Link Love Wednesday: Limited Too is Back!

enhanced-30175-1437505404-2Happy Wednesday! I can’t believe it’s almost back-to-school time… It feels like the summer just started. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that I want the month of July to drag on as long as possible!

This week has brought on a few exciting opportunities for me in my personal and professional life. I’m especially proud to share that I have been named Writer of the Month at Career Camel, where I regularly contribute guest articles with career and academic advice. I have loved writing for them in the last year, and look forward to writing more in the future. Check out my portfolio section to scope out a few of those articles!

My Hump Day could certainly use a pick-me-up, and perhaps yours could, too. Enjoy this week’s batch of Link Love, and as always, share some of your favorite findings in the comments section below! 🙂

What are some of your favorite links from the week? Sound off in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Tips for Road Trip Etiquette

five rules for road trip etiquetteWe are in the thick of summer, which is the best time of the year for a road trip! I’ve personally never taken a long trip in the car (I prefer flying!), but over the years I have taken several mini-road trips out to other parts of the state, and I’ve definitely picked up my share of advice and pet peeves in that time. As you gear up for your own road trips this summer, keep these five rules in mind. (Want to share? Tweet this!)

The Weekend Five: Tips for Road Trip Etiquette

1. The driver controls the music.
If you’re not the one driving, don’t touch the radio unless the driver says so. Driving can be as stressful as it is costly, so the driver should play the music or radio shows that put him or her most at ease. Of course, if you’re the driver, you should also be polite and open to suggestions from your passengers (it’s not nice to blast Megadeth when your friends are trying to avoid hearing loss, for example), but as a passenger, it’s not nice to turn off the driver’s song just because you dislike Nickelback or whatever.

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2. Keep your feet off the dashboard.
There is nothing that I hate more than when passengers want to treat my car like their dirty apartments. (Okay, that’s a little dramatic – I also hate bigots, Internet trolls and cockroaches.) You don’t live in my car, so keep your feet off the dashboard and sit up straight.

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five rules of road trips3. No backseat driving allowed!
This has always been another huge pet peeve of mine! As a passenger, you should speak up if you believe you’re in serious danger or if you see something that the driver can’t, but avoid criticizing minor aspects of the driver’s technique: a slightly crooked parking job, a turn signal that started a little too soon or a little too late, the driver’s speed being slightly faster or slower than you would drive. Again, unless it is something that could put the passengers in danger or get the driver in trouble, there is no need to comment on minor mistakes – chances are, they are one-time mistakes that the driver has already caught, and you would be making them too if you were the driver that day. Backseat driving can also put the driver on edge and make him or her very uncomfortable, which doesn’t always make for safe driving.

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4. Show your appreciation to the driver.
On a long drive, it is only fair that the passengers contribute something for the driver, whether that includes gas money or lunch. Long drives cost a lot of money (and energy), and your driver deserves contributions that make the trip easier.

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5. Don’t eat in the car without the driver/car owner’s permission.
Some car owners are cool with passengers eating whatever they want in the car, but others are not so lax. Find out what your friend will allow early on (Food? Drinks?) and if he or she does allow food in the car, try to only bring food that won’t make a huge mess or have a strong smell. An easy road trip food I like to bring is a bag of grapes – they don’t make crumbs and they won’t make your fingers sticky, either. I love hard boiled eggs, but I don’t bring them in friends’ cars because the smell can bother people. Be respectful of your driver!

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Other tips: Don’t douse yourself in perfume or cologne if you’re going to be in close proximity to people for a long period of time. (Conversely, make sure you’re clean and wearing deodorant if you’re going to be in close proximity to people for a long period of time!) Offer to help the driver navigate if he or she is lost. If you do bring clean snacks, share with the other passengers!

What are some of your tips for road trip etiquette?

Dinner Table Etiquette: How to Talk to Someone With Dietary Restrictions

480845_601090163258974_1110035571_nFor the past few months, I have experimented with an elimination diet. Alternating between the strict Whole 30 program and a more relaxed, mostly clean eating lifestyle, I have learned a lot about myself and my reactions to certain foods. (As an added bonus, I experienced weight loss, increased energy levels, improved mood and the best skin of my life!)

