Surviving NYC Winter

We are in the thick of it now – New York City Winter. While March is only 10 days away, this chill is showing no signs of letting up. There are boulders of ice covered with slushy mush and the wind will whip your fox-fur hood right off you. It’s not my favorite time of year by any means.

The good news is, spring is SO close. Just a few weeks left and we can make plans for spring break and summer concerts. In the meantime, here are a few ways I like to get through the brutal NYC winter:

Stay inside – Duh. But I don’t mean hole up in your apartment for days on end with Netflix. Find a place with a fireplace or a coffee shop with cozy couches where you can read and enjoy the afternoon pass by.

Find a few events to look forward to - I made a huge deal of Valentine’s this year because at least it was a huge-heart-filled-holiday to break up the bleak winter week. You can also find a local concert, an art exhibit, or host a dinner party. Anything to give you something to look forward to.

Get organized - When the weather is beautiful, I rarely want to spend time in my apartment organizing my things. So take advantage of the heat blasting and flannel pj’s to clean out your closet. This winter I’ve donated about 3 trashbags of clothes and completely revamped my bathroom.

Day dream with Pinterest - Whether it’s your secret wedding board or your dream apartment, get on Pinterest and shamelessly look for everything from a new couch, curtains, barns with chandeliers in them – whatever floats your boat. I do some of my best design day dreaming in the winter.

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The Unexpected Elements of PR

“Great thanks for packing all that up! Now move it.”

While some parts of the public relations career are what you would (stereotypically) expect – parties! dinners! free stuff! Fashion Week! glamour! – there are still a lot of things that go on in the background that people like to not mention. Since it is Fashion Week and I have a large event corresponding with a certain, sexy movie launch tonight, I thought I would share some of the unexpected qualities of a PR career that you can expect to find at any level.

Physical Labor - Day one, you will carry something that probably isn’t safe for you to carry in heels. 7 years later you will still find yourself at Home Depot hauling potted trees to style a space or carrying moving boxes 3 blocks in 9 degree weather to move gift bags from your office to event location. Just this week one of the partners of the agency was moving new furniture into the office to prep for a new business pitch. The physical labor element of PR never ends.

Mindless Work - There will be hours spent on excel. Hours. There will be days stuffing gift bags and creative deliveries. You will need to attend meetings with new clients that will feel like your AP Bio class. There is some mindless work with every job, but in PR it definitely pops up on a weekly basis.

Negotiator/Mediator - You will throw ice water on too many hot situations, mostly heated by emotions and hurt feelings. Whether it’s with co-workers, vendors, or clients, you will need to talk people down. Clients will call you ready to scream and you’ll have to put on your sweetest voice and explain the situation calmly and take care of too many small things so they feel good. And flowers always help.

Customer Service - Someone will have a problem with a product and it will be your fault. You’ll need to be the middle man between the brand and this consumer. You’ll need to make sure she is taken care of and it never happens again. You’ll need to answer the queries on Facebook about why the brand isn’t taking care of an issue, and you will do it with pizzazz.

There are many others… what other unexpected elements of PR have you seen?

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Make Yourself More Creative

One of the things I like about my job is that it allows me to be as creative as I want. During brainstorms and planning meetings, I have a chance to throw out ideas that may not make any sense, but could turn into something awesome.

When you first start in PR, the creativity element can be a bit intimidating. Certainly, brainstorming takes practice, but everyone can contribute something unique to the creative process. Here are a few ways I keep my mind churning, thinking of new ideas and stay on top of my game:

Stay on top of other brand news - What are other brands doing out in the world? Huge events? Sponsorships? Partnering with celebs or bloggers? Send yourself or your teams an email when you see something great that could spark some ideas. My favorite recently? McDonald’s “Pay with Love” campaign.

Do something new - I love trying out new fitness classes during the week. It gives me something to look forward to and there is always a new group of people to meet. I also am dying to go to a hockey game and read that atmosphere. The more you get yourself out there, the different kinds of audiences you can experience. You might come up with a fun idea when you see how people are enjoying themselves.

Read - At least once a month I go on Amazon.com and New York Times to be sure I’m up to speed with the latest with novels or non-fiction stories. I absolutely love the business and consumption of books. It is one of the only mediums left that doesn’t have advertising or marketing – a book becomes popular simply by word of mouth. Not only can you get yourself in the mindset of others with a good read, but your brain will expand greatly each time you pick up a book.

 

How do you get the creative juices flowing?

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A Blog’s Case Against Blogs

Recently, I’ve been feeling a little resentment against an institution I fell in love with: blogging.

I remember back when I had just graduated college. Blogging had just moved from Live Journal-ing and diary-style confessions to images and public posts, featuring recommendations for food, tech, and fashion. Girls would take photos of themselves on Sony point-and-shoot cameras in the best light they could manage, showing off the latest garb they picked up at Anthropology styled with a chic leather jacket they scored at a second hand shop. I loved it. I could relate to those girls. Their style was for the every day woman, and they just adored being creative with fashion and putting older pieces together in a trendy, new way.

Now, I feel like blogging has isolated the very audience it was built upon. Bloggers that were featuring scores from TJ Maxx or The Gap now adorn designer wear and purses that cost at least a month’s rent. Every Instagram post features the same. damn. monogram mug. And if you’re wearing a gold watch that isn’t surrounded by at least 3 bracelets and baubles, then you might as well be running around naked.

Women I looked to for candid fashion advice and beauty tips are now swayed by big brands offering money in exchange for mentions. Bloggers are trying to keep up with other bloggers, so the sponsored posts become more and more frequent. Those that have become extremely successful boast large homes, luxurious vacations, and closets full of gifted designer wear all over social media pages.

I’m not trying to rag on the success of other women. I think it is great that these women found their passion and it is now paying them back in spades. However, I do think this blog-instagram-obsession has encouraged a clique of comparison among young women. We look to others to find what we should buy, or try to fulfill our sense of belonging with an expensive piece of jewelry we really can’t afford. If we choose not to indulge in these things, we feel left out. While blogging was about creating a community, it has now has the traits of an elitist network.

I’m trying to look on the upside. While fashion and lifestyle blogs have seemed to twist in one direction, there is a whole new category of wellness blogs bubbling to the surface. Blogs that encourage self-love, healthy body image, beautiful eating habits, and kindness. I hope that this element of blogging will flourish and encourage a new community to bond without comparison. After all, we are women – one of the most powerful forces in the universe. We should support one another.

How are you feeling about today’s fashion and lifestyle blogs? What do you miss about blogging, and what do you look forward to?

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