February 10, 2011

The Future is Bright, Invest in Sunglasses

The past two weeks were an opportunity for me to leave town (and spend time with the now eight-month old, two-toothed wonder named Paisley, as seen below), recharge my batteries (sometimes in the form of retail therapy), bask in the glory of successfully completing my graduate studies (and by bask I mean sleep late), and gear up for the next chapter in my life. As I embark upon the newest phase of my life, the life of a post-graduate career woman, I’m reminded that the most important role I will ever truly play in life is that of my own biggest cheerleader.

Photo Credit: Erinjaneshop, Etsy


Paisley opted for a stylish pair of heart-framed shades.

As a self-proclaimed creature of habit, I must admit that my current career pursuit has required me to embrace the unknown. I’ve adopted the notion that opportunity is always to be sought and celebrated, hard work will never be outdated or overlooked, and a good, enthusiastic and sincere attitude should and will be a daily fixture in my life.

For those in need of a pep talk, I challenge you to look inward and invest in a good pair of sunglasses. Good things are ahead!

February 4, 2011

Always Leave Them Wanting More— How the Adage Applies to Blogging

Etsy, Thetwitterpatedtoad

Problogger recently suggested twenty nine ways to generate or sustain blog traffic. In an effort to evaluate my own blogging success, let’s take a look at the list together:

  1. Teach me how to do something.
  2. Entertain me.
  3. Stimulate me to think.
  4. Tell me a story.
  5. Present me with some interesting research results.
  6. Make me laugh.
  7. Review a product or service to help me make a decision.
  8. Tell me why and how something applies to me.
  9. Show me a case study of something you’ve (or someone else has) done.
  10. Make me feel like I’m not the only one who….
  11. Predict what will happen next.
  12. Collate what other people say about….
  13. Inspire me.
  14. Give me a project to go away and do.
  15. Give me a sense of belonging.
  16. Explain what something means.
  17. Summarize a topic or issue.
  18. Intrigue me.
  19. Introduce me to someone of interest.
  20. Tell me your opinion.
  21. Link to something that I need to see or read.
  22. Share something I can relate to.
  23. Provide me with a list of resources.
  24. Stimulate me to enter into a dialogue or debate.
  25. Give me a point of view that is different from the rest.
  26. Encourage me to keep going through something I’m finding tough.
  27. Keep me up to date with the latest news or developments in a field of interest.
  28. Guide me through a process.
  29. Solve a problem that I have.

Of the above criteria, I can identify my strengths for sure. Alternately, I can see areas of improvement. I encourage you to consider what you like about this blog or any others you visit, and what sustains your interest over time.

Source: Darren Rowse, “29 Ways to Keep Me Coming Back to Your Blog Again and Again“, ProBlogger.net

February 1, 2011

Link to Love: Somewhere Splendid

Somewhere Splendid— a blog on all things kitchen, party, decor, entertaining, and DIY— is a fresh find sure to inspire. Its clean, sleek web silhouette, how-to format, and pristine graphics make for a quick, easy and informative read.

February 1, 2011

I Have Yet to Fill These Frames

In an effort to account for my extended leave from blogging, let me simply rely on this post’s title. My life is anything but predictable right now, and so metaphorically speaking, if we’re to look at my life at this very moment as a beautiful picture, I have yet to fill the frame. I’m still devoting a majority of my attention and effort into the job search, but am taking full advantage of the down time I’ve been awarded.

For now, I’m surrounding myself with things and people that I love. I’ll be spending this week with Paisley, a now nearly eight-month old bundle of fun, completing a series of crafts with my mom and sister, as we are on a mission to finally satisfy our creative demons. The crafting officially starts later this week, but for now, I’m nuzzled safely in the confines of my bed at my parents home, scouring the internet for other design and craft ideas worth noting.

My first discovery of the afternoon, you ask? I just stumbled upon a well-executed series of painted, vintage picture frames. Being an avid crafter and design nut, I’ve obviously seen frames utilized solely as decor, but something about the hues and texture of the frames below catch my eye.

Photo Credit: Amye123, Etsy

Photo Credit: Amye123, Etsy

Photo Credit: Amye123, Etsy

A collection of painted vintage frames creates an impactful focal point in a room, as seen below.

As cliche as it may seem, life is about the journey. Half of my journey right now is filling the frames, but in the mean time, I’m fine admiring them for what they represent: opportunity and options!

January 15, 2011

Speed Networking: What It Is and How to Do It

Networking can be challenging enough— who to connect with, what to say, what not to say, when to follow up. The key to successful speed networking is cutting through the traditional small talk, and quickly determining how both parties can assist or benefit one another.

Below are six tips for being an effective speed networker:

Use your time wisely.
Your conversations with each new connection are kept short and sweet so you can meet a lot of different people. On Network Roulette, you only have THREE minutes to make your connection. Don’t spend your time with long introductions or niceties such as “Hello, how are you?”, “Nice to meet you,” etc. Get straight to business by asking “How can I help you?”

Know what you need and what you have to offer. Don’t be vague.
Go into each speed networking event that you attend with what you want to get out of it in mind. On Network Roulette, we provide you with ‘Looking/Providing’ fields that you should always fill out before the event. Fill these fields out every time. They’ll force you to stay focused and make sure that you and your random match know instantly if there is potential to help each other.

Don’t be afraid to pass.
Let’s be realistic. You’re not always going to be matched with the perfect person. If you are matched up with someone who does not seem like a good connection, don’t be afraid to move on. Your time is valuable, and so is theirs. Thank them for their time and move on to the next match.

Be a connector.
You may not be able to help everyone but you probably know someone else who can. If you think that a person you have been matched with would be valuable so someone else in your network, introduce them. People with love you for introducing quality people to them and being likable is an important trait for every networker to have.

Be authentic.
“Say what really interests you, not what you think should interest you,” says Sarah Peck, Brazen community leader.

Always follow up.
The biggest mistake that people make is not following up. It means you’ve wasted your time. Go into every speed networking event that you attend understanding that the quick conversations you are having are only the beginning. Building a strong, long-lasting relationship with another professional requires more than that.

If you’re speed networking on Network Roulette, follow up by becoming a Fan of the person you connected with. When they fan you back, exchange private messages. Or you can just exchange emails during your 3-minute chat.

Just don’t wait until there are 10 seconds left to do it!

So, my advice is to prepare to judge and be judged. Cutting out the  rapport-building may seem unnatural at first, but sometimes time just simply won’t allow. Be prepared to cut to the chase and communicate your message, while remaining an active listener.