Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year! As the final hours of 2014 tick by, I'd like to share my 2015 Mantra:

"The Courage To Change The Things I Can"

You may recognize that line from the serenity prayer. It is my mantra for the new year. This has nothing to do with resolutions. Seriously. These words to live by come from an asseessment of my life: what can I change right now? As mentioned before, I've set some big goals for 2015: moving, dog, new job, car....I think I'm going to add "become a Mummer" to the list. 

I can move to a bigger apartment with an oven, access to laundry that allows me to adopt the dog I've been wanting. That I CAN do. That I CAN change. So I WILL. 

I challenge you to come up with your own mantra for the New Year. For the past two years I've tried to enter "the New Year as the best version of myself." Tonight, after viewing some fireworks at the River, I'm going home to my warm apartment with some good music or a good movie, some cheap champagne and I'm going to digitaltize my print articles so they can be viewed on my portfolio. I may even spruce up the portfolio a bit. 

I'm going to be productive and I'm going to do journalism until about 11:55pm, when I'll snuggle on my couch watch the ball drop and toast to the New Year ahead. 

Be safe. Make good choices. Find a mantra. Be the best version of yourself, even if it is a drunk version. 

Happy New Year!

Until next....Year.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

2015 Is Going to Be a Year of Change

Everybody does it. They say, "I'm gonna do X, Y, and Z this New Year!" Most of the resolutions involve losing weight, cutting spending, and doing what you love. Some people make bucket lists, some people make resolutions. Almost always, these things go to waste. The New Year has the tendency to feel like a fresh start. Calendars are reset and the next 12 months feel full of possibilities. By week three of're starting to fall off the wagon. Most people give up by February. 

I used to work at a gym in college. It would always be packed as the New Year began. For most of January there would be a wait for elliptical and treadmills. January is the busiest time of the year for gyms. Then the attendance would taper off. The gym resumed normal capacity. 

I joined a gym last year in January. I am proud to say that I attended said gym faithfully for 10 out of the 12 months. August was a bit of a wash because I went to Boston and also went home for my birthday. September was iffy too because I thought I was moving to Delaware for a job and pretty much put my life on hold for that. 

The point is, 2015 is going to be a year of change. A lot of things change each year for a lot of people, but this year, I've got cutthroat determination to make some very important things happen. First of all, I'm upping my gym flow. This is not to lose weight and achieve a certain weight goal by a certain time. This is to get in better shape for my spring 5Ks. I have got to be able to beat my PRs again this coming year. Plus the gym just had some major renovations done and has longer hours. No excuses. 

I have a Ninja. Time to up my green smoothie game too. This is not to lose weight, this is to increase the amount of vegetables I eat. I love vegetables but I eat a lot of easy things out of convenience...healthy things but easy carb-loaded things. Therefore, I'd like to eat more vegetables this new year. 

I'm moving. Dammit. I'm getting out of my apartment. I've lived there for four years and I love that place. I live in such a great area of the city and everything I want is a short walk away...except the laundromat which is a bit of a hike. I'm tired of making the 8 block journey to the "mat." I've also reached a breaking point with my singing neighbors. The girl that lives below me blasts her music at top volume about 10 hours a day. The guy that lives on the first floor sings opera at the top of his lungs at weird hours. Just this past Tuesday he was singing "My Country Tis of Thee" at the top of his lungs, on repeat, at 1am. ON A TUESDAY. I'm over it. My place is cute but I'm tired of the noise. 

That and I'm turning 30 in 2 years. I deserve a bigger place like say...a 2 bedroom with outdoor space and an oven and access or near access to laundry. I've been saying for years I wanted to move to South Philly. I put that on hold when I started applying for jobs all over the country. I'm not giving up on the job, but I am making a decision to settle down. I can't keep putting everything on hold because I MIGHT get a job elsewhere. So I'm serious about the  move.

My new place is going to have to be pet-friendly because adopting a Boxer is next on the list. New year, new place, new dog. I'm ready for a dog. I need a dog. The dog is happening and he is happening soon. 

The job front is the biggest change yet. Journalism jobs have been few and far between. I'm waiting to hear about a possible local opportunity. If that falls through I'm going to enter an administration or event planning field. I'm going to get a job with Master's level pay and save up. In the meantime I'm going to freelance for every media outlet in Philadelphia until I have an article published in every publication. I'm dead serious.

Since it looks like I'm going to be bunking down instead of moving out, I'm going to get involved. I'm going to join young entrepreneur groups to build my network. I have two in mind. I'm going to continue writing for Generocity and attend Access Philly events. I want to meet the millennial movers and shakers of Philly and become a part of their moving and shaking movement. 

2015 is going to be a year of change. Maybe I will lose weight, maybe I won't. Maybe I will tighten my budget, maybe I will not. But I know what I will be....I will be happy. 

Until next time...

