It’s about the Journey, not a Destination​

“I wish…”

“I cannot wait for…”

“Someday, I’ll…”

I consistently catch myself wishing it was years down the road to a time I’m well-established in my career, living where and how I want to live, and knowing how my life plays out. I watch older people with envy, wishing I’ve already “paid my dues” to get to their position. The problem with this is I see a destination, and in doing so, overlook the journey.

At a work gathering this past week, I was told: “You’re going to do great things, just don’t wish your life away to be where I am. You’ll get there.” Even though I’ve heard this before, it truly stuck with me this time. I was able to step back and recognize that I WILL do great things in life, even if I’m not there yet, which is okay. I succeed day in and day out, constantly learning and becoming better, and I’m happy with that. I’m happy to have a whole lifetime for personal, as well as professional, growth. I’m happy the one life I get is not even close to over.

I’m learning to acknowledge and appreciate what I have now — my outstanding first marketing job, in which I’m learning everything I can about digital marketing (social media, content creation, email marketing, search engine optimization, website management, and more); a beautiful apartment that exemplifies my personality and lifestyle; new and current friendships; my family; and the enthusiasm to discover who I am. I’m loving this part of my journey, but when it’s no longer right for me and the time to move on, then I will.

Life isn’t about a destination; it’s about the journey. It’s not about getting somewhere and stopping; rather, it’s about enjoying where you are, every moment of every day, and constantly becoming better. I will become well-established in my career, as well as live where and how I want to live, but that’s not the destination… that’s only another part in the journey. I have a long journey ahead of me (as we all do), and I’m ready for the long-haul. I want to look back later in life — when I’m at another part of the journey — and be proud I never settled for anything less than I knew I wanted or deserved.

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Timeless Wardrobe​ | Socks

The next article in this series is socks. Yes, you might be taken aback that I’m actually writing about socks, but I think they’re an over-looked clothing article. Even though they’re usually covered by your pants and shoes — except when you “flood” — that quick flash of your socks throughout the day can add or take away from your outfit. The devil’s in the detail. You’ll look even more put together if you can nail every detail of your outfit. That is why I’m writing about socks. They’re an important component of your wardrobe, and if you coordinate your socks with your outfit, then you’ll look very put together.

Like I discuss in the shoes blog post, I believe socks have an overwhelming amount to chose from because there are various types and colors, especially with the “crazy sock” trend. I used to wear them myself; I had floral print, USA, Harry Potter, etc. I gathered a pretty impressive crazy sock collection, totaling over 30 pairs. But, then I started to draw away from this trend. I started to get tired of trying to pair these wacky socks with my outfits (if that was even possible). Instead, I shifted to neutral color socks so that I wouldn’t have to think too much about it in the morning.

I didn’t go back to plain, simple socks to fit the “minimalist” persona; rather, I switched merely for convenience. Whether the socks were black, dark gray, light gray, white, or whatever color I reached for, I knew they’d work with my outfit. As I stated in my previous blog post about chinos, I wear black, gray, navy, khaki, or green chinos every day of the week, so by owning black, gray, and white socks, I can grab any pair from the drawer and not worry about color clashing.

Unlike the last few blog posts in this “Timeless Wardrobe” series, I am not listing out three or four brands you can purchase socks from. I do not think it matters with socks. I think they’re all the same quality and comfort. I do not think you should purchase socks over $10, especially when it is only one pair. Literally, Walmart and Target socks work GREAT because they’re very comfortable, last a long time, and come with four to five pairs per pack for a respectable price. I advise you to get gray, black, and white crew socks. They’ll pair well with 99.99% of the clothes you own and work for any occasion. I also suggest wool socks for the colder months because they keep you warm and are super comfortable. The pairs I got are from Walmart for like $5, and they’ve lasted me two years now.

There you have it. No high-brand, mid-brand, and low-brand options. Just simple, straight-forward options for socks. It should be simple and easy to buy socks rather than finding the best brand for the best price. After all, even though they’re an important component of your wardrobe, they are, well, just socks.

