Advice

You Need theSkimm

Upon jumping into the real world I’ve realized how important it is to be informed. But who has time to read three news outlets every morning to get your different highlights?! I’ve struggled even fitting in one every morning! Twitter is great, but its also become apparent that in order to contribute to current events discussions in the office I need to know more than the six words included in the headline.

About six months ago my roommate introduced me to theSkimm, a work-week daily newsletter on current events. It’s perfect. Do you know what’s going on with the immigration crisis? or the World Cup? or Ryan Gosling? Because I do. Thank you Skimm. “We read. You Skimm.”skimm

I don’t promote many products but this one I found genuinely helpful, specifically for the modern day, professional woman.

Sign up to receive your daily dose of theSkimm here!

skimmm

*photo credit to the lovely Katelyn Milam.

My one complaint….I wish I had thought of it first.

“Welcome to theSkimm Life. Mornings just got better.”

– wannabeskimmbassador

Secret 14. Don’t go Into the Wild all by yourself.

So I started a book club. It started the way I imagine many others have as well, I met a great group of girls that I wanted to learn more about and thought we could bond over a story and a bottle(s) of wine. The first book I chose was based on an article I found back in September titled 11 Questions Every Twenty-Something Needs To Ask by Paul Angone. The article hit home for me specifically one particular question:

5. Do I love from my insecurities or do I love from my strengths?

I never thought of love as a push and pull but simply an is, you love or you don’t love. But instead this question challenged that same idea, do we love in order to take or do we love in order to give. Do we love in order to simply get love from others? To fill the voids in our lives with the attention and adoration from another? Or do we love in order to share our lives, our stories, to celebrate life together? Do we surround ourselves with those we want to get love from or want to give love to? Or better yet…both?

What’s the difference? Loving from your insecurities demands from others. Loving from your strengths gives to them. Loving out of your insecurities does not want to see people succeed more than yourself. Loving from your strengths hears of other’ s success and is the first to celebrate with them. Loving from insecurities daily demands “what are you going to do for me?” Loving from your strengths asks others, “what can I do for you?” Too many people love from their insecurities, and that’s not love.”

Last night was our first book club meeting as we joined together to discuss 101 Secrets for your Twenties, Paul Angone’s book inspired from the popularity of his original article. We began with the first 25 “secrets” highlighting those that felt the most relatable and flagging several we were sure we’d encounter years down the road. As we discussed these “secrets” common themes quickly became apparent:

  1. No one has it all figured out. While we all thought we’d have our lives planned by the time we hit a certain age that has clearly not been the case. And the plans we made for ourselves in college, none of us have lived out. No one knows what you “should” do, we’re all just blindly trying to find our way.
  2. Girlfriends are essential. Boyfriends come and go, but girlfriends, the ones you just click with, those are invaluable, those make life full.
  3. We aren’t stuck. We aren’t stuck in this city, this job, this relationship. Have the power and the confidence to not only identify what part(s) of your life that is holding you back, but to harness that and change it.

Several months ago when my roommate, Katelyn, and I were moving in together she shared a piece of advice with me that her Mom had given her. Relationships are a two part game, each person having to give 100% to make it work. But some days will be bad, some days your boss will yell at you, or you’ll get in a fight with your boyfriend, or you’ll forget your umbrella in the middle of a rainstorm and you’ll only have 30 or 50% to give. Surround yourself with those that are will to make up for you, are will to give you 150 or 170%. Fill your life with those that are willing to give to you, and you are will to give back to. We can’t survive on our own, we can’t be 100% every day.

Last night was one of the first nights Katelyn and I invited “the girls” over to drink wine, hang in our sweats, share stories, give advice, and just laugh, completely comfortable. These girls are those girls. Our people.

We need to know, and to be known. Invite a friend or two over for dinner. Talk, laugh once or twice – even if it’s forced, and before the meal is over you might just notice that your friends are chewing on the same questions you are. And at that moment of honest conversation, you will see light in the dark and dusty corners. – From Secret 14, Paul Angone.

