Everything I Learned at Her Conference 2015

This past Sunday I attended the last day of the 2015 Her Campus Her Conference with my sister Carly. I went last year, and it was so much fun. I learned a lot, got a lot of AMAZING free swag, and met so many cool girl bloggers, writers, and communicators. The girls that go to these types of conferences are the best. They care about things. They’re passionate about writing. They’re driven and career focused, and I like to consider myself one of them. (I wouldn’t have even known about the Her Campus Her Conference if it hadn’t been for my amazing cousin Sarah who took me last year, who went to Point Park University and was a major part of her chapter there, so here’s a special shout out to her.)11752609_10207222769153625_3011140173304861958_n

You might ask– “But Amanda, Ithaca College doesn’t have a Her Campus chapter. What the heck were you doing at their conference?”

After going with Sarah last year and getting to meet all of these great women who loved to write and loved social media as much as I did, I wanted to go back. And actually, Her Conference is a two day event– the first day is exclusively for Her Campus chapters and the second day is open to whoever wants to go. So I went, and I dragged my sister along with me. (Also, apparently IC is starting their own chapter up again? Maybe? I’m not sure.)

It was Carly’s first conference. I’m not even sure if she’s interested in communications, and it was also a college conference (she’s going to be a senior in high school in the fall). I think that the main reason I brought her along was to show her my world and who I am when I’m not being her annoying, melodramatic, older sister. I hoped that maybe she would think that I was cool in some way, shape, or form. I also wanted to show her that there are really wonderful professional female role models out there, whether they’re editor-in-chiefs of big name magazines, or entrepreneurs for non-profit organizations, or psychologists with popular blogs, and that it’s okay to try, and to care about things, and to show the world that you care. I hope she enjoyed it, and I hope she learned something. (Carly, if you’re reading this, sorry for writing about you and embarrassing you and for getting all meta in this blog post. I’ll stop now.)11781870_10207222763713489_3372478181503883107_n

At the conference, accomplished and inspiring women talked and answered questions about what it’s like to be professionals in their fields, as well as offered helpful advice for us student communicators and bloggers. We received a free breakfast and lunch (catered by Chipotle, I might add. I ate so much guacamole it was ridiculous) and Carly even won a raffle and got a $200 gift card to 7 for All Mankind. I met up with a blogging friend from themissinformation.com, as well as networked and talked to other college students, bloggers, and professionals in the field I’m looking to go into.

10407094_10207222767393581_3581595307718413728_nI have to say, I love going to conferences. I always come out of them itching to do something, impatient to get home and write, feeling supported from the women in communications community, motivated to try, and passionate about life and my future. And that’s exactly how Her Conference 2015 made me feel.

Lucky for you guys, I took plenty of notes, and am taking the opportunity to share what I learned from the various speakers and panels I chose to go to. I summarized each part that I attended and took notes on, and wrote down the big picture lessons that I learned. I also italicized the lessons that especially hit home for me.

Note: You’ll see that as the day went on, I took fewer and fewer notes. That’s because I became so engaged in what everyone was saying and got so into meeting new people, I almost forgot to record what was going on. Also, a lot of what I wrote down was specific to certain careers which I didn’t include in this post.


Lisa Arbetter- Editor of People StyleWatch


What it’s all about: Ms. Arbetter was our first keynote speaker, and is the current editor of People StyleWatch. She previously worked at InStyle and Cargo. She told us the story of her professional career in fashion editorial, as well as about her personal experiences and how she got to be where she is now.

Personal and professional advice: 

  • Great leaders aren’t born, they’re made.
  • It’s okay if you don’t have your shit together right now. (This was very reassuring.)
  • Never miss an opportunity to sell yourself.
  • What you fear will happen, will happen. And you will live.
  • The talent that gets you promoted is not what you’re going to be doing once you get the job. (I feel like I always forget this when I apply for jobs/internships.)
  • Relationships in the workplace are the same as personal relationships– they need effort to be put into them, as well as honest talk.
  • Always keep relationships with the people you work with.
  • If you don’t love where you work, you shouldn’t be there.
  • Remember that you are the only person who brings what you bring to the table.
  • Make friends with other women and support other women. (Female friendships are SO IMPORTANT.)
  • If you know how to create content and tell a good story, you can work in any medium.
  • You don’t need a fashion/journalism degree to work for a fashion magazine.
  • If you’re clear about your dreams and what you want, you’ll do just fine in life.
  • Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want to read. 

