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meet Mara

Helllooooo 2019! Wait, do you realize that in a year it will be 2020? How weird does that sound? Was 1998 not just a few years ago?


Shew! 2018 was full of so many happy memories, but man, it was also really tough. I will maybe explore that in a blog post at some point, but just not quite ready yet. Over the past few months, I've been inspired and wanted the New Year to truly represent change for me. I've thought of 5 major goals that I've set for myself and anxious to read this post in a year and see what happens. I'm keeping in mind something Rachel Hollis wrote in her book, Girl Wash Your Face, about keeping promises. She reminds me that one of the most important promises I make are the ones I make to myself.

I promise to exercise today.

I promise to stop drinking sugary drinks.

I promise to take my makeup off every night.

How often do we break these small promises and how can we expect to keep the big ones?! This has got to be the year that I don't break promises. I don't break them for others, so I can't break them for me!



Goal One

Find Financial Freedom

I am in debt. Steven and I both have student loans. I have a car loan. I could go on. I feel like most millennials are in this boat. Now listen...I don't think it's realistic that ALL of our debt will be taken care of this year because it would be physically impossible. However, saving and planning is 100% possible and tackling small goals is 100% possible. On January 2nd, I was up late at night thinking about my goals for the year. I knew that finances were at the top of the list. I consider myself a saver - I feel uneasy if I don't have "enough" set aside as a cushion. I also have credit cards. My credit card debt is not astronomical, but it needs to go away. So, without letting myself think about it too much...I took enough out of my savings and paid off 1 of my 3 credit cards. The next day, I called and cancelled it! Even though this was a small amount, it was this huge weight off my shoulders. And this was on the second day of 2019. My goal is to save, be financially smart, and feel comfortable with our finances!


Goal Two

Find Balance With My Body

Now I know, I know...I can feel the eye rolls with this one. Trust me, I'm right there with you. I think having healthy intentions can be so misconstrued in the media. I don't have a weight loss goal, I don't plan on quitting my love for dessert, and you certainly won't catch me doing any "cleanses." My intention is to find balance and be a more healthy version of myself. I want to push myself to exercise more. I want to choose healthier options when I eat. I just want to choose what's truly best for my body. Again, I'm still gonna eat chocolate and enjoy a glass of wine every now and then...all with a little balance of course.


Goal Three

Cook More at Home

This ties into my first 2 goals, but by finding balance with my health and being smarter with finances, I also want to cook the majority of my meals at home. Steven and I have fallen into a very bad habit of eating out wayyyyyyy too much! We spend so much money on food. It's scary! So, last week I started planning meals for every single day and posting it on our fridge. Because we love going to restaurants and it's "our thing," we are going to pick 2 times each week to still go out. For example, this week we went out to dinner Friday night and we're going to go to brunch on Sunday. Otherwise, every meal is prepped/cooked at home. So expect lots of recipes shared with you soon!


Goal Four

Grow My Blog

This one is what I'm most excited about! I really want to focus in on my blog, the posts I'm writing, and making content that excites me! I absolutely love blogging and I am excited to take you guys along on this journey. I have a ton of ideas for 2019 and I hope you all are excited, too.


Goal Five

Make More Friends

Does this sound silly? I think it's so hard as adult women to make friends. Most of my peers are men and I work 50+ hours a week. Where do I meet people? Please tell me I'm not the only one in this same boat? Anyways, I have some pretty incredible friends, but not many here in Knoxville, so I'm excited to make more here in town and push myself out of my comfort zone.


2019 is going to be a great year. I can't wait to look back on these goals and see what I accomplish, but also see what I did that I didn't even intend for myself.


What are your intentions for 2019? I'd love to know!


xo

Mara

Today is our one year wedding anniversary, so I thought I'd take you down memory lane and share my favorite photos from that day! How has it already been a year?! Steven and I will be open and honest and tell you - marriage is hard work. It's been a year of extreme highs and extreme lows. At the end of the day, love is a choice. Marriage is a choice. And one year ago, we vowed to be each other's partners through the best and worst of times. Enjoy this look back on our special day!


















