4 Things You NEED to Be Super Duper Organised

Hello Lovely,

If you, like me, get rushes of adrenaline when you discover clever organising hacks, then you’re in the right place. It’s about to GO. DOWN. 

There are days when my office looks immaculate and then there are days when it looks like a four year old ran through it. It's not that I don't know it's messy. I'm just so busy I don't always have time to put something back where I know it's supposed to go. Or sometimes I'm so scatter-brained I forget where I put something. But lately I've come up with a plan to get super duper organised, so that I'll never forget about another appointment, task or commitment. So scroll down as I give you some awesome ways to stay on top of the clutter.

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Binder Clips

1. Hang almost anything on a pegboard. You can hang paint tubes, glues, inspo images and other working materials on pegboards with binder clips. It’s a neat way to display the tools we use every day, and it’s *way* easier to find them when we need them in a pinch.

2. Hold cords in place on your desk. Simply clip one these fellas to the side of your table, then thread a cord through. No more reaching for that charger on the ground! Your back will thank me later :)

3. Colourful binder clips make organising fun. It's a lot easier to find documents when you know you clipped a neon pink or marbled binder clip around it. I got these binder clips from Target

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Colour-Coded File Folders

I can't tell you how much easier it is for me to find things when I know files are grouped in colours. You can even take it a step further by making your own file folders out of poster paper.

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A Customisable Planner

I'll be honest, up until last week I had yet to find the perfect planner that I will use every day. And lately I've been double-booking myself a lot. So I created my own Weekly Planner and that made a huge difference. It even includes a to-do list and a section for me to write the names of students I'm supposed to meet with. I also bought a Brit + Co Binder and Planner from Target, which I absolutely love because it's just like the one I had created, but obviously sturdier and more polished.

The fact that it is customisable means, I can use it for one month, or not and I won't have to worry that I didn't get my money's worth because I write the dates in myself. I can write in pencil, then erase once I'm done to reuse that section. It also comes with add ons like colouring pages for when I'm bored, a dry erase board and stickers. This is probably one of the best investments I have ever made!

A Personal Assistant Device

I recently bought the Google Home Mini and I'll be receiving it in a few weeks (sending it with a family member). I can't wait! I'll definitely share what it's like once I've gotten a chance to play with it. I'm one of those people who verbalises what I need to do, but always forgets to write it down. Many times I've used Google reminders to remind myself to do something at a particular time, but it wasn't always practical to unlock my phone then say Okay Google. I'm hoping that the Google Home Mini will be the perfect tool to help me get super duper organised! You can also use devices like Alexa (Amazon) and Siri

Any organisational hacks I missed? I’d love to hear them! Tweet me at @lifebyolivia

 

Tuesday Ten: 10 Summer-Ready Outfits for Work

Tuesday Ten: 10 Summer-Ready Outfits for Work

Summer is coming and with it a whole new set of office-appropriate-attire rules to follow. Make the most of every single day—and balmy night—this summer with any one of these gorgeous inspirational looks that will help you seamlessly transition between the boardroom and after-hours cocktails. And with my added tips, you'll be sure to rock this summer in style (without getting fired)!

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Oreo Cupcakes

Hello Lovely,

On Friday we celebrated the vice principal’s birthday with a surprise birthday party in the office because it’s her first birthday with us as vice principal. She was so surprised she almost cried! I made her a birthday card and got it signed by all of the teachers, and these AMAZING cupcakes! I really outdid myself on this one! Sure they take some time to make (especially when you’re operating out of a toaster oven, so you have to use a mini cupcake pan because the regular cupcake pan is too big to fit and you made enough batter for 16 cupcakes) but they’re totally worth it!

I’m so mad that I forgot my camera that morning so I had to take all of the photos with my cell phone and believe me, I am not cell phone photographer! Something as simple as getting the right angle confuses me but I did my best to show you guys how good and tasty these cupcakes are!

Oh, they are SO good.  What makes them extra good is the “frosting.”  It is less like frosting and more like a fluffy cheesecake. I surprised myself by making this frosting because it’s something I’ve never been good at! But to see it turn out so well (for the most part) gave me an extra confidence boost! I just knew she was going to like them!

