How Not to SXSW

South By Southwest had officially arrived and taken over our fair city. I, for one, will definitely be participating in some awesome SXSW events. This is only my second year as an Austinite so everything is fresh and new. However, to long-time residents, South By can be more of a burden than an exciting experience. You may be planning to hole up in your house for the next two weeks to avoid all the madness, but don’t feel caged in, there are plenty of fun, productive things you can do in and outside your home without getting caught up in SX Fever.

  1. Visit non-SXSW bars and restaurants. Not everyone is partaking in all the SXSW craziness. Check social media to see who is keeping it low or visit non-downtown location for your favorite spots like Torchy’s and Hoppdoddy’s.
  2. Have a party of you own. Invite all your friends over for dinner or drinks at your place. As long as you don’t live in the SXSW zone, you’ll get to see all your friends and have a good time.
  3. Host a binge-a-thon. Fuller House and the latest season of House of Cards are now on Netflix. So are these other great March releases.
  4. Get your craft on. Whether it’s painting, pottery, or furniture building, you can avoid the downtown hustle and make your home a little prettier with your own two hands.
  5. Start your spring cleaning. You’ll feel so much better after a deep clean and can’t use going out as an excuse! If you want to get really crazy, pull out your spring/summer clothes and decor.
  6. Visit the Domain. Whether at night or during the day, you can shop and go out with friends. Check out the new group of restaurants, bars, and shops at Rock Rose.
  7. Head out to the burbs. Avoid downtown completely by enjoying everything Austin’s suburbs have to offer. Lakeway, Round Rock, and Bee Caves have some great attractions.
  8. Take a day trip. Drive out to some of the wineries and other attractions in hill country or make the trek to San Antonio or Waco to try some new things a little outside your backyard.
  9. Have a spa day. Spas like Viva Day Spa offer some great packages to help you relax. Doesn’t a massage plus mani-pedi sound amazing?
  10. Catch up. We all have work, books, and boring activities (taxes) we need to get done. I have a reading list that I have barely put a dent in.

These are just a few of the things you can do without having to venture through the SXSW chaos. I’ll be opting into a combination of festivities and festival avoiding activities.

This post was originally seen in Lady ATX Magazine.

Dating in the Land of Apps: Showcasing the Best You

With Valentine’s Day in full swing, love and dating are likely to be on your mind. It seems like the Austin dating scene has been overrun by apps. There is essentially an app or dating site for any and everyone looking for love, and we all know Austin loves apps. In fact one of the first “Women-first” dating apps, Bumble was started right here in Austin by one of Tinder’s co-founders.

Online dating may still seem a little taboo but between 2005 and 2012, 35% of married people met their spouses online according to a University of Chicago Study.With a pretty even male to female population of young, educated singles, it’s no wonder Austin ranks high on most “best cities for singles” lists. It ranks #2 on Marie Claire’s list of best cities for single women (yay us!). So how do you make the most of this dating pool online? You optimize your profile. We’ve done the research to help you showcase your best self online!

Online dating is a lot (it is) marketing. You are marketing yourself to all the singles out there. In any marketing class you learn that the first step in any campaign is to figure out your target audience. What type of partner do you want and more importantly what do they want? If you want to attract someone smart and put together you should show that you’re smart and put together. “When you are in control and think through what you post what you share with others, then you have more control over that energy that you’re bring back to you,” says online dating expert, Devyn Simone, of TLC’s Love at First SwipeContinue reading →

Too Many Cooks in Your Social Media Kitchen

We all know the saying, it takes a village. And when it comes to the success of social media, that definitely rings true. When it comes to the management of social media, however, that is not always the case. With any time of writing, having multiple sets of eyes can help create content become even better, but at a certain point too many eyes, and more importantly, too many mouths, make managing social harder.