During that time, I have discovered that no two people are exactly alike when it comes to what works best for them and what kind of diet/routine they can most realistically stick with. However, the more ingrained I become in my healthy new lifestyle, the more I have been met with skepticism and some very strange faux-concern, and the more that I have learned just how judgmental our society is regarding food and dietary restrictions.

I suppose I had witnessed some of this before, but never firsthand. When a vegetarian or vegan discusses his or her choice to stop eating meat or animal byproducts, naysayers are always quick to say, “That isn’t healthy at all! What about all those nutrients you are missing out on?” (The best part is when someone says this while eating something undeniably processed or bad for you, like a bag of Cheetos.) When someone mentions a gluten intolerance, we dismiss what might be a very real sensitivity for them as simply a fad diet. If a person’s choice in cuisine is different from our own, we lunge at the opportunity to correct him or her, regardless of how informed we really are.

Cartoon_--_crouton_makes_saladBack in February, I embarked on my first Whole 30. For the next 30 days, I eliminated gluten, added sugars, legumes, dairy and various processed foods. Since then, I have completed my second Whole 30 and am currently on Day 3 of my third. When I am not on the program, I occasionally add in some of the above foods in moderation, but find I have less of a craving for them and now am aware of which ones have had negative effects on me. While several people were skeptical (“What can you eat during this program?!?!?”) and it has certainly been a challenge (I love me some simple carbs), the program was actually quite similar to what my doctor had been suggesting to me for years.

And yet, we are quick to dismiss someone’s dietary restrictions or lifestyle because it doesn’t fit into our own nutritional ideals. Why? To me, the only other people whose opinions matter on this subject are my doctors and, to an extent, my parents. Aside from a few basic standards – fruits and vegetables are healthier than Dorito’s, for example – there are many points in nutrition and weight loss where people (especially non-professionals) are going to disagree. “Is paleo the way to go, or should I go on Weight Watchers?” “Should I weigh myself every day, or throw out my scale?” “Are grains really the enemy?” The trouble is, we each have different bodies, minds and relationships with food. Therefore, can we really all fit into one box? Should we?

2161-300x300When you meet someone whose dietary preferences or restrictions aren’t the same as yours, listen and be respectful. (Tweet this!) Ask questions if you wish to learn more, but don’t try to pressure another person into something just because you think it is the right way. (Of course, if a friend or family member is consuming dangerously too few calories or exhibiting signs of an eating disorder, you may want to step in. Again, be kind and check your judgment at the door – food and body image are very difficult and emotional issues for many people.)

I truly believe the Whole 30 has changed my life for the better, and will happily talk to friends who are curious about the program or about the less restrictive changes I’ve made. However, I don’t believe in pushing my views on somebody else. I know several vegans/vegetarians, people who keep Kosher, people who avoid gluten, people who count calories, people who want to lose weight and people who want to gain weight, and I believe that different bodies and minds will benefit from different routines. Aside from a few basic principles, there really is no one size fits all, so let’s not offer unsolicited advice that may not work as well for someone else as it does for us.

In short, be kind and don’t dismiss others. Isn’t that how we should be living our lives anyway? 🙂

Link Love Wednesday: Happy Halloween!

Im-a-mouse-duhWith Halloween just around the corner, I couldn’t resist pulling a few spooktacular links from the blogosphere! I may not have a Halloween costume just yet (is there still time? Please tell me there’s still time!), but I still have my memories of trick-or-treating in princess costumes and pouring out pillowcases of candy at the end of the night. In honor of what was once my favorite day of the year, please enjoy this week’s Link Love, and share your own favorites in the comments section below!

Any great links you’ve picked up this week? Share in the comments below!

The Weekend Five: Rules of Text Message Etiquette

MjAxMS1kMTlkNGJkNTYzZGIxNTk5_largeAs someone whose friends have referred to as both resident expert of cordiality and queen of cordiality, I would like to take this week to discuss an etiquette issue very near and dear to my heart: text message etiquette. When I received my first cell phone in 2005, I was a reluctant texter. Over time, however, I learned that while nothing can ever truly replace the human voice (unless you talk like Fran Drescher), texting is a quick and convenient way to communicate with others.

