Social Media and the Job Search

Three years ago during my college freshman orientation one of the very first seminars I attended was “How to Clean Up Your Social Media.” I attend Bentley University, which is a business school, and from the very first day we stepped on campus, the advisors and faculty ingrained in our heads the importance of professionally displaying ourselves on the internet. Social media management is everywhere at my school. Everyone is required to take a class dedicated to learning how to make a perfect LinkedIn profile, and even my sorority has strict guidelines and a contract we must sign that dictates what is considered appropriate to post.

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Pause Before You Post on Social Media

In my last three and a half years at college, knowing what to post and what not to post almost comes second nature to me. However, I never really understood the importance until I began applying for summer internships, and more recently, a full-time job post-graduation. A recent study showed that 70 percent of employers screen job applicants using their social media, so it is important now more than ever before to check up on all of your online personas before you send in your resume to your dream job (Brooks, 2017).

 

pexels-photo-935756.jpegEven if you think your account is completely private, there are still ways to see the content you post. The easiest thing is to just pause before you post to ensure that everything you’re about to share, like, tweet, or comment is tasteful and appropriate. Someone once taught me that if you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see it, then don’t post it at all. I still follow those guidelines every day.

 

Social Media Scanning is not Always Out to Get You

Before you panic and delete every form of social media you have, know that there are times your platforms can actually help you out rather than hurt you. When an employer is screening an applicant, they are not necessarily looking at your profiles to “catch” you. Many of the times your pictures or statuses can confirm something you already spoke to them about or support your professional qualities. For instance, if your resume says you dedicate several hours a week to volunteering at your local pet shelter and your Instagram is filled with adorable puppies, then the employer will remember that and know the information you gave them is valid.

 

pexels-photo-219003.jpegEmployers also use social media to see what other people are posting about you too. This can be beneficial since most things that are shared online about someone else are positive. However, sometimes friends can post things that were meant as jokes but could be construed as inappropriate or unprofessional. Next time you’re about to post the most embarrassing selfies you have of your friend on her Facebook wall for her birthday, maybe think twice about it.

 

By taking the extra second to think about what you are about to upload before you hit the “share” button you will see that it can make a huge difference, and employers will take notice. Not only will you show you have great communication skills and creativity, but you will also show employers you know how to professionally portray yourself to others. Social Media is often times your first impression to many people and you always want to put your best foot forward.

 

Social Media Screening Works Both Ways

pexels-photo-515169.jpegOne thing I did take away from my job search experience is not only how important your own social media accounts are, but also how important social media platforms are for the company you are applying to. One of the first things I do when I hear about a company or am interested in applying to a job is look at the business’ Facebook and Instagram pages. These, along with many other platforms, give myself and other candidates a look into the company that may be different from what they have on their website.

 

Checking out the company’s social media platforms can also give you a feel for their company culture. Websites are usually more formal and informative, but social media platforms like Twitter or Instagram can share more fun or engaging content showing you an inside peek at everyday work life. You may even earn extra brownie points during an interview if you bring up something that they shared on Facebook or retweeted on Twitter!

 

If your business needs a little extra boost managing your social media platforms….

MaxExposure Social Media can help! Check out our Reputation Management package, which has our team of experts manage your reviews, social media activity, and overall online presence. If you are interested in this or would like to learn more about our other services please feel free to contact us!

 

Resources:

Brooks, Chad. “Keep It Clean: Social Media Screenings Gain in Popularity.” Business News Daily, 16 June 2017, https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/2377-social-media-hiring.html.

Student Going on Intern

Often times, interning is the first working experience college students get in their specific field of study. At my school, Bentley University, internships are held in incredibly high regard and are pretty much considered essential to complete before you graduate. I am currently a junior, majoring in marketing with minors in management and psychology, and I started interning with MaxExposure Social Media about three months ago. Prior to starting my own internship, I had always just thought of an internship as a way to get connections for a job later on, or something that would look good on a resume. After just three months I have learned internships provide so much more than just career connections.