Working with clients see this a lot. As an agency or freelancer, you are representing someone else’s business; that is a lot of control for a company to let go. They are trusting you to essentially be the voice of their brand. With more and more people making social media their first point of contact with a brand, this job has never had higher stakes. For this reason, many companies and marketing managers want more control over the image you’re putting out. They want input. Maybe they even want their own people to push out posts as well. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with that, until it starts impacting the way you do your job. Having too many hands in the social media pot can turn you perfectly balanced dinner into a mess. Too many cooks can cause a few issues to your social media meal: Continue reading →

2017: The Year of More

We have officially survived 2016. It was a pretty rough year, let’s all be honest, but we made it through. In 2016, I strove to say yes to more things and to be more positive. I’m not entirely certain I fully accomplished it, but I think I did pretty well. This year I am going with a similar, abstract theme for my resolution (and one concrete goal, too). In 2017, I plan to focus on one guiding principle: more. While vague in nature, I will be asking more of myself and my life in 2017. I have created a few different areas and which I hope to “more.”

If you have been following me recently, you will have noticed my monthly goals. This “more” concept will be replacing my old goal system and bring in a few more areas. This focus will help me grow all the areas of my life in an all-encompassing way.

  • Be More: These are my wellness and self-care goals. They’ll tackle everything from hydration and sleep to working out and taking care of my body, soul, and mind.
  • Develop More: These are my career and professional goals. I’ll spend time very month growing myself as a social strategist, writer, and networker.
  • Learn More: This is my monthly trivia goal! One of my favorite parts of 2016; it’s here to stay.
  • Try More: Like 2016, I want to keep saying yes and experiencing new things every month. This could be a new cuisine, work out class, activity, etc.
  • Read More: I was all about books this Christmas. It has been a while since I was a big reader (probably middle school). I hope to awaken that part of me in 2017 and read at least 12 books.
  • Cook More: A few of those Christmas books were some great cookbooks. This year, I hope to expand my culinary skills and master new recipes. I’ll be taking a cooking course in January to help push this goal.
  • Give More: Registering people to vote and collecting cans at Friendsgiving were two of the most rewarding parts of my year. I want to give back even more this year! The world definitely could use it.
  • Do More: 2017 is going to be the year I get more hobbies so I don’t have to say, “I work and watch a lot of TV.” When someone asks what I do for fun. Defined hobbies, here I come.
  • See More: I watch a lot of reruns, y’all. I want to add a little more culture to my life by watching more “must-see” movies. Any suggestions?
  • Hygge More: Hygge is a Danish word that means, in essence, “creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.” Each month this year, I will focus on a part of my home/environment to add a little more hygge to.

Continue reading →

December Goals

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November was such a busy month! I went on my first business trip, settled into my new job, and of course all the Thanksgiving festivities. It is officially the holiday and I am beyond excited. My apartment is something Buddy the Elf would definitely approve of. This month is going to be just as crazy, if not more so than last month, but I am excited to see what it brings. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Here’s what I hope to get done this month:

  1. Finish school strong. I only have a little over a week left in my last grad school course. This course has been a killer so here’s hoping I can pull it off!
  2. Spread Christmas cheer. For me, that means Christmas cards (and my general Buddy like demeanor). Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to get one.
  3. Get consistent. I am the worst at taking medication as prescribed or even taking a vitamin (that I know my body could use). Time to get that daily dose of vitamin M.
  4. Learn some trivia. Since it’s the holiday season, I am going to learn the holidays of the major religions:Christianity (protestant and catholic), Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, plus non-religious major US and global holidays. AND I’ll be learning the capitals of North, Central, and South America.
  5. Create a morning routine Not that I have the evening down. Let’s see how the morning shapes up.
  6. Increase productivity. Italian is on the back-burner for now, so I am going to work on my productivity instead. I’m going to do one productive thing every day as soon as I get home from work. Be that unloading my dishwasher, vacuuming, or client work. No dinner or TV time until I have accomplished something.
  7. Soda challenge. My hydration game is strong. Let’s lower my caffeine game. No soda after 8PM!
  8. Move my feet. This month, I wanted to do a run or other event for charity. I missed the boat on The Trail of Lights Fun Run, but I’ll be doing Lights sof Love instead! Support my fundraising goal!

A look at last month: Continue reading →

Let’s Talk About Millennials

There are A LOT of millennial stereotypes out there, and many of them are exaggerated or grossly untrue. For some reason, older generations have made assumptions about our characteristics that differ from theirs and have decided they’re bad. Or,  writers are just making outrageous claims like that we hate groceries (I mean what even!?). It’s getting out of hand you guys.

