New shiny things: Bowerbird origami jewellery

 

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I love foxes. Love them. Mum thinks it started with The Animals of Farthing Wood (anyone remember that show?) and The Fox & The Hound, and went from there.

At some point, foxes took over from deers as the hipster spirit animal of choice. Which is great sometimes, because it means fox stuff is everywhere – hello useless but very cute paper clips – but it can be hard to find pieces I actually like as the majority are too wispy/serious/dull/hipster.

I have no intention of buying a fixie or brewing my own beer anytime soon, so this is an appreciation post for one of the special few pieces of fox jewellery I’ve found that I can pull off without a beard or soy latte.

For months now I’d been eyeing off a necklace at Co Design, a small boutique that shares a space with one of my favourite cafes. Made by Bowerbird Australia, it’s a little fox that’s made to look like origami – and today I gave in and bought it.

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Bowerbird’s jewellery is all made from sterling silver, and coated in rhodium – the super shiny but hard-to-scratch stuff. There’s absolutely no nickel used, which is great for the many people (me included) who have an allergic reaction to it (nickel is one of the leading causes of contact dermatitis – nothing serious, but sometimes painful and very annoying).

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The range includes origami animals from giraffes to cats to dinosaurs, all available in two necklace sizes (mine is the smaller – sits just below my collarbone and is the perfect length for work-appropriate necklines) and stud earrings. Bonus for the animals lovers out there: every piece of Bowerbird jewellery sold gives two weeks of food, water, shelter and any required medical assistance to a rescued factory farm animal at Edgars Mission.

Click here to check out their full range – and if anyone wants to buy me the parrot earrings I won’t object.

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Change of Direction

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I’ve spent the last few months wondering what the heck to do with this blog. Should I take it down? Keep it, but change it so it’s anonymous? As this post (and the last two) are showing, I haven’t done either of those things.

It was originally one of the many blogs that I was forced to create for a first-year uni assignment, and from there evolved into a kind of portfolio to help get my foot in the door – lots of my previous posts are very career/industry focussed. Now that I’ve graduated and already have a job, the “web-presence” we were all lectured on is a little less essential. Hence the considering getting rid of it.

In the end, I’ve decided to keep it – simply because I love to write, and I don’t do it for myself nearly often enough.

I’m one of those extraordinarily lucky people who gets to do a shit load of it in my job – social media, blogs, website copy, email marketing campaigns and endless emails.

The catch with work, though, is that I write in everyone’s voice but my own. I write as if I’m a middle-aged woman nostalgic for the past, as if I’m a glamorous 20-something who goes out for cocktails every weekend, like I’m trying to rank for SEO, and in most cases, like I’m funnier than I actually am.

I’m a big believer in the idea that creativity can’t be exhausted (though it may have brain-farts from time to time). The more you use, the more you’ll have. The more I write for (and as) myself, the better I’ll get at writing for a quirky cafe, and vice versa.

origin_3211921095And as for not making it anonymous – if you don’t want your mother to read it and know it was you, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

The new direction could probably be called a “lifestyle blog,” although the pretty people with their DSLRs and OTDs would probably disagree. Expect lots of food, books, and a documentation of my efforts to have as happy and interesting a life as possible. Since I’m no longer preoccupied by documenting my professional development and trying to impress potential employers, subject matter may jump from travel to kittens to coffee and occasionally dip into my work. So let’s be honest – I’m potentially going to be a lot more interesting now.

And with no more uni, I have so much more time for activities! Next post is soon to come. If you want to keep me accountable and make sure I keep up the appearances (please do), you can reach me at fullofliving@gmail.com.

Full of Living

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Student Blogs to Support

Today, yet again, a lecturer delivered the “look around you – these are the people you will be competing with for jobs” line. Sometimes it feels like unless we’re being forced into dreaded group assignments, communication and journalism students are being pitched against each other.Student Bloggers - Jessimin Horder

So while I’m not saying I would give up a potential job for the sake of being nice (“oh why didn’t you tell me she’s applying – you should definitely give it to her”… #no), I’m definitely saying we should be encouraged to celebrate each other’s skills more often.

