Blog Linkup: Preparing for the Future

May’s linkup is focused on the future. Meg and Victoria from The B Bar have posed the following two questions:

WHAT ARE YOU DOING (NOW) TO PREPARE FOR YOUR FUTURE?

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU SHOULD START DOING TO CREATE A BETTER FUTURE FOR YOURSELF?

These are tough questions to answer, let me tell you! Stop for a moment and think about them. What are you doing now to prepare for your future (career, life, business, etc.)? Is it an easy answer? And the second question? Not that easy, right? Take a moment before or after reading my comments to answer these questions for yourself. You may decide to write them down so that your plans (current and future) are more visible to you and others.

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING (NOW) TO PREPARE FOR YOUR FUTURE?

Career & Education: In terms of my career, well, I only began it two years ago! While many of my friends have been in their careers for over a decade, I’m just getting started in mine. Sort of. I’ve treated my graduate student life as my work life, so I just like to think that I’ve just followed a less traditional career path for the last decade. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Completing my PhD two years ago was definitely one of my greatest achievements!

Since I’m a professional student, I began yet another degree this past September. I’m now nearing the end of my first year of an MBA program. Business is completely new to me, but my coursework is moving along relatively well. My days and nights are full, and my brain is getting quite the work out, let me tell you! Learning about the business world from my professors and classmates has been interesting. I am definitely motivated to build my skill set and apply what I’m learning to my daily life (both work and blog lives).

NISJES_1via

Money & Savings: I have a decent sized list of things that I would like to do/buy/accomplish in the next year, and I have tried to estimate how much each project/event/item/trip might cost, so that I can plan accordingly. I have really tried to prioritize my wish list items, but it’s so easy to get distracted! I’ve always loved to travel, and there are so many places that I’d like to visit in the next few years. Japan, for example, is definitely calling my name, and I’d really love to get over there sometime in 2016!

AREAWARE_PigBank_HARPW_white_silo_web_largeHarry Allen for Areaware Piggy Bank

Blog: After 5 years of White Cabana, I am still really loving my blogger life. I like to write,¬† share, meet new people, and talk about design. This blog lets me to all of these things. I also like autonomy and to be the boss – I have both of these things right here. I maintain a relatively unstructured approach to blogging because so much of the rest of my life is uber-organized. That said, I take my blogging life seriously, and I am proud of the connections that I have made with brands and bloggers. I have steadily built my portfolio of collaborative projects, and I hope this work continues. I think critically about what I post and for what purpose. It has been fascinating to see how the blogosphere has evolved, and I am grateful to have learned so much along the way (all of this advice didn’t exist when I started).

050214_arbrom1via Elisabeth Heier

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU SHOULD START DOING TO CREATE A BETTER FUTURE FOR YOURSELF?

Health: Living a healthy lifestyle is one of my never-fully-achieved goals. There’s always room for improvement, but its place on the priority list changes depending on the year, month, day. ūüôā In an ideal world, I’d resist chocolate cake and I’d exercise every day. For now, I’m happy to reduce my consumption of sweets (they’re so hard to resist!) and up my walking game. I’d like to get back to running (I have run a few half-marathons, believe it or not!), even really short runs, in the next few months. Let’s see what I can do!

Nike-running-shoesNike running shoes

Beauty: Just about every beauty magazine and book has stressed the importance of taking care of your skin. I’ve never been into make-up, so it’s only recently that I’ve given my skincare routine a revamp. I’ve stuck to my routine (using the Simple skincare line) for a few years now, and (I think) my skin is happier. I think I now need to work on wearing a daily SPF/facial moisturizer now that the sun actually stays out all day long (even though I know the sun’s ray penetrate in the winter months too).

