SpotlightYouth Spotlight

We met Kaitlyn Chana because we all did the same program, The Congressional Award, and we reached out to talk to her more about what she did to earn her Gold Medal from Congress. Little did we know at the time how ambitious and accomplished Kaitlyn is. She currently works as a Multimedia Journalist at the NBC affiliate WLBZ in Bangor, Maine. Kaitlyn covers a range of stories, develops sources, delivers news to an online audience, and provides dynamic live coverage, among many other duties.

Kaitlyn has also run her own non-profit organization, so she knows very well how important time management and being organized is for success. Kaitlyn is generous with her time and advice, and it is clear how passionate she is about helping others. Read on to learn more about what it means to be a multimedia journalist, what it was like running a non-profit, and what advice she would give to her younger self.

*Fun fact about Kaitlyn – she is profiled in our book, Youth’s Highest Honor!

Name: Kaitlyn Chana
Education:
B.A. Radio-Television from the University of Central Florida
Follow:
@KaitlynChana / KaitlynChana.com

Kaitlyn Chana: For me, it means taking advantage of the opportunities around you. Be a go-getter; go after your dreams by putting yourself out there so you can learn and prosper. As a teen, stretch your resources, push your personal boundaries, and challenge yourself daily. No one can teach you about yourself, except you.

CJ: You studied Broadcast Journalism and Radio/Television at University of Central Florida. How did you determine what to study?

KC: Since 6th grade, I’ve wanted to be a storyteller. As a reporter, you need to build rapport and trust while informing the public and providing objective standpoints surrounding the community. I’ve always wanted to tell stories for a living. Journalism fuels my curiosity of wanting to know more, so in college I couldn’t get enough of it. I’ve always known that journalism is my calling. Everyone in life has a personal story of excitement, love, desperation, hurt or a driven message. I want to be the journalist who strives for purpose, bringing truth, and helping others to open their hearts.

CJ: You have held many internships in journalism at places such as TODAY Show in New York City and WKMG in Orlando, Florida. What were these experiences like?

KC: Internships are key. I gained so much insight by observing and making mistakes. Yes, mistakes will happen, and that’s normal. But it’s important you learn from these mistakes so it doesn’t become a repeat offence. Interning at the TODAY Show was remarkable. I was involved in the news gathering process, setting up interviews, researching and working with the talent. Local markets, like WKMG in Orlando, taught me how to write short and concise stories. TV is all about sound, video, and images. Creativity is important in the news industry.

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CJ: You earned the Congressional Award Gold Medal in 2010. How did you get involved with the Congressional Award and what was your biggest takeaway from the experience?

KC: I found this program intriguing because it allowed me to set and achieve goals that build character, foster community service, personal development and citizenship. This three-year commitment propelled me to become a motivated goal setter while being an interactive team player. I learned how to sculpt my schedule so I could juggle all my responsibilities. My greatest takeaway is balancing my activities and managing my time.

CJ: You are the Founder and President of Love Letters: Random Cards of Kindness. What inspired you to start this international non-profit organization, and what does your role entail?

KC: My inspiration came from an extraordinary woman named Linda Bremner, who founded Love Letters Inc., when her son, Andy, battled cancer. Having participated in a Girl Scout activity for Love Letters, Inc. years earlier, I revisited it when I needed to complete a community service project in eighth grade. After contacting Linda through email and phone conversations we formed a very meaningful friendship. At the close of one of our phone conversations she told me, “It only takes one person to move a mountain and then others will follow.” While I didn’t know exactly what she meant at the time, I wrote her beautiful quote in my book to always remember. Shortly after that, I received word that Linda had passed away and at her request the national organization, Love Letters Inc., was closed. My hands gravitated to Linda’s quote and I instantly realized that it was my turn to be the one to move the mountain to help children with medical challenges. It then became my passion to carry on Linda’s legacy by encouraging others to create inspiring homemade cards for children with life-threatening illnesses.

So, in high school I became the Founder and President of Love Letters: Random Cards of Kindness, Inc. which was a 501 (c) (3) non-profit national organization whose mission was to create positive and inspirational homemade cards for children with life-threatening illnesses. Each card was unique because it was created by hand using stamps, stickers, scrapbook paper, and art supplies. Inside each one an uplifting message such as “Sending You a Great Big Hug” or “You Shine like a Star” was written to give children faith, courage and the will to survive.

Once the cards were created, I’d examine each card and hand deliver some to individual children going through the difficult times of treatments and surgeries and others to hospitals and organizations such as Give Kids the World, the Ronald McDonald House, and Keiki Cards so they could distribute the sincere messages. The remaining cards were sent with love through the mail to help lift children’s spirits. Doctors can’t prescribe love; it’s typically left to a volunteer to fill this prescription by restoring the patient’s dreams. Through Love Letters cards we were able to touch the lives of 120,000 children with life-threatening illnesses. I had to close the organization because I couldn’t continue the success of our mission and my full-time reporting job. My passion is in telling stories and I want to inspire people with my pieces, so all my energy is devoted to reporting.

CJ: How did you go about starting a non-profit organization, and what do you wish you had known before launching?

KC: Starting a non-profit is truly like running a small enterprise business. It’s a lot of work, yet with the right tender, love and care the imaginable is possible. I took a non-profit course during my high school years so I could have a strong understanding of the legal documents associated with my organization. My responsibility not only centered around the actual volunteering, but also the finances, management, recruiting of volunteers, working on grants, marketing my mission, and being an active presence with the organization’s brand. It was a 24/7 job.

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CJ: In addition to running Love Letters, you are a multimedia journalist. What does it mean to be a multimedia journalist?

KC: A multimedia journalist or ‘one-man-band’ means you do the job of four people as one person. I have to enterprise my own story ideas, interview my subjects, write, edit, anchor that portion, write a web story, and have a strong social media presence. That’s all in a day’s work. It’s not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination because there are many deadlines. Deadlines can be your best friend or worst enemy. You always want to stay ahead of the clock. You need to be tech savvy; sometimes I edit my stories in remote places and feed the content back to the station. Also, I set up my own live shots and lights for when I’m going live in the field.

CJ: What advice do you have for youth who are interested in being journalists, or who are interested in starting their own non-profit organization?

KC: Never give up! Always follow your dreams and passion. Don’t let negative comments steer you into a direction you disagree with. There will be days when you feel like you’ve been run over by a semi-truck. That’s when you are going to be tested the most. So, pick yourself up, get back on track and keep going.

CJ: Every day in your life must be different depending on school and the time of year, but what does a Monday look like for you?

KC: Currently, I work as a reporter for an NBC affiliate in Bangor, Maine. There is no general day! Every day is different depending on the story. Sometimes it’s an early morning live shoot covering breaking news or staying late to interview someone. The only thing that is constant is that we are live in our news shows from 5PM to 6:30PM. And I need to be ‘camera ready’ and look well-rested… news never stops and neither does my job. Every Monday is different. Once I go to bed, I get up the next day and get ready for another unpredictable day.

CJ: How do you stay organized and manage your time?

KC: Organization is key. If I wasn’t organized then I wouldn’t be effective or efficient, and I’d be left behind in my job. I’m very meticulous, to the point that everything in my office is color-coded and in similar binders and folders. My life revolves around calendars and sticky notes.