Does the Devil Really Wear Prada?: Life in an Entry Level Editorial Position


What it’s all about: There were four women on this panel, including Jamie Blynn, who is an editorial assistant at Us Weekly, Anna Borges, who is an Assistant Health Editor at Buzzfeed, and Rebecca Shinners, who is a Web Editorial Assistant at CountryLiving.com. They each offered their own diverse experiences in their entry level positions, as well as advice on applying for internships and professionalism.

Personal and professional advice: 

  • Don’t talk to people just to network with them– talk to them because you want to learn.
  • Don’t underestimate the classes/clubs you are in at college.
  • Never think you’re above any internship, because wherever you intern you’re still going to learn new skills that you can take with you.
  • Be open to EVERYTHING.
  • After interviewing, send a thank you note within 24 hours to the person you interviewed with.
  • The best ways to stay in touch with people:
    • Get in contact with them as soon as possible after you meet with them/work with them.
    • E-mail and pitch ideas.
    • Have informational interviews.
    • E-mail and social media are your two best friends– they can help you meet/stay in contact with professionals in your field.
  • Read a LOT. Read everything.
  • If you want to become a better writer, write all the time. (Yes, yes, YES!)

Bookworms- Opportunities in Book Publishing


What it’s all about: This panel also had four women who work in different parts of the book publishing industry. The women on the panel included Ally Bruschi, who is a publicity assistant at Penguin Random House, Paige Hazzan, who is an associate editor of children’s nonfiction and reference books at Scholastic, Kimberly Kaufman, who is a business manager of the college department at W.W. Norton and Company, and Katherine Turro, who is a marketing coordinator at HarperCollins. They talked about the different departments they work with as well as what it’s like to live a day in their lives.

This panel was the one I was most interested in, considering my career goals and dream of being a children’s book editor, and much of what they talked about was specific to the publishing industry.

Personal and professional advice:

  • You have to put yourself out there in some way. If you’re interested in doing something, ask to do it.
  • You have to be able to adapt.
  • Just because something isn’t in your job description, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it. (Being open minded is so hard, but very important.)
  • Make sure you have an understanding of your competition.
  • If something goes wrong, tell your boss IMMEDIATELY so it can be solved.

Evolution of Success


What it’s all about: So this was a workshop hosted by Joan Kuhl, who is the president and founder of Why Millennials Matter. She talked a lot about relationship building, forming goals, how to best present yourself, how to communicate well, and what it takes to be a real leader. I particularly enjoyed her presentation because it was really personal, relatable, and motivational. I came out of the workshop feeling really great about myself and excited for the future.

Personal and professional advice:

  • To get sponsorship, you have to be a high performer, have a strong brand, and demonstrate loyalty.
  • You can find mentors in your school’s alumni, your teachers/administrators, and from conferences.
  • If who you surround yourself with aren’t healthy and positive, it will derail you and your career, as well as your potential. (This goes for personal as well as professional relationships.)
  • It’s important to put yourself out there.
  • How you show up and act at work/school impacts how you show up and act in your personal relationships. 

#ActuallySheCan: Reaching your Full Potential 


What it’s all about: Laura Brounstein, who is special projects director of Cosmopolitan Magazine (*squeal*) and works for Joanna Coles (*SQUEAL*) was our final keynote speaker. She talked about her own career goals, as well as #ActuallySheCan, which (from what I can tell) is a social media movement to inspire, motivate, and encourage driven women.

Personal and professional advice: 

  • Put yourself out there to do what you love.
  • We play our own role in reaching our own potential. (Don’t just wait around for people to do stuff for you!)11745351_10207222762473458_5674133250817979262_n

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Posted in Things I've Learned in College | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Creative Writing Exercise II: Dixit

I was able to assist teaching my second writing workshop today at my internship, and it was so much fun. I’m in a workshop with two nine-year-olds from New York City. One of them loves to write fiction, and another one is interested in writing poetry. They’re both so sweet.

The instructor for this workshop set up this writing game for us to play with a card game called Dixit. I’ve never heard of it nor do I know how to play,  but it uses these beautifully illustrated cards that my instructor decided to utilize for this game.

