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The Hodges 2019 USA Tour – Part 1, April – May

The Hodges 2019 USA Tour – Part 1, April – May

Two years, nine months, sixteen days.

That’s how long we had been preparing and planning for this trip.

As soon as we left California and Disneyland on 18 July 2016, we knew we had to return to the USA as soon as possible. Luckily, the dance school trip organisers were feeling the same way so the wheels to return were quickly in motion. Before the dust had even settled on that trip, enquiries with the tour company had already been made and the behind-the-scenes work was already happening.

The official launch happened at the dance school on a Sunday morning in mid-2017, where we found out that the tour this time would be taking us to Orlando, Florida; so it was Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, and (and this was a real surprise) a Carnival Cruise to the Bahamas, stopping in Nassau and Freeport. This meeting had everything – excitement, screaming, tears, the works. It was an incredible feeling to know that we would be heading literally half way around the world to watch our kids dance and perform in the most Magical Place on Earth. The fundraising started almost immediately, with pie drives, raffles, BBQs, pub meat tray raffles, and many more events. The team came together wonderfully and it didn’t take long for the familiar ‘family’ feeling to come through.

Deposit Day occurred on 20 May 2018 and this is when it all started to feel very real. As always happens, some families who had been part of the journey up until this point decided that they couldn’t continue (for various reasons, all of which are fair enough, but mostly due to the high cost) and so they declined to pay their non-refundable deposit and were no longer part of the trip. We ended up with a contingent of 19 dancers which was the smallest group this studio had taken to the States, but what they lacked in numbers they more than made up for with enthusiasm and talent.

Fundraising continued for the rest of 2018 and in January 2019 the intensive dance rehearsals began, starting with a three day workshop, then every Saturday for three hours to develop their 25-minute routine; we were treated to a preview of this at the end of the intensive workshop and it’s safe to say there weren’t many dry eyes left in the room when they’d finished. Whilst the routine wasn’t finished and there was a fair bit of polishing needed, we could all tell the dancers were going to present something pretty special.

Rehearsals continued and the last payment date came and went during February. All was looking fantastic and the excitement levels were increasing exponentially.

March 2019 arrived and we were all full of excitement that our dream trip was only a month or so away. Unfortunately for the Hodges, the universe had other ideas and we were about to be tested like never before.

Time away from the office

Time away from the office

Time out is so important

I spent the last few days in the beautiful Hunter Valley with some gorgeous friends drinking wine, eating cheese, playing board games and taking time away from the office.  I confess this is something I really struggle with, I am a people pleaser and I like to get things done but I neglect the most important thing…Me!

I admit I checked my phone when I had reception (and I did this often) but I made a conscious effort to be present and enjoy the moment.

  • Phone went to silent mode
  • I didn’t check messages via social media (that almost felt like my left arm was cut off)
  • I did feel nervous
  • I did feel out of control
  • I did feel like ducking to the toilet 100 times to check my messages but I didn’t

I stayed at the beautiful Carriages Boutique Hotel & Vineyard which was stunning. The country verandah and beautifully manicured gardens where picture perfect. The rooms were a little noisy but the beauty wasn’t lost.

I was picked up by the outgoing, sociable Jules from Two Fat Blokes and what a day we had.  My two favourite stops would be the Deli at the Two Fat Blokes…..the cheese and wine were perfectly matched (I’m no expert but I know when things are good and this was seriously good) and my other favourite stop was the beautiful little winery called Ivanhoe (the view and wine both as delicious on the eye and the palate).

At the end of the day I actually felt great…I survived and more importantly my clients survived.  I do have a small confession though!

I got up at 5am to come home and work!

Baby steps….

Mwah xx

Delegation Done Right

Delegation Done Right

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Overcome Writers Block

Overcome Writers Block

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Jodie has been so amazing the last few days!

I was in quite the pickle earlier in the week and Jodie put her hand up to help me.

With a fiddly, tedious job (in my opinion) that took me 5 hours to not even get close to finishing, Jodie was able to breeze through it in no time at all. And apparently enjoyed it!

Her communication with me was consistent throughout the whole process and she is an absolute delight to work along side.

I am excited to have stumbled upon Virtually Organised when I did, my business is in the growth stage and fast becoming too busy for me to do everything myself. It will be an absolute honour to continue working with Jodie & Virtually Organised in 2016 and beyond. ?? Taryn & Co.

Jodie is a star... and a fabulous person to boot!

Working with Jodie on my recent website update has been hassle-free and fun! Jodie got the job done in record time (after I had unfortunately been hacked), and the website was exactly what I was looking for!

