How to Prepare Yourself to “Work It” at your New Job

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Getting a new job is so exciting, isn’t it? It’s a chance for a fresh start, with new opportunities for growth and new challenges. It’s a chance to meet new people with whom you can share thoughts and ideas, and a new forum for collaborating. It’s a time when you can reinvent yourself and there is a world of possibilities on the horizon…

Can you tell that I’m about to start a new job myself??

What gave me away, all the dreamy verbiage above about possibilities and growth? Well, I can’t hide it. I’m extremely excited, and this transition has been a long time coming. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been a bit reticent on this blog as of late (my apologies!), and now  it’s finally happened! I can’t tell you how excited I am to spread my proverbial wings and to expand my skill set and responsibilities, which I know I’m capable of and have been itching to do for quite some time.

The idea for today’s  post sprang from my own efforts to ready myself as much as possible before I start my new job. In an effort to assist those of you out there getting ready to embark on your new career path, I’ve put together 6 easy things you can do to start your new job on a high note.

Take some time off (if possible)

I know that this may not be feasible for everyone depending on individual circumstances. But if you can, you would be wise to take a period of time off after wrapping up your previous position and starting your new one. It allows you to put some distance between the old and the new, to disengage, and to rid yourself of any lingering stress.

For those of you who’ve made job transitions in the past, you may well recall the exhaustion you felt immediately after your final days of work. In fact, you may have been inexplicably exhausted for several days after. That’s why it’s best to take a couple of weeks off if you can, allowing yourself the first few days to succumb to that fatigue and do next to nothing.

If you don’t have the luxury of a few weeks off (as most of us unfortunately don’t), then absolutely make sure to do the next item on the list….

Take a “Mental Health Day”

What’s a Mental Health Day, you may ask? It’s a day devoted entirely to YOUR well-being. Do some good things for yourself that help you to relax and rejuvenate. Need a few ideas? Try one of these:

  • take a hike
  • get a massage
  • visit a museum
  • read at a coffee shop
  • take a luxurious bubble bath
  • go to the movies
  • listen to music
  • do some shopping
  • get a haircut or manicure
  • do something creative – draw, paint, craft, knit
  • write in your journal or write a letter

The point is this: do whatever it is that makes you feel happy and promotes a feeling serenity. You deserve it and you really need it in order to ready yourself for your big day.

Do Your Research

This is a big one. Do as much pre-prep as you can to learn about your new employer before your first day. You should already have good background information from interviewing for the position, but definitely familiarize yourself some more with the company’s website, their LinkedIn profile, any other social channels they may be using, etc.

Buy Yourself a New Outfit for your First Day of Work

I encourage you to buy yourself some new work duds for your first day. You can think of it as both a reward and an investment. A reward because you landed that new job! You should feel proud of your hard work, and you can feel good about celebrating your accomplishments with new professional attire. It’s also an investment in your new career that will help you to feel more confident and start you off on good footing your first day.

Of course, it may not be realistic or feasible for everyone to splurge on a new outfit. And if you can’t, that’s okay too. But do spend a little extra time on making yourself feel special. Give yourself an at-home manicure, try a new hairstyle, do whatever you can to make yourself feel special and give yourself a little extra “oomph”….feeling more polished and pulled together will give you that extra boost you need to approach your new place of employment with confidence and class.

Plan Ahead

Spend some time thinking about what your morning routine will look like before your first day. Will you shower the night before or in the morning? How much time will you need for your commute (factoring in any possible traffic)? Will you eat breakfast before you leave? Will you need time to make coffee and lunch in the morning or will you prepare it all the night before? Do you know alternative routes to get to work in case your main route is unavailable for some reason? Do you have contact numbers for your new employer just in case you are delayed by traffic? Prepare yourself as much as possible so that you’re calm and collected your first day.

