Monday, September 24, 2012

let this be the week | 03

photo by happeemonkee on Etsy | buy it here! type by me

This blog represents a lot of things in my life. It's a creative outlet, an inspiration catalog, a source of joy. Sometimes it's a monkey on my back, whispering nagging reminders to me about my atrocious track record of following through on things. Sometimes it's simply a way for me to vent - for me to untangle the knots of thoughts or emotions that keep me up at night. But most of all I think this blog has become a place to document my journey with happiness. 

Happiness can be such a broad, grand topic, I know, but for me it's the thread that runs through every decision and every moment of my life. It's not a black or white issue, a yes or no question, "Are you happy?" Instead, to me, happiness is made up of an infinite number of granular questions that all fit together into a bigger picture. It's more like "Are you making decisions every moment that allow you to be happy?" 

I wish I could put my finger on the moment when personal, daily happiness became my North Star, the thing guiding me through each new chapter of my life, but I can't. All I know is that from an early age, whether through my parents' teaching or my own realization, I learned that happiness is a choice.

So many times we treat happiness like a passive emotion. XYZ happened and therefore I'm happy, or XYZ happened and therefore I'm unhappy. I won't deny that this is the case more often than not - an event triggers an emotion. Cause and effect. Right? But what so many of us forget is that happiness can be an active emotion too. XYZ happened and I choose to feel happy. XYZ happened, but in spite of that I will choose to be happy. XYZ keeps happening, so I need to make changes in order to be happy.

Listen, I know it's not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes you have a crappy day and everything goes wrong and you want to cry. Hey, I've been there. I'm not afraid to admit I LOVE to cry it out. Quite often, in fact. Queen of the ugly cry over here. But next time that happens, remind yourself that you're experiencing the passive emotion. The response emotion. And after that passes, take a second, and remember that you can choose the active emotion. You can choose happiness. You pick yourself up, and you do something that brings you joy. Call a friend, take a bubble bath, search "puppies" on YouTube. Run as fast as you can towards happiness, and pretty soon, you'll be so intent on trying to catch it, you won't have time to feel that passive emotion creep back in.

And if you start to realize that the cry-it-out days are beginning to outweigh the smiling days, that's when you REALLY gotta kick that active happiness into gear and you have to make some big decisions. Maybe even some tough decisions.

Now let me assure you, it's not all puppies and rainbows, people. Happiness is hard work! It requires mindfulness, patience, control, and like I said, making hard decisions. Sometimes in its pursuit, I've had to be selfish. And other times in its pursuit, I've needed to be completely selfless. I've been in funks so deep that "chasing after happiness" felt more like clawing after it at a snail's pace. But I'm telling you, it works.

So that is my tidbit of wisdom for this week. I know I can be a bit of a quack, and I whole-heartedly appreciate those of you that humor me. But I only write this stuff because I live it and I believe it. We are all blessed to be on this earth, and we truly can do ANYTHING we want to do and be as happy as we want to be. It's just a matter of how much effort we're willing to put in to get there.

This morning I woke up, the faintest bit of chill in the air (a godsend for those of us here in Florida) and  I thought, now that's something to be happy about.

This week I challenge you to choose happiness. In the moments that it comes easily - like crisp Fall mornings - AND in the moments that it doesn't - the cry-it-out days.

Thanks for hanging out with me here, as always. On the harder days, your responses are a sure-fire way for me to find my way back to happiness.

Friday, September 21, 2012

tren-diy | hardware jewelry

Happy Friday, frands! You guys look like you need some fun DIY projects to tackle this weekend. (You also look like you need something to distract you while you pass the last brutal hour and half of your work week. AMIRIGHT?) 

One big trend I've come across lately on Pinterest and various blogs is the use of hardware in making jewelry. Ya know, it's that whole "industrial chic" look. (ps. Don't you just love how pairing anything with the word "chic" makes it a thing. Hipster chic. Shabby chic. I haven't washed my hair in two days chic. It just works.) 

Anyway, I would definitely try any one of these and now I suddenly have the urge to peruse the aisles of Home Depot brainstorming new jewelry ideas. Hex nuts, hinges, old zippers... I just love the idea of using items in a new and unexpected way. Would you rock any of these looks? 

1. hex nut bracelet via honestlywtf
2. washer necklace via ruelala blog
3. zipper flower ring via mysquaretable
4. zipper rocker ring via kimboscrafts
5. hinge bracelet via stripes + sequins

 Honorable mention goes to this killer nail bangle I found recently, but I couldn't find a DIY for one like it. If you figure out how to bend a nail, let a girl know, would ya?