Jodie is a saving grace!

She recently took me from a state of fear and panic to one of confidence and comfort. I now don't have to worry about losing any of my valuable photos and information as she has me flying high in the cloud. Jodie....your delivery is so polished and experienced...and so easy to understand....thank you! Kirsten Howton

Back to school and the dreaded contact wars

Back to school and the dreaded contact wars

Goal for 2017….to be organised in my personal life!

I know, I know, you might be thinking what a stupid thing to say.  But you heard correctly, yes I can organise everyone around me but my home life can be chaotic! Last year I didn’t buy any of the school books until the week before the kids went back to school and I realised I had missed the boat.  I felt like the mum that drinks wine out of a coffee cup and arrives to school in pyjamas. Oh no Bridget Jones moments for me this year, I am totally channeling Devil Wears Prada instead.

So off I go to our local shopping centre and arrive at BIG W.  They have a sale on books this week, nothing was going to stop me.  To my surprise the poor staff didn’t have all the boxes open and a few shelves empty (well this is a first for me).  In true fashion I just wanted to take a picture for proof as I know all my friends would think bollocks for sure.  Thankfully I have a twelvie in the house that did that for me via her social media account.  Oh and the moment of glee when I ran into my daughter’s new high school teacher.  Tick for very organised family.

So I proceed to Target to find the cutest contact paper and I am talking seriously cute.  Back to School brand at $3.00 a roll and let me say it’s the best contact I have ever ever used. So far one roll has covered four A4, 128 page books and still plenty on the roll to go.  Not one bubble, not one tantrum, not one F-bomb and not one wine required.

So far my goal to be mother of the year is on track and I look forward to sharing many stories to come.  I look forward to returning to work tomorrow and kicking some serious goals for my clients in 2017.

Virtual Assistants never get sick!  Right?

Virtual Assistants never get sick! Right?

File 5-05-2016, 7 47 26 AMSo today I have a list of things to do from working on a website that has been hacked (which was wickedly funny and my fellow VA thought so as well) to processing payments, client meetings, scheduling permits with Melbourne councils and looking after my clients social media.  That is a normal day and it is honestly so much fun.

I have woken up with a wicked headache and the skin on my face is doing something that makeup wouldn’t do justice. So today I am very thankful that I work from home where I can stay in a tracksuit, wear no makeup and feel sorry for myself.

Signing off with a 🙁 only because nobody else can give me sympathy working from a home office.

Jodie Hodges Virtual Assistant

Skype has a search option

Skype has a search option

Skype has a search option

I had no idea…..honestly! Did you know that you can search and find a specific message in Skype?  For a very long time I would scroll through my messages to try and find a specific request that a client had sent me or a missing code or what time the dinner date was on.

Today was a perfect example of my mission to beat the scroll. (I must point out that this blog is talking about Skype on my desktop).  A client had sent me a task and I had to find if it was via Skype, email or SMS.  Once I eliminated the email and SMS I turned to the dreaded Skype!  Being a busy Virtual Assistant means my Skype can get pretty hectic.

Anyways….check this out!

Click on the person/contact that you need to search.  Then select Conversation and a drop down menu will appear, then click on Find (or Ctrl + F).

Skype search first to do

Searching through messages using Skype.


Once you have clicked on Find you will see a new little tool bar (see below) show up down the bottom of your Skype chat and this my friends is where we type our magic word.

Skype search

The word you are searching for will show up (highlighted) and you can select next to find the same word if it is used multiple times.  This little find has just saved me hours of scrolling through old messages.  Please leave a comment below if you think this little tip is a keeper or if you would like me to research anything that drives you bonkers.

For instant tips you can visit my Facebook business page and make https://www.facebook.com/VirtuallyOrganised/

Until next time…

Jodie Hodges Virtual Assistant



What my star sign says about my Ideal Career

What my star sign says about my Ideal Career

Pisces are as flexible as they come when it comes to the workforce—you’re not concerned about proving yourself to others, you’re only concerned with doing the best you can. You can navigate a number of professions, but are generally happiest when you find a job that caters to your sensitive, healing side. You’re compassionate and highly intuitive—making you great in areas that are both healing and restorative, like the arts and medicine.

Ideal careers: Anything having to do with healthcare—where you can heal others—is an ideal fit. Think nurse, doctor, physical therapist, psychologist, etc. You also thrive in the arts, like dance and music. (Many combine these traits, such as becoming a color therapist or working in arts programs that help troubled teens.)

The above article from Marie Claire pretty much nailed it for me.  I love helping others!  I have chose to help people in business!