2020 Goals

Happy New Year Party People,

At the turn of a New Year, I usually never feel any different. It’s not like when the clock strikes midnight that some new wave of revelation and hopefulness swoops over my body. For some reason though 2020 felt different. I did feel hopeful. I had this gut instinct literally at the stroke of midnight that this might just be my year to shine. It was the weirdest thing ever.

So, just in case that is the truth of the matter, I am being very intentional this year. I have come up with three categories: Career-Driven, Personal and Financial. Within those three categories, I’ve established five goals that I want to achieve in 2020. Each goal is specific and quantifiable in an effort to really put all of my focus into checking every single item off my list by December 31, 2020 11:59PM.

I operate off of checklists, so this is the holy grail of checklists for myself this year and I am holding myself accountable. I hope if you have the same feeling I do about 2020 and you too want to be intentional about goal setting this year but don’t know where to start that this post acts as a thought starter for you. Let’s do the damn thing and crush our goals this year!

Career-Driven (This encompasses both my full-time job and my secondary “job” as a blogger):

  • Participate in 3 learning opportunities related to my full-time job
  • Take on at least 3 new clients at work
  • Attend one blogging conference
  • Post 3-4 times a week on my blog
  • Get to 10K followers on my Instagram account

Personal (This category encompasses personal goals and relationships):

  • Read one new book each quarter
  • Volunteer at least 2 times this year for different organizations
  • Participate in the “one in, one out” rule (Buy one new thing, one thing I already own has to go)
  • Start a podcast with my mom by June
  • Grow my relationship to its next chapter

Financial (This one is self-explanatory):

  • Save enough money to put a down payment on a house by 2021
  • Put 10% of my paycheck in my savings account
  • Save money by only eating out 2-3 times a week (I usually eat out way more so this will probably be my hardest one lol)
  • Be mindful of spending in order to take at least 5 trips this year
  • Apply for and start using a credit card (For the credit part but also points for travel)

3 Tips For Setting Your Own Goals:

  • Categorize your goals to help compartmentalize your mind
  • Create S.M.A.R.T goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Based)
  • Find your “Why” in each goal you set

Sincerely,

How To Transition Summer Clothes to Fall

Hi There,

Often times, when either flowers start to bloom or the leaves start to change colors, people think that it’s time for a whole new wardrobe. Well, I think those people are crazy. The fun part about fashion is finding new and innovative ways to wear things we already own. To take an article of clothing and completely transform its makeup. Hey, you also help the planet that way as well.

Right now, at this time, we are about 13 days away from the first official day of Fall. All that being said, don’t go Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Halloween Town on me yet…because there are some fun ways you can transform the pieces already in your closet into chic, cooler-weather masterpieces. Save money, save the planet and save your sanity. Your lightweight, flowy Summer staples aren’t going into hibernation just yet. Here are 5 simple ways to transition your Summer clothes to Fall:

1. Pair a strappy dress with an undershirt.

This is totally a 90s vibe and I am here for it. I feel like for the past couple Summers, slip dresses have been all the rage. I indeed have a few in my own closet that I’m proud of. The last thing I want to do is put them away just because of a change in season, so my style hack is to pair these Summer numbers with an undershirt. Like literally, I got one from the boy’s section at Target for like $10 in a size Medium. Wear it underneath your slip, strappy dress to cover your shoulders and keep you warm in the Fall months.

2. Mix and match season pieces.

One of the best ways to slowly transition from piping hot temps to cooler ones is to mix and match pieces from each season. Throw a sweater over your favorite Summer dress or wear a turtleneck with a pair of shorts, like I am doing in the above images. Mixing and matching also helps you feel like you get to hold onto the best parts of each season for a little bit longer.

3. OTK Boots.

This hack is a super easy one. The toughest part for me about transitioning into a new season is deciding what kind of shoes to wear. Is it hot enough to wear sandals or are my toes going to freeze while walking to work? OTK (or “over the knee”) boots are perfect for a season transition because they can literally be worn with every kind of bottom. Skirts, shorts, pants, leggings, even dresses, over the knee boots feel Fall while still having the ability to wear some of your lighter, perhaps even shorter in length, Summer styles. Bonus, these boots are super chic and make your legs look 10 feet tall.

4. Layer, layer, layer.

I cannot stress enough that as you transition your wardrobe to Fall and start to dust off pieces you put into storage months ago, the first items that should start to slowly come out are your lightweight Fall jackets. Trenches are great, cardigans are great, leather jackets are great. These styles are simple enough to go with many things currently in your closet and the best part about them is that when those random last Summer days creep in before Fall really hits, you can easily remove them from your outfit to adjust to the unpredictable temperatures. Now is the weird time in the Midwest where it’s freezing in the morning but scorching in the afternoon. Wear a lightweight Fall jacket with your everyday outfit, and when it gets hot, simply remove that outer layer. Style hack: I even like undoing my Summer wrap dresses to wear as open, breezy dusters!