Financial Stability: Being Wise with your Wealth

Money. The power behind this word is remarkable. Everything that happens in the world all comes back to money, and that is bizarre to think about. Everyone’s lives are controlled by how much money they have. For example, it determines if you can make that trip to Europe, afford an apartment, or replace your worn-down clothing. People make their business decisions — legal and illegal — based on the profitability. Some people even choose their college major and career based on how much they will earn. Hell, it even determines if people eat for the first time in days.

I have become more conscientious about finance and my own spending since kick-starting my career in Finacial Marketing. This all started a few months back after I landed my first big-boy job; moved into my own place; and started getting a steady income, as well as bills to pay. I began by comparing my bills, student loans payments, food budget, and miscellaneous purchases to my income. The plan was simple: Ensure I had more money coming in than going out. Luckily, and thankfully, I understand budgeting to the degree that my income trumps my spending.

A quick little background on me as to why finance is something I am interested in, why I am writing about it right now, and why I started a career in the financial sector. I was unfortunate — but also fortunate — enough to not come from money. My family and I had financial issues, but we managed to make ends meet. I even began my first job at 12 years old so I could help in any way to pay for food, bills, gas, etc. I didn’t get the luxuries other kids my age were getting. We never went on vacation or got most of what we wanted. But, we had a roof over our heads, food in our kitchen, and a healthy amount of love for one another. We were not rich in wealth, but we were rich in other ways. (The fact we even own a home, cars, clothes, and food does make us more wealthy than half the world, I know.)

Now, don’t confuse the above paragraph with me complaining about how I was raised. I am beyond thankful growing up with just enough money to survive because it forced me to develop an impeccable work ethic, allowed me to value other things beyond money, and showed me how to be wise with my wealth so that I could live comfortably. My experience without money allows me to appreciate my current life with (some) money.

And, this leads me to what this blog is about. People don’t recognize they are developing or have bad spending habits that will cripple them in the long-run. All too often I hear people mention how they have no money to even buy groceries or a snack from the convenient store. How they are living paycheck to paycheck, praying they make it through the month. And, it saddens me because I know they’re not truly living or experiencing life to the fullest. They’re forced to allow their financial situation to control their lives.

No one should live a life in which the lack of money forces them to make sacrifices… no matter how big or small the sacrifice is. Money should be part of our lives and used to enhance it, not ruin it. Now, hold up, before I go any further, I just want to say that I am no money guru who has it all figured out. I don’t have a degree in finance or some crazy knowledge of money management. However, I think I have a solid grasp on my finances and am consciousness and aware of my spending, which allowed me to create a strong financial foundation at 22. I have a solid saving, can and am making all my bill payments, already have my 401(k) started, and have enough left over to splurge time and again. I would say I am financially stable. Also, I want to state that I am not bashing or shaming others who are struggling financially. Life is tough and money will be slim at times. We all have been or will be there.

The whole intent behind this post, as all-over-the-place it seems right now, is to get you to think about your financial situation, as well as to contemplate if there are things you can do differently to improve your financial stability. For those who are well-off and flourishing financially, I tip my hat to you. But, you can still be part of the conversation. You can shed some light on the topic and perhaps offer your own advice to those who need it. Because, even if no one will admit it, people would love the advice. I know I am ALL ears to ways in which I can improve my situation further than it is, even though I would say I am doing a good job currently. There are others who are older, wiser, and more financially experienced than me that could offer guidance.

Which leads to my closing. I want to offer my own advice to those who need it. While they are simple, they make an impact and can really help steer you in the right direction. My first piece of advice: Budget like no other. All my financial successes and stability are because I budget. A few weeks ago I downloaded this nifty app called Mint. Mint is a free budgeting app which allows you to link your bank account(s), utilities, and other services so that they are all in the same place. It will show you your spending week by week; let you know when you have an upcoming payment/deposit and how much that’ll be; notify you when you are over-budget on food, gas, going out to eat, clothing, etc.; and much more. It is such a valuable asset I think everyone should utilize. There are many other apps out there, but I personally like Mint.

