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Reflecting on 2019: How it really feels to close out the decade

The truth is that if you feel that you are moving through the universe in a direction which feels the most appropriate for you; and your days offers a sense of in-tune pleasure that drives your purpose for living then it doesn’t matter what year shows up on my iPhone calendar.

Happy New Year and Happy New Decade. Wow 2020 we made it. Looking back on the last 10 years it’s wild to think that so much has happened and to really absorb the impact that the twenty-tens had on who we are now. In the last 10 years there have been extreme highs and tremendous lows for me and it behooves me to say that I am in fact a better, more developed version of my younger self. I am however of the mindset that just because the date on the calendar changes doesn’t necessarily mean that another transformation must happen.

The truth is that if you feel that you are moving through the universe in a direction which feels the most appropriate for you; and your days offers a sense of in-tune pleasure that drives your purpose for living then it doesn’t matter what year shows up on my iPhone calendar.

It’s okay to not be okay as well. There’s a stigma that everyone must be doing better than everyone else at all times. I’m sorry if that’s what you subscribe to but it’s sadly not the case for many of your fellow brothers and sisters who are navigating their way through the universe. It’s alright to know that you are not where you need to be and ok to feel off track. If that is you, and you’re starting 2020 feeling this way then look at it as a clean slate. We have much more time to get it together and start making small choices that can create a larger impact.

Here are 4 affirmations for 2020:

  1. To you who’s not feeling like you’re enough today. Remember everything you feel isn’t true. And everything you feel isn’t you. You are enough just as yourself, don’t accept anything less. – Jay Shetty
  2. I am focused on what I truly want for my life based on my own values and life experience.
  3. I am joyful, fulfilled and free. I live in perfect alignment, balance and harmony with my life purpose.
  4. I am passionately and joyfully pursuing the unique calling in my life…every day I am moving close and closer to achieving my goals.

(Dedicated to my late father, RIP 12-26-2019)

Money is that you?

A short article on financial intelligence for my fellow galaxy navigators. True wealth is created not by working for money but by having money work for you. Changing my outlook from “money is that you, come aboard” to “Great, everyones on board, let’s all recruit some more” I feel is just the beginning of a shift in my financial intelligence and I can’t wait to learn and share more.

A short article on financial intelligence for my fellow galaxy navigators.

The wealthiest people aren’t those who work hard, go to school and secure awesome jobs. True wealth is created not by working for money but by having money work for you. In the next 2 minutes you’ll read why I think everyone should start changing their common ideals about money to an alternative mindset. Consider: how can I grow my asset and investment columns to incrementally more than my expenses and credits.

Growing up I knew that I had to work if I wanted money, so I did. I knew I had to save money to create more money, ideally at the time i focused on interest and TFSAs. I was bad for consumer spending and whatever was leftover after taxes went to my school expenses. I only realized halfway through school, thanks to the helpful teachings of my then boyfriend, now fiancee, that I should know where my money coming from and where it’s going at all times. Sadly many young Canadians still don’t know how to do that or where to even start?

I wanted to know more so he gave me his copy of Robert Kiyosaki’s Personal Finance Book “Rich Dad Poor Dad”. This book is great if you want to increase your understanding of how to create the financial lifestyle of a millionaire+ and starting young is an advantage.

FINANCIAL IQ GUIDING PRINCIPALS 
  1. Traditional education teaches kids how to grow up to be a functioning role in society. 
  2. The rich teach their kids about money from an earlier age than middle and low-income families.
  3. The rich don’t work for money, they make money work for them (i.e. income generating assets, investments, real estate)
  4. Start small and mind your OWN business 
  5. Your job is a profession, your business is what you do
  6. The rich don’t necessarily pay taxes (Idea: put money into corporations, more favourable tax rates, locations my vary)
  7. Don’t quit your job yet, use positive momentum from assets to push you to excel at work
  8. Many people miss the golden opportunity right in front of them, sometimes it hurts to play it safe

Changing my outlook from “money is that you, come aboard” to “Great, everyones on board, let’s all recruit some more” I feel is just the beginning of a shift in my financial intelligence and I can’t wait to learn and share more.
Try not to be consumed in what you don’t have and focus on what you got that can get you further. You’ll be surprised how fast you grow.

Read more solid tips like this in ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’

Thanks for Reading this Urban Guide

Is procrastination slowly stealing your success? Read 3 things to help get to your goals

Every day you put something off is one day fewer without success.