He gave us each five cards and had us pick one or two that we liked, and then gave us 20 minutes to use them as inspiration and write about them. This is the card I chose to use, and this is what I came up with. Enjoy!IMG_5804

Annie stood still, staring at the statue. As her classmates walked around the museum gallery, looking at paintings and figurines, she was captivated by this one– a statue of a man with a crown.

He was a tall, regal figure, towering over her. He held his arm out over his mouth, as if he were gasping in surprise. His long cloak, its rumples and folds created by an imaginary wind immortalized in stone, flayed out behind him. He had a crown around his head like a headband. He had long hair and a thick mustache. And he was made out of grayish marble.

Annie cocked her head at him. She decided she liked the stone man because he looked surprised, unlike any other statue she’d seen before. All other statues she’d seen looked serious or even angry. She wondered why the artist had decided to carve him in this particular pose, encapsulating his shock for the rest of eternity. Maybe he was about to be attacked by someone who wanted to steal his crown and his kingdom. Maybe he’d just found out his wife was going to have a baby. Maybe he’d discovered that he was going to be having meatloaf for dinner. She took a step closer and squinted up at him, trying to figure it out.

All of a sudden, he winked.

She stared at him, her mouth hung open now in surprise. Had the statue of the surprised man just winked at her? How was that even possible?

Annie whirled around, trying to see if anyone else had seen the statue move, but none of her other friends from class had been looking. They were all talking and observing and writing things down in their Art notebooks, like they were supposed to be doing. She turned to look up at the surprised statue again.

He blinked. She blinked back. Statues didn’t normally move. What was going on?

All of a sudden, the statue closed his mouth and gave a huge sigh. His face had changed to a more bored, neutral expression, and his top half was now mobile. Her eyes growing wide, Annie watched the statue yawn and stretch. She glanced around, but still no one had noticed. She stared up at him in awe.

“Hello?” she whispered. Maybe he could talk.

He wiggled his fingers at her. “Hello, my dear,” he said in a deep, booming voice. She glanced around again– someone must have heard him. But her classmates still had not noticed the statue who had suddenly come to life.

“Are you supposed to be able to talk?” Annie still felt the need to whisper, in case anyone saw her talking to a statue and thought she was crazy.

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Posted in Blogging 101, Creative Writing | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

An Explanation.

