Thursday, July 31, 2014

Switching to WordPress

That's right, you read the title correctly. Keeping Stride is moving over to WordPress!
Keep up with all the news and visit my new pages- Book Nook and The Office. This is a very exciting time and I can't wait to share it with all of my readers.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Things to Consider When Looking for "The Job"

Don't let anyone fool you. Looking for a job is just as hard as finding your next S.O. There are so many things to consider and, depending on your priorities, you're next step might be an unexpected one. So here's a little list to think about for all those in the boat that I (just) jumped off of.
1. Location, Location, Location- Location is more important than most people give it credit for. 123 Corporation is only 20 minutes away in the middle of the day on a Friday, but it could be an hour and a half commute Monday morning at 8am. Never underestimate the power of traffic. As someone familiar with the DC beltway, I say this with the hope that you will be spared the agony that I once suffered. Also, how are you getting to your location? Car? Is there parking? How many spots and how much is it going to cost? Parking costs of $200-300 a month can really cut into your monthly pay. Suddenly the job that offers a couple grand a year higher doesn't look so great-- next tax bracket + parking fee? Might as well take the lower paying job and then ask for a raise.
2. Upward Mobility- This was something that was important to me. If you take the job with the company, where will you be in 5 years? Will you be at the same desk, with the same pay, doing the same tasks? As a young professional my goal is to go up. While I know I have to start at a desk doing smaller, menial tasks I don't want to stay there. Some companies like to promote internally when spaces open and others hire for a position and keep people as long as they will stay. Learn about the company's culture and engage with your interviewer about their experience. The culture will tell you a lot about the company itself and how you will fare down the line.
3. Responsibilities- You're coming to the table with a set of skills. Don't undersell yourself and remember that even informal jobs count. Did you nanny on the weekends? Congrats, you have problem solving skills! Take your experiences and figure out how (or whether) potential jobs will capitalize on your strengths and expand your skill set. While the job may not be in your field it may give you a set of skills that you can then use to launch yourself into the job of your dreams. The more responsibilities you take on early in your career the better you will be when applying for intermediate and upper positions.

4. People- I don't want to be miserable all day. Going to work with people you dislike is like being back in high school and sitting at the wrong table. You feel awkward, you really don't want to be there, and it turns the entire experience sour. Despite how much you may enjoy the tasks you do at your job, there are going to be days when you're exhausted and don't want to leave your bed. If you like the people you're going to be with most of the day, most of the week, you are far more likely to crawl out from under the covers and drag your sleepy butt to the office. And, even more important, you'll have people to sit and laugh with during the ever-valued happy hour. 
5. Pay- This is just practical. Can you afford to live on what they are offering you? If the answer is no and you don't have financial support you should probably walk away. Even though you spend a lot of time at work, eventually you DO have to go home, which means you need to be able to afford a place to live. And food. Seriously, food is the best.
What's important to you when looking for a job?
Share below!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dressing for the "Big Girl" Job

Admit it, you've schlepped into your internship office at least once with those pants that may or may not be precisely up to code and your hair desperately needs a good brush. Maybe it's a Monday, but it could also be a Wednesday. It depends on if your alarm decided to go off. While this may have worked in the days of free labor, or maybe you are paid you lucky duck, when you step out there for your first graduate job your wardrobe needs to step out there with you.

As someone who is broke almost every day of the month I understand that this is a challenge. Your closet may be full of pants/skirts/dresses that are a wee bit too small thanks to too many summer margaritas or too big because your sorority sister opened her closet up as a free-for-all. These pieces will have to do in the beginning, but there are things you can do to make them look better.

Curtesy of LOFT- 34.99 and an extra 50% off

1. Belts- They're your BEST friend. Never underestimate the power of a good belt. I worked at LOFT and if there is one thing my manager taught me it is that the right size and shape belt can shrink you, shape you, and simply work magic. It's a cheap investment for even the poorest graduate and will make some of those too big dresses fit much better! This is also a chance for you to show your personal style. Dress clothes do not need to be droll and boring!

A cute blouse only $16.99 at Rue 21 

2. Clearance- Did you just like to browse through your favorite stores? Too tired to dig through those messy
clearance bins? Shoot back an espresso/chai latte/monster because now you're going in. In those bins are jackets, blouses, dress pants cheaper than your wildest dreams. $20.00 black, no dry-cleaning-needed slacks? The God of Shopping has smiled on you. I've found $5 blouses that look great, feel comfortable and still allowed me to pay rent. It's miraculous, I know, but dig around at less conventional stores like Rue 21 and never underestimate some of the clothing at Forever 21! Look for those beautiful 50-60% off sales at places like Ann Taylor and J.Crew, and download/cut coupons like a mad person.

