Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Thank You note

The perfect thank you note is a lost art. It sounds so simple, but sometimes it can stump you!

First, it helps to keep a log of who gave what. I make a list with names followed by gifts and then I never forget what someone gave me!

Baby Alyson recommends making a list anyway you know how....

I like to begin by addressing the person or family. Try to include all the names, right down to the dogs (if they're the type of people who sign their pets names to cards.)

Then, I immediately thank them for the item. Add a personal touch - is it your favorite color? Just what you asked for? Handmade with love and intricate detail? 

I always like to finish the "thank you" paragraph with a how thoughtful it was. It really is- if they went out of their way to ask your mother what you wanted for your birthday or put some effort into finding something they thought you'd like, you were on their mind for at least 3 days. If that's not thoughtful, what is!?

When it comes to checks or money, I first thank the person for the card. We all know what it's like to stand in the aisle reading and trying to find the right one. It takes a surprising amount of effort. Plus, if you have family like mind, they manage to find cards that are just perfect - with glitter, pink and beautifully lined envelopes.

Then I thank them for the check or cash and mention what I want to do with the money- savings, towards a new dress, or unsure. If you're unsure, just say "I'm not sure what I'll spend the $25 on just yet but I certainly appreciate having it." Although usually I end up with the new dress answer - I just love a new dress!

Then, I finish off with a sentiment about the event the gift was for:"I enjoyed seeing you over graduation!" "We missed you at graduation but I'm sure we'll see each other soon." "Hopefully we'll see each other during the holidays" or "It's been ages since we saw you! Lets plan for a visit soon." If they like you enough to give you a gift, they want to see you. 

Another possibility, especially if the giver has a child your age, is to comment on their activities. "I hope Kelly has a great time in Turkey, we'll be praying/thinking good thoughts for her!" It's nice to take the focus off yourself for half a second. 

Finally, I thank them again and a "lots of love!" and sign my name. 

It seems odd to create a formula for a thank you card, but once you get rolling it starts coming naturally. As I've gotten older, I've really begun to value thank you notes and regret not sending some over the years. 

I also recommend writing, addressing, stamping and mails your notes the day after you receive a gift. If you're forgetful like me, otherwise you'll find stacks of notes in your room while cleaning (literally stacks- I didn't have postage so they just sat there! How embarrassing!)

Do you have a perfect thank you note? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,

Sunday, July 28, 2013

T-Minus 4 days!

By this time next week, I'll be blogging from my new apartment!

This is my last week at home. I call my landlord tomorrow and start moving my things Thursday! Over the weekend, my mom and I are going to set up and decorate and make the apartment truly mine!

I have a few ends to tidy up before I go though... for one, I have to pack. BLECH! I hate packing! I am most certainly not excited to do that. I've decided to start with my bookshelf and work down from there.

I also still need to make some curtains and wrangle a microwave. If this was a perfect world, I'd move everything I have ready out first and then do a second wave of moving things after all that was set up. But it looks like I'm going to need to do the Big Move instead!

Do you have any packing tips or tricks? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Puppy madness

I've had a dog for as long as I can remember, or at least, my family has had a dog! So moving into an apartment pet-less is a weird feeling. 

College was the only time I've been dog-less, but even then, I was home on weekends with my family's two dogs. 

I can't stop shopping for pets! I've found quite few dogs and cats that have peaked my interest. One in particular has stuck out, reminding me of one of my first dogs, a cocker spaniel. 

How cute is this little guy!? Photo courtesy of Furkids

But I feel like I should wait until I at least get settled... and with my doubt about whether or not to get a dog, my friends are suggesting I wait. But I'm almost scared to live without one! 

Would you get a pet moving out for the first time? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,

Surviving the staff picnic

A week or two ago I went to my first ever company get-together. 

Both my parents and boyfriend were out of town so I stuck it out alone. I thought it was going to be a little awkward and that I'd leave early, however, I ended up having so much fun I stayed until the very end!

