4 Things To Do To Make This Winter More Bearable

Let’s make the most of this ~strange~ time

Let’s face it – we are probably going to go back into some form of lockdown this winter, and even if we don’t, this winter will most definitely not be normal. Rather than looking at all of the negatives of this, we at the Zillennial feel like this is a great time for us to try some new things and take advantage of these very strange times. 

1. Keep A Journal

This may not be the most exciting option on this list, but it is a really cool and fun way to start and/or end your day and keep track of the wild times we are living in. Easy ways to start off journaling is to find prompts and just free flow with what your mind is thinking. When starting off your journaling, it can be helpful to set-up notifications in your phone to remind you to do your daily entry to help you form a routine of writing everyday.


If you’re not a pen-to-paper kind of person, consider trying a journaling app. We are loving using Journey right now. 

2. Learn How To Cook

Ok not to be rude, and I mean this with the best intentions, but most of us Zillennials cannot cook, or our level of cooking is probably not where it should be at this stage of our lives. I digress, but there are most definitely ways that we can change this! There are SO many amazing blogs across the internet with amazing and easy-to-follow recipes. I have recently been obsessed with Tabitha Brown and her amazing vegan recipes that have blown up all over TikTok. Some of our other fave chefs and blogs to follow for more recipe inspo have been Sohla El-Waylly, Clair Saffitz who recently released her new cookbook Dessert Person and Taste Toronto who has been posting recipes from our fave Toronto Restaurants. 

3. Start Dating

I know this is probably the last thing you ever expected to see on this list but with the virtual world, I truly think that there is no better time to date. Of course, in person dates should be limited, but virtual dates should be explored! Want to go on a date with someone from Denmark? Switch your location to Denmark and do a FaceTime date! Tinder has recently made this feature free on their app and the opportunities with this are truly endless. Who knows, maybe in our post-covid world you’ll be packing up and chasing down your international love on the other side of the globe!

4. Explore a Side Hustle or Hobby

If there is something that you have been putting off because it was not the right time, or you just didn’t know if it was the right thing to do, then there is no better time than now to do it! With WFH continuing into the winter, we all are going to have more free time on our hands so go out there and take on that side hustle. This is something that I really want to do as well, so I will report back on how it goes.

Anyway, that’s all for now, folks. If you have any tips for making the most of this winter, comment below! But real talk, laying on the couch and doing nothing is also pretty fantastic. This isn’t a competition for ‘who can be the most productive rn’ – do what makes you happy!

Xoxo,

Aidan and the Zillennials

Making a Commitment

Let us tell you, being a Zillennial is not easy

Sometimes committing to something can be tough, especially if you are in a time of your life where you are surrounded by so much change. Commitment changes shapes, and sometimes can just be easier to forget than to follow through on your promises – this is what makes it so challenging. Sometimes commitment leads us in over our heads, sometimes it leads to the best thing ever. The fact of the matter is that in life, we are surrounded by hundreds of commitments that we made at one point or other. That utility bill you agreed to? That’s a commitment. The dinner plans you made months that you really want to bail on? That’s (unfortunately) also a commitment.

Where I am going with this long and sad attempt at being ~inspiring~ is that commitment is something that is difficult, and can be something that can be hard to uphold. I mean, I guess that is why it is called a ‘commitment’. I promise you this ramble is going somewhere…

Last October, in what was a very different world (who would’ve thought we’d miss going to the office), we decided we would restart the Zillennial for everyone who had been there along the way through our journey and grow our platform across Zillennials. Well, one blog post and a few sad instagram posts later, we fell short of that promise. Being a Zillennial is TOUGH. We are in the early points of our careers trying to make our mark on the world, all while trying to balance a personal life, find love and somehow fit sleep (among other things) into this equation. This is not easy work (even though I am sure there is a person or two who would tell us otherwise), and with everything we were juggling, we lost touch of our blog and forgot about the commitment we made.

Flash forward to June, our former professor, JP, invited us back to speak as Zoom guest lecturers for the very same class where the Zillennial was born. After speaking to the students about our blog, some of which were well established business people pursuing their MBAs/EMBAs, we were inspired by the love for the Zillennial and realized that it would be too sad to let something as special as this fizzle into the depths of the Google search algorithm – it is time for a rebirth. 

So here we are now telling you we are coming back – but like actually this time. We want the Zillennial to be the place you come to after a long day a work and you just need a fun article to pick you up, we want it to be that mid-day chuckle during a hard day, we want it to be a place where you can get advice. We want the Zillennial be a place for you to come to find a community of like minded people who are somehow stuck between two generations. 