Monday, December 15, 2014

2014: A Year in Review

For some this may seem a bit early. But I assure you, I'm bound to be swept away in the good tidings of great joy...aka the Holidays and forget to post this before January 2015. So here we are, 2014: a year in review. What a year it has been. 

It was New Year's Eve 2013, I was sitting in Painting with a Twist by myself with a bottle of wine. I accidentally stole someone else's plastic cups because I thought the gallery provided cups for patrons. They do...just not the ones I stole from other participants. I apologized but it was still embarrassing. 

I went on to paint an exploding champagne bottle on a canvas. My instructor helped me make it look a little less phallic. I met a fabulous couple and shared my snacks with them. We ended up cheering each other on for the duration of the class. This was all because I had to move seats. I was sitting next to an empty seat when a couple walked in. I was the only one not in a group so I relocated to the solo seat on the other side of the table. That's how I got a seat next to the most beautiful couple...Gabby and Tim. 

After painting my masterpiece I went to my bar and showed off my artwork. I had a classy drink and then headed home to watch the ball drop in the comfort of my living room. I spent the first day of 2014 day drinking with my friend, Sarah and partying with the Mummers. It was great. I also joined a gym and went faithfully for 12 months. 

I would go on to paint three more paintings in 2014. Each a little better than the former. I got really close to a coworker who eventually became one of my best friends. We'd do paint nights together and got really into it. 

In March I ran a 5K and finally did it under 40 min. By the beginning of May I squashed my personal record running my 5K in 36 minutes. It was a fantastic feeling. 

In April I completed my comprehensive exams. In mid-May I graduated Temple University's Master's of Journalism program. I earned the Top Scholar Graduate Award and was inducted into a journalism honor society. I also received exceptional high pass on my comprehensive exams. 

Then things started to balance out. Tim, from Gabby and Tim NYE 2013 passed away. Suicide. And although I didn't know him or Gabby really well, I felt profoundly connected to them. I know someone like Tim, who had some lows, and I was worried he too might do something tragic. He didn't, Thank God...but for whatever reason Tim did. I reached out to Gabby occasionally and contributed to her in a suicide prevention walk this past summer. 

People at my work starting quitting left and right. Within three months I lost most of the coworkers I was closest too. My best friend quit too, moving down South right before my birthday. I was at a pretty low point. I had accomplished some really healthy goals, and graduated Jschool, but the wave of accomplishments had finally settled down. My Jschool friends moved away and moved on. My work friends quit and moved on. I felt pretty alone. 

I also couldn't find a journalism job. Despite experience and credentials...I had no luck in finding journalistic employment after graduate school. I felt stuck in a job I no longer wanted to be in without the people that helped me get through each day. 

I took a trip to Boston and got to spend time with my best friend and her family. Her daughter made me laugh so much. It was really great to see them but I realized something important, I loved Philly. Boston was nice but given the choice between the two I'd choose Philly. I began to question what that meant. 

As I said, my best work friend left right before my birthday weekend. So to cope, I drove to Virginia and spent my birthday with my parents for the first time in over 10 years. It ended up being a fantastic choice. 

I eventually did come close to journalistic employment...twice...but the salary that was offered wasn't a living wage. I wasn't expecting to make more than I make now, but I needed more than offered to survive. I now had graduate and undergraduate loans demanding my attention, plus rent, groceries, bills...etc. 

September rolled around and I found myself doing the same old stuff....assisting the kids with back to school stuff, running fall programs, doing all the things I've done for the past 5 years. I had a lot of loathing for...well...everything. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life, I just couldn't find the way to get there. 

By November I realized I had been losing weight, mainly from my obsession with the gym. I also was well into developing a friendship with a newish co-worker. We hung out during the summer and eventually WE did a paint night together. I wasn't as alone as I thought I was. I may have lost most of my friends but I also gained a new one. We have similar interests and personalities. Plus we both love dogs and the Phillies. By love, I mean obsess over. I just had a great happy hour with her last week. 

I also had the privilege to reconnect with a good friend of my past. We're talking 12-13 years ago...past. He reached out, rather randomly to reconnect with me. I hadn't seen him in over 10 years. We spent the weekend in Philly and realized that no time had really least between us. Let's just say...2015 may start off quite interestingly. 

It is now December. I started branching out in terms of my writing endeavors. I wanted to build my network so I began freelance writing for My first piece was published last week and it's been gaining traction across the internet. 

This year has been a ride. It was wonderful, heartbreaking, and a learning experience in a half. I'd like to say this is the year of self-acceptance...because for the first time in a long time...I felt comfortable in my own skin. I was very happy with MYSELF. I was very comfortable with MYSELF. I was not happy with my circumstance...or my job...or my social situation...throughout various times this year, but I was always happy with ME. Confident and comfortable. 

I learned a lot about love. I learned that no matter how much you love someone, you can't will them to love you back in the way you want them to. You really can't will anyone to do anything. I've learned that I deserve good things and metaphorically...sometimes you just need someone to be there to help you clean the vomit out of your hair. That's love. I don't have that kind of person...yet. 

