Professional & Career

How to land the job || A Resource Guide.

Once upon a time in a far away kingdom, I worked as the Video Student Assistant at the Career and Academic Planning center during undergrad at James Madison University. For three years, I spent countless amount of hours shooting career fairs, interviewing employers and career coaches, and putting together videos on how to land jobs and internships. I became infatuated with and excited by the whole process, and in turn, I transformed into (yes, you heard it here first…) a Fairy Job Mother.

Poof.

My resumes and cover letters (as well as the wisdom and grace of my own Fairy Job Mothers) have landed me internships at E! News and Smithsonian, and jobs with Monumental Sports and Entertainment (AKA the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals… GO CAPS) and now, the NBCUniversal Page Program.

Two years later out in the land of Oz (I mean, Los Angeles is Emerald City except with more ocean and less dairy products, right?), I figured I’d put my magical powers to good use by sharing what I’ve learned from my experiences. As they say – if the shoe fits.

Here is a list of resources I’ve curated just for you on how to land and navigate the job of your dreams, as well as the first video in my Job Search Tip series. I hope you live and work happily ever after. x

Touching up your resume:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/winning-resume/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=11_neversay_interview_us&utm_campaign=aug17_us

https://www.themuse.com/advice/185-powerful-verbs-that-will-make-your-resume-awesome

https://flipboard.com/@flipboard/-34-words-you-can-use-in-your-resume-to-/f-891fb9ea8d%2F

https://www.inc.com/the-muse/words-to-convey-youre-leader-have-leadership-skills-you-can-use-resume.html

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/show-skills-on-resume/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=050718_hiringbonuses&utm_campaign=may18_us

Writing a stand-out cover letter:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/cover-letter-openers/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=050318_hiringcrazy&utm_campaign=may18_us

https://www.topresume.com/career-advice/elevate-your-cover-letter-with-3-simple-tests

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/write-cover-letter-job/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=HowToCL_US16&utm_campaign=Sept2016_US

Applying to the job:

https://www.mediabistro.com/get-hired/interview-tips/study-job-listing-to-get-the-job/

Calculating your salary:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/salary-each-stage-application/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=12_companies_remote_us&utm_campaign=sept17_us

How to prepare for an interview:

https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-answer-the-31-most-common-interview-questions?ref=long-reads-0

How to stand out in an interview:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/11-unusual-ways-to-stand-out-in-a-job-interview/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=11WaysSOInt_US16&utm_campaign=Sept2016_US

Questions to ask during the interview:

https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/top-questions-you-should-ask-on-an-interview-to-raise-eyebrows

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/the-45-questions-you-should-ask-in-every-job-interview/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20comp_bestjobs&utm_campaign=jan18_us

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/interview-questions-to-ask-to-evaluate-a-companys-work-life-balance/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=5WaysHigherSalary_US16&utm_campaign=Sept2016_US

How to follow up after the interview:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/how-to-follow-up-after-an-interview/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=7LowStressJobs_Suppress_US16&utm_campaign=Aug2016_US

How to negotiate:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/5-tips-to-successfully-negotiate-a-higher-salary/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=5WaysHigherSalary_US16&utm_campaign=Sept2016_US

How to get on a good page with your boss:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/5-ways-to-get-your-boss-to-be-more-supportive/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=17CoWLB_Hiring_US16&utm_campaign=Sept2016_US

How to take a mental health day:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/how-to-handle-mental-health-issues-in-the-workplace/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=15_companies_worklife_us17&utm_campaign=jul17_us

How to quit:

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/how-to-quit-your-job-2/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=HowToCL_US16&utm_campaign=Sept2016_US

https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/how-to-give-two-week-notice/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=7CoToAvoid_US16&utm_campaign=Oct2016_US

http://thefinancialdiet.com/4-things-learned-quitting-job-no-plan/

How to find a career that’s right for you:

https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/how-to-find-the-answer-to-what-career-is-right-for-me 

How to change career paths:

http://thefinancialdiet.com/6-steps-to-make-a-career-transition-when-you-dont-have-the-right-experience/

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Sweet Reads

Sweet Reads || May

Hello again, sweet friend!

I’m a fan of celebrating something on its way out the door. Bidding it farewell. Wishing it the best. I’m here today to say thanks to May and send it off with love, until next year.