Of course, there are a few unspoken rules when it comes to proper texting etiquette. This week, we’ll dive into five of these rules and how to avoid breaking them.

The Weekend Five: Rules of Text Message Etiquette

1. Return text messages in a timely fashion.
Boys, I hate to stereotype, but according to my informal research (ie: conversations with friends) you guys tend to be the biggest culprits. This rule goes for everybody: when you are in a text conversation with someone you like (romantically or otherwise) or need to speak with, keep the conversation flowing. Don’t leave the recipient waiting for hours for a response – it’s like the modern-day equivalent of leaving a girl to wait for the phone to ring on a Saturday night. Respond in a timely manner; it is the polite thing to do.

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2. If someone stops texting you, don’t keep texting them.
If someone has stopped texting you, chances are it is either because they are busy or because they don’t wish to speak with you. By texting someone continuously who does not respond, you are setting yourself to look like a crazy person! Don’t flood a friend’s inbox with texts just because you are lonely. If this person is avoiding you, then an inundation of texts will make you seem like you have stalker tendencies.

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use-emoticons-while-talking3. Don’t go overboard with emoticons.
My special formula is this: no more than one emoticon per every three text messages. It isn’t fool proof, but it makes sense. If you don’t know the person well but are interested in dating or getting to know them, sending a barrage of emoticons may seem a little overeager. 😉 🙂 😉 There are exceptions to the rule, but your usage may depend on what the other person is sending you.

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4. “K.” is the Kiss of Death.
Use “K.” with caution. If you are annoyed with someone and really want them to know it, a simple “k.” will do the trick. This one little letter is enough to create all the tension in the world and show the person that you are mad. Sending a “K.” usually ends the conversation (and could potentially end the entire relationship!), so tread carefully and don’t use it unless you really mean it.

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57655. You can’t text message break-up.
I believe Kelly said it best. (You might as well send someone a “K.”)

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Readers, what are your major rules on text message etiquette?

The Weekend Five: Things Nobody Wants to See on Your Resume

ability-to-smell-fear-cartoon-smAs a former career advisor at my university (Friday was my last day), I was asked to critique hundreds of resumes for undergraduates, graduate students and alumni. During that time, I learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t, based on extensive training and feedback from students who were applying for jobs.

Long story short… I saw a lot. There were some beautiful resumes that I wanted to hang on my refrigerator, and others that needed some tweaking. Over time, I discovered that what you leave out of a resume may be just as important as what you put in.

In honor of my last day in the university’s career center, I bring you the five things you should eliminate from your resume (and how you can change them)!

The Weekend Five: Things Nobody Wants to See on Your Resume

1. Lengthy chunks of text.
Humans have the attention span of goldfish. (I think that’s why we respond so well to lists, in comparison to full articles!) An employer is going to dread reading through paragraphs upon paragraphs about what you accomplished at each job. For an easy-to-read resume that doesn’t lack the important details, use bullet points to distinguish different tasks you performed. Start each bullet point with a strong action verb, and remember that the way your resume is formatted can either make it easier or harder for an employer to read. Err on the side of “easier” by using bullet points instead of huge chunks of text.

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images2. Clichés.
If I had a dollar for every “creative problem-solver” and “dynamic team player” I encountered as a career advisor, I could probably buy out the entire accessories section at Forever 21. (If only.) This tends to arise when people decide to add the soft skills into their “skills” sections. Trust me – if I have seen more of these than I can count, then employers and human resources managers are especially likely to have seen them in their piles of resumes. To avoid making employers roll their eyes at your resume, talk about your hard skills instead of soft skills. (Tweet this!) Does the position require a programming background? Then don’t call yourself a “skilled programmer” – instead, say that you are “proficient in Java.” Will your position require creativity? Refer to your proficiency in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. In list form, include languages you speak fluently, software/hardware that you can use and other techniques you can implement that are valuable to your field (ie: laboratory techniques for a medical position).  These will paint a much better picture of who you are as an employee and what you can provide the company.

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3. Ridiculous email addresses.
Usually, an email address that includes some variation of your name or company is going to be the ideal — most other addresses will seem unprofessional. Most of the students I encountered last year used their university email accounts, so they managed to steer clear of this mistake. However, I did meet a handful of students with “lilhottie55@domain.com”-esque email addresses, which employers are not going to love. Make a good first impression by using a professional email address. (You have no excuse not to! You can make a new account online for free.)

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4. Blatant lies.
dilbert-cia-resumeYou would think that this one goes without saying, but you would be wrong. There were times when I was helping a student with a resume, and when I asked him or her “What exactly does this bullet point mean?” or “What did you do at this company?” I received vague answers that tipped me off that something was amiss. Sometimes the student admitted to the lie right away – one student, after warming up to me, explained that his “sales experience” was actually an Internet scam that he decided to participate in. For others, it took longer to draw things out – one student, for example, had appointed himself to a management position that didn’t exist at his company. No matter how limited or extensive your experience is, be truthful about what you’ve done (and leave the scams off). Employers will be able to sense a lie from a mile away, and this will quickly erase all of your credibility.

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5. “References available upon request.”
If you hand in a resume that says “references available upon request,” and then the employer asks to see your references, if you don’t hand them over right then, your references aren’t really “available upon request.” Instead, create a separate reference sheet to hand in to employers at interviews or to those who request one, and save that extra line of space on your resume. (Besides, “references available upon request” is kind of silly – if an employer requests your reference sheet, you’d better give them one!)

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What are some resume gaffes that you’ve seen or been guilty of yourself?

The Weekend Five: Small Tips For Being Classier and More Grown Up (Part 2)

kcs_2388501aBack in June, I wrote a post for twenty-somethings about the transition to adulthood and some of the steps we can take in making that transition. With graduation just around the corner for many of us, it is important to polish ourselves for the working world or whatever will come next. This week, I would like to discuss five more tips for college students that will help them continue to grow!

The Weekend Five: Small Tips For Being Classier and More Grown Up (Part 2)

1. Let others share the spotlight.
Friendships and relationships should be mutually beneficial, never completely one-sided. However, if you use everyone in your life as an adviser, personal stylist or confidante, and never return the favor, then you aren’t offering much to the friendship/relationship. Ask people about how they are doing and pay attention to their needs in addition to your own.

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2. Stop cursing so much!
It’s something that a lot of us are guilty of – myself included – but excessive profanity just isn’t pretty, especially in a public setting around strangers or people you don’t know well. You can let your guard down around friends, but be careful about what you say when you aren’t around the people closer to you. Class up your act with a tad fewer four-letter words.

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email3. Respond to emails promptly.
There is nothing worse than sending an important email to a coworker, team member or anyone else from whom you need a quick answer, and then waiting a thousand years for a response. A lot of people will argue that “I don’t really check my email,” but as you get into the professional world, it becomes more and more imperative that you check email regularly and respond to people in a timely manner. Many people have to work on deadlines, and your late reply might set them back.

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4. Dress appropriately for different occasions.
I’ve talked about this in greater detail before, but it is important to present yourself well and know what is proper for different events. You don’t need an unrealistically extensive wardrobe, but having a few options for “cocktail attire” or “business casual” makes life a whole lot easier. I’m a firm believer in putting effort into your appearance even if you don’t have crazy plans for the day, because it can boost your own confidence when you leave the house.

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5. Know what little things will hold you together in a crisis.
Have outlets and use them. Things won’t always be perfect, but finding a mature way to handle them and making that outlet as accessible as possible is necessary for holding yourself together. Be aware of those small comforts, and utilize them to avoid doing something potentially harmful or hurting someone you care about.

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What are some of your tips?

The Weekend Five: Small Tips For Being Slightly Classier and More Grown Up

No matter where we turn, we are constantly bombarded with new articles about why our generation (mainly teens and twenty-somethings) is lazy, unappreciative, self-centered and the worst thing to ever happen to society. Of course, at 21 years old, I completely resent and disagree with many of these accusations, but I will be the first to admit that (much like the youth of each generation before us), we are known to make mistakes and represent ourselves in a negative way.

As we graduate from college, look for jobs and are released into the Real World, what defines our ascendance into adulthood? I believe in the importance of transitions, which is why I suggest a few little nuggets of advice for being slightly more grown up while you’re still young. I am no Emily Post, so feel free to add your own tips in the comments below!

The Weekend Five: Small Tips For Being Slightly Classier and More Grown Up

1. Don’t put anything on the Internet that you wouldn’t want to resurface if you were running for public office.
Similarly, if you wouldn’t want your employer or your family members to see it, then don’t take a picture or video of it. Obviously, the best way to avoid this is to not to do stupid things, but the next best option is to keep it off of your Facebook (or Myspace, if you still live in 2005). Let’s be honest – nobody is judging you for having a social life, but there are still some things that you should keep to yourself, especially in this social media-obsessed world. Not only can sharing the bad things paint you in a bad light, but it can also keep you from getting certain jobs and coveted positions later on.

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2. Read something other than just Fifty Shades of Grey.
By all means, don’t be afraid to indulge in a little E.L. James here and there if that’s what you’re into, but try to be somewhat familiar with some of the classics as well. You don’t have to deconstruct anything the way you did in high school and college literature classes, but it’s a good idea to have a basic framework for some of the stories people are still talking about today. Not only does it make you sound older, but it also makes you sound a little more scholarly and well-read!

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3. Be a gracious house guest.
Don’t be the one friend who shows up to every social gathering empty-handed. Even if all you were able to bring were break-and-bake cookies, the thought will be appreciated and possibly reciprocated in the future.

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4. Thank you notes are a must.
A handwritten thank you note can go a long way. Whether my friend bought me a birthday present or I was just interviewed for a position I wanted, I always make sure to send something to let others know that I recognize the things they do for me and that I appreciate them. Everyone likes to be appreciated, so why not go the extra mile?

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5. Know when to share your opinion.
It’s always good to be able to have a frank discussion with someone about a controversial issue, and to be able to communicate freely. However, sometimes it’s better to sit back and avoid expressing your opinion, especially if it’s going to lead to more conflict than it is worth. One mark of maturity is being able to let go of your own pride to avoid letting an argument get out of hand — in other words, agreeing to disagree. After all, if you and a friend have two strong but very opposite viewpoints about a specific topic, you probably aren’t going to change each other’s minds no matter how much you duke it out, so why not enjoy the other person’s company instead?

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What are some tips you have for being classier and more grown up?

The Struggle To Conduct Ourselves

“The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.” – William Wordsworth

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Rarely do I write about the decay of our social niceties, but more and more I’m noticing that the world seems to be breaking the rules of etiquette that were ingrained in our heads as children. In 2011, we’ve come a long way –we can connect with people all around the world, we use science for the good of our communities, and we have become a lot more kindhearted and accepting of those different from us (although we still could stand to improve in that arena!).

However, perhaps in our mad rush to do as much as we can in as little time as possible, we have sacrificed some of the laws of proper decorum. Sometimes it hurts to see how much we lose in exchange for efficiency.

I’m not asking everyone to enroll in finishing school or sign up for Cotillion, but if we could each take a step back, maybe we could learn to conduct ourselves in a better way. Next time you’re out somewhere: say please and thank you. Hold the door open for someone. Clean up after yourself. Pay genuine compliments. Be gracious when you receive a compliment. Make time to be polite and friendly, especially to those serving you. Don’t mumble (unless you are talking to your parents and trying to annoy them). When a guest in someone’s home, offer to help your hostess in the kitchen; even if she insists that you should just sit down and make yourself comfortable, she will appreciate the gesture. Don’t leave unwanted clothes in the fitting room. Try to learn the other person’s name and say it when appropriate (as Dale Carnegie once said, the most beautiful sound is the sound of your own name). Remember the easily-forgotten tidbits about your friends and pull them out every so often, like a favorite sweater that you would hate to wear out. Come prepared and organized when you attend interviews, meetings and other professional events. Smile like you mean it.

The little things really do mean the most, as my friend Kalehli so elegantly puts it on her blog, and so in our quests for world domination, let’s try our best to keep the world of conscientiousness and kindness alive. 🙂