Hi! I’m back.
I haven’t posted on WordPress in about 2 weeks, and this is my explanation blog post as to why.
(I hate doing this because I hate excuses and this seems like an excuse post. I’m going to write it anyway, but please understand that this is an explanation, not an excuse.)
I am a writer. It’s in my blood. My grandpa is a writer, and so is my dad. I grew up loving to write and read and edit, so much so that most of my hobbies revolved around those three things. I have had internships at publishing houses/writing workshops/magazines since the start of high school, and I major in writing at college. I’ve talked about this with my friend Vivian, who has a similar mindset and who studied marketing and journalism at college, and we agreed that no matter where we go in life and no matter where our career paths go, we will always be writers. Basically, writing is my passion, and it will always be a part of my identity. (I say these types of things a lot, FYI.)
And in all honesty I’m pretty good at it. I have to have some sort of confidence in my abilities otherwise I wouldn’t be here, right?
I started this WordPress last summer because I wanted a more serious place to post my writing that wasn’t Tumblr or my Facebook cover photo caption. My writing as in, writing that was my own, writing that was personal and meant something to me. Flash fiction, poetry (which I don’t write as much anymore and have kind of grown to resent), personal essays, features, whatever. I didn’t write on it consistently. I used it to write about stuff I remembered and was important to me and how things made me feel, which really helped me understand myself and my writing better.
I just looked back in my archives, and my first post was about going home from my internship at Random House and seeing this boy draw portraits of people on the subway. I didn’t post again for several weeks, but just knowing that WordPress was there for me when I needed it to be, when I needed to take a breather from writing academic essays and reading dense books at school and write something real, was a comfort.
My friend Sabina at school has her own WordPress, and she posts on hers bi-weekly. It has become a sort of job for her, and she takes it really seriously. I look up to her a lot for doing it, because it’s a huge commitment and is time consuming, but she loves it and she works hard on it. She writes all the time for her blog about adventures in her own life and about stuff she’s interested in, and initially, that’s what I wanted to do too.
She inspired me to try and start WordPress-ing more often, and I figured that it would be the next step for me as a writer, so I signed up for Blogging 101. (Which is where I met most of y’all who are reading this, if you are reading this.) Blogging 101 was a lot of fun, but I found it to be incredibly time consuming, even if I enjoyed doing it. I followed a lot of really interesting blogs and met a lot of cool bloggers/blogging friends (Hi guys!), and because of it I focused less on my personal development as a writer and more on networking with other bloggers.
I found that it distracted me from my own blogging goals, which sounds a little bit selfish, but it did. I started a WordPress blog to help figure myself out (hence, the title, Amanda Under Construction) through my writing, and got distracted by other people. At first, I was motivated by the thought that other bloggers were reading what I was writing and actually caring about it. And then that just kind of depressed me. I was writing for other people rather than myself. My blogging/writing slowed to a crawl and then kind of disappeared. Which is where we are now!
I texted Sabina the other day about it.
Me: Do you ever feel inconsistently motivated?
Sabina: Yeah, but only in some things… Describe what you’re feeling.
Me: I feel like with writing, it’s on and off with me and that shouldn’t be the case because I’m a writer. Like the past 2 weeks I’ve just been “really bummed out” (euphemisms, am I right?) and now I’m just like throwing up ideas (that was a bad analogy) and I just want to be more consistent with this stuff.
Sabina: I find writing anyway even when I’m feeling unmotivated helps. Then I can’t get out of habit.
(And then I kind of stopped texting her about it because it made me feel sad again.) (Also, if you’re wondering, that is exactly how I text.)
I’m getting a little bit off track here. The point of this post is to explain my absence on WordPress, which I’ve already done, and to talk about my new blogging goals.
Basically, I’m going to use this WordPress for myself. I’m not going to queue posts, I’m going to write them as they come to me. I’m not going to obsessively check my reader or tags every 5 minutes on my phone, like I do with Facebook and Snapchat. I figure that I’ll set up a time each week for me to scroll through and read and like and comment on posts that bloggers I follow post. That way I’m not overwhelmed, but I’m still doing what I like to do.
I’m not giving up on you, my blogging friends! ❤ I’m just setting limitations for myself on WordPress. I’ll catch up on responding to comments on my last two posts and responses to your own posts either today or tomorrow. (Those were queued.)
At the end of the day, I write for myself, and this blog is for me. I just kind of forgot that for a while.
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Posted in Blogging 101, Memories | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Blogging 101 Day Nine: Get Inspired by the Neighbors– The Harry Potter Tag

Today’s assignment: write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog!

I’m going to be doing this post a little differently, considering that I’m a couple of days behind on Blogging 101.

While scrolling through my WordPress reader this morning, I came across a post by Franzi from Writing About Everything and Nothing that had been inspired by a post by Lexi from driftinglexi. Basically, it was a question and answer post that had been inspired by the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling called The Harry Potter Tag.

Franzi challenged me to try it, so here we go!

(If there are any fans of Harry Potter that follow me and would like to be nominated for The Harry Potter Tag, comment on this post and I’ll tag you in it.)

What is your favorite book? Why?
My favorite book in the series is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

What is your favorite film? Why?
My favorite movie in the franchise is also Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

What is your least favorite book? Why?
My least favorite book is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. There is one chapter in that book that I have never read and that I refuse to read. It’s the chapter where Umbridge tortures the kids in detention with the whole I must not tell lies scarring thing. It

What is your least favorite film? Why?
My least favorite movie is… you know what? I don’t particularly dislike any of them.

If you had to hook up with any character would it be? 
Ayyyy… Definitely Ron. Harry’s a little too short for me.

Who is your favorite character? Why?
Hermione. 100%.

Who is your least favorite character? Why?
My least favorite character is Percy Weasley. I think he’s such a (excuse my French) prick. He thinks he’s better than everyone else, values hierarchy/power more than his family until the last minute, and is just really annoying. I feel like even the evil characters/annoying characters/Death Eaters have qualities that make their character so good and interesting to read about. But Percy is just a prick.

What is your least favorite line?

I would say that my least favorite line in the movies is when Dumbledore says: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” I loved the quote initially, and I loved its meaning. But then everyone started to use it for their yearbook quotes, putting it on their graduation caps, quoting it in their Instagram pictures… and I just got tired of it. It became a cliche, and I hate cliches.

I think that my least favorite line in the books (this is something that my dad noticed ) is actually the start of many lines. J.K. Rowling says, “And for the first time, Harry…” and then she goes on to say how Harry felt loved, recognized, something something something. It became tiredly repetitive.