OREO CUPCAKES

For the cupcake

·        1 1/3 cups self-rising flour

·        ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

·        3 tablespoons applesauce

·        1 cup white sugar

·        2 eggs

·        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·        1 cup milk

For the frosting

·        1 package of cream cheese, 8oz. at room temp.

·        1 cups powder sugar

·        1 Tbsp vanilla

·        1 container of Cool Whip, 8oz. thawed

 

Directions

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners. Sift together the flour, and cocoa. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition, then stir in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk; beat well. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full.

3. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.

4. While the cupcakes cool, make the frosting.

5. Beat the cream cheese and vanilla together until smooth and fluffy.  Slowly add in the sugar while continuing to mix the cream cheese mixture.

6. On a low speed, add in the cool whip.

7. You may need to allow the frosting to set up in the refrigerator while the cupcakes continue to cool.  Make sure the cupcake are all the way cool before adding frosting.

8. Put your frosting in a pastry bag.

9. Stick the point of the pastry bag into the cupcake and squeeze a little frosting into the centre.  You will see the cupcake puff up.

10. Then frost the cupcakes like normal and sprinkle with crushed Oreo.

11. If you’d like, stick a piece of leftover Oreo in the frosting, for a little flair and extra cookie goodness.

TIP: Consume these almost immediately! I personally hate hard frosting. I like a soft, creamy frosting. But if you leave this at room temperature for too long, it'll melt and you won't be able to enjoy it, and if you put it in the fridge, well then, you'll just have a cold cupcake. And that's not fun!

What’s your perfect cupcake recipe? Will you try this at your next celebration? I sure hope so! Let me know in the comments section below!

Spring Into Action: How to Ask For What You Want

When I got my first real job out of college, I was an Administrative Assistant in a financial company with only 5 staff members. I knew nothing about finances, but having worked there a previous summer, it didn’t take me too long to catch on. In my interview, my soon to be boss told me that I would be making $1000 per month. Now we all know that is not a lot of money. Especially for a person with a lot of hobbies like myself. Made worse, I planned on enrolling in an online university to pursue my Master’s in Marriage & Family Therapy and knew that would not be enough. But I didn’t want to get greedy. After all, I only had a Bachelor’s degree and no work experience. So I looked him in the eye and said, “Could I be paid $50 more?” It was so simple but that little question I asked made all the difference. The fact that I even dared to ask for more money made my boss respect me so much more. Ever since then, I’ve had a way of asking for things that almost guaranteed approval.

Whether it’s a raise, a boost in responsibilities, or even just a little time off, asking for what you want in the workplace can be one of the most difficult tasks on your to-do list. Now, I’m no Martha Stewart, but I have picked up a few tips and tricks that I can share with you today to help you go for it—and ask for what you want. After all, asking the tough questions, standing up for yourself, and being your own advocate is crucial for long-term success, happiness, and overall satisfaction at work. And, there’s no one in this world who knows what you want (and sometimes need) better than you do.  Now, let’s get into it…

Remember Your Value. If you don’t truly believe that you deserve that big promotion, no one else will. Remind yourself of all of your accomplishments, and run through a list of all of your positive assets. A little confidence boost can change the tone of any workplace conversation, and will allow you to voice your request in an assertive and poised manner. Think about what you’re asking for, and go over all of the reasons why you deserve it. Just like in my job interview, I was able to ask for more money because I knew I deserved it. When my boss could see that I was genuine and not backing down, he thought nothing of it to grant my request.

Body Language. Did you know that altering your body language even the tiniest bit can make you feel more powerful, confident and optimistic? Not only does your body language affect how others perceive you, but it can actually change the way that you think and feel about yourself. Be cautious of how you carry yourself. You want to be assertive but not so assertive that you put off the person you’re speaking to. So look your boss straight in the eye, sit a little taller, and use your body language to your advantage.

Be Gracious. This one is super important. Being gracious and asking for what you want in a calm, confident, and POSITIVE tone can make or break it. Most of the time, it’s not necessarily what you say, but how you say it. When asking for that well-deserved raise, make sure to acknowledge how grateful you are for the job you have, the opportunities it has provided you and the experience that you have gained. Even if my boss did not grant my request for a bigger salary, I would have been gracious and accepted the job any way.

Don’t Let a ‘No’ Bring You Down. This might be the most important piece of advice that I have to give you. Don’t let a ‘no’ determine your value, or veer you off your desired path. Every single one of us will hear the word ‘no’ more than once in our lifetime. It doesn’t mean that you should give up, or that you don’t deserve what you asked for. We need to think of as ‘no’ as incentive to keep up the hard work and continue to challenge yourself. You’ll get there eventually. Also, I’ve found that the most personal and professional growth has come from situations where I don’t get what I want, and I have to figure out creative ways to make things work.

Now, most of these tips and tricks not only apply to asking for what you want in the workplace, but also in your personal life. I’ve found that the most meaningful lessons that I’ve learned at work also translate to my everyday life.

Do you have any tried and true tips on how to ask for what you want in the workplace? Share them in the comments!

XoX,

Tuesday Ten: Ten Items I Have to Have in my Desk

Hello Lovely,

So here's the deal! I spend on average 40 hours per week at work and that's if I don't stay back late or come in early (which is hardly ever) so really I spend about 50 hours per week at work. That's a lot! So I have to be prepared for anything that could happen, and be comfortable during those long work days. So here's ten items that I have to have in my desk!

1. Flats

I work in a school as a secretary, which means a lot of running around (sometimes literally) to deliver messages or fetch students. Trust me on this one. You want to keep a pair of flats at your desk in case of emergency (it's good to have a backup pair of shoes) or if your feet are killing you from a long day in heels.

2. Feminine Products
We’ve all been there. And depending on your relationship and office culture, it can be a little uncomfortable asking a co-worker for a tampon. It’s a personal matter, so it’s best to be prepared.

3. Gum or Breathe Mints
Even though I am not a fan of gum or mints, I still keep a jar on candy on my desk, so that my co-workers can have fresh breath all day long (no matter what they eat or drink).

4. Hand Sanitizer
When one person in an office gets sick, it can be hard to avoid catching the bug. Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer tucked in your desk drawer, which is your best defence against the flu that’s bound to spread around your workplace every once in a while. I keep mine on my key chain so that I can carry it everywhere with me.

5. Reusable Water Bottle
Don’t forget to hydrate, ladies! Sipping on water all day long is not only good for you but it will help you from feeling sluggish. Keep a refillable water bottle so that you don’t have to buy a bottle each time you are feeling thirsty. It’s easier on your wallet and much better for the environment.

6. Hair Ties
You never know when you’re going to want to throw your hair up in the middle of the day. I keep a pack of hair ties and hair pins in my desk, because with my natural hair, the style I left the house with may be a frizzy hot mess by lunchtime.

7. Lip Balm and Mascara
If you’re heading to happy hour after work or going to an event, it’s best to keep some beauty reinforcements on hand. Just a swipe of mascara and a hint of lipstick, and you’re ready to go!

8. Snacks
When your mid-afternoon cravings hit, keep some nuts, dried fruit, granola bars, or oatmeal packets in your desk. Or even make something at home to snack on if you know that you fall into the trap of bad snacking. They’re great for when you need a healthy pick-me-up, and don’t want to be tempted to buy something out of the vending machine.

9. Earphones

This is something I think everyone should have. If I want to listen to a song or watch a video on my computer, I don’t want to burden my office with the sound. It’s unprofessional and annoying to play office DJ. They’re also great because if someone starts talking to you, you can just pluck one earphone out and they have your full attention!

10. Something decorative

Whether it’s fresh flowers, a sculpture, or your polka dot clipboard, you should have something on your desk that makes you happy when you look at it. And if your co-workers don’t understand, who cares! It’s meant to make you happy, not them!

What necessities do you keep at work to help get you through the day?

Share below in the comments!

XoX,

Olivia