Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Life In The Blind Spot

Ever since I can remember I've wanted to drive. I was the little girl who sat on my dad's lap pretending to steer as we drove down our side street, the teenager aching for the freedom of keys, a full tank of gas and the open road prior to curfew. I've had my fair share of bumps along the road (pun intended) in my driving career and I've always been fascinated by, especially now, the blind spot. Something about how hundreds of millions of vehicles are produced, driven by billions of drivers with one accepted fault - a space big enough to hide a car - the blind spot.

We adapt to the blind spot by focusing our attention to all areas that we can see, using our mirrors to get the best view we can try for, knowing that if we do not adapt, turn and even change, there is a space right next to us that we will never see. 

My life is sort of in a blind spot right now. I came home from a whirlwind soul-searching adventure with a re-energized passion for my career, just to find that the company I have been working for has been sold and my position terminated. I'm not completely blind but there are definitely spots in my mirrors I'm unsure of. Now instead of driving a car I'm driving my future and I'm using all the tools I have to get myself there safely, smartly and confidently. I'm embracing the mystery of my life's blind spot and I'm sure I'll find whatever's hiding there as soon as it's meant to be.

mid job search 2013

P.S. Do you know of any job opportunities in PR? Check out my resume to see what I'm all about. :)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Twitter is My New Tamagotchi; Here's 4 Reasons Why

It's a popular joke among some of my best friends from college to obsessively relish the 90's, pretending that Bill Clinton is still President, TRL is our favorite TV show and nothing matters more than whether or not we will survive the inevitable Y2K. 

Much has changed for me now 2 decades later as my responsibilities have grown and my lifestyle has developed into that of a social media professional. I was daydreaming back to the 90s recently when I had this revelation: Twitter is my new Tamagotchi! 

Here's 4 reasons why:
  1. Tamagotchis required vigilant attention! I had to check to be sure my pet was happy just like I check Twitter to ensure there is mostly positive sentiment toward the brand I'm representing (and myself). If there are too many negative comments, your brand's presence online and in the market could quite literally die. You need to stay on top of the conversations surrounding your Twitter account to be proactive and address any such comments immediately and sensitively, and to celebrate and share compliments and successes with your community.
  2. I fed my Tamagotchi snacks to keep it happy; I feed my Twitter content to keep it relevant. Know your audience and share with them stories, trends, infographics and news that's relevant to their daily lives. This will generate more WOM and re-tweets, which in turn means more followers. More followers makes my Twitter happy. :)
  3. Tamagotchi could not keep out all of the clutter; I had to clean up its mess. When trying to figure out why my pet was in a state of unrest I would often check its "bathroom" section to find a bunch of.. well, crap. As mentioned above, smart content is key to growing your brand's social media presence. Be sure you aren't tweeting just to tweet and that the information you share is useful to your community. Don't fill their feeds with content even your Tamagotchi would consider waste.
  4. Tamagotchi got social! Updates to the popular pet included a connectivity option where users could link up and create a family of digital pets. Research your audience and connect with key players on Twitter to grow your network of people to whom you are listening and who are listening to you. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I'm finding myself really affected by Monday's Boston Marathon tragedy. As a runner, the Boston Marathon is a feat I think of often and the runners who compete in it are athletes I look up to, never knowing their names, faces or backgrounds but admiring them for the ability to push themselves 26.2 miles, sharing the course with some of the strongest runners in the world. Many people who are not runners cannot understand how someone would find joy in the pain, persistence, dedication and drive it takes to lace up your shoes and run. Not because you're being chased or because you really need to get somewhere fast, just because you want to run.

When I look back at races I have run, what stands out most, more than the cramped leg muscles, achey feet and chafed skin are the people who cheered me on. My family on the side lines, strangers calling out their support and encouragement. I close my eyes and imagine the finish line in Boston when the explosions took place and see those familiar faces from my past mixed in with the scene's disturbing images in the media. It breaks my heart.

I've shared here my favorite joke and how I feel it applies to running, "Why did the idiot start hitting himself in the head with the hammer? Because it felt so good to stop." It was like a light went off when I heard that and thought, "Why did the runner start running? Because it felt so good to stop." The finish lines from races I've run are landmarks that symbolize some of the proudest moments of my life and prove to me that my mind, body and spirit are strong enough to carry me when I am tired, when I think I can't go any further, when I think I have no more to give. The explosions took place at the finish line and robbed so many runners of the opportunity to cross, to add that finish line to their life's atlas of ultimate accomplishments.

