Category Archives: Work

posts on everything i’m learning as a new PR professional at my first post-grad job.

Long time no write!

Hello ‘world.’

It’s been so long since I last wrote, I forgot my log-in password and had to have it emailed to me.

But, considering what I’ve been up to these last few months – I think you’ll understand.

Since we last spoke, I….

–          Got married

–          Honeymooned in Paris

–          Started a new job

….all within less than two weeks.

I’ll try to catch you up a little bit, but those giant life changes are each getting their own blog posts later next week, starting of course with the wedding of my dreams.

On September 20, all of our closest friends and family gathered in Baltimore, Md. to watch Mike and I say, “I do.” Everything about our wedding day was perfect – from the gorgeous weather (not a cloud in the sky!) to the moment we saw each other for the first time that day as I walked down the aisle (I still get chills thinking about it) to dancing the night away with the people we love most. Honestly – it was everything I had ever dreamed of and more – so expect a 2,000 word blog post on that, full of pictures, sometime early next week.

Photo credit: Nelson Pun

Photo credit: Nelson Pun

The morning after the wedding, we woke up at 7 a.m. after a brief 3 hour nap to quick throw everything into bags, get a quick shower and hop the shuttle to BWI to catch our flight to Paris for our honeymoon. I got a steal on our flights, which is probably explained by the ridiculous number of layovers… from Baltimore to Boston, from Boston to Iceland and finally from Iceland to Paris. We didn’t arrive until 6 am Sunday and of course, my bag got lost along the way, but we didn’t let it deter us. This was my third time to Paris and it was by far the most magical trip of the three – I mean, does it get any more romantic than curling up on a blanket underneath the Eiffel Tower for six hours, feeding your new husband chocolate and throwing back bottle after bottle of champagne? More on that later.

La joie de vivre!

La joie de vivre!

We got back from our honeymoon late Sunday night, and thank god we took off that Monday because we were both incredibly jet lagged and had a monstrous amount of wedding crap to clean up. The next day I started my new job as the Special Events Coordinator at The HSUS (yep – same organization, different role!) and got thrown right into the deep end as we have our biggest event coming up in just three short weeks! It’s been a whirlwind since I started but I really love it so far. I was incredibly nervous if I was making the right move career-wise by going after this job, but I think I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. The leap of faith has proven to be worth it. Again – more on that next week.

The big day is almost here!

The big day is almost here!

I’ve missed blogging so much these past few months, but I have so many wonderful stories that I can’t wait to share with you all.

Until next time!

April showers bring May flowers – and life updates!

It’s crazy that today marks the end of April and tomorrow May will take its place. I feel like it was just yesterday that I rang in the new year and decided I was going to make 2013 my best year yet. I must say, four months in, I love the way 2013 feels. I thought I’d give everyone a brief update on what’s been going on in my life.

april update

In these past few months, I’ve checked twenty-five things off my 213 in 2013 list. Some of them have been small but meaningful – like spending a perfect sunny afternoon at a farmers market, buying up local art. Others were a bit intimidating, like skiing down a mountain for the first time. And some were absolutely life-changing, like finally go skydiving after years of only daydreaming about it.

Free-falling.

In just two weeks, Mike and I will be boarding a plane to Houston, Texas to visit his family. He hasn’t seen his dad, his stepmom and his adorable brothers and sisters in years, which is why I knew two plane tickets would be the perfect Christmas gift. I’m excited for my first official “vacation” since I joined the working world and look forward to stuffing myself full of authentic Texas barbeque. And to celebrate Mike’s 26th birthday in a big way. Because everything in Texas is bigger, right?

Mike's big Christmas gift this year - two tickets to Texas to see his family.

Mike’s big Christmas gift this year – two tickets to Texas to see his family.

Also – somehow over the past few months, I went from having a year until the wedding to only 142 days! That’s less than five months. Mike and I have been busy locking down hotel rooms, rehearsal dinner, guest transportation, suits for the groomsmen and a dress for my mom, you name it. In between all of the big stuff though we’ve been having a really great time working on the fun little details – like table numbers and invitations and centerpieces.

Cute little touches like this make me happy. Here is our "seating chart" sign.

Cute little touches like this make me happy. Here is our “seating chart” sign.