There’s something about May. It feels like beginning again, yea? No matter where you’re stationed, the snow is melting and dust is being swept away. Windows are opening, and seemingly, so are hearts. That’s the beauty of seasons. It’s not just about what’s happening outside. Something within you changes, too. And I love to see it on everyone’s faces. Say hi to a stranger in the street. Leave a sandwich on the sidewalk for someone who can’t afford one. Call an old friend to wish them a beautiful day. We talk about sharing material things. Why not share a slice of your happiness with someone else, too?

Here are 10 articles and other fun things that have helped me along this month. Click one or click all. As always, let me know if you have any feedback on how this letter to you can be better for you. Do you like the idea of splitting the reads up by category? Or leaving it as is? Let me know. Leave a comment with your own May favorites and invite a friend over. Welcome to this little corner. Hang up your jacket and get cozy. You’re welcome here. Love you, reader. xx

MAY

May’s Quote:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” ― Steve Jobs

Image of the Month:

Image created by @thefinancialdiet

My sticky says “Create your own show” and it’s clinging to my desk right now. Every day I take a little step towards this, whether it’s piecing together fragments of written ideas or creating YouTube videos as practice. Choose something specific. It makes the idea more tangible and obtainable. Hey, man. Don’t just treat yo self. Inspire yo self. (Will I regret saying this? Probably.)

Music of the Month:

Lizzo. If you haven’t been listening to her, I’m sorry for your loss. She is the definition of feel good music, and her soulful pop tunes can get you out of any and every funk you’ve been experiencing. Check out “Good As Hell” and “Fitness” …you can thank me later. Toot toot. Hay. Beep beep.

Reads of the Month:

+ “If You’ve Ever Majorly Screwed Up At Work, You’re Not Alone.”

I think I almost died while reading this. Seriously. I laughed so hard that I cried tears. Actual tears. There is photographic evidence. I mean, accidentally serving your boss cleaning acid? I screamed. These are some seriously amazing individuals for putting their worst moments on the internet. Thank you for that.

+ “My Friend Is Jealous Of My Success!”

How to identify real friendships is the toughest lesson I’m learning this year, especially after moving across the country. I’m finding more and more individuals around my age are learning this, too. This column helped. “There’s absolutely no rule that says you have to keep messy people in your life. Not one. You are not required to maintain friendships with people who make you feel unsafe or bad about who or where you are. It seems obvious to say that the people you choose to have in your life should champion, love, and support you.” Jennifer Romolini lays out how to take stock of a friendship. And it may require taking some responsibility.

+ “31 Morning Journaling Prompts That Will Change The Way You Think”

This is the perfect article to open before starting fresh next month. While I don’t journal in the traditional sense, I make an effort to self reflect whenever possible; you can, too! These prompts will get you going in the right direction and inspire you to think deeply about where you stand and where you want to go from here. Happy life-ing!

+ “6 Easy Ways To Develop Confidence And Be More Like Tony Stark”

I think Ross Simmonds was in my head when he wrote this article. I mean, I’ll watch a superhero movie from time to time but he just gave me a whole new perspective on the character. Unlike other heroes, Tony Stark (AKA Iron Man) created his superpowers. “The way Tony Stark carries himself has a direct impact on how we as the viewers perceive him.” The exact same is true for all of us.  Slow. Down. Don’t be afraid to pause – to think and speak deliberately. Control your reactions, and don’t let them control you. Understand your strengths, because “If you don’t know what you’re bad at, you can’t truly understand what you’re actually good at.” Even think about dying — this is your reminder that your time on this earth is precious. Yep. All right here, folks.

+ “Mad & Abby Take On The USA”

Full disclaimer: Madelynne is a dear friend who also happens to be a talented writer and certified sweetheart. This documentation of the first leg of her cross-country trip gave me chills. If you’re gearing up for summer, this is the read for you. She reminds me that it’s okay to be obsessed with astrology, keep incoherent notes scattered in your phone, and fling your arms open in the sun. Don’t take this gift of life for granted. It’s not just about making spontaneous decisions, but creating spontaneous moments. When you open yourself up to the beauty of life, adventure finds you. As Madelynne put it: “It felt like I was hugging the universe and the universe was hugging me right back.” It gave me this warm sense of hope, and I wanted to share that same feeling with you all. I promise, you can’t read this and not smile. Fly darling, fly.