When I think of sheer will and determination I often tip my hat to the up & coming artists, designers, entrepreneurs, and athletes. No one knows perseverance like those on the verge of great success.

We all want to be successful and stand in the foreground to be heard because well, we deserve to. But why? The story you will tell is the most inspiring and is the one that needs to be told the most.

Keep reading for some ideas on how to re-motivate yourself and beat the procrastination.

Procrastination is something I’ve been personally struggling with for the last few months (as you can tell by my last post dated in April), I’ve let the whole summer go by without understanding the root cause of this un-motivation that has taken over me and caused me to slow the effort put into my blog, and design work.

Should I blame it on being a new graduate, looking for a career, and feeling over worked and just wanting to take a break? No. I managed to continue writing during the winter while being a full-time intern in IT.

Should I blame it on my lack of blog topics? No. The summer season is full of adventure, life, and inspiration that I can harness at any given moment.

Should I blame it on lack of readership? No. Writing is for the soul and this personal reflection of my ideas and relevant advice topics allow me to have catharsis, even if only 1 person reads it.

The fact of the matter is that the lack of effort put towards my craft and portfolio is a reflection on the lack of effort I put towards myself. Eric Thomas said it best “when you want to succeed as badly as you want to breathe, then you will be successful”. During my time away from writing the hours that slipped by compounded into days, and the days compounded into weeks until 3 full months have gone by without a single post. To Thomas’s point, it’s like I stopped breathing and got comfortable with that living numbness, but now I’m gasping and it’s time to breathe, succeed, and thrive. Everyone has periods of procrastination but how long are you going to allow it to win.  

The 3 best things to get you to your goal

#1 The first thing you can do is acknowledge why you have given up. As you just read, I felt like I had given up on myself for sometime but I acknowledged it and decided to use it as fuel for my first step back to taking control.

#2 Organize. A common reason for procrastination is feeling overwhelmed with the volume of work to do so you just don’t know where to begin. Start by dividing up what it is that’s going on in your life and compartmentalize the load into smaller, more manageable tasks.  See Below

Blog
-Write and edit 1 new post every 1-3 weeks
-Engage with other users on wordpress and generate traffic
Blog Social
-Post 3-5 new posts on Instagram to promote the blog
-Stockpile content to post as to not waste time designing each one at a time
-Create online ad for google, kijiji, facebook about freelance design
Portfolio
-Upload design samples, price lists, and continue to make updates to website
-Outreach to other small businesses that may need design work
-Generate work of mouth business by speaking confidently about your craft

#3 Follow Through. Breaking down the load into smaller, more manageable tasks can allow the entire project to be a bit more attainable. You can further flush out these tasks by organizing them into SMART Objectives that include measures of success and timelines. To learn more about smart objectives read, New Years Goal Setting.

Since I’m still coming down from the rush of the Blue Jays game yesterday I will use a baseball analogy:  Acknowledging the cause of the laziness is like off-season when day after day you are trying to perfect the swing. You workshop why the ball keeps going foul, how to stand to get that perfect base hit or even just work to ignoring those booing fans in the stands.

Organizing is stepping up to the plate, looking your opponent dead in the eye and visualizing exactly where you want the ball to go. Once you feel confident enough to stand in the ready position and wait for that perfect pitch to come over home base,

You follow through. Control the bat to hit the ball in the sweet spot every time and ignore those screaming fans. Focus on the task at hand and swing with the intent to follow through. No matter the outcome just don’t give up. The repetition and rehearsal will allow you to shine when it really counts. This will be the story you eventually tell on the great day success is standing at your door.

Final thoughts

Every day you put something off is one day fewer without success. Time is valuable and has this crazy ability to pass by slowly while also feeling likes it’s slipping away so quickly. That is why I wrote this post today. That is why it takes bravery, will and determination to move even one step towards success. And it’s also why I will continue to write and push myself to continue working on my craft.

Thanks for reading this urban guide. Enjoy the ride.

Go like or Follow on Instagram @urbanguidetothegalaxy

You Are What You Post – 5 Lessons for Online Security

Technology is a unique landscape that is constantly changing by way of faster programs, smarter intelligence, and the human drive to improve. What was once thought of as strong in 2014 is now considered weak. So evolving and adapting to the landscape is of great importance for all users.  

The old saying – you are the company you keep, has forced many to keenly monitor their actions in the universe.  The activities & choices of friends and associates can reflect back on your reputation.