What would your patronus be?
My patronus would be a deer. It has nothing to do with Lily or Severus. When I was in a relationship with my on and off boyfriend of five years, we gave each other nicknames. I do this thing where when I’m listening to someone talk, I raise my eyebrows and it gives me this perpetually worried look, like a deer in the headlights. He used to call me Amanda Deer (I know, it’s gross, whatever), and bought me a deer Beanie Baby. So for no other reason than that– my patronus would definitely be a deer.

If you could have the Resurrection Stone, the Invisibility Cloak or the Elder Wand, which one would you choose?
I would definitely want the invisibility cloak. I would love to be able to sneak around, listen in on conversations, attain information that no one else knows. I just think that would be so cool.

Which house would you be in?

If you could meet any member of the cast, who would it be? 
Emma Watson, 100%. I’d love to talk to her about what it was like to grow up playing Hermione, and I’d love to talk to her about HeForShe and feminism. I feel like she’s so smart and really knows/understands herself and what it means to be a celebrity. I just want to be her friend!

If you were on the Quidditch team which position would you play?
If I was going to be anything, it would probably be a chaser. I’m not really athletically inclined or fast or anything and I just feel like that’s one of the more general roles in Quidditch.

Were you happy with the ending?
The epilogue makes me so mad. I think it was the cheesiest, most cliched thing to come out of the whole series, and I was so disappointed that J.K. Rowling chose to end it that way. It did tie up some loose ends, but I wish that it hadn’t been as cheesy as it was.

How much does Harry Potter mean to you?
Harry Potter is my childhood. It means so much to me– I’ve been reading them since I was seven with my dad. I’ll probably write about this on here at some point, but when I was little my mom would let me and my sister go on vacation with him for 10 days every year, and we would take the Harry Potter books on tape and just listen to them in the car. Whenever I was done reading one of the books on my own, I would write on the inside cover the date and time that I finished reading it. I love Harry Potter. I mean, I’m a part of the Harry Potter generation. I grew up with it.

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I was leaving Target.

I had made a plan with my friends to meet them for dinner, but I’d gotten off of work early and decided to head there to kill some time. I browsed for a while, and then picked out a face wash (I was running low at home), purchased it, and headed out into the parking lot to my car.

There was a family in front of me who was walking particularly slowly but I didn’t mind, because I still had a little bit of time before I had to go meet my friends at this restaurant. I walked patiently behind them, pacing myself, when I felt a hand on my arm.

Turning around, I was alarmed to see a large man in a Target vest and uniform, with one hand clamped on my spaghetti-strapped shoulder and holding on to a row of shopping carts with the other. He didn’t seem like he was going to let go, and I was too scared to move. The family in front of me was too busy helping their two kids cross the street to notice what was going on behind them.

The Target man with the hand on my shoulder smiled toothily at me. “Hi,” he said, giving my shoulder a squeeze. I jerked my arm away and started walking faster, accidentally knocking into one of the kids in the family in front of me. The mom gave me a dirty look.

“You’re beautiful,” the Target man called after me.

Sweaty and anxious, I hightailed it to my car and locked the doors.

Last summer on my way to my internship in the city, something similar happened to me. (I wrote about it here.) It’s not as if I haven’t experienced cat calling before, or experienced it in between last summer and now. I wrote about these two occurrences specifically because these men touched me without my permission, rather than just shouted or called out at me.

I’d like to reiterate what I wrote last time– there was no reason for that stranger to talk to me, let alone touch me. I never said it was okay, and nothing would have made it okay. Regardless of what I was wearing, regardless of my gender, that man did not have a right to touch me.  Yet somehow he felt that he was allowed to do it.

I’d also like to reiterate that I was not flattered by his unwarranted advances. I was unnerved, because a stranger had disregarded my bodily integrity and touched me without my permission. I was terrified, because I should be able to go shopping at Target without fear of being harassed by someone. I was embarrassed, because it had happened to me and I had let it happen and not said anything. I was not happy that he had complimented me, I was not pleased because he’d picked me to talk to or touch. I was not annoyed because someone had interrupted me while I was walking to my car. I was scared.