+”Exactly What To Say To Customer Service Reps To Save Thousands”

When I was little, I used to get mad at my mom for returning overcooked food at a restaurant or speaking out when service wasn’t great… all because it was embarrassing. As I get older, I’m starting to understand why saying something is so important — you are spending your hard earned money and deserve what you paid for! In recent months, I’ve gotten a refund for an awful flight, a gift card for ruined food, and a month of internet for free after technical issues. Be persistent (but kind!) when you know you didn’t get the service or product you deserved. This article will teach you how to go about the process.

+ “How To Immediately Refresh Your Brain To Restore High Level Thinking”

We calm our friends down when they’re overwhelmed, and hype them up when they’re lazy — so why don’t we do that for ourselves? Thomas Oppong knows what’s up. In this read, he teaches us a few helpful tips. Recognize and name your state of mind. The other week I was upset over a few things at once. I wrote every situation down in a few words, and knighted each with one word (E.g. Jealousy. Love. Enthusiasm. Insecurity). Once I identified what was at the root of each issue, I realized how silly the negative emotions were so they naturally began to dissipate, and I let the positive emotions emerge because they felt good. Sounds hippie dippie. But try it. For real. Schedule blocks of time for different modes of thinking. As Oppong says, “Idleness is not a vice, it is indispensable for making those unexpected connections in the brain you crave and necessary to getting creative work done.” In simpler terms, your brain solves your most complex issues for you when you give it space to breathe and wander off. Finally: Schedule purposeful breaks. Go hard, but also… go home. Seriously. You can’t practice or work all day, every day. Pace yourself! I’m experimenting right now with doing “on weeks” and “off weeks,” because slaving over the same personal project after work for one hour a day, every single day, every single week made me feel mentally burned out. I’ll humbly admit — I’m impatient. But I’m taking advantage of that. Now I spend an entire week pouring my heart into one project for as long as I can until it’s finished, and take a break the following week by meeting up with friends and sitting in bed (doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING) for as long as I please. Much. Better. I encourage you to find what works for you!

+ “The Making of Meghan Markle”

If this doesn’t make you fall in love with Meghan Markle even more, I don’t know what will. “The choices made in these rooms,” Markle wrote during her reign in Hollywood, “trickle into how viewers see the world, whether they’re aware of it or not.” The role of media and entertainment in our society right now is the most prominent it’s ever been, and Meghan was never shy when it came to speaking up about it. This article highlights that Aaron Korsh, the creator of “Suits,” is biracial like Meghan and wanted to honor her identity in the show. This is why we need more showrunners and creators and writers of varying backgrounds: to lift up members of traditionally excluded racial groups by creating more roles that young people will see and relate to. Equally as important: it gives people who aren’t typically exposed to a certain group the chance to learn about their lives a truthful way. I loved that this article used Meghan as a positive example in the racial identity conversation. “When it comes to issues of race, gender, sexuality and class, how much can Meghan Markle say and do?” Margo Jefferson asked. I’m curious to see how this conversation will fit into Meghan’s new role as Duchess, too.

+ “This Woman’s List Of ‘Realistic’ Ways To Help During A Panic Attack Might Be The Most Useful Thing On The Internet Today.”

May is Mental Health Month! I recommend this list not only to people who suffer from panic attacks, but to anyone with someone close to them that suffers from this disorder (40 million adults in America). I began experience chronic panic attacks when I was in the fifth grade. I remember being terrified because no one my age was having them. I’d have to leave school early and would feel embarrassed when I felt the need to remove myself from a room because of this terrifying, all-consuming feeling coming over me. I couldn’t explain what the feeling was or why I was having it because no one talked about this kind of thing. I thought I was the only one, and I’m glad to know now that I’m not. My mom was always so sweet and helpful although she didn’t quite understand it herself — that is — until she began experiencing them herself in her early 30s. Educate yourself on how to help, because you never know when it could happen to you or someone around you. We got this, y’all. It’s been 10+ years for me, so I’ve gotten quite good at taming them when they do happen. If you need any help or advice or just want to feel less alone about it, leave a comment or email me, and I’d love to chat!

+ “Brain Fog? Back Pain? This Trick Can Help You Be More Productive And Feel Better Fast”

Listen when I tell you I can’t do Yoga for shit. That’s why this is amazing. It truly does help you feel relaxed, and it takes less than a minute! Magic. Try it out and let me know how it works for you!

