It’s all a Matter of Perspective

We live in a very fast paced, on-demand world. We pay for same day delivery and we instantly stream music and TV shows or movies. We don’t want to wait for anything anymore, and when we do have to wait, we feel miserable about it.

Unfortunately this instant-gratification generation is miserable about a lot of things, because even when we do get something, our attention span is so short that this thing quickly becomes old, like the latest iPhone version every year. We are merely children with bigger toys: as soon as we get what we want, we stop wanting it. The thing we wanted so much quickly loses its original luster and we become dissatisfied again, looking ahead to what comes next.

This state of mind is extremely unfortunate, because it causes us to miss out on the here and now. And it causes us to live in a perpetual cycle of want; to constantly be striving after what we do not have instead of being happy or satisfied with what we do have.

I am not saying that we shouldn’t want or strive after things. If we have nothing to strive for: that new job or promotion, buying a house, starting a family, whatever it may be, without these things to long for, we lose purpose. However, if we are constantly looking forward to the next thing, then we can never enjoy the moment and what we have right now. And worse, what we do have gets devalued to the point of not really mattering, because it isn’t making us happy.

In order to truly feel happy and satisfied, we need to live in the moment and accept it for what it is. Even when we have to wait for that perfect job to come along, we need to be thankful of the job we do have that is paying the bills, even if it isn’t the dream job yet. It will come. If we are waiting to move to a new place until we can actually afford it, then we need to appreciate the place that we are living in now and take it one month at a time, putting money aside for the place that we desire. If we are waiting to take that vacation because it just isn’t the right timing, or money is tight, then we need to be thankful that we have the luxury in life to even think of taking a vacation. Some things can feel like a torment to wait for, but things can always be worse.

The true key to being happy is to focus on the wonderful things that we do have in our lives as opposed to focusing on the things that we don’t have.

If You Never Ask Then You’ll Never Know

I recently started a new job; my life lately has been filled with learning new things and getting into a new rhythm and trying to steadily increase my work performance. When friends asked me if I was still planning on attending trips that we had planned before I got my job, I immediately responded by saying “I can’t, I just started work, I can’t possibly ask for time off.”

However, after some time I figured the worst thing that could happen after I ask is that they say no. Which really isn’t that bad of an outcome at all and then at least I would know for sure. And then I would actually be in the same situation as not asking. By not asking I have already resolved myself to a ‘no’.

I began to think about how many times I have let opportunities pass me by simply because I did not want to ask; whether it was because I thought that I couldn’t or I was too afraid to know the answer. Wayne Gretzky said something on this subject that has always stuck with me; he said “you miss 100% of the shots that you never take”. So in other words, in being too afraid to lose to even try…I’ve already lost.

So, I decided to ask for the time off, even though I was sure it would probably be declined, and prefaced the request with a statement that I was completely fine with it being declined but that I needed to at least ask. And yes, you guessed it, I got the time off. I just got back from a gorgeous weekend in Spain with one of my best friends and we had such a wonderful time together, and good quality time to talk, which we both needed. I can’t believe I almost gave up this opportunity that will stay with me for the rest of my life.

There are worse things than asking and hearing no; whether it is for vacation time, a raise, working from home, or asking that person you like if they feel the same way. It is better to know and it is better to try, otherwise we will never know what amazing things we could be missing out on.

Published in Fusia magazine, July 2015

Plans and Improvisation

I am a ‘Type A’ personality and a bit of a control freak, so I tend to always have to have a plan. I have come to realize, however, that planning is good, but not always practical. Or more specifically, plans don’t necessarily work out the way that we intended. It is good to be able to have a clear plan in view, but it is just as important to be able to adapt to the randomness that will inevitably creep in and throw that plan off course.

I had a clear trajectory for my life, which included 5 years of university, 6 internships, and upon graduation, 6 months to 1 year of struggling to get in at the bottom rung of a publishing company and work my way up the ladder for the next 5 years into the position of my dreams. This is all well and good, but I quickly began to realize that it is delusional and childish thinking. It’s been 3 years since graduating from my Masters program and I am no closer to that bottom rung.

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I used to think that if something didn’t quite work out the way that I intended, that I had failed in some way. If I didn’t get the job, I probably said or did something wrong in the interview. If I didn’t achieve the dream that I set out for myself, I must be somehow lacking in some desired skill or trait. So, even with over $30,000 of student loan debt hanging over my head, I was convinced that I just needed to take more professional development courses and go to networking events and somehow I would get the ‘big break’ I was waiting for. I kept telling myself that throwing away some of my hard earned low-income salary on courses and ‘networking events’ were an essential investment in my future and were a necessary step to sticking to the plan and keeping my career goals on track. I didn’t know how to think outside of my academic bubble and more education seemed to be the only answer to me.

The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. I spent three years insanely trying to make my career take off. I finally got to a point where I realized that my life wasn’t working out as planned and I was tired of trying the same avenues, so I made the radical decision to deviate from the plan. I decided that my career wasn’t going anywhere, but I was going to lose my mind if I didn’t break the chain. I made the radical decision to STOP focusing on my career, the one thing that consumed my thoughts day and night and made me lose sleep, and focus just on me.

After all, there was definitely more to me than my job (or lack thereof), but somehow I had lost sight of that. I had gotten to a point where I forgot who I was outside of my self-imposed title of failure ‘three years and no career in sight.’ I didn’t like this about myself and I didn’t like how much importance I was placing on my career. I was stuck in the delusional thinking that ‘everything will be better when…,’ and I was placing all of my happiness on this ‘thing’ that seemed to keep alluding me. Self-confidence and happiness is not a goal for the future with prerequisites; happiness is a personal choice in the present.

So I thought, what makes me happy? What do I enjoy the most and is something I would do with my free time that has absolutely nothing to do with work and building a career? The answer was travel. So, although it wasn’t planned, it definitely was needed. I saved up my money for a flight instead of for more courses and networking events, and I applied for my work and travel visa and came to Germany (which I have mentioned in many articles already).

The thought overwhelms me even now. Take some time to think about this. What if every time our plans don’t work out and we feel hopeless, defeated, and lost…what if we have actually succeeded at moving our life boat one step closer to the finish line that is just out of view? What if in the moments that we fail, we are really succeeding in getting to the very point that we are supposed to be heading towards?

I like this idea very much and am now thinking about ‘failure’ in a completely different way, and I think a much healthier way. Plans are good. Thinking your plan has failed, though, isn’t. So maybe, when things don’t go according to plan, think of these moments as not failures, but improvisations; necessary deviations that are directing you in the way that you should go.

In the words of the very wise John Lennon, “Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”

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Mallorca, Spain

Whenever I think of the word vacation, I think of warm sunny weather, a white sandy beach with turquoise blue water, palm trees, and a cocktail in my hand while I sun tan. I’m sure that I’m not alone in this imagery.

So, when I was asked by a friend to go on vacation with her, this is the image I had in mind. We decided on a 4 day long weekend on the Spanish island, Majorca, and believe me; my vision of avacation was indeed fulfilled.

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We languidly laid on a gorgeous beach until we were pleasantly tanned. Days consisted of sun, sand, and food, with the occasional ice-cream and cocktail thrown in for good measure. All in all the vacation was everything that I hoped it would be.

We stayed at the Hotel Delfin in Santa Ponsa, since we were intent on relaxing and staying away from party central. With only a 2 minute walk to the beach, we were in an optimal location. Though the food from the hotel left much to be desired, there was a wonderful selection of restaurants around town that more than sufficed.

Taking a half da y away from the beach, we decided to tour Old Palma city. I am so grateful that we did. Not because I wasn’t enjoying myself on the beach, I absolutely was; however, in general I found that Mallorca is one of those overly tourist destinations and I felt like I was missing out on getting any real impression of Spain. Luckily, Old Palma delivered on this account. The tall and regal architecture and narrow streets were iconic of old Spanish cities. Coupled with the most exquisite gelato, shopping in Moda boutiques, and enjoying Tapas at a quaint café for lunch, I feel like we fit in the best Spanish experience that Mallorca has to offer. The city itself was breathtakingly beautiful and I would recommend venturing out for a tour if you find yourself in the area.

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We topped off our city touring day with a stop by another beach in the area. It was one of the most beautiful beache s I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting, nestled in a cove of rocks like a wonderfully kept little secret. Again, it’s worth the trip out if you have the time. Just beware though that everything beautiful, like a rose, has its thorns. Apparently this beach is inhabited by a type of fish that hides in the sand and bites your ankles or heels when you get too close. Both my friend and I got bitten. Not to let that scare you off, I would still do it all over again even knowing what lurks below.

If you are hoping to be immersed in Spanish culture, then Mallorca probably isn’t the destination for you. However, if you want to relax on gorgeous beaches in the sunshine, leave with a glorious tan in only 3.5 days, and have a bountiful variety of food at you disposal, Mallorca should be your next vacation destination.

Published in Fusia magazine, July 2015

A Stroll Around Old-Town Colmar, France

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When I found out that the border to France was only a 30 minute drive from Freiburg, I naturally thought it was imperative for me to take advantage of the close proximity.

IMG_1536IMG_1558As you may recall from my last article, I was in Freiburg with friends who were attending a wedding. We were sitting around eating a very normal breakfast the day after the wedding when I mentioned “you know we could be in France right now eating an amazing breakfast, since the border is only 30 minutes away”.  Everyone replied, “What!?!?! Why didn’t you say something sooner?” Well of course I assumed they already knew, but since it was a little too late for breakfast, we decided to plan the next best thing. Like a page out of a book of someone else’s incredibly swanky life, we all decided to drive to France just to have dinner and then drive back. And all of this time I thought that the only people who could say “I had breakfast in Germany and Dinner in France” owned their own a private jet.

Being French-Canadian, any time I go to France it feels like I am returning to the promise land or something; it feels like coming home. This is precisely how I felt when we crossed the border into France.

The beautiful little village near the France-Germany border is Colmar, with Old-Town Colmar being a particular draw for tourists.

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Located so close to Germany, you can definitely make out German influences in the architecture; however, the atmosphere is distinctly French.

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Furthermore, there was an impressive display of archways and waterways thorughout the old town that particularly captured my attention.

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We walked down the beautiful cobble stone streets and I let the sound of my second language flood my ears. It is always a very interesting experience when you get to take one of your stored away, rusty, old languages out to play.

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We toured around Colmar appreciating all of the little things and doing some harmless window shopping. We got to the main town square, by the St Martin’s Church, and noticed that there was a spring fair set up, which we spent some time perusing even though the vendors were packing everything up. Colourful booths lined the square, spring decorations hung from all of the trees, and there were flowers everywhere.

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The set up seemed to be quite festive for a seasonal celebration; however, as Colmar is a major tourist destination, with great foot traffic comes great opportunity. Not to mention, these little festivals lend a little extra flare to the place and only add to its touristic charm.

And yet, I think that this Old-Town is always bustling with life, no matter the time of year or time of day. This square, even though it was getting late, was full of people, and of course you had the stereotypical French cafés and restaurants that were consistently busy with a stream of people. The café culture is one of the things I love the most about France; sitting on a patio enjoying a coffee or wine in the middle of the day for no other reason than because you want to. Vive la France!

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Aside from doing the drive simply because it seemed absolutely ridiculous not to, we were there with an aim…and a very important aim at that: to eat! I will never trash German cuisine, but it simply cannot compete with French cuisine. Not very much can. We French people, we just know how to enjoy life through food. Unfortunately, all of the patisseries were closed by the time that we got there (which is why we should have gone for breakfast), but there were still many high-quality restaurants open to choose from. We found a gorgeous little place and I got adventurous enough to try what I thought sounded like the most French thing on the menu: grenouille (which is frog legs for those who don’t speak French).

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The grenouille tasted like a mix between fish and chicken, there’s really no other way for me to explain it, but it was cooked to perfection in a delicious tomato sauce. Overall the food was fantastic.

I was a little sad that I didn’t get my traditional favorites, like crème brulee or my staple patisserie favorites, but all in all the trip was well worth it, especially for a spontaneous trip that we took on a crazy whim. The timing may not have been perfect, but Old-Town Colmar was definitely worth it.

 

Published in Fusia magazine, June 2015

Strasbourg, France

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I very much enjoyed this city. It had quaint cultural elements that gave it a certain joie de vivre. When we got to the centre square, we were greeted by a gorgeous carrousel as well as an extensive chess game where tourists and locals could take on a local master. The square was so full of life and vibrancy, it was impossible not to fall in love with it.

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We also took our time perusing the Cathedral Notre Dame de Strasbourg, which is not as beautiful and famous as its Parisian counterpart, but it was nevertheless impressive. Much of the architecture, like most European cities, was quite remarkable. Being so close to the border of Germany, you could still see German influences in a lot of the buildings around Strasbourg. However, there was also something so uniquely French about this city. There were numerous beautiful waterways and canals, as well as stone bridges. It is really a wonderful city to leisurely walk around.

House covered in Lavender

One thing that really impressed me was a house that we passed by that was covered in lavender. From plants ascending the outer walls of the house, to an entire lavender canopied walkway leading up to the house, it was a pleasure for both the eyes and the nose. Lavender is just about as French as it gets.

Of course, the most impressive thing – and it always is about France – was the food. As you may recall from my Colmar article, what I missed out on in my last trip to France was all of my patisserie favourites. I more than made up for that this time around! I will first note that anyone who has never tried Millfeuille has not lived! This is my absolute patisserie favourite. It is layer after layer of flaky pastry goodness paired with a delicious creamy custard and topped with a chocolate and glaze like finishing layer. It is out of this word! It is the perfect treat because it is not too sweet and just bursting with flavour. As a cautionary note, it is a little difficult to eat, since when you bite down on all of these delicious layers everything gets pushed out of order, but the mess is worth every single bite.

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My other favourite include Macrons, which I bought from Paul’s bakery. If you are ever in France you should try to find a Paul’s somewhere. It is some of the most extraordinary baked goods that you will ever come across. There was also, of course, an impressive selection of breads and other baked goods. We also passed by a patisseries that had a wonderful selection of chocolate and candy. Have I succeeded in making you hungry yet?

All in all, the trip was fantastic because the weather was beautiful, the food was absolutely fantastic, and the company was amazing. As long as you have good weather, good food, and good people to share it with, nothing else really matters.

 

Published in Fusia magazine, July 2015

The Women of Global News Canada (Part 2): Robin Gill

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An Interview with Robin Gill, Global National, BC Correspondent/Weekend AnchorGlobal talent portraits January 14, 2015 at Shaw studios

Fusia:What is it like working as a woman for Global News and more specifically as a South Asian woman for Global News?

Robin: I’ve always been fortunate in that I’ve worked in newsrooms where there are just as many female reporters as male ones so I don’t put myself into a slot of “woman in news.”

The management side tends to be more male-dominated but I’m starting to see more women move into management. For example, at Global in BC, Jill Krop recently became News Director after a long stint as a respected reporter and anchor. It made a lot of the female staff really happy to see someone in that position who’s been where we are.

As far as being South Asian, it’s been very useful in covering stories where I understand the culture or the politics. For example, almost 18 years ago, I covered the debate over tables and chairs at Sikh temples in BC. I turned to my folks to ask them about the history/culture/politics behind it.

Fusia: Can you give a brief summary of your career ups and downs and what it has taken for you to get to your current career position?

Robin: I started my career as a writer and researcher at BCTV (it is now Global BC). I was hoping that I would be able to work my way up the ranks and stay in Vancouver. A senior reporter advised me that it would be better to go to a small market and cut my teeth. He was right.

I moved to Yorkton, Saskatchewan, which had a population of 15,000 at the time, to work for CICC. While I wasn’t making a lot of money, I gained a lot of experience. I did just about every job there –anchoring, reporting, producing, shooting, editing. I was also away from my family and closest friends so it was isolating. I worked at a station with a lot of young people so we made an effort to hang out. To this day, I’m still in touch with many of them.

In this business, we all strive to get to the bigger markets so we can cover the big stories. I had to jump around for a bit. I freelanced at CBC in Vancouver for a year. I was a junior reporter so I covered a lot of school board and city council meetings.

Then I made my way to Calgary to launch a new station. I worked as a morning show anchor while reporting for the evening news. It was a slog – working 12 hour days and then heading to charity events/appearances at night. I was completely exhausted after three years. But I met some amazing men and women who are my closest friends to this day. They’ve taught me a lot and really helped me mature. Over the years, I’ve had to compete with these same friends as we’ve moved onto different companies. Today, I work with a few of them at the Global network and it feels like a sense of family.

After Calgary, I moved to Toronto where I spent more than eight years working as a reporter and eventually an anchor in Canada’s largest market. It was an amazing experience because so many big stories happen in the Big Smoke.

What I’ve learned over the years is that this business is competitive. People have put me down. Bosses have tried to get away with paying me less than my predecessors at jobs to save money in their budgets. I have learned to develop a very thick skin. It took me a really long time. The key has been to surround myself with supportive producers who are really good at their jobs. I find that work is not “work” – it’s actually fun.

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Fusia: What is the story that you have covered that you are most proud of to date? What kind of story do you most hope to cover in the future?

Robin: There are so many stories that I can’t just narrow it down to one.

I have a passion for breaking news. I just tune out the rest of the world and focus on what’s happening. When I covered the Air France crash at Pearson Airport, I was just so determined to find passengers to hear their accounts. When I was in Japan post-tsunami, I emailed everyone I knew to find Canadians living in the region so I could find a Canadian perspective on what was happening. When the shootings took place at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, I looked to see what security measures were taken in other parts of the country (at legislative buildings and military bases). At the end of the day, I want to tell a story and time is of the essence to get it to you, the viewer.

As for the future, I would love to cover a US presidential election because American politics are just so fascinating and polarizing. There are probably so many nuggets that would make for a million interesting stories.

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Fusia: How do you measure success and how do you imagine your future in your career as a journalist? What are the biggest goals that you are hoping to achieve?

I measure success by achieving respect from my colleagues (both the people I work with and those I compete against at other stations). I hope that I have that. If not, I’m still working on it.

I’ve been in the business for 20 years. I feel pretty content where I am right now.

Fusia: What does being a journalist mean to you?

Robin: My mom says I’m a civil servant. I think I’m a storyteller. Perhaps somewhere in between?

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Fusia: What does being a recognizable Canadian icon mean to you?

Robin: I’m very proud to be Canadian. I don’t consider myself an icon! I’m just a reporter!

Fusia: Can you tell me a little bit about your trip in India in February to March 2009, and about the five-part special series on Canadians in the region? What motivated you to be a part of this project, what was the experience like, and what did you take away from it?  

Robin: I received a fellowship from the Asia-Pacific Foundation at the time. I always wanted to do some international storytelling and I figured that this was the way I was going to do it. It wasn’t easy; it was ambitious of me to cover such a huge territory! Traffic and logistics were a nightmare!

I fortunately had a lot of help from the Canada India Foundation and friends who introduced me to contacts living in India. Everyone just had such a fascinating story to tell – from the two Canadian women who went to Bollywood – to the finance whiz who was working for a major corporation – to the tennis pro who was helping find the next Indian Eugenie Bouchard. They all had interesting perspectives on India and felt strongly that it was going to be a force to be reckoned with. Look at India today! They were bang on.

I highly recommend that journalists look for these opportunities. Broadcast corporations and newspapers today are cutting back on travel for stories. This is an excellent way to get some travel in but make no mistake – it’s not a vacation

 

Published in Fusia magazine, June 2015

The Women of Global News Canada (Part 1): Sonia Sunger

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An Interview with Sonia Sunger, Anchor BC1Sonia Sunger

Fusia: What is it like working as a woman for Global News and more specifically as a South Asian woman for Global News?

Sonia: Short answer, it’s great.  Women far outnumber men in our newsroom and we have a lot of women in leadership roles, including our Station Manager and News Director.  Growing up, there were very few women that looked like me in television news, so I am happy to be part of that change.  I think there has been a major shift in the last 10-15 years with women from all different backgrounds making huge strides in broadcasting.  As a second-generation Canadian I look forward to the day when my ethnicity is no longer something that sticks out.

Fusia: Can you give a brief summary of your career ups and downs and what it has taken for you to get to your current career position?

