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Change isn’t the enemy.

Posted on April 15, 2016 by

They say that change is good, but let’s be honest with one another, it can also be downright terrifying. Change usually means you’re taking a risk. It means the outcome isn’t predictable. And it means you’re about to lose a little bit of control.

I’m a new girl in Edmonton. Actually, I’m a new girl to Canada. I hail from the land of the red, white, and blue. Marrying the love of my life brought me to Edmonton, but that decision also meant leaving my family, my friends, the familiar surroundings that I adored, and the place that I called home. So with that I pulled up my socks and took the biggest leap of faith my life has ever seen. And you know what? It’s turning out better than I ever could have imagined. I have an amazing job, a growing network of friends, my guest bedrooms are always full with visitors, and slowly but surely, it’s all starting to migrate towards a feeling of home.

I’ve learned many lessons along the way: of independence, of intuition, and of resiliency. But what I’ve really learned is how to be fearless, and you need a little bit of that in the advertising world. We’re constantly encouraging our clients to try new things, to break the mold, and to move away from the expected. So here’s my takeaway. I encourage everyone to see the reward beyond the risk, to be a little bold, and to be willing to be okay with the unknown. More than anything, I urge you to see opportunity through fear.

Because sometimes fearless means having fears and having doubts, but living in spite of those things by simply allowing them to build new beginnings.

5 Tips to Make Your Space More Creative

Posted on March 31, 2016 by

In my experience, by the time you look around and realize that your space may be hindering your creativity, the problem has probably been going on for a while. Everyone is different, but these 5 tips help me set up and maintain a space that helps me think and work creatively.

  1. Get a Plant

At home, I like to have small, low maintenance plants in corners and empty spaces. Being around something green and living helps me feel awake, and it helps me keep up my energy all day. If your desk or workspace doesn’t get enough light for a real plant, consider a nice photo of a plant of an earthy screensaver instead.

  1. Limit the Clutter

Sometimes a little clutter is unavoidable, but if you can keep it contained to files, folders, or a dedicated drawer, I find it’s easier to keep the rest of your space neat and open.

  1. Don’t Work Where You Eat

Working where I eat and eating where I work makes it hard for me to focus on one thing, especially when smells linger. Nothing gets me down creatively like the smell of stale Pad Thai.

  1. Don’t Work Where You Sleep

Working in my bedroom or bed makes me so sleepy, and it’s hard to get going when everything around me reminds me of naps and rest.

  1. Keep Personal Items On Display

Looking at things I like helps me to think about things I like and keeps my mood up. Making my space familiar and comfortable is really important for me to be as creative as I can be.

If you’re like me, your space has a lot to do with how you feel and how you think. I hope these tips help you create a space where you can think and work smarter.

Extra Tip: Lovely little plants like the one pictured with this post are available at the Old Strathcona Farmer’s Market!

Hashtag’s Excellent Adventure

Posted on January 22, 2016 by

It takes a lot of work to be a Hedgehog, especially here at zag. They gave me the title of Director of Human Resources so there is a lot of human stuff I have to do. As part of my role, I have to let these humans pick me up, give me baths, clip my nails (I DO NOT like that) and in return, I let them hang out at their desks with me, cuddle me and show me off to more humans that come by to see me. Occasionally I show them my softer side.

Sure, I put on a show. I like to play shy and nervous. I like to play “ball” and I also like to play “who can snort the loudest”. My favorite games though are “who can sleep the longest” and “cactus”. I usually win.

For a really special treat, I like to pee on them.

On the weekends, I usually hang out with Hannah but she had some things going on last weekend so I just hung out at the office. I got a little ambitious so I thought I would clean up my pen, pushing my blankets and papers to one side. Well hot diggity, what do you know? Maybe I should get a license for these guns. Turns out I’m SuperHedgie. I was able to push open the door of my pen and lo and behold – Giddy up! I was out!

I should have worn my Hedgeometer because I sure put some miles on that day during my excellent adventure.