*All quotes by the writers are quoted, bolded, or italicized. I am not earning money from this post, nor is it sponsored.

That’s all for the second edition of this Sweet Reads party. I would greatly appreciate any feedback you have for this new monthly thang. Thanks for reading, sweet friends! Cheers to you.

INSTAGRAM: @yourstrulymia

TWITTER: @hotmessmia

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Sweet Reads

Sweet Reads || April

Hi there, you.

1. Do you ever feel like each month has a personality of its own? A mind of its own? A world of its own? Keep reading.

2. Do you hoard things? Sometimes words or thoughts? Join the club.

3. Did you miss me? I’m back with yet another new idea. This time, a series. Reads of the month. Sweet reads, actually. There may be a more creative name in the near future, but sometimes short and sweet (not intended but I guess now it is) does the best job. I think I like it.

I don’t know if I’m starting this out of fondness or a slight obsessive compulsive tendency. I love my email inbox. It’s one of my favorite places. More and more newsletters and subscriptions fill this space, and I read them all. As a person who loves stories and advice and lists and ideas, I wanted to create a little home where I can document and share my thoughts on these precious pieces and why I thought about them for hours and even days after I read them. Each month I’ll compile a few of my favorites that I’ve stumbled upon.

There’s no rules here. Read them all, or read one that catches your eye (or heart). Share it with friends or keep it all to yourself. Don’t forget to leave some of your own April favorites in the comments and tell me which one of these you like, too. I’d love to hear any feedback you have to make this better. I love you, reader. Thanks for stopping by. xx

A P R I L

April’s Quote:

“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” ― Shirley Chisholm

Image of the Month:

Illustrated by @bymariandrew

I’ve spent the past month thinking about a lot of stupid things that, in hindsight, has wasted a lot of my precious time. Tyler, a friend of mine, introduced me to this amazing Instagram artist last month. I love all of her illustrations; she is just so darn cute and relatable. This one in specific got me thinking. No more being angry at my roommate for a week’s worth of unwashed dishes. No more being upset at myself for that thing I didn’t say four years ago. No more gabbing about that one project that I want to do, but haven’t (because I’m gabbing about it instead of doing it). Every time I’m anxious or mad or worried, I’m no longer going to count to ten like a five-year-old. That’s ollllld news. Instead, I’ll count how many hours of my life I won’t get back like the twenty-three-year-old I am. Will it matter this time next year? Absolutely not. Can I take control of the situation? Then I will. We’ve got one life to live, my  sweet friends. And if that’s not true, I’d like to come back as a butterfly please and thank you.

Reads of the Month:

+ 35 Things To Do For Your Career By 35 

This read made me feel empowered to prepare for my future now. Finding my superpower (Did you know it’s not always a skill, but often times a trait?). Making a list of my non-negotiables. Being able to articulate my goals + sell my professional self and ideas. These are things I haven’t put a ton of thought into, but now I will. Thanks, The Muse.

+ First comes the wedding. Then comes marriage.

Hannah Brencher is a wonderful soul. And this is why I can’t get enough of her writing. Readers send her letters and she answers with her own stories and the lessons she’s learned from them. I’m not getting hitched any time soon, but boy oh boy was this breathtaking. This reminds me that choice is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Whether it’s your person, your friends, your faith, or your life. You get to choose every day. My favorite thing she says: “I am learning if I spend every single day seeking to make people feel loved, chosen and special then I can never lose. I can never really say a day is wasted.” Amazing. Also a burger truck and an old library? Ideal.

+ Let it go.

“That’s what you have to do with fear over and over again: you have to learn to let it go.” Clearly I love me some Hannah Brencher because here she is again. In this read, she reminds me to forgive myself like I forgive others, name my fear by calling it out of the dark and into the light (“You can look at it from several angles and know the truth”), and crush my fears by not putting my faith in the enemy – all things I needed to hear this past month. How would our lives look if we built out of love instead of fear? How would our relationships flourish? Would we be stronger? Braver? Happier? Great questions. I’ll get back to you on that, Hannah.

+ How to be more confident. 

This article by Susie Moore had me in my feels, because I sure needed to brush up on this topic. There were SO many gems here. Moore tells us that the most confident people tune out their inner critic and turn up their inner coach. Confident people A) Know failure is inevitable, so they don’t fear it, B) Laugh more because life is short, and C) Have vision for their lives and focus on what they do want rather than what they don’t. “I love. I do. I can.” She says,“When you use stronger, more intentional language, it impacts your mood, your confidence, and even how other people perceive you.” They sit taller, do them, and stand strong. Confidence is your call; it’s a decision because no one is born with it. Confidence is taking control of your own life. Maybe it’s Maybelline. But more than 90% is Confidence.