Prepare your Work Tote or Briefcase

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Think about what items you’ll want to have on-hand at your desk and pack them the night before. Here are some of my recommendations:

  • Planner, notebook, pen, folders (these items aren’t necessary because you’ll normally be provided with some by your new employer, but I personally like to bring my own because I find that using pretty organizational work items helps me to work better).DSC_0009
  • Personal items: hand lotion, vitamins, tylenol, mini-deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, tampons, hand sanitizer, bobby pins/extra hair elastic, hairspray, throat lozenges, gum, water bottle, coffee travel mug, extra phone charger (if you have one), a picture or two to personalize your spaceDSC_0006

And finally, get as much rest as possible before your big day. On that note, I’m going to do just that! Wish me luck tomorrow. 🙂

R

What to Pack in your Honeymoon Carry-On

Happy Friday, Friends!

This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for the past month, and I’m so happy to finally post it.

Some of you may have seen my honeymoon post from early January and read the part about where United Airlines lost our luggage for 10 days. Unbelievable, right? At the time of this posting, we have still not gotten any type of restitution or compensation from them—even though I wrote a letter to the CEO (something I’ve never done in my life, but felt compelled to do after our terrible experience with the airline), filed a formal complaint, and sent in a claim form to be reimbursed for interim expenses. Anyway, that’s besides the point.

I had to learn the hard way that it is essential to strategically pack your carry-on in the event that something like this should happen. I always thought lost luggage was something that wouldn’t happen to me, and I was very wrong. Oh and another piece of advice: if you think travel insurance isn’t a necessity, think again. You absolutely need to purchase this! Anyway, lessons definitely learned.

The point is, I hope that nothing like this ever happens to you; but if it does, I want you to know how you can pack your carry-on to be best prepared to handle the situation. Based on my experience, I’ve put together the below packing recommendations. I hope it helps you!

Honeymoon Carry-On Essentials

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  • Any medication you need (unless it’s a liquid over 3.5 ounces). And don’t forget to pack your birth control, ladies!
  • Your passport, itinerary, all documents from your travel agent (and their contact info), traveler’s insurance
  • Travel size toiletries including:
    • Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, comb/brush, basic cosmetics (these are the absolute bare necessities – if you have the room, include face wash, shampoo/conditioner, etc).
    • And don’t forget a travel size container with sunscreen (you can’t bring the larger size, but if you’re going somewhere tropical you’ll pay an arm and a leg to buy it if your luggage is delayed or lost).
    • I personally use the below reusable TSA-compliant travel bag from xo(eco) and really like it. Plus, it uses FDA-grade peva film, is PVC free, and 1% of profits are donated to ocean research and conservation. I also use the weekender bag above from the same company.

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  • 1 pair of sandals
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Flat Iron (tropical places are especially notorious for promoting frizz)
  • At least 1 full change of clothes
  • A nice pair of dressy shoes
  • Ear plugs
  • At least 1 bikini
  • Phone charger
  • Camera and charger
  • Ear plugs
  • A few pairs of underwear
  • Money/credit cards (if you have 100’s or 50’s make sure to break them into smaller bills)
  • Jewelry roll with a few pairs of earrings, necklaces, etc
  • A small clutch

The list above assumes that your carry-on bag is quite small and that you checked additional luggage. If room permits, pack these other nice to have, but not absolutely necessary, items:

  • Workout clothes
  • Pen/notepad/reading material
  • Cute lingerie–imagine being on an entire honeymoon without the lingerie you specifically bought for the occasion; yup, that was me.
  • Pair of PJs
  • A light dress
  • Umbrella

And there you have it–these are your essentials. As far as what to wear on your flight over, I would recommend a pair of walking shoes (so you don’t have to worry about taking up room in your carry-on), a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, cardigan, and scarf. Planes are notoriously known for being cold, so layer up! And if you haven’t read my post about travel essentials, I would definitely recommend checking that out too!

For more complete information about what is and is not acceptable to put in you carry-on, take a look at TSA’s guidelines. And remember TSA’s 3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less (by volume); 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3.4 ounce (100ml) container size is a security measure.

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Rebecca Cretella

10 Must-Keep Wedding Day Items for your Memory Box

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Well Hello Again 🙂

Another work week come and gone…I hope it treated you well!