Forever 21 blazer for $24.80!
3. Conquer the Wrinkles- Even if you are broke, the one thing you CAN do is make sure your clothes are clean and wrinkle free. Perhaps they don't fit as well as that girl's Lauren by Ralph Lauren tailored dress that you would possibly kill for, but it shows that you are putting in the effort and that goes a long way with your boss. They know the position you're in because they were there once too.

Do you have suggestions for the recent college grad's wardrobe? Comment below!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Welcome Back

I'm Alive!

Okay, I'll admit it. I am a horrible blogger. It's been 7 months since I blogged and you know what happened? I graduated but I stopped running. Fiddlesticks! But I since realized that there's a lot I can write about. A very wise professor told me that I actually have "experience," and at first I was a tad skeptical but you know what? I just might have a thing or two rolling around in my brain that's worth sharing. So this blog is going to expand. Yes, I'll still chat about running (or attempting to run, trying to run, etc.) but I'm also going to chat about graduation, upcoming nuptials, work, and whatever else comes up. 

Get ready because this is going to be an exciting year and I can't wait!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Attack of the Blah

"Off" Days

Some days running is harder than others. While I've had my good and bad days, this weekend I had my most challenging experience. 

Saturday is my go-get-em day where I can run for longer periods of time because the specters of homework and internships are a little more removed. 

I started on my run in my neighborhood, planning on running 3 miles to the best of my ability and walking another 2 with the goal of eventually building up to where I can just run 5 miles. That all came to a rather abrupt halt when I only made it to the corner of my street and my lungs felt like they were on fire. I made it a grand .65 miles before it hard to breathe at all. 

My fiance is far more experienced than I am when it comes to training for a half marathon. He told me all about the dreaded "off" days. The ones where you just can't get into your rhythm and no matter how often you run it's going to happen. But when you're faced with the off day challenge don't give up. Running may have been out for the day but I could still walk so I went for a beautiful 2 mile stroll along the trail behind our house and did some strength training. Walking and doing strengthening exercises shouldn't be underestimated. Remember, every little bit helps. 

Off days can also be caused by a more corporal factor- what you eat. I discovered that even though I was drinking high volumes of water my body wasn't absorbing it. I took a look back at my diet and found a major component was missing- salt. I found that Runners World has a great section with recipes and tips for how to stay hydrated and pack the nutrients you need into your diet. It's these little things that make a difference and by being conscious of what are are putting in your body you'll be ready to get up and go!

How do you fight off your blah days?

Miles-To-Go: 48.34

Friday, October 25, 2013

Lesson Number 1

Lesson #1: Don't Run on the Balls of your Feet

So I'm about two weeks into running outside and my current goal is to run 2 miles straight. I always jog farther than 2 miles to try and push myself. One day I want to go home, shower, and see that I actually went 3 miles. 

Does it sound like much? Nope, but I have to start somewhere and since I never ran before, except for short sprints for rugby, I need to work on my form. Desperately. How do I know this? I rolled both of my ankles. Yes, both. I have a tendency to walk and run on the balls of my feet. This puts a lot of pressure on my poor ankles and eventually they just couldn't take it anymore. I had to stop my run at my shortest distance ever, 2.2 miles. 

The good news is, Runners World has a great guide for the perfect form. They cover everything from head positioning to feet positioning. Your shoes can also effect your form and inhibit your running, but they have a basic shoe guide that will list what brands and styles are best for your feet based upon a questionnaire. The best part- it's free. 

Time Left: 28 Days
Miles To Go: 59.87

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Midterms and Miles, Oh My!

How the hell do you balance midterms and running? Planning

It's all about the plan. Are you taking a thirty minute study break? Go run a mile instead of logging on to Pinterest. What about that hour of TV you smuggled in when you were supposed to be writing your paper? Cut it in half. You know you're going to break anyway so instead plan for those breaks. When I'm getting dressed in the morning I put on my t-shirt and shorts so when I break I can pick up my ipod and go right out the door. 

Also, getting up and about makes a difference when you know you're going to be sitting for 12+ hours writing/studying. It can end up making you more productive in the end, and if you HAVE to watch that episode of Say Yes to the Dress (my personal weakness) either put it on your DVR or have it playing on low while conscientiously working on your midterms after your work out. Call it a little reward for good behavior.

Today was the first day I got off the elliptical and ran outside. Dear God was it hard, but I went 2.5 miles. It took me 32 minutes but at the end of the day I did it. And I kinda really want to get this turtle running mug...