin calm down a lot, definitely ask your doctor about it!

Hope these tips helped! Do you have any cheap skincare secrets?

Easy Lemon Loaf Recipe

Oops I did it again..

Another week, another lonely blog calling my name as I struggle through the last half of the semester. I know I’ve been neglecting the blogging world lately, but I promise I do exist! I finally got a chance to spend a weekend relaxing at home, which resulted in a LOT of baking happening in my household, including one of my favourites. My mom’s lemon loaf recipe is written on a piece of paper that looks like it survived a natural disaster, it truly is a family treasure! It’s difficult to read in some patches, (especially in the directions) so the order that you add the wet and dry ingredients doesn’t really matter as long as you incorporate all wet ingredients before you add the dry to them! It’s a delicious (and not so nutritious…) treat that even the kids like because it’s a good balance of tangy and sweet. It’s also the perfect accompaniment for tea! Yum! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

-1.5 cups of flour

-1 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp salt

-1/2 cup of vegetable shortening

-1 cup of sugar

-2 eggs

-grated rind of one lemon

-1/2 cup of milk

-Juice of 1/2 lemon (for glaze)

-1/4 cup sugar (for glaze)

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 F.

2) Combine flour, salt, baking powder, sugar (NOT THE GLAZE SUGAR). Gradually add all of the flour.

3) In a separate bowl, beat shortening until fluffy. Then add eggs, mixing well, and then add the milk.

4) Add dry ingredients to the egg/shortening/milk mixture slowly until fully incorporated, then add the lemon rind.

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5) Place into a loaf pan, distributing the mix evenly. Bake for approximately 1 hour (or until you can insert a knife and remove it without the knife being sticky).

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6) While the loaf is baking, mix the glaze sugar and lemon juice until well incorporated.

7) When the loaf is ready, remove it from the oven and pour the glaze mixture overtop right away (if you prepared the glaze early, give it a quick mix so the sugar doesn’t settle at the bottom). Pour an even layer over the loaf, with specific attention to the edges of the loaf (where it touches the pan). If you don’t want the lemon loaf very sweet, don’t add the whole mixture. I typically add about 1/2 of the mixture myself, since my family doesn’t like it too sweet.

8) Allow the loaf to cool fully (it takes a while!) before you remove it from the pan, otherwise it might break.

9) Enjoy!!

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CHOCOLATE is Life

I love chocolate as much as anyone, and even though it doesn’t really kick my cravings for savoury, it’s still an important part of a not-so-healthy diet and one of many keys to happiness. Another thing I love is Budget Bytes, a really awesome blog that’s great for beginner cooks (and people on a budget..aka everyone) because there are step by step instructions (with pictures!) and the recipe card includes a price breakdown. All the recipes I’ve tried from this blog are really awesome, so a little while ago when I was catching up on my blog reading I realized there’s a new recipe for really delicious looking chocolate brownies! I’m so excited! No one fully understands how happy this makes me (I’m slightly hyper and craving chocolate and the only thing keeping me from making these right now is the fact that it’s past 1am). So anyways, here’s a link to the recipe/blog if anyone’s interested in devouring some delicious looking brownies.

Have a great Wednesday everyone!

“Hallmark Holidays”

This new chapter of life I am entering is all about appreciating the little things, and accepting and reciprocating the love of others more fully, and without assuming that I am undeserving of love. Valentine’s Day was an important landmark in that mission, and even though everyone seems to consider it a “Hallmark holiday” (I would’ve agreed if you asked me a year ago!), recent events have made me reconsider. Is there really something so terrible about demonstrating your love for someone else, about communicating openly about your feelings on a level that’s socially acceptable? We as a society seem to judge people in relationships all the time, we decide whether “they’ve been together long enough to actually be in love”, whether “she’s just his rebound girl”, whether “______’s had too many boyfriends”. Don’t pretend it isn’t true. We judge, nit-picking other people’s love lives like it’s our duty. And it isn’t. And yet for some reason when couples (especially young couples) speak up to the world about their love, they get reprimanded or teased. They’re told they’re too young to understand the meaning of love, or that they “need to wait a few years” to figure themselves out. But is there really anything wrong with celebrating love?

Valentine’s Day was the first day that my boyfriend and I got to spend together in about 2 weeks, since his visit for my school’s formal. The time apart doesn’t seem so long to some, but to us it was an eternity. About a week before Valentine’s Day, my boyfriend texted asking where I wanted to go for dinner on the holiday, and I realized he hadn’t made a reservation. It was an innocent mistake, he hadn’t realized that places would be so busy. I know other girls who would have been furious, but honestly it didn’t faze me. I was so excited to see him that our meeting place didn’t really matter.

