Monday, July 23, 2012

One Hundred

Nearly six months ago, I strapped myself into a stationary bike in the very back row of my first SoulCycle class (that’s a lie, a girl named Jenny strapped me into the bike because I couldn’t do it myself, but that’s beside the point.) Full of anxiety, fear and trepidation I kept a very low profile and worried about how many people could see me embarrass myself as I struggled to keep up.

Last night, I rode in my 100th SoulCycle class. This time, I strapped myself in (and out) of the bike that has become “my bike” in the front row, without any help. Rather than feeling anxious, scared and trepid I felt excited, proud and comforted. I was humbled at how the staff and riders celebrated with me and empowered by the energy that went into making this a special experience.

It’s no secret that SoulCycle has become a huge part of my life. It’s my place to let go of bad energy and focus on what’s important. I have made some wonderful friends, and acquired so many things. As I reflect on the past 100 classes, there are three things in particular I have learned from my time on that bike that I hope to carry with me forever.

1. Aspire to inspire:

During my first class, these three words really grabbed my attention and since then I’ve tried to live by them. I take this thought with me into my professional life and into my personal life, and have made a valiant effort to leave others feeling inspired and excited.

2. Do something every day that scares you:

Last night, I was asked to ride on the instructor bike in the front of the class. I have had several conversations about not wanting to do this for numerous reasons. First and foremost, it terrified me. The thought of being under the spotlight like that, totally vulnerable (not to mention dripping of sweat in tight clothing with no control of my cleavage) was just too much. And then I did it. I was fortunate that this was a class of people I know pretty well, but it was still terrifying. 

3. Be kind to yourself:

Another instructor ends class often by saying, “be kind to yourself, be kind to one another.” I think all of us know that being kind to one another is the right thing to do, but I’m not so certain we always remember to be kind to ourselves. For a very long time I have been hard on myself. I beat myself up over the small things way too often, and am making an asserted effort to assuage that flaw every day.

During these 100 rides, I have heard some amazing stories, met some courageous and beautiful people and learned powerful lessons that I will carry with me forever. I have watched people grow with each other, support one another and learn together. I am incredibly blessed to be a part of this community and I look forward to 100 more rides.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Props to Dizz on Mother's Day

The thought of being a mother terrifies me. I don’t know if I’ll ever have kids, but being responsible for teaching a child to be kind and loving and humble and gracious and confident and honest and happy is overwhelming. Helping with math homework gives me nightmares.

So today, on Mother’s Day (and really every other day) I need to give Dizz mad props. She has done an amazing job of instilling the characteristics above and others in both Bub and me. While I hate not being with her today, there are three things she’s taught me that I carry with me every day.

  • All God’s children got a place in the choir. Those are words from a silly song that she repeats to me as a reminder to be kind to others, regardless of who they are.
  • Everything will be awight. I am a pretty sensitive girl, so when I have my stereotypical chick meltdowns, Dizz is my go-to gal.  As someone who works with cancer patients, she is quick to remind me of how lucky I am and that everything will be awight.
  • Start in the corner and work your way out. As you know, my family has moved a lot. With that, Dock and Dizz have had to start over in several new homes. When Dizz would feel overwhelmed about that, my grandma would always tell her to start in the corner and work her way through the new home. When I am feeling overwhelmed at work, she tells me the same thing. Start with one thing, and work your way through the list. Seems obvious, but when I have a lot to do I tend to think of all of it at once, rather than one thing at a time.

I know everyone says this, but I genuinely believe I was given the best mom in the entire universe. If I do ever have children, I hope to be even half as incredible as Dizzle has been to me. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Life List, Updated

I was doing some reflecting today on my personal goals, professional goals, and life goals and thought I'd update the life list. The bullets that are crossed off are things I've done. I have some work to do, but I'm incredibly fortunate to be at a point in my life where I can make them all happen.

Side note: I stopped and thought a lot about the falling in love bullet. You all know the story. I have decided to give that one a redo. Hopefully if it happens again it won't need another redo.

Original post:

I was going through some old boxes while attempting to clean, and came across a list I wrote when I started college, at 18, of things I wanted to do during my life.

I edited the list a little, as I have made some significant changes to my priorities since then, but here it is - my life list. I'm pretty jazzed to say I've actually accomplished quite a few of these ambitious dreams.