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In my internship, I am responsible for writing and editing blogs for MaxExposure, responding to customer comments and reviews on clients’ social media accounts, completing social media performance analyses, and I am currently starting on website design. In just three short months, I have improved my writing skills, as well as learned the proper ways of communicating with customers. I have an increased understanding of all of the responsibilities involved in marketing, and the importance each task holds to a company’s success.

Aside from all of the task-specific skills I have gained, I have also communication and organization skills that will help me to succeed all throughout my career. Below I have listed the top three most important things I have learned throughout my internship with MaxExposure:

 

Communication is KEY

pexels-photo-601170.jpegWith this being my first internship, as well as my first time working while being in school, keeping constant communication is essential. Sometimes my schoolwork can be rather daunting, and I have had instances when I did not properly communicate that with my boss and other coworkers. After talking it over with my boss I realized had I communicated that I was feeling overwhelmed from the very beginning, the work could have been completed more efficiently and on top of that, I wouldn’t have felt so overwhelmed. Consistent communication with your boss and coworkers is extremely important in any internship or job; this realization and lessons I have learned through lack of communication will benefit me throughout my entire career.

 

SCHEDULE! SCHEDULE! SCHEDULE!

Although right now I am juggling school and work, in the future I will be juggling adult life and work, so learning how to multi-manage and effectively schedule right now will benefit me so much in the years ahead. Work will throw curveballs at you, just as life and school will, so learning how to complete planned tasks efficiently and allowing extra time to account for unplanned tasks is extremely important to your success.

pexels-photo-908298.jpegWhether this be done by setting alarms or creating checklists, having a plan on how to handle curveballs and pop-up situations is important to time management and ensuring everything that needs to get done does! Working for a small business and witnessing the constant juggling act between work and life responsibilities has been eye opening. One time for example, my boss’ cat got sick so she had to leave the office and take him to the vet. She immediately told me to call her clients whom she had conference calls with to reschedule. Knowing how to schedule (and reschedule) to account for possible curveballs is essential to maintaining a successful career.

You get what you give

Like any job, you get out of internships what you put into them. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending tons of time on your work, but putting high quality effort into it. If you maintain focus and try your hardest to produce the best work you can, you will learn more in return and end up being more skilled, and therefore more successful. Acknowledging this will also help motivate you to work harder and focus more, therefore improving your overall work ethic.

 

How Social Media has Changed our Lives for the Better

Take a moment and think about social media and how it has affected your life. Do you automatically think of positive or negative things? Does the good outweigh the bad or vice versa? It is definitely a challenging thing to determine because in a way social media has consumed every aspect of our lives. The minute I wake up after turning off my alarm I am checking my emails, scrolling through Instagram pictures, watching the Snapchat Stories I missed from the night before, and seeing whose birthday it is on Facebook. For me this everyday routine is such a norm that I don’t even realize I am doing it, but many other people disagree and think that it is a causing more harm than good.

Before I started writing this post I typed into google “social media and mental health” to see what popped up. To my surprise, the first page of Google consisted entirely of articles about the negative impacts it can have. Every article was about the dangers of social media or tips on why you should stop using social media as often as we do. This shocked me. I understand there are definitely harmful things that can come from over using it, or using it in a harmful way, but I was surprised that not one article shed light on the positive effects it can have on people.

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Growing up in the millennial generation learning how to work technology and social media was second nature to me. It has been there ever since I can remember and I really cannot imagine a time without it. Because of this, I view these tools in a more positive light than maybe someone who is older than I am would.

Below are my thoughts on social media and some of the many positive effects it can have on people:

It can boost your confidence

Family picnicking in the park

When we make our online profiles, we generally like to show the public the best parts of ourselves. We choose flattering pictures and share exciting experiences we’ve had. By focusing on showing everyone else what we like about ourselves, we in turn can see what makes us so great and this can be a huge confidence booster. So post that #selfie and share that awesome video you made on vacation. Be confident in your social media posts and you will feel confident in yourself!

