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 →

The Most Important Piece of Furniture I Own

Every dorm I had in college came with a giant wooden desk that I never once sat at. In fact, in one dorm, I placed my desk in the living room to act as our TV stand. It came as quite the shock to me once I started my freelance career how much I desperately wanted a desk. My lack of sitting space aside from my couch played a pretty big role in this desire. I ate, watched TV, and worked all from the same spot on my couch; it was distracting to say the least.

So, I caved and bought a desk from Target for around $100 and a comfy chair. It’s by no means fancy. In fact, it is called “basic desk,” but it gets the job done. Getting my simple desks was one of the best decisions I made in 2015 (Sad or inspirational? You tell me). My productivity skyrocketed. I do not think I would have done as well in grad school had it not been for a dedicated study and work area. There are countless benefits, especially psychological to having a dedicated work space. Also helpful, having it face away from or be out of view of your TV.

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Why You Should Embrace Your Inner Monica Geller

It’s been a while since I made a Friends post + I know y’all have missed them. We’ve talked wedding hashtags, online dating, grammar, + career advice. In my last loosely Friends-inspired post, I discussed what I thought I would do had I been born in the height of the Friends gang. (Spoiler: the answer is lost). I definitely wouldn’t have the career my Friends counterpart, Monica, has. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty both you + I can learn from the her.

Stand up for yourself. 

Monica was never the victim; she was firm. You might even say she was a little scary. After being tormented as a kid for being fat, Monica grew a thick skin. She was never one to let others push her around or make her change her beliefs or goals. She didn’t care what people may have thought. She was going to do her and that was that. I’m aiming for the same thing in 2016.

giphy (2).gif

via Giphy

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Branding YOU

You have probably heard the term “personal brand” used a lot lately. But what does it really mean? Your personal brand is what you are putting out in the world. This includes your business cards, social media accounts, emails, + even your wardrobe. It’s everything a person might judge you based off of.

Finding your brand

Figuring out your personal brand is pretty simple. You’ll basically perform a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis on yourself. You’ll figure out what you are good at, what you can improve on, + what areas you can grow into. You should also think of a few keywords you’d like people to associate with you. For instance, I hope people who know me think I am professional, fresh, classic, + intelligent. Everything you do should be in order to support your keywords.

I am professional. I work very hard for my clients + in efforts to acquire new business. I am fresh. I’m young and new-ish to the “real world.” I’m very much in touch with the latest social and pop culture trends.  I am classic. I’m not edgy so much as I am what the kids might call basic- I own it. I am intelligent. I’m currently in my second semester of graduate school. Continue reading →

Coexisting in the New Coffee Shop Era

Coffee shops have long been places for people to gather + catch up. With the rise of startups +  freelancing, they have also become places of business for some people. Living in Austin, a land for startups + hundreds of coffee shops, I have seen this trend (+ participated in it first hand) in this coffee shop as a second office. It can be easy to forget other people use them differently.

Alice S. Hall/NBCU Photo Bank via Mashable

Alice S. Hall/NBCU Photo Bank via Mashable

Recently, I went to my favorite coffee shop a few hours earlier than a meet up I had with a friend so that I could work on a paper for grad school. I found myself getting annoyed at other patrons who were distracting me from my work. However, I soon came to realize that we all need to learn to coexist whether we are meeting with a friend/client or working by ourselves. There are certain etiquettes we can follow so that we aren’t shooting dirty looks around the room. Continue reading →

Keep Your Brain Juices Flowing

I’m a firm believer in continued learning. It doesn’t have to be on work related topics, but I am happier, and I think other people are too, when we exercise our mind. Choose to learn things that can better you personally and maybe professionally as well. Here are a few categories to where you can expand your mind.

Current Events– I stay on top of this goal by reading TheSkimm every morning (Check out my post about it). I also check industry specific and local news sources daily so that I don’t miss anything big. Here are some other sources I reference. This is who NOT to reference. Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 2.46.24 PM

Languages– Over the last  year, I have been trying to learn Italian. My ultimate goal would be to learn Greek, but I want to start with something that uses the same alphabet. If you read my post on staying relevant over the summer, you’d know I used Duolingo. Continue reading →

There’s an App for That- Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

Keeping New Year’s Resolutions can be hard. Luckily for us, it is 2015- a year where technology rules. Unfortunately, technology can’t keep the resolutions for us, but it can keep us on track. Let technology help you keep your resolutions this year.

According to TIME, losing weight/eating healthier, saving money and travelling to new places are three of the most broken New Year’s Resolutions. To help combat this, here are some applications you can get on your smart phone to help you keep your 2015 resolutions.

Losing Weight/ Eating Healthier

It is safe to say that this resolutions is made by the large majority of resolution makers. As busy as life can be, it is hard to stay on track. With the emergence of the Health app for iPhone, apps can collect data on many different fitness and nutrition data.

  • Fitbit
  • My Fitness Pal
  • My Net Diary

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Why You Should Consider Out-of-State Education

A little less than a month ago, I graduated from college. I made the bold decision to go to college 10 hours away from home. Though going to college out-of-state was a scary decision, it really allowed me to grow in the ways that I wanted. Whether you are choosing a school for your undergraduate education or to get your masters, medical, law, or any other post-graduate degree, you should consider a school in a different state.

Going away for school has a lot of advantages. It gives you a new perspective on life that you wouldn’t get from staying in the same state. It can also allow you to meet new people who you wouldn’t meet otherwise as well as get you out of your comfort zone. Here are my top five reasons why you should consider going to school out-of-state.

Photo Cred: Polynomial Times

Photo Cred: Polynomial Times

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A Guide to Packing: Long Trip Edition

Back in July, I wrote a post about how to pack for a short trip (>8 days). But many times when we take trips, they are for longer than a few days. Sometimes they are weeks. This guide is for those 8+ day trips. Since going to London last summer, I have become pretty proficient at packing for longer trips. Just last week I had to pack up all of my things to come home for the holidays. In another week I will be moving to Texas. I had to pack three weeks worth of clothes while everything else could be packed in boxes.This is the strategy I used.

Pack classics. 

Photo Cred: The Vivienne Files

Photo Cred: The Vivienne Files

There are certain staples every wardrobe needs: jeans, a little back dress (LBD), a pencil skirt, etc. Pack these things. Since they are all in neutral colors you will be able to wear them in many different outfit combinations. Since you will be gone for more than a week, you’ll need at least two pair of jeans (or shorts depending on the season), two pair of leggings, a LBD, a black or khaki skirt and maybe a neutral colored maxi skirt. You’ll also need things like a pair of black/brown flats or sandals, black heels, nude heels and/or wedges. If it is winter you may also need black or brown boots. You’ll also want classic accessories- gold. silver or pearls. Things that can match anything.

Bonus tip- You only need 1-2 purses. Take one to match black stuff and one to match brown. You may also want a clutch, just in case. Continue reading →