Anyway, it's back to Jacksonville tomorrow. I hope you're all enjoying your Friday afternoons, and if you decided to make any of these, let me know so I can how it goes!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

a pretty pair | 01

Greetings yet again from the road, friends! I'm still hanging out with these crazies in an SUV, headed to Charlotte which is our last stop of the trip. I have to admit, my body (and my voice especially) are really starting to feel the impact of two weeks on the road. Still having the time of my life though. I'm telling you guys, if you EVER have the chance to do a roadtrip for a longer period of time, just say yes. You won't regret it.

My brain may be fried from the daily recaps each day of the trip, but that's no reason to deprive you all of your daily prettiness, right? Today's post is directly inspired by the cute and clever Nikki over at Cupcakes for Breakfast. I've been reading her blog for months now and you guys may have seen me mention her Side by Side feature in a previous post. A week or so ago I serendipitously came across these two on Pinterest and thought they'd be perfect for a similar feature.

The pinks and purples would typically be a little too sweet and girly for me, but the bright orange and nude make the color palette much more dynamic to me. I can imagine myself sitting at a tiny cafe table with this gorgeous arrangement, writing and doodling in this precious notebook on a fall afternoon.

I hope these pops of color bring you sweet satisfaction this Thursday. The weekend is almost here - you can make it!

I promise to get back to my overly-verbose posting self once I'm back home this weekend, and I appreciate each and every one of you that stop by here from time to time to read my words, enjoy my posts, and send me words of encouragement. It brings happiness to my creative soul! Thanks for following along!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

instacity | columbia

We only got to stop in Columbia for a short while on our roadtrip, but I decided I really like it as a city. I visited a few times for Gator games when I was in college, so the city brought back some great memories. Here are a few little moments from our time there - I love how colorful these shots are!

(from left to right)
1. A rainbow of spatulas might just be enough to make me want to bake. 
2. When I was little, one of my favorite parts of traveling "up north" was stopping to buy Cheerwine. I consider it some sort of southern delicacy. 
3. Pretty sure I have no need for a "floursack" but I almost bought a few just because they were colorful and cute. 
4. We happened to pass by the Village Idiot, a bar we frequented back on our college trips. Let's just say it lives up to its name. 
5. If you're ever in Columbia, eat at The Gourmet Shop. Get the chicken salad croissant and the pesto pasta side. Thank me later. 
6. I have an obsession with jelly beans. These may have been in there for YEARS but I didn't care. Still chased down Jason to get a quarter and happily strolled the streets with a colorful handful of happiness. 
7. Local coffee joint "drip" had a wall full of old postcards from different places. Love the eclectic feel of the photo. Wish I would have gotten postcards from all the cities on our road trip!
8. My day in Columbia ended just as all great days should end - with a delicious Blue Moon. Cheers! 

More snapshots headed your way soon! I've got lots of this roadtrip still to show you guys! Hope you're all enjoying your week - happy hump day!

Monday, September 17, 2012

let this be the week | 02

 photo by kitoki on Etsy / buy it here! / type by me

Life on the road has been busy to say the least, but I'm having the absolute time of my life. I couldn't have asked for a better road trip crew. I may be the only girl, but I don't mind because Jason, Sean and Nick have kept me in stitches in the entire trip, which makes the long days of travel definitely go by much faster.

Eating my way up the East Coast, meeting new people with their unique stories, experiencing cities I've never been to - I honestly can't believe this is my job.

I've been doing a lot more writing than I anticipated, but not necessarily for posts that live here. I've been doing daily recaps on our company blog, and while I know I'll look back and appreciate that we have each and every detail written down after it's all said and done, right now it's a bit exhausting recounting our experiences every day. Granted, I mostly find myself writing while we're stuffed into an SUV which isn't the most conducive of writing environments. (I also feel like I'm getting less funny as we go on, which I am NOT okay with.)

Last night we finally had a night to rest and so I did what I normally do when I have some personal time - brainstorm new posts, catch up on my favorite blogs, look for inspiration, etc. As I was hopping and bopping between blogs, I found some new design studios and creative blogs that I really liked, which of course had me excited (who doesn't love a shiny new blog to obsess over, right?)

The only problem is that lately when I find a new site that I absolutely love, I'm having a lot of trouble just appreciating it. Instead, all I can think about is how it's not mine. And suddenly everything I love about my own blog isn't good enough. The design's all wrong. My consistency is off. My photography, amateur. It can literally drive me nuts. Especially coming from a background in advertising, I can't help but want this clearly defined 'brand' evident in everything I do.

But here's the thing. I don't have that all figured out yet, nor do I want to. This blog of mine has come a heck of a long way in just a short year and a half, and my design skills/aesthetic certainly have evolved too. I want to see what things will look like in another year and half and keep this constant growth going. I'm not going to have some professional looking creative brand overnight. It just doesn't happen.