Hitting me closest to home is the death of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old boy from Massachusetts who was at the race to cheer on his dad with his mom and sister. My mom was a marathon runner before she passed away from a massive heart attack at 42. She is buried in her favorite marathon shirt. I remember watching proudly from the sidelines as we followed her, catching glimpses of this beautiful, strong woman at key points of the course and feeling so much pride that she was my mom. I can't even begin to imagine the way Martin's father must feel in the aftermath of this tragedy but I do think I can relate to the way this child felt before the attack, proud of his father and the other runners and hopeful to one day be strong enough to be among them. He will never have the chance to try.

The point of this blog is to look for the love in life and when tragedies like these strike I think it's even more important to try to find some kind of bright side in the darkness. There are countless images and stories of Monday's heroes. Those people who were on site and instead of running away, ran toward the explosions to help. The doctors and nurses of Boston helping those with severe injuries in their hospitals. Residents of Boston who opened their homes to displaced runners and their families. I feel so helpless and wish I could do something to help, or to prevent something like this from happening in the future but I don't know what to do. 

Really people, what is going on in our world? Where is the love?

my mom, the marathon runner 1994

Monday, April 15, 2013

I Finally Unpacked my Suitcase

Well hi there. It's been awhile since I've posted here. Embarrassed as I am for my extended digital devoid I want to get right back into updating you on the positives in my life and have SO much to catch back up on - I've been so busy but I've LOVED every second!

Since January I've pitched and secured hits with local and national media, met my first Columbus celebrity and two nationally recognized Wall Street Journal reporters (Walt Mossbert & Katie Boehret). I was inspired by presentations from and shook hands with both Max Brooks and Sebastian Thrun, pillars in the ever changing educational industry at the second largest educational technology conference in the country, OETC13. I met and led an incredible team of interns, teaching them my skills in media relations and gaining from them a revived passion for leadership and learning. We led the Social Media Command Center at OETC13 where our hashtag #OETC13 trended in Columbus, second only to the #pope!

I won $200 in Las Vegas, put my toes in the sand in Destin while there was snow on the ground for my friends back home, interviewed brand ambassadors for a street marketing campaign then traveled to South by Southwest in Austin to carry it out along with several media interviews and thought provoking panels. Last month I was away from home for 18 days on a trip to Chicago, Napa, Berkeley and LA. Check out the Tumblr I made, Eat Drink Love, to document that trip using the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 I won at South by.

It's been a crazy first quarter and I'm even more excited for 2013 and beyond than I was in January! I'll do my best not to take such a long hiatus since I the whole reason I started this blog was to share my positivity and inspire some happy thoughts. The sun is shining more so let's soak up that extra Vitamin D and look for all the love in our lives!

South by Southwest Interactive

St. Patty's Day in Chicago

The most beautiful place I've ever seen - Napa, CA

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Another Year, Another Resolution

"Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!
This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!
I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!"
- William Arthur Ward

I am a fan of setting goals. I think it's really important to always be working toward an improvement or new skill and to hold yourself accountable for the expectations you set. My favorite task among the exciting duties of of a new year (new years plans? new years outfit? when can I spend these gift cards?) is to determine my new year's resolutions. I set at least one every year (often checking and updating for a mid-year's resolution around June) and follow my progress closely throughout the next twelve months. In 2006 I wanted to "try new foods" so I expanded my palate beyond chicken sandwiches and pizza without cheese. In 2009 I wanted to "be more patient" and since then often receive comments from telephone customer service people on how patient I am (maybe never from other drivers but hey, I'm from Cleveland.) I'm buying more groceries thanks to 2011 and I'm really looking forward to 2014 if I can stay true to my word for 2013.

This year I'm setting two resolutions for myself:

1. Be a better friend. - It's easy to say that life goes by quickly and that I'm too busy to keep up with myself let alone keep in touch with my friends. Lately I have been trying to spend more time really thinking about my thoughts - I know that may sound silly but when I am alone with just my mind as my company, I've been starting to listen to the conversations that ensue. The times when I am happiest and most content with where I am now are when I think back to my friends and some of the happiest, most fun times of my life that we shared. I had their support then whenever I needed it and that was something I never doubted. Now that we don't have the pleasure of waking up in the same house together or even just a few blocks away, I want my friends to remember that they still have my support and that I appreciate them in my life very much. I'm going to send cards, remember birthdays, make phone calls, stop by just to say "hi," and try to find other ways to meet this goal to be a better friend.