It can make you step out of your comfort zone

We’ve all heard the silly term “do it for the Gram” but in a way this motto can inspire us to take a step out of our comfort zone to try something new, even if your original intention was only to do it to show off for your followers. Don’t know if you should try sushi for the first time, but the table next to you has a picture perfect plate of it in front of them? Order the sushi! Not only will you get a great pic for your Instagram page but you also can cross something off your bucket list.

It can help us stay connected

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Staying connected with friends is never an easy thing. We all get busy with our everyday lives and forget about the promise you made to your high school bestie when you ran into her at the grocery store to grab coffee sometime. Social media makes it easier than ever to stay in touch with people and up to date on their lives, even if you’re thousands of miles apart. By simply scrolling through Facebook you can congratulate a friend for getting their dream job, or wish someone luck as they move to a different country.

It keeps us up to date on the world around us

Depositphotos_175993390_originalIn my history class last week my professor was interested in seeing where we acquire our news from. To her surprise 90% of our class said their go-to source to see what’s happening in the world around us is social media. Sure we still might turn the news on the TV while we make breakfast in the morning but the reality is that for my particular demographic, we rely on social media to stay in the know. One girl in my class explained that her main use of Twitter is to stay updated on current events. She follows several local and national news stations as well as political leaders and rarely uses it for anything else. With headlines popping up at our fingertips on pretty much every social media platform, my generation is more apt to stay in the know using these outlets.

It can promote a healthy lifestyle

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Although obesity is on the rise and Americans are continuing to lead unhealthy lifestyles, I personally think social media has a way of motivating people to stop binge-watching Friends for the sixth time and get some exercise. Whether it’s pinning motivational quotes to a board on Pinterest, checking out Kayla Itsines’ newest workout on Instagram, or watching a Tasty video of how to make a delicious shrimp salad wrap on Facebook, inspiration and motivation to improve your lifestyle are everywhere.

Next time you start to judge social media and all of it’s negative impacts and research associated with it, take a moment and think about why you use it and why you have so many profiles on so many different platforms. Social media for me does more good than bad and if used correctly, it can do the same for you too!

How to Make your Job More Enjoyable

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In today’s day and age, people are constantly complaining about their job, whether it be the workload, their colleagues, or their over demanding boss. Even if you love what you do, there are so many other factors coming into play that skew your level of enjoyment in your day to day at work.

               “My boss was being so annoying today.”

“I’ve had so much work lately, I had to stay two hours later at the office last night.”

                          “I can’t stand the people in my department! They’re so under-qualified.”

 

There is no way of knowing what challenges you are going to encounter throughout your work week. Although these challenges or conflicts add to your stress and overall, tend to lead to a less enjoyable work week, there are things you can do to prevent that stress or frustration from affecting how much you enjoy your job. Below are 5 tips on how to improve your overall enjoyment at your job..
      1. Smile every morning

cropped-cropped-cropped-adobestock_57792388.jpegThis one sounds super cliche, but smiling every morning when you wake up, when you get in your car to go to work, and when you walk into the office, makes a huge difference in your work attitude. Smiling is a natural way of making you feel more relaxed and calm, and lowers your stress levels. You will generally feel much happier throughout the day and have a more positive outlook on your job by starting every morning with a smile.

      2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle

We all know work can get pretty demanding and exhausting. We all have those days when we tell ourselves all day that we’re going to go to the gym after work, no matter how tired we are, no matter how much we want to crack open the leftover lasagna from last night, and then, when it comes time, you put those gym clothes on, and drive straight home to the lasagna (gym clothes are definitely more accommodating to the post-work binge eat). Although you feel tired at the end of the day, the more and more you skip the gym, and the more you choose lasagna as opposed to some healthy greens, the more tired you are going to feel. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle; eating healthy, working out, and staying hydrated, will not only make you feel better both physically and mentally, but will make you view your work as part of your lifestyle as opposed to something that interferes with your lifestyle. This will allow you to enjoy your work more, rather than resent working.