010-master-bath-makeup-vanity-700x873via Sketch 42

Money & Savings: I’m going to keep saving! Of course!

df9c6b3eb3a27c2e1ecfa99f6fdb1b14via Sebastien Errazuriz

Blog: I’m looking at another blog redesign. Mostly, I’d like to increase the responsiveness of my blog on various tech gadgets and adjust the format a bit. I have ideas, but I need a bit of time to carry out my plan. If you’re a blogger, you might enjoy Victoria’s take on the future of blogging.

Sugar-Papervia Sugar Paper

So, there you have it – a bit of a mix of what I’m doing now and what I’d like to start doing in order to plan for my future.

As always, a group of very talented bloggers are taking part in this month’s linkup. Have a read through their posts:

Meg Biram
Liska Monet
26 and Not Counting
soak and simmer
Knowing Kelly
Carrie Loves
Alyssa J Freitas
Manifest Yourself
Rae Loves
White Cabana
The Yuppie Files
Little Wild Heart
Life Modifier
The Not Quite Adult
Random Little Faves
Perfect Enough For Us
Always, Anita
Feathers and Stripes
Something Good
The Golden Letter
Leigh Clair
York Avenue
Sequins & Strawberries
Emilie Lima Burke
with love from ellie
rejoyce
Bite My Fashion
White Oak Creative
StyledbyKesha
xo lacey
Whitney Bangel Blog
always craving
Evann Clingan
Turning the Corner…Fearlessly!
IN THE GREY
Beauty and the Pitch
PRBlonde

Happy reading!

Interested in reading more? Here are the blog linkup posts from January (invaluable purchase), February (Instagram), and April (work-life balance).
Thanks to Meg & Victoria for organizing another thoughtful linkup this month.

Blog Spotlight: Behind the Blog Tour

I’m interrupting the regularly scheduled “Friday Five” series today because¬†I am thrilled to be part of a “Behind the Blog” tour that Sabrina (Hands and Hustle) has organized this week. You may have seen other bloggers’ day-in-the-life contributions earlier in the week,¬†and today¬†Vanessa and I are ending the week with our behind-the-scenes look into our lives as bloggers.

Ready? Okay. Let’s go.

1. What time do you wake up and what’s a typical breakfast?

I wake up to my alarm clock at about 6:15am every¬†weekday.¬†I eat just about the same thing every day: toast with my parents’ homemade jam, berries or a fruit of some sort (I love fruit), a glass of water,¬†and a latte.

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On the weekends, I often¬†have a pain au chocolat from Golden Hearth¬†Bakery after I’m done my grocery shopping at the¬†Kitchener market. I also love making¬†waffles (I use a recipe from Gourmet). Yum. I do love weekend¬†breakfasts!

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2. Do you have a day job? If so, what do you do? How do you find the balance between blogging and work? What are the pros and cons? If blogging is your full-time gig, explain how that came to be.

I sometimes tell people¬†that¬†blogging is my full-time job and being a professor is my part-time gig. In reality, it’s the other way around. I¬†finished my PhD in Education last year (focused on language learning and teaching), and I currently teach¬†academic writing at university. My students call me Doctor, but my blogging friends¬†know me as the gal¬†who is obsessed with white. My two worlds rarely collide, although I’m increasingly¬†trying to make small connections between them.

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Balancing blogging and work can definitely be a challenge. Giulia and I actually presented a session at BlogPodium 2013 about balancing a day job and a successful job. I’m not an expert, and I usually take on more than I should, but¬†I also really love my down-time, so I make sure I have a good chunk of it in my weeks!

I treat my blog as¬†a part-time job…a really fun, interesting, engaging, and rewarding¬†part-time job. I don’t put pressure on myself, and I am content with allowing the blog to evolve organically.¬†I try to remain professional, committed, educated, and approachable in my blogging life, just as I approach¬†my academic work.

3. Where did you grow up (what city/town, do you have siblings, can you share any stories about your upbringing)? Where do you currently reside?