Normally, I let these stereotypes slide because I know my own truth and I think older generations just want to make themselves feel better. It’s normal to hate new things. When the Beatles first came out, older generations didn’t like them. Now if you say you don’t like the Beatles you face life-long ostracization. Anyway, today I cannot hold my tongue. I came across this infographic on LinkedIn that is not just wrong, but dead wrong.

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Aside from what even is “executive presence” and the fact that the baby boomer looks like Colonel Sanders, those millennial cons are harsh. So let’s look at these piece by piece so I can tell you how wrong it is.

Millennials aren’t lazy.

Study after study finds that this is a myth. Not only are 43% of millennials considered “work martyrs” but more millennials forfeit taking vacation time than both baby boomers and Gen X. Millennials can’t afford to be lazy. We have the highest percentage of student debt by huge margins and the salaries of entry-level jobs haven’t risen at the same level as inflation. According to a Pew Research Center survey, “Millennials are the first in the modern era to have higher levels of debt, poverty and unemployment, and lower levels of wealth and personal income than their two immediate predecessor generations had at the same time.” My fellow millennials and I work hard. I would say that 80% of my cohorts have a side hustle, are actively involved in an organization, or regularly volunteer. We aren’t laying on the couch watching Friends reruns (mostly). Continue reading →

The Business of Business Trips

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Last week, I started a new role as a social media and content coordinator at Cornerstone Advertising. This week, I spent a few days in Indianapolis meeting the home team and learning more about the company and our clients. Going on my first business trip was a mixed bag of emotions: excited, nervous, tired, inquisitive, etc. It’s safe to say my first trip to the MidWest and time with my team were a success. I got some advice from some great ladies before embarking on my journey, and now I want to share my thoughts with you!

Most of my trip was spent working with my team. There are plenty of posts out there with tips for business trips, so consider these more like takeaways. Continue reading →

November Goals

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October was a really fun month! I kicked it off with my college roommate’s wedding in North Carolina, went to Austin City Limits, made a trip back home, started my last semester of grad school, and rung in the end of the month with Halloween. The holiday season is quickly approaching which means so is the end of the year. It’s time to get busy. Here’s what I am getting into this month:

  1. Get to chatting. My work goal for this month is to get back in to the Twitter chats I used to be involved with. I’m sure #AdWeekChat has missed me 😉.
  2. Learn a new recipe. In the spirit of Thanksgiving this month, I want to learn a new Thanksgiving recipe. I think it may be corn casserole but time will tell.
  3. Get those steps in. My goal is only 5,000 a day so it is pretty doable. Looks like I’ll be doing some laps around my complex.
  4. Learn some trivia. The election is days away, I’m so nervous y’all. Anyway, in honor of us electing a new President I should learn the other 43 (in order) and the US state capitals. Bonus points for learning political parties of the presidents.
  5. Create an evening routine. Now that I have my skin care routine down (and I hard wake up time), it’s time to integrate other steps to get me in the mind-set of sleep.
  6. Finish Duolingo. I’ve got to get it done with an extra 30 days, right?
  7. Hydrate. Now that I’ve replaced one drink a day, I hope to meet the minimum goal of 64oz per day. I just got a new water bottle from Target with an infusion compartment so hello fancy office water. Today’s special: strawberry cucumber. Share your combos if you have any good ones!
  8. Collect can goods. For my community goal this month I want to collect cans for a local food drive. And not just with me. I’m going to work with others to get donations up.

Here’s how last month went! Continue reading →

Beginner’s Guide to Focus Groups

Focus groups are a great weapon to have in you research arsenal. They are a great way to gather in-depth perception about your brand and get feedback on new ideas. I recently conducted a focus group as part of my IMC Campaigns course discussing my communication strategy and goals for my final project. Focus groups are an underutilized method because they seem complicated, however they are easier to conduct than you think.

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Recruitment

Because my target audience was millennials in my hometown, I was able to create a Facebook group and reach out to my friends and former classmates. However, if I was looking a different audience, I would have started outreach on social media and create an event page on a website like Eventbrite. Using a focus group facility/agency is one (pricier) way to insure you get the correct audience. Be sure to screen your group members before to ensure they meet their requirements. You want 8-12 people to participate in order to have a variety of opinions and create conversation. When hosting a focus group providing an incentive like a Starbucks gift card, free meal, or something else of monetary value for participants. Continue reading →