Hair, It Has an Expiration Date

IMG_6017This is totally a #girlproblems post, but it’s totally true:

Hair has an expiration date.

The first day of your haircut is usually met with tears, unless you’re really lucky. This is especially true for short hair (like mine)… the first day can either be the best day of your life or the worst, depends on the stylist. I finally have a stylist I really like (Margie at Lovella UES), but even so, the haircut has an expiration date.

Back to the timeline…

The first week is good, second week is the best and the third week is a stretch. By the fourth week you’re literally counting the hours until you can go get it shaped up so that you look like you.

I’m currently rocking #week2 hair and I feel like I can conquer the world — there’s just something about feeling like your look is “on point” that makes you feel invincible.

What’s your week of #hairmagic? Share with me on Twitter!

How To: Build a Brand on Social Media

This is the beginning a series of posts on how I believe you should build a brand. These methods have worked for me and have been cultivated from the time before Facebook even HAD profile pages (seriously, the dark ages… I am OLD). I started out managing brands as an intern at This Old House magazine and I loved it! When you’re an intern, it’s totally OK to suggest something completely off the wall without knowing if it will succeed and when it does? You’re golden.

Here are my five steps to growing a brand on social media. These steps should be re-evaluated every step of the way with a team (or, if you’re doing your own branding, by crowd-sourcing your “most important followers” (and yes, that can be your Mom)) to determine how your individual community wants to take your content.

5 Steps to Fool-Proof Growth on Social Media Networks

Content
Decide what your content is (like this blog post, that’s a piece of content for my personal brand), decide how you’ll get it (write it, pay someone else to write it, or curate it (basically, share a bunch of links YOU like)) and then decide when you’ll publish it. I’ve been using this speech since I spoke at EIJ 12 – “Social Media sharing should be like building a really great ice cream sundae. The ice cream should be the content that pertains to your brand; for me, it’s #glutenfree things, social media news, journalism news and updates on how to survive as a 20-something woman in today’s crazy world. The fudge sauce should be personal things; photos of your kids, photos of you “world.” Basically, the fudge is a “behind-the-scenes” look at the brand that is You (or the brand itself). Then, add the sprinkles, nuts, cherries and all the other sundae bar items. Those items can be random musings, things you want people to say “hell ya” to or just random links that you find interesting. The toppings are what you give people without expecting any return on investment (ROI). Social Media ROI is INCREDIBLY hard to measure, but basically, if you share this content and grow your followers (even if it’s just 1-15 per week), you’re earning back ROI on your work.

Facebook
You should post at least 4-6 times a day in the beginning.

Twitter
You should post at least 8-10 times per day in the beginning.

Instagram
You should post 4-6 times, if you’re video-focused, make sure you’re posting at least one video per week. If you’re posting for an individual brand, one video per month is fine, in my honest opinion.

Google+
Ahhh Google+… the community that is basically, an elephant in the room. If you’re working on a video project, you need to leverage this. If you want to improve your Google search results, you need to leverage this. Keep your posts to 4-6 times a week if you’re doing a personal brand; professional brands should mirror your Facebook/Twitter strategy. If you can run a Hangout, especially a HOA (Hangout-on-Air), you’ll gain followers quickly.

Share your thoughts on this advice with me, @giornalista515!

Senior Year of Life — This is it, folks!

Today’s Move In Day at Quinnipiac University — my alma mater. QU is so much more than some school I attended, it’s home. It’s where I learned to run, it’s where I learned to be independent, it’s where I became “V.”

The summer I graduated, I read “Commencement,” which broke down the four years after college into freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years. I definitely tweeted about junior year, but I’ve been busy, so I haven’t written a post about this in a while. Here it goes:

Freshman Year: May 2010 – May 2011
Graduated, moved to Long Island, got a job, got another job, moved again. Found love, lost love. Fell in love with myself and figured out who I wanted to be.

Sophomore Year: June 2011 – May 2012 
Went on a national morning show as an expert about college, picked up freelance jobs, left freelance jobs, moved twice and got a brand new job — the dream job. Moved (again) (yes, if you’re counting that’s three apartments in two years).