As many of you may know, back in early November I got married. It was truly one of the best days (if not THE best) of my life; one that I never want to forget. That night, I remember trying very hard to stay in the moment as much of the time as I could. But of course, I found it hard to stay completely in the moment the entire time.

You try to absorb the sights and sounds, but there are moments that blur as the night rushes on.

You want it all to stand still but time gallops ahead at its steady pace.

And so you hire a photographer to freeze those beautiful moments in time, and you hire the videographer to record those spoken snippets that the photographer cannot…the wedding march, the exchange of vows, the joyful applause as the audience observes the first kiss, the best man’s speech, the laughing guests, the clinking glasses, and the beat of the music. The photographer and the videographer help to rebuild the night for you so that you can experience it all over and over again.

And yet, I think there’s something to be said about keeping a few tangible treasures from that perfect day to look back on in the year’s to come, and to share some day with children and grandchildren.

That is why I would recommend that you make yourself a wedding box. It’s easy to do! Just ask your wedding day coordinator to collect some items of your choosing at end of the night, which can be handed over to your mom or Maid of Honor for safekeeping. After all the hustle and bustle of the wedding dies down, you can look through your items and decide how you’d like to store them for safekeeping.

I’m a pretty sentimental person, so I decided to do just that. But before I share what my box contains, first I’d like to share the top 10 items you should keep from your big day.

10 Must-Keep Wedding Day Items

  1. Your invitation
  2. Your ceremony program–if you decide to have one. Sadly there were none of mine left over…
  3. Wedding day paper: place cards, table numbers, other cute signage
  4. A wedding favor
  5. The MOH and best man’s speeches — my MOH is still currently holding mine hostage, as she’s just gone through a move, but I will obtain it at some point 🙂
  6. Ringbearer pillow
  7. Flowers or a charm from your bridal bouquet
  8. Wedding cake topper
  9. Your “something blue” – in my case, that was my bridal clutch
  10. Wedding day card from your husband — since I also have a Happy Box, mine isn’t in this box at the moment, but it’s something you’ll definitely want to re-read and re-read again to relive that magical day, and remember the anticipation you felt before you said “I do”….

My original plan for storing my keepsakes was to use my wooden wedding card box, but I quickly realized that it simply wasn’t big enough to fit everything I wanted to remember.

What I used instead was this lovely little silver box from Target (10×10″), which fits all of my wedding items just perfectly. I could have made a box myself, but this one jumped out right at me from the aisle (AND was under $8!) Plus, the silvery-gray color happened to coordinate with my wedding colors.

Let’s take a peek inside…

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My wedding day clutch

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Burlap card box banner

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Bridal shower banner (not technically from the wedding day but I love, love, love it!)

DSC_0041…along with a framed photo of my papa (who I miss every day) that hung from my bouquet…

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Wedding signage: In Memory, Sign Our Guest Book, Instagram our Wedding 

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Reserved for the Bride & Groom Sign & Table Numbers

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Ringbearer pillow

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Placecards

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Our wedding favor was a leaf-shaped bookmark nested in a rustic muslin bag (we got married in the fall and both love to read) 

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Wedding Invitation

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Cake topper

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And there you have it! Have any of you done anything similar? If so, I’d love to see what you did!

Have a great weekend all!

Rebecca Cretella

What Was Pleasing in 2013

Hello Friends,

These past few days sped by. I’ve been consumed with settling back in to work, putting away Christmas decorations, unpacking clothes, doing copious loads of laundry, following up with United about our bags, and looking into changing to my married name—just to name a few things. 🙂

Today I want to share with you a little project I worked on last night—I created a new printable that I hope you will find useful.

At the beginning of each new year, I like to take some time to reflect on what went well and didn’t go so well the previous year. I think it’s a great exercise because it forces you to think about and appreciate the positive things in your life (and I’m always trying to become a person who sees the glass as half full), and it can motivate you to work harder to achieve what you may not have achieved that year in the new year.

However, in this hectic rat race we live in I find that I often forget the accomplishments, events, and memories that are worth holding onto. I know my memory is already not what it used to be (I blame it on over-stimulation and being constantly pulled in 20 different directions), so I thought, why don’t  I create a printable where I can write down and file my thoughts on the previous year? How nice would it be to look back upon these reflections over time to see how I’ve grown and what I’ve accomplished?

