Tag Archives: work

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!

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#34. grab drinks with old friends

You will often hear people talk about high school being some of the best days of their lives. And that makes sense with all the hub bub over prom, and homecoming and “senior week” and house parties full of cheap booze.

Not for me.

Unlike 99.9% of the population, some of my best days were lived in middle school. Those three awkward years where you’re still growing into your body, sleepovers with your girlfriends are a mandatory weekend ritual and you get in trouble for things like stuffing kids into lockers, putting your friends in trashcans and flinging mashed potatoes on to the cafeteria ceiling. (Okay, maybe that was just at my middle school.)

A group of sweaty, emotional teenagers the day I left for Pennsylvania.

A group of sweaty, emotional teenagers the day I left for Pennsylvania.

I went to Godwin, a not-so-fantastic place that was rife with all sorts of problems. My middle school made it “cool” for 13-year-olds to get pregnant before any other school and there were usually 10 fights…a day. Nonetheless, in the middle of all the craziness, there was a group of nerds, (I use that term in a fond way), part of a “super smart advanced IB program.”

And in that group I found a family.

A completely dysfunctional family that laughed together, cried together and dated each other to the point where it was hard to keep track of who was dating who.

My JAU girls and best friends in middle school.

My JAU girls and best friends in middle school.

Some of my favorite memories are around that old worn gym track, where I’d have heart to hearts with my girlfriends or sneak a kiss in with my boyfriend. Or in Mr. Stoebe’s science class where I got in trouble more times than I’d like to admit for attacking him with silly string or ruining his pants because I soaked his seat with water. Or at lunchtime where my friends and I would have impromptu food fights and get banished to the cafeteria stage.

Middle school may have ended ten years ago, but thanks to the powers of Facebook I’m still able to see how everyone’s doing and what everyone’s up to. This past December, we decided we wanted to have a reunion and it was incredible. Nearly 30 people showed up, who I hadn’t seen for a decade, and we spent the night reminiscing and laughing, just like old times.

First Godwin reunion, circa December 2012.

First Godwin reunion, circa December 2012.

A smaller group of us got together again this past weekend and caught up over food and drinks, sharing stories about the “golden days of Godwin” and where life had taken all of us. From job offers at architecture firms, to people earning their master’s degrees, to others pursuing a career in politics and doing life-saving research for HIV. It was amazing to spend a few hours reliving the glory years of gold and blue and hearing about the exciting paths everyone was taking from moving to marriage.

We toasted to our dear friend Brian, who would have just turned 23. (Happy birthday again, Gomez.)

We drank and laughed until our bar tabs were outrageous (ok, maybe just mine…) and then we hugged each other goodbye until the next time.

Last weekend's get together.

Last weekend’s get together. Governors for life.

It’s crazy how there are just some people in your life, no matter the time or distance that comes between you, who will always have a special place in your heart.  A place that’s painted gold and blue, all wrapped up in silly string, gym uniforms and detention.

Cheers to all my Godwin Governors and all the wonderful things life has brought you.

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!

#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.

#2. ice-skating under the stars

My routine during the work week is usually pretty predictable. After packing up at the office and sitting in migraine-inducing traffic, Mike and I would usually quick throw something together for dinner and spend the next few hours sitting mindlessly in front of the television. After spending 8 – 9 hours at the office, our brains felt like mush and I’d induce a coma full of Honey Boo Boo and Desperate Housewives of Whatever while Mike played way too many games of Bejeweled Blitz on his iPhone.

Needless to say, working full-time has put me into a bit of a rut. A boring one at that. So I was beyond excited to get out of work today knowing that Mike and I would be spending the night ice-skating under the stars and neon lights in Downtown Silver Spring — something I’ve been dying to do now for months.

We're lucky to have a killer outdoor skating rink only 5 minutes from our apartment in Downtown Silver Spring.

We’re lucky to have a killer outdoor skating rink only 5 minutes from our apartment in Downtown Silver Spring.

When I was younger, I’d spend almost every weekend with my friends at our skating rink up the street. It’s where I had many of my first “puppy love” middle school dates, where cheesy N’Sync love songs would play and we’d clumsily and awkwardly fumble to hold each others hands. But I also just loved how freeing ice-skating felt… after the pain in your feet melted into numbness, there was nothing more exhilarating then whipping around the rink with the cold air biting at your face.

That’s why I wanted to include ice-skating under the stars on my 213 in 2013 bucket list.

After coming home and changing out of our business professional attire, we bundled up in scarves, hats and gloves and trekked over to the rink. I practically had to drag Mike with me after his last ice-skating disaster a few years back. Long story short, Mike surprised me with two passes to the Blue Cross River Rink in Philly for Valentine’s day. While other couples were skating figure eights, holding hands and smooching under the moonlight, Mike gave up after spending 10 minutes clinging to the side of the wall in shame and went to spend the rest of the night next to the free chocolate fountain while I was left to skate alone. Cute, right?

Getting all laced up and ready to hit the ice.

Getting all laced up and ready to hit the ice. I have giant, giant man feet (size 11).

After listening to him whimper and whine about not wanting to embarrass  himself in front of all the eight and nine year old kids, we took our first tentative steps onto the well-worn ice. My legs were a little wobbly and apprehensive at first. It’s like getting on a bike for the first time in years… you have to shake off the dust and make your muscles remember what to do. Slowly but surely, one foot in front of the other, I began to glide around the rink.