5. Tights for days.

I can promise you tights are not for older women. I actually think wearing tights is super chic. This is also the easiest way to keep wearing your dresses, shorts and skirts for even longer, even way into the thick of Fall. Get a pair of opaque or black tights to pair under all of your current Summer bottoms. If you don’t already have a pair of tights, you can run to Walgreens or Target and get them for under $10. Not only will it elevate your everyday look, but tights also keep your legs nice and toasty, which is what you want when the crisp Fall air starts to swoop in.

If you are someone who wants to buy all new clothes for the new season, kudos to you. I admittedly have already bought some new Fall pieces, but I always like to think, work and shop smarter not harder. If I can save a dime, I’m all about it. If you found ways to transform your Summer clothes for the Fall months, I’d love to know below! As always, I hope this helps!

Sincerely,

What I Do For A Living

Hi Friend,

I wanted to write this post because probably one of my most frequently asked questions is “what do you do for a living”? I love this question because I genuinely love what I do. Not a day goes by that I don’t have the opportunity to learn a new trick of the trade and as curious as I am this means the most. I have received so many opportunities at my age that a normal 23-year-old would never get the chance to experience. For that, I am grateful. My responsibilities are expansive, and my team expects a lot of me. When I come into work, I have to be prepared to perform. It’s a fast-paced environment, but that’s when I feel I truly thrive. Okay, now let’s get to the deets!

So, what exactly do I do? Well in order to understand that, I want to back up a little. When I was in school, I pursued degrees in both Public Relations and Entrepreneurship. As part of my degree, it was required that I get an internship before I graduated. Panicked and trying to find something before my Senior year, I stumbled upon this small, data-driven marketing firm in Chicago on LinkedIn. After applying and two phone interviews later, I accepted the position and spent my Summer commuting to Chicago Monday-Friday for this Marketing internship. Studying PR in school, I was never really exposed to the addressable, data-driven side of marketing. It just wasn’t a part of the curriculum, but here I experienced a whole new world. I learned what terms like Prospecting, UTM Codes, Matchback, ROI, etc. all meant. I was sort of addicted to learning more. When the Summer was up, I mustered up the courage to ask to stay on throughout my Senior year and intern part time while I was at school. Surprisingly, they agreed.

Fast forward about 2.5 years later, I am now working full time as a Marketing Manager at the same company. I never left. The company I work at is a people-based, addressable marketing firm. We do everything from Paid Search, Paid Social, Digital Display and Direct Mail (yes this still exists and is actually very effective in converting) for all of our clients. We work with some of the most interesting companies and every day, I get the pleasure of completing tasks ranging from campaign execution, campaign strategy, conducting client meetings, creative trafficking, reporting/analytics, optimizations and so so much more. As previously mentioned, it is a never-ending learning opportunity. It has been pretty incredible. I, myself, lead the way on a handful of accounts. Who can say that at 23 years old only out of school for a year and a half?! It’s kind of crazy but awesome!

One of the concepts I wanted to address on this post that I think is hilarious because I constantly have to have the same conversation with friends and family is how remarketing works. I’ll be sitting at dinner or hanging with friends when someone asks a question along the lines of “I searched for X item on X site and now that’s all I keep seeing online and on my social media, why is that”? Well, now with my job experience, I can provide an answer because doing that is part of my job lol. Companies place pixels or tracking codes on their site. When you enter the site, the pixel is capturing your information and then “remarkets” to youand shows you that exact item because you’ve already expressed interest. Sites can have many pixels on many different pages on their site, so even when you are clicking on a specific blazer for instance, the company likely has a pixel on that page and once you click on it, they are putting you and your information in the remarketing pool to follow you on your online journey and serve ads to you at a later date, and by later date I could mean within minutes. It is completely ethical and legal and pretty much everyone is doing it at this point, so there ya go, now you are equipped to answer this question next time it comes up!

I was fortunate enough to have found an internship while in school and then secure a job before my Senior year was up. It didn’t come easy though and there was a LOT of rejection along the way. I thought it could be insightful to call out some things to consider doing the next time you are looking for an internship or a full-time position:

  1. If you do not have one, set up a LinkedIn profile ASAP. Companies often use LinkedIn profiles as a preface to your resume. Recruiters spend countless hours sifting through LinkedIn to find perfect candidates. You can make wonderful connections through LinkedIn by sending a message to someone at a company you admire or connections through connections. It’s a great networking tool. Also, lots of companies submit job postings through LinkedIn rather than going through the typical Indeed or Monster, so you could find some great opportunities.
  2. Always keep you resume updated! I check in on my resume monthly just to update any new skills I’ve learned or if my job responsibilities increase, I want to make sure to include those. It’s super important to have it ready to go because you never know when an opportunity may present itself or a recruiter will reach out to you. I include a picture of myself on my resume to help put a name to the face. Some companies might be turned off by this, but someone may also love it and find it different. Just something to consider!
  3. Get involved! Whether you are still in school or out of school, find organizations to get involved with and add those to your resume. In school, I was on the leadership team of two student-run creative communications agencies, on the leadership team (President) of an organization, was on 3 departmental committees, volunteered and worked part-time jobs, all of which was included on my resume (humble brag). I genuinely think that contributed to my internship and securing a job before graduation. These opportunities give you the experience needed in the real world.
  4. Ask friends and family for opportunities! The best network you have is the one you already have connections to. If your parent’s friend works in finance and that’s what you’re studying, ask them if they have internships or any open positions. They will likely put in a good word for you if they think it’s a fit because they know you and know your personality. Never be afraid to ask for things you want. No one is going to look out for you better than you!
  5. If you get an interview at a company for a job or internship, DO YOUR RESEARCH!! I can’t stress this enough. My best practice is to spend at least 30 minutes on their site just poking around seeing who their clients are and what their offerings are. It helps when they are interviewing you and ask, “so which client of ours would you want to work on.” This has happened to me. It definitely does not look good if you have no idea who they even work with. Also, ask questions at the end of the interview. I come prepared to interviews with at least 5-7 questions that I would ask them that I am really interested in hearing the answer to. Do not go silent when they ask if you have any questions for them!