That is our commitment to you, and we can’t wait to see what it brings.

Xoxo

Aidan & the Zillennials

Yes, You Can Afford to go on That Vacation – How to Travel on a Budget

Travelling can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be!

In my opinion, travelling is the BEST thing in the world (my insta handle is literally @aidantravels). Although I may be a bit biased, since both of my parents work in the airline industry, travelling has changed my perspective on so many things and has provided me with my most memorable moments.

I mean, even Britney Spears likes to travel:

“The cool thing about being famous is travelling. I have always wanted to travel across seas, like to Canada and stuff”

Britney Spears

All kidding aside, everyone should try to travel more! However, I do recognize that there is one huge barrier which can usually stop people from travelling: money. Unfortunately, there are several costs associated with going ~abroad~ (aka plane, accommodation, food, and leisure costs).

Over my many years of travelling, I have learned some GREAT ways to save money, so listen up for all of my exclusive secrets, so you can go on that trip you have been dreaming about. 

1. Use discount websites

Okay, this may be a very cliché and typical piece of advice, but using discount websites can save you a TON of money. The great part about discount travel websites is that you can compare different dates, destinations, and routes to see which route has the cheapest flight. Seriously, using a discount site helped me book a $280 flight from Toronto to Lisbon. MIND BLOWING. While Google Flights is a great first place to look, my lifesaver has been Skiplagged. Their website finds ~secret~ routes- that may involve strange connections and flights you don’t actually take- but it is dirt cheap. Skiplagged is SO good that United Airlines literally SUED them. The only catch is that sometimes you can’t take any checked luggage. Nonetheless, I love them!

2. Rent out rooms on Airbnb

If you don’t have the budget to book an executive suite, or are a snob like me and don’t like to share a room with 23 other people in a hostel, you’ll definitely like this piece of advice. After my bad hostel experience (I’ll miss you forever Helly Hansen jacket), I turned to booking private rooms through Airbnb as a means of accomodation, without breaking the bank. All across Europe, my friends and I started to rent out rooms when we would travel and boy, am I glad we did. Not only were they DIRT CHEAP, but they always felt safe and secure! Some of the best places I saw while on my academic exchange were based off of advice from Airbnb hosts. Also, the great thing about Airbnb is the countless reviews you get to see beforehand, so you know the host isn’t a creep! Defs a great way to save a few dollars.

3. Travel during the off season

Listen, I wouldn’t recommend going to some places in the middle of winter (trust me, I have made that mistake), but there are definitely some amazing deals and places to go during the off seasons that aren’t too cold! Heading to Europe, for example, in September vs. August can result in HUGE cost savings, because most North Americans go back to work or school. Because of this, many restaurants and tourist attractions lower their prices, and airlines begin to slash their prices to fill their routes during this awkward time period! So not only will travelling in the off season save you some cash, but it will allow you to have a more ~authentic~ experience that isn’t plagued by other tourists. That means you will have more opportunities to meet locals, and truly experience the destination without all the selfie-sticks!

4. Use transport strategically

It is hard to say that there is one best mode of transportation for all cities, but utilizing a bit of thinking and planning can save you a lot of money! For example, splitting an Uber in Poland with my 4 friends was not only 10x faster than utilizing public transport, but it was substantially cheaper. Crazy! Now, Uber will not be the cheapest option in all cities, but make sure to always compare all your transportation options when abroad. However, while public transport and taxis/ubers are great and quick, my favourite way to get from point A-B is by walking. Not only is walking FREE (shocking right?), but it is a great way to see the city you are in. By planning out your days in advance, you can figure out the best walking route to cover all the things you want to see. You may even find some secret gems along the way! Save the other methods for long distances and rainy days. 

5. Skip the tourist traps

While going on a Segway tour of the city may sound tempting, these types of activities are complete rip-offs. Not only that, but sometimes even the most hyped-up attractions in cities can just end up being tourist traps- *cough* *cough* The London Eye. To avoid these, plan in advance and trust the advice of the professionals. Rick Steves’ travel books and blogs will help you avoid every travel cash-grab, and help you to find more authentic and local experiences. For example, if you want to avoid being ripped off, don’t eat in the city center restaurants. He also helped me find a secret way into the Louvre that saved me from waiting in a 2-hour line. He honestly is the best, I’d 10000% recommend getting his books for your trips. 

Well there is all of my advice on how to ball on a budget for your next vacation. Happy travelling!

XOXO

Aidan and the Zillennials

Have any more money-saving travel tips? Post them in the comments below!