 

Man (or Woman) Up!

Remember about 8 years ago when “U-scan it” got really popular? They were all over large grocery stores and for whatever reason were so cool to use. Who knew we would get so excited about scanning our own groceries?! My Dad never liked using one though, he was more old fashioned wanted to talk to an actual human opposed to replacing one with a machine. The same went for banks with my Mom, never wanting to use the outside lane to get cash or deposit a check but to speak with a banker directly. Again, engaging a person rather than a machine. I never knew what the big deal was. It was faster, more efficient to get a machine to do what a person could do in, but in half the time.

Is it too late to retract that statement now? Because now my friends will gush about their date for Wednesday night, it’s a new guy…

Me – “Oh great! How’d you meet him?”

Them – “Tinder”

Them – “Hinge!”

Them – “Match.com”

Them – “OkCupid”

Dating apps… and the list goes on.

And then I feel out. Like yeah, it is really hard to meet single, tall, attractive guys in a new city when I see more snow than sunshine. Maybe I will get Tinder, I mean no harm done it’s not like I have to talk to them if I don’t want to. If I get Tinder I might as well try Hinge too. OkCupid also seems easy enough.

Pretty soon my inbox is full of “SoandSo3948 looked at your profile, like him back!” Like who?! The messages always end up with some false sense of witty banter that doesn’t translate well from a stranger over the internet. Or I find myself only swiping left because “he wasn’t cute enough” or “I’d never actually meet him in person” or “yeah he’s cute, but then his personality is probably terrible.”

Is this what dating in a modern day has become?! Am I so old fashioned that I want a guy to come up and introduce himself on the T, or the bar or the coffee shop? When did I become “so bold” because I wasn’t afraid to introduce myself to the cute guy dancing next to me? When did I have to use my phone to download 8 dating apps to have a guy take me to dinner?! And most of the time it’s not even dinner! It’s drinks! Not even apps and drinks?! But then again I don’t know him at all so if it’s terrible I’d be stuck at dinner…yeah better make it just drinks. Being a modern day single girl is tough.

So enough for the vent, but here’s my call to action. GO TALK TO HIM/HER!! So what if they turn you down?! Maybe they’re in a relationship already, maybe they don’t want one, maybe you had bad breath, or the girl/guy behind you was who they were actually winking at. But does it really matter that much? Does the stranger that says “no thank you” to your date request at the T kill your ego that much? Put yourself out there. Try. Because if we settle for these dating apps, does that mean we’re settling for our soul mate too?

My true love is out there and if I have to explain to my future kids we met because I chose to swipe right to his picture with the cute Labrador puppy…that will be one sad story to tell.

Apps deleted. Just say hi.

Reset.

Its felt a lot like I’m starting over lately. Very obviously in many ways, new city, new job, new friends. But more than anything it feels like a reoccurring pattern. The past few months have certainly been challenging and I’ve realized, almost too obviously, that’s it’s because I once again hit the reset button. I worked four years long and hard to create a reputation, build credibility, and expand my network all just to graduate, hitting the reset button and sending myself back to the bottom on the totem pole. Realizing that as exciting as being in your early twenties is, the career path I’ve chosen, like many of my peers, is one of dedication, long hours, and an impeccable attention to detail. I’m learning from the bottom up. It’s the way it most always works, right?
 
 
I spent this past weekend in Houston with one of my best friends from college, Lauren. It was one of the first times people would ask how we knew each other and we became “old friends from college” rather than that simply being assumed. We poured over old school pop music, cheesy 90’s movies, and ongoing conversations about life and love. All too cliche for a girls weekend right?
 
 
Sunday we ventured down to Galveston to spend time with my Aunt Pam and Uncle Craig who welcomed us with homemade crab cakes, cheesy grits and red wine. I’ve always valued my relationship with them, but this time I felt like there was a shift. We shared stories of reunions, and family updates. But we also talked about work, and my Aunt Pam, a very successful business owner, even asked for my advice on PR and marketing for her company, it was the first time she saw me as a professional and a young adult. It was also a conversation about love, time, and a reoccurring theme in my life….the importance of relationships.
 