And so, here are my 3 favourite blogs from my “competitors”:

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Annabelle Amos (B.Comms/Journalism)
Annabelle wants to be a television journalist in regional Australia, and honestly,  I have absolutely no doubt that she will be.  I’ve worked with her on group assignments in the past and can tell you the girl is crazy-dedicated. Annabelle’s blog is journalistic in style, and both her writing skills and passion for telling the stories of rural Australia shine through – if you’re from the city, you’ll probably learn something new. You can also check out her impressive portfolio spanning from press releases to snippets of the TV work she did as an intern at Channel 10.
Click here for Annabelle’s blog

 

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Ashley Hanger (B.Comms/Journalism)
Like Annabelle, I’ve worked with Ashley in group work at uni. She’s one of those people who always look so effortlessly lovely and polished that it makes me want to get up earlier in the mornings to put more work into my appearance (unsurprisingly I never do). Her blog is no different; SMASH is simple, gorgeous, and structured more like a magazine than your standard blog, with stunning photography and Ashley’s fantastic writing documenting everything from travels to Japan to events she attends in Brisbane and her portfolio of published work. She also backs it up with a Facebook page – follow it for happy bits of content that will make you smile, as well as reminders for when she’s made a new post.
Click here to visit SMASH

 

Lily Ball

Lily Ball (B.Comms.  And maybe something else, I can’t remember – sorry Lily!)
OK, so I’ve never worked with Lily, but we’ve been in a few classes together. Of the three, her blog is most similar to mine – memes, GIFs, occasional sarcasm. Her blog is largely a travel log with some very apt Mean Girls and Sex And The City references thrown in, from last year’s Euro Trip to her current exchange trip as a student at the University of Massachusetts. I’m loving her stories from the US – have a read for some great anecdotes and insights on being an Australian in what is supposed to be a similar country (and recommendations on where to get a great eyebrow wax here in Brisbane).
Click here to see what Lily has been up to

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What Your Non-Snobby Barista Wants to Tell You

ImageToday I was standing in line at Zaraffas when the lady in front of me ordered two skinny mochas with whipped cream and marshmallows. Because as a friend so eloquently put it “of course they will get fat if they have full cream milk in that concoction.”

(Before anyone who knows me personally points out that this is like my habit of ordering diet coke when I go to McDonalds, no it’s not. I just genuinely prefer the flavour of the chemical cocktail that is the sugar-free variety. She can’t taste the difference between skim and full cream under all that coffee and sugar.)

It left me just wanting to say “Really? Really?”

But then I ordered a caramel latte.

There are lots of articles out there like “50 things your barista is thinking” and “what your coffee order says about you,” all written by coffee-snobs. Who probably live in Melbourne.

I’ve made lots of coffee in the past, but I wouldn’t call myself a barista. I appreciate a brilliant coffee and will throw one out if it’s even a tad burned, but I can’t tell you the difference between Columbian and Puerto Rican beans, my standard order is a latte and I’m unashamedly fond of white chocolate mochas.

So here’s my guide to what your less judgemental, non-coffee-snob barista really wants to tell you about your order:

Skinny anything: You know they put sugar in skim milk right? So you’re better off with the fat in full cream? Never mind, I’ll probably just give you regular milk anyway, you can’t tell.

Short black: I sort of like you because your order is easy, but I’m a bit nervous because you’re the one most likely to know if I’m terrible at this.

Tea:
Have-here: Thanks a lot. Now I have to go across the road to borrow a teapot from our sister restaurant (true story).
Takeaway: Please don’t blame me when you burn yourself trying to get the teabag out.

Extra-large, quarter-strength, decaf soy vanilla latte:
If it’s 8.30am – you’re joking right? F**k off.
If it’s 10am – Something elaborate and time-consuming to make me look busy while we’re dead! I love you!

Half strength mocha with three sugars and a marshmallow: Dude, just order a hot chocolate, I really won’t judge.