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CJ: What is an area, either personal or professional, that you are working to improve in and how?

KC: At heart, I’m a perfectionist. I want everything to be perfect. But, how do we define perfection? I remind myself daily that being perfect all the time dampers the beauty of life. In reality, I want to be imperfectly perfect.

CJ: What is a book you read in school that has positively shaped you?

KC: In third grade, I read The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto, and it was almost as if the words on the page were speaking to me. The frigid temperatures, walloping snow, and miserable wind kept hounding lead dog, Balto, as he carried medicine to sick children miles away in Nome, Alaska. These incredible athletes were inspiring and moved me to want to be a musher in the Iditarod. For years, I studied the race, the remarkable dogs, and their mushers. As a reporter, I covered the Can-Am Crown 250 this year, which is a qualifier race for the Iditarod. I was beside myself as I got to see the sport in its entirety right before my eyes. A surreal experience; it started because of this book.

CJ: Having a loaded schedule can sometimes be overwhelming. What do you do when you’re having a bad day and need to unwind or reset?

KC: Each day I allot time for me; to work out, read a compelling story, spend time with family/friends, or do something life-affirming. Structure is fantastic, but you have to have a little ‘wiggle room’ to breath and let lose. On those sour days, it’s important for me to break down my walls and do something physical. I reflect on my actions best when working out on the Stairmaster.

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

KC: Don’t rush yourself into growing up. Appreciate the ‘present’ and be in the ‘present.’ Learn to enjoy developing into the woman you’d like to see. It won’t happen overnight, so as you take detours and back roads reflect and appreciate all the avenues you’ve been given.

Kaitlyn Chana Qs

Images by Kaitlyn Chana

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

Being part of the online world means searching tirelessly and endlessly for other people who can provide us with fresh perspectives and new inspiration. Someone who continues to inspire us post after post is Carly Heitlinger of The College Prepster. We’ve been long time fans and were excited to meet Carly in person when we moved to New York City last winter. One of our favorite things about The College Prepster is how authentic her writing is and how much she shares with her online family (and we can’t forget Teddy!). When we sat down with her at a coffee shop on the Upper East Side, she was engaging, relatable, and outgoing.

From starting a blog in her college dorm room at Georgetown University to building it into a self-established brand and career, we are so impressed with everything Carly has done and can’t wait to see what she does next!

Name: Carly Heitlinger
Education: B.S. in Marketing from Georgetown University
Follow: TheCollegePrepster.com / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define ‘Seizing Your Youth’?

Carly Heitlinger: I definitely think that the idea that there will always be a tomorrow and there’s only one today is great. We are so young and we have everything to gain and nothing to lose – so I’m so glad I started my company when I was 19 because for one I was a little bit naïve and I didn’t know what I was doing, and there was no fear because I literally had nothing to lose. I didn’t have to make money right away, I didn’t have to be financially independent, and I didn’t have to worry about a mortgage or a family. I think that the more you figure out now, the better off you’re going to be later. Make a lot of mistakes now.

CJ: You are the blogger behind The College Prepster, which you started when you were a freshman at Georgetown as a creative outlet. What are three most important skills that you use on a daily basis?

CH: I would say some sort of public speaking element is useful. I’m very introverted – I think that’s why I started a blog so that I could be behind the computer rather than in front of people – the fact is that I do have to go out and speak to people even though that’s not my natural inclination. But I’ve practiced so much that meeting strangers five years ago would have been horrifying, but now it’s normal and I don’t get as nervous. So being able to effectively communicate with people you don’t know is a huge thing.

Another skill is being hyper-organized. I think a big issue that a lot of people face is letting things slip through the cracks because they’re not organized. I think it’s the easiest thing you can do to set yourself up for success. Making sure you have a calendar, transferring things from your computer to your phone with iCalendar. Staying on top of your email. Making sure you’re paying bills on time. It’s boring being an adult, but at the very least you save yourself from a few headaches and embarrassment down the line. You don’t want financial mistakes you made when you were 18 or 20 to haunt you. Organization is a habit.

I also think that effectively managing stress is a big skill. It’s not as tangible of as skill as staying organized, but I think that a lot of people our age are prone to letting stress either freeze them or stop them from doing things that they want to do. There will always be stressful situations that come up from now until the day we die. If you come up with good strategies and mechanisms to deal with those now and get in the habit now, that will really help. Problems that seem big now and would become huge later won’t be nearly as big. For me, knowing that I need to wake up every morning and walk my dog, talk to my mom, go to yoga, eat healthy, and cut back on caffeine – doing little things that help minimize stress – you just work so much more effectively if you’re not going a mile a minute with your internal thoughts.

CJ: You have gotten really into yoga. How do you stay healthy and do you have a fitness routine?

CH: I don’t really have one, but I was on the crew team for seven and a half years. The first year I was actually a rower and ran – I was never actually boated because I was terrible – but I would run all day. And then I fell out of the habit and I was an athlete in the mental sense but not physically. I do think that keeping your mind active is a huge skill. But I’ve been really bad in the past about being healthy.

Part of it is a quarter life crisis and realizing that this is the one body I have. I need to be thankful for having my health. I think making the choice and decision and really committing to being healthy has been the biggest thing – before I wasn’t committed but now for some reason I feel like I really care. I try to only eat bad things in moderation. Yoga has been a great way to get back into it, and now I try to walk for 45 minutes or more, which I think is pretty easy in New York. And taking the stairs versus the elevator – little changes like that all add up. One big thing is that I’ve been trying to drink more water.

Carly - by Bekka Palmer 2

CJ: How do you do about setting and tracking goals?

CH: I’m a very visual person. I learn visually – I use big number lines to track things that I want to achieve. I’ll set goals in my calendar. I’m very number driven. Getting other people involved helps too. I also break things down into quarters. I think you can set goals for the week, goals for the day. Those are really tangible goals that can add up. I also set quarter goals for my business and it percolates down into my personal life, too. For example, a year seems like such a long time to me, but 90 days seems manageable. Three months – that’s totally doable. With the quarter system you can track things more easily.

CJ: What is a memorable Spring Break trip you’ve had?

CH: I’ve actually only ever had one Spring Break ever. I was always on a crew team so our Spring Breaks were training trips, which were actually a lot of fun. They were two-a-days, but when you’re with your friends it’s so much fun. Then my senior year I wasn’t on the crew team anymore and my family went on a trip together. That was my best spring break because it was my only real spring break.

Carly - CH Insta

CJ: What are some travel tips that you would recommend?

CH: The biggest tip I would have is traveling with people who are like-minded with what is important to you. If you don’t want to get wasted and drink a lot, don’t go with people who are going to drink a lot. You’ll be in an environment where you’re not having a good time for making that decision not to drink, or you’ll feel like you have to play along even if that’s not what you want to do. Maybe you find two girl friends who want to plan a crazy quick week-long turnaround trip to Paris and you don’t want to drink at all. Make sure that you’re surrounding yourself with people who make decisions that you want to make.

I would also say spend Spring Break with your family because you don’t see your family as much when you’re an adult. If you don’t want to spend it with your immediate family, spend time with people you love and who you want to spend time with.

CJ: How do you combat really hard days? What do you do to keep yourself positive?