I have never been more sure about my future career as I am now. I can't watch The Newsroom without smiling from ear to ear. I think I'd have a heart attack if I visited the Newsuem. I think about journalism every day. I feel such a sense of pride when a source tells me they loved my story. I've never met a story I didn't like and I've met some interesting ones this year. I love everything about journalism and I really do believe there is the perfect job out there for me. One that supports my dream and supports me financially. I'm not looking to be a millionaire...but I am looking to maintain my beautiful credit score. 

For 2015....I don't have any resolutions. I'd like to continue my gym membership. Work on my few but precious friendships I have. See what happens with Mr. Re-connection and yes...get a journalism job full-time. I hope this year I will move to a bigger apartment, adopt a Boxer dog and name him Bronx, maybe even get that green Kia Soul I want so badly. 2014 was one of my best and most trying years yet. I'm eager to see what adventures 2015 will bring. 

Until next time...

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Journo Obsessed

You know you want to be a journalist when the opening credits to "The Newsroom" give you chills. It is a show about a broadcast news network and the ins and outs of the office but every time I hear that powerful opening and see the montage of past broadcast journalists, I get chills. I don't even want to do broadcast, I want to do print. Basically, I just want to write. 

You know you want to be a journalist when you love watching the news unfold via Live Tweets, and you still question the authenticity of each 140 word informational bite. When you take a huge news event and read about it on a variety of platforms to determine the differences between the event coverage. 

You know you want to be a journalist when a job at the Newsuem sounds like you're dream job. When you find endless ways to formulate stories in your head. When you ask really detailed questions in bizarre settings because you just have to know the answer. When you can almost feel the neurons in your brain zapping the new information back and forth as you make connections. 

You know you want to be a journalist when it becomes part of your identity. When you ask a lot of questions, you shrug "sorry, I'm a journalist." When you pick up on innocuous details you smile and say, "I'm a journalist." When someone asks you what you do/who you are you don't want to respond "social worker" because that is your 50 hour a week job that pays and has health insurance. You want to say journalist because...that is what you believe you are. 

You know you want to be a journalist when you are the person your colleagues call upon for writing assistance be it an email, a story, a news piece, a greeting card...what have you. You're the go to expert on technology AND writing. You marry both perfectly and those around you know it. 

You know you want to be a journalist when editing becomes an involuntary action for you, like breathing. You can spot a typo a mile away without even looking closely. You breathe, you blink your eyes and you edit every piece of text you come across. 

I know I want to be a journalist because I can't stop thinking about it every day. I seriously believe I could be happy telling other people's stories for the rest of my life. 

Until next time...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

And the World Spins Madly On

I'm pretty sure I have used that title for a previous post within the past five years. I'm almost certain.

So, there is a lot going on in the world right now. Racism is at the height of everyone's mind. Protests are breaking out across the country. Ebola is now a story of the past (though it is still an issue). Conspiracy theories of tyranny and government control are running rampant on Facebook and Twitter. All the while, many of us are just thankful that we're not white male cops or black males. Admit it, you're thankful too. Unless you are a white male cop or a black male.

It makes me wonder where all of this is going to go. Will people keep protesting into 2015? Will groups of people band together and try to overthrow the government? I mean, we did it once with the British. I wonder how many friendships have ended because of opposing viewpoints on these issues. I wonder how many people don't feel any type of way about these magnified issues yet participate in protests just to feel a part of something. I wonder why even protest. What is going to be done? I wonder if there will be a shift in American politics. I wonder if we're going to look like District 13 from the Hunger Games.

All I have to say about the issue is #AllLivesMatter and #StopTheHate.

Back to my own little life.

I'm buying scarves, recovering from the financial implosion known as Black Friday (It was an electronics kind of year, ya'll), exploring networking opportunities and ways to write diverse content and showcase my work. I think I'm starting a new freelance venture and I'll post details once it's finalized.

Back in oh, I don't know...2012 maybe? I posted a blog post called "Life Is Not Like the Movies." It basically went on to complain about my life and how I wish someone would swoop in and change my life. Careful what you wish for. I'm not saying someone has swooped in and changed my life. But someone has swooped in out of sheer randomness and makes me question the validity of fate and destiny. Yet this person is on their own path and considering moving very far away shortly after swooping in and interrupting the normally scheduled program of my routine-based life. Part of me wants to give them a reason to stay. Part of me doesn't want to interfere with their hopes and dreams. And that tiny little part of me wonders if this is what I've been waiting for all along and connections like this are once in a lifetime.

Who knows. I'm a mystic, romantic, heads in the clouds kind of person. I always battle between "is this random" and "is this perfect timing." Only...ironically......time will tell.

Until next time...

What if I'm not a Writer?

I've mentioned this before. My first book I ever wrote was a few chapters long. Each page was a new chapter. I was in second or third ...