As creatives, I think it's natural for us to sometimes doubt ourselves. We constantly want to be better so we keep revising, restyling, reworking. I have to remind myself daily of that age old saying, "Comparison is the thief of joy." Boy, that's the truth, ain't it? When we start focusing so intently on the success of others, we start to lose sight of our own successes.

So this week I've decided I want to work on letting go. Letting go of what I think this blog should be, and instead focus on what it is - something that I am very proud of and something that brings me happiness.

And I encourage you to do the same.

Let this be the week you let go.

Let go of perfection.

Let go of comparison.

Let go of the expectations you may have for yourself that are somehow making you feel inadequate.

Whatever is weighing you down, keeping you from feeling proud of your accomplishments or confident about what you have yet to accomplish, just let go.

Happy thoughts to you all this week! If you want more clumsiness, more craftiness, and most important, more happiness, you can now find me on Facebook!

As always, thank you for reading!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

bright lights, bull city

It's been almost two years since I lived in Durham. It was the first place I lived when I graduated high school, the place I called home while I tried my hand at that tricky thing called adulthood. I may not have stayed long, but it was certainly long enough to make a lasting impact on me. 

The city of Durham was one that I grew up hearing a lot about. My dad graduated from Duke law, and so - as all true Dukies do - he raised me to love and celebrate all things Blue Devil-related, including the city of Durham. In fact, I think I vaguely remember stopping there on a family reunion trip up to Virginia back when I was a kid, although I don't remember it well enough to know what my impression of the city was. All I can tell you is that there was a sense of familiarity with the place before I even spent my first night there as a resident. 

What are you more jealous of? My pink Keds or my lack of hair? (Also, why did I know how to curtsy as a two year old?)
So in the early summer of 2010, it was no surprise to me that I fell in love with the character of the Bull City. The aesthetic of the area itself is one that I always loved. Durham has this delicate balance of industrial boldness and delicate, historical beauty. You look around and your field of vision is constantly filled with gorgeous juxtapositions of cold steel and warm, rustic wood, of brick walls and wildflowers. I love that downtown is peppered with old smokestacks from tobacco plants and the weathered impressions of company names being worn off brick walls. There's something even about the railroad tracks that I find interesting and charming about the city. From the moment I arrived it felt like my kind of city, if that makes any sense. Like my spirit and its spirit were somehow old friends. 

And today I got to see my old friend. 

As we were driving from Columbia to Washington, D.C., Durham serendipitously fell almost perfectly half-way along our route. When Jason suggested stopping in for lunch, my entire face lit up. It was so unexpected, and I found my brain frantically scanning the list of friends to quickly contact and places I might want to go. It was odd - I was so happy, but I also felt this strange feeling of anxiety, like I wasn't ready to be back. I hadn't prepared. It's so funny how places in our lives can be tied so strongly to our emotions. It's just a place, after all, and I was only going to be there about a half hour, but the experience brought with it so many things. 

When we drove into the city and I started recognizing where I was, so many feelings came flooding back. There was familiarity and warmth, of course, from returning to a place that was such a pivotal point in my young adulthood. But there was also the fear and uncertainty I felt moving to a city where I knew not a single soul. 

It's been two years since I lived there, and on one hand it felt like time had stood still. We drove by my old street and my first apartment - an old, creaky house renovated into four units - and I think I thought at any moment we were going to just pull into my driveway and I'd make the trek up my uneven, rickety stairs up to my front door. But on the other hand, it felt as if everything had changed. I was so uncertain of who I was back then and in the past two years I feel that I've really begun to figure all of that out. That's not to say I feel much older (I definitely do not), but I do feel that I've come into my own in a way. Feeling like such a different person now kind of made it seem like I was walking around on some sort of movie set or a biographical tour - like this environment belonged to someone else, sometime a long time ago, and I was just there to observe. Despite the whole range of emotions that came over me, the overall impression was just as though you had passed by a favorite friend from your distant past. There's an unspoken connection between you simply for the time you spent together and the memories you share. 

Still, I can't even fully express the happiness that came over me when we were there today. The air had a cool breeze to it, a lucky break because it does get to be pretty scorching in the summer. It was like the whole city was teetering on the edge of fall. There's a part of me that wishes I could've spent more time there back in 2010. It's not so much a regret - I certainly don't have any of those because I think I'm walking the best possible path for myself right now - it's just more of a wistful feeling, like I wish the timing would have been better or that there was a position for me up there that was right. But even if it was hard to leave a place that was so good to me, I'm glad I left when I did because I was following my happiness. While I loved Durham, the people there and my agency, there was something even better waiting for me in Florida. There was family, the promise of a great relationship, and, most important, there was the chance to grow into my authentic self, something I continue to try and do every day. 

The Bull City will always have a special place in my heart. It's where I proved to myself that I could live on my own and make friends in a place completely foreign to me. It's also where I found out just how valuable my happiness is to me, and what I'm willing to sacrifice in order to pursue it. That high value I established early in my adulthood has turned out to be my guiding light. My willingness to walk away from a place that I loved so much taught me one fundamental thing about myself - as far as I'm concerned, it's not about where you are, it's about who you're with. 