I think we’re now a couple thousand over budget, even with all of my DIY projects and bargain hunting. It’s crazy to me how expensive weddings can be, but I keep reminding myself it will all be worth it in the end. We have a meeting with our caterer in the coming weeks to nail down floor layouts, linen colors and dinnerware. If planning this wedding has taught me anything – it’s how to be more decisive. I’ve never had to make so many decisions in my life!

Only 143 days to go. Not like I'm counting.

Only 143 days to go. Not like I’m counting.

Oh, and in case you hadn’t heard – Mike and I booked our dream honeymoon. We’re going to Paris! And we leave the morning after the wedding. As in our flight leaves at 9:15am. And then we get to spend the next seven days in the city of love, canoodling over croissants and Chardonnay and everything magical that Paris has to offer. Thank you, tax return.

Awesome piece that appeared in USA Today on our Be Cruelty-Free campaign.

Awesome piece that appeared in USA Today on our Be Cruelty-Free campaign.

My one year moveiversary (May 12) and workiversary are also quickly approaching (May 21). It’s crazy how much can change in just a year. I’ve kind of fallen in love with my new home and the people I’ve met, although it has been a long, a bumpy road. My job continues to challenge me every day (in a good way!) and I’m unbelievably proud of myself for everything I’ve accomplished – from coverage in the biggest media outlets to growing as a professional.

New dining room paint job - still a work in progress.

New dining room paint job – still a work in progress.

Updated coffee table centerpiece - sans flowers. Can't you tell I love pink?

Updated coffee table centerpiece – sans flowers. Can’t you tell I love pink?

As for the day-to-day, Mike and I are working to make our apartment feel more like a home, between more Pinspiration and a few fresh coats of paint. We’re also putting down the takeout and opting for cooking healthier, fresher meals, which is making both our wallets and our waistline happier.

I made a homemade flatbread with low-fat/skim mozzarella, skim ricotta and some sundried tomatoes and basil. YUM.

I made a homemade flatbread with low-fat/skim mozzarella, skim ricotta and some sundried tomatoes and basil. YUM.

Which brings me to my point. I’ve been living by a mantra so far this year. And it’s working.

“You are the creator of your own happiness.”

After I graduated I fell into a slump. I was lonely. I felt disconnected. I wasn’t myself. I was unhappy.

april update happy

It’s amazing that the second you make the decision that all of those negative feelings stop, that pessimism won’t win, you regain your balance. And ultimately your happiness.

I’m loving life right now.

Because I choose to.

What exciting things do you guys have to look forward to in the coming months? Any big life changes you want to share? I’d love to hear!

let’s get peepin’

Happy Friday before Easter everyone! I don’t know if it’s because it’s Friday, or that there’s supposed to be beautiful weather in D.C. tomorrow, or that I’ve already eaten a pound of jellybeans this morning, but I’m in unusually happy spirits. So much so that I’ve been ending every email or correspondence I’ve sent today with an exclamation point and a smiley face! 🙂

Anyways – in honor of Easter weekend, I thought I’d share some fun holiday-drunk-easter-bunnythemed goodies with you to check out during your lunch breaks.

ABC News put together an ingenious list of wine pairings to go with your favorite Easter candies. From Peeps to Cadbury eggs to chocolate bunnies – there’s a wine to go with all of them. Goes to show that Easter candy isn’t just for kids anymore.

Huffington Post also shared some delicious recipes for how to jazz up your every day Peep into a culinary treat. Peep smores sounds genius if you ask me!

Drool.

Drool.

Last but not least, every year the Washington Post hosts an awesome Peeps diorama contest where people can reenact famous movies, current events, you name it — all using Easter’s most classic fluffy treat. Some of them are actually pretty impressive.

Deliciously hilarious.

Deliciously hilarious.

Happy early Easter everyone!

Liebster Award — thanks, Alex!

My lovely friend Alex nominated me for a Liebster Award over at her awesome blog, Rockstar in Training (if you haven’t already – go check it out, it’s full of great posts on life, work and everything in between). While the award isn’t an “official” award – it’s a fun way to give a shout out to blogs you enjoy and give bloggers an opportunity to share more about themselves.

The way it works:liebster

1. Share 11 things about yourself

2. Answer the 11 questions given to you

3. Nominate five bloggers and ask them 11 questions of your own.  (Alex basically picked everyone I would have nominated… that’s what happens when you travel in the same circles!)