Another instance– yesterday, when I was walking to my car with my sister in the condominium complex where we live, two older men were outside in the parking lot working on their car. One of the guys gave me and my sister the up-down, clearly not seeing us for anything other than what we looked like and making us extremely uncomfortable, and shouted at us, “Hey, how you doin’?” The other one smirked at us.

First of all, this happened where I live, my home, where I am supposed to feel safe. At that moment, I did not feel safe. Second of all, my sister is seventeen years old. She is a minor. And the fact that these men catcalled at her terrifies me.

Women are susceptible to things like this happening every day. Men who catcall and harass women see it as a compliment, as something that women aren’t bothered by. They see women as sexual objects, not as real people with feelings, and that’s the problem. They don’t respect personal space, they don’t respect women, and they definitely don’t respect themselves enough to see that they’re doing something wrong.

I write this post as a repetitive plea– catcalling is not okay. Invading someone’s personal space without permission is not okay.

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Posted in Blogging 101, Feminism | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments

The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Hooray! I was nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award by driftinglexi. Thank you so much Lexi, it means so much that you thought of me/considered me for this award! I’m honored. I love reading your posts and I’m happy I met you through Blogging 101. ❤

I think that what this award represents/means is the importance of the presence and connection between female bloggers. I’ve seen so many cool posts written from the female perspective on WordPress so far, and it’s nice to know that my fellow gal bloggers have my back and are willing to check out my blog and read and comment on my posts.

The rules:

1) Thank and link the blogger who nominated you. ✓

2) Answer the questions the nominator has provided. ✓

3) Nominate 10 other bloggers. ✓

4) Create 10 questions for your nominees and notify them of their nomination. ✓

The questions:

1) What makes you motivated to blog?

I would say that what motivates me to blog is other bloggers/readers. Knowing that there are people out there who actually care about what I have to say and are willing to read and respond what I write is pretty cool, and makes me want to write more/often.

2) What is your favourite thing to write about on your blog?

My favorite thing to write about on my blog (so far) are about what I’ve learned at college. I think that writing about that stuff helps me better reflect on and learn from my experiences at school. Plus, writing about what I learn while away at school provides relatable experiences for other bloggers/other readers.

3) What is your favourite food?

My favorite foods are artichokes and cotton candy. (But not together– that would be gross.)

4) If you had to pick a favourite book, what would it be?

My all time favorite book is The Princess Bride by William Goldman.

5) What was the last song you listened to?

One by One All Day by the Shins. I bought their CD Oh, Inverted World last year at a used bookstore in Ithaca, and I’ve just now gotten around to listening to it. It’s amazing.

6) What item is closest to you at this very moment (excluding what you are sat on and using to answer this question)?

My library ID card/key chain.

7) Do you have any tattoos?

No, I don’t.

8) What are you currently reading?

I’m still working on The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, but the next book on my list is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

9) Do you prefer going to a shop to buy items or buying them online?

I prefer buying things online. I hate trying clothes on in stores/at the mall and then being disappointed when they don’t fit… I have this ongoing struggle with buying jeans/pants because those are two items of clothing that you HAVE to try on before you buy them, and when I try jeans/pants on that don’t fit, I get all discouraged and don’t want to shop anymore.

10) What are you next looking forward to?

I’m at work right now and I can’t wait until my shift is over (I have an hour and 49 minutes left… Oy vey) so that I can go out to dinner with my stepmom, my brother and my dad for father’s day. Earlier, my dad, my grandpa, my grandpa’s friend Doris, my Aunt Julie, my Uncle Peter and my cousins Jacob and Ben came and visited me at the library (that’s where I work) and they just hung around for an hour and it was really great. I don’t get to see them often enough.

I nominate:

Your questions:

  1. Favorite social media platform?
  2. Favorite movie? Most recent movie you’ve seen?
  3. What’s been the best day of your life so far? Describe it!
  4. Ryan Gosling or Jake Gyllenhaal?
  5. Name a female that you look up to/you see as a mentor/role model! (Celeb, mom, whatever.)
  6. Best compliment you’ve ever received?
  7. What makes you feel better when you’re feeling sad?
  8. What’s your favorite word?
  9. Bookstores or libraries?
  10. What do you most like writing about?

Enjoy ladies– you deserve it!

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Happy Father’s Day!

Today is Father’s Day, so I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about my dad.