Those humans are sure thoughtful. Stephan left some lunch on the ground for me to partake. Kara had some papers for me to roll in. Matt left a Red Bull for me to try. Hannah left her shoe for me to nuzzle and take a nap in. Marilee shared her chips with me. Kat lent her fancy pen to me. Elliott shared his headphones and killer tunes. Ashley left me a nice big glass of water. Megan’s phone cord was fun to slide down on. Emily’s glass desk was fun to smear my nose on. Ronda’s family pictures were sure cute to look at and Alyson’s dog bed was some comfortable. Trina’s snack jar is now empty. Oh, and I got nothing but the warmest welcome after my trek to Calgary to visit Jamie.

Phew. I think it’s time to play “who can sleep the longest” again.

(Oh, and special thanks to Ronda for helping me put my thoughts to paper)

Making the Alberta Fast Growth 50 List – A Partner’s Perspective

Posted on January 11, 2016 by

Alberta Venture magazine’s Fast Growth 50 list of companies is an exciting list to be on. It’s a reminder of the hard work that has been put into the business and all of those that have contributed to the success of zag creative. There’s the partners, the staff, the clients, the suppliers and there’s also those people who support the partners, the staff, the clients and suppliers. That’s a lot of people who should be proud of the roles they played.

Making the list is something I am proud of as a partner and as an individual who works hard in and on the business every day.

Making the list is also a reminder that we need to continue working hard to do great things. The work is never over. I for one strive to be better tomorrow than I was today.

 

2015: The Hits

Posted on December 30, 2015 by

The end of another year means looking back at what made 2015 rad. We’re counting down 15 top hits of 2015 from the 15 of us at zag creative!

Alyson

Going to Dubai was for sure big on my list for 2015 as well as joining the Make-A-Wish board.

Ashley

My 2015 highlight was getting married to the love of my life. 

*Too sappy for work? Meh. No regrets. 

Elliott

My biggest highlight was finally dedicating myself to becoming vegetarian. It was something I had considered doing years ago and finally made an integral part of my lifestyle in 2015. #goanimals

Emily

Skydiving with my brother was without a doubt my highlight of 2015. Nothing can top jumping out of a plane from 14,000 feet! #ultimatebondingexperience

Hannah

We got new paper swatches and printing samples in the office this year, so that was pretty great! #justartdirectorthings

Hashtag

Not only did I get adopted by the zag creative family, but they also offered me a job as Director of Human Resources. I’ve loved being able to help resolve office drama and offer advice where needed, while being cuddled up in the sleeve of a t-shirt.

Jamie

I had the opportunity to work on a number of exciting projects with our talented team and celebrate wins on a number of projects I didn’t work on! I also had another 365 days of being a mom, which is a daily highlight for me.

Kara

In 2015, I’m thankful to be able to continue to work at such an awesome company with a group of amazing people!

Katrina

One of my biggest accomplishments in 2015 was moving into the Strategy department at zag full-time. I am so grateful for the diverse team of truly amazing people I get to work with every day.

Marilee

Looking back on 2015, the biggest hits of my year were getting engaged and buying a house!

Matt

One of my highlights from 2015 was in August when I went to see Of Monsters and Men at a casino in Calgary and being part Icelandic, I was set on meeting the band. After the show, my friends and I were drinking in the casino and found three of the band members hanging out. After pretending to be very chill and chatting with them, I proceeded to have a full-on panic attack on the floor next to a VLT. This year was also great because somehow I survived the last two terms of my degree and met this awesome family of beautiful people at zag.

Megan

This year I’m really excited to have successfully graduated Design Studies at MacEwan University and to be actually working as a graphic designer at zag!

Ronda

One of the biggest highlights for me this year is moving downtown.  My husband and I became empty-nesters when we made the big move to come off of an acreage in Sherwood Park into a downtown condo.  What I love most about it, is how much easier it made our lives. I have never lived where I worked and to be 5 mins to the office is a novelty I’ve never had before but one that I can’t believe how much I enjoy. Our lives have been downtown for a long time and to be closer to zag, our friends and our social life is absolutely incredible. We love it so much!