Since all five of my readers (not including my mom) are dying to know more about me, here are 11 fun tidbits to get to know me better:

1. I have a deathly fear of crabs and mayonnaise – not sure which one I am afraid of more.

2. One of my biggest pet peeves in the entire world is when people don’t use their turn signals. Oh, and slow walkers.

3. I have broken all of my toes. Twice. (Not to mention my nose and my leg, too.)

4. I am nearly blind in one eye and technically I’m not even supposed to be allowed to drive.

5. I am the pickiest eater you will ever meet. Until a few years ago, the most adventurous I would get was hotdogs and macaroni and cheese. Now I’m in love with trying new things — Chinese is my current obsession.

6. I watch Boy Meets World every single morning before work. Literally – every morning. I never miss it. I think I’ve seen the entire series at least four times now.

7. My first word as a baby was “ACDC” and my second word was “pancake.” Even before mama and dada. Clearly, I had my priorities straight.

8. I am a hardcore francophile. I love all things French and if I had it my way – I would move there for a year or two.

9. I used to play the cello. I was really, really bad at it.

10. I was once captain of my middle school tennis team – even if it was for a hot second. It’s the only sport I’ve ever played.

11. I love a strong martini, a good book and a freshly painted manicure.

Alex’s 11 questions:

1. If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?

As cliche as it is, I have always wanted the ability to fly. I think it would be amazing to be able to go anywhere I want in the world whenever I want to.

2. What’s the toughest decision you had to make?

Whether or not to move to the D.C. area – away from all of my family, friends and the city I had grown to call my home. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but nothing worth it ever is. I think it’s helped me try to be better friend and recognize what great people I have in my life. It’s easy to forget that when you see them all the time.

3. Do you believe in God? Why or why not?

Oh boy. Long story short — no, not quite. Religion is something I’ve struggled with my entire life and its something that makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I’d like to believe that there is something more out there, but what exactly that is – I’m still not sure. I hope one day I will believe in something.

4. What’s the best way to spend a Saturday afternoon?

Sipping bottomless mimosas on a sun-bathed patio, enjoying a delicious brunch with great friends.

5. How old were you when you figured out what love was?

I thought I knew what love was in middle school – I dated the same guy on and off for three years and thought we were going to get married. Then I met Mike when I was only 16 and I have been head-over-heels in love with him ever since. Over the past seven years though I’ve learned a lot more about what goes into love and relationships and my perceptions of it have greatly matured.

6. Peanut butter or jelly?

Peanut butter. It makes everything taste better.

7. If you were forced to get a tattoo, what would you get?

I’ve always wanted a tattoo of part of an e.e. cummings poem — i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart). It’s an amazing poem that I think somehow manages to sum up my love for the most important people in my life.

8. Coke or Pepsi?

Neither — I hate dark colored sodas. I’m more of a gingerale and Fresca kind of gal.

9. Finish the sentence: My best friend is my best friend because…

they are there — for better and for worse.

10. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in the last year?

You are the creator of your own happiness.

11. Why did you start your blog?

Because I love writing and sharing my experiences with others. It’s therapeutic and allows me to get out my frustrations, my fears, my hopes and my dreams and lets me know I’m not alone.

Thanks again for the nomination, Alex!

#16. be a guest speaker at an event

Nine months ago I walked across a stage, was handed my diploma and made the transition from student to graduate. In my cap and gown, standing by some of my best friends, we looked at each other and knew everything was going to be different. We were being thrown out of our comfort zones full of Thursday night study sessions and monthly group dinners. No more sitting around tables at student org meetings or finishing the day over a few drinks and laughs.

Some of us had jobs already secured while others were still searching for the perfect one. Some packed up their lives for new adventures while others took a chance and put everything on the line. Although we were all in different places – some hating the jobs they had, others hating not having a job – we all had one thing in common: we missed our comfort zones. The feeling of knowing everyone and everything and the sense of security that came with it.

Nine months out, a lot has changed for all of us. Some have grown within their jobs, others have landed new ones. And while it hasn’t even been a full year and even though we don’t always get it right – we’re finding comfort in the new directions life has taken all of us.

Five awesome ladies doing big things. Took this from Alex's blog!

Five awesome ladies doing big things. Took this from Alex’s blog!

This is why I was beyond excited to speak in front of a PR class full of seniors and be invited to participate in Temple PRSSA’s Young Alumni Panel with four other alums (and friends) who are all doing great things.