CH: Sometimes I need to surround myself with great friends or call my mom to vent. And other times I need to just spend time alone. Going for a long walk or spending a night curled up in bed reading can do wonders for my mental health! I also repeat to myself, “this too shall pass.”

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CJ: Is there a cause or issue that you care greatly about? If so, why?

CH: Mental health on college campuses! I contribute in small ways to specific organizations, but I know there’s more that I want to do. I personally had such a hard time adjusting to college life and really struggled. There were some very dark days, especially in the beginning. Luckily, I found help on campus that helped me get back on track.

CJ: What advice would you give your 19-year-old self?

CH: I would remind her that things work out. I spent too much time convinced that my world was going to end, or that one little problem was going to throw off everything. Everything resets, or you find a new course that was better than one you would’ve taken otherwise. Everything happens for a reason. You’ll figure it out as you go. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know where you’re going as long as you’re going.

Carly Heitlinger Qs

Images by Bekka Palmer and Carly Heitlinger

Skills

Spring cleaning is a time honored tradition. We start the year off right by getting rid of what we don’t need anymore. That gives us room for new things like the Christmas gifts we got last year. When doing your cleaning, don’t forget to clean up your computer.

Raven Moore reminded us to manage our emailsbut there is still work to do offline. New programs and files can add up. The recent updates to my computer took up 100 GB! To keep adding things to your computer, there has to be enough room to do so. You’ll be surprised to know that real life spring cleaning rules will help you make room on your computer.

1. Get Rid of Duplicates and Junk

In real life, we can occasionally use more than one of something. However, you generally don’t need more than one bed in your bedroom. You take the one you need and get rid of the other one. Similarly, if you have duplicate files, you can get rid of them if they serve no purpose.

2. Dispose of Things You No Longer Use

Generally, I keep files of my writing. They are all unique to me. However, there are some programs and files that I never use anymore. These are programs I downloaded for one use or have since become outdated. You may have forgotten that they are on your computer since it’s been so long since you used them. Look through everything on your control panel and search for the programs you no longer need. Once all this is gone, there is a chance that your computer will run faster.

3. Organize What Is Left

When going through your house during spring cleaning not only will you find things you want to get rid of, but you’ll also find things that you want to keep and take care of. To keep track of the things you hold dear, you have to organize them. To organize your computer put the important files and folders in a place where you can easily access them.

4. Keep It Safe

Once you have an orderly computer, don’t forget to back it up! You never know when a virus will hit or your system will crash. I’ve known a lot of people who lost all their data at a critical time like several pages into a paper or 40,000 words into their novel. I’ve even known people who have had their laptops stolen and lost the work on it. Don’t let that happen to you. Buy a backup hard drive.

So, do some spring cleaning. It will require no heavy lifting. You will thank yourself in the long run. No one has ever regretted getting organized.

Image: Getrefe

Education

With the start of the second semester of my freshman year, I felt more confident than I did going into my first. However, I didn’t expect the seemingly never-ending workload to start only a few weeks in. This past week has been an extremely stressful week for me where I seem to literally not have a minute of free time. Here is a list of ways that I deal with my stress to make life a little easier when it just seems like the world won’t give you a break!

Surround yourself with positive people

Having people to motivate you and keep you focus and grounded is seriously important. A smile or a “you can do it!” can really make a difference! If you’re really stressed, try to spend time with people who are going to help you get things accomplished, rather than people who are going to load their own problems on you and not consider yours.

Make a list and check things off as you go

Of course making a list of everything you have to get done can be overwhelming and may seem more stressful at the time, but doing this will allow you to check things off as you go which will help give you that deep breath of relief! It will also help you stay focused and keep an eye on what you need to get done.

Stay organized

Keeping an agenda or planner of time that you have to get things done can really help you out. It will allow you to successfully manage your time and give you ease of mind knowing you have a time and place for everything.

Don’t underestimate the power of a hot shower or nap

A hot shower or a hot bath (with a bath bomb of course) can help you unwind, relax, and take a breather from your hectic day. It’s just as important to relax as it is to get things done. A half hour nap can really make a difference when resting your mind and allowing yourself to take a step back.

Make sure to take a break

As stated above, it’s just as important to relax as it is to get work done. Take a break for coffee or a smoothie and that pizza you’ve been craving, check your social media accounts, or have a much needed phone call with your mom or best friend. These small things can really make a difference.

Image: Unsplash

Education

Let’s face it, we all spend a lot of time getting work done at a desk. Typing, writing, drawing, and organizing our way to the next deadline. Your work space can even be seen as an interesting reflection of yourself. So why not cater your desk to how you work best?

desk 1

For the simple and clean go-getter. There’s no need for unnecessary supplies or distractions. This worker is anti-clutter and prefers having only what’s needed to get an assignment done.
MUST HAVES: portable items such as a foldable book stand, small notebook, and an easy-to-carry thermos.

Desk 2

You appreciate visual company at your desk. Having inspiration at your fingertips is a necessity and your selected pile of books and magazines are always on rotation.
MUST HAVES: just the right lighting, background music, and a new stock of inky pens on standby.

Desk 3

The one that schedules time to schedule things. People ask you for the stapler, the post-its, and index cards. You are the constant email checker and enjoy the list-making efficiency of Wunderlist.
MUST HAVES: color coded agendas, caffeine, and a fully charged laptop.

Work space styles are endless, but once you figure out what your go-to items and settings are, you’re more likely to stay focused and motivated. Plus, spending some time to transform your space can add a little joy to your day to day. And behold, desk jobs can be fun!

Image: Marian Rose Bagamaspad

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

We first discovered Katie Leamon’s gorgeous luxury cards and stationery during a trip abroad. When we stumbled across her notebooks, we were immediately smitten. Based in England, Katie runs her own company devoted to making beautiful paper goods. Having studied art and design in school, Katie followed her passion and turned it into a successful brand. We adored learning more about the woman behind the stationery, and Katie is hardworking and very sweet. Katie shares a glimpse into her busy days, how youth interested in running their own business can set themselves up for success, and her favorite things to do in London.

Name: Katie Leamon
Age: 29
Education: Loughborough University Woven Textile BA Degree; First Class Honors
Follow: Katie Leamon | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define ‘Seizing Your Youth’?

Katie Leamon: Be open minded, try new things, challenge yourself every day, believe in yourself, and take the opportunities that life throws at you, and if it doesn’t then go and grab them yourself!

CJ: You majored in Textile Design at Loughborough University. How did you determine what to study?

KL: I loved art and design at school, and I concentrated on textile design throughout my foundation course so it was the next natural step. I then choose to specialize in woven textiles because I wanted to learn a new skill while I was at university which would not be overly accessible following my time in school.

CJ: You are the Director of Katie Leamon, a company devoted to making gorgeous luxury cards and stationery proudly made in England, which you launched in 2010. Where did your love of making beautiful stationery come from?

KL: I am a bit of a perfectionist and pay a huge amount of attention to the detail of a product, so when I set about starting my own thing, it seemed clear to me that it was going to be a high end product. Initially it was just about the design. I didn’t think about starting a stationery business, I was just building my portfolio and getting back into drawing. I have always loved paper products and stationery seemed like an obvious avenue to try and an accessible one for a young designer, so that’s where I started!