No, a Futon is not a Couch → 5 Essential Things For Your First Real Home

If you haven’t already done so, it’s high time that you stop passing of your “Friends” poster as “decorating”.

Let’s face it, your house’s current aesthetic looks a conglomeration of seventies couch patterns and trash. And you probably have a tea towel hanging on the wall…or at least I do.

But despite that fact, approximately 99% of my childhood was spent watching HGTV, more specifically House Hunters- I mean, how can you go wrong with a good episode of a couple people trying to find the perfect flat in Paris with a budget that makes literally no sense? All of this HGTV binge-watching, and the fact that the houses I lived in growing up were under constant renovation (thanks Dad), I developed a passion for everything interior design. I don’t know if passion is the right word honestly – it’s more of a religion than anything. So I think it’s high time to get on the right track to creating a “real adult house”, that still reflects who you truly are, and (best of all) at prices that won’t break the bank! Let’s dive right into it, here are five essential things that you need:

1. A Good Couch

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Much like the title of this article states: while functional, a futon is nothing more than the epitome of college living. Futons are NOT visually appealing, they provide little to no support and are overall just horrible (try and change my mind – you won’t be able to). And if you don’t have a futon, I bet you have an old hand-me down couch with a flower pattern and a few tears on it. But I mean, it does the job, right? No, no, NO – it is still not ok, and you should not settle. You see, the couch is the cornerstone of the living room. It is like what the CN Tower (or Drake) is to the 6ix; without it, there really isn’t anything interesting about the place (whoops, sorry TO). Ok, so back on track, rather than splurging on your non-fat, iced americano with one pump of vanilla, invest in a nice couch such as one from the AMAZING selection from Structube. Their couches are trendy, affordable and will suit anyone’s style! Seriously, these couches are amazing – and they are a Canadian brand! Check them out here, I’d seriously recommend it → Structube Couches

2. Framed Prints

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There is nothing more satisfying than hanging up a beautiful photograph in a perfectly fitted frame- literally, nothing (at least in my opinion). In your first ‘real’ home it is so important to decorate your home by showing off your photos in nice frames, rather than your old, dingy university posters that have seen better days. Nobody wants to see the Friends poster on your walls (you know the one). So basic. However, make sure that whatever pictures you frame truly reflect who you are. Your pictures and artwork tell a story, so what you put up will reflect exactly who you are. Also, just because framing something may seem “fancy”, it doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. To stay low cost, I recommend finding vintage prints from a cool store, and then finding an inexpensive frame from Ikea to house it in- it can cost as little as $20 to do this! Framing your photos instantly creates a ‘wow’ factor for your home, and is SO simple to do. Check out some fun prints and frames here → Society6 Prints

3. A Nice Carpet

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Call me crazy, but I consider this another staple of a nice living space. As I mentioned, your home is a reflection of who you are, so it will be worthwhile to cash-out a little on pieces such as this. A carpet will provide a base for the room (literally), and if you have a gross hardwood or old cat-pee covered carpet, this is the perfect thing to cover it up. Further, they are extremely customizable, for all of you worried about the carpet being too “boring”; playing around with different sizes, colours and textures CAN be fun (I promise). Overall, a carpet can tie everything in a room together, immediately taking an extremely mediocre room to that ‘wow’ factor level. Name another piece of furniture/decor that has the power to do that. I’ll be waiting here for your response.  Carpets also DO NOT have to break the bank! Wayfair has some super trendy carpets at some CRAZY low prices. Stay tuned for their sales because that’s when the prices will literally go out of control. Take a look here →  Wayfair Carpets

4. Real Lighting

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We are not talking about string lights here, or as I like to call them, “house fire starters”. Not only are these things DANGEROUS if they aren’t attended to, but they are, to be
quite frank, FUGLY!! Sure, they were fine for your college dorm or student house, but in your first real house, you deserve
real lighting. Seriously. One of the things that has stuck with me the most from taking a few architecture classes is the effect that lighting has on your mood. So, it is beyond important to invest in proper lighting to ensure your space is allowing you to be in the best mood possible, so that you can adult as best as you can. If possible, and your landlord allows you to, hire an electrician (or DIY, if you have that technical ability) to install a dimmer in the main spaces of your home. The right dimmed lighting can set the ~mood~ for the next time you bring your hot date over, or if you just want to watch a movie. Secondly, replace all the ugly blue lighting in your house with bulbs with a nice white/yellow tone. These tones will create a calm mood and won’t make your home feel like a warehouse. Some lighting elements I would personally recommend adding to your home are a nice table and floor lamp. Lamps can help showcase your design flare, and also provide a great alternative to the costs associated with installing overhead lighting. Check out some cool options here: West Elm Lamps