Until next time, Durham. Thanks for everything.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

instacity | atlanta

I'm on the road right now headed to Columbia, SC, the second stop on our roadtrip. The first leg of our trip in Atlanta was pretty much categorized by delicious food (which I'm totally fine with) and I can only hope that theme continues. We're only in Columbia for one day, so I doubt I'll have a ton of stuff to report, but while I'm on the road today, enjoy just a few of my favorite little finds from Atlanta. ( And for those that crave all the nitty gritty details, you can also read my blog posts detailing Day 1Day 2 and Day 3 of our trip on the IWearYourShirt blog. Follow the links!) 

I hope you all are having a sensational hump day, and I hope these photos bring you a little joy wherever you are. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

loving it lately | au naturel

Yesterday was a LONG, but ridiculously fun day. The highlight for me was probably the food though. (That's right, forget the company. Give this girl a delicious sandwich and a quirky establishment and that's all I remember.)

I actually can't wait to share more pictures of the places we went in Atlanta with you guys. So many cute things I think you'll enjoy. Some of the best food and best ambience I've ever been privy to, seriously. (If you come back tomorrow I might just post a little photo-only post with some of my favorites from the trip. Do stop by, won't you?) Also, if you're interested in all the details of each day of our tour, I'm writing daily recaps over at the IWearYourShirt blog (complete with ample parentheses and my usual scatterbrained writing. You can take the girl out of the clumsycraftyhappy, but you can't take the clumsycraftyhappy out of the girl...)

For now, though, I thought I'd share installment #2 of my "loving it lately" series. (Woohoo people! #2! That's more than just one post in a series. This is what you might call progress.)

The breakfast place we visited yesterday had these beautiful wood crates and birch branches and it reminded me of this trend I'm seeing lately of raw materials: printing on cardboard, unstained or reclaimed wood, distressed concrete etc. I'm just finding myself gravitating toward the more natural look of things lately. I think it pairs so beautifully with black and white (my favorite), and for such a self-proclaimed color lover, I'm actually liking the neutral and peaceful quality to it. Here are just a few of my favorites below.

// What do you think about the whole natural thing? Are you a fan of neutral naturals or do you crave something a bit more refined or colorful? //

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

Monday, September 10, 2012

let this be the week | 01

photo uploaded to Pinterest by Laura Corvalan // type by clumsy crafty happy

Happy Monday! Still on the road and having a blast in Atlanta. While I'm out exploring the city, I thought maybe I'd kick off the week with some inspiration for you. 

Mondays are always that time when I try to set my mood for the week and get motivated. I was actually inspired by Megan over at The Fresh Exchange (one of my favorite blogs!) and her "this weekend" posts which always seem to put me in a great mood for the weekend. 

So this week, I think what we should all try to do is see ourselves in an entirely new way. Think you're weak? You're not. You're strong. Think you're scared? Nope, you're fearless. You're creative. You're powerful. You're AWESOME. 

So whatever you think you're not, take another look. You might surprise yourself. 

Now go kick this week in the pants! Whatever you've been wanting to do... do it! 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

florida fall and the open road

photo credit // buy it on Etsy // type by clumsy crafty happy 

There's something about Fall that just makes me think of a roadtrip. Maybe it's the fact that when I was young, we didn't have enough money to fly the whole family places, so we'd hit the road instead. Thanksgiving trips up to the mountains were almost a yearly occurrence in my family, and they represent some of the fondest memories from my youth.  

Or perhaps it's the many Fall weekends I spent during my college years, packing into a crowded Suburban with my best friends, headed off to see our beloved Gators take on their latest adversary. To this day I can hear a song from one of our many carefully crafted playlists and it will take me right back to that feeling of young freedom.

Yep, the second I start to feel the stifling heat of the Florida summer replaced with the subtle breeziness of the Florida "fall" - an oxymoron in its own right - my mind starts to wander to road signs and rest stops. And while I don't have a football weekend or family roadtrip planned in the immediate future, I somehow managed to serendipitously get a fall roadtrip on my work agenda this month. (One of the many reasons I feel like I have the coolest job in the world.)

That's right, as you read this right now, I'm hanging out in a bright blue Tahoe with my crazy work cohorts, headed out on a seven-city, two-week tour of the East Coast. We have an awesome sponsor, Buzztime Trivia, that's paying us to travel around and challenge teams to Buzztime trivia in bars and restaurants along our route. We get to basically drink some beers, talk some trash, and hand out prizes to whomever shows up. Pretty cool gig, right? (If you want more info on our tour, check out the IWearYourShirt blog here and learn how you can win an iPhone 5 just by helping us promote it. If you know anyone near our seven stops, please direct them to the following Facebook events - I'd love to meet and play with as many people as I possibly can! Atlanta, Columbia, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, New Brunswick, Baltimore, Charlotte.)