       3. Decorate your workstation

Woman Working. Work space Concept, Woman Working Home Office Start up Ideas ConceptEveryone has a different office setup depending on how the company organizes its employees and what type of office space is used. Decorating your office or desk can make such a big difference in the overall atmosphere of your work space. Put up pictures of people or things that make you happy and make you smile. I was recently struggling to keep up a positive attitude with work, so I changed my phone background to a picture of my cousin’s new baby laughing. Although I received multiple accusations of having a child and not telling anyone (my boyfriend begged me to change my background), the picture made me smile and improved my overall attitude throughout the day.

4. Strengthen office network

The people you work with can vastly affect your overall happiness at your job. Although there are the occasional employee conflicts or disagreements, getting to know your coworkers outside of the office will improve your communication and lessen the conflict in the office. Going on employee outings on the weekends such as, going out to lunch, going to see a movie, getting coffee, holding an employee dinner, or even going out to a bar together, can greatly improve your relationship with your coworkers and strengthen communication both in and out of work. These experiences will also give you something to talk and laugh about with your employees, lessening the boring small talk and improving your connections with people, overall making work more appealing and enjoyable.

Group of cheerful people toasting with drinks

       5. Bring Yourself to your Job Everyday

This probably makes zero sense to you as of right now but let me explain. We go to work everyday, but would you say that you bring not only your work talents, but your personality to work everyday? Do you often find that you act extremely different, maybe rather boring, at work compared to how you act outside of work? I am sure you are great at what you do, and having the talents required for your specific job is extremely important. However, bringing your personality into the workplace cannot only increase your own personal happiness, but the happiness of your coworkers as well, and can even improve job performance. Bringing your personality with you to work allows you to feel more comfortable with your colleagues, and improves your relationship and connections with employees, and even clients. Job talent and personality combined leads to improved work ethic and performance, and can even lead to job promotions as well.

The Camera has to Eat First!

Food3Out of all the things I take pictures of, food photos definitely take the cake. When it comes to social media, I am not a huge selfie girl, but one thing I do snap all the time is pictures of doughnuts, aćai bowls, and pizza. Whether I bake homemade cookies or go out to a restaurant, you can bet my phone camera will be eating first.

I usually will post the picture on my Snapchat story or on my Visco account, but most of the time I just save the photo for myself. Taking pictures of food for me is a way to remember a fun night out with my friends or a delicious homemade meal that my mom cooked for the family.

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My food photo addiction started when I studied abroad in Europe for a semester. Everywhere I went I indulged in amazing food and I would have been crazy not to take a picture to remember it. I’m talking about cheese fondue in Switzerland that had your mouth watering, heart shaped pizzas in Italy that made you fall in love, and hot chocolate in London that brought tears to your eyes.

Some people are against this trend in social media and think it takes away from living in the moment. They also think people will only buy or order a certain food just for the picture. I however think that there are many more positives to this movement than negatives. Taking pictures of your food encourages people to live a little more outside of their comfort zone. For me personally it has inspired me to try different restaurants I have never been to, or order something that might seem a little crazy. It also has allowed me to show off my cooking skills, get a little artsy and creative, and really express how much of a foodie I am.

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Since I am a trained professional (or so I’d like to think) at taking pictures of my food, here the top 5 tips and tricks I have learned along the way.

Find the perfect lighting

Natural lighting is usually the best way to go. Using the flash sometimes shows strange shadows and can make your meal look slightly less appetizing.

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Play with your food

I know this goes against everything your mother taught you, but sometimes the bun will fall off your burger or a French fry will be astray. Before you get the best picture possible move around a few things to makes sure your plate is at perfection.

Get creative with angles

Just like us, food has their good side too. Depending on how you hold your camera can really impact your picture. My go-to trick is getting the camera eye level with your plate and tilting it slightly downwards so everyone can get a better look at all of the delicious ingredients.

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Work with the background

Whether you’re sitting at a cool wooden table or you’re outside at a barbecue, the background adds to the personality of the picture. Get your friend cheesing in the background or show off the freshly squeezed orange juice behind your omelet at brunch.