Junior Year: June 2012 – May 2013
Found Hot Yoga, lost hot yoga. Moved back to Staten Island, moved into Manhattan. Worked the Dream Job and fell in love with me again. Dated, hated it, moved on. Found SoulCycle. Spoke at EIJ about Social Media and how YOU can manage your brand. Blogged. Found my inner “Carrie.”

Senior Year: June 2013 – May 2014
And this year? This year has already been full of surprises. Found that I do, in fact, love living in Manhattan. Saw my first friend get married. Lost a workout routine, found a workout routine. Learned when to run and when to fight. And now? Now, it’s time to keep pushing…keep moving. Taking that lazy river path to the rapids and seeing just how good I am at keeping my balance on the life raft we call life.

After this year? After this year, I’m officially a life graduate…whatever that means. This year, I will have been out of school as long as I was in (I graduated in 3.5 years, so it’s technically true earlier, but who’s counting?) and I’m ok with that. I wrote a list when I graduated with all the things I wanted to accomplish by 25 and, #humblebrag, I accomplished every single one of them. That’s scary. It’s scary to set out to do something and to actually accomplish it because now I feel “what’s next?” I’m a planner without a plan. And I think I like it that way, for now. Of course, I have a list — By 30, I want a French Bulldog and a Terrace — but I think that’s quite a small list in terms of the goals I set for myself, don’t you?

The rest? I’m leaving that up to fate…although I may give the river a few extra shoves, I’m definitely letting life take me where it will and hope you’re doing the same.

 

#Momisms

Moms.

They say a lot of stuff we let go in one ear and out the other, but sometimes, yes, sometimes, they have advice we should hold on to.

That’s why I created #Momisms. My mom says a lot of things that I’ve often used when counseling others and, since I’m always looking for additional social media content, I figured I’d repurpose this.

My mom is pretty computer savvy — she taught a computer class in the early 90s and had Internet in the house in 1988 — but she still hasn’t figured out how to add this “social media thing” into her everyday life so she’s decided to let me do it for her. (Sometimes, she does it too well, like when she posted that my dog had cancer before telling me…she insists that’s why I need to teach other people how (and when) to use social media. I’m not too sure about that)

I plan to tweet them out and maybe, if I have the time, write a little post about some of my favorite ones. These are things I know I’ll be telling my daughter one day (or having G tell them…that’s what she’s going to be called…she doesn’t know it yet, but it fits) and these are things that have gotten me through some of the hardest moments of my life.

We resist it, but eventually, we all become our mothers and I’m quite proud of that…my mom is pretty kick-ass and, once you read these posts, I think you’ll think so too.

 

Reasons Why I don’t Wear my Opinions on My (Social) Sleeve

I believe in a lot of things. I vote in every election, for every candidate that I can. I sign petitions when I truly believe in the cause. I fundraise. I support friends’ causes.

But I won’t change my profile pictures to show any of that — because I am a journalist.

You may have noticed a sea of red on Facebook by now (if not, here’s an article from one of my favorite sources, ReadWrite Social (ReadWriteWeb’s Social channel) about it). Two equal signs (made of various things; I noticed a few brands jumping on this) on a dark red background. On Facebook. On Twitter. On Instagram. I am going to tell you right now — I believe in marriage equality. I believe that two people who are LUCKY enough to find each other should be able to celebrate that love with Tiffany’s, registries and overpriced invitations.

But I do not believe that I should use my profile to show my support for this cause.

Want to know why I believe I shouldn’t use my profile to foster social change? Read the rest of my article on SPJ’s Generation J First Draft blog.

 

#NoEmailSundays

ICYMI, I went to Los Angeles for the Oscars this past weekend. It was amazing, it was exhausting, it was crazy. It was, to be totally honest, the experience of a lifetime. Check out my Instagram page for all the details about that, this post is about something I learned in my hours of traveling.

Email.