I was born in Toronto, but¬†I spent the first five years of my life in Saudi Arabia (I know¬†it’s¬†a bit random). When I was five, my family¬†moved back to Toronto. I have lived in Toronto, Kingston, London, and Waterloo (all in Ontario, btw), and I have spent quite a bit of time in France and Switzerland. I currently live in Waterloo, Ontario, and I really do love living here. I used to think I was a big-city girl, but I’m not really. I completely appreciate the ease of small-towns, and the people in Waterloo are¬†so¬†kind.

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via Atmosphere

Some readers may already know that I have one older sister, Corie, who recently moved with her family from Manhattan to North Carolina. Many of our FaceTime conversations revolve around design trends, blog news, or our upcoming travel plans. I am certainly looking forward to spending time with the team soon.

4. Outline your average, typical day.

Typical? I’m not sure I have any really typical days, but I guess my weekdays generally go something like this:
–¬†wake up early
– shower, get dressed

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– eat breakfast, make lunch
–¬†check in on¬†Twitter and Instagram
Рupdate/check White Cabana, read a blog or two, respond to a few emails
–¬†walk to work, call¬†family members for updates
–¬†work all day¬†(with a quick break for lunch at noonish)
Рwalk home from work (I love my walking commute!)
– make dinner, eat dinner
– do a blog/social media check/update, read my mail (hopefully a magazine, too)

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Рgo to class (my MBA classes began in September) or do errands or hang out with friends or do homework or blog
– check in with friends/family via texts/social media/email/phone calls
– read blogs or a book
– fall asleep

While I do respond to blog-related emails¬†and reader comments throughout the week, I spend weekend days drafting¬†upcoming posts. Because my day job can be¬†pretty hectic, I prefer to keep my blogging work¬†flexible. I don’t use an editorial calendar, for example, because I don’t want to over-schedule my life.

5. What’s your dream job/career? How are you working towards that?

When I was young, my dream job was to be an architect. That didn’t work out. I think I¬†didn’t actually know what path I needed to take to achieve this goal.

Then I¬†thought computer science was for me. Although I began my undergraduate degree with a major in¬†computer science, I realized that this wasn’t for me. Although I thought it was totally cool when I managed to make a “worm” move across the computer screen through the¬†coding I had created, my computer science program didn’t seem to promote collaboration, and I felt pretty isolated.

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via Hunting for George

I sort of always knew that teaching was for me. My concurrent education program (I completed my¬†BA and BEd at the same time) was great.¬†I learned a lot and I thought that teaching elementary school would be amazing. It was…until I needed a change.

I headed to grad school…just for a bit of a break, I thought…and¬†after my Master’s degree, I went back to teaching elementary school.

I was a primary school teacher for a year after my Master’s, but I¬†became¬†quite frustrated with¬†teaching.¬†I had so many questions about education, and I didn’t have time to investigate any answers. So, I returned to my happy¬†place…university. Five more years at university and I’m now Dr. Jordana. I (mostly) loved doing my doctoral work. Those five years were hard, rewarding, interesting, engaging, and fascinating. I was happy with every project I took on.

Now, I’m doing what I love. Teaching at a university is really rewarding.¬†I learn as much from my students as they do from me, and I really do feel forever young.¬†My work is energizing, interesting, and fun.¬†Working in higher-education is fascinating and the learning never stops.

Speaking of learning, I¬†didn’t stay away from courses for too long after my PhD.¬†I am now¬†pursuing an MBA degree on a part-time basis, and I’m loving it (well, mostly loving it – who knew accounting could be¬†so tough?).¬†I’ve been asked the “How long are you going to be a professional student?” questions so many times. I think my family has finally figured out that they should stop asking.

I’m very happy where I am¬†now in life and work. That said, I probably wouldn’t say no to an academic job in, let’s say, Paris!

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6. What would be your dream dinner-party guest list? Explain why you chose each person.