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CJ: What responsibilities do you have as the Director?

KL: I am directly responsible for the design and finish of a product, but as it’s my company, all major responsibilities come back to me. We have a great little team, but I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to my work and I still take on a lot more of the daily responsibility than I should!

CJ: How did your education and past work experiences prepare you to start Katie Leamon?

KL: I worked in a small fashion design company for two years before starting up on my own and the experience of running a small company was invaluable. I did a lot of the wholesale side of things which helped when I first set out, and the design experience throughout education and work was all influential in my first collection, and continue to be.

CJ: What are the greatest lessons you have learned from running your own company?

KL: Don’t try and run before you can walk. You can kill your company by moving too slowly and equally by moving too fast and making bad, ill-considered decisions. Things have a way of working themselves out so don’t lose too much sleep about things out of your control. Also, don’t hold back on making decisions. As long as you’re making decisions, they won’t be the wrong ones – the worst thing you can do is stay still.

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CJ: What is your design process? Where do you find inspiration?

KL: My design process is a little back to front… I tend to visualize a finished product and then work backwards to get it down on paper and make it a reality.

I am constantly being inspired, and normally have too many ideas, often unrealistic, running around my mind! I can be looking at patterns in the pavement to latest fashion trends, and think of something that could transfer to paper. Sometimes I don’t think we are even aware of many of our influences. I take intentional inspiration from vintage typography, I scour secondhand shops, and the images and style are always inspiring.

CJ: How did you go about the process of selling Katie Leamon luxury cards and stationery in high end retailers in the United Kingdom and across the world?

KL: I was very lucky in that my first stockist was Liberty of London; I was a successful candidate in their Open Call day in early 2011, and following that success gave me the confidence and money to try a trade show and I gained another few stockists, including Selfridges so it grew organically from then on. I think you need to know where you want to pitch your brand before you start, there is no point designing a high end product and targeting mass market chain stores.

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CJ: What can a teenager or young adult who wants to start their own luxury card and stationery company do now to set themselves up for success?

KL: Work hard. There is no way around it, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. I think it’s also very important to experiment and know your brand identity and style before you pitch to the market, have a strong unique product, and target the right places.

CJ: What would you say to people who are uncertain about starting a business? What motivated you to take the leap?

KL: I wanted to work for myself and I wanted to make beautiful things. It’s very hard at first, you’re on much less money, if any, than all of your friends, but the hard work is starting to pay off now and I would always recommend doing it if you can. I was working on such low money before I decided to start my own thing that I decided I had nothing to lose, I’d always wanted to do it, I am self-motivated, and I work hard, so I wanted to reap the benefits of working that hard for my own thing! I could get the same money from a part-time job initially, so I did that for the first couple of years while the company grew. I also had the support of my family, I shared my studio with my brother, and he paid the rent for the first couple of months and they were all so supportive. They helped me take that leap so I was very lucky.

CJ: What is the best moment of your career so far?

KL: That’s a hard one, I have a couple. My success at the Open Call day at Liberty was really the start of it all so that was a huge game changer and a huge accomplishment for me. Also, the building and opening of our production studio in Essex. We built the studio as a family, and now my mum and sister run all our production from there. It was a real “Wow, look how far I have come” moment for me.

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CJ: Describe a day in your life.

KL: My day varies largely depending on the time of year and on how close we get to a trade show! But generally speaking, I arrive at the studio at about 8-8.30am, and run through my emails while eating my breakfast. When my assistant Georgia arrives, we will run through our current projects and where we are with them. I will then catch up with my mum and sister who run the production studio in Essex and iron out any issues that might have come up and discuss any projects or new accounts that we are working on.

I then try to concentrate on the design side of things. Whether it’s working on new design projects, selecting and sampling colours and paper stock or actually getting my head down and doing some drawing. I always start with doodles in my sketchbook, then edit and try things on the computer. As to be expected with a small company, my day is interrupted with various queries, but I try to structure my day around our current projects and deadlines. Currently I’m trying to finish off our catalogue for Top Drawer, so I’m finalizing samples for a photo-shoot next week, and selecting some new envelope styles for a limited edition run of neon!

CJ: How do you balance your career roles and goals? How do you stay organized and efficient?

KL: Luckily I am naturally organized. But as a company we plan our weeks with what needs to get done and other things we want to achieve with the tasks at hand. I think you need to be flexible, you can’t plan too far in advance or you might miss an opportunity. Up to now I have let the business dictate a little of its own path, stores have approached us which has led to new and exciting things, and we obviously have goals but I think they are constantly changing and evolving. We evaluate things as often as possible and try to identify as quickly as possible if we are going off course.

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CJ: How do you like to enjoy your free time?

KL: I am a bit of a foodie so I love eating out with friends and trying the wealth of London’s food markets! I also love being outdoors and keeping active so I love camping, going to the beach, and keeping fit.

CJ: Which book had the greatest impact on you?

KL: Gone Girl, I was thinking about it for ages after I read it!

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

KL: Work hard but worry less. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Health

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve recently heard complain about the amount of storage units they own. For some reason they all have to go clean them, and move stuff around and let it sit some more in the dark collecting dust.

Our society is one that encourages us to buy, buy, buy. And then keep.

It’s a problem I had, and one that I work on daily. School binders from tenth grade? I had them. Boxes full of trinkets and souvenirs that meant almost nothing to me? Yep. Clothes I hadn’t touched in years? You betcha. And one day I felt disgusted by it all.

But some of us aren’t disgusted by our stuff, and may be wondering why we would want to de-clutter.

Clutter is tremendously limiting. It keeps us stuck and holding on, literally and figuratively, to baggage. Clutter prevents good energy from flowing through our surroundings. Plus, holding onto things “just in case” sends the message to the universe that we will need things to fall back on in the future. It’s called poverty consciousness.

Because of all these things, experts often say that people dealing with issues including obesity, anxiety, and financial issues almost always have some sort of clutter in their lives that needs clearing. It won’t “cure” everything, but it will certainly alleviate many difficulties.

Below are nine steps we can take to de-clutter our physical lives and live more freely:

1. Slim down the wardrobe.

The average woman wears the same 11 pieces of clothing the majority of the time. Many of us could probably look through our closets and find a few things with the tags on, and others of us likely can find at least 10 items (that’s conservative) that we never wear.

If we consistently have trouble determining what to wear, we have too much. When we limit ourselves only to things we like, it becomes easy and even fun to put together outfits every day.

We have to be honest here. If we haven’t worn an item in six months, we don’t need it. Throw those clothes into a trash bag and take them to a donation center or consignment shop.

2. The bathroom.

Stop buying new shampoo, conditioner, etc. Many of us have some half- or quarter-full toiletries laying around that are waiting to be used. Either use them or toss them. Same with old medicine bottles; I had about four bottles of Aleve, so I combined them into one.

3. De-clutter in small increments.

Trying to tackle everything all at once or in a short time is intimidating, and a great way to get defeated. I found success in breaking my cleaning up in time chunks, spending no more (but often less) than two hours cleaning each day.

Find what works for you; maybe you want to fill one large trash bag per day; maybe you want to clean one section of the room per day. Or maybe you want to make a short playlist and stop cleaning when it’s over.