Those you associate with are inherently a reflection of what you like, enjoy, or otherwise subscribe to.  Likewise the acquaintances you choose to avoid and distance yourself from are representations of what you don’t particularly follow in the tangible sense of the word. This is true in the online digital space as much as it is in real life.

________

Fellow travellers, this post is meant to remind us all that you are what you post and offer 5 simple techniques to improve online security.

I remember begging my parents to let me have Facebook back in grade 5 because I was moving to a new middle school and needed to be able to stay in contact with my old friends. After some serious grovelling to my ‘traditionally minded yet modern’ mother, she agreed to let me create my first online profile. What I remember most of course was the lengthy lecture I got about digital permanency and that whatever I post is out there forever.

Lessons like these can really make or break a juvenile kid, especially when cyber-bulling, online violence, and hacking are within the capabilities of the users fingertips.

photo-1451187580459-43490279c0fa

You are what you post

Technology is a unique landscape that is constantly changing by way of faster programs, smarter intelligence, and the human drive to improve. What was once thought of as strong in 2014 is now considered weak. So evolving and adapting to the landscape is of great importance for all users.

Here are 5 techniques for Online Security brought to you by ZD Net:

5) Be Mindful of the Apps that you Install

Each time you install an app, it will ask you for permissions to use your phone’s features or data, like your contacts, photos, camera, or even the phone dialer itself.

Remember: if an app is free, you’re paying for it in some other way — and usually it’s with your data.

4) Set Stronger Passcodes

Don’t rely on your trusted favourite four digit sequence to stop threats from reaching your device. A common mistake users make is simply using easy to remember dates as their first line of defence.

Whether you’re signing up for a weekly newsletter, or changing the password for your primary inbox, consider U@!NG $TR0nG3R P@$$w0rD$.

3) Public Wi-Fi Networks Are A Big ‘No’

Remember: If you ever use a public network, like a Wi-Fi hotspot in a coffee shop or anywhere else, be extremely careful. Treat this network as though every page you visit will be monitored — which may expose your personal information, including your usernames and passwords.

2) Consider Deleting Accounts You No Longer User

If you know you have an account that you never use, delete it. Holding onto these old accounts may expose you to greater hacks or intrusions down the line, even if they’ve been inactive for a while.

Log in and shut down the account.  

If that account is still linked to other sites and services — like your social networking account or two-factor authentication — an attacker could log into those accounts by resetting your passwords sent to your old email address.

1)  Beware the Hard Part

There’s a lot you can do to ensure your personal security and data privacy, but all too often it takes two to tango — in that you should ask your friends, colleagues, and others you communicate with to also jump in.

When it comes to messaging and communication, you put your privacy in their hands as they do yours. It’s a collective effort that everyone can — and should — support. 

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more Urban Guides.

Follow on Instagram© https://www.instagram.com/urbanguidetothegalaxy/

Let’s Talk Mental Health

Fit things into your day that genuinely make you happy. The key here is to make a conscious effort to sub out 10-30 minutes of your day and give yourself downtime and reflection.

Today we’re talking mental health (because you can’t be productive with a foggy mindset). And also it’s #BellLetsTalk day – a great initiative to end the stigma around mental health.

Keep reading for advice on how-to find time for yourself, tips on mindfulness, and the steps to create your very own self-care survival kit.

photo-1500904156668-758cff89dcff

Finding your own time

We are all busy. No matter the situation it seems like we don’t have enough minutes in the day to do everything that we want, and this is a source of stress for many. If you are like me, you forget to take time out of your day to reflect, relax, and just breathe. But I’m here to tell you it’s not that hard.

First, I suggest fitting things into your day that genuinely make you happy. The key here is to make a conscious effort to sub out 10-30 minutes of your day and give yourself downtime and reflection. If you like meditation, sit quietly. If you like watching cat videos, go for it! Just do it in a place that makes you feel comfortable and secure.

Another way to find your own time is to listen to music.  Just plug in and escape. In the security of your headphones no one can hurt you. Blast your favorite track and let the rhythm take you over, bilamos Enrique Iglesias joke. 

Mindfulness

What is mindfulness you ask? Yourmentalhealth.ie suggests that mindfulness is simply paying attention to whatever is happening in the present moment and experiencing it without judgement and, if possible, with kindness.

2018 definition: staying woke.