So instead of going to an expensive restaurant, I convinced my parents to vacate the main floor of our house. I got out the nice table cloth that we save for special occasions, lit some tapered candles, tidied up the kitchen and put on a cute outfit. I was determined that we could be just as happy (if not happier) in the privacy of my own home than in some fancy restaurant crammed with people. When my boyfriend showed up, he helped me make dinner and get the playlist of sappy songs I had made set up.

Neither of us minded sitting in my kitchen, eating slightly overcooked homemade parmesan, pasta, caesar salad and sipping water from wine glasses. We were just happy to see each other. Did it bother me that we exchange “Hallmark holiday” gifts like roses and cards? Of course not. Because the meaningful part was the loving words written in them, the pure expression of love in words that’s so powerful because of how vulnerable it makes you to each other. I’m not ashamed to admit that I shed more than a handful of tears over what my boyfriend wrote (it was beautiful!) or the fact that we exchanged homemade gifts (he made me coupons and I made a tin of things I love about him) without telling each other that that’s what we had planned to do.

There’s something so simple about expressing your love for each other, that I’ll never understand why some people have so much resentment towards it. There’s no greed, no envy, no hate. It’s an excuse for you to show the love that you share for each other on a daily basis on a different level! Instead of being bitter, let’s embrace the idea that everyone deserves to be happy and appreciated.  I agree that those things should be demonstrated every day of the year, but that’s difficult for some. Some people need a holiday in order to force them to articulate themselves, and sometimes that all a person needs to express their true feelings!

Thoughts on Recovery

Relapse is a funny word. It automatically gives me visions of a junkie alone in a sketchy looking bathroom dosing up with dirty needles like they show in the movies. But for a lot of people, relapsing simply means giving into the demons that once haunted them, which is why I’ve been MIA for a little while. As many of you know, I’m recovering from a period of disordered eating, and a major part of my recovery process has been avoiding going near a scale, and basing my progress off of how my clothes feel and what the mirror is telling me.

Unfortunately about 3 weeks ago, I tried out a new gym, and was more than a little shocked to find a scale sitting between the rows of change room lockers, looking all sweet and innocent. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the placement of the scale is very damaging to someone in my shoes, although I can understand why some competitive athletes might actually need to know their weight on a regular basis. At any rate, I hadn’t even consciously decided to weigh myself, and the next second it happened.

As you may guess, after almost 9 months of avoiding scales like they’re the plague, I was a little shocked to be standing on one, with a little number there blaring at me like a siren. A siren that for days following my weigh-in, simply wouldn’t shut up. Rationally, I know that gaining a few pounds is the result of a combination of being back to eating 3 meals a day, working out in moderation,moving to university (the food really is that terrible here) as well as emotional stressors. However another, much louder section of my brain has certainly taken another approach to this problem. Feelings of self-loathing, fatigue and food moderation have become norms again, and although I am attempting to eat what I’ve decided is a healthy amount, I still feel disgusting.

The inner workings of a mind are a scary place indeed. One moment you’re on the top of the world and the next you’re experiencing a rollercoaster of being numb, angry, and exhausted.

Fortunately I know how recovery works this time, and how effective it is. I know it’s a slow process, and the fact that I’ve maintained healthy eating habits regardless of my emotional state is progress to say the least. The next step is self acceptance, perhaps the most difficult part of all. Because no one can convince you that you are beautiful both inside and outside and worthy of love and support except yourself. This “relapse” into old ways of thinking made me realize that I wasn’t as mentally healed as I previously thought, and I’m hoping this newfound discovery will help me move forward in the healing process.

Finding Happiness in Simplicity

Hello all of my lovely followers! First off, I’m hoping you guys are enjoying my site’s revamp as much as I am, I’m loving the chic and sophisticated vibe (plus it’s kind of reminding of a cute bakery heading for some reason..? Note sure why, but that’s a bonus!).

As most of you know, in 2015 I’m trying to put a new focus on my mental and physical wellbeing, and in turn hoping that it will lead me to be happier and healthier! As part of that commitment to myself, here are a few little peeks at my life in the past week of so, and the things that I’m grateful for. As the saying goes, “It’s a good day to have a good day”, so I’m trying to be more appreciative of all the amazing little things happening to me this year!