Love it, hate it, you gotta read it. I read a book on the plane about productivity and realized that my goal for March would be to take some time off of it.

I check my email constantly — my work email, my gmail…it’s always there, nagging me with the “badge” app icon that updates every 15 minutes. I tweeted about this and JennyLee Molina (@jennyleeisme) friends with one of my favorite SoFl journalists, Darcy Tannebaum (@dt007), gave me the hashtag that I’m going to use. These ladies made me realize I’m not the only one who struggles with this work-life balance issue on the weekends. We live in a culture that treats email like text messages and I enjoy that connectivity, but I am realizing (as I get older and more into my career) that in order to continue to be on top of my game during the week, I need to take some time to completely unplug on the weekend.

I’m starting this Sunday with no email, but I’ve also made some changes to how I check my email during the week:

1. I shut off the badge app icon…for all my email inboxes. It makes me too anxious and I am too focused on keeping the number away, when I should be focusing on one thing at a time.

2. I made my gmail be vibrate only, my work email has a sound and pops up on my locked screen. I think this will help as I don’t need to read my “Shop it to Me” emails the second they come in.

3. I setup an automatic reply for my gmail for Sunday, which will include a link to this blog post. I think this will keep me honest. Ultimately, I’d like to stay away from all tech on Sundays (except texts, calls and my Kindle) but I think I have to do this one step at a time.

So, who’s with me? Can you do #noemailSundays?

Week 1: Only One Day Left of 2012; Bring it, 2013!

So, I wasn’t feeling inspired to write weeks 2 and 3….after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, I wasn’t really feeling inspired to do anything. I’ve been saying prayers for those babies and know everyone else has had heavy hearts through the holidays as well.

It is unthinkable that something like that could happen today…in 2012…in a sleepy little town in Connecticut. It is unthinkable that these tragedies happen in the country that proclaims itself the “Leader of the Free World.” It is unthinkable. But, it happened. So what now? Now, we move forward and, hopefully, this never, ever happens again.

2013.

13 for me, especially in 2012, is an incredibly lucky number. I applied for my current job on January 13, got listed on MuckRack on January 13, had my first interview on April 13 (another Friday) and got the job on May 16 (close enough). I am tingling with excitement for what this year — my 25th — will bring.

I’m big into rituals and last year, I started off the year by creating a vision board and a list of things I wanted to “create” in 2012, thanks to an email I received from Christine Hassler of “20 Something, 20 Everything” fame. This year, I’m doing it again.

This morning, I started off the first week of the New Year (let’s be real people, New Year’s Eve is a non-day…it’s a day devoted to boozing and being with friends and family) with a gym trip and a little look back ritual. It was great to see all the things I’d accomplished in 2012…of course, there were some areas where I backtracked and some where I didn’t make any progress at all, but all year, these things guided me and helped me make important decisions. I sacrificed this year…I learned that sometimes, it’s important to jump one “square” back (in the checkerboard of Life) in order to jump two (or more) squares ahead. Jumping back hurts, it’s never easy, but the jump forward? It’s like the ultimate prize. It’s amazing!

Three years ago, for 2010, I started the New Year in Paris — a college senior on the cliff of “real life.” Half way into the world she would claim as her own, while still somewhat stuck in the world of college. Fast forward three years and I’m in the place I’ve wanted to be my whole life – New York City. I have an adorable, perfect, wonderful apartment on the UES and I have a job “all the girls wanted,” as my favorite movie proclaims. I’ve been thinking about two of my favorite movies a lot lately — “Devil Wears Prada” and “Morning Glory” — in both of these movies, the women are like me — a bit unsure, a bit unsteady but fully aware of their end goals…the path, I always say, is just a bit murky. I wish I could look ahead 10 years and see where I’d be (hopefully in a lovely 2 bedroom apartment with a handsome husband and a lovely little one), but life doesn’t work like that…you can’t fast forward like you can with a movie. You have to get up, each day, and MAKE what you want to happen, happen.

That’s my main goal for 2013 — Making it happen — I will do what I set out to do, as I’ve always done and I will do it in a way that works for me. I’ve been grabbing life by the horns from the crib, I’m most certainly not going to stop now!