Another piece of advice I have is to follow the 30-Day Rule. This rule is simple and allows you to combat impulse spending. Whenever you feel the urge to make a purchase (not including necessities like food, gas, toiletries) avoid making the purchase for 30 days. This allows you to sit with the thought of purchasing it, which lets you think about why you want it, if you need it, what are the pros and cons of getting it. Is this something you actually want or just an impulse buy? After 30 days of thinking about it, you make the decision. If you still want it and can afford it, get it. But, odds are you don’t want it anymore. You can read the full-flesh explanation about this rule here. It really is something to try. It has helped me save SO much money, especially when I go into Target or TJ Maxx. Nine out of 10 times, I don’t want the item.

The final piece of advice: be open to criticism, knowledge, and growth. Like I mentioned earlier, there are SO many others who have a better grasp on this subject than me, and I always listen to their advice or criticism with full ears. Yes, my initial reaction may be to get defensive. “Oh, this is BS. They don’t know what they are talking about” becomes “Well, they had an excellent point” real quick. Also, I absorb as much as I can on finance. Whether it is a book, an article, or even a TV show, I suck it all in and allow it to digest. Every little thing helps me grow my financial wisdom and understanding. And, just for funsies, here are three finance books I plan to read: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsay, I Will Teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi, and Unshakable by Tony Robins. These are books that helped a YouTuber/photographer/podcaster I follow to pay off his $97,000 student loans in four years. Check out his video here. In all, I know I have much to learn and kinks in the armor to fix. I will get there with constant guidance and criticism and growth.

In the words of Robert J. Shiller, “Finance is not merely about making money. It’s about achieving our deep goals and protecting the fruits of our labor. It’s about stewardship and, therefore, about achieving the good society.”

 

 

Life Update: Adulting 101

I have become a full-fledged adult since my last blog post. I have a college degree; my own apartment; and a full-time, big-boy job. Since I have been quiet lately, I thought for those who 1) read these and 2) care what I write about would be interested in knowing where I am in life.

And, I have been approached by several people telling me how much they love my blog and read every single one. Some of these people I haven’t seen in years or barely know. Honestly, it is humbling to hear these comments from people, and it definitely reminds me why I do this. I wanted to get back into blogging officially and permanently because of those people.

Moving beyond the sappiness above, here is an update on Kyle Majerus’s life.

 

Graduation

I FINALLY GRADUATED COLLEGE. After four long years of intense stress and rigorous work, I graduated from Clarke University with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and a minor in business administration. I will be honest, there was a three-week period in March in which I didn’t think I was going to pass my English capstone (senior thesis and presentation) because I had to re-write my paper three times (20-25 pages each time, mind you…).

BUT, I DID IT. I graduated magna cum laude, as well as with the highest honor bestowed upon a Clarke graduating senior, the Francis J. O’Connor Memorial Award.

Now, I am taking a break from school for a few years. However, I have full intentions of returning for a Master of Business Administration in either marketing or entrepreneurship.

Apartment

I know, I know, for over a year I wrote how I was moving to Chicago right away upon graduation. I even went so far as to interview for a manager position out there. However, after speaking with professors who lived there for years and friends from there, I knew I couldn’t support myself with an entry-level job. Making ~$40,000 a year does not cover paying rent for a 300 sq. ft. studio apartment that costs ~$800/month, utilities, various bills, and student loans. I was honest with myself and told myself that once I get a few years of experience under my belt, I can get an upper-level job and support myself while living in that beautiful city.