Formal

I’m not generally a huge fan of dances, but I really enjoyed the semi-formal my uni ran this past weekend! It was a great time to hang out with friends, enjoy some non-cafeteria food, and binge on a few special items (like chocolate covered strawberries…yum!) which I’ve been missing out on because of residence. Overall it was a great night, plus, what girl wouldn’t love a chance to throw on a cute dress and heels?? On that note, my dress was an absolutely amazing deal from Forever 21 and only cost about $18 (and I had a giftcard!) win-win!

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Some of my lovely friends and I (on left) at the formal, such a good time!

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I’m also incredibly happy that my amazing boyfriend managed to come down for the weekend! I’m so lucky to have such a supportive guy in my life, and glad he could make it to the dance (even though we didn’t even get a slow dance…the music was garbage). Also for the sake of his ego I’d like to note that I’m wearing huge heels, he’s not in fact a shrimp.

Breakfast

Have I mentioned how much I adore breakfast? It’s probably my favourite meal of the day (I generally prefer snacking) and after a long night killing my feet in heels, the next morning I definitely needed to indulge a little bit with breakfast! Usually we like to save money by not going out for breakfast, but that wasn’t really an option since I don’t have a kitchen in Toronto (we stayed at a rental room nearby because I have a roommate), but the Avenue Diner was delicious, and it was a really cool old fashioned diner! If you’re in Toronto, it’s definitely a landmark (and not ridiculously overpriced!).

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Yummmmm peameal bacon is my best friend!

Superbowl

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I’ve never actually watched the Superbowl before, but since my boyfriend was staying the night, I was pretty much forced into watching the game! We went to a sport’s bar to watch the show (since I don’t have a TV in my room, although in hindsight we should have just streamed it online!) and it really helped to get me excited to watch football, since I was initially dreading it, and the cheering crowd made me a lot more into the game than I would have been otherwise! Also as I was feeling a little homesick, I also got sent a picture of my baby cousin all dressed up to watch the game, which was pretty awesome!

IMG_9118[1]Look how cute she is!!

Silly Valentines

I was a bit of a mess when my boyfriend finally had to head home on the Greyhound on Monday afternoon (long distance relationship problems) so I threw myself head-first into this whole Valentine’s Day thing, and starting a craft that I’m making him for the special-ish day (can you tell I’m not a huge Valentine’s Day fan..?). On a slightly unrelated note, I also started saving really funny/cute Valentine’s on Pintrest….and this one is probably my favourite semi-appropriate one so far!

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(Sorry for the screenshot…my laptop is being weird and won’t let me edit my images lately (ugh))

How are you beating the winter blues??

Liebster Award Nomination

Hello everyone,

So as you can imagine I was a little surprised when I opened my laptop this morning to find a notification that I’d been nominated for a Liebster Award by Miss Tutored, which is pretty cool!

liebster-award

Here are the official rules for accepting the Liebster Award:

1. Put the Liebster Award logo on your blog.
2. Answer the questions given and then come up with 10 new ones to ask your nominees.
3. Nominate 8 other blogs, let them know you have nominated them and put a link to their blog in your post.
4. No tag-backs.
5. You must tell all the blogs that you have nominated them.

Questions

1. Why do you blog?

I used to journal, so I thought blogging would be a fun way to do an “open journal” type of situation, where people could have a little window into my mind. It’s going pretty well so far (I think!).
2. Are you a vegetarian?

Hahahahahahah….NOPE! I’m a proud meat eating Canadian gal…and despite a few half-hearted attempts from friends to become vegetarian, that definitely isn’t an option for me! I’m a firm believer that in moderation meat is a great source of protein and a yummy addition to round out your daily food intake, plus I don’t usually feel full if I eat a dinner without meat (even if it has beans/chickpeas or something else in it). If you’re concerned about the inhumane nature of animal processing, purchase meat from a local farmer who you know and trust!
3. What is your favourite season?

Definitely fall! It’s such a beautiful time of the year, I can’t get enough of all the beautiful changing colours. It’s also a metaphor for giving your all even during your times of struggle (leaves show their beauty as they fall off the tree and die) which is a pretty cool perk to those months!
4. Can you sing?

No…..just no….
5. Justin Bieber – love him or hate him?

HATE HIM WITH A BURNING PASSION

Perhaps I could look past his horrific singing abilities if he contributed something good to the world in other aspects of his life, but this guy is downright disgusting, if I was his mother I would be ashamed. Regardless of how he currently seems to be trying to pull his image together, you can’t erase all the things he has said/done!
6. What is your favourite film?

That’s tricky…probably Bourne Identity…because Matt Damon was a sexy beast back in the day, and it’s a good action flick with some unpredictable twists and turns! Would definitely recommend!
7. How do you make tea? Milk first?

