Thursday, October 23, 2014

Back to Blogging, Back with Purpose.

It's been quite some time. 

I feel like I say something like this every time that I blog. I preface each post with an apology, because I know it's been forever since I sat down and wrote for this blog. It's never because I don't like to blog, I love to blog. It's just been a struggle to find the time to write posts I felt were worth reading. 

But I'm back now, and I honestly think I'll be back for good. I've missed having this in my life, a place to write for myself, while also being open to thoughts and feedback from others. Blogging made me a better writer, and a more mindful person, which is something I'd like to get back to. 

So.. what have I been doing for all of this time? If you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know. 

For starters, I graduated college. Four years and one online summer-class later, I did it. I walked away with a Bachelor of Arts, Magna Cum Laude, in Communications. 

I got a full-time job with a digital marketing agency. And not just any marketing agency, the one I always had my eye on during college, and thought would be a cool place to work. I landed an internship there last spring, and everything fell into place. A few weeks after classes ended, I was joining the marketing world!

It's crazy how things happen, and happen so fast. 

I moved into a new apartment with my best friend. I adopted a handsome, quirky shelter cat named Vernon. I joined a community garden. I went to music festivals and shows, farmers markets, the ocean (once), and various hikes. I discovered that my favorite drink is a watermelon margarita (specifically when made by Tom), and I've learned to *somewhat* cook for myself. Still working on that one.

Troy Waterfront Farmers Market

My best friend Amanda and me at Hampton Beach for my birthday

Little baby cherry tomatoes in my community garden plot!

My love.

Rival Galaxies at RestFest 2014

Our new kitty, King Vernon.

The new apartment.

But when life happens fast, we often don't reflect, we react. We roll with the punches, or freak out. Thankfully, I've been doing the former. I've been immersed in my new job, learning a lot about copywriting, content planning, scriptwriting, managing social accounts, and more! I've even been fortunate enough to write several blog posts for the company and our accounts. Needless to say, all of this blogging on the job has made me miss writing on here.

My hope and plan is with my new-found knowledge and (somewhat) improved time-management, I'll actually be able to keep up with it. I might make an editorial calendar, and play around with some different ideas of what to write about.

I want this blog to have more purpose beyond a retelling of my day-to-day life. I want to challenge myself to try new things and take adventures that you, the reader, would want to follow along with. I want to improve myself, and document how I get to where I want to be. I also want a place to just write my shit. To not worry---to much---about how good it is, or if the voice is right. This is me, and this is my voice, so it has to be right. Right? (That thought process does not apply to businesses, by the way ;))

So yes, stay tuned. I'll be back soon.

PS. Anyone still reading this who followed me from before -- you are amazing. The kindness and loyalty of the blogging world never ceases to amaze me :).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

And so it begins.

My final (planned) semester of college has begun. 
Utter craziness. 

I'm lucky to only be taking three classes though, and one internship for credit. Which is good, because I also work 20 hours a week M-F at my main job, and I'm starting my wine festival weekend job again at the end of this month. So I plan on being busy, but that's how I like it.

I really loved both of the classes I went to today. One was "Community Development and Neighborhood Planning" in the Urban Planning Department. It's not part of my major, but I became interested in the field once I began working at my current job, which does a lot to create healthy communities where I live. I've learned a lot about urban issues, food deserts and food justice from this job -- all things that are hard to ignore once you understand that the problems exist. I've actually considered blogging on this subject, but the idea never made it from brain to pen, or keyboard. My other class today was a "Communications Campaign Practicum." We'll be working with a real client all semester to plan and execute a communication plan to increase engagement from their target audiences. At the finish, we're supposed to have a nice portfolio to walk away with. I plan on going above and beyond in that class, being my last communications class, and my final opportunity to walk away with something tangible to prove what I've learned. I won't get to go to my third class until next Tuesday, but I'm hoping it's good. It's an introductory Public Affairs class, so we'll see.

The only complaint I really have from my educational experience (I went to an inexpensive state school, and loved it) was the lack of graphic design in the Communications program. They only make graphic arts available to people taking classes in the Art department, which isn't me. Meanwhile, all of the jobs for "Communications Specialist" or "Marketing Coordinator," or basically any of the job titles I've researched all want Photoshop and InDesign experience. Meanwhile, my school acts like they're totally divorced. It's frustrating, and will probably result in me taking a couple of digital design courses at the nearby Arts Center this late spring/summer to build my skill-set. Hopefully I'll be bilingual after this summer, too! I started my Rosetta Stone program and loved it. I did it until I fell asleep last night, and I'll probably do the same tomorrow.