4. Use your free time.

Do you have five minutes to wait for something to microwave? Clean a part of your kitchen. Every time you have a few minutes, tackle a tiny portion of a room. It adds up.

5. Don’t open it.

If you have boxes or bags that have sat untouched for over a year, don’t go through them. Just donate them. Or toss them. For me, going through old boxes = keeping things I don’t need.

6. The sentimentals.

Part of a true deep clean is eliminating items that may have some sort of sentimental value, but are collecting dust. I had trouble with this, yet I began realizing that stowing away meaningful items and allowing them to collect dust, rather than giving them to someone who may use and care for them was not a way to honor my memories. I held on to the deeply sentimental items I still used. I let go of my attachment to the rest.

To make the process easier, I gifted some of these items to people I care about; clothes I didn’t wear went to an old roommate, teddy bears went to my little cousin.

7. One in, one out.

When you receive an item, get rid of a similar item.

8. Remember that value doesn’t lie in things.

Our memories and love are not diminished when we let go of things we have collected from special people or during special times.

It is unfair to ourselves to base our memories and measure our value on material items. Once this is internalized, it is much easier to freely eliminate clutter.

9. Set an intention or vision.

This is fun for very visual people, or those who love to decorate. Imagine, or even draw out, the way you want to decorate your new space once you remove its clutter. Seeing or envisioning the beautiful change can give us the boost we need to keep going!

I hope these tips get you moving in the right direction toward clutter-free surroundings!

What de-cluttering tips do you have? Share below! You can also check out a couple great articles on organizing your bedroom here and here.

Image: Unsplash

Education

When it comes to packing up our bag for school, the main motto is: Less is More. When you’re lugging your backpack around all day from class to class it’s better to focus on the essentials rather than extra stuff that seems necessary at first but is actually just a pain in the neck (literally) later on. Focusing on the most important tools also helps you keep clutter at bay, leaving more time for fun and productivity rather than stress over a bag full of, excuse our French, crap. So what exactly are our essentials?

Take a look and get packing!

1. Backpack

Okay, this seems so obvious it’s silly but stick with us. The type of backpack you carry matters. Even though side bags are popular we prefer to stick with a traditional, two-strap backpack that goes around the shoulders. It’s better for your back, neck, and shoulders, especially when you’re probably carrying more than 18 pounds of weight around.

2. Two pencils, two pens, two highlighters

It might be tempting to bring an entire case of writing tools with you because well, they’re fun. But please, for the sake of your sanity, don’t do it. Bring one or two of each and focus more on the assignment than what you’ll be using to write it with. Plus, studies reveal that the less small decisions we have to make in a day the more energy we have for big things that matter.

3. Small bag for personal items

This could include a contact lens case and solution, personal hygiene products, Chapstick, hand cream, Advil, allergy medicine, a small Kleenex pack –whatever you always seem to need but never seem to have. If you aren’t totally sure what those items might be jot down what you keep reaching for during the first week of school.

4. 16 oz. reusable water bottle

You can refill this as often as you want and leave it in your locker before heading home. If you play on a sports team it’s also a great way to stay hydrated throughout the day without realizing it! Plus it’s nice to have right after gym class.

5. Laptop and charger when necessary

Every school is different when it comes to the laptop and electronics policy but if you’re allowed to bring your laptop to school it could be a great tool for getting work done in between classes or during a free period.

6. Planner

You already know that Carpe is old-school when it comes to planning. High school is where you’re learning to juggle multiple schedules at once (academic, athletic, extra-curricular, personal) so it really helps to have a quality planner that you can keep track of everything in.

7. Cell phone

Just make sure to keep it on airplane mode during class.

8. Wallet

This is the ultimate place to keep basics: $15 of cash, debit card, driver’s license, and student I.D. Done and done.

9. Keys

Car keys, house keys, bike keys, locker keys, you name it.

10. Headphones

Headphones are great. Whether you’re relaxing before an exam or jamming out while doing homework, headphones can be an awesome tool for focusing in or purposefully zoning out. Library tip: Even if you don’t have music playing h a red flag that you don’t want to be bothered.

What do you keep in your backpack? Did we miss any essentials? Let us know on Twitter @carpejuvenis #backpackessentials

Image: Flickr

CultureSkillsTravel

Road trips are a fun way to spend the summer. If you have the free time and the gas money, it is a great choice. It gives you the opportunity to spend time with family, friends or a significant other. Here’s how you can plan one:

1. Pick a Location

The trick here is to pick a place you want to go, as well as finding the right time to go. If it takes three days to drive to your destination, you have to also factor in breaks for meals and using the restroom. Plus, if there are not enough people and little desire to drive continuously, you may need to spend a few nights in hotels. That will make the entire trip take longer. You want to make sure you have enough time to and from your destination. 

2. Figure Out Who To Invite

Traveling is fun but it can also be hard. If you are stuck in a car with someone for hours or days on end, make sure you like that person. More importantly, how many people you invite can mean different cars. Keep in mind that if you are the only one with a driver’s license, you will be the only one driving. That will mean more work for you. You also need to find people who can go on the trip at the same time as you.

3. Logistics

Timing can be everything on a road trip. You have to factor in times to stop for food, gas, and rest. You should also make reservations somewhere if you need them. Sleeping in your car is not always safe. You do not want to end up in an unfamiliar area and not be able to find a place to sleep. Above all things you should find out how much time you want to spend at your destination. That might determine how many breaks you take.

4. Pack Well

You want to bring everything you need. Gas and food money are a must. However, you do not want to over-pack. There needs to be enough room in the car for everyone.

Lastly, remember to have fun! These memories can last a lifetime.

Image: Unsplash

Professional SpotlightSpotlight

As an entrepreneur, it can be difficult to find useful resources to help grow your business. Many days are full of trial and error and spent thinking, what can I do to make my business successful? This is where Irving Torres steps in. As founder of Young and CEO, Irving empowers entrepreneurs  and provides free resources and tools to help entrepreneurs succeed and make their dreams a reality. When you sign up for the Young and CEO newsletter, you receive lots of information about books to be reading, smart articles from around the web, and tools that will help you advance.

Irving is passionate about helping others succeed, and he goes above and beyond to answer a question or provide more information. Start-up life is nothing new to Irving as he was heavily involved in starting organizations and businesses in college. For those interested in starting a business, club, or organization – in or out of school – Irving shares the lessons he learned and what he experienced along the way. From balancing school and business to taking the time to travel and explore and always being hungry for knowledge and information, Irving is seizing his youth and making the most of every minute of every day. When there’s a lot to see, do, and accomplish, there’s no time to waste.

Name: Irving Torres
Age: 23
Education: B.A. in Media Studies from Pomona College
Follow: Twitter / Young And CEO / Irving Torres

Carpe Juvenis: How do you define “Seizing Your Youth”? 

Irving Torres: To me seizing your youth is all about realizing that no matter who you are, you can take everything that has been given to you and modify it, break it down, and create new things for other people to use. As Steve Jobs famously said, “When you grow up you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you will never be the same again”.  This is what ‘seizing your youth’ means to me. Realizing that you have more power than you thought possible and realizing that you are in the driver’s seat of your life and not the standards set by the people of the world.

CJ: You attended Pomona College and majored in Media Studies. How did you determine what to study?

IT: It was a pretty tough decision that’s for sure. I have always been a curious mind so I was undecided for a few years. I took everything from Chemistry to Psychology, Calculus, and Economics. I loved learning different skills and making friends in various disciplines. I finally settled on Media Studies after I took an intro to Digital Media course and fell in love with the intersection of technology, media, music, film, and art. Even with Media Studies I was all over the place and took a bit of film history, art, drawing, graphic design, advanced film, and theory.

I finished off my senior year by taking two Entrepreneurship courses and that’s when it all came together for me. I realized that I was a creative, a maker. I had accumulated a whole arsenal of tools to use in creating something like a business. It was thanks to all of this exploring that I landed with Media Studies and I couldn’t have been happier. My advice for current college students is to not be afraid to explore outside of your comfort zones. It was in the process of nearly failing microeconomics that I learned what I was truly passionate about.

CJ: When you were in college, you founded Pomona Ventures, which inspires students to take risks and tackle real world problems. How did you go about raising capital for this organization?  

IT: The journey was a tough one for sure. We were met with many obstacles because there had never been an entrepreneurship organization on campus so administration had no guidelines or funding set aside for us. We had to think creatively. Nevertheless, we were aware of a few advantages we had. 1. We were college students and we knew that we could get away with a lot. Mentors would (in theory) flock to us and alumni would be supportive because we were still young. 2. We did extensive research on entrepreneurship courses and programs at other college campuses (we wanted to be able to explain how far behind we were). 3. I was pretty darn good at talking to people and maintaining professional relationships (known in the business world as ‘networking’) as well as marketing.

Based on these strengths, we first partnered up with the alumni gifts department to be able to tap into the alumni network directly without interference. They wanted to get alumni in Silicon Valley involved in the college once more and we wanted donors and mentors so it was a win-win for us both. We then drafted up an entire program proposal complete with events, competitions, budgets, and info graphics. My roommate did most of the work on that one. I then coded a website, designed a logo, put the messaging together, and got a ‘pitch deck’ type of presentation together to make sure we were clear on everything. We then interviewed a few first-years who were interested in joining the team because we knew that we wanted to keep this going beyond our graduation the following year.

At this point it was show time. During all of this chaos we were able to set up a meeting with a dozen prominent Pomona College alumni involved in entrepreneurship. Pomona paid for the executive team to fly up to San Jose and have dinner with them. Our goal was to get them interested enough for them to give donations and/or get involved. We walked into that restaurant with spiral bound proposals for each alumni, awesome energy, and incredible passion that we had about this idea to help others discover entrepreneurship and receive resources and support.  The dinner was well over four hours and we managed to convince them that we were up to the challenge. The alumni started to pledge on the spot and a few weeks later we had a sizable amount of funding in the bank. The whole process took about three months but the funding was crucial in throwing events and educating the student population.

CJ: Any tips for starting an organization while balancing school?

IT: Just do it. College is the best time to try something new. The risk of starting a business is little to none and there is a ton of support from professors, family, and friends. My first business in college was DJ-ing. It wasn’t a big deal but I was getting paid pretty well for three hour gigs at different college events and off campus events. More importantly however was the fact that I was having a blast! I think that in the past people had to choose between college or business but with the advances in technology and the increase in resources it is now possible to do both and excel.

Make sure to be flexible about whatever you build (pivoting when needed is crucial) and also make sure to fail fast if necessary. It’s better to realize something is not going as planned and quitting while it’s early in order to learn as much as possible and create something else. Use the anonymity of the Internet to test ideas and products without spending a dime. I’d suggest reading The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. There might be times when you feel stressed because of the workload you have. I’ve dealt with that. I had an on-campus job as an R.A., worked on my business, and was a full-time student. My advice? Make sure to keep your calendar well organized and make sure you set some time aside to go to the gym, eat healthy (not rushed), and to take a breather. These things help out a ton and can boost up your mental state if done regularly. Lastly, don’t be afraid to delegate tasks. This is something I struggled with because I was a perfectionist but I learned to work with my teams (work, school, & business) in order to balance my workload and still be successful.

CJ: After graduating from college you founded Young and CEO, an entrepreneurship organization that supercharges entrepreneurs with free resources and powerful tools. What inspired you to start Young and CEO?

IT: To answer this I have to go back a little and tell you how I got to be where I am. My whole life I was taught to pursue a certain path and check different boxes in order to be successful. As a first generation Chicano there were two paths in my mind. One path led to an easy life of conformity where I would amount to nothing and probably stay in the same neighborhood and father children at a young age. The other path was one of hard work and dedication but it included education and ‘success’. I could be someone. I picked the latter. With my eye set on the prize I put my foot forward and became a 4.0 student, captain of the lacrosse team, member of the honor society, and eventually got a full ride to a university of my choice thanks to the Gates Millennium Scholarship through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Once I started college I followed this arbitrary path to ‘success’ and continued off checking boxes. I finished all of my college general requirements by my first year, became a manager at my on-campus job, got a wonderful girlfriend, and began to think about my ‘career’. All good so far. It was around this time that I was introduced to entrepreneurship. I had never even heard of that word. It took me a while to realize it was pretty much the same thing as business but with a sexier ring to it and more about us as generation-y. It was an interesting and fascinating world for me.

Pomona College paid for a trip for me to attend an entrepreneurship summit in New York City with the Kairos Society. It was on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during one of the events that it hit me. Here I was, the Chicano kid from the urban sprawl in San Diego on the New York Stock Exchange trade floor having drinks with mentors like the CEO of Cisco and the founder of Electronic Arts. Everyone there was around my age and they were creating things, solving problems, and having an awesome time doing it. This was what I wanted to do, I realized. Why is this not a viable career path? Why was it that I had to find this organization to meet people who pushed me to create something and solve global problems? Why had it taken me 20 years to learn about entrepreneurship and more importantly that I, Irving Torres from City Heights and son of a single mother, could create something to change the world for the better. I had checked off all the boxes up to this point. I had taken the Myers-Briggs test, I had been to the career center, I was attending one of the best institutions in the world.

Everyone told me to get a career in teaching, higher education, or management consulting. These were safe bets and had stable salaries.  No one had told me I could change the very fabric of what we accept as a life. Don’t get me wrong, I knew I could but no one had ever sat me down and said, “Hey look, someone else created the ‘path’ to ‘success’ you are on. This whole, ‘go to school, go to college, get a good job, and start a family’, you don’t have to follow this. You can create your own path”. The important thing I know is that you have the power to do as you please. It was with this mentality that I decided to help others discover this very thing. I believe the world would be a better place if people at the very least realized this.

I think that the world we live in is full of problems but we also have a ton of incredibly intelligent and passionate people. With Young And CEO I send out a monthly newsletter full of info on events like the Kairos Society, Starting Bloc, the Thiel Fellowship and more so that others can discover the power within. I include a book summary and review every month on powerful books that could change the very way you think and solve problems. I also write articles and send tools, news, and send any resources that could help entrepreneurs succeed. I want the young entrepreneurs (and the old) out there to realize the potential they have in changing the world.

CJ: You are the Creative Director at Young and CEO. What does your role as Creative Director entail?