Like I said, even though this trip is for work and I know it will be unbelievably exhausting, I can't help but picture hours of cloudless blue skies and the sun warming my face through the passenger's seat window. Even though I don't expect it to be truly fall yet on this trip (ugh, I wish it was so I could justify finally breaking out my boots and scarves!), I'm excited to experience September somewhere other than Florida. Three of the cities I've never visited before, and one of my favorite things is feeling the aura of a new city for the first time.

So if I'm a little out of touch for the next two weeks, please forgive me. I'm really gonna do my best to keep the updates coming (and who knows, maybe some time on the road will be fantastic for my writing), but in general I'm going to try and focus my time on making this trip a huge success for Buzztime. My goal is to make a little bit of time to get fun photos in each city to share with you guys, even if I don't have time to write an entire post. It'll be like I'm taking you all with me!

Lastly, I just want to give a HUGE thank you to everyone that has liked the blog's new Facebook page. I want to make that a place where I can not only share posts, but share inspiration photos, great links and anything related to design, typography, photography and general awesomeness. Working in social media, I know all too well how over-crowded the branded Facebook page market is, so your Likes mean a lot to me. Hopefully I'll be opening my Etsy shop by the end of the year, and I'll get to share that process with you all too!

That's it for now. Hope you've enjoyed your weekend thus far. Until next time, friends... the open road is calling.

photo found on the everyday adventurer // type by clumsy crafty happy

(If you know the original source of this photo, please let me know!)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

copycraft: patterned petals art piece

How about a quick and dirty art project for your Thursday? Something to get you motivated to craft this weekend? (That's usually what it takes for me to get my craftypants on anyway.)

A few weekends ago I was walking around Hobby Lobby trying to get INSPIRED (please note: that was typed with sarcastic self-mockery) and I found myself thumbing through pieces in the art section. (I swear the ladies that work there must think I'm lost the way I pace back and forth and back and forth to different sections.) Jason and I aren't on the hunt for any piece in particular for the house but sometimes I love to see what the newest trends in the pre-framed art world are. (Anyone that goes by the Decor section in Target knows that there are most definitely trends. Hello, "live, laugh, love" wall squares. I see you, street signs from major cities trying to pose as modern art.)

I don't mean to knock those pieces if any of you guys have them - art is one of those things you can't just judge people for. It's totally subjective. I myself just tend to like things that are a little more unusual, which is why I loved coming across this gem.

Okay first let's get a few things straight. 1. YES, I did take this picture with my iPhone in Hobby Lobby. (Can you imagine what the Hobby Lobby ladies were thinking at that point? Probably that I was in fact NOT lost but actually doing research for some sort of highly orchestrated craft store robbery). 2. NO, those aren't my Disney Princesses stickers. (Don't I wish). 3. YES, that price tag says $129.99! I mean, I understand it's a pretty large piece but $130? No, thank you. Which is why I decided to head home and make one for my self.

I would also like to present further evidence of my obsession with this style, by showing you a few pins that I've accumulated over the past year:

For my recreation, I wanted something smaller that I could add to the gallery wall I'm trying to accumulate in my studio. So on the way home from Hobby Lobby I stopped by Michaels for my FAVORITE type of craft shopping - scrapbook paper! (Seriously so, when I imagine my version of heaven, it looks exactly like the scrapbook paper aisle at Michaels.) Luckily I found a book of 5"x5" reversible patterned paper for $4.99, which was perfect. (I didn't want to buy individual sheets because I knew I was only going to have small petals. The booklet prevents you from wasting a ton of paper (aka money) and it also does all of the color coordination for you!) The colors were vibrant and the patterns were the perfect diversity of big/medium/bold/subtle for the effect I wanted.

So here's what I did -

1 // Start with your array of patterned paper and pick out a pattern you want for the middle of your flower. Cut out a circle the size that makes sense for how big you want your flower to be.

2 // Continue selecting patterns you want to add to your flower, starting from the middle and working your way out. Cut out simple circles or petal-like shapes from your paper and lay them out behind your previous "petals." Try to vary your colors and patterns to your liking and ave fun with it!

3 // Once you have the pattern that you like, start hot gluing them to each other. This part is slightly tricky because you have to do it backwards. Pick up the center from your layout and start with the most immediate circle of petals around the center. I just put a few dabs of hot glue on the back of the circle and then positioned the petals behind it as close to my layout as possible. I also really liked the thick border look around each petal so I hand painted the finished product with a white craft paint and put it on a piece of paper I lightly painted with a mix of yellow and white paint. It gave the background sort of an aged look which I really like.