Here are a few tips for navigating the staff picnic:

1. GO. The boss-man notices whose come and who hasn't. Going and being awkward still looks better than not going at all. At my staff picnic, I ended up spending a good deal of time chatting with the owner and several older, more experienced reporters - something I wouldn't have gotten to experience if I had just stayed home!

2. Ask before you bring a buddy. Is it a family event or staff only? My event included significant others and kids, but not every event does. Check with a more experienced coworker before you bring your S/O along (or wait and see if they ask if he/she is coming)

3. Bring a little something. Not everything is a pot luck, but if the event is at someone's house ALWAYS bring a little treat. In my case, it wasn't necessary, but looking for the host to drop off my veggie tray was a great way to start the party with a purpose. Plus, I got to meet the wife of the host, who then introduced me to another guest, which eventually ended with meeting most of the unfamiliar faces at the party. 

4. Dress to impress. It's not work hours, but it is still a work event. I wore a pair of brightly colored Bermuda shorts, a polo shirt, my favorite sandals and a big bow. I knew a bow could be a conversation starter - one of my favorite phrases is "It's not a social affair without a bow in the hair"- and so could my bright pink and green giraffe printed shorts. However, the only part of my outfit that started conversations were my sandals! I guess they've gotten used to my bright wardrobe :)

5. Respondez, Sil-Vous-Plait. Don't even think about just showing up. It's rude to the host and says "my time is more important than yours." News flash: you're not the boss, you can't say that. 

6. Say hello- and goodbye. Do your best to introduce yourself or say hello to everyone at the party. When you leave, be sure to say good bye. It seems silly in this day and age, but it's polite. I sat out in the garden with a few coworkers (I attached myself to my boss, who also came alone) and I was pleasantly surprised when people I had just went out of their way to say goodbye and that it was nice to meet me. It definitely made me feel like I belonged there. 

7. At least try to be excited that you're there. It may be horrible, you may be alone and your coworkers may not be as interested in making you feel at home. But push through it. Stay for dinner, thank the hosts, then make your rounds and peace out. 

8. Send a thank you note. I forgot to do this (cringe!) but while its not a necessary step it's a nice surprise for the hosts. 

A very important edit: 9. Be cautious of your drinking habits. My cousin reminded me of this important detail and recommends a two drink max (and if your boss doesn't drink, you don't either!) However, I also feel if you are not full time or still probationary, if its your first staff event, if you came alone and have to drive, don't drink at all. 

While not every party is a themed fraternity party, staff parties can be very similar in a networking sort of way. At a fraternity party, your goal is to have fun and impress your fellow Greeks outside of campus... Just like at a staff picnic, your goal is to make connections with coworkers outside of work. You can use what you've learned from college life in the workforce, and it's not always as obvious as what you've studied. A big thanks to my Mom in that one - I said I was nervous and she said, "Pretend like its a recruitment event and you're recruiting for Phi Mu." Mother always knows how to speak my language!

Have you ever gone to a company event? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself, 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

It's offish....

I've found an apartment!

It met three of my four previous criterium... It's within walking distance to work, pet friendly and in a great neighborhood!

A quick run down on the place... I have a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment on the second floor. It has carpet throughout and each room has a window. It doesn't have much in the way of overhead lighting but I dislike overheard lighting. I have my own  entrance way (with a peep hole and three separate locks!) as well as a den, my own kitchen and two doors! The rooms are also BIGGER than my room at home! And the closets.... well I hit the motherland! THEY'RE HUGE!

Mom and I stopped by the other day to take measurements and it had a fresh coat of paint, a new stove and two new air conditioners! We've been shopping around for all kinds of home wares and I've been feeling crafty (so get prepared for a butt-load of tutorials!)

I move at the beginning of August. Look out, Gainesville!

Do you have an apartment? Share with me in the comments below!

Stay true to yourself,