IT: I run the day-to-day operations and work on delivering the best content via our monthly newsletters. This means I am always digesting books, content, and networking with others to grow our organization. I embrace my creativity and unconventional methods of doing business hence the title. The thing that drives me the most however is the ability to connect with and help other entrepreneurs around the world.

I’ve personally connected with a few of these entrepreneurs and it’s amazing to see what they are up to. I met Collette, a female racer who is doing some great work in the bay and inspiring women to get involved in entrepreneurship.  Fabio is an Italian entrepreneur who is starting a crowd-funding site for students and has built a great team. I’ve also connected with Jason, an entrepreneur here in the U.S. who sold his last name to a tech start-up and just recently released a book. Meeting other innovators is the best way to learn new things and the best way to collaborate. This is why I am trying so hard to create this entrepreneurship community.

CJ: When starting Young and CEO, what skills did you have that were useful, and what do you wish you had known before taking the leap?

IT: A lot of the skills I learned on my own throughout the years were extremely helpful when launching Young And CEO. I picked up graphic design my freshman year of college and had been operating a small logo design business for random organizations and school clubs. This helps me have a good sense of design when it comes to my website, newsletters, and logos. I also learned photography, videography, web design, and business from several courses I attended, blogs I frequented, and books I read. All of these allowed me to do 100% of the stuff in-house and with great ease.

The legal aspect of launching an LLC I learned on the job when I hired a lawyer to help me incorporate the business. The experiences in launching organizations in college were very helpful but definitely not the same. I made a few mistakes but they helped me learn a ton. Going into it with little preparation was actually the best thing I have ever done because it allowed the business to evolve along with me.

irving 3

CJ: You were a Growth Hacker at Strikingly. What does it mean to be a Growth Hacker?

IT: A Growth Hacker is the new VP of Marketing at tech companies. During the rise of tech start-ups in Silicon Valley, founders had to find creative and efficient ways to catch up to the big companies. There was little to no capital to spend and a huge market to reach so many started ‘hacking’ the system. The founders of Hotmail for example, found that adding a signature with a link to sign up for their service at the bottom of every e-mail in circulation would allow them to advertise and grow their service organically (it worked).

Some start-ups created viral videos and gained an enormous following for little to no cost. Big companies started to realize that a lot of these little guys were growing at alarming rates because start-ups had Growth Hackers (a mixture of computer coder, marketer, and entrepreneur). This is what I am and it allows me to use my entire arsenal of weapons to help Strikingly succeed. I basically focus on reaching as many potential users out there in the most creative ways possible. It is an exhilarating thing to do.

CJ: You are currently writing a book. What is your book about, and what does your book writing process look like?

IT: The book I am writing is a collection of stories that will help entrepreneurs realize the power within. I’m including experiences, things I’ve heard from travelling and living on the Vegas strip for a few months, and amazing stories I have learned. After reading a ton of great books like Think Like A Freak and David and Goliath I found that stories are the most effective and entertaining way to teach. I don’t really have a set process. I write when I feel inspired and I think this is the best way to go about because I want every single page to be passionate, honest, and raw. Stay tuned for more information via my monthly newsletter.

CJ: Between working, traveling, writing, and maintaining a social life, how do you manage your time?  

IT: I’ve become really good at prioritizing tasks and getting ‘in the zone’. I usually keep a running list of to-dos and keep a log of my goals. Getting in ‘the zone’ takes practice but I can speed up the process by a mix of different activities. I like to stay active, I’m always hydrating, and I try to eat healthy. By consistently doing this I have no problem sitting down for hours a day and hashing out work while listening to some good music.

CJ: What does a day in your life look like?

IT: The great thing about my life at this point is that every day is really different.You will probably find me mountain biking around, at a meet-up, reading a book, or exploring some new part of the world.Right now I am at Strikingly in Shanghai so I usually work and play at the office and then I head out for some good food or to explore the city.

CJ: What advice do you have for teenagers and young adults interested in being entrepreneurs?

IT: Read a lot of good books, tinker with technology, and get a good education so that you can get a good feel of how the world works and then go for it. Don’t hold back.Try something new and ask for guidance and mentorship but don’t let others dictate what you do. Remember that you are in charge. Take this time to experiment with business and use all of the tools that many of us entrepreneurs didn’t have available. I didn’t get on-line until I was in middle school.

CJ: When you aren’t growth hacking and growing Young and CEO, how do you like to spend your time?

IT: I like to be spontaneous. Sometimes I go out with no agenda and find something to do.  I definitely read a ton and watch TED talks it feeds my knowledge thirstiness. I go biking or running, and I like to go out with friends. One big hobby of mine is photography. I was actually considering getting into commercial or travel photography at some point and who knows? I just might.

CJ: What motivates you?

IT: I think the drive to create something good for this world and inspire others to do the same is my main source of motivation. I really do believe that the world would be a better place with innovation. Just recently I saw how a man created a trash collecting water wheel in Baltimore and placed it in the inner harbor. This water-powered machine picks up tons of trash every month. Without his idea this wouldn’t have been possible and all it took was the courage to believe that he could make a difference.

CJ: What advice would you give your 15-year-old self?

IT: I don’t think I would. I feel very happy with the path I took and I think the butterfly effect might just ruin something. If I had to I would remind myself to make time to get to know people, never forget where I came from, and to under promise and over deliver.

Irving Torres Qs

Images by Irving Torres

EducationSkills

It’s summer! You get to sleep in, waking to the sound of chirping birds, sunlight coming through the windows, illuminating your room. You wake up with bed hair and you stumble out of your bed, walking past the pile of dirty laundry and bowl of cereal you went to get in the middle of the night. Your desk is a mess. Nail polish bottles, papers, pencils, eraser dust, an earring missing its sister, a collection of bracelets, a chipped cup, a photo of you and your friends, Post-Its that have lost their stick…

Listen. You’re a lovely and awesome person, but it’s time for an intervention. It’s time… to clean your room. Summer is a great time to clean your room or workspace. You can get rid of old things and prepare for the next semester. There are some things you can do to make it easy for you to keep your room clean until September, without making your room too sparse or boring.

Ah, yes. The satisfying feeling of a clean room. The space on your desk, the unused hangers in your closet, the shelves of books organized by height, color, or author’s last name. If you’re anything like me, you love that refreshing feeling, the sense of accomplishment, and the pride that you did all of that work. But there’s something in the back of your mind.

Can you keep it this way?

I always have a hard time keeping my room tidy during the semester. After all, I wake up at 7am and I come home at around 9pm to midnight almost every day. I live in school and at my job more than I’m in my own bed. What are the chances that I can keep this place organized?

The best medicine is always prevention. Getting into the habit of keeping things a certain way is one of the best way to keep your room clean. Now that it’s summer, it’s a good time to practice these habits. For example, always put clothes back into the closet if you decide you don’t want to wear them. I’ll try two or three things in the morning before deciding on one outfit, and I make sure I always fold my tank tops and hang my dresses up before I close that closet door.

Putting things back where you found them is the general idea. This goes for your necklaces, pens, books, umbrellas, shoes, anything! You’ll appreciate it when you’re in a rush and it’s raining outside. Or maybe you forgot you had to meet someone for a study group date and all your notes are on your USB. Have key spots for your things, like a plate or a tray, so you’ll always know where to look first.