4 // Let your paint dry and frame it up!

My frame was a two-pack at Target for $8 - so my entire project pretty much cost less than $15. Can't beat that!

What do you think of my knock-off compared to the original?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

so you hate your first job

Preface: I received a Facebook message last night from a very talented friend of mine looking for some advice. Three months into her first job, she has realized that it is not for her. It's not what she expected, and she knows in her heart it's not right for her. She knew - as many of you might since I've been so transparent about it on this blog - that I left my first job after only seven months, and she was looking for some advice on what to do, knowing that only working somewhere for three months isn't exactly a high point on a resume. I responded to her message happy to help, and then realized that my advice to her could apply to many more people that hate their jobs, so I decided to post it here. 

These are the steps I took when I finally knew in my heart I was headed down a path that wasn't right for me. I hope it helps any young people out there that are fresh in the workforce and already feeling trapped. 


You, my dear, have come to the right place. I know EXACTLY how you feel. When it was all said and done, I actually stayed close to about 7 months at my first job, but I was about 4 months into it when I realized it wasn't the right place for me. If you've told anyone how you feel, I'm sure many of them have said Wait it out. Give it a year, and if you're still unhappy then move on. Well, the problem with that is... IT'S A YEAR. In my opinion that's way too long to be unhappy. But that's just kind of something you have to decide for yourself. If you DO want to start looking for another job, here are some things I suggest. 

1. Decide what it is you don't like about your current position. // Is it the structure? The monotony? The tasks themselves? The only way to make sure you don't move backwards in whatever else you choose to do is to be really honest with yourself about what you hate about your current job. You may find that everything you hate about project management is really advertising in general (ie. the deadlines, the pressure) in which case you may want to look outside of that realm. For me, media planning was too much money to (sometimes arbitrarily) play with and too much pressure (literally I'd get heart palpitations, and I'm not afraid to admit it.) I also didn't feel like I had enough freedom to come up with ideas. I felt like I was always executing on someone else's ideas. That's certainly not the agency's fault - I think anyone in an entry-level position isn't going to get to come up with the home run of an idea that you can build a campaign around, but I knew that it might be possible to make a bigger impact somewhere smaller. I knew that whatever I did next, I wanted it to be a much more flexible structure (ie. not TWO supervisors plus TWO direct reports, which inevitably makes you feel like you're simultaneously walking on eggshells and being pulled in four directions) and something that would allow me to be creative. Knowing what you don't like is the first step. 

2. Think about what you do like! // (Kind of obvious, right?) Once you know what you don't want to do, think about what you really do want to do! Look at this as an opportunity to start over - to get a fresh start knowing what you know now. And hey, shoot for the moon because you never know where you could end up. Want to do social media for a nonprofit? Want to be an assistant editor for a fashion blog? Want to be a personal assistant for Emma Stone? (Okay, that one was for me.) Who knows - the sky is the limit. Seriously, think long and hard about this one because if you make this move it won't be easy and you want to make sure it's worth the trouble. I decided that I wanted to do something related to social media because that's what I was passionate about, and so once I made that decision, it was a lot easier to focus my attention completely on looking for a job in that field. (I'll also say that luckily for me at the time, not having experience in social media was kind of irrelevant because NO ONE had experience in social media. Is there a new field or position on the horizon that you might want to do? That's a possible strategy for trying to downplay your lack of experience.)

As a caveat I would say also explore whether what you like to do could be found at your current company. If you're really at the end of your rope but LOVE the company you're working for, it could be as easy as talking to someone in HR or a supervisor about what other opportunities there are in different departments. If I didn't know that I wanted to move back to Jacksonville so badly, I definitely would have gone this route because I adored McKinney as a workplace. Plus, at that point, you really have nothing to lose. 

3. Once you've narrowed it down and you know you definitely want to leave, start updating your resume. // I know it's in your head that you've only been working there three months, so you're thinking, Isn't this going to look bad to a potential employer? And it might - but only to some. I always thought to myself, if I prove to a future employer that I can be valuable to them and that I'm the best candidate for the job, then they won't care. And if they ask about it, just know that you have a good reason for leaving. Make sure you can articulate in an interview why it was a good move for you and why this position is different. You want to absolve their fears about investing in you only for you to leave unexpectedly. You just kind of have to have the confidence and attitude that you're valuable. 

Also, sit down and think about all the skills you've honed in your position in your short months and how that can be applied to the new position you're interested in. For me, having an understanding of audience targeting and segmentation, managing big budgets on my own, and having experience with advanced analytics were all really valuable in applying for my new job because they didn't have anyone on the social team with that background and they knew I'd be a well-rounded asset for them. Finding a new job won't happen right away, so with every day at your current position, think about what projects and opportunities you can be a part of before you leave that could be great fodder for a potential interview. (It will also help the days go by faster too because it will feel like you're working toward something better.) 