Stephan

My biggest highlight of 2015 was starting my amazing new job at zag, buying a house, and meeting my girlfriend Alexis.

Trina

Returning to work after kid #2, managing to keep them alive AND get my work done!

Dashing Through the Gift List

Posted on December 10, 2015 by

I love shopping. I love gifts. I love Christmas. I love shopping for gifts at Christmas! So, just in time for the holiday season, I am sharing with you some of my holiday tips and tricks for checking off everyone on your list, regardless of if they have been naughty or nice.

  1. Write down everyone on your list that you need to buy for. I keep my list on my phone so I always have it on hand. Avoid the last minute trip to 7-11 on Christmas Day to pick up a gift card for your long lost cousin that you just found out is coming for Christmas this year. I add/edit my list throughout the full year so when someone casually says they would like something, I write it down. It definitely makes Christmas a little easier and people will be surprised that you remembered exactly what they wanted without asking.
  2. Shop online. Around Christmas, tons of suppliers offer free shipping so take advantage! If there is a minimum spend to apply for free shipping, look at your list and see if you can check more people off at one retailer. Beware of the USD if you are shopping at stores in the States – it will be quite a surprise when you look at your credit card bill. Trust me, I made the mistake this year already.
  3. Whenever you find yourself at a store whether it a full mall or just the grocery store, pull out your list quickly to see if there is anything you can quickly pick up to cross someone off. You are already out and about so you might as well make it a productive trip.
  4. If you save money on a gift, don’t feel pressured to spend more money to make up for the savings. That totally defeats the purpose of savings.
  5. If you have a tricky someone on your list and the best option is a gift card – pair it with something small and thoughtful as that instantly makes it a more personal gift. Don’t stress out about the small something – think their favorite chocolate bar, a mini bottle of booze, or a pair of cozy socks, etc.
  6. Shop in small quick batches when you have time here and there. Drop by the mall on the way home from work or at lunch to pick something up. When driving by a store that you know you need to stop at and you are early for your next event, zip in quickly rather than drive by. Not only does this make Christmas less stressful, it balances out your spending so you don’t take a huge hit in one weekend.
  7. As you complete gifts, cross them off your list or mark them as completed on your phone. This is also a great place to keep track of what you bought and how much money you spent. It keeps everything in one spot and is always up to date.

Lastly, if you have no idea what to buy or where to even start, might I suggest my go-to-gift-buying locations – Winners/HomeSense, Chapters/Indigo & Rafters. They have so many unique gifts at these stores and you are sure to find the perfect gift or at the very least, you will be inspired and walk away knowing exactly what to get.

Happy Shopping!

How to Survive University and Pretend Everything’s Fine

Posted on December 4, 2015 by

For the last month, all you had to do was remind me that I would be more less done university in a few weeks and I’d be reduced to a pile of emotions. Sure, there’s good things about being done my undergraduate degree: no more midterms, no more finals, no more pretending to pay attention in class, no more starting and finishing a term paper the day it’s due, etc. There’s a lot I’m going to miss though, and it’s really weird to think back four years ago to my first term at MacEwan and look at how much I (and everything around me) has changed.

It’s even weirder to think that somehow I survived it. I definitely wouldn’t consider myself an expert at life, but if I had to give a first-year student seven tips on how to make the most of the next four (or more) years of their life, here’s what I’d say.

  1. Learn How to Learn:
    Everyone has a different way to study efficiently and get decent grades. Figure out what works for you, whether that’s reading the entire textbook and making cue cards (unlikely) to skimming chapter summaries the night before the exam (more likely), find the right vibe that works for you.
  2. Have a FOMO:
    One of the truest pieces of advice I’ve ever been told is you’re going to regret more what you didn’t do than what you did. There’s nothing wrong with a fear of missing out so take risks and have new experiences. You’re only young once and university is supposed to be a time to take risks and find yourself, so take that whatever way you want and get out there, champ.
  3. Try to Build a Resume:
    One day, you’re probably going to want a job and you don’t have to be as crazy as me, and work four jobs while taking four classes, but try to get some experience. Work a job, volunteer, and get some training in a relevant area. Getting involved and having something to show for it goes a long way.
  4. Lists for your Lists:
    The first thing I do every term is make a list of everything I have due for marks in all of my classes chronologically, with how much it’s worth. Seeing what I have to do and how much I should put into it might look overwhelming originally, but knowing what to focus on one week at a time, puts the entire term into perspective.
  5. Don’t Forget To Do What You Love:
    In the midst of the emotional hurricane that is university, don’t forget who you are and what makes you happy. For me, there’s nothing I spend more money on than concerts and music and so regardless of how early I have to be up the next day, I’ll usually never turn down a night of live music. Don’t forget to see your friends too; if that means going all out at a keg party on Saturday and having to write two entire papers on a Sunday, sometimes it’s worth it.
  6. Be Recklessly Optimistic:
    My cover photo on Facebook for the longest time has been a banner saying “Everything Will Probably Be Alright” and to be honest, it probably will be. Even if you fail that exam or have no idea how you’re going to find a job when you graduate, you’re human and you’re a pretty great human at that. Change your perspective and look on the bright side. A little positivity goes a long way.
  7. Never Choose What’s Comfortable:
    Don’t settle for what’s easy because after all, life isn’t easy. Choosing the simple path now will just lead to a life of emptiness and pain. University is going to be hard and there’s going to be so many times you’re going to want to drop out and just do something easier, but keep pushing yourself and following your dreams.

Being more less done my Bachelor of Commerce is a weird feeling, but the last four and a half years have been without a doubt the most amazing years of my life. I’m so insanely thankful for all of the absolutely stellar people I’ve met and every crazy experience I’ve had with them. I’ve met some of the most amazing people, and learned so much both inside and outside of the classroom in the last four years. Overall, work hard, love lots, and just live because everything will probably be alright.

5 Tips For Edmontonians This Winter

Posted on November 24, 2015 by

Anyone who says they like winter is liar. It’s dry, depressing, dark, and let’s be honest, downright dangerous (alliteration intended). Most of us live here because we were born here, found work here, or foolishly fell in love with someone who lives or works here. I mean, sure there’s something existentially beautiful about a freshly fallen snow that covers our whole city in white, but give it a few hours and it will become the dirty, congested, ice-trap we all experience for six months of the year, every year.

If you’re like me, you probably don’t have any immediate escape plans, so the following is a list of 5 tips that will help you not only survive, but also maybe even make the most of this barren wasteland we call home.

1. Accept that you’re going to be late
Everyone gets a little extra wiggle room, especially after a snowfall, and stressing out about being late is only going to make you cranky/crankier and more likely to get into an accident. Then you’d REALLY be late. Skip the drive-thru and give yourself some extra time, but if you’re late, that’s just one of the costs of living in Edmonton.

2. Trust no one
Did you overhear your coworker say it’s supposed to warm up on Friday? It’s not. And even if it does, it’s better to be pleasantly surprised than utterly disappointed.

3. Have perspective
Try to focus on being grateful that even in this cold and crappy season, we’re lucky enough to live in one of the best countries in the world. One flip through the news solidifies that bearing the cold is well worth the perks that we get for being lucky enough to live in the true north, wild and free.

4. Online shop
There’s a Norwegian saying that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. While I don’t completely agree, they may be on to something. Cyber Monday is this Monday, so why not stock up on some cozy vests and scarves from the comfort of your warm bed? It definitely couldn’t hurt.

5. Don’t be afraid
Although tempting, trying to hibernate all winter will probably just make it go by slower. Try to get out there (wearing your new gear from Tip #4 of course), and make the most of some great activities Edmonton does have to offer in the winter!

Bonus adorable puppy pictures can be found here!

Good Gourd, It’s Pumpkin Season

Posted on November 5, 2015 by

It’s that golden time of year, the time when the stores and our gardens are filled with the warm hues of pumpkins and squashes. My appreciation for pumpkins began at a young age, when every year I would look forward to the fall and winter when my grandma would bake pumpkin pie. As I grew, my affection for pumpkins matured and I found myself appreciating all sorts of squash delights. My healthy obsession (literally healthy) has inspired me this autumn to fully embrace these somewhat strange fruits in a variety of ways. So if you’re looking to add more gourds into your life, let me help you out:

1. Pumpkin Carving
Get creative with it, seriously, go all out. This doesn’t just need to be for Halloween, use these ideas to have carved pumpkins for decorating throughout the whole season.

2. Butternut Squash Soup
Use this recipe to warm yourself on a cold day.

3. Butternut Squash Loaf
All the spices of a pumpkin spice latte in this loaf, do I need to say more?

4. Pumpkin Pie
I can’t share my recipe for this one; it’s a family secret.

5. Gourd Crafts
This blog shows you how to turn your new obsession into candleholders.

6. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Not only are these seeds tasty, but they also can help in your production of serotonin, giving you a nice mood boost.

If you still need convincing of the magic of pumpkins, just remember, Cinderella had a pumpkin that was a carriage, proving that pumpkins can really do anything.

Being a zag Intern

Posted on August 7, 2015 by

IMG_2015-08-07 10:23:05Movies and TV shows often portray interns as young, decent looking students who specialize in making coffee, asking redundant questions, and being the target of verbal abuse from everyone in the company. Jas and I both agree though that as interns, aside from the decent looking part, we’ve experienced none of these things.

I’ve been with zag since the beginning of June as their first ever social media intern and from the interview I knew that being an intern here was going to be nothing like the movies. Things at zag are different, and not different like when your mom would say it, but different like a breath of fresh air after walking through a forest fire. To demonstrate, here’s my list of my 5 favourite things about being an intern at zag:

  1. The coffee machine. Coffee and I go way back; it’s a pretty serious relationship. Working as an intern here has only brought me and coffee closer together with zag’s incredible and complex coffee machine that, just like a relationship, originally intimidated me but now we’re going steady.
  2. The downtown lifestyle. On my first day, I played “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton the entire ride downtown specifically for the line “Making my way downtown…” I live east of Sherwood Park, and even though I go to school downtown, working on 104th street has been really neat. It’s awesome to be around so many cool restaurants and shops!
  3. The company. I promise I’m not getting paid to say this, but zag creative is actually a really rad place to work. They have some really awesome projects on the go and it’s incredible to see the unique stuff they do. The people that work here have such a unique set of skills that come together like rum and coke, getting the world drunk on creative ideas and killing it everyday. They also have a really cool looking office and I have a lovely view from my desk of a whiteboard window drawn by Kat, where it’s always raining.
  4. The experience. I’m graduating from university in December and getting this type of hands-on experience has so much value. I have learnt so much about how to actually do interactive marketing online and also how to work in an agency setting. It’s been incredible to have the opportunity to get my hands dirty in different projects and learn lots of new things.
  5. The people. The people I’ve met at zag are stellar. They’re not only so incredible at what they do, but also hilarious, hip, so stylish, and really fun to be around. They love sangria, animals, and have the most hilarious stories. From day one, being part of a really strange lunch conversation, I knew that these people were the type of people I’d want to work with. Coming into work early summer mornings was made so bearable knowing that I’d be around such positive and interesting people, and probably laugh at least once.

Being an intern at zag creative this summer has taught me so much about the industry that I want to work in. Every chance I get, I brag to my friends about my awesome internship at one of the coolest companies there is. It all feels kind of surreal to be here. I’ve met some amazing people, been part of some amazing things, and couldn’t have asked for a better way internship. #inTurndownforwhat

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