When I practice being mindful, I find myself constantly looking inward at myself, and trying to position my place in the world. I understand what I can offer others, and how my current state fits into a bigger picture.

Now, I am not saying this is the #1 best way to take control of your mental health, but it’s a damn good start. Practicing mindfulness helps bring you into the present, and each moment as you’re living it. It helps you to truly focus on what’s happening right at that moment and it’s a great tool to have on your ‘adult-ing journey’.

“Sometimes, life will kick you around, but sooner or later, you realize you’re not just a survivor. You’re a warrior, and you’re stronger than anything life throws your way.”- Brooke Davis

Self-Care Survival Kit

You prepare for physical emergencies with a first-aid kit, why not prepare for emotional emergencies too! A self-care kit is very easy to make. It allows you to prepare yourself and have tools available in a time of crisis or when you’re feeling overwhelmed. My kit may not look exactly like yours but here are some ideas for your self-care kit:

  • Adult Coloring Books and Colored Pencils – very trendy and an alternative to meditation
  • Bubble bath and Epsom Salts – relax naturally in a soothing bath
  • Scented Candles – relieve stress through smell, or simply watch the flickering flame
  • Mints – help with nausea or anxiety
  • Affirmations – read some of your favorite encouragements
  • Stress Ball – keep your hands busy
  • Handwritten Note from a Loved One – to remind you that you are not alone

Thanks for Reading this Urban Guide. I am not a mental-health professional. If you need to speak with someone call the Mental Health Hotline at 1-866-531-2600.   

The 3 things every intern should know – Somewhere between school and work is a unique opportunity to be a “working-student.”

Use the opportunity as a chance to reflect on how you’ve grown and the skills you’ve learned. While it’s fresh in your mind, update your resume and practice speaking out loud about your learning for future interviews.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy this Urban Guide.

Internships and co-op experiences allow students and/or recent grads to gain work experience in industries that interest them. So keep reading to find out the 3 things every intern should know. 

I recently started my position as a business technical analyst intern in the corporate office of a non-profit organization. Now, this is not my first rodeo in a ‘trial employment’ situation. Back when I was interested in pursuing a career in broadcast journalism I worked closely with a local producer at Rogers TV and found that working with adults that were already established is a great learning experience for any student. The following are great ways to make the most out of any internship: 

1. Guide your experience with learning goals 

Entering the position a normal student may feel a mixture of excitement, nervousness, and well, confusion about what it is they will be asked to do. This is why you should start your internship with 3 or 4 learning goals that can better structure how you approach the position. Goals do not have to be permanent – they can be modified each week or month to better guide and organize your work.

Share the learning goals with your supervisor and make it a priority to communicate why you are there (because after all, you may or may not be getting paid here). Using outcomes that are meaningful that can be used to develop your resume/portfolio are just as good as a salary. 

Some examples of learning goals:

  • Enrich my knowledge of broadcast journalism by participating in live and taped productions.
  • Develop my professional network by stepping out of my comfort zone and introducing myself to 6 new people.
  • Enhance my design skills by creating a poster for the new business campaign.

2. Take Initiative 

Want to be a memorable intern? Standing out amongst the other co-op students by focusing on how you can excel at tasks that are within your capabilities is a great way to do that. (It may sound harsh but it’s what a leader would do).

Given that you are new to the organization wont know everything. However initiative can be as simple as finishing work efficiently, before deadlines, and/or volunteering to take additional work. 

Speaking up and asking questions to upper management.

Introverts: We live in a communicating world. Just take a deep breath, prepare your thoughts, and speak. 9 times out of 10 the person will be more focused on answering your question/statement than how it was asked/said.

Working with the learning goals you set for yourself can be used as a way to show initiative. Ask for feedback about your performance and align the constructive criticism with those goals, modify if necessary.

Just get involved! 

3. Leave on a positive note 

It is important to remember that this internship may or may not be paid. Nonetheless, considering the references and letter of recommendations you may receive can be extremely helpful in securing your next ‘real’ position.

Many jobs nowadays ask for 3 to 5 years of experience which is ridiculous because how do they expect us students to manage working that much while we’re in school. A benefit that internships have is they allow your ‘working-student’ experiences to count as relevant work experience.

So again, focus on building a positive relationship by putting your best foot forward and leaving the position on a positive note , it can make all the difference further down your chosen path.

Conclusion 

Use the opportunity as a chance to reflect on how you’ve grown and the skills you’ve learned. While it’s fresh in your mind, update your resume and practice speaking out loud about your learning. Most likely it will come up in a future interview so practice practice practice!

Consider situational interview questions such as:

“Tell me a time where your displayed initiative?”

“Describe a challenge you overcame, and how you did that?”

“How do you work in a team? Provide an example of a time you worked collaboratively.” 

The Expert in anything was once a Beginner. – Unknown

Thank you for reading this Urban Guide, Please like and follow for more guides like this.

Follow on Instagram @UrbanGuideToTheGalaxy

Drive in to New Responsibilities – Pump the Brakes on Buyers Anxiety, buying a Car should never be hard

Remember keep your price range in mind. When I purchased my car I made sure to start low and factor in the cost of repairs, upgrades, and tune-ups.

Buying a car is never as hard as one may anticipate. The following post will provide helpful information about the ‘purchasing a car’ process.

First things first, you want to consider the types of vehicle you may be interested in seeing, set a comfortable price range, and consider the fact that some older cars may need mechanical work so you can factor that into your budget.

Tip: A car is like a body. You will only get out of it what you put in.

Some great places to start would be Kijiji, AutoTrader.ca, or do a simple search of local dealerships in your area and view their inventory. When you are ready to see the car, go to the seller with your ideal price in mind, a few questions, and a trusted companion to accompany you.

Hint: If the car has more than 100,000km on it, that’s still okay. Some cars can drive up to 500,000km. It all comes down to how you care for it, see tip above.

If you like the car, you probably don’t want to say so right away because you may appear too eager and this is when negotiations start.

Tips for Negotiations:

When I start bargaining I always use the sellers name to establish a relationship. Talk to them about their day and why they enjoy their line of work. Building rapport is a large part of sales. I also make deep eye contact with them while they are speaking to show that I am listening to what they say, and to make it look like I am intently thinking about buying it. Once they see that in your eye, the will start to let down their guards and pursue the sale, at that point just use your charm and work off that relationship you build at the outset. Remember keep your price range in mind. When I purchased my car from the used car seller, I made sure to start low and factor in the cost of repairs, upgrades, and tune-ups throughout.

Keys Please

Once both parties agree on the purchase price, and after getting it a safety check and emissions test (e-test) done, all that is left is to enrol in an insurance plan, and acquire license plates and registration for the vehicle. After that it’s all yours!

As young people, we are stigmatized for driving poorly and for leading the distracted driving era, so I urge all my readers to please take your time on the streets and drive safely. Accidents happen in a split second, and driving under the influence should never be an option. I hope this post helps any new driver those looking to make their first car purchase!

Stay Tuned For More Urban Guides,

P

Happy New Year from Urban Guide to the Galaxy! ~ Read to start the year with a bang

In true optimist form, this post will break down the advantages of future planning and provide simple tips on setting S.M.A.R.T Objectives with easy-to-follow tactics.

That’s a wrap on 2017. You will probably agree that 2017 has had its ups and downs.

For me, 2017 was a great year.  I graduated from university, started my diploma program, led a successful fundraiser event for charity, and got to enjoy cohabitation with my boyfriend. But just like the rest of us my year was full of struggles as well. Nonetheless, I am hopeful and optimistic of what the Galaxy has in store for me, always.

In true optimist form, this post will break down the advantages of future planning and provide simple tips on setting S.M.A.R.T Objectives with easy-to-follow tactics.

Keep reading to start your year with a bang


Advantages of Future Planning:

  • Looking forward at your life yields motivation and pride
  • Subconsciously involves the sense of community and oneness
  • Positive Mood, Motivation, Pride

Disadvantage Another advantage:

That feeling you get when you don’t achieve your goal and you feel bad about yourself and defeated but then you channel that passion and use it to make yourself a stronger person. No matter how long it takes.

Setting SMART Objectives:

S – Smart   M – Measurable   A – Attainable   R – Relevant   T – Timely

To set realistic goals, the criteria above should help craft detailed a plan to guide your new year.

Here’s an example of a smart objective –

Example 1:

Starting January, increase frequency of visits to the gym from twice a month to five times per month to build physical strength and promote well-being.

The objective above has all the components of a S.M.A.R.T plan it is measurable by frequency, attainable because it is a realistic number, relevant because he/she would like to build strength and promote well-being, and timely because it has a starting month of January.

Example 2:

Reduce junk food consumption (i.e. candy bars) to once every two weeks starting February 2018 by monitoring sugar intake.

This objective is specifically focused on sugar consumption and reducing the amount of candy bar he/she has.

New Year, Same Galaxy


Now that you have read the format make some SMART objectives for yourself this new year and stay focused on the things you want to achieve.

Thanks for reading this Urban Guide. My hope is to continue to guide, inspire, and inform others like me who at times feel lost in the world and offer a sense of direction. There is more in store for this year and beyond.

2018
Happy New Year

Until Next Time,

P

Photo From Unsplash by: NordWood Themes

Planning a move? Need to re-organize your life? Here are 10 tips to help you when moving

This post will identify some tips and tricks to help you in the moving process. Here are 10 tips to help you when moving. 

Movin’ n Groovin’

This post will identify some tips and tricks to help you in the moving process. Whether your moving apartments, houses, or across the country the process of packing everything and moving to a new location can be a source of anxiety for many. Here are 10 tips to help you when moving. 

#1 – Start Early

Time will help you prepare and get organized. If you have clutter do not underestimate how long it may take you to purge.

#2 – Start with non-essentials

You will probably need your everyday items up until the day of the move. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, consider the non-essentials first.

#3 – Create a list

I would recommend this for any area in your life. Lists save lives! Stay on top of your to-do tasks by making detailed lists.

#4 – Use soft items for packing

Forget the costly packing beads, Styrofoam, & bubble wrap. Simply use your soft items for packing delicates.

#5 – Purge as you go

Do not be afraid to throw away any unnecessary items. If it doesn’t live in a place, it shouldn’t be in your space.

#6 – Label everything

Labels and tags will help you when organizing your new place.

#7 – Map out your new place

Another way to help transition into the new place is to map the space out before you get there.

#8 – Recruit friends

Probably the most important part of any move. Many hands make light work.

#9 – Give everyone a job

It’s your space, it’s okay to delegate.

#10 – Unpack and enjoy your new place

Use a systematic unpacking system and tap into your style to show who you are in your new place!

Urban Guide to the Galaxy thanks you for your continued support. Keep it here for more Urban Guides.

Photo from Unsplash By: Patrick Perkins

Money Talks – Read some money saving tips for living on a budget

Having online money management tools allows anyone to track everything from credit cards, to bank accounts, to investments, all in one place.

Saving money can be a tough topic. This post will offer some tips to get in control of your personal finances and live on a budget.  I don’t know about you but when I was a child my parents told me to save my money, but it was always hard to see the value of money until I was older.

Living on a budget

More working class people, students, and families must live on a budget. This means setting realistic goals for spending and saving. Here are some tips to live on a budget.

Prioritize Your Life

Simply go through the areas in your life and consider what you are spending your money on. You are not alone, many Canadians spend large amounts of money in areas that are not a priority. Whether it’s a nice home, good food, or the latest and greatest technology, you just have to decide what really matters to you and what you can live without.  With this tool, we want to balance the cost of comfort items with necessary expenses in a sustainable way.

Find and Use Budgeting Tools

I am a very visual person so if I don’t see the total cost of my habits, I will assume it is not that bad. This is why I personally use a monthly budget planner on Microsoft Excel. They provide a good template to plug all expenses in and track spending habits.

The power of budgeting tools can help you too! There are many great programs and apps to help with finances (even ones that link to your bank account). Having online money management tools allows anyone to track everything from credit cards, to bank accounts, to investments, all in one place.

Eat at Home

Canadians spend so much money on dining and fast food every year. It is a multi-billion dollar industry and banks entice you by offering points on restaurant purchases. Eating out often costs more than cooking at home.

Although that grocery store routine can get tedious, and buying ingredients seems like a waste of time – it pays to do so. Coupons and in store sales can help offset the cost and preparing a meal is such a rewarding feeling.  However, simply throwing your hard earned dollars on cheap (and might I add unhealthy) food will set you back on your journey to financial freedom.

Finance can be fun

I have had the somewhat pleasure of working for a bank for the last two years. Although I may not be an expert I can definitely tell you that the benefits of building a savings far outweigh the cost of living frugally.

Beware of budget burnout. Whether you’re used to having large amounts of disposable income, or you are familiar with the “struggle”, the kind of fatigue that over whelms us about money  can strike at anyone who is trying to be more conscientious about limiting unnecessary purchases. I suggest picking up some easy finance books if you’re just beginning. Authors on the topic make it fun to save in a manner anyone can understand.

Version 2

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more Urban Guides.

Cover Photo from Unsplash by: Vitaly

Pillow Talk – This guide will offer some professional opinions on contraception, and identify a starting point to create a sexual health plan

From contraception to comfortability, everyone has the right to be in control of their sexual health and the best way to make the best decisions for yourself is to have relevant information.

Stay informed and empowered to protect your sexual and reproductive health

Decisions around sex are often made in the heat of the moment. Many forget to take the time to think about their sexual health and fail to consider the affect their sex-life can have on their personal well-being. From contraception to comfortability, everyone has the right to be in control of their sexual health and the best way to make the best decisions for yourself is to have relevant information.

Contraception

Reproductiveaccess.org is the website for The Reproductive Health Access Network which pulls together nearly 1,400 primary care clinicians from all over the country to work together nationally and in their respective communities to expand access to abortion, contraception, and miscarriage care in their clinical and teaching practices. They offer a thorough analysis of contraceptive methods. Look below:

Contraception Choices

Making a Sexual Health Plan

There is no right or wrong way to create an individualized sexual health plan that suits you and reflects your values and personal circumstances. Some prefer to write it down, some like to chat about it with people they trust, some like to keep it in their head. The idea is to be prepared so you are in the best position to take control of your well-being.

Here are some questions to help you start thinking about your sexual health plan:

  • At this point in my life, engaging in sexual activity with a partner(s) is a good decision for me. Consider.
    • How ready I feel
    • Circumstances and context
    • My values, including religious values if relevant
    • My parents’/guardians’ values if relevant
    • Do I have the information and resources necessary to protect myself from or treat an STI? To prevent pregnancy if I don’t want to be pregnant? If not, where could I access this information and/or those resources?
    • Do I know what I’d do if I got pregnant?
  • At this point in my life, I feel comfortable having sex in the context of:
    • Casual relationships
    • Dating
    • A monogamous relationship
    • A non-monogamous relationship
    • Marriage
    • ______
  • I believe that I have the information and resources necessary to plan how to:
    • Talk to a partner about the importance of safer sex, like using condoms
    • Use condoms every time I have sex
    • Take the necessary steps to have safer sex if I wish to have condomless sex with a trusted partner (i.e. to discuss both partners getting tested and agreeing to be monogamous)
    • Make sure I have access to and can use effective birth control or contraception if I have vaginal sex
    • Get tested for an STI, and get treatment if necessary
    • Get tested for pregnancy if necessary
    • Deal with an unintended pregnancy

Thank for reading. Stay Tuned for more Urban Guides.

Photo provided by: Unsplash by Marion Michele

Study, sleep, class, repeat – Read helpful hints on how to keep your cool when it comes to school

This post will identify some ways to help you stay focused throughout the ‘never-ending’ school cycle, offer some tips on how to talk to professors, and suggest some ways to beat the mid-semester blues.  

Has your five-minute procrastination break turned into an hour? Well stay right there this will only take another minute.

This post will identify some ways to help you stay focused throughout the ‘never-ending’ school cycle, offer some tips on how to talk to professors, and suggest ways to beat the mid-semester blues.

School has been the most important responsibility of mine for as long as I can remember. As students we are strapped to the conveyer belt and filtered through the school system to identify how we will become productive members of society. If you are like me then you can appreciate all the benefits this system has, but also see the major flaws traditional schooling has for the coming generation. So the question remains; what can you do?

Make a Study Schedule

The last thing you want is to walk into an exam that you are not prepared for. I suggest compiling a list of assignments, tests, and quizzes with detailed information on what you need to learn. Having a master list to refer to will help you identify areas of strength or weakness and allocate study time accordingly. In the long run, this will save you valuable time.

Here is an example of a study schedule:

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Talking to Profs

If you struggle with this, you are not alone. Talking to an instructor can be a daunting task, as they are very knowledgeable and potentially influence your success.

When talking to a professor in person or via email you want to start by making yourself known and offering commentary on the course material so far. Next, you’re going to want to ask your question or give your comment in the clearest way possible. I’ve found that teachers are more receptive to help you if they can see that you have tried to understand the content by yourself.

To finish the interaction, be honest about your learning. If you are still lost in the material ask for additional resources and opportunities to meet again. If they helped you understand a concept, thank them. Education is valuable; try not to forget that.

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Keep it Cool

Here are some activities to help get you through the semester:

  • Fuel your body with a healthy diet – fruit is an optimal study snack
  • Exercise – working out produces endorphins, which make you feel good
  • Meditation – take 10 minutes a day to sit quietly without distraction
  • Sleep – quality sleep always helps (don’t forget to add it to your schedule)
  • Laugh – hang with some friends, watch your favourite movie, just laugh

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more Urban Guides

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Another One Fights The Dust – Stay germ-free this season with tips on how to keep it clean

Fall is in the air. Summer waves goodbye as we head into harvest season. This post will discuss the easy way to keep it clean this season and avoid a nasty cold.

Fall is in the air. Summer waves goodbye as we head into harvest season. Shoes start to get dirty, and floors are now tracked with stains from the outdoors. This post will discuss the easy way to keep it clean this season and avoid a nasty cold.

Maintaining an orderly room or office allows friends and colleagues to see you are an organized and considerate person. Darwin’s research supports the theory that those with a cleanlier appearance are more likely to find partners during mating season.

Yes, that means what you think it does. Stay clean my friends.

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Natural Products

There are many common household items you can use to keep your place looking orderly and germ free.  Here’s a list of common, environmentally friendly products which can be used alone or in combination.

  • Baking Soda – cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours
  • Soap – unscented soap found in liquid form, powders or bars are biodegradable and will clean just about anything
  • Lemon Juice – one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria
  • White Vinegar – cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up
  • Cornstarch – can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, and shampoo carpets and rugs.

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Traditional Products

There are many multi-purpose cleaners on shelves that do a fine job cleaning up harsh messes. Unlike natural products, ingredients found in traditional cleaning products can be very harmful and contain many toxins. The following toxic offenders are found in some traditional cleaners:

  • Phthalates – found in air fresheners, dish soap, and even toilet paper creates the fragrance of some products. It is a known endocrine disrupter. A better alternative is the fragrance-free option, or a product with natural essential oils
  • Sodium Hydroxide – found in oven cleaners and drain-cleaning products this chemical also known as lye, is extremely corrosive: If it touches your skin or gets in your eyes, it can cause severe burns. A better alternative is baking soda and vinegar.

I hope you can see the value in cleaning with natural products, it’s cleaner for your health and better for the environment. To round out germ-free tips this season, here are 3 of the dirtiest places we forget to clean.

  • Light switches – Light switches are the most touched areas in our home and collect a lot of germs! Those freshly washed hands get contaminated the second you turn off the light behind you.
  • Floor Vents – Clean them by removing them and hand washing in your sink with dish soap, or you can even pop it in the dishwasher.
  • Inside Cabinet Doors – Make it a habit to wipe the handles, tops and insides of the cabinet doors.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more Urban Guides

The Perfect Date

Allow your date to finish their complete thoughts when speaking, all too often we rush their true message and complain that she was sending mixed signals. 

Updated May 2020

Love with your third eye

Listen up you romantics, dating season is upon us. This post is for you.

Dating in 2020 isn’t easy. We are bombarded with reminders of our current relationship status and for what purpose?

Dating or not, it’s always nice to be wined and dined. This post should help provide insight on the perfect date and finding meaningful personal connections.

_________

Gentlemen:

This is probably the right time to tell you this will involve some effort. Women are complex and have intuitive abilities to see through the B.S. That said, ideas here are not so difficult, they simply require some etiquette, manners, and respect. After making the arrangements you want to set a reservation. The idea here is to plan ahead to make the date seem organized and intentional.  While on the date, be kind to everyone. Your date wants to see that you are a nice member of society, and that others respond well to you.

Allow your date to finish their complete thoughts when speaking, all too often we rush the true message and complain that she was sending mixed signals. 

Ladies:

You may like this guy and not know it, don’t rush your feelings. We mentally ask ourselves questions about people we meet and rush to find suitable answers, without full grasp of what we’re asking.  Men sometimes need more time to portray a clear message. That said, if you think you know his intentions, trust you are correct and proceed with your intuition.

Woman complain men waste their time, but are the same ones expelling it to them. 

If there was a formula for love, it would be the top commodity that all nations would fight for. Your best tool in love is your intuition.

Top Toronto Dating Spots: 

https://www.blogto.com/city/2019/03/cheap-date-ideas-toronto-dont-cost-money/

https://www.narcity.com/things-to-do/ca/on/toronto/date-ideas-in-toronto-that-are-far-more-than-just-dinner-and-drinks