How to Make a Positive First Impression on Everyone You Meet

Making a positive impression is incredibly important. Research shows that the people you meet make judgments on your traits, lifestyle and more within a few seconds of seeing you and it can take time to change these initial perceptions. As a business owner, job-seeker, or anyone in between, there are a few things you can do to ensure you’re projecting the right image and sharing the messages you want to be shared.

Here are a few tips on how to make a positive first impression on everyone you meet.

Practise your handshake

Step one when meeting someone new is often shaking hands. You want to make sure yours is firm, which says you’re confident. If your handshake is too soft, it won’t help you make the best impression.

Smile and make eye contact

Always smile when you meet someone new. This shows you’re friendly and excited to connect with this individual.  They are more likely to stay in conversation with you if they like the person you are and feel you’re engaged in what they are saying.

Remember names

This is often the most difficult task when meeting someone new, but it will go a long way in helping make a positive impression. Repeat their name back to them right away when you’ve been introduced and use it throughout your conversation. If you’re going to a meeting or interview and know the names of the people you will be connecting with, memorize them before attending. If you can, use online tools like LinkedIn as well to see if you have anything in common to help break the ice.

Listen attentively

When you’re in conversation with someone, really focus on what they are saying and respond appropriately. It can be tempting to listen, while at the same time planning your response in your mind. Conversations are much more meaningful when each individual takes the time to understand the other person’s perspective.

Stand tall

Body language says a lot more than your words do. Even if you don’t feel confident, stand tall with your shoulders back and head held high.

Present yourself appropriately

Dress for the situation. Present a neat, clean and tidy appearance, but don’t be afraid to show a little bit of personality in your outfit. A great piece of jewelry or patterned blouse can be a conversation starter and will help you stand out from the crowd. Incorporate elements of your style personality.

I hope these tips help! Happy holidays to all.

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Meal Planning for Beginners: 5 Helpful Tips for Millennials

Meal planning is a vital skill, yet not always easy to master. My boyfriend and I have been homeowners for over a month now and our grocery bills have certainly increased! We’ve been spending our evenings and weekends tackling small home renovation projects (more to come on the blog soon) so preparing a healthy dinner hasn’t always been the priority. I know how important this is though, not only for our budget but for our overall wellness too.

Here are a few tips and tricks that I’ve been using the past little while that seem to be working well for us.

1) Write down a weekly menu

After coming home from work, the last thing I feel like doing (most of the time) is thinking about what to make for dinner. This tip eliminates that need to think by planning a menu in advance. Every weekend, I write the menu for the week on our menu board, including the cookbook page number if applicable. By doing this, we’re able to see what meat we need to pull out of the freezer and any other preparation we may need to do in advance. As an added bonus, if my boyfriend gets home from work before me, he knows what to start for dinner.

mealplan

To create the menu board, I simply bought an 8×10 frame and printed off this free menu from blogger The Creative Index.  I love it! It’s easy to use, looks great and wipes off easily when you use an erasable marker. If you don’t like this design, I came across Fab n’ Free’s amazing blog with tons of free options.

2) Use your cookbooks

When I started to meal prep, I found I would plan our meals as follows: meat, vegetable, starch, repeat. This is certainly a fine way to eat, but it wasn’t very interesting. I started to combine items in meals by looking at recipes and that’s when cooking got much more enjoyable. I tend to plan for a few meatless dinner meals every week, a leftover night, a casual (quick) dinner and a chicken and beef option. I’ve also found some great cookbooks hat provide quick recipe options for busy weeknights.

Here are a few I recommend:

  1. Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook
  2. Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook
  3. Taste of Home Healthy Cooking Cookbook
  4. The Looneyspoons Collection

3) Read the flyers or use the Flipp app

Do you receive a lot of flyers? We do and while they used to go straight into the recycling bin, or were used to protect surfaces from paint splatters, I read them now and use them in my meal planning. What meat is on sale? Is pasta on for a good price? Over the weeks, we’ve built up our pantry and freezer with items on sale. This means that many of the key ingredients we use over and over, we already own. To easily search items in flyers in our community, I use the Flipp app. You can type in an item like “eggs” and it will search all the flyers and pull up where it’s on sale. You can add coupons in the app and show items at the register for price matching.

4) Work backwards

With our basics covered, I try to limit the number of items we need to purchase each week that are not on sale. As a meal planning technique, I prefer to work backwards. I see what needs to be used up in the fridge and plan our meals around these ingredients. I also try to include meals that use some of the same items in other recipes so nothing goes to waste. This is just one technique though. There are many others – like cooking everything for the week on the weekend and freezing in batches, choosing theme nights, etc. This blog post digs deep into the various options and is worth a read.

5) Use Pinterest

I am a huge fan of Pinterest. I use the platform with my style coaching clients and personally find it’s a wonderful way to explore different topics. Meal planning is no different. While watching my favourite show, or simply relaxing on the weekend, I regularly ‘pin’ recipes I would like to try. This is helping expand my cooking repertoire and is also a great way to start a conversation with my boyfriend on foods he would like to include in our menu. This is helpful, particularly for finding beginner recipes that include exotic foods.

Have you used any of the above apps to help with meal planning? What works for you? We would love to hear! Comment below.

Making Yourself a Priority. Why Caring about Your Style is a Form of Self-Care

Self-care is important. With approximately 1 in 5 people in Canada personally experiencing a mental health problem or illness in any given year, we need to take care of ourselves. The world is busier than ever, with many more distractions then in the past. While this is a huge benefit, it can also feel overwhelming at times. Have you felt this way? I know I have! With a new house, a full-time job and a side business, I know I haven’t been meeting my personal needs as well as I should.

When you take the time to be the best you, you have the resources to be a better parent, a better partner and a better community member. When we go through different stages in our lives, our priorities shift and change and it can be incredibly tempting to put ourselves last. This is where style fits in. It’s an incredible tool in your toolbox that can help you feel confident each and every day.

In the video below, we dig a little deeper into why self-care is so important and how style fits into that model.

As an action this week, I challenge you to find something that you love and helps you feel good. What gets you into alignment? Book that appointment, read that book, do that activity and let us know below what worked for you!

A few of my favourite things:

      1. Wearing clothes that I love and showcasing my style personality
      2. Listening to podcasts like The Lively Show
      3. Reading books like Unplug: A Simple Guide to Meditation for Busy Skeptics and Modern Soul Seekers, The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well and The Happiness Project
      4. Drinking Earl Grey Tea
      5. Watching uplifting shows like The Gilmore Girls
      6. Meditating using apps like Buddify
      7. Walking the dog
      8. Writing or journalling
      9. Looking at vintage clothes
      10. Listening to Colbie Caillat music

5 Tips on Organizing Your Wardrobe When you Share a Closet

Moving in, and buying a house with a special someone is a wonderful experience, but it is also about compromise. This is something I’ve been learning, and practicing the last few weeks. With a dresser and a standard size closet (luckily with closet organizers installed), it has been a challenge to comfortably and neatly organize our clothes in an effective way. I’ve worked with many clients on wardrobe organization, but when it comes to your own pieces, it isn’t as simple it seems. 🙂

As we’ve been working to integrate our wardrobes together, here are a few tips I’ve found helpful.

1.Invest in closet organizers: If your closet only has the standard hanging bar in it, organizing your wardrobe will be a challenge. This is because clothes take up far less space when they are folded. You can pick up closet organizers from places like Canadian Tire, Home Depot, or Ikea, which will all help to maximize the space in your closet. They can then be customized to match what your unique needs. Do you have a lot of suits and dresses? You will need the hanging room. Do you have more sweaters and t-shirts? You would benefit from some pullout drawers. These are just a few examples.

2.Learn an effective folding technique: How you fold your clothes will also impact the amount of space they take up. I recently read Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” and she offers readers a wonderful example of how to fold anything. Check out the video below for more details.

3.Keep only what you wear: The fewer items you have to organize, the better when it comes to combining wardrobes. Take turns. Go through each person’s clothes one at a time, and create four piles: keep, donate/consign, toss and repair. The keep pile are clothes which you wear regularly and make you feel great. The donate/consign pile is for items that are not damaged in any way and could be enjoyed by someone else. The toss pile is for clothes which are beyond repair, and are ready to be taken to a fabric recycler (like The Kidney Foundation). The repair pile is for clothes that need to be fixed or taken to a tailor. With reduced wardrobes, it’s easier to fit clothes into a smaller wardrobe.

4.Group like items together. A great way to organize wardrobes is to group like items together e.g. blouses and dressy tops, or skirts, and dresses together, etc. Sharing space, we found grouping our like items together was the most effective way to organize our clothes. We put all of my dressy tops, with his, to share the hanging space, for example, and all of our t-shirts and sweaters in the dresser (in different drawers). We carried this over into other areas, putting all of our shoes in the same place, as well as accessories. This way, if you are looking for something specific, you always know where to go.

5. Use drawer organizers and other closet storage solutions to your advantage: A clean, organized closet is an effective closet that helps minimize the stress of getting ready in the morning. Some items, however, don’t fit nicely into a regular wardrobe like belts, ties, bags, scarves and more. Luckily, stores like HomeSense and Solutions have plenty of options to help in this way, which minimizes visual clutter. Another tip is to purchase wide bins which are short enough to fit under your bed. We use these to store our off-season items.

How did your experience merging closets go? Any advice for a newbie? Comment below.

Dressing for Confidence at Any Stage of Motherhood

In this video/post, hosted by my favourite local fitness expert, Kim Holmes, we discuss how to dress your body through the different stages of motherhood. This post was originally shared on her blog over at MyFitCoach.ca. Kim’s fitness challenges, classes, and online training are all geared to help mom’s look and feel their best. Learn more.

Our Interview

Today I’m taking a break from the usual fitness/healthy mom thing to talk about something that ALL Mom’s can relate to…Your ever changing body and how to feel GREAT in it right now.

Let’s face it, your body changes a lot from the time you get pregnant to the time you’re done having kids. You own like 4 different wardrobes, not to mention bras. And while it can be a tad awkward and uncomfortable, I believe that its important to love, accept and basically ROCK the body you are in right now!

So I met up with the lovely Christina Proctor, a Certified Style Coach and owner of  “Wear Out There”. I had a lot of questions (of my own AND for you too) about how to dress your ever changing body as a Mom. I want YOU to take care of yourselves from the inside out and sometimes you just feel better about yourself when you take off your leggings (don’t worry there is still room for leggings!) and put on an outfit that makes you feel amazing.

You can check out my interview with Christina here and read on for some of her best style tips for busy mamas at 3 stages of motherhood:

Christina what style tips do you have for the Mom who has just had a baby but is sick of wearing stretchy pants? She’s ready to look and feel good but doesn’t know how to dress her new body.

When you just have a baby, of course your body has gone through some changes and that’s very exciting! While style is important, comfort is also key. Here are a few of the essentials I recommend:

  •  Wide neckline Tops (e.g. deep v’s) which still allow you access to breastfeed if you choose that, or simply move with ease, which is essential.

  • Flowy tops, which skim your silhouette over a camisole are good options as they will help disguise a tummy.

  • Wrap over shirts with some ruching over the tummy look great as well. Button up shirts are another great option. They are versatile, can be dressed up or down and are visually slimming.

  •  Draped cardigan, which is comfortable, of a decent quality and rather form fitting.

  •  Maternity jeans with an elastic side panel is also useful as they will likely fit your body so much better. 

  • Accessories also will be helpful in brightening up a basic outfit. Choose great stud earrings – nothing dangling for baby to pull, or a statement necklace with some weight to it. An oversized scarf is another great option. It can be used as a nursing cover, when needed, but really adds some style to any outfit.

So what about the Mom who’s trying to lose the baby weight? How can she dress her changing body without spending a fortune on clothing?

The most flattering way to dress after pregnancy is to make sure your clothes fit your body NOW. This will also help you love and accept your body just the way it is – which gives you confidence in any situation. It honestly can be so hard to focus on tasks, when you’re worried about your outfit.

Christina’s tips:

  • Straight leg or boot cut jeans are the best choice, worn with a belt so you can bend and move about with ease.

  • Outfits that are monochromatic on the outside can be super slimming. E.g. black pants, black jacket and a colourful top. All you see on the outside is the long slimming silhouette and then this pop of colour.

  • Invest in shape wear  for those form-fitting outfits can help you feel confident in anything.

  •  Find a really great tailor and have them help you adjust your current pieces. They can work wonders and keep your costs down as well.

  • Check out the consignment stores – there are so many in Waterloo Region and the quality of the garments are great. You could also consider taking your own clothes here that you no longer wear, and potentially get some money off of them. .

So what about Mom’s who are done having kids but feel like they’re body is totally different and they have no idea what’s in style after living in the Mom bubble?

Style is a form of self-expression and really is something that should be fun. I think sometimes it really is overcomplicated, but at it’s core, it’s about helping you feel good about your body. Creating a style that works for you is really about 4 things:

1) Knowing your body shape

I truly believe the best first step is to do a body shape analysis, with a professional, or take your own measurements at home. It is incredibly useful after you’ve gone through a change in your body, to determine which of the 5 body shapes you fall into. This helps give you guidance on which areas to play up on your figure and which to downplay. Each and every shape is unique and beautiful.

2) Knowing which colours work for you

It’s helpful to know what colours flatter your most and the ones that don’t. I offer a colour analysis service to help you find the best colours for you

3) Knowing your Style Personality

Get inspired. Pinterest is amazing for outfit inspiration. Start pinning looks you love and have fun re-creating them. You can look at street style photos, or look in magazines. Think of your style as a tool in your tool box to help support you in reaching your goals, and helping you feel great. Style is personal. Have fun with this new chapter.

4) Knowing your lifestyle and goals

When you’re going through your wardrobe really ask yourself, does this suit the person I am now? Life is constantly changing around us and we’re constantly changing as well. Regularly cleaning out your wardrobe is key to making sure you’re actually wearing everything you have in your closet.