Milk first as in once the tea bag is out…? Always.
 8. What do you like most about blogging?

I’m not good at anything artistic, so blogging/creative writing is my outlet of expression! I also write a lot of short stories in my spare time (I still try to start a novel once in a while…but I easily get bored)
9. Do you have any annoying habits?

Not that I know of…but I’m sure I do! Does having full conversations with people while asleep count…? Because I do that all the time.
10. What are you hoping to achieve in 2015?

I’m hoping to continue to develop a better body image in 2015, something I’m working towards improving every day, which is the important thing.

My Ten Questions Are:

1) What prompted you to start blogging?

2) What word sums up your personality, and why?

3) Coffee or Tea?

4) What would your ideal vacation destination be?

5) What’s your most important overall goal for 2015?

6) What’s your favourite cereal?

7) Do you have any TV shows you enjoy binge-watching?

8) What’s your favourite snack?

9) Who’s your celebrity crush?

10) If you could write a brief message to your 13 year old self, what would you say?

I Nominate:

Emwills Eleven

Budget Bounty

Student Omnivore

Stephanie Eusebi

my KISS fitness

Flowers and Wanderlust

Skinny Mins

My 35 Project

Thanks again, hope you all enjoy answering your questions!

6 Favourite Things

I’m not the type of person who puts a lot of value on material things, but there are a few items I simply “NEED” to have in order to function on a daily basis to maintain my sanity.

6) Cozy Scarves

Some aspects of the Canadian stereotype are actually accurate, it’s freezing here! Even though it’s been a strangely warm winter (as in, only around -10 C), the wind really has a way of making you feel like your body parts have decided to die on you. A warm scarf is an important winter staple here, and one of my favourites was knit for me by my grandma for Christmas (so it also packs some sentimental value when I’m away from home).

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5) Sephora Super Nourishing Lip Balm

This stuff is the bomb (hahaha get it? I like to pretend I’m funny) but seriously, it’s super moisturizing and doesn’t leave a weird taste on your lips like products like Blistex tend to do. Also, it’s great for chapped winter lips, so slather it on!

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4) Snacksss

I couldn’t live without snacks. I mean, I guess I could, but I would be a very sad person. I enjoy snacks more than I enjoy meals, probably because they are the one aspect of my nutrition I can actually control (I eat my meals from a dining plan). Healthy snacks are an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and I’m always trying to think of new, inexpensive combos to satisfy my hunger.

IMG_9079[1](Pictured here: red pepper, celery, carrots, a small handful of raw walnuts and a square of Cadbury Burnt Almond Dark Chocolate (yum!))

3) Neutrogena naturals: Acne Spot Treatment

I guess this is kind of a product review, but I’m in love with this spot treatment! frank (see my other product review) treats acne and dry skin on my body, but this nifty little tube treats problem pimples that I always seem to get on my cheeks and chin. The only downside is that the paste goes on white instead of clear (you’ll have little white patches wherever you apply it) which was a major turnoff for me at first, but since my skin improved a lot from using it, I adapted my routine and now put the spot treatment on before bed (when no one will see the white patches except me!). I received this as a gift and haven’t had to replace it yet, so I’m not exactly sure what it costs, but as its carried at department stores, I’m sure it’s more inexpensive than other treatments I’ve tried.

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2) TEA

Some things never change…after water, tea is still my favourite drink! It’s warm and soothing, and gives me a little perk up to take on the day! My favourite is Earl Grey (in fact I have a hard time drinking anything else), which is my trusty sidekick for getting through studying.

IMG_8908[1](I also have a soft spot for peanut butter…in case you were wondering..)

1)…

Perhaps in reference to the fact that I don’t put a lot of value on material possessions, my favourite possession is actually only my favourite because of it’s sentimental value. My favourite thing is a necklace that my boyfriend got me for Christmas this year. Normally I’m not a fan of the whole “Oooh look what my boyfriend bought me!” line, however because we’re long distance, this necklace has a lot of sentimental value. It’s a constant reminder that we’re connected even when we can’t physically be together, and that he loves me through all my ups and downs, despite my many flaws. The necklace is also a constant motivator to help me push through the many emotional stressors that accompany university,as every day I get through is a day closer to seeing him again. This semester we’ve committed to seeing each other more often (it was physically painful to be apart for so long during last semester, especially through a lot of difficult times for both of us), so we’ll be trying to make arrangements to visit as often as possible since my boyfriend’s now taking a semester off school. He’s coming down this weekend to attend a uni dance with me, and his necklace is a constant reminder of how happy he makes me, and all the hope that the future holds.

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