Tom's move to college was a success. He travels so light, it makes me feel like a pack-mule or something. He and I moved all of his stuff in with two trips to his truck, that's it. It was strange being on someone else's campus, someone else's dorm. But it was cool, and I'm so happy he made the decision to do this :). He's still trying to feel out the roommate situation. The guy is nice and all, he's been there for a semester already. But his girlfriend, who lives with her parents off-campus some commutable distance away, lives in his dorm. It was so bad that when we arrived and no one was there, I was actually nervous that they mistakenly put Tom into a female's room. The roommate's bed was donned with a big white, flowery comforter, throw pillows and several jewelry boxes and miscellaneous girly crap. Later on we met them, and since his previous roommate left early, they had been living together in the dorm. And it appears that they have no real plans of changing that arrangement. The first night, while I was still there, the roommate offhandedly said, "And my girlfriend's going to stay over tonight, if that's cool." I guess that might have been Tom's moment to speak up and draw the line, but it was awkward. He just met the guy and was trying to get along with him. But is it me, or is that completely insane to spend every night of your first week with a new roommate with your girlfriend with you in your bed? Talk about uncomfortable.. I didn't even have to work the day after Tom moved in, but staying over in his dorm didn't even cross my mind. I just feel bad that he's stuck third-wheeling it, and doesn't get much privacy between the two of them. At first, it was made to seem pretty temporary, but now Tom isn't so sure. He's always so easy-going and relaxed, so it's hard for him to have to confront this kid. I'm debating on telling him to make an excuse that it makes me uncomfortable that he's living with a girl, hahah, even though I'm not so much uncomfortable as I'm annoyed for Tom. I'm not the least bit threatened, but it's not an ideal situation and I'm pissed he has to deal with it.They both seemed nice, but in my opinion it's totally disrespecting Tom's privacy, and the fact he's paying for this teensy-tiny space and this girl is not. Have you guys encountered similar problems, or have any advice for handling this sticky situation?

Hope everyone's having a great week & staying warm!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Collaboration Nation

Thanks to a friend, I came across HitRECord for the first time. If you love Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this will knock your socks off. I guess the project has been around for a while, since 2010, as an open online collaboration between artists, writers, musicians, videographers, and other talented individuals. The project is gaining a lot of attention right now because they've just begun a television variety show, piecing together collaborations around a different theme for each episode. The first one is available on YouTube, titled #1. So if you're just discovering this as I was, it'll be easy to catch yourself up! I'm not usually one for gushing recommendations about shows or movies or anything really--but I just watched this tonight, and I felt like it would be selfish not to share. Even though I'm not really artistic, at least not in the visual sense, it still amped up my creative energy just by watching. It made me want to write, and here I am.

A quote Gordon-Levitt gave to the Salt Lake Tribune really stood out to me.

"Before it was a television show or a production company or even a website, it was just a little turn of phrase that I used to encourage myself," said Gordon-Levitt, who came up with the idea when he was having trouble getting work in his early 20s. Discouraged, he realized, "I have to take responsibility for my own creativity. I can’t wait around for someone to hire me and tell me that I’m allowed to make things. I love it too much. I can’t wait."

That resonates pretty well with me. Probably in a slightly different sense, I'm not really looking to make videos or to spearhead my own television production at the moment. But I am reaching a point where I should be putting myself out there. And I should be creating, if not for an audience, then at least for myself. I've been away from personal/creative writing for far too long. Academic writing can be draining at times, and I've been a college student for four years now. Saying that "out loud" just sounds ridiculous. Four YEARS..???!! Life moves fast. In another four years, I'll be 25, then another, 29. The concept of aging doesn't bother me, not yet anyways. But my main concern is that it only flies if I'm having fun and enjoying it. Yes. Days go quickly when you pack them full of things to do, to-do lists and errands, conference calls and business trips. Some of those may very well be a part of my life, but I don't want to look back on the last four years and remember nothing aside from working my ass off. College flew, but I have fond memories of crazy concerts, a winter vacation spent volunteering on the Ecuadorian coast, movie nights with roommates, and coming home from a night out and ordering the same Pad Thai from "Asian Place," yes, that's their real name. Tons of inside jokes that will probably follow me or my friends forever, depending on who's the subject. I've managed to get a lot done in college, while still making a little time to enjoy myself here and there. But it gets harder with time, and with added responsibilities. So I guess my main point here, is that I want to remind myself not to get too caught up, to remember to make time for self-expression, good times, and great people. 

And to be creative, and find ways to make my work meaningful. That's the ideal.

I had a good meeting through work yesterday, where I was able to meet with several community and social service agencies in the region and collaborate about how we can help people best with our resources and services. Everyone was so energized to help, it was awesome. We talked about doing back-to-school giveaways for backpacks and school supplies for the community, doing a gardening themed event and giving away seeds and information on how to grow food, among others. It feels really good to be a part of something so positive. I feel that way a lot at work, and the days where I get a little overwhelmed or discouraged, I try to bring myself back to that feeling of purpose and it usually restores me. 

For giggles, and since it's Thursday, I've included some throwbacks to my earlier college days. Enjoy! ;)

 Really starting to miss my bangs right about now.. Hmm..

I got a little off-topic I suppose, but what gets you guys feeling creative? Or nostalgic, because I'm feeling a bit of both. Mostly nostalgic, but at least I found the motivation to post :). Second time this month! I'm making some serious progress, hahah. 

Hope everyone's having a great week, heading into a fabulous weekend!