Besides, I seriously love Dubuque. And, for those who haven’t visited or been here in a while, the downtown area is seriously stepping it up. The main street has unique shops; the library is outstanding; the Millwork District is breath-taking with shops, aesthetics, architecture, and apartments; the farmers’ market is incredible and quite large; and many other factors make Dubuque downtown an outstanding location. My apartment is in downtown Dubuque, but not in the Millwork District, sadly. That would have cost $1,200/month… yeah, I am good. I totally would have if I had a roommate, but there are only three people I would live with — two live in Chicago and one refused, haha.

But, I love my one-bedroom apartment. It is so cozy and screams “Kyle!” I won’t describe it to you; rather, I prefer the old saying “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” Well, here are 7,000 words.

P.S. My plant is named Vincent.

P.P.S. My apartment is not complete yet. I still have a few more pieces of furniture to get. So, updates to follow in the future!

P.P.P.S. The natural light is AMAZING in this apartment when the blinds are open. Oh, my Lord, it is my favorite things about this apartment.

 

Career

I got the opportunity for a unique experience at Heartland Financial USA Inc. here in Dubuque. I am going through a marketing management trainee program, which they call their marketing academy. I am a full-time employee, not an intern, FYI. I will work in the marketing department as a whole, such as digital marketing, analytics, product development, and sales support. The intention of this program is to 1) make me a well-rounded marketer and 2) train me to become a marketing manager. Instead of working in one specific area, like copywriting, I get to experience the full range of marketing! I am on week three, and I absolutely love it. The work I do is empowering and important.

Oh, and I am a living testament that 1) Liberal Arts degrees are extremely useful in the “real world” and 2) Liberal Arts graduates can work in the business world. For those who are worried about their major and if they are employable: yes, you are. It goes beyond the degree you have. It is about the skills, experiences, and grit that you have. So, make sure you are interning and getting involved in professional development any way you can!

Lifestyle

Finally, I can live my life the way I want to again. College impeded me because I was always bombarded with schoolwork, extracurriculars, and work. Presently, I work, and once I get off, my life is my life. I can do the things I love to do again.

Beyond what I do with my life, I decided to go deeper with how I live my life and commit even more to the minimalist lifestyle. As you can tell from my apartment photos, I really do not have much beyond the basics. And, that was my intention. I don’t need much to be happy, so I simply want what I need. After graduation, I went through everything I owned, and I think I threw away over 75% of my stuff. They just did not bring me happiness or have a use anymore. I desire quality over quantity. Yes, this means I may spend double on a pair on chinos, a sweater, etc. But, these items will last, at least, three times as long, if not longer than the cheaper options.

For example, for the past two years, I wanted this simple gray sweater from Asket. (Yes, for two years I have contemplated buying it.) Yes, it comes with a high price tag, but the quality is worth it. And, I know it’ll last for several years. So, would I rather have a $30 H&M or Target sweater that lasts one year or the $95 Asket sweater that lasts five? Yeah, in the grand scheme of things, the latter is the best option. I think I am going to finally pull the trigger on this sweater next week, I think after two years of contemplating it, I should get it.

Trying to move beyond the materialistic lifestyle is something I am still working on. I still want things I don’t need, surely. But, I will force myself to think about the item(s) for a minimum of two weeks before I make the purchase. And, after weighing the decision and if the desire is still strong, then I know it (they) is (are) something I really do want and need.

Am I or will I become an extreme minimalist? Goodness, no. That is going too far and a bit ridiculous. I will be minimal in most areas of my life, but I still will own some things I do not need or have a bit too much of. I am human.

 

In all, life is good, everyone. All the pieces have fallen into place nicely. Will this be my life forever? No. Will I move around, move up in the professional world, and change aspects of my lifestyle? Yes. Because that is what growing as a person does.

– Kyle Majerus

Sorry…! I’ve Been Busy!

Why, hello, hello. It sure has been quite some time, hasn’t it? Let’s see… like six months? Damn, feels like last week I was busting out two blogs a week. But, that was back when I had all the time in the world!