I hope the spirit of Taurus (my incredibly appropriate sign) gives you some courage for the future. Step back when you have to, push when you know you can, but most of all, love the life you live and great things will happen.

The path to greatness may be uncomfortable, but who ever said getting a “big life” was easy. Tonight, as I dance the night away with my friends, I say a toast to you — whoever you are, out there in the universe — that you AND I may find inner peace this year because that’s where the true strength is.

Week 4: Living Car Free Is the Way to Be!

So, I am LOVING living in Manhattan, but there are some differences — mainly, my car! Thankfully, both my parents have cars and have been helping me get some things (like food, cases of water, cleaning supplies) into my apartment and I haven’t had to travel with tons of bags on public transportation, however, I have walked home after a night out with friends and I have to be honest — it was pretty easy.

Every, single day is an adventure when you’re living on your own — no one is there to tell you when the chicken you put in the fridge is bad and no one is there to tell you to make your bed — but living in the City on your own is a whole different experience. You’ve got to figure out how to get from point A to point B without hopping in a car. Of course, I do use cabs sometimes, but, for the most part, I’m a public transportation girl. I also like to walk…a lot. I keep getting sucked into walking 10-20 blocks because I just want to see what’s on the next block…and then I miss a subway stop, and another, and another until it’s just faster to walk to my destination. That’s part of the fun and also part of the exploration process. I’m slowly starting to learn the best ways to get around and what landmarks I need to be aware of. I still don’t know all the “rules” of public transit, but I’m getting there.

AND it’s starting to feel like Christmas. I decorated my tree and have almost finished my shopping…nothing is wrapped, but I have to take care of that soon. This year really didn’t feel like Christmas…I have/had too many things on my mind…maybe that’s what happens when you grow up? I still feel “holiday-ish,” just not as “holiday” as I’ve felt in the past. Anyone else lacking a bit of “holiday magic?” Maybe it’s the weather…maybe it’s Sandy…either way, it’s time to kick the Jingle up a notch. I painted my nails red and am eating off “holiday” plates…and I set my Christmas tree to light up right before I get home, so I walk into a wonderful winter scene.

I’ve also booked my New Year’s plans and am already thinking about my outfit…and my list of goals. 13 for 2013…although, I’m not sure I’ll actually have that many goals. Are you thinking about your resolutions? Share your thoughts below.

Week 5: Moving Day

Well, it’s finally here — moving day. My parents and I moved in my clothes, cleaning supplies and holiday decorations over the weekend and I am really excited (and nervous) for this last leg of my journey into Manhattan. My hallways are small and my furniture is big, so I’m a bit nervous.

I am also VERY aware of why people in Manhattan never move — what a PITA it is!? You can’t park in front of the building, security doors are heavy and walking back and forth across avenues isn’t easy — I swear, cabbies are AIMING for people who look like they’re moving.

My mom and I also discovered why most people have their food delivered — we went to Whole Foods to set me up (because gluten-free/allergy-free setup is difficult and all the food/supplies I had in Long Island were either used or expired) and found out that a) the store is small-ish and b) the carts are tiny and c) you should just have it delivered. My mom and I did have quite a fun time playing frogger across E 57th Street…

This week is a reminder that:

- Big dreams come to those who work for them — seek out your dreams and then, as a friend said, ENJOY your life. Don’t wait for the shoe to drop, live life fully…every, single moment of the day (I forget this, despite the fact that LIVE FOR TODAY is TATTOOED on my body, so it’s understandable that many forget to do this)

- An extraordinary life is hard to fight for, but man, once you get it? It’s incredible. And the path to it is just as extraordinary.

- Vision boards work!! I made a vision board last year asking for a fulfilling relationship, a great job and a great apartment. I’ve made two of the three happen in a few short months — it IS possible to put out what you want AND get it. (Also, I put Bradley Cooper on the vision board as my idea of someone with a great life and I actually met him, so I’m totally making another vision board this year.)