1. Earn a college degree in PR
2. Earn a minor in Spanish.
3. Find a job I genuinely love.
4. Celebrate New Year’s Eve in another country.
5. Learn how to cook.
6. Donate 10% of every paycheck to charity.
7. Become a published writer.
8. Donate to the University of Kentucky.
9. Attend a championship bowl game.
10. Fall in love -- helplessly and unconditionally.
11. Drink beer at Oktoberfest in Munich.
12. Get promoted within a year of my first job.
13. Attempt a camping trip. Without complaining.
14. Have enough money to provide a scholarship for women starting a career in PR.
15. Win money in Vegas.
16. Buy one real Chloe bag.
17. See “Love Actually” at a drive-in theater.
18. See the Statue of Liberty.
19. Tour the White House.
20. Meet a president.
21. Learn how to play a whole game of golf.
22. Learn how to play tennis.
23. Create my own website.
24. Start a blog.
25. Run in a 5K.
26. Be an amazing aunt to Andrew’s kids.
27. Teach a class.
28. Visit Napa Valley.
29. Meet Chelsea Handler.
30. Meet Chad Michael Murray. Or Bryan Greenberg.
31. Visit the equator.
32. Visit every state at least once.
33. Take a vacation with my mom.
34. Attend every important event in Andrews’s life. Prom, Graduation, First day of college, 21st birthday, college graduation, wedding, when his kids are born and all of his kids special events.
35. Own a house.
36. Be able to buy something for my parents they would never buy on their own.
37. Sky dive.
38. Have a kid.
39. Learn how to sail.
40. Take a yoga class. Without laughing.
41. Take a cruise.
42. Donate to Locks of Love
43. Drink wine in Italy.
44. Take a photography class.
45. Be able to afford a spa weekend.
46. Keep in touch with my grandparents.
47. Eat seafood in Maine.
48. Take Andrew to Gatlinburg.
49. Go to a baseball game at Fenway.
50. Visit Martha’s Vineyard for a weekend.
51. Have my mom at my bachelorette party.
52. Memorize one song to play on the piano.
53. Spend too much money on a great concert.
54. Drink every beer at Pazzos.
55. Visit Niagara Falls.
56. Go a year without a speeding ticket.
57. Own a David Yurman ring.
58. Visit the Galapagos Islands
59. Throw out the first pitch at a ball game.
60. Attend the Kentucky Derby.
61. Sing karaoke at a bar in NYC.
62. Visit “Tree Hill”

63. Leave a $100 tip for a college bartender.
64. Meet Kelly Cutrone.
65. Move to a new city for no reason.
66. Never miss the fireworks on the 4th of July.
67. Spend significant time in Australia.
68. Turn 21 in Vegas.
69. Wear Monique Lhuillier at my wedding.
70. Learn how to make dad’s German Chocolate cake and French Silk Pie.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

27 Things to do at 27

While I have my Life List, 2012 has me feeling more inspired and motivated than I ever have before. As I celebrate another year, transition into my promotion, and move to Los Angeles I am also going to challenge myself to accomplish these 27 things while I am 27.

1. Decorate all of my new home
2. Save $100 a month
3. Visit Andrew
4. Attend WeFest
5. Attend SXSW
6. Learn the quirky idiosyncrasies of Los Angeles
7. Make Los Angeles my home
8. Find a work/life balance
9. Spend more time outside
10. Go to Disneyland
11. Go to a Lakers game
12. Spend the year giving back. Find a way to donate my time, money or services to a nonprofit each month
13. Run a 5K
14. Spend time cooking (I say this every year…hopefully with all of the amazing farmers markets in LA, I make this happen)
15. Go to a Dodgers game
16. Bargain hunt
17. Be an active member of the LA PRSA
18. Visit Napa Valley
19. Be a “seat filler” at an awards show in LA (this is a real thing. They have extra tickets to the awards shows; I’ll just have to find them!)
20. Visit Seattle
21. Exercise everyday
22. Read 6 non-PR books
23. Keep a full wine rack (it’s typically empty…)
24. Take a trip to Mexico
25. Go to a live taping of Chelsea Lately
26. See Garth Brooks in Vegas
27. Laugh every single day

Cheers to the big 2-7!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Janu...Where'd ya go?

We are 22 days into 2012 and it feels like this is the first time I’ve sat down. While that may sound unpleasant, it has been an incredible 22 days.