I hope this helps! If you have any other questions, leave a comment below!

Sincerely,

How I Cope With Anxiety

Hi There,

The first time I ever felt feelings of anxiousness was around the time I was a freshman in college. Something about having to pack up my childhood room and now having to live 3+ hours away from my family and friends threw me for a complete loop. I lost a lot of weight, my thoughts paralyzed me from leaving my door room, I couldn’t focus in class, my grades suffered (which had never happened to me ever in my life) and I cried once a day for about 6 months. It was one of the toughest times in my life. From the time I realized there was an issue, I made some lifestyle adjustments like transferring schools and learned to cope with feelings of anxiousness the best way I could for those 4 years. Since then, I’ve been so much better, but my anxiety still comes to visit like a long-distance relative.

Now, I am no doctor by any means. I have no clinical definition of anxiety and I have never officially been diagnosed with anxiety, but to me, I experience feelings of anxiousness whenever I am faced with a situation or life decision that is uncontrollable or unpredictable. I have intense feelings whenever I think about if I made a bad decision in the past, how I am going to cope with what’s happening to me in the present or the uncertainty of what may happen in the future. I am pretty Type A for all intents and purposes of the definition. I love and crave control. I like things a certain way and if it doesn’t happen as such, anxiety comes. It’s when I experience the ability to control a situation being robbed from me that anxiety comes. It’s when I don’t know how to crawl my way out of an undesirable fate that life often throws at us that anxiety comes. There come slices of time in any given day where my mind often wanders and hypothesizes all these different scenarios. It completely throws me off track in that moment. I feel shortness of breath, very emotional, my heart races, I lose sleep and sometimes my line of vision can even become blurred. It can be debilitating and from what it seems, from personal stories and articles online, that my “case” is very mild. I can’t imagine what some others have to go through.

As my day job is very analytical, I find my critical thinking also becoming very analytical. I often ask myself why I am experiencing this feeling or what has happened to catapult me into this state. But rather than trying to pick apart the intricacies in what’s happening inside my head, over the years I have found coping mechanisms that ultimately bring me back down to Earth so to speak. Everybody’s experience with anxiety is so different and should be handled as so, but sometimes I think when we share stories of the practices that have helped us to cope, we can feel less alone and work towards the root of the cause.  

Tip #1: It may sound crazy, but classical music has helped with my anxiety SO much. I used to be very musical in my childhood. I was in every school play, I could read music, I played the piano and I played the flute in my school’s symphony orchestra. I love music with purpose and that changes direction to take you on a magical journey. Whenever I feel anxious, one of the ways I try to relieve myself from those feelings is to play some of my favorite classical pieces. I take time to remove my thoughts from what’s currently going on and immerse myself into the sounds. I try to decipher each musical instrument being played and focus my mind on the tempo, crescendos and decrescendos to shift my focus on only what I am hearing at that moment. It removes me from life for just a few minutes, enough time for the anxiousness to pass, and by the time the song has ended, I feel better. Here are some of the playlists I listen to on Spotify:

Tip #2: Another way I’ve learned to cope with anxiety is to clean. I know it may sound odd but tidying up my room or even the files on my computer have helped alleviate feelings of anxiousness. There’s something about cleaning up the physical aspects of your life that help you feel more in control of the psychological ones. When you are clear in one area, the physical space around you, you have more time to clear the space in your head and work through your feelings.

Tip #3: The 5,4,3,2,1 rule has also helped me tremendously with fighting anxious feelings. You have probably seen this circulated on all social channels, but the 5,4,3,2,1 rule helps in going through the numbers in order to ground yourself in present thinking. Here is how it works: you start by acknowledging 5 things that you can see around you at that moment, then you identify 4 things you can touch around you at that moment, then 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste. This technique ultimately helps with symptom relief because after you have taken the time to identify these things in your physical surrounding you often will have taken long enough for the symptoms to pass.

I hope this helps anyone reading who too experiences or suffers from anxious feelings or anxiety. Our thoughts are almost always directly linked to how we are feeling at that moment. Although sometimes we can lose control of our thought process and where our mind takes us mentally, there are tools and cognitive exercises that we can enlist in our daily routine to pull us out of the hole we feel that we are falling into. I can promise you; those feelings may come but they will go away. You and your mind are strong enough to fight through those feelings. You totally got this, and I am here for you!

Sincerely,