Oh, man, this is hard and requires much thought! I love meeting people who have diverse interests, so I would want my dinner guests to have diverse work and life experiences. For a celebrity-focused dinner party with people who are dead or¬†alive, I’d like to dine¬†with the following group, and I might¬†ask them the following questions:

Audrey Hepburn: Who is your favourite shopping partner?
Seth Godin: What book do you think everyone must read?
Martha Stewart (this would be risky; she would certainly judge my food):¬†What is the one collection you’d never give away?
Sophie Kinsella: What’s in your handbag?
Leonardo DiCaprio – Do you ever sing the Growing Pains theme song?
Gwyneth Paltrow: What’s coming up next? A GOOP store?
JD Salinger: Have you taken a ride on the Central Park merry-go-round?
Audrey Tatou: Would you ever really travel with a gnome?
Kristin Wiig: Who makes you laugh?
Ina Garten:¬†What does¬†Jeffrey cook for you when you’re off cooking duty?
Matt Damon: Do you want to come to my next dinner party?

I’m not so¬†sure how this mix of people would get along in real life, but it would be neat to ask these celebrities some¬†questions.

7. What’s one thing you’d like to start, one thing you’d like to stop, and one thing you’d like to continue?

Start: my basement renovation
Stop: complaining about things not worth complaining about (e.g., vacuuming)
Continue: to make travel plans

8. What’s your current obsession?

Design: I have been obsessed with Alessi for quite a while now.
People: I love spending time with my high-energy nephews and niece (even though they wear me out).
Food: Pizza. I could live on it.
Celebrity news: Prince William & Duchess Kate Middleton.

9. Link to 5 websites/blogs you can’t go a week without.

This is such a hard question for someone like me who reads a lot of blogs! Six of my frequent reads are:

Lark & Linen – Jacquelyn’s photos are beautiful¬†and I love her “Scenes from my Weekend” series on Mondays (which is now going to shift to “Scenes from my Week” because of Jacquelyn’s new design venture).

Rambling Renovators – Jennifer is one hard-working lady, and¬†she’s been¬†a leader for many¬†bloggers. I really look forward to her Friday Love List column.

Atlantic-Pacific – Blair Eadie’s style is top-notch. I want absolutely everything that she wears.

Love Taza – I think I actually have zero things in common with Naomi, but I keep coming back to her blog. I think it’s because I started reading her when my sister and her family were living in Manhattan. They sort of lived parallel lives.

A Beautiful Mess –¬†This blog documents the work of a¬†whole team of talented and artistic people. They live a much more colourful life than me, that’s for darn sure. ¬†I’m mostly interested in the recipes. I’ve tried a few of them and they always work out.

Swiss Miss РTina always posts something new-to-me and interesting. I really like her aesthetic.

10. Tag and mention 1 blogger who you’d like to partake in this feature.

I would love to know how Erica Cook manages her day.¬†She’s uber-talented and seems so very nice.

***

Interested in learning about other bloggers involved in this Behind the Blog series? Check out the schedule:

Monday, September 29th
Sabrina Smelko – Hands and Hustle
Brittany Stager – My Daily Randomness

Tuesday, September 30th
Brittany – Gallery No. Eight
Kelly – Glitter Diaries

Wednesday, October 1st
The Party Girl
Renee – Renee M. LeBlanc

Thursday, October 2nd
Katie Rose – Wild Rose Buds
Hilary Ramsay – House of Her

Friday, October 3rd
Vanessa Francis
me!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Personal: A Birthday Week

It was my birthday last weekend, and while there were no balloons or sprinkles à la every-Pinterest-party-photo, I had a few days of celebratory fun.

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my birthday crown

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lazy morning patio time

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a birthday selfie – wearing my new favourite sweatshirt

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Cutting pizza with scissors – doesn’t everybody do this?

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flowers from the Kitchener market

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homemade chocolate cake by my mom – delicious!