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My dad is one of the best people I know. He is an upstanding guy– he’s an outstanding guy. He’s always thinking about five million things at once, which means he’s not the best listener, but he tries his hardest. He is constantly worried about whether my sister, my stepmom, my stepbrother and I are okay– and always does the best that he can to fix whatever’s wrong. Yes, he does travel a lot. But he always does whatever he can to be there for us. And for that I am extremely grateful and appreciative.

He has so much love in his heart– for his family, our puppy, for his friends, and for everyone he knows from the shoe business (which he’s been in since he was a teenager). He is understanding and comfortable, and his ability to talk to anyone astounds me. He works so hard at his job it’s insane. And he is a writer like me, and like my grandpa.

My dad loves baseball (go Mets!) and driving and New Park pizza. He loves Harry Potter and a good Jewish deli and World Fellowship. And he loves me.

And I love him. Happy Father’s Day, doodad Dan.

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Posted in Blogging 101, Memories | Tagged , , , , , , | 19 Comments

The Encouraging Thunder Award

encouraging-thunderSamantha over at The Chemist’s Journal  just nominated me for the Encouraging Thunder award, for which I am so honored and grateful. Thank you so much Samantha for thinking of me and my blog!

From what I can tell, the Encouraging Thunder Award is given to bloggers who encourage other bloggers by participating in the blogging community (which is Blogging 101, in my case) and blog consistently and enthusiastically.

Here’s what I found out about the Encouraging Thunder Award by doing a quick Google search:

Rules for this award:

  • Post it on your blog ✓
  • Grant other bloggers the award (Check it out below.) ✓

What you can’t do:

  • Abuse or misuse the logo. (Gotcha.)
  • Claim that it is your own handmade logo. (Nope, it’s not.)

What you should do after receiving the Encouraging Thunder Award:

  • Enjoy the award!✓ (I put it up in the sidebar of my blog. 🙂 )
  • At least give thanks via comments, likes and/or mentioning the blog that you received the award from ✓ (Thank you so much again Samantha! Can’t wait to read more of your writing. ❤ )
  • Mention your purpose in blogging ✓(See below.)

I blog because I am a writer. My purpose in life (and with blogging) is to write and to tell my story. I write to connect with other people, I write to understand myself, and I write to learn about and understand the world.

I’d like to nominate the following bloggers/blogs for the Encouraging Thunder Award:

Enjoy guys, you deserve it!

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Posted in Blogging 101 | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

Friendly Reminder: Don’t Expect People to Change for Ya

I’m a very sensitive person. I take most things seriously, everything makes me anxious, and I’m a classic over thinker. These are a few faults that I have, on a list of many more.

Another one of my faults–  I assume that other people are going to understand all of this, and that they are willing to adjust themselves in order to keep me happy and at ease. This includes being understanding and patient, comforting me often, agreeing with me, and constantly being there for me, while asking for nothing in return.

These are completely unrealistic expectations, I realize, yet I assume them anyway. I expect everyone to treat me this way, and when they don’t, it’s shocking. But not only is that unfair to other people, who shouldn’t be asked to live their lives any differently for my sake, it’s unfair to me, because I get used to people babying me and walking on eggshells around me, and then look for others to constantly do that too.

Most people have similar expectations– where they need people to adjust themselves to make them happy.

Here’s a harmless but specific example: A few years ago, one of my best friends wanted me to meet her boyfriend for the first time, and it was a really big deal for her to have him meet me. When we finally met, we were talking about something, I don’t even remember what it was, and I disagreed with him so I jokingly tried to argue. He was so insistent on being right that he thought I would back down, as most people apparently did when talking to him. He was so set in his personality and who he was that he didn’t take it as a joke.

I misunderstood. I expected him to accept my personality and that I was disagreeing with him, and he expected me to accept his personality and relent. It ended with my friend in tears because her boyfriend didn’t like/get along with her best friend, because we had both expected the other to understand and neither of us had. This wasn’t really fair to her, because both her boyfriend and I had made it more about being right than being there for her.

Often, this isn’t even about adjusting to someone’s personality, or other people adjusting to your needs/faults. It’s about assuming that people will treat you like you treat them.

My friend from high school was telling me the other day that she has struggled with constantly being let down by people. This girl is a ridiculously amazing friend, and has always gone the extra mile to be there for others. But because she does this for others she expects others to do it for her. Most people can’t put in the effort for friendship that she does, so in this way her expectations are kind of unrealistic. She kept expecting people to treat her like she treated them, and it made her really sad.