I joined PRSSA as a freshman and by senior year I was on the e-board co-chairing the public relations committee. Every year I attended the alumni panel and listened eagerly in the audience as they would talk about the successes each of them found after graduation. I’d soak up every piece of advice they would have to offer about finding mentors or searching for jobs or obtaining the perfect internship. I scribbled it all down in notebook after notebook, hoping that by the time I graduated I would be able to return one day and pay it forward.

As the five of us sat there in front of a packed room full of eager, bright-eyed students, much like myself only a year ago, it was a surreal feeling of both pride and gratitude. We all talked about our involvement while we were at Temple, where our post-graduate journeys have taken us and offered advice on getting involved and making the most out of your college years. I was now the alum sharing her stories of success and hard work, hoping that I would serve as some sort of inspiration to those before me, much like past alumni were for me.

take pride

The experience solidified two things: that while my friends and I joke about being pseudo-adults and not having it all together, we don’t give ourselves nearly enough credit for everything we have accomplished these past nine months and how much we’ve all grown in such a short period of time. And two, that there is nothing more rewarding than being able to give back to an organization that has given so much to you over the years – from networking opportunities, hands-on experience to most importantly – the friendships you create and memories you make.

this is your life – so live it.

live the life of your dreams

All too often, we let life get in the way of living. I know I do. I see dishes that need to be washed, bills that need to be paid, to-do lists that need to be finished. I see paychecks disappearing quicker than they come in as I struggle to pay back my disheartening amount of student debt. To pay for gas and car repairs and groceries and health insurance. These responsibilities can eat you alive… if you let them.

Until the start of this new year, I was being swallowed whole by myself – my stress, my anxiety and my self-doubt. My friends and family didn’t like the person I had become. And to be honest, neither did I. Instead of trying to blame it on my job or not liking my new city or the stresses of post-grad life, I realized I needed to take responsibility for my own unhappiness. I was at the center of it. The one creating it and letting it manifest itself. I was the problem.

So I decided to come up with a solution. The 213 in 2013 Project. A list of things I’ve wanted to do my entire life that I’ve been putting off for years because I was always so full of excuses. Because I was too afraid or told myself I didn’t have the time. That it could wait. Until I realized that it can’t – because this is life. It’s happening right now. And you only get one shot to do it right.

I’m three weeks in to my project and I’ve already crossed 8 things off my list and have a queue of others already planned in the weeks and months ahead. I’m waking up every morning so excited about the potential each day holds. I’m letting the unimportant little messes like a sink full of dishes sit on the sideline while I revel in the messes that will leave a permanent mark on my life like getting paint under my nails or pizza flour all over my clothes. I’m letting my DVR fill up with TV shows I used to watch while I’m out exploring new restaurants in the city or strapping on a pair of skates to go ice skating under the stars instead.

My biggest wish for this project, besides regaining my own passion for life is that others who are experiencing similar ruts will find their passion for life again too.

Stop making excuses.

Stop telling yourself it can wait until tomorrow, or next month, or next year.

Stop letting your fears hold you back. From trying something new, chasing your dreams and achieving greatness.

This is your life and the time is now.

The time to become the best version of yourself.

To challenge, push, fail, and succeed.

To unlock your potential.

To do more of what makes you happy.

To seize the day.

To live exquisitely. Boldly. Fearlessly.

To live.

Today is my six-month workiversary, and looking back, I’m really proud of how far I’ve come.

I was honored to be given the opportunity to guest blog for one of my mentors and fellow Temple Owl, Jason Mollica, about my experiences and lessons learned this past half year.

Before you pack up and spend the next few hours in traffic for the holiday commute, I’d love for you to give this post a read and share your thoughts!

Thanks again Jason!

One Guy's Journey

[Jas’ note: I’m thrilled to welcome Niki Ianni, a fellow Temple University alum, to the blog with a great and timely post.]

Six months ago to the day, I put on my new Macy’s clearance rack suit, smoothed my hair, double-checked my briefcase for all the basics and took a deep breath as I walked confidently into the next phase of my life – the start of my post-graduate career.

The all-nighter study sessions, thousands of draft edits and hundreds of internship hours… everything I worked for in the past four years had finally paid off. While getting here had not been an easy feat, full of dozens of applications, gallons of coffee and the occasional mental breakdown…with hard work and determination, I secured my dream job working as a public relations specialist at the largest animal protection organization in the country.

For those who are preparing to…

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