2. Be accountable. - I decided that this year more than ever I want to be true to my word when I say that I will: do something, say something, be somewhere, help with anything. It's, just like I said above, so easy to feel like the world is spinning out of control around me but so important (and relieving) to realize that in that beautiful mess, I am ultimately accountable only for myself. In that same sense there are so many other people in the world fighting the same fight that the least I can do is follow through with my word when I say that I will do something. This also includes not accepting invitations or making offers just because it feels polite. This year if I say that I will do something, I am going to do it and I hope the habit sticks for the rest of my life.

What resolutions have you set for 2013? Do you have any tips you'll use to achieve your goals?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Taste Test - Mac n Cheese Style!

There are few things in life that I love more than eating tasty food. One of my favorite ways to partake in this aforementioned favorite hobby is to have a taste test so I can try different flavors and brands of my favorite dishes and narrow down my life's menu to only the best! As much as I enjoy eating delicious cuisines, ironically, I also am guilty of pinching every penny I can at the grocery store. If there is a store brand alternative I almost always choose it and I shop at stores like Aldi that carry only store brand products to save money whenever I can. This week I wanted to write a post about my latest taste test when I bought, prepared, tasted and reviewed: macaroni and cheese!

The showdown: Stove top Macaroni and Cheese
Competitors: Kroger Spirals v. Kraft Spirals

The outcome: I was SO disappointed by this taste test! Like I said I almost ALWAYS buy the store brand version and in this case what we realized is that in the case of stove top mac n cheese spirals: Kraft Spirals are HANDS DOWN the way to go! From the pans they were each cooking in I could see a difference almost immediately between the textures of the two. The store brand mac n cheese was clumping when I added in the cheese mix, milk and butter. Even with adding extra milk the dish still contained visible chunks of cheese and butter that you could taste in some bites. It sounds like it could be tasty but believe me, it's much better without. The Kraft portion was creamier and richer with the same ingredients (equal amounts of each also) blending much more intimately.

My friend and I both agreed that the Kraft Spirals were the better half of our lunch and we would prefer them in the future. For more than double the price I think it is worth the splurge for the Kraft mac n cheese which I should probably be eating half as often anyway so that would about even out the price. :-) If I was babysitting I'd probably give the kiddos the Kroger brand with some chicken nuggets and call that lunch but for me, personally, mix up some Kraft spirals, stir in some lightly steamed broccoli and that's one of my favorite meals! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Even More Than a Pinky Promise


Okay, now that that is out of the way I want to talk about one of the coolest, most touching and inspiring grassroots campaigns for positivity that I've seen this year, and quite frankly all my life, run by a friend from Ohio University, Alex Sheen. Alex's organization is called Because I Said I Would and was established in memory of his father who passed away this past Fall from lung cancer. Since September, Because I Said I Would has inspired lesson plans, election platforms, promises in over 15 countries (including active military overseas), raised $7,500 for victims of Hurricane Sandy and currently, my friend Alex is sleeping outside as part of a promise to do so for two weeks to raise awareness for the needs of the homeless.

The basis of Because I Said I Would (and it's mission to honor Sheen's father) is that a promise is only worth as much as is promised if it is kept. Anyone is encouraged to write in with a request for promise cards - I finally requested mine last week and they came in the mail just a few days later. Inside the envelope is a list of instructions and 10 cards to be used as I wish to fulfill promises to those I love and to myself. I will volunteer at least three times in the next 6 months. I will be a better friend in 2013. I will support you through all of your wedding planning and do all that I can to make your special day the best day of your life so far.

This year has been a year of "out of left field"s for me. I've left the job I loved for the last 3 plus years, moved to a new city away from my family and am navigating the life of a young (trying to be) professional single woman. Thankfully I have the support of my family and my friends through this journey and I want to repay them for their love in any way that I can. Unfortunately right now I do not have much funds to support this so this year my closest family and friends will be getting the best gifts I've currently got to give - my love and my word. I'm going to create promise cards that will be fulfilled by Christmas of 2013, when I'll ask that the cards be returned to me. 

I am so inspired by Because I Said I Would and I encourage you to visit the organization's web site and support its mission and efforts for peace, promises and change!