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Elora, Ontario

birthday-9horse & buggy parking only – Elora, Ontario

The Friday Five: Uptown Update

So, it’s been a while since I’ve shared an update from my home uptown. You would think that because I have completely hibernated this winter, I should have been able to tackle a lot indoor projects, but with the evening darkness and my general laziness, I really didn’t get that much done. Plus, I am dealing with the most ridiculous kitchen cabinet maker (more on that one day soon), which has stalled much of the work that I needed to get done in the kitchen. Nonetheless, I have made some progress and¬†here are a five updates:

1. Kitchen: The last time you saw the kitchen, it looked like this. Since then, one of the new cabinets was installed, and my dad installed my over-the-range microwave. This made a huge difference in the kitchen as it freed up a whole counter section and really makes things feel lighter.

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2. Kitchen: Since I took the above photo, I finished installing the backsplash (thanks to Tia and Jeff for cutting the tricky ones for me), but I still need to grout it (hopefully after work today).

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3. Big Bath: I have shared a small peek of my big bath¬†and a couple of before photos here. A lot has changed in the big bath. In addition to the tearing off of wallpaper, new paint on walls and ceiling, and new towel bars, I now have a modern rectangular sink on top of a new laminate counter and updated vanity doors (thanks to the power of paint!). I wanted to keep the current reno cost down just in case I want to plan a bigger reno down the road (ideas, ideas!). I’m still looking around for lighting options and I have to hang up the mirror. It’s by no means a beautiful room (yet), but it’s a big improvement from day 1.

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4. Big Bath: It has taken me quite a while to figure out what kind of art to put in the bathroom. At first, I thought I wanted something huge and loud. But then I couldn’t find anything that I liked, and I wasn’t sure I had time to paint something myself. As I unpacked my old gallery wall, I thought I could put it up in the big bath. But when I laid it all out, I felt it was too colourful. Then I leaned my DIY Rorschach-like art against the walls and I kind of liked it. Left it there for a few days to see if my thoughts would change. They didn’t. I painted up some more Rorschach-types, framed in frames that I already owned, and then hung them up on the bathtub wall. I’m really really liking the black & white art wall and I’ll continue to add to the grouping.

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5. Dining room: I hung up my white doily art on one of the dining room walls. I lined up the bottoms as I had done in my last apartment, but I just read somewhere that art should be lined up from the top. Have I made the biggest faux-pas ever?

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Bonus:

6. Entryway: I used Capture to give the carpet in my entry a refresh. It worked! Here’s the before (top) and after (bottom).

White-Cabana-Uptown-reno-4So, that’s a quick update from Uptown to end the week. My to do list is look pretty great – even though I keep adding to it. Here’s where I stand (see¬†original to do list):

–¬†change all the door locks to¬†these Schlage locks
– remove wallpaper in¬†all three¬†bathrooms ‚Äď one left!
–¬†choose a paint colour
–¬†paint the whole house white (the walls are currently¬†brown, beige,¬†burgundy,¬†pink, and green)
–¬†plant hostas
–¬†install a new vanity in the powder room¬†and upstairs bathroom & install¬†these gorgeous Delta faucets
–¬†install a screen door off the kitchen so that I can open the door to the deck without letting in all the bugs
–¬†buy a Ficus plant
–¬†break the big wall down that exists between the living room and dining room
–¬†break the small wall down that exists in my kitchen
–¬†patch up the walls after so much destruction
change all the light fixtures (I started with this one)
–¬†buy a new couch (looking at¬†these ones)
install new kitchen countertops
– install a shower in the basement bathroom
–¬†buy tiles for backsplash &¬†install backsplash

Here are some of the new additions:
– paint touch-ups (all over)
-office organization
-office art wall
-install fire smoke alarms (again)
-plan patio

I LOVE seeing so many things crossed off the list! Yay for progress. This spring I’m looking forward to (learning how to and) installing a stone floor on my small back patio and watching my hostas grow.

Have a great Friday & happy weekend, everyone!

The Uptown series documents my experiences as a new homeowner. Fun times ahead!

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