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Ready for School

As the summer ends, it’s time for students of all ages to prepare for the new school year ahead. From the excitement of starting elementary school to the challenges of college, being prepared is key to a successful journey. Here are some useful tips to help elementary and college students get ready to start the school year off right.

For elementary school students, setting routines is important. As the transition from the relaxed days of summer to the structured school setting can be overwhelming.  It’s important to gradually reintroduce routines a few weeks before school starts. Set consistent bedtimes and wake-up times to help children adjust to the school schedule. Creating a morning routine that includes tasks like dressing, eating a healthy breakfast, and packing their backpacks. All this can be done the night before to help eliminate morning stress and ensure a smooth start.

Preparing the necessary supplies is another vital aspect of getting ready for school. For elementary school students, it’s essential to stock up on the basics such as pencils, erasers, notebooks, and crayons. Check the school’s supply list and make sure to include any specific items requested. Involve your child in the process of selecting their school supplies to help them feel excited for day one.

College students face a different set of challenges when it comes to getting ready for school. Time management and organization skills become increasingly important. Encourage college freshmen to use tools like planners or digital calendars to keep track of assignments, exams, and extracurricular activities. Establishing a study schedule and creating a designated study area at home can also help students stay focused.  Also maintain a healthy balance between academics and other commitments such as sports and clubs.

In addition to organizational skills, college students should also consider their long-term goals and aspirations. As they embark on their higher education journey, it’s important for students to start thinking about their future. Encourage them to explore interests, engage in extracurricular activities, and take advantage of any opportunities for career exploration or mentorships. Starting early on this path can help them make informed decisions about their career paths, leading to a more fulfilling and successful future.

Whether it’s the first day of elementary school or the start of college, preparing is a vital step towards success. Establishing routines, gathering the necessary supplies, and developing time management and goal-setting skills are essential for students at every level. By focusing on these areas, students can enter the school year with confidence. They will be ready to embrace new challenges and make the most of their educational journey. With the right preparation, the school year ahead holds countless opportunities for growth, learning, and personal development.

Check out more living well tips at: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Gardening Desert

The desert, with its scorching sun, arid climate, and sparse vegetation, may seem like an unlikely place to garden. However, with the right knowledge, techniques, and a touch of creativity, it is possible.  To create a flourishing garden in the midst of a dry landscape like my home in Arizona can be done. Starting a garden in the desert opens up a world of possibilities, and here’s how to start that new world.

One of the basic aspects of desert gardening is water conservation. In arid regions, water is a precious resource that needs to be used efficiently. Drip irrigation systems, which deliver water directly to the plant roots, are particularly effective in minimizing water wastage. Mulching is another essential technique that helps retain moisture in the soil, reducing the need for frequent watering. Using organic mulch such as wood chips or straw not only conserves water but also improves soil quality over time.

The choice of plants is crucial when it comes to desert gardening. Native plants that have adapted to the harsh desert conditions are often the best options. These plants have evolved to withstand extreme temperatures, limited water availability, and high levels of sunlight.

Some popular desert plants include cacti, succulents, desert marigolds, and agaves. These resilient plants not only thrive in the desert but also add a unique beauty to the landscape. Their striking shapes and vibrant colors add so much to a desert garden.

Creating microclimates within the garden can also significantly improve the chances of success. Positioning taller plants or structures strategically can provide shade and create cooler, more sheltered areas. Building raised beds can help improve drainage and prevent waterlogging in the desert’s compacted soils. Additionally, constructing windbreaks using fences or hedges can shield delicate plants from the harsh desert winds. This minimizes water loss through evaporation and reduces plant stress especially in the summer months.

Starting a garden in the desert requires patience, experimentation, and a willingness to adapt. (Kind of like life!) It is essential to monitor the garden regularly, observe how different plants respond to the environment, and adjust. Learning from your successes and failures of each gardening season will help refine your techniques. This will increase your chances of creating a thriving oasis in the desert.

Starting a garden in the desert may seem like a daunting task.  However, with careful planning and using appropriate techniques, it is possible to transform barren landscapes into vibrant havens of life. Focusing on water conservation, suitable desert-adapted plants, and creating microclimates, gardeners can overcome the challenges presented by the dry environment.

Desert gardening allows us to connect with nature. And enables us to appreciate the incredible resilience and beauty of life in even the most challenging conditions. So, roll up your sleeves, grab a shovel, and embark on the journey of creating your desert garden. This a true testament to the triumph of life in adversity!

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Beach Reads 2023

As summer ramps up and vacation calls, it’s the perfect time to read a good book while lounging beachside. As a librarian, here a few “beach read” recommendations sure to please any reader.  Each title promises to transport you to different worlds and capture the heart of this summer season.

Strong Women

Dive into a story of love, self-discovery, and sandy shores with “The Summer of Lost and Found” by Mary Alice Monroe. The story is set in the enchanting coastal town of fictional Sullivan’s Island. This novel brings together the lives of three generations of women as they navigate their personal journeys.

With vivid descriptions of the beach and an exploration of family dynamics, this book is a perfect beach read. For those seeking an emotional and touching summer read about family, chose this story. 

Thriller

If you’re craving a suspenseful thriller, “The Woman in the Window” by A.J. Finn is sure to keep you riveted. Set in the bustling city of New York during a hot summer, this psychological thriller follows an agoraphobic woman. (She’s deathly afraid of going outside of her home.)

She believes she witnesses a disturbing event in her neighbor’s house. As secrets unravel and tensions rise, the story will keep you on the edge of your seat, turning the pages.

Hollywood Glitz

If you want a blend of romance, history, and exotic settings, “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” is for you.  By Taylor Jenkins Reid (author of Daisy Jones & the Six) this book is a must-read! A captivating novel taking readers on a journey through the glamorous and wild life of Evelyn Hugo a fictional movie star. With its rich character development and fascinating narrative, this book brings you into the world of Hollywood and forbidden love.

Self-Discovery

If you’re in the mood for a light-hearted and delightful summer read, “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman is an excellent choice. Meet Eleanor, a socially awkward woman with a strictly structured life. Join her on a heartwarming journey of self-discovery and unexpected connections.

This uplifting novel explores themes of loneliness, friendship, and the transformative power of compassion. This book makes a perfect companion for lazy days by the seaside.

No matter which book you choose for your summer adventures, find one that speaks to you. A book’s well-crafted story has the power to transport you to far-off places, stir your emotions, and leave lasting impressions.

So, grab your beach towel, slather on some sunscreen, and lose yourself in the pages of an enthralling summer read. Whether it’s a tale of romance, mystery, or self-discovery, these book recommendations are sure to boost your beachside bliss. Make your summer even more memorable and check out a book today from your local library!

Check out more summer reads from: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Fathers Day

Father’s Day is a special day celebrated worldwide to honor fathers and father figures. It’s a day to appreciate the contribution and sacrifices that fathers make in their children’s lives. Let’s delve into the history of Father’s Day and explore some gift ideas that you can consider for this special Sunday.

History of Father’s Day

The History of Father’s Day Father’s Day originated in the United States and was first celebrated on June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Washington. It was started by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was inspired to create a special day to honor fathers.

After hearing a Mother’s Day sermon at church, the rest is history. Dodd’s father was a single parent who raised six children on his own. She felt that fathers deserved the same recognition as mothers and slowly it took hold.

The idea of Father’s Day slowly gained popularity in the early 20th Century. Finally, in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father’s Day. However, it wasn’t until 1972 that President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a permanent national holiday. (The late 70’s until Dads got their official holiday!)

Gift Ideas for Dad

Finding the perfect gift for Father’s Day can be challenging, but there are many options to consider. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Personalized Gifts – Consider getting your father a personalized gift, such as a mug, photo frame, or keychain with his name or initials on it.
  • Tech Gadgets – If your father is tech-savvy, consider getting him a new gadget, such as a smartwatch, wireless earbuds, or a fitness tracker.
  • Outdoor Gear – If your father loves the great outdoors, consider getting him camping or hiking gear, such as a new tent, sleeping bag, or hiking boots.
  • Books or Movies – If your father enjoys reading or watching movies, consider getting him a new book or movie that he’s been wanting to read or watch.
  • Food or Drinks – Consider getting your father a special treat, such as a food basket or a bottle of his favorite wine or whiskey. Or make a special homemade dinner for your dad complete with a heartfelt card.

Father’s Day is a special day to appreciate and honor fathers and father figures. The history of the holiday dates back to over a century ago and has gained popularity worldwide.

While finding the perfect gift can be challenging, there are many options to consider. Whatever gift you choose, remember to show your father how much you appreciate him and the role he plays in your life.  A very Happy Father’s Day to my dad and husband this year!

KathyHusserTempe.com

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Getting a Raise

How to Ask for a Raise – and Get It!

Asking for a raise can be a nerve-wracking experience. Showing your value is an important part of advancing your career and earning what you’re worth. You need to prepare, whether you’ve been with your company for a few months or several years. Here are steps you can take to increase your chances of getting the raise you deserve.

Research Before the Meeting

First and foremost, it’s important to do your research. Find out what the market rate is for your position and level of experience. The information you find will inform your salary request. Consider factors like cost of living, industry trends, and any additional skills or experience you’ve gained since you started.

Once you have a clear understanding of what you should be earning, schedule a meeting to discuss your compensation. This meeting with your supervisor should be done in-person. With remote working more popular, you might only be able to connect via Zoom or conference call, and that’s okay. You need to remember a remote video call should be handled just like an in-person meeting, respectfully.

Confident Communication

When you approach the topic of a raise in your meeting be confident and direct. Start by expressing your appreciation for the opportunity to work for the company. You then should state your case for why you believe you deserve a raise. Use specific examples of your accomplishments and contributions to the company.

You need to highlight any additional responsibilities you’ve taken on since you started. Paint a picture that’s easy for your boss to see why you’re asking and why you deserve more money.

Be Open to the Solution

It’s also important to be open to feedback from your supervisor. They may have concerns or questions about your request. However, they may just need time to review your performance and gain additional approvals.

Be willing to listen to their perspective and work together to find a solution that works for you both.  Always stay on good, terms with your manager for a healthy working relationship in the future.

If your supervisor is not able to grant you the raise you’re asking for, ask for specific feedback. You need to find out what you can do to earn your raise in the future. This can be an opportunity to set goals for your performance and work towards a higher salary in the future.

Throughout the process, it’s important to remain professional and respectful. Avoid making demands or ultimatums You need to focus on finding a solution that benefits both you and the organization. Remember that asking for a raise is a normal part of the career advancement process.  You have the right to advocate for yourself and your worth.

Finally, you can increase your chances of success with preparation and a little research. Do your due diligence, be confident and direct, and be open to feedback and collaboration with your supervisor. By taking these steps, you can advocate for your worth and take your career to the next level.  Wishing you all the best for the future!

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Best Habits for Job Success

 

Starting a new job can be an exciting but overwhelming experience. To ensure a smooth transition and set yourself up for success, it’s important to develop the best habits early on. Here are three habits to focus on when you start your new job.

Be On Time or Early Every Day

One of the most important habits to have when starting a new job is to be punctual. This means being on time for meetings, arriving to work on time, and meeting deadlines. Even if you’re working remotely, be early to sign onto your computer every day. Being punctual shows that you are reliable, responsible, and respectful of your colleagues’ and supervisor’s time.

Clear Communication

Communication is key to success in any job. When starting a new job, it’s important to take the time to understand the communication style of your colleagues and supervisor. Be sure to ask questions when you’re unsure of something and actively listen to others when they are speaking.

Communicating effectively will help you build relationships and get things done more efficiently. This is the foundation a solid and trusting work relationship.

Take Initiative

Another important habit to have when starting a new job is to take initiative. Don’t be afraid to speak up and share your ideas or offer to take on new projects. This shows that you are proactive and willing to take on extra responsibilities.

It will also help you learn and grow in your new role. You might make mistakes, but showing you are willing and able to do the job (and then some) is priceless.

Growth Mindset

In addition to these habits, it’s also important to be flexible, open-minded, and willing to learn. Your new job will come with its own set of challenges and being adaptable will help you navigate them. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help or guidance when you need it. Building a strong relationship with your colleagues and managers will make the transition to your new job much smoother.

Starting a new job can be daunting, but by focusing on these four habits, you can set yourself up for success. By being punctual, communicating effectively, and taking initiative with a grow mindset, you’ll be able to make a great impression.

Building relationships and excelling in your new role will be second nature. Remember to be patient with yourself and enjoy your journey. Best of Luck!

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Best Learning Styles

Throughout school and work, you’ve been told what your best learning style is to retain information. Now research has shown that you have learning preferences, which we all can benefit from. Here are ways to spot what works for you and what needs a little more practice.

What is “VARK”

Many learning models break down the way people organize and store information into four main categories. Those are categorized by your four senses: Seeing, Hearing, Reading, and Doing or Touching.

You learn differently depending upon the subjects being taught too. The learning style may vary depending upon the complexity of a topic also. Remember how math was easier for you than reading in school?

New research has shown that students or workers learning more complex topics, need more than one method to learn. And retaining and repeating the processes learned is beneficial when multiple senses are used in the teaching process.

What’s Best for You?

Assessing your best method of learning can be easy with a simple test.  Or, as we have seen during the pandemic, human beings adapt to their surroundings. Students, workers, and institutions modified learning, meetings, and processes to assist with the new normal.

Many of those organizations never looked back either. But we also saw a decline in test scores in our younger students during the lack of in-person instruction.

So, we go back to what is the best learning style? The answer is “it depends.” It depends on the student, their resources, the sustainability of the teaching, etc.…

Being adaptable to your environment and having the ability to learn multiple ways is best for most people. Resilience and a growth mindset are traits that are important is any type of learning and in most situations.

Variations of Learning

Now we’re learning from our past experiences, there can be anywhere from 3-170 variations to these basic four styles above. Understanding how and when you learn best is really an efficient method for students or new workers learning a job.

As we continue to embrace remote work and school, understanding your best learning style is the path to success. Wishing you all the best on your learning path!

 

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Last Minute Gifts

Do you feel like gift giving and the holidays have taken on a whole new life of their own recently?  During October, I saw many Christmas displays full of gifts and decorations, but Halloween hadn’t even been celebrated! Here are three ways to make your holiday gifts more meaningful this year without buying stuff.

Give Experiences

Enjoying an experience with a dear friend, colleague, or your family is my first choice when thinking of gift giving. Something as simple as driving to a friend’s home and enjoying lunch together. Having a heartfelt conversation with your parents or a trusted colleague, seems so simple, but how often does it happen?

Science has proven that personal connections with those we love and care about provides us health benefits. Friendships and positive relationships enrich our lives on many levels, so take advantage of the holidays to show you care.

Give Your Time

I’ve written about volunteering before and can’t stress enough what you receive when you volunteer. Donating time to your community is a service that keeps giving throughout the year.  I’ve donated my time to local art organizations and events. Having a common goal with these groups connects you to your community.

I’ve donated to animal rescues in my father’s name, since we both love helping animals find their forever homes. Dad still talks about it being the best gift ever! Give your time to assist with a shelter’s website, an adoption event, or fundraise for larger projects and supplies.  The sky’s the limit, and you feel so good after volunteering!

No Gifts Rule

The final option is something I use with my husband and very close friends, and that is “no gifts please.” We just don’t exchange gifts, period. The “no gift rule” is something I’ve used during many anniversaries, birthdays, and Christmases. No gifts, just re-enforces the other two options highlighted earlier.

I love to give my time to these very special people and nonprofit agencies. These are “my tribe,” who have given me so much over the years. My gifts are the memories of a special meal together or reminiscing during a walk around the park. Time together to make new memories is our gift to one another.

You should try something new this year. You might be surprised how the pressure to the find the “perfect gift” has been lifted for both of you. If you bring up one of these gift ideas, you might spark a new tradition this holiday season.

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Happiness Hacks

After the past two years, we are all looking for happiness and contentment in our “post pandemic” lives. Read on for simple happiness hacks that are proven to work to bring joy into your life.

Social Connections

Creating social connections and other positive habits, research has shown, rewires your brain toward positivity and success.  Known as positive intelligence, the research points to the happiness and consistent habits leading you toward successful outcomes.

It can be as simple as journaling three happy thoughts of gratitude daily. In addition, reaching out to your friends and family to find support has shown to improve happiness levels. Give it a try for a few weeks and see the results. Think what you could gain.

Gratitude

This leads to the next hack and that is showing gratitude daily. No matter your circumstances, you have reasons to be grateful. After reading, Thank and Grow Rich from an article I read in Elephant Journal, my life was changed. This simple exercise of looking for the positive and being grateful every day is easy to make a habit.

The book is filled with funny, well-written, real-life examples of the world opening up when you show gratitude. Just like the saying goes, “Open yourself up and the world provides.” (Or something like that.) But you get the idea.

In addition, the book, “The Secret” is also written along those same lines. While this book is more spiritual in nature, the message is the same. You need to be grateful and present by asking for what you want, and it comes to you. The opportunities present themselves to you to fulfill those needs.

Resilience

Finally, another common aspect of happiness is resilience. If nothing else, the pandemic has given us skills to succeed in the face of uncertainty. These skills build a resilient mind, body, and drive you to keep moving forward. Finally, resilient people are happier, more confident and see the positive even during difficult challenges.

Furthermore, it has been proven, no matter your social standing or economic means. It’s like your muscles, to build them up, you need to use them daily! You need to build a resilient attitude, then you will lead a happier and more content life.

Give a few of the happiness hacks a try and practice them daily. You will be glad you did!

More living well tips at be found on my personal website: KathyHusserTempe.com

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Improving Your Growth Mindset

The term “growth mindset” is a term leaders and entrepreneurs use to discuss learning, success, and a way toward achieving goals. What is growth mindset and how can you improve it?

Flexible Thinking

The opposite of growth mindset is a fixed mindset. According to Gemma Leigh Roberts, life coach and psychologist, building mental agility and resilience is necessary to learn from life’s challenges. In other words, turning obstacles into learning opportunities, no matter how small, is growth mindset.  This flexible way of thinking and looking at life is a growth mindset.  Like any skill, growth mindset can be learned with practice.

This new perspective allows you to explore and test new ideas creating innovation and internal confidence to achieve just about anything. Whether it’s long-term goals in your career or life, the first step is being able to stretch your thinking. Knowing you can continue to develop skills, learn new ideas, and change your perspective. This will enable you to reach your potential and create cohesive teams as a leader. The first step is to develop a plan.

Develop a Plan and Practice

To cultivate your new mindset of growth and learning, you need to practice. Practice switching your perspective to take in new experiences and draw from those lessons. Being optimistic and taking risks to discover new concepts is crucial to adapting life-long learning behaviors.

To develop a personal mindset plan you will need to:

  • be flexible in your thinking
  • stretch your current abilities for achievable goals
  • establish objectives which are measurable toward those goals
  • ask for feedback along the way

Asking for feedback is so important to realize if real growth has happened, since as human beings, we have unconscious bias.

Clear and Measurable  

Being very clear in your objectives, making them quantifiable and detailed. This will provide a roadmap for your growth plan. If things don’t work out, then you must take those lessons and apply them to the next project or plan. The key to success for true evolution as a leader is taking those “disappointments” and learning from them.

Being truly resilient will lead you down a happier life path. Pivoting with the information learned is what makes us happier, healthier, and more successful the next time around. Our mindset really does matter every single day!

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