This is cry-baby Mike, making one final plea to not go out onto the ice.

This is cry-baby Mike, making one final plea to not go out onto the ice.

And to my surprise, Mike took a leap of faith, let go of the wall and was skating right beside me. We spent the next two hours laughing, (almost) falling and singing Taylor Swift songs at the top of our lungs (not by choice… it was all they seemed to want to play.) We talked about work and life and made jokes. For the first time in a long time, I felt like we were actually spending time together and not just with each other.

The hood turned out to be quite dangerous as I nearly tramped several small children due to limited visibility.

The hood turned out to be quite dangerous as I nearly tramped several small children due to limited visibility.

We traded in our skates after our feet couldn’t possibly take another lap and our lips chapped from the bitter cold and finished up the night grubbing on Chipotle while remarking on how nice it was to not be in front of the television for a change.

From cry-baby to man of confidence...Mike finally let go of the wall.

From cry-baby to man of confidence…Mike finally let go of the wall.

It just goes to show you that life doesn’t end at your cubicle. You can still have fun and be adventurous because life isn’t defined by 9 to 5 parameters. It’s our job, our responsibility to fill those hours outside of work with color and memories and laughs. I know it’s only three days in to 2013, but I’m already proud of myself for waking up and realizing the time is now.

This is my life. And I’m making every second of it count.

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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the friday five: five perks of post-grad life

Is it just me, or did this week fly by? Although – you won’t hear any complaints coming from me after the last few weeks have felt like they’ve each been twenty days long.

It’s been a pretty good week too, I must say. Mike and I have been keeping up on our promise to spend more quality time together and enjoyed a great date night at Olazzo, full of martinis and arancini. Wednesday I went out for drinks with a few of my colleagues and we had a great night letting loose and not obsessive-compulsively checking our emails. And tomorrow – my mom, dad and younger brother are all coming down to spend the weekend in DC with Mike and I. It will be the first time my parents have been to visit since they moved me in and it will be my brother’s first trip to see me down here ever.

I’m going to keep up with my “Friday Five” trend and will continue to mix it up after last week’s inspiration.

This Friday – I bring you the “Five Perks of Post-Grad Life.” We hear enough about the pitfalls (no more Thirsty Thursdays, no more sleeping in after morning class was canceled, crushing student loan debt, no more being the “big kid on campus”) – so instead I thought I’d share some of the awesome things about life after graduation. I guess I should preface this by saying it only really applies if you have a job…. so…

  • You actually have money for the first time in years. And by money, I mean you have enough to feed yourself something other than ramen and can shop at Target instead of Forever 21. In college, I was living off of the few bucks I earned at my part-time job and the small excess change I’d get back from my student loans. I drank boxed wine, wore clothes that fell apart at the seams and lived off of boxed pasta. While I’m by no means swimming in the dough (the whole student loan, upcoming wedding thing makes that difficult) – I can afford to occasionally buy myself a 2nd shelf French wine, or a new $20 cardigan from Target, even go out to a nice-ish restaurant every now and then – all while paying my bills on my own. Oh and that whole 401k thing is pretty sweet too.

  • For the most part – you work normal hours and have more freedom with your time. In PR – every day certainly isn’t 9 to 5, but at the same time, I’m definitely not staying up until 3 in the morning to finish a paper and cram for an exam….which has done wonders for the bags that were always camping out under my eyes. It’s pretty awesome being able to go out after work to happy hour, or go see a movie and not have to worry about memorizing a stack of a hundred notecards full of dates and facts I’ll never need to know again.

  • Your friends move all over the country for their new jobs, so you automatically have an excuse to take vacations. While not being able to see your friends every day kind of sucks, it makes for a great reason to take a few days off of work and go visit. Your time becomes much more valuable with them while you also get the added perk of exploring places you may have never been before without having to worry about paying for an overpriced hotel.

  • Sometimes your job comes with awesome perks. I work in an office where people can bring in their dogs – so it’s pretty cool to de-stress by walking over to a colleague’s cubicle to give Fido a big belly rub. Sometimes, I’m able to work from home, in the comfort of my fuzzy pajamas. Or – my personal favorite, I occasionally get to attend pretty cool events or seminars to learn more about my craft and industry. While work may be pretty tough sometimes, there are definitely bonuses that make all of that hard work worth it.

  • It’s now acceptable to start drinking as early as 9 a.m. Late night ragers are a thing of your college days past – now it’s all about bottomless mimosas at brunch over eggs benedict with your new fancy post-grad friends. I may not partake in crazy house parties or stay at the bars until closing hours (I’ve always been a bit of an old fart at heart anyways), but there’s nothing that gets me more jazzed than waking up on Sunday morning and throwing on my fake pearls to go sip OJ & champagne while discussing the latest New York Times articles and political debates.

So yes… there are plenty of reasons why post-grad life sucks. I know my stomach goes into knots every time I get an email from my alma matter telling me that study abroad deadlines are approaching or letting me know about the awesome tailgate planned for that weekend. We’ve been in school for the past 14 years… so adjusting will certainly take some time.

If all else fails – just go buy one of those bottles of 2nd shelf faux fancy French wine I was talking about. And read this.

Happy weekend everyone!