At the beginning of the month, the jam and some of the extended jam headed to San Antonio to see my cousin graduate from boot camp. If you’ve never been to a boot camp graduation, they are very powerful. It was a great experience, and I am honored to have been a part of it. After the graduation, we bounced around San Antonio a little bit, including a quick trip to Gruene, Texas where the dance hall scene from the movie “Michael” was filmed. Dizzle bought red cowboy boots and danced on a picnic table. Side note: If you’re ever in San Antonio and you share my affection for tequila, the Iron Cactus makes the best margarita I’ve ever had. (Except for my own, obviously.)

At the end of the weekend, I flew back to Raleigh to unload and reload my suitcase for a trip to the Consumer Electronics Show. I had no idea what to expect out of the show, but I was blown away. I would recommend you add to your bucket list.

After 3 days in Vegas, I headed to Los Angeles to find a place to live and get a feel for the city. Much like CES, I wasn’t certain what to expect during this visit to Los Angeles…

Thursday morning, Dock and I flew into LAX. After we picked up my rental car, which happened to be a convertible (I was determined to drive in California with the top down just once), we put the address to the restaurant in my GPS and made our way. For whatever reason, my GPS thought it would be funny to take us through Korea Town. I don’t know what you may know about Korea Town, but it’s frightening, and I later learned that it is the largest population of Korean’s second to Seoul in the actual country of Korea.

Needless to say, all I could think was “what am I doing moving here?” Then we got to Los Feliz for lunch, and it was beautiful. The food was fresh, we sat outside (in January) and the people were friendly. After lunch, we headed to Glendale where we were staying and unpacked, etc before guac and Margs. Then we headed back to LAX to pick up Dizz. And get a parking ticket. At the terminal.

Friday, we got the lay of the land, driving through every neighborhood that had been recommended to live in and checking out our offices. This tour included driving up and down Sunset Boulevard, Santa Monica Boulevard, Wilshire Boulevard, etc and all I could think about was how much fun it’s going to be to just pick a street, and walk it to check out the shops, restaurant’s, food, and wine. After lunch at the farmers market in The Grove (holy amazing) we went to the place I thought I wanted to live, and… signed a lease. It was that easy. Friday night was another night of great food in Glendale.

Since I had found a place to live on Friday, we got to explore on Saturday. Dock, Dizz and I drove down Santa Monica Boulevard all the way to the pier, and got onto “the one” to drove up the coast to Malibu. (Side note: I had no idea of Pepperdine’s location. Wow.) Driving up the coast was another one of those breathtaking moments, where I had to pinch myself to make sure it was real. We had brunch on the beach (I will have no trouble getting used to freshly squeezed orange juice in my mimosas) and did a little exploring. This is also the part of the trip where I drove with the top down. I felt like Lauren Conrad.

On the way back from Malibu, we stopped at Rodeo Drive. When we walked up from the parking garage, I came face-to-face with Hermes, and this time I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing. Rodeo Drive was, of course, everything you’d expect. I loved it.

To avoid hitting traffic, and driving in the dark, this was when I had to drop D-squared at their hotel (they stayed closer to LAX on their last night). As is typical, I spent the drive back to Glendale crying. Pretty sure I’ll never stop crying when my parents leave. Saturday night, I stopped by my first BevMo! (Beverages and More – everything in LA is abbreviated), bought a bottle of wine, went to the hotel, ordered room service and a movie.

Sunday morning, I woke up and decided to hike up to the top of the Hollywood Hills (no I didn’t see any dead bodies), which was so beautiful. I had never really hiked before, and I was surprised at what a work out it was, and how hard it was to hike down.

After my hike, I met with my LA native friend, and we headed to Venice. I don’t even know where to begin with Venice. All of you have to see it. When we first got there, we walked through several charming boutiques, and looked in the windows of busy coffee and wine shops. And then, she took me to the boardwalk… I really don’t know how to put this in words. Every ten steps, someone wanted to sell us marijuana (it’s legal in LA), muscle beach is a real thing, people had no clothes on, there were fully tattooed men hanging out, piercings everywhere, young kids playing drums for money, the list goes on. I am pretty certain my mouth was wide open the whole walk. And then, just like that, we were at a quaint little wine bar having a glass of cab. I don’t think I’ll ever figure out Venice.

Sunday night, we headed back to Los Feliz for another glass of wine and some apps. Great touristy day.