4. Use your network! // This is a biggie. Once you know the type of positon you're looking for, there are tons of ways to go about looking for jobs. You can use the typical methods like looking on, Talent Zoo, etc. but I personally think that that the best way to get a job is to work your network. All three jobs I've had since college I got by making connections inside the company. When I was at McKinney looking for a new job, my boyfriend told me there was a girl in Jacksonville that knew everyone when it came to social media, so I got her email address and sent her a copy of my resume, telling her I was looking for a position in that realm. I spent a long time making it personal and sincere. She didn't even know me that well but she happened to be on the American Marketing Association board with a social media manager at an agency in town and she knew they were looking for someone before they ever even posted about the job. She passed my resume on and I was the first candidate across their desk so I had a leg up. 

You never know who is going to know someone or who is going to help you, so I would suggest sending personal emails to anyone and everyone that you think could help you out. Even if a small fraction pass your info along, that could be what you need to get your dream job! (I also believe strongly in doing that for other people since it has helped me out so many times. I love getting messages like yours or passing along a resume I think is strong because it makes me feel good to know I'm kind of paying it forward in a way.) 

I would also add that connections can be made in the most unlikely of ways as well. Use social media to connect with people in the field you want a job in and form real relationships. Those connections could prove to be useful as well. I got my first job at McKinney because I followed their blog religiously and one night I read a post by one of their Senior Account Planners that spoke to me. I did some stalking on LinkedIn to get the format of the agency's email addresses and just sent him an email, hoping it would get to him. He ended up agreeing to a lunch meeting when I was in the area and gave me a nice recommendation with their HR department. Which leads me to the point...

5. Work every single lead! (and try to stay sane.) // The job process is a very uncertain one as you know - it can take two weeks or it can take months. So while you're doing all of this, keep it quiet and just keep working every lead you possibly can. I probably started putting out my feelers four months into my stint but didn't find the right job until about five months in. With interviews and everything I finally left at about seven months, so it's definitely a process. Keep your head up and look for things with your job that you do enjoy. Power through and focus on the fact that you'll be happier soon! I know how much it sucks to know you're not in the right place for you, even if the agency itself is really great (mine was!)

I'm happy to help you look over your resume or give you feedback on any opportunities/positions. The biggest part is going to be knowing what questions to ask this time around so you don't find yourself at a place you hate. 

Every day there are people in their thirties and forties that wake up and realize the career they've built doesn't bring them any sort of satisfaction. From the beginning they got caught up in climbing the ladder and didn't get out even when they knew it wasn't for them. You may hear people tell you that 3 months in is too soon to get out, but I would argue that it's the PERFECT time. If you listen to your heart and move around while you're young, you won't have to wait until you're 30 or 40 to start over. You'll have set yourself down a more satisfying path from the beginning. 

And for what it's worth - in case you're feeling even the slightest bit the same way I did - don't feel like you couldn't hack it. There are A LOT of people in advertising (or any industry for that matter) that are unhappy but they convince themselves they love it because they don't have the courage to get out or be different or walk away. (It must also be said that there are also A LOT of people that thrive on the chaos and the pressure and love it. I'm certainly not discounting them.) There's just a difference between not being able to hack it and simply not wanting to hack it. 

Life is simply too short to do anything else than the things you love.

Good luck!


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

picture this palette | 01

I know, I know, big surprise - I'm starting another "series." Now, I'm aware that in order for the word "series" to apply, you have to actually have more than one thing. And I know my track record of continuing things isn't exactly the best, BUT I've determined that this is just sort of my creative process. I start a bunch of different things, see what sticks, and I run with that. One thing I'm really trying to work on with myself is being okay with the concept of evolution. Everything doesn't have to be buttoned up or purposeful or tied together from the beginning. Sometimes the chaos and the trying stuff out is necessary to get to the good stuff. So bear with me as I ... eh hem... evolve.

(Speaking of evolve, you might have noticed the new digs. I hadn't changed the look of this blog since January - which is a wonder in itself considering my aversion to sitting still on anything - and it no longer felt like it represented my style. As some of you know, I'm in the process of upgrading this blog to a brand new built-from-scratch Wordpress site. It's kind of like the equivalent of moving from a studio rental to a two-bedroom starter home in a gated community - basically I'M BECOMING LEGIT. Anyway, in the mean time I thought a fresh coat of paint here could be a good move. Feel free to leave your comments below - I'd love to know what you think!)

But yes, back to the task at hand. (I sure do have a knack for digression.) I've had the idea for this feature in my head for a while now. In case I didn't make it abundantly clear before, I LOVE color. I get color crushes with different seasons and will find myself constantly gravitating toward images or things that have that palette. Which is why I think the whole "picture this palette" thing will be fun. I've seen a lot of bloggers do some interesting things with inspiration photos. I love how the essence of one thing can be represented in something else that is completely different. (Nikki over at Cupcakes for Breakfast does this particularly well with her Side by Side feature).