Sonia: I think the hardest part of my career was probably the beginning.  I was still in school and quite young when I first started working in a newsroom.  I began as an intern, then a writer and worked my way up to a reporter and then an anchor.  I had amazing mentors early on in my career and listening to their advice really set me on my path.  In terms of where I am now, all I can really say is that I have put in a lot of hard work to get here and I’d like to think that it has paid off.

Fusia: What is the story that you have covered that you are most proud of to date? What kind of story do you most hope to cover in the future?

Sonia: In the scope of all the stories that I have reported on, the one I am most proud of is actually a small story that I did early on in my career.  It was about a group of temporary foreign workers who were being taken advantage of by their employer.  After running a number of stories, we finally got some solid answers from the company.  They ended up reimbursing more than a dozen temporary foreign workers for unpaid work, with one individual getting almost $10,000 back.  I was just doing my job, but it felt great to get a real, tangible response.  I always root for the underdog, so for me, these are the types of stories that I like reporting on the most.  There are so many vulnerable members of society who need a voice. Being a part of that is very important to me.

Fusia: How do you measure success and how do you imagine your future in your career as a journalist? What are the biggest goals that you are hoping to achieve?

Sonia: I measure success based on happiness and for me, if I am making a difference that makes me happy.  That doesn’t mean that I have to break down doors every day, but it does mean getting answers for people on stories that matter to them.   My goal and what I have always been working towards, is being a trusted journalist — a household name that people can count on.  This is the premise I have based my career on and I hope to one day look back and say that I have achieved it.

Fusia: What does being a journalist mean to you?

Sonia: I became a journalist because I have an insatiable curiosity and constantly need to know.  I have a thirst for knowledge and believe injustice needs to be exposed and people in positions of authority need to be held accountable. For me, being a journalist also means being a great storyteller.  At the core of every story I write or read…my goal is to take a complex issue and break it down to make it easier to understand. The point of the story should be crystal clear the first time you hear it.

Fusia: What does being a recognizable Canadian icon mean to you?

Sonia: I don’t think of myself as being a Canadian icon, nor do I believe that I am one.  I am just doing my job…and it happens to be on television.  I didn’t become a journalist because I wanted to be famous – I became a journalist because I can’t imagine doing anything else.

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Published in Fusia magazine, June 2015

Beauty Meets Consciousness in ALEX AND ANI Designs

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ALEX AND ANI is the next big thing in fashion accessories. The Coastal Odyssey collection has everything you need and more to complete any summer look, sporting some of the most uniquely colourful and breathtaking pieces of jewelry you will find this season.

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What is more, ALEX AND ANI is one of those companies that is striving to make a difference and is a company that you can feel good supporting. First and foremost, all ALEX AND ANI products are crafted in carefully considered U.S. factories and are therefore sweat-shop free and the materials utilized are “sustainable and derived from eco-conscious processes.”

“We create meaningful, eco-conscious jewelry and accessories to empower the light in you. We share a passion for the well-being of our planet, our communities, and our individual paths.”

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ALEX AND ANI embraces “the power of positive energy” as its core company belief. Not only is the jewelry produced in a way that is humanitarian, and economically and environmentally mindful, it also conveys through symbols and design, concepts of energy and meaning: “each design is positively intended to empower the wearer and reflect the unique qualities of the individual. Some pieces carry sentimental meaning; others are talismans of protection, power, or intention.” Ultimately, however, the wearer becomes the designer, in that you choose specific pieces to reflect your own ideologies.

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Finally, ALEX AND ANI is a Corporately Conscious company invested in a business model that takes into consideration “the wellbeing of the environment, the health of local and national economies, and the empowerment of customers.” And to top it all off, they believe on giving back: “we believe in the power of gratitude and giving.”

As part of their mission to spread positive energy through the world, ALEX AND ANI created CHARITY BY DESIGN and is involved in other outreach initiatives. CHARITY BY DESIGN channels resources “into the efforts of organizations that work to improve others’ quality of life.” The purpose behind CHARITY BY DESIGNS is to strengthen charitable organizations through amicable partnerships. CHARITY BY DESIGN “empowers a multitude of non-profit organizations on an international, national, and local level…from small foundations to national associations” and achieves this through in-store events, as well as through creating symbols and designs meant to raise awareness for specific causes. ALEX AND ANI is involved in philanthropy on a corporate level, but produces a platform for their consumers to also get involved with these charitable initiatives through their purchases.