You’re American and you ask if we have “normal” filtered coffee: Please don’t walk away when I say no! Let me introduce you to something even better.

Babycino: Sure, the cup is cute. But you’re priming them to be little mini hipsters who’ll decide they’re ready for coffee at age 7. Quit being so stingy and give the kid an iced chocolate.

Triple espresso: Oh come on. No one reallllly enjoys that do they? I’ll do my best not to burn it.

Affogato: Yay! Time to play with the martini glasses. You’re sure you don’t want some liqueur? It’ll look even prettier.

And in general:

If your coffee isn’t up to scratch, tell me. Nicely. Just because I’m not a coffee connoisseur doesn’t mean I’m terrible at this, coffee machines can just be bitches sometimes. I can give it another crack, or hand it to someone else.

Just because you haven’t had your morning coffee yet doesn’t mean you can be rude to me. Say thankyou.

Full of Living

 

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I’m a Resolutionist.

It’s the beginning of a new year. Gyms and social diaries will be full, people will leave miserable jobs, and Facebook and Instagram feeds will temporarily resemble self-help books. Everybody’s happy and optimistic.

And then there are the people who post this:
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These people really bug me. Because do you know what? Yep, the 1st of January is just another day. You don’t actually need to wait for a new year to make changes and goals. Yes the gym will be quiet and the pubs full by March. But if there’s one day in the year that makes people want to be better, how do you justify complaining about that? Life is what you make it. Give it a try.

I’m proud to be a resolutionist. With varying degrees of success, I’ve set at least one new year resolution every year since I’ve know what they were.

So for accountability’s sake, here are my resolutions for 2014. Help me stick to them.

  1. Skip the country
    Not long term or anything, but this year I want to travel to somewhere I haven’t been. And as much as I love the country, a different Fijian island doesn’t count. Top priority is Japan – I’ve always wanted to go, and by July my aunty will have lived in Nagahama for 2 years and I’ll be the only family member who hasn’t been over yet – but will settle for something cheaper like Thailand, Vietnam or Cambodia.
  2. Do the cap and gown thing.
    Yes, graduating is one of my goals this year. That probably sounds a little silly, but you have no idea how tempted I am to defer for a semester, mainly to get some money together for number 1. But I only have two semesters to go, so I’m opting to knuckle down so I can have my Bachelor’s degree in my hand by December.
  3. Focus on being happy
    In 2013 I worked my butt off and made a lot of good things happen, but also let myself get ridiculously stressed. This year I’m going to work on balance – I’ll (try to) worry less, have more fun, see my family more often and put more effort into my friendships while working towards the plan for once I’ve achieved number 2.
  4. Update this blog regularly.
    Let’s aim for weekly, but also be realistic and accept monthly.

Let’s make 2014 wonderful. What are your resolutions?

To start you off, here’s my “happy song” for 2014 (I choose one at the start of every year).
Perfect for when I’m winning at life and motivational for when things suck.

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Having It All: Part II

Time for Part II of my tips on how to have time for everything as a marketing/communication student! (Read Part I here)

Take public transport
I’ll admit, I wish I’d brought  a car to Brisbane and I miss driving. But not only does it save you money on registration, insurance and fuel and save time on trying to find a park at uni, but taking public transport gives you extra time to catch up on study, which is something you couldn’t do in the car.

Find something that keeps you sane
I considered just saying “go for a run” here but I know that’s not everyone’s shot of tequila. All through high-school I was one of the last ones picked for sport teams, would come up with any excuse not to do the beep-test… but then in my first year at uni I started boot camp and never looked back. The exercise made me happier and healthier, and I made some great friends who have been such a positive influence in my life.  While I do recommend exercise here (nothing beats the endorphins and energy) find something that is separate from the rest of your life, and dedicate a few hours to it every week. Let yourself be distracted by something that makes you happy and you’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll become productive in every other facet of your life.
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Write write write
If you really, truly believe you don’t have time to intern (you do, but suit yourself) then you need to get your presence up, pronto, because you need something to show to prove you’re as awesome as you say you are. So start writing! Find a spare few hours a week (come on, we all know you have them) and post to your own blog, contribute some articles to a magazine or even write some reviews (where relevant). You could even do it on the bus.
Bonus: It’ll give you some original content to share on Twitter and LinkedIn too.
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Feel like I missed something? How do you mantain the work/study/intern/social life balance? Let me know in the comments or by tweeting at @jessiminhorder

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Having it all: Part 1

This was originally quite the novel so I’ve split it into two posts.