Now — well, not right NOW because I am on Christmas break — I am bombarded with college, two internships, my personal self, and student government. Please don’t think I am making excuses for not blogging! I am just stating a simple fact: I have no time to blog during the school year. I take on full credit-load semesters, work for Clarke University and Nicolosi | Galluzzo, LLP as a copywriter intern, and act as the school’s student body president. I am lucky I get time to eat and workout every day. (Honestly, it is a blessing I have time for these.)

But, as I stated, I am on Christmas break right now (for only a few more weeks). So, as I lay here in my bed watching my 40th movie or so, I thought I would fill everyone in on why I have not blogged. Yes, I could have blogged all Christmas break, but when you read, write, and mentally destroy yourself for 16 weeks straight, you kind of want to do nothing during the break. So, really, I have just slept, watched movies, lifted, and played Xbox for three weeks straight… and, I am not mad at all.

Anywho, I am glad you all have asked me where my blogs were at; honestly, it means a lot that people are interested in my writing. I am going to be 100% with you all. I most likely will not blog again after this break until I graduate. This semester will be ridiculously hectic. I have my English capstone, three other courses, I am applying for jobs in Chicago and apartment hunting, acting as the student body president, tying up loose ends before I graduate and move, and working on myself to create the best version of myself… On top of having a social life, working out, and just trying to enjoy last semester. I love blogging and will never give it up. But, I just do not have time right now, and I will start it back up after I settle in and start my career.

So, stay tuned… big things are coming… fashion, lifestyle, and everyday talk.

– Kyle Majerus

 

End of Summer…

Well, the time has come… the end of summer, which officially ends for me on August 21st because of training for CONNECT and CONNECT itself. While this summer did fly by faster than I could have imagined, I can wholeheartedly say that it was an extraordinary and spectacular time filled with work experiences, internships, travel, developing close friendships, knocking things off my bucket list, and finding myself.

As a lay in my bed and stare at the raindrops sliding down my window, I cannot help but reflect on my summer and how much happened in such a short four months. It really is remarkable how much you can do in a mere few months.

First off, I have become the most healthy I have been in my entire life. Not only am I eating ridiculously well and keeping track on my calories, but I also hit the weight room hard this summer and made some serious strides there (still can’t tell, though). Mentally, I feel I am in a very fine place. I have conquered my anxiety (to an extent) and am so, so, so freaking happy with who I have become. I cannot help but smile every day because I am who I am. And, spiritually, I have come closer to God this summer and learned to put my full faith in Him! He has seriously made His presence known to me over the past two months, and for that, I thank Him.

Secondly, as I stated above, I love who I have become. Although it is damn near impossible to explain who I am in words, I think I can just classify myself as a “sophisticated hipster”? If that is even a thing? For those who know me personally, I think they would agree completely. I love artsy stuff, photography (if anyone has any camera recommendations, let me know. I am looking for one!), writing, journaling, brewing coffee, drinking craft beer, etcetera, etcetera.

 

Third, I was able to check JUST about everything off of my summer bucket list! I’ve eaten probably five — yep, that sounds about right — acai bowls at Charlotte’s, and they are literally everything I thought they would be. Also, I saw a Cubs’ win inside Wrigley Field, tried the phenomenal pizza pot pie (OH, MY LORD. IT WAS TO DIE FOR.), and visited the Art Institute of Chicago. The only thing I was not able to do was finish reading The Historian. I will be honest, I read like nine pages of it… haha. I just had so much more going on that I never got around to it. Oh well, there is always next summer.

 

Fourth, I have had some serious luck lately. In just two weeks, I won my JuneHouse backpack,  my Marcel Floruss safari-inspired collection, and found a $25 gift card. All I can really say is do good in this world and it will do good back.

Finally, I have decided to try something new: grow my beard out. Every year I try this once, but every year I either keep it to a stubble or shave it all off within two weeks. I can proudly say that I am going on 60 days right now with NO intentions on getting rid of it or trimming it; it suits me rather well!

(Photos are taken one week a part from each other beginning in July… Sorry for the last one just think it shows it better… haha.)