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See the website for more designs and to get more information on the company: https://www.alexandani.com/

 

 

Published in Fusia magazine, May 2015

The Fears and Pains of Transition

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It is an unavoidable truth that life is full of painful transitions. When we are born, we are ripped out of our warm, comfortable, and safe environment, the only existence that we have ever known, and are emerged into a cold, bright, and blinding world. Our first emotions experienced in this new world are fear and overwhelming anxiety.

Unfortunately, this is a natural part of life, and unfortunately every transition that we make in our lives is going to be filled with the same fear and anxiety. The first day of school is terrifying, the first day of high school, the first night in your new apartment living on your own, the first day of university; the list goes on and on. The transition is scary, but it is completely necessary, and when you think about it, the fear gives way to fantastic new experiences. Looking back on how amazing college or university was, would you have really wanted to stay in high school? Absolutely not. Well high school is perhaps a bad example, because NO ONE enjoyed high school.

If we stay in our comfortable bubble the rest of our lives, we may never experience fear, but then we won’t ever experience amazement and wonder either; all worthwhile experiences are achieved through stepping out of one’s comfort zone.

The things in life that shape us and that make us into who we are, they all come through transition and growth. Growth, however, can never be achieved without growing pains. The scariest transition for me has been transitioning from student to career professional. All of the previous transitions seemed to have an air of understanding and structure to them: you know when you graduate high school that the next 4 years of your life (or longer) will be spent at university, if that is the path that you have decided to embark on, and you just have to choose the right university. This is a stressful decision in itself, don’t get me wrong, but it is a decision with a planned out course of action.

Once you leave the beautiful, comfortable bubble of academia, however, you enter the ‘real world’ and NOTHING is planned out. There are no papers to write, no midterms, no comfortable categorizations and divisions of your time and efforts. There is just you and the world, and unfortunately for us Millennials, a job market right in the middle of an economic recession. In my university bubble I felt competent, positive, and like I would be able to do anything with my life. Now, after three years in the ‘work-force,’ I feel qualified for nothing, skeptical, and completely unsure of what to do with my life. This transition is scary and painful and I am just shutting my eyes and breathing through the pain, like when you get a foot cramp and know that there’s nothing that can alleviate the immediate discomfort and that you just have to go through it and wait for it to be over.

This sounds all so depressing and jaded, but I assure you that it is not. And here is why. When we are in a moment of growth and transition, we tend to look behind at the comfort that we have lost and focus on the immediate discomfort of having no frickin’ clue what we are doing and where we go from here, but we don’t often acknowledge what we have gained. I have been stressing myself out over trying to figure out my life and where to go from here, but I haven’t stop to acknowledge the beauty in my fear. I am staring at a blank wall with absolutely no plan, no answers, and again…no frickin’ clue, but why is that such a scary thing? Why do I need to know where I am going? And what is more, why haven’t I noticed the potential of this blank wall? In school I thought that I could do anything with my degree, so why has the ‘real world’ stripped that assurance from me? Maybe a blank wall with no answers is actually a blank canvas with infinite possibilities. Maybe the fact that I don’t only have one answer or one possibility means that I can do anything that I want to do. Maybe having no frickin’ clue means having the freedom to create the most beautiful painting on this blank canvas.

The fact that I have no idea where to go from here really means that I can go anywhere and do anything. Who doesn’t want that kind of freedom? Who doesn’t want that ability to make their life absolutely everything that they have ever wanted it to be? As Millennials, we sometimes tend to get overwhelmed by too many options that it becomes a daunting task to pick the right one. However, generations before us did not have the luxury of options, especially women, so we should remember what a blessing it is to have no clue, but still have the liberty to figure it out.

Instead of complaining in my sometimes overwhelming confusion at the cross-road of “what the heck do I do now” and “where on earth do I go,” I have decided to pause and realize the beauty in this moment of transition; I plan to acknowledge the complete freedom to create absolutely anything.

 

“Complaining is passive and powerless. Creating is proactive and powerful”

Paul Angone, 101 Secrets for your Twenties

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Published in Fusia magazine, May 2015