 
Since my post about the challenges of finding true girlfriends, I have been overwhelmed by the support of friends, family and mostly strangers that have reached out with similar stories. I didn’t realize I had tapped into a common thread many of us share, the struggles we face when we hit the reset button. Even my Aunt Pam, who has never met a stranger, shared her recent connection to the struggle trying to find friends in a new city while her husband, my Uncle Craig, was so often away. She so honestly stated “We seek those that share our same values, we seek the ones we can call in the middle of the night and they come running. That bond takes time, takes patience,” and she’s right.
 
 
This weekend was my mini vacation, it was my reminder of priorities, it was a my chance to sit back and reflect. This weekend was my reset button. Lauren and I shared our individual challenges we’ve faced with these new lives we’ve attempted to create for ourselves over coffee on the front porch overlooking the bay. We stayed in Aunt Pam and Uncle Craig’s getaway home perfectly named, “Exhale.” It was a perspective I needed to find. We all face our own battles everyday, no ones’ anymore more or less challenging than our own. We need those around us to often remind us to keep our head above water and push through. We seek change, to challenge us and to experience more. We seek these situations. We press the reset button everyday, we start over with every new chapter in our lives, and more importantly with each day we face. It’s a chance to excel, to embrace what is next. So often we fear change, we fear having to face the world on our own, but this weekend gave me much needed perspective.
 
 
In the midst of change we hit setbacks that often lead us to seek a way out. You will never know how great you can truly be unless you instead face your fears, face your setbacks, head on. No matter how big or small the change is, the challenge is, sometimes in the midst of defeat all we need is to simply reset.
 
 
 

seth godin

Three years ago (has it been that long?!) I took Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) with Dr. Persuit, who is a huge inspiration to me. I immediately enjoyed the fact that she didn’t use text books but instead required us to read blogs, and books from notable marketing and communication icons. One of our texts was Linchpin by Seth Godin, which in turn inspired me to sign up for his daily blog posts.

Three years later and I still start each day with Seth’s words. Some seem extraneous while others I can’t seem to stop contemplating. Yesterday afternoon’s post highlighted his most recent book (at the top of my must-read list) titled, The Dip, and knowing when to quit. We live in a society where quitting is seen as a disgrace, tactless, an escape. Yet according to Seth, winners quit everyday – they just quit the right thing at the right time.

So maybe we shouldn’t be afraid of what we can’t do, but instead embrace what we can. Don’t quit to accept mediocrity, quit to instead excel in something else, to push yourself in the right thing.  Resistance is what drives us to quit, and sometimes that’s OK. Sometimes it’s alright to quit things that just aren’t working to simply make way for what you will overcome resistance for.

Winners quit everyday. Seth Godin said so.

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“Someone is going to come out the other side, someone is going to be brave enough and focused enough to be the best available option. Might as well be you.”

love is patient, love is kind

I was blessed to have witnessed the marriage of Chris and Dora Barton this past weekend. A love story in its truest form. Chris grew up as childhood friends with my boyfriend, Brandon, which allowed me to join for the celebration as Brandon stood as the best man. Arriving in Maryland the night before, Brandon and I joined the festivities at the Barton’s family home, allowing us to meet Dora and enjoy their final night before the wedding.

It was the first evening I had met them both. Chris warmly greeted us at the door and led us to the group as he slipped an arm around Dora, joining his fiance. The couple met during the summer of 2011 in Ocean City, Maryland while Chris was a beach life guard and Dora, visiting from Romania, was working as a beach stand attendant. It was a friendship that lasted merely days as their love grew fast and strong. As the summer neared an end, their relationship became long distance putting the Atlantic ocean and 4742 miles between them. The next time they would see each other would be Chris’s visit to her home town of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, to meet her family and ask for her hand in marriage. At the age of 22, the couple no longer remained individuals, but were united as one. Their “I” became an “us”, and Dora found a new home here in the states.