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I tried to find a good image for this article but couldn’t. So here’s the generic work/life balance metaphor. You get the idea.

The big question these days with communication and marketing students seems to be, “can we have it all?”

We need to study, work to afford rent etc, maintain relationships – friends, family and often significant others, squeeze in work experience if we want any hope of finding a job upon graduation, keep up the social media use (serious problem. Pinterest is a chore for me, but it’s part of the comms thing) and somehow maintain sanity.

And my honest belief? Yes. We can have it all.

Just not necessarily at the same time. At some point this year I have been behind in any one of those (often two. Sanity took a hit first semester), but here I am – somewhere between halfway and two-thirds through my degree with a good GPA, one internship on my resume and now a part-time job as a marketing assistant and very, very happy (sane? Questionable).

I won’t pretend it was easy though. A lot of people complain that only rich kids can afford internships – their parents pay for everything, so it doesn’t matter if they take time off their jobs to work for free, right?

Don’t be such a defeatist.

My parents didn’t and don’t pay my way.  It’s not for the rich, it’s for those who are willing to work for it. And that’s a good thing. If you’re willing to make sacrifices (they don’t have to be big ones!) you’ll be so much better positioned than the others who sat back and thought it was too hard. And you’ll have a better resume and work ethic than the people who actually did live on daddy’s credit card.

So, short of having a boyfriend in the army who disappears into the bush, Melbourne, or Afghanistan at length (sometimes I think that’s the only way I get things done) here are some ways to have it all

Hello Sunday morning
Honestly, this is the biggest one. I don’t care what the American college movies made you believe. You don’t have to get trashed every weekend. I’m not even saying don’t drink every week, alcohol is brilliant stuff and a social life is important. But if you don’t get up til midday, and still aren’t fully functioning by 3 or 4pm, you’ve lost a lot of time that could have been spent ticking one of those other boxes, and probably at least half a week’s rent money too. Try to limit the blowouts.

Work in hospitality
I do understand that this isn’t for everyone. I have my own love-hate relationship with it myself. But it’s one of the most flexible industries and is a great way to be able to fit EVERYTHING in. When I was still waitressing, there were days when I would intern from nine to five, work in the restaurant from 5:30 to 10, and then go out for a few after-work drinks with my co-workers. Work experience, money (oh, how I miss tips) and a social life in one day, only possible because I worked in hospo.
Working in the industry is often a sacrifice alone though – there’s more time for uni and interning and the pay is good, sure, but it’s tiring, you lose your weekends, and quite frankly, sometimes your customers just suck.

GPA isn’t everything
Don’t tell your mother you heard this from me, because I’m fully aware that this won’t work for everyone. But if you’re doing well with study without putting your heart and soul into it, you know what? That’s ok. It all comes down to what the difference is worth. Last semester, I got less than a 6  (distinction) on a final course grade for the first time. I could have pulled a few all-nighters or dropped my internship to get a better result, but ultimately I’d rather have the experience on my resume than a slightly better grade on my academic transcript. If you can get a 7 with a little bit more effort, power to you. But I know I’m a pretty straight-6 student and I’d rather put the time and energy that may not even get me a 7 into something that I can show.

to be continued

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Hello Darling: What Waitressing Taught Me About PR

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Everybody knows that internships in communication and marketing can be hard to land – it seems you need experience to get experience. So if you haven’t got your foot in that door yet, you need to start looking at what you already know and trying to apply it to the position you’re looking for.