For my take on things, I'll be starting with one inspiration photo that has a color palette that I find interesting. I'll take that palette and reinterpret it three ways: interior design, fashion and art. Hopefully it will speak to my fellow color lovers out there, and you may just develop some color crushes of your very own! 

For my first "picture this palette" feature, I began with this gorgeous floral motif photo I saw on Pinterest. It reminds me of some beautiful display in Anthropologie. (I don't, however, know where it came from because the pin didn't have a link associated - if you know where this image came from, please let me know in the comments!)

The combo that first caught my eye was the mustard with the bright voilet. I used to hate strict complimentary colors, but the purple/yellow thing has me intrigued lately, especially with fall around the corner. It's bold and rich all at the same time. I know it's a bit hard to see but I also pulled out the tiny bit of burnt red that's in the center of one of the flowers. I think it's such a fun pop to the palette and it somehow brings balance to the purple and yellow. Add the warm coffee and muted midnight blue and the whole thing is just some kind of wonderful.


First, the interior reincarnation. When I saw this photo I was amazed at how perfectly it seems to work the palette I created. That yellow rug is obviously a main color focal point, but I adore how the one pop of bright violet on the lamp shade is so powerful. Without it, that color scheme could have come off so primary and predictable, but it's that little element of the unexpected that makes it special. Also, did you notice the deep red on the throw? How perfect is that? (Aside from the colors, let it also be stated that the natural wood textures and the mismatched pillows are also responsible for my love of this room.)


I had a vision for an outfit that I felt embodied these colors but I couldn't find any images that hit the nail on the head. This was the closest thing I found, and while it's certainly not a look that I would probably rock in my own life, I still love the styling and the tone of the photography. It's a little more muted than the original palette, but again the red pumps just made it too perfect! If I had to reimagine this outfit for myself, I think it would include a pair of mustard cords, a voilet sheer-ish button down blouse with pockets or a simple v-neck tee and a pop of red on a ballet flat or a pendant necklace. I actually own all of these items except the shirt so if I decide to wear my imaginary outfit in real life, maybe you'll spot it on Instagram.


Lastly, I know the whole "art" category is a little vague since the inspiration photo itself could be art, but I wanted the chance to expand the palette to all types of art or posters or prints etc. Like the watercolor, for example. This was yet another instance of me pinning something in my feed only to realize later that it relates so well to the color of the inspiration photo, which I had pinned only minutes earlier. (Pinterest can be really amazing for that sometimes - making you aware of patterns in your taste that you didn't even recognize before.) I also love the fact that I feel like so often you think of watercolors and you think lilies and florals and dainty little beach scenes. But this is so urban and saturated, so it's particularly delightful.

I also couldn't help but add a second piece of art only because I loved how subtly the color scheme played out in this French poster. At first glance the yellow of the sky and light blue of the water kind of take over in terms of hue, but after a closer look you can see all sorts of other shades popping up. The thin red stripe along the sail. The purple of the boat's shadow reflected in the water. The blue on the dark side of the sail and the brown of the boat. Hunting for color palettes is so fun!

Well that's it for this addition of "picture this palette." Is this the type of thing you guys would enjoy? If you want it to come back, please let me know in the comments. Hopefully I'll have another installment for you soon and it will officially become a series!

Until then, thanks to everyone who liked my new Facebook page for the blog! If you'd like an easy way to keep up with posts plus some other fun bonuses like pins I'm obsessing over or my favorite links from the many other talented blogs out there, give her a little likey-poo. (Or at the very least do it to be nice because if only 20 people like my page it might crush my spirit and cause irreparable damage to my self-esteem. Do you want that kind of blood on your hands? I didn't think so.)

Hope you all had a great Labor Day and sorry if you're bummed because you're back to work today. Listen to Hootie & The Blowfish on Pandora if you have to - that's my go-to cure for a killer case of the Mondays-but-actually-Tuesdays-but-still-feels-like-it's-Monday-because-of-the-holiday-s. Toodles!

Monday, September 3, 2012

labor day laziness

Even though I'm at work today getting ready for our big trivia road trip, I hope all of you are blissfully absent from your computers, laying by a pool or on a boat or snuggled up under a blanket on your couch with a marathon of this, that, or the other on Netflix. (Seriously, six seasons of Dawson's Creek. You won't regret it... Unless you're male. Then you'll want to run away).

Today is the ONE day that laziness is not frowned upon, so soak up every last second and enjoy every drop left of summer. I'll see you folks back here soon - Happy Labor Day!

Photo by alice b. gardens photography (Buy this pretty print here!)
Text overlay by me