We hope you all have a happy New Year! Special thank you to our wonderful photographers at Avenue 356 for our beautiful wedding photos!


xo

Mara

Hey friends! I'm really, really excited and anxious about today's post. I get questions about my job, career advice, and what it is that I do on a daily basis. A lot of the times, it's other women around my age just trying to figure out what it is they want to do and looking for any advice in navigating the corporate world. Over on my Instagram, I opened up a questions forum so that you all could ask me anything you wanted to know. Now, I'm answering them! I truly hope that some of these questions help you and also show you that I don't have it all together. Plus I know some of you are just curious about my job in general. I hope you enjoy!



What exactly do you do?

I'm an Executive Team Leader for Target. This is Target talk for assistant manager. I lead a team of about 100-150 people in multiple departments throughout my store. My job has A LOT of responsibilities and if I were to list out everything I do on a weekly basis, we would be here for a lonnnnngggggg time, haha! Target is a great company and I'm proud to work for them. I highly recommend looking into a career with us if you are looking for something new.


What's the weirdest thing that's ever happened at Target?

Well, if you've worked in retail before, then you know I have some really good stories. It always amazes me! I've worked in more than one store, and during my time at another store, someone brought in a pet monkey. It actually got out in the store and we had to help the owner get it back to it's stroller. Can't make this up y'all!


In a management position, do you come across people who don't respect you or take you seriously?

Absolutely! I want to be straightforward and say that any time you are a leader, you aren't going to have everyone agree with you. And to be even more honest, not everyone is going to like you. There have been many, many times that people haven't shown me "respect." Now, I don't want y'all to picture me standing in front of a crowd of workers and screaming commands. Totally not my leadership style. However, there are times when you will ask people to do things and they basically refuse. The biggest hurdle in my post-grad career has been trying to get people to take me seriously. Being a young woman in a leadership role is not easy. AT ALL. You have to earn every ounce of trust and respect from the people that work for you. This is such a complicated answer that I could deep dive into, but I almost feel like it needs it's own blog post.


What's the most challenging part of your job? Most rewarding?

The most challenging part of my day to day is handling the unexpected. And there's a whole LOT of unexpected every day. With a team that large, a business of that size, and new people in and out every day...there are things changing constantly. I've had to learn (and still continue to learn every day) to think quickly on my feet and make smart decisions. The most rewarding part of my job is absolutely the wonderful people I work with. My team right now is seriously THE BEST. So many of them read my blog (hi guys!) and are so so so good to me. Wouldn't trade them for the world!


What tips do you have for interviews?

First thing: ALWAYS be professional! You would be amazed how many people don't taken interviews seriously. I don't care if you are interviewing for cashier or CEO, professionalism is everything. My best advice for interviews is to practice! Write out some potential questions (Glassdoor and Google are your friends) and come up with some great answers before hand. It's always a good idea to start thinking of some moments in your education or professional career that can be examples for questions you're asked. You can normally use one example for multiple questions (but don't use that same example twice!) and tweak it depending on what you're asked. Be precise. Don't ramble. Engage. I love when people I'm interviewing truly engage in conversation. Last but not least, prepare questions to ask. I want you to really put thought into these questions and ask about factors that will genuinely play a role in your job - company culture, growth opportunities, etc.


Best resume tips?

Keep it simple and straightforward. Most people just glance at a resume and they're looking for key words that stick out. Review job postings and tweak your resume to highlight what they're looking for. You'll be surprised at what you're qualified for! (Please don't lie when you apply for jobs, I'm just suggesting that you change phrasing and key words.) I purchased a resume template from Etsy that comes with a matching Cover Letter, reference page, and portfolio template. This keeps my entire professional documentation clean and on brand. You can purchase my template HERE.


Do you want to stay in retail forever?

Good question! I think clothing and home decor will always play a part in my professional life. My dream is to work in Corporate Visual Merchandising. I try not to hold myself to one path, but am open to whatever my career brings me!


What's your best piece of advice for someone wanting a career in retail?

It's all about EXPERIENCE! If you want to work in retail in any capacity, you have to have experience. There are countless opportunities, and retail can be extremely lucrative. The number one sign of someone I would NOT hire: job jumping. Find a company you love working for and stick with it. Set learning opportunities, promote, and ask for projects. I've been working in retail since 2010 - almost 10 years! My very first job (I was a bridal stylist) I kept for 3 years and I absolutely loved it.


What advice do you have for recent graduates?

Don't be discouraged! You're qualified for more than you think. Don't be afraid to reach out to recruiters. Take advantage of career fairs. Take leaps of faith. Most importantly, don't be afraid to ask for advice or guidance from someone you look up to!


xo

Mara

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