+ My Boss Sucks Sometimes – Can I Tell Her?

Let me clear: my boss doesn’t suck. I actually like my bosses a lot. But I love a juicy advice column read. This one by Jessica Romolini caught my eye then captured my conscious because confrontation is something I struggle with. I’m either waaaay too confrontational or not confrontational enough. I’m really bad at finding that middle ground and I’m working on it. What is your motivation for correcting someone? Is it because they made you feel small at some point, or because it’s the right thing to do? Getting clear on why you want to correct someone, then focusing on the problem and not the person is crucial – whether it’s inside or outside of work.

+ 4 Big Reasons I Quit My Job To Build Girls Night In

I’ve started getting this newsletter in my inbox every Friday, and it’s a pure treat. Alisha Ramos outlines the four questions she began asking herself over and over, and how she took it upon herself to explore those questions and turn it into a business that could benefit other women. In four months the community grew 17x, 95% of new readers found out about GNI from a friend (word of mouth works, people!), and they receive 3 job applications a week. I’m a real sucker for a fun success story. It reminds me that anything is possible. It gives me hope for my own business endeavors.

+ The 100 Best Movies on Netflix

Thank you, Jason Bailey. This might be the best list I’ve found this month. You will literally never run out of things to watch. Like ever. I mean, there’s 100. And get this: IT’S UPDATED REGULARLY AS TITLES COME AND GO. Is this a dream? (I watched Up In The Air with Dan for the first time this weekend after taking a peek at this list… it was amazing.)

+ There is no that.

“The reward for the work is the work itself.” Mike Coyle writes music to my ears. For any business person, creative, or everyday person suffering from FOMO – you absolutely need to read this. There will always be some seemingly amazing thing happening with seemingly amazing people outside of where you are. But that moment ends for them. And this one will end for you if you’re not here. He says: “I wish someone had told me that it was the work, that the highs would be brief and bright and over, and then it was the grind. I wish they had told me, because there will be times when the grind itself must be the thing that drives you. You have to love the effort divorced from the result.” Is your pay off people? Is it moments? This article reminded me to keep my work honest and to keep doing the work I love. In the end – that’s what you have when you’ve climbed the mountain and return back down. You have this amazing thing you created. That’s enough.

*All quotes by the writers are quoted, bolded, or italicized. I am not earning money from this post.

This party is just getting started, so I would greatly appreciate any feedback you have for this new monthly thang. Let me know below. Thanks for reading, sweet friends! Cheers to you.

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Visual Poem shot and edited by me. Poem by Unknown Author. 

I’ve always loved this poem. I found it on Tumblr about three or four years back and tucked it away in a for a while. I saved it to a folder on my computer. I swore one day I’d make a visual compliment to it. I came across it again recently, and something about it felt even more moving than before. I tried and tried to track down the author, but couldn’t find them. There is a reason I felt stirred by the poem once again.

The first few months living in LA were some of the loneliest times I’ve ever felt, no matter how many people I was around. The fact that I had a dream to move to this city for so long and finally followed it was exhilarating, but no one did (and no one could) prepare me for how it feels to be 3,000 miles from what you know and who you truly love. Something about it felt so final.

This poem is dark. But it’s on the verge of something so good. It’s on its way, but not there quite yet. It’s bursting at the seams, but so full of emptiness at the same time. All the things I felt in those first few months. I know if you’ve been a viewer or reader of mine for a long time, you aren’t used to seeing this type of tone or this sort of video. But I didn’t want this to be another happy-go-lucky video. I wanted to show those in between times; the ones where you’re at your lowest, or maybe most contemplative. When you’re thinking so much that you sometimes wish you weren’t thinking at all. I didn’t wan’t any chronology or anything to mark a specific point in time. I wanted everything to blend together; to be bold but dull all at once. There are hard sound cuts, visual cuts, wide shots that are all stationary and some slightly hand held, but never heavy motion. Still. Silent. No talking. Everything is long, drawn out, reflective: distant.

I didn’t want it to end on a light note either – because that’s the point. Loