The Two Thanksgivings

Author: Chelsea Mulligan, The Dating Game

Over the last few years, Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday — whether the reasoning is because of the food or because it’s the only time I technically don’t have to buy gifts for the celebration. Either way, it is a day to be surrounded by loved ones and nothing beats that.

As always, I am thankful for my family and friends, the roof over my head and my health. And every November, I realize how far I’ve come in a year or what has been at a stand still. The only obstacle that I find myself facing every year is: how can my boyfriend and I divide this holiday?

Each other holiday is much easier: Christmas Eve with one family, Christmas Day with the other. Breakfast with his mom on Mother’s Day, dinner with mine, etc. This isn’t our first Thanksgiving with one another, but now that I think about it, I don’t think we have ever spent an entire night together for this holiday. We have always gone our own ways, and that’s okay!

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So what should you do? Go with your heart. If you  enjoy spending the day with our respective families, do that. It’s okay, especially if there are no wedding bells ringing or official reason to compromise yet; go about our day the way we want to.

Yes, soon enough, you will have to choose between families or host a Thanksgiving of your own — soak up family time now. When the time does come where you have to pick, you need to do what’s best for you and your relationship. Either figure it out where you can venture to both sides in one day, or split the holidays entirely and spend one holiday with one side and another holiday with another side.

It is okay to put yourself first, even if it is a holiday that you would like to be surrounded by everyone near and dear to your heart. Traditions will always be there, and you will know when the time is right to start your own.

It’s “Cuffing Season,” So Here Are Some (Inexpensive) Date Ideas!

Author: Chelsea Mulligan, The Dating Game

dinner-meal-table-wine

In this day and age, everyone either complains about dating or money. It’s even more common complaining about both! It’s hard to find something interesting enough to satisfy both people in the relationship, and (more importantly) that will make a killer addition to your Snapchat story.

My boyfriend and I have mastered “cheap but fun” dates. Since we started dating in high school and lived off our chore money and gift cards, you can say that we are pros. To this day, my ideal date is just walking the beach at sunset after grabbing sandwiches from the deli. But…since fall and winter are both on their way, here are some other ideas!

Make dinner together
Living in separate houses, my boyfriend and I try to do this as much as possible. It’s always an interesting trip to the supermarket and we really learn something new about each other every single time we go.

Sometimes, we offer to cook dinner for the whole family – if we are 90% sure it will be a good meal. We’ll even stop at the liquor store on the way home and grab a bottle of wine. Did I mention that you’ll save so much money? We spend what we would for one meal at a restaurant and have leftovers for the next day!

Netflix and Chill, literally.

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Now that summer is winding down, find something that you will both like. We take turns paying for take-out and enjoy our night in with a movie, or binge-watching a series. If you choose to watch a series, make sure to continue watching it with one another. Once one of you goes ahead, it’s hard to catch up and be on the same page.

On your spare time, go bowling!
Not only does this activity give you a chance to show off your goofy side, but you can compete with one another and show your competitive side. You would be lying to yourself if you didn’t want to beat your significant other at a game! Some bowling alleys have specials during the week, and/or cheap games and shoe rentals. Don’t forget: you can bowl just with each other or invite others to join!

Family Night!
With crazy schedules, it is hard to juggle family time with a date. Don’t be afraid to combine them! Whether is playing a game of Scattergories or watching one of your parents’ favorite movies after dinner, there’s nothing better than family bonding. It’s a way to let your partner see your “at-ease” side, and for your family to really get to know your significant other.

We used to avoid family nights during our teen years, and now we’ve grown to really enjoy them. We’ve created so many laughs and memories this way, and it’s great that our families are a part of them too.

Walk and Talk

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There’s nothing like a jump start to your day with a morning walk. Sometimes, we get our dogs in the car and go for, what I call, a “nature walk.” We walk on different trails all over. Not only is it great exercise, but it’s nice being able to talk with a tea (or a PSL, if you’re into that) in hand. We will also sometimes choose to go to a botanical garden or just around town late at night.

Sure, candle-lit dinners and weekend getaways are some great memories of ours, but to me – none of that should be a necessity. One major thing I love about the fall and winter is having the comfortability to throw on a sweatshirt and just relax with my boyfriend. I hope these simple activities help you create memories as special as mine!

Sick of Going Out To Dinner? Some Inexpensive Date Ideas, Just For You

Author: Chelsea Mulligan, The Dating Game

In this day and age, everyone either complains about dating or money. It’s even more common complaining about both! It’s hard to find something interesting enough to satisfy both people in the relationship, and (more importantly) that will make a killer addition to your Snapchat story.

My boyfriend and I have mastered “cheap but fun” dates. Since we started dating in high school and lived off our chore money and gift cards, you can say that we are pros. To this day, my ideal date is just walking the beach at sunset after grabbing sandwiches from the deli. But…since fall and winter are both on their way, here are some other ideas!

Make dinner together
Living in separate houses, my boyfriend and I try to do this as much as possible. It’s always an interesting trip to the supermarket and we really learn something new about each other every single time we go.

Sometimes, we offer to cook dinner for the whole family – if we are 90% sure it will be a good meal. We’ll even stop at the liquor store on the way home and grab a bottle of wine. Did I mention that you’ll save so much money? We spend what we would for one meal at a restaurant and have leftovers for the next day!

Netflix and Chill, literally.dr-evil
Now that summer is winding down, find something that you will both like. We take turns paying for take-out and enjoy our night in with a movie, or binge-watching a series. If you choose to watch a series, make sure to continue watching it with one another. Once one of you goes ahead, it’s hard to catch up and be on the same page.

On your spare time, go bowling!
Not only does this activity give you a chance to show off your goofy side, but you can compete with one another and show your competitive side. You would be lying to yourself if you didn’t want to beat your significant other at a game! Some bowling alleys have specials during the week, and/or cheap games and shoe rentals. Don’t forget: you can bowl just with each other or invite others to join!

Family Night!
With crazy schedules, it is hard to juggle family time with a date. Don’t be afraid to combine them! Whether is playing a game of Scattergories or watching one of your parents’ favorite movies after dinner, there’s nothing better than family bonding. It’s a way to let your partner see your “at-ease” side, and for your family to really get to know your significant other.

We used to avoid family nights during our teen years, and now we’ve grown to really enjoy them. We’ve created so many laughs and memories this way, and it’s great that our families are a part of them too.

Walk and Talk
There’s nothing like a jump start to your day with a morning walk. Sometimes, we get our dogs in the car and go for, what I call, a “nature walk.” We walk on different trails all over. Not only is it great exercise, but it’s nice being able to talk with a tea (or a PSL, if you’re into that) in hand. We will also sometimes choose to go to a botanical garden or just around town late at night.

Sure, candle-lit dinners and weekend getaways are some great memories of ours, but to me – none of that should be a necessity. One major thing I love about the fall and winter is having the comfortability to throw on a sweatshirt and just relax with my boyfriend. I hope these simple activities help you create memories as special as mine!

How to Balance Your Relationship With Your Work

Author: Chelsea Mulligan, The Dating Game

Millennials struggle with two things: relationships and finding a decent job. To be successful in both can be challenging but there are ways to make it work – I promise!

For starters, do not force anything! Being happy with your job and relationship should be effortless. You cannot force something to happen if it’s not meant to be, whether that be finding a new job to find that happy medium, or ending a relationship in hopes of finding new beginnings. If you are content in both areas, here are a few ways to continue your growth:

Texting should not be priority during work hourspasted image 0

Yes, a “have a good day” or “good morning” text is appreciated, but do not feel like you need to text throughout the day. You must understand that there is a time and a place for everything. Millennials seem to have this idea in their heads that if you do not answer back immediately or hold a conversation that everything is doomed. Please, I beg of you, please get over that assumption. Tough love: If you honestly feel that you need to be talking to and entertaining someone else while working, you are not your first priority – which *gasp* is a bigger problem than seeing your message was Read.

For the eight hours that you are at work, you should strive to be the best employee you can be. It is hard enough feeling appreciated at work, so stressing about succeeding at work while answering a text message back in a timely fashion will make your mind go into overdrive. It can also make you slip up at work if you are more concentrated on your texting than your assigned tasks.

If it were my guess, the conversation you would have with your significant other wouldn’t even be that interesting. It would probably consist of you both saying that you “can’t wait to get home,” or that you are extremely tired and wish you were still sleeping. Am I right?

Meet for a meal

pasted image 0 (1)Depending on distance, meeting for lunch is a good idea. It can be exciting to see each other in a time frame in which you normally don’t see each other. It can also come off attractive to see each other in “work clothes.”

Meeting for lunch can definitely set the tone for that evening. You can discuss if you would like to do something after work or relax on your own. It is a great compromise to see one another without being forced to watch either The Bachelor or Monday Night Football later that night.

Because your time together during a lunch break is limited, it should lead to good, steady conversation considering you have about 40 minutes together until you return to your desk. Not only is this meeting a stress reliever that gets you away from work drama, but seeing the person you care about for a short period is a nice pick-me-up in the middle of the day.

Limit the complaints
Isn’t it amazing how each and every single one of us hates being at work – but the second we get out, it’s the only thing we talk about? Take note of that and try not to chew your significant other’s ear off by telling him or her what Craig did in the meeting or how annoying Jane’s eating habits are.

You should be able to confide in one another about “work drama,” but try to shorten the story and the problems. Do not do this every single day after work. I repeat, do not do this every single day after work. If you find yourself complaining about your job every single day, it’s time to find a new job.

Finding the balance of maintaining a happy relationship and a successful job can consist of trial and error, but you should only be working hard at one (if any, and my opinion would be the job). If both seem to be rocky, a fresh start entirely is a great idea. Both a relationship and a job should compliment one another – not battle for which is more important. At the end of the day, this is your life.

What Millennials Can Learn From Customer Service Jobs

Author: Chelsea Mulligan, Career Advice

At the young age of 16, I was hired part-time as a stylist’s assistant at one of the local salons in my neighborhood. I worked in a beautiful area and ended up staying with the salon for over five years. I loved the people I worked with and appreciated what I learned while working with and for the public. I can now empathize with many employees in similar professions.

As millennials, we hear all the time that we come off as entitled, impatient or whatever Urban Dictionary wants to classify us as. Over the years, I’ve defended many professions based around customer service and I truly think it’s important for young adults and teenagers to remember how valuable “people skills” are — they go a long way in many career options. Here are a few examples:

Eye contact, people!
First and foremost, make eye contact with the person you are speaking to. Not only does it come off as rude to not, but it makes the waitress, assistant, cashier, etc., feel unimportant. Yes, everyone gets a sudden phone call, but there is no reason to be scrolling through Instagram or texting while trying to order a meal or make a payment of some sort.

On the employee side, when working for the public, the goal should be to make each and every customer interaction a positive one. Eye contact and simply saying “please” and “thank you” go a lot further than you may think.

Patience is a Virtue
Because we are the generation blessed with Easy Mac and pizza rolls, we tend to forget that other things may take longer than two minutes. Next time you are out to eat, or if your hairstylist, nail lady or bartender seems to be taking longer than expected – here’s some advice: just breathe. Appointments and reservations are made to create structure and a form of time management. It is your duty as a customer and a human to be on time, but it should also be understood that there is a possibility of waiting.

Keep in mind it’s not that the employees don’t want to serve you, it’s just that most businesses like being personable with their customers and conversations can lead to a longer appointment or stay at the table – which is a form of networking! These types of conversations are great practice for any client interaction down the road.

Gratuity, Shmatuity
“She took so long to get me my food, I’m not tipping her,” said all of us. I cannot stress enough how important tips are to people working in customer service. Please always tip. It is very common for businesses to under pay their employees, knowing that they will make money off tips. (If my old boss is reading this, I promise that this does not pertain to you). Every single waitress, hairdresser, “nail lady,” bartender, etc., looks forward to their tips. It could be what’s paying their phone bill or simply to treat themselves to a nice day at the salon or evening at a restaurant.

There are always going to be “bad eggs” in an industry and one that may not be the perfect person to work around people, but do not leave them empty handed. If they are trying, they are working and deserve to be compensated for their service. If you’re an employee working with this type of person, the same type of understanding applies.

This statement excludes the lazy employees who like to sit and hide, rather than help you with your services or assist their fellow employees. 

So to all my fellow millennials, be respectful of all the people trying to help you — whether as a customer or in your career journey. Smile and be polite. Look into someone’s eyes while saying “thank you.” Be patient and tip the person who served you that delicious meal or gave you that fabulous new look! And, of course, remember that the skills you acquire in a customer service-based job are applicable to any industry.