Tag the location

This is super important so you can remember where you enjoyed that delicious and picture worthy meal, and so your friends and followers can check it out too. If you’re posting on Instagram, tag the restaurant’s name so other followers can click it and see other people’s delicious meals they’ve tagged as well. On Snapchat swipe left until you get the geo filter that shows your location. Your followers will thank you later.

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If you really get the hang of it and don’t want to clutter your Instagram feed with only food pictures you can make your own food account. These accounts are an awesome way to check out cool places to try, and you can brag to your followers when you discovered the most beautiful piece of pizza in all of Boston.

One of my friends started her own food account that is strictly gluten free foods (@gffoodie_boston). She extremely allergic to gluten and wanted to provide a way for other GF foodies to find great places to eat without sacrificing taste. Her account has over one thousand followers and she even gets cool promotions and deals from restaurants to check out their menu and post about it.

Snapping a pic of your perfect Panini is always a good idea, but it is also important to put your phone down after the photo and actually enjoy the food and the conversation.

Whenever my friends and I go out to eat, we have a rule that we all stack our phones in a pile faced down in the middle of the table. If someone reaches for their phone out of habit, they are stuck with the bill at the end- unless of course it’s to take a quick picture.

It sounds a little silly but there is always a time a place for your phone, but checking twitter while you bite into a juicy burger definitely isn’t it.

Happy snapping!

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Mastering the Perfect Selfie

Of all the social media trends out there, selfies has proved to be one of the most long-lasting trends of our time. The first selfie ever was believed to have been taken in October of 1839 by a man named Cornelius.

old selfie

This “selfie” is clearly very different from the selfies we see today on social media. Selfies today are taken much closer to the face, and, at least in my case, require a generous amount of makeup to be applied prior. Getting that perfect selfie can be much more difficult than it seems, so I have included several steps that are essential to mastering “selfie-taking.

Find a good background

Finding a good background can be pretty difficult. I always try to stand or sit against a white or nude wall. Using a plain wall brings more attention to you in the selfie and makes your picture look cleaner and more put together. Finding a plain background that also offers some natural light is even better. Natural light brightens your face and makes the picture appear clearer and less grainy.

Decide if you are taking a group selfie or individual selfie

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If you are taking a group selfie versus an individual selfie, how you actually take the picture is going to be different. In taking a group selfie, depending on how many people are in the selfie, you have to decide who is going to take the picture to get the best angle. For three people, the person in the middle should take the picture so everyone’s face is equally shown in the picture. For more than three people, a person on either end should take the picture by extending their arm and angling the camera so everyone is included in the shot. 

Get the perfect angle

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This definitely takes multiple tries. You need to test what angle makes your face look best which differs for everyone. Make sure you get your entire face in the picture, and take the picture from farther away from your face than you want it. You can always zoom in, but you can’t zoom out of the picture. Sometimes when posting on Instagram or Facebook the app may crop the picture weird so you want to make sure your entire face is still in the picture once it’s cropped.

Important tips

When taking your selfie, try to keep your chin parallel with the ground so you appear in your natural state and not stretching your neck upward or tilting your head downward.

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If you are taking group selfies, make sure everyone is close enough to one another so everyone is included in the picture and there are no awkward gaps in between people.

Lastly and most importantly, have fun with it and take a selfie that makes you feel good!! Be sure to post your selfie on your favorite social media site for the world to see!

Happy Selfie-ing!!  

Source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/05/worlds-first-selfie-1839-robert-cornelius_n_4392804.html

The Quest for the Perfect Family Photo

There are a lot of traditions that come with the holidays; opening Christmas Eve gifts, smashing the Peppermint Pig, Secret Santa, and baking Christmas cookies for Santa. Of all the holiday traditions, taking a decent family picture has definitely proved to be the most difficult one. Every year my mom tries to get a good picture of my brothers, my sister, and me for the Christmas card. If we don’t get a good picture on Thanksgiving, we take one on Christmas instead and our “Merry Christmas!” card turns into a “Happy New Years!” card. So for those of you who struggle with getting the perfect family picture during the holidays, here are steps you can follow:

How to Take the Perfect Family Picture During the Holidays

Use the highest quality camera you have

This doesn’t mean you have to have one of those big digital cameras. Your highest quality camera could even just be on the iPhone 7. With all your relatives over you’ll have plenty of cameras to choose from, and the higher quality the camera the better the picture will look on a Christmas card!