I’ve been working in and around hospitality since I was 16, and while I’m finished with waitressing now, it’s dawned on me that I’d been taught a lot of things about PR without even noticing. Not even counting the usual resume fillers: “time management, teamwork, work under pressure.”

So whether you’re Front of House for an entire brand or just a restaurant, here’s why waiting tables is just like PR:

Know who you’re pitching to
Some restaurants have a service manual – a written set of instructions which tell you exactly how to carry out every step of serving a table, so that you serve every customer in the exact same way. In my opinion, this is like sending out identical, non-tailored press releases to every outlet you can think of.
Not everyone is the same. People are going to appreciate you more if you give them what they want. Constantly trying to sell them things that they don’t will just annoy them. In PR,e veryone knows you should research the publications and the writers, and don’t try to pitch sparkly fluff stories to ABC news. It’s just not relevant.
Patrons are the same. If a couple come in laden with expensive jewellery and order a bottle of Moet on the spot, they’ll probably appreciate you telling them about the perfectly sized live lobsters that were delivered this morning. Try the same recommendation on a young couple who clearly just came in for the half price lunch special, and they’ll either get embarrassed, or think you’re pretentious.
Don’t start handing out dessert menus when the wallets are obviously coming out, and don’t send a media release that you know they probably won’t be interested in – you’re just cluttering the table/inbox.

Caffeine
Coffee? Red Bull? Pick your poison, you’ll need it for either job.
(I prefer orange V for waitressing and lattes for the office)

Relationships Reap Rewards
It’s a no brainer really – friends are better than strangers, so you need to know the people you’re dealing with. A journo who likes you is more likely to run your stories. A regular customer who likes you is more likely to give you nice tips.

Front of House
You want to get all the communication across yourself. If you don’t do the job right and someone goes over your head to interrogate someone higher up, you’ll have a problem. In my first waitressing job, I worked for a chef who was a nice person outside of the kitchen, but if you annoyed him while he was cooking, bad stuff was gonna happen. When it came to functions, I was the face of the venue on the night – the MC/organiser spoke to me, and I would relay the info to him. Once a miscommunication over table arrangements sent an organiser storming past me and into the kitchen. My boss was already stressed, and a person coming into his space and yelling at him didn’t help – he lost the plot at the patron. And then at me. In PR, if you mess up and a journo goes straight to your client, they could end up like a startled deer in the headlights and not have a clue what to say – that was supposed to be YOUR job. They didn’t hire you to answer questions themselves.

Hello Darling
And finally, I hate to promote the stereotype, nor am I suggesting it’s the only way, but it’s a fact that in both industries the ability to schmooze can get you a lot of places. Being a little bit fabulous and flamboyant in the right situation never hurt anyone.

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The Happiest 5k on the Planet

Finally, after wayyyy too much anticipation, The Color Run™ has made it to Australia and I can tick off one more thing on my bucket list. I’ll be heading to the Gold Coast to participate on the 14th of April with some girls from boot camp.

Thousands of people dressed in white will be heading out along the 5km course to come out the other end wildly colourful. Branded as the happiest 5km on the planet, the event is open to all ages and abilities, so bring your friends, partner, family (even Nanna! Her hair will look incredible afterwards) and come out and be active. Exercise and an abundance of bright colour – it’ll be good for your body AND soul. Sign up on The Color™ Run Australia Official Page

While I’m super excited for the chance to dress all in white and go for a 5km run with my friends while volunteers throw coloured powder at me, there’s more to it than that. For the Gold Coast, the major beneficiary is The Ponting Foundation, a brilliant charity dedicated to young Australians with cancer. It contributes to a number of other cancer organisations, funds research and supports the families. 00000002-image

My friends and I (in our team dubbed “Colour for the Dollar”) will proudly be raising money for the Ponting Foundation. If you’d like to make a donation (no matter how small – it’s all much appreciated) please click the link below.

http://www.everydayhero.com.au/colour_for_the_dollar

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