Well, Summer 2017, we have had our ups and downs, but I will miss you sincerely. You have blessed me with the best summer I have ever had, but it is time to get back into the school mindset and finish strong. Next summer at this time, I will have my Bachelor’s degree, moved to Chicago, have a big boy job, and adulting (Yikes!).

Until next time, summer.

– Kyle Majerus

Review: JuneHouse Backpack

You ever feel like Instagram giveaways are just fake and meant to promote an account? Like, you’re 98% sure that they never choose a real winner, just a dummy account? Well, you good sir or madam, are wrong. They actually are authentic giveaways and real people win! I know because I won two giveaways within two weeks, and I am pretty sure I am a real person…!

The first Instagram giveaway I won was this beautiful fashion backpack by JuneHouse. Shoutout to my man Hunter Vought for choosing me! (The second one was a phenomenal three-piece safari-inspired collection by Marcel Floruss, but that is for another blog. Shoutout to Marcel, as well!)

I remember exactly where I was when I received the Instagram “winner” notification for the former giveaway. I was in a Clarke Student Association (CSA) Executive Board retreat. And, during the middle of reviewing the constitution, I got the notification. Let me tell you, I was hyped/pumped/ecstatic. I never won a giveaway before, let alone for something of this magnitude.

In General: This fashion backpack literally screams “Kyle Majerus.” It is rose red with light brown leather straps and a white JuneHouse logo that just pop, very high-quality, and minimal in design but with a rediculous amount of storage space and compartments… I mean, there is so much room I fit three days of clothes and necessities inside with room to spare. What is more, the backpack compliments my style perfectly. I can pair this backpack with literally everything I wear — from blue chinos with a mustard sweater and white sneakers (example below) to gray chinos with a black sweater (or white long-sleeve and blue jacket) and dark brown boots. No matter what outfit I am rocking, this backpack only adds to it.

Junehouse bookbag match

Exterior: Just admire the rose red color and the light brown straps. They pair so well together and compliment one another. In addition, the white JuneHouse logo on the front compartment gives this backpack that three-color vibe that y’all know I love to do every single day.

Next, notice the pull-over folds on both the large and small compartments; this is a great fashion niche that not many backpacks can pull off. On the other hand, both side compartments have zippers, which gives the exterior a little diversity.

Finally, the back of this backpack. Oh, my L*rd. I cannot convey how freaking comfortable this backpack is because of the thick pads located on the back and straps. When I visited Chicago last weekend, I walked for hours around Downtown and Lincoln Park with this backpack on, and I did not experience discomfort once. On the contrary, I welcomed the padded feeling on my back and shoulders, it was rather pleasant.

 

 

Interior: I. am. in. love. with. this. interior. The number one thing I absolutely adore about this interior is the black, padded, and fleece-lined laptop sleeve. Not only does it comfortably hold my MacBook Pro, but it is also entertaining to stuff your hands down to feel the fleece.

The second detail I love about the interior is the red and black stripes that run along the whole inside. It is such a unique addition to the bag that I have been obsessing over since day one. I think it makes this bag stand out even more because not many backpacks do a design on the inside. I can really only think of Herschel right now…

Next, I like that there are two hidden compartments along both sides of the backpack. They are just perfect for me to store my Warby Parker eyeglasses inside. Further, I can stuff my iPhone in the right one and pull headphones through an opening designed for just that! Not having to hold my iPhone and get to listen to music? Winner, winner, chicken dinner. And, finally, the front compartment has a rose red hook to put my keys on so I don’t lose them. I mean, come on, this backpack has everything.

Overall: I cannot be more content and happy with this backpack. Sure, I did win this backpack, but for roughly $70 on Amazon, I would purchase it in a heartbeat because you really can’t get a better deal; it is high-quality at a low price. My JuneHouse backpack is everything I have ever wanted, and I cannot see myself using a different backpack for a long time. When you see me, look for the rose red color, because it will be with me every step of the way on my life’s journey.

– Kyle Majerus