I’ve noticed that recently when I get on Facebook, a new engagement or marriage has been announced. Another high school classmate or college friend is embarking on the next adventure, finding their “one” to share their lives together. My own childhood best friend, Meredith, shared the news of her engagement, to fiance Mike, with me just 8 months ago with a wedding to follow this summer. I can’t help but feel as if they are rushing into things, hurrying to get to the next step, maybe even making a mistake. But the second I saw Chris and Dora together, just as I saw Meredith and Mike, there is no mistake in trusting in love. Marriage is having faith in love, and acting on that feeling. A feeling so powerful all you have to do is see it to know, to experience it. A feeling that washed away any judgement or doubt in my mind, and left me with hope. Hope that Chris and Dora’s future will be filled with joy, faith, passion, and adventure, each and everyday.

Their story became a true life fairytale, without the distractions of Disney, but the simple pleasures of love.

“The most beautiful things in life are not seen, but felt with the heart.”

I wish you two the best.

❤ Erin.

this year.

I’ve been stuck, stuck in this feeling of limbo. I created this blog to share my dreams and goals of traveling abroad, my stories and adventures of travels and new friends. This was an outlet to express what I was going through and connect to friends and family back home. I had my year planned out my destinations set, and I loved and learned from every minute of it. Once it was over I wasn’t sure where my next chapter began. I wasn’t sure what to write about next.

I’ve since returned to school at UNCW for a final year, a transition year, a year I hadn’t thought about yet, a year I hadn’t planned. It will be a year that will end one chapter and begin the next. But more than anything it’s a year to enjoy, reflect and move forward. I’ve realized that I don’t know what I’m going to do come graduation in May. I don’t know what I should be looking for. I don’t know where I will end up. And honestly, all of these thoughts scare me. All I keep hearing is about how this is “the most exciting time in your life”, “you can do anything, go anywhere”, “don’t stress about a job, you’ll find something”. Thanks for the kind words and advice, but none of it seems to be helping.

So I’ve begun to turn for help, to career counselors, professors, friends and my parents.  Although they have all told me the same advice as above, they also included a few more insightful words of wisdom, and this is what I have taken away:

– Make connections everywhere. You never know who you will meet and who they might know and where they might be able to take you.

– Be indispensable. Sophomore year I read a book called Linchpin by Seth Godin talking about this exact idea for an IMC class and it’s stuck with me ever since, a good thing too because it’s a skill to value. It doesn’t matter what your job is and what responsibilities it holds, do them so well that the company you’re working for can’t afford to not have you. Magic Johnson told me that.

– Be open. In this job market, you don’t know what you might find or what opportunities might fall in your lap. Don’t be so stuck on an idea that you can’t take a chance and veer from the plan.

– Internships are great, but once you graduate don’t ever take an unpaid internship for more than three months. Unpaid internships are tricky, and under much debate about whether they are ethical or not…. I suggest you read this and then form your own opinion: http://blog.muckrack.com/post/29334070653/whats-the-ethical-use-of-interns-in-journalism-and-pr

– Don’t be so set on your goals that you can’t see an opportunity when it falls into your lap. Yes, it’s important to be driven and have goals but it’s not so important that you give up on other chances. Life happens, life will steer you in so many directions you won’t know which way your facing. But if you try to stay on the straight and narrow then, life is what you’ll be missing out on.

– Dream big. I recently asked one of my professors if it was possible to dream too big, he shot that down real fast. Training doesn’t matter, schooling doesn’t matter, resumes don’t actually matter,(this is a big statement I know, and I know they will absolutely get you a foot in the door but hear me out). What matters is product. You can go to the best schools in the wold but if you can’t perform when called upon then what good are you? So what if you go to a medium sized, southern, public school. Represent it well and prove that you are more than capable, prove that you didn’t need an ivy league to teach you how to perform, prove them wrong.

I want to say it’s a start, but I’ve been preparing for this since I started dreaming about “what I wanted to be when I grow up”. I’m just taking one more step, that’s how I have to remember it. I will be fine, I know I will.

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”
– Bill Cosby.
Erin.