Monday, I worked from my hotel and then checked out the Glendale Galleria. Where I bought myself a congratulations/happy birthday Michael Kors bag. Tuesday was another working from the hotel day. After work, I decided to go explore UCLA’s campus, which was beautiful. I also tried to stalk to the mansions in Bel Air, but it was dark and people were following me closely, so that didn’t work out. Wednesday, we went to Orange County to visit with a client, came back to West Hollywood and had dinner at The Village Idiot, where I saw Stephen Colletti (third time I stopped breathing).

Thursday morning, I made my way to LAX (at 3am) for my flight back to Raleigh. I knew the second that I woke up that morning that I had fallen in love with Los Angeles, because I was sad to leave. I am so excited to call LA home, I can hardly stand it.

Woke up Friday morning, picked up Dizz, had surgery, and here we are. On tap for the rest of January: Visit from the jam. Turn 27. Going away dinner with my lovely colleagues. Pack up my home. Head to Baltimore for a few days. Move to Los Angeles. Bam.

Alright, February, whatchya got?

Also… good thing I didn’t call this “Bluegrass in Baltimore”

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.

One of the jams traditions is to reveal our "highs and lows" from the year ending and share goals moving into the next. In 2012, I have decided that my goal is to stay hungry and stay foolish – per Steve Jobs' advice.

In 2011, I learned who I was. I was able to define myself as an honest, caring, giving person and I am determined to remain the same. I learned more about myself in one year than in the 25 past. That being said, I have been offered the opportunity by my company to move to our new Los Angeles office, and I have humbly accepted. As of February 1, I will be a resident of sunny California.

It's no secret that I have moved many times before, but for the first time, I am doing this for myself. This move inspires significant growth in both my career and my personal life. I am incredibly excited about what Los Angeles has to offer and even more so about living my life to the fullest. I truly believe California will keep me both hungry and foolish.

Thank you to my family, my friends and my colleagues for loving and supporting me through my growth – I am beyond excited for this next chapter.

Cheers to 2012.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

12 Steps to Becoming a Successful Counselor

As a PR practitioner, (and probably with every other job), it is important to take breaks from a day in the office and allow time for professional development opportunities. Whether it be a refresher of the basics, or something you’ve never learned before, I believe the insight allows for a reminder of why I love what I do every day.

On Tuesday, I attended the NCPRSA Public Relations and Marketing Seminar where I sat in a session called “Counselors Are Made, Not Born: How to Grow Into a Counselor, Not Just a Tactician” and acquired 12 steps to becoming a successful counselor. Each of these resonated with me for several reasons. Here they are:

1. Be a student of humans: In order to be an auspicious counselor, we must understand how we think and act as individuals, specifically in a group settings. In public relations, as a counselor, you will be advantageous if you continue to be fascinated by, and study others.

2. Be a student of yourself: Understand what motivates you to assist in finding what motivates others. Be aware of how you interpret situations, as well as how you react to situations. Aspire to be the best version of yourself every day.

3. Be an expert: In your business, in your clients business, in your competition, in all current trends… The more you know, the better a counselor you will serve as to others.

4. Try on someone else’s shoes: In every situation ask yourself “what would it be like to be that person?” Understanding your audience is imperative.

5. Appeal to basic human instincts: Be certain that your guidance is allowing for a solution that keeps everyone healthy, safe, and comfortable.

6. Keep it simple: Confusing your audience does not inspire clarity or reason. Speak clearly, speak honestly and leave them with one thing to remember.

7. Show that you care: Oftentimes, the power of praise is forgotten. Check your ego at the door, be respectful of colleagues, attentive to clients, and never forget to say thank you. It goes farther than you think.

8. Show a “spark”: Whether you’re in a meeting, defining a strategy or solving a problem, present something new and different. Give those you are mentoring something to think about, and more importantly something to strive for.

9. “Be the ball, Danny” (This was presented by men…naturally, there was a sports reference): Too often, we forget to trust our instincts. Successful counselors trust their gut.

10. Learn to ask and to listen: Don’t be shy about asking questions and being inquisitive, regardless of your level or leadership. As a counselor, be patient with those who have questions.

11. Choose wisely: Counsel those who are excited to learn from you. Give them extra opportunities to go out a limb. Pass your expertise down the ladder – watching them grow into a counselor themselves is extremely rewarding.

12. Go forth and conquer: Be confident in your expertise. Be confident in the fact that people trust you. Be confident in the results you produce. You are a mentor, a role model, a counselor – go forth and conquer.