I’ve had a few other experiences like this, where I’ve expected people to change for me, or the other way around, or even both. I won’t get into these examples, but I want to emphasize how much this has affected my life.

So when I found this quote the other day, it hit home pretty hard.

You think everyone has the same heart as you, and that’s what’s gonna fuck you up.

When I read this quote for the first time, I interpreted it to mean that you think people will understand you, change for you, do what you expect them to, and when they don’t, it leaves you sad and disappointed.

Something my dad has taught me is that you can’t expect anything from other people, and I think that what you especially can’t expect other people to do for you is change who they are for your sake. And I agree with him.

Based off of my own experiences, you not only can’t hold expectations for other people, but you have to make up for it by having more expectations for yourself. You have to be confident enough in who you are, have good intentions, and try to be selfless and as good a person as you can be. I have my faults, but I have to focus on myself and being better rather than other people being better for me.


Posted in Blogging 101, Life Lessons | Tagged , , , , , | 16 Comments

Gratitude Journal 1

Joyce over at Sitting Idly (who I met through Blogging 101) introduced me to a new type of blog post called a Gratitude Journal.

Basically she explained to me that a Gratitude Journal is where you list 5 things you are grateful for, and then elaborate on each thing. They’re a great way to make yourself happy when you’re feeling down, and they keep you grounded.

So here goes nothing– my first gratitude journal!

I’m grateful for breaded fish and artichokes, and also my parents who make breaded fish and artichokes for me. My stepmom made this delicious breaded halibut the other night for dinner, and it was WONDERFUL. I’m not really a fish person– but it didn’t taste fishy, it was fresh, and the breadcrumbs were delicious.

My dad left to go on a business trip today, so last night before I went to bed (at like 11 PM) I noticed him cooking in the kitchen. It was pretty weird, because our family doesn’t really cook or eat all that late, so I asked him what was going on. He said that he was making me artichokes, which are my favorite food other than cotton candy (I know, they’re two weird food choices but whatever), for me to eat while he’s away.

I am extremely grateful for both of them (and the food they make me, hee hee).

I’m grateful for my sister buying me cotton candy at Summerfest. Summerfest is a festival in my town. It’s an annual thing, and they have a parade and little booths that sell food and jewelry. It’s a pretty big deal, and everyone in Croton goes. Summerfest is also the only opportunity to get fresh cotton candy in my town (and like I said before, cotton candy is my favorite food other than artichokes).

I recently got a job working as a page at a local library, and they scheduled me to work during Summerfest, all day. I was really upset. I wouldn’t be able to walk around town with all of my friends or buy jewelry in the little booths, or cotton candy.

The fact that my sister thought of me, and bought me and my friend Catherine cotton candy since we were both unable to go makes me appreciate her existence (and also the existence of cotton candy. I realized that my first two gratitude journals are basically both about my family and food. Basically that’s all I really care about).

I’m grateful that my friend Catherine works at the Jacob Burns Film Center. In Pleasantville, there’s a little artsy movie theater called the Jacob Burns Film Center. They show a lot of independent and foreign films– none of that mainstream, pop culture stuff. My friend Catherine works there, and she gets free movie tickets all the time as a work perk. Sometimes she takes me to go see movies. We just saw the movie Love and Mercy— the Brian Wilson (of the Beach Boys) biopic with Paul Dano and John Cusack (and Elizabeth Banks, who I LOVE but did not like in this movie) for free, and it was pretty great. I might write a post about it soon.

Thanks Catherine, for bringing me along and also for being my friend. ♥

I’m grateful that I have time to read again. My new job at the library gives me a lot of time to just sit down and read. I’m motivated to read because I have the free time to do it, everyone around me is also reading, and I have limited access to the Internet. Right now, I’m reading The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to read, and I’m grateful that I feel motivated to read on my own rather than for school.

I’m grateful for the new blogging community I’ve found through Blogging 101. Blogging 101 has introduced me to a lot of new blogs, as well as a lot of cool bloggers! Everyone I’ve met so far is so enthusiastic and open. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback as well as a lot of new ideas for blog posts, like this one I got from Joyce.

I’m grateful for the people that I’ve met in the Commons and on Blogging 101, and I’m excited to read all of your posts and grow with you through writing and blogging. ❤


Posted in Blogging 101, Gratitude Journal, Memories | Tagged , , | 16 Comments