Make sure everyone’s outfits are coordinated (somewhat)

My siblings and I always try to wear red and green for Christmas but if we don’t match colors, just making sure everyone’s outfits look good next to each other will make your pictures look better. Try to avoid wearing graphic shirts or sweaters as this will take away from the picture itself. Solid color sweaters or button down shirts for guys always looks good. Flannels are also a good way to go, but avoid overdoing it; if you have four people in the picture, two people at most can wear flannels.

Find the perfect background

Finding the perfect background can seem pretty difficult depending on what backgrounds your house has to offer. By using the right angles and cropping your pictures, you can make a mediocre background look 10 times better. Fireplaces, couches, in front of the Christmas tree, or even on the front steps of your house can provide good backgrounds for your picture. Whichever background you choose, just make sure to get rid of any clutter that might appear in the background, or crop out the clutter after taking the picture. If you can’t seem to find a good background, make your own background! Hang snowflake cutouts, or hang a sheet over a wall to make a solid color background. Get creative!

Develop a pose for the picture

Depending on how many people are in the picture, getting a pose that gets everyone in the picture can get pretty difficult. Play around with it! It helps to have someone stand in front of everyone and shift people around depending on height, age, and so on. You want the picture to be as symmetrical as you can so balancing each side out with tall and short people is essential to getting that perfect picture.

Have fun with it!!!

The most important part of course is to have fun with your picture-taking! If you still have young kids in the family a photobooth can be a great idea to have some fun and encourage picture-taking. Print some holiday pictures and sayings and glue them to popsicle sticks and have people hold them up in the pictures. This makes picture-taking fun and you can get some cute pictures out of it too!

Check your picture on a computer

This might be the most important part, especially if you are planning on putting your pictures on a holiday card. Always check your pictures on a bigger screen such as a computer. My sister and I are especially picky about our pictures and almost always disagree on the best picture. Checking your picture on a computer immediately after picture-taking allows everyone to make sure they like it, and allows you to retake the picture if needed and still have good lighting. My family had a bit of a mishap with our picture this Thanksgiving because we didn’t check the picture on a computer until nighttime. We attempted to retake it but at this point the daylight was gone and the picture came out terrible, so it’s looking like this year we will be sending out a New Years card.

Use editing apps if needed to fix lighting, flaws, etc.

There may be small things you want to get rid of in the picture, acne, red eye, or maybe even a stain on your clothes.These things can be easily edited out of the picture. If you’re an adult and don’t have those editing apps on your phone, I would suggest handing your picture over to one of the kids and having them edit out anything you need. I personally use “YouCam Makeup” to edit any flaws in our pictures. This app can be downloaded in the Apple AppStore and I guarantee it will get rid of any flaws your picture has.

Once all the finishing touches are in your picture is ready to be sent out to all the relatives!! I guarantee if you follow these 7 steps your holiday card will surpass all others this year! Hopefully this will ease the stress of getting that perfect holiday picture this year.

Finally, be sure to post the family pictures to your social media, to share with your friends and family alike!

Holiday Traditions

One of my favorite traditions around the holidays is smashing the peppermint pig after Christmas dinner. For those of you unfamiliar with the peppermint pig, it’s pretty straightforward; the peppermint pig is a pig made of pink peppermint that comes in a little red velvet bag and a small hammer to smash it with. Everyone gets a piece of the peppermint pig in hopes of receiving good fortune the next year. The peppermint pig can be purchased on Amazon through this link if you would like to share in the tradition this holiday season!

For those of you who are not big peppermint fans, here’s a delicious sangria recipe you can make this holiday! (another personal favorite of our holiday traditions). I hope you have a wonderful time indulging in all of your holiday traditions this year, and maybe even make some new holiday traditions!

Happy Holidays!