5. Your Personality

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Last but not least, an important staple for your home is a good aesthetic that represents YOU. Regardless of all the advice I gave, your home is a reflection of yourself- so make it look that way. Utilize décor such as throw pillows, succulents, or a coffee table book- whatever will make your place more personable is critical to truly feeling at home. I know that my home is going to look like it came straight out of a 60s Scandinavian Furniture ad, so apologies in advance to my future roommates. At the end of the day, you are going to be the one spending the most time in the space so make sure you don’t just like it. Make sure you LOVE it.

Whether you are already living in your first real home in the city, or are on the last few months in your crummy student home, there you have it, a starting approach towards helping you shape up the best version of your first home from, yours truly, a washed-up Pier 1 Imports employee and HGTV junkie.

XOXO

Aidan & the Zillennials

(PS- If you’re looking for more content, check out my Pinterest board for first apartments!)

No, You can’t Order a Jäger Bomb at a Restaurant: the Ultimate Guide to Ordering Drinks

Once college is over, you have to start ordering “real” drinks everyone.

Let’s face it – it can be hard to read a room sometimes, especially when it comes to ordering drinks. Being in a “professional” or “fancy” setting just makes it worse, especially with your nerves already at a peak. Do you order something sensible? Do you get what the boss is getting? So many thoughts going into what should be one simple decision. You are absolutely craving a Jäger Bomb to ease your nerves, but you know that’s probably not appropriate. You decide to order something practical, and go for the Jackson Triggs white wine. Well, let’s state this lesson early – you should NOT go for either! In my opinion, ordering drinks in formal settings is all about balance, and although mine may not be the best advice, at least it is some sort of advice (I mean, I did work one shift as a bartender). Nonetheless, here are some of my best drink ordering recommendations in order to not embarrass yourself in front of your coworkers and/or boss! 

Wine

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Wine is an easy go-to for any dinner occasion, but beware, your wine choice may say something about you, so choose carefully! Choosing an expensive red wine may come off as bold, and show that you are a bit stuck-up (again, this is just my opinion). Ordering a lighter, white wine comes off as more casual, and easy going (even if you are a serious wine fanatic). ALSO, it won’t stain your lips or teeth dark red, which is a huge plus. One more thing, try to avoid the cheapest and most expensive options – something in the middle shows that you aren’t a cheapo, but you aren’t going to grab the bill for the table.

My Go To: Even though I do love a nice glass of prosecco, I typically go for a mid-priced chardonnay. This helps me come across as easy going and sophisticated, but not too pretentious.

Beer

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Beer can be a tough thing to order in a more formal setting, but it can also be an opportunity to showcase a bit more of your personality. In these situations, avoid at all costs any brand with a ‘cheap’ or a ‘college’ affiliation. You want to show that your palate is more developed than simply whatever will get you buzzed the fastest (even if that is your goal). Opt for beers that stray away from the big name brands and have flavours that pair well with the food you have ordered.

My Go To: I leave it up to the server! I like to ask if they have any local craft beers on tap and if they would recommend anything. Not only does this allow you to make a personal connection with the server, but it shows the other people that you care about getting something local, that will pair well with your meal. Overall it makes it seem like you know what you’re talking about, even if you don’t!

Cocktails

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WE ARE TREADING INTO ROUGH WATERS HERE. Ordering a cocktail can make you look either sophisticated or trashy based on what you order. A good rule of thumb is to avoid any cocktail that has any type of sugary substances in it. Save those drinks for the club. Instead, any simple drink with a basic hard alcohol should be good to go. Martinis and lightly mixed drinks are definitely a crowd pleaser.

My Go To: A simple gin and tonic. It shows class, simplicity and that you are not too serious. It  may even show that you have a more refined taste, which will impress the people around you. Literally,  you cannot go wrong with a nice G&T.

Not in the mood to drink

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It’s completely fine to not order an alcoholic beverage if you are not in the mood! Plus, you will save a few dollars in the process! BUT, whatever you do- do NOT go for a sugary soda. You are not 10 years old. Instead, opt for some sparkling water, and ask for a lemon wedge. That way, it gives off the sophistication of having a cocktail- but really, it’s just Perrier. What a revelation!

Well, there you have it, all my advice for how to impress people on your next dinner date or at drinks with work. Goodbye Jäger Bomb, and hello Chardonnay. 

XOXO

Aidan & the Zillennials