It’s good to keep often­-used items in an open, easy to ­grab spot, such as on your desk or by the door. These items might include keys, phone chargers, chapstick, things that you throw in a purse or in a book bag. Keep a tiny trash bin next to it so you can throw out garbage from your bag, like gum wrappers, used tissues, and receipts. It’s surprising how much can gather in your bag.

Finally, have a dedicated day to clean. Just as you had a schedule for who cleans the dorm back in freshman year (yes, people have that), have a day of the week for cleaning. Some people clean every half a month, others once a week. Do whatever you think you need, but remember that it’s your room, so make it feel like home!

Check out Cleaning Your Room Part I and Part II.

Image: husohem.se

CultureSkills

It’s summer! You get to sleep in, waking to the sound of chirping birds, sunlight coming through the windows, illuminating your room. You wake up with bed hair and you stumble out of your bed, walking past the pile of dirty laundry and bowl of cereal you went to get in the middle of the night. Your desk is a mess. Nail polish bottles, papers, pencils, eraser dust, an earring missing its sister, a collection of bracelets, a chipped cup, a photo of you and your friends, Post-Its that have lost their stick…

Listen. You’re a lovely and awesome person, but it’s time for an intervention. It’s time… to clean your room. Summer is a great time to clean your room or workspace. You can get rid of old things and prepare for the next semester. There are some things you can do to make it easy for you to keep your room clean until September, without making your room too sparse or boring.

Where I live, the summers are 100 degrees and the winters are three. New York is a challenge for a closet because there is such a drastic difference and sometimes you feel like you need everything. If you live in a place like that, this would be a good chance to sort through your closet, accessories, and jewelry.

You’ll be surprised by what you find. That blue off-­the-­shoulder top? The t-­shirt from summer camp. That pair of jeans with the hole by the butt. Riiiight, I forgot I had that! If you haven’t worn it in a while, chances are, you won’t wear it again. You can totally sell or donate stuff, and that would free up closet space!

I live near an Ikea and they have a super great section just for organizing things. I love silver sterling necklaces, but they always get tangled. You should find a way to store special accessories, such as silk scarves or cute hats, so they won’t get crushed or damaged.

One more thing. That nail polish that’s been sitting there for about three years that you haven’t touched, the one where the color has separated with the un­open­able top? Toss it. The mascara that’s gathered dust by the foot of your bed? Toss it. Summer’s a good chance to go through expired makeup or other chemical­ish things that you put on your body.

Your body changes from season to season, and from month to month. Sometimes you have to accept the new tan or the sudden dry skin and find products that are healthy and good for you. You want to look your best, and you can’t have that if you have a rash from expired concealer! Remember to wash your makeup tools (ugh, germs…) and store them somewhere dry and safe (and away from pets!).

Next week, we will discuss that textbook you have propping up your laptop and those books that you’ve been using to keep the window open.

Photo via You Make Me Swoon

EducationSkillsTravel

Carpe Juvenis is always on the lookout for tools that will help simplify life. In a technological age where there are hundreds of thousands of different smart phone apps, finding the very best can be difficult. Here are some apps that we have used consistently and with ease! They have all been “Carpe Tested” for quality approval.

When it comes to:

To-Do Lists

This duo smart phone/computer application allows you to sort out daily, weekly, or monthly tasks in an easy to follow visual To-Do list. The color coded lists transfer between your computer and smart phone via wifi so you can save time! Just be sure to watch the dollar amount on this one – downloading the Mac computer version will cost you $9.99 but there is a Clear Free version on the iPhone app store.

http://realmacsoftware.com/clear 

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When it comes to:

Staying informed

Circa keeps you up to date with the most critical information on the most important stories of the day. Less time is wasted and more information is digested. Being informed has never been so easy or fun. This app is free!

http://cir.ca

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When it comes to:

Easy “reading”

Although the Carpe team typically prefers reading books, Audible has a fantastic app that makes listening to an audiobook super easy. If you have an Amazon account you can download an audiobook through Audible for free!

http://www.audible.com

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When it comes to:

Commuting

Carpe does a lot of traveling so it is essential that we have the right tools to sort out public transportation wherever we may be. The “Embark” apps are amazing. There are 10 different transit systems available, all of which are free. From San Francisco to Washington, D.C., these apps have you covered.

http://letsembark.com

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We hope that you love these helpful tools as much as we do! Which apps do YOU love?

EducationHealthSkills

As we mentioned in this week’s Leadership Trait, maintaining an organized schedule is life-changing. There are many ways to keep track of your day-to-day routine, to-do’s, and classes, and everyone has their own system and way of doing things. It took me years to figure out a system that worked best for me. I tried binders, plain notebooks that I drew lines into, stickers with hours on them, and every daily, weekly, and monthly calendar out there. Once I finally established a system that worked, it was something I no longer had to think about and I could focus on my actual tasks.

If you, however, do not yet have a system, or if you are looking to improve the way you currently organize your life, these planners will definitely come in handy…

1. At-A-Glance – The Action PlannerPlain and simple, this planner is nothing fancy but it gets the job done.

2. Gallery Leather Weekly Desk PlannerAn upgrade from black and white, this red leather weekly planner is a touch fancier.

3. Moleskine 12 Months Weekly PlannerOrganize your months and days with a solid planner.

4. Quo Vadis Compact Daily Desk PlannerPlan out each day by the hour and still have plenty of room for notes.

5. Russel+Hazel Signature Pattern Binder with InsertsThis binder is the epitome of organization, complete with weekly planner sheet inserts and a sturdy rubber band to keep your pages secure.

Do you use a planner to organize your life?

Skills

When you are trying to juggle five different balls, staying on top of your projects takes skill. One of the best ways to keep those balls in the air is to be organized, both physically and mentally. That is, you want a physically organized space to work and live, and you want to have your duties organized mentally so you don’t forget a single thing. Being organized requires consistency and some effort, but once you have a system down, you may be able to add in a sixth ball.

1. Maintain an organized schedule. When you have a jam-packed schedule, the last thing you want is to be running late, miss a meeting or an appointment, and not finish your tasks on time. Keep your ducks in a row by writing down everything, from new assignments to places you need to be.

2. Tidy your work space. Having a clean desk can sometimes be the simplest way to clear your mind. De-clutter your work space by tossing scraps of unused paper and using folders to divide up different documents and subjects. With room to work, you’ll feel as though you can accomplish anything.

3. Keep your priorities in check. When you have a lot of things to do, it feels overwhelming to figure out what needs to be finished first. Organize your priorities by numbering them, with #1 being the first task to get done. You might choose to do a little bit of a few things, or to just concentrate on finishing one task completely. Either way, have a way to manage your to-dos.

4. Write it down. Using a large whiteboard or cork-board can be beneficial for organizing your life because you can write notes and messages about things you want to remember.  A small planner might not be big enough to grab your attention.

5. Divide and keep track of group tasks. If you are working on a group project or with a team, organization is a must. You can write down each person’s duties in a planner, but that might be too cluttered and confusing for you. We have found Trello to be an awesome resource for not only individual tasks, but also for team projects. Your team members can update one another on their progress, you can see what your teammates are working on, and you can move around the task cards into different columns to maintain an organized group system. The best part is that everything is all in one place, which makes managing a team or working with others very easy and organized.

 How do you stay organized?