So I created this printable called “What Was Pleasing in 2013” to reflect on this past year…

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…and I did a bit of soul-searching about what made 2013 pretty great.

Side note: for me, even though I got married and a lot of other wonderful things happened, I found it to be a particularly difficult year, one where I struggled with how to advance myself and be my happiest, and where I often felt hopeless because I ran into blockades time and time again.

I don’t mean to depress you, I do actually have a point here. My point is that when I looked back at what I wrote down last night I realized that there were so many great things to be grateful for in 2013!

Here’s what I wrote (since it’s a bit hard to read above):

  • I turned 30 – I’m officially a “big girl”!
  • I married the most amazing guy I know.
  • I had my little brother back in the US for 6 months and we got the chance to catch up a lot.
  • I completed a 21-day cleanse with my best friend & husband.
  • I bought a new car – something I never dreamed I would do!
  • I  published several articles in local magazines.
  • I hired a personal trainer and got fit.
  • I built a new home office (my prid and joy) with my hubby.
  • I started this blog in March…
  • And then had nearly 30,000 hits by the end of the year!
  • My best friend and I restarted our horror blog
  • …and then Homespun Weddings, our Etsy business where we make and sell whimsical wedding decor. You can “like” us on Facebook here.
  • My husband was inducted into our high school’s Hall of Fame (I’m such a proud wife!)…
  • ….and finished grad school….
  • ….and passed his exit exam!
  • I started a “rainy day” fund.
  • Jeff and I celebrated 5 years together.
  • Then we went to St. Lucia
  • ….on our long-awaited and much-anticipated honeymoon!
  • I got a drastic haircut (which I love).
  • I read more books thanks to book club…
  • ….and developed great friendships in the process.
  • I got the new Nikon camera I’ve been dying for.

I’m going to stow this away in my Happy Box, where I can refer to it when I need a little boost. I’ll also be sharing my 2014 goals with you very soon, and I hope we can inspire each other to make 2014 the most meaningful one yet!

If you feel like doing this exercise, feel free to download a PDF of “What Was Pleasing in 2013” here.

Rebecca Cretella

P.S.

Would you mind taking 30 seconds to fill out the attached survey? I would love to know what posts you want to see more of in 2014—thanks and have a great Tuesday!

7 Apps You Need to Know About

I love apps. I really do. Especially apps that help me to be more productive and organized. I’ve recently found some really cool apps (productivity-based and otherwise) that I’d like to share with you because I really think they’re worth knowing about.

Here are 7 apps you should download right now…

1. Balanced is a really awesome reminder system that allows you to enter in tasks and reminders, and attach a frequency with which you need to do them, with the basic goal of helping you to keep your life “balanced”.

For instance, one of my daily reminders is to “Be thankful“. In general, I try to be cognizant and acknowledge the positive things in my life, but it doesn’t hurt to remind yourself on a regular basis!. 🙂 I also set a reminder to “Call an old friend” once a week because I don’t keep in touch with loved ones as much as I would like to.

Once you’ve completed a task, that task moves down to the bottom of the list and the next highest priority item moves to the top. When you are not keeping up with a particular task, the app reminds you that you’re late. I love the Balanced app, and I love how visual, simple, and easy it is to use.

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2. Songza is my favorite music app out there. There are tons of great ones on the market, but Songza  is my favorite because you can choose music based on your mood or activity. For instance, you can choose music for driving, music to work out to, music to energize you, music to wake up to, and more.

I am also highly impressed by their variety. I’ve been playing their Christmas stations non-stop, and get this: they have more than 50 different Christmas stations alone to choose from. I’ve been playing the Acoustic Guitar Christmas station a lot, but some others include Merry Indie Christmas!, Christmas at the Movies, Family Singalong Christmas, Cozy Christmas Classics, A Cosby Sweater Christmas…I could go on and on but you get the gist. There’s something for every taste.

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3. A Beautiful Mess is brought to you by Emma and Elsie, the girls behind the blog with the same name. If you haven’t ever visited their blog, DO IT. They are two seriously creative ladies who’ve gained huge success with their lifestyle blog. Among other things, one of the topics the girls often post about is how to get creative with photography. This app is an awesome tool for adding embellishments and text to your photos to create your own work of art. For an example of how you can use the app, take a look at my last post with my wedding photos. I created that collage with the Beautiful Mess app! This is the only app on the list that isn’t free, but trust me it’s worth the 99 cents.

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4. Heyday is a hardworking little app that takes the photos you’ve saved to your camera roll, and makes them into a visual journal. It labels your photos with the date and location (the location can be changed if it’s not quite accurate), and allows you to add a brief description of the photo(s) – an easy way to keep track of life events and when they occurred.

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5. Cloze has become my new best friend. If you follow people across multiple social channels, this app is for you. You can see emails, Facebook posts, tweets, and LinkedIn updates all in one convenient window, so you never miss what information the people you’re interested in are posting.

In addition, it aggregates the data for your social media accounts and suggests a list of “key people” in your life to keep up with,  can tell you who you’re losing touch with, if you have any social mentions, and lots more. Now I don’t need to switch back and forth between a bunch of different apps to know what’s going on! Loveeee.

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6. Any.DO is like your own digital personal assistant. With this app, you can not only add your to-do items (which can be flagged for today, tomorrow, upcoming, or someday), you can also include notes, share with others, file it into a folder (personal, work, or any other you create), mark it as high importance, and set a deadline for completion.

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When you start typing in a task, the app suggests several different possibilities for you. For instance, I typed in laundry and could choose from “fold laundry”, “laundry detergent”, “finish laundry”, “do laundry” and more.

It also greets you in the nicest way (see below)! Who doesn’t like being called beautiful…even if by an app? 🙂

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There’s so much you can do with this app, and I’m amazed that it’s free. It has really helped me keep on top of things!

7. Easily Do is similar to Any.DO in that it’s engineered to increase your productivity and organization, but what’s really cool about it is that it analyzes the information on your phone, and makes suggestions to you based on what it finds. For instance, it can remind you that you have a calendar item to  pick up a prescription, that you need to RSVP to an upcoming event, and   that it’s a friend’s birthday and you should post on their Facebook timeline. You can link to Facebook, your email, Twitter, LinkedIn, Evernote, Dropbox and much more. Here are just a few of the many settings you can enable to simplify and streamline your life.

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So these are the 7 apps I’m most enamored with right now – I hope you try them out and enjoy using them as much as I do!

What about you? What are your essential apps?

R

Keep Yourself Organized with Holiday Printables

Hi Friends!

I know. It’s been ages. Shame on me.

The holidays can be a pretty crazy time, right? Well today I’ve created a set of holiday planning printables that I’m going to share with you to help you keep yourself organized during the busy holiday season.

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In this set – which you can download by clicking on the images – you’ll get the Holiday Wish List…..


Holiday Card List……

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Holiday Gift Budget…….

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and Holiday Shopping List……..

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I personally decided that these would be best kept in my home management binder. I hope you enjoy using these holiday printables…and don’t forget to check back soon…I’ve got a couple more up my sleeve that I’ll be posting soon!

R

_______________

Rebecca Cretella

Free Printable: Blog Post at a Glance

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Hi All and Happy Hump Day!

I don’t know about you, but I am LOVING this quick transformation to fall weather. This is my favorite time of year…the crisp air, sweaters and boots, apple picking, hot cocoa, Halloween, the changing leaves, snuggling up under heavy blankets….I feel the calmest and happiest during these autumn months.

I’ve really started to get into the whole printable making hobby, so I’ve put together another one to share with you for free. For those of you fellow bloggers out there, this printable is intended to help you to brainstorm your blog posts, including the photos you’ll use, links to include, resources to reference, social media outlets to promote your posts, and so on. All you have to do is click on the image above to download the PDF.

If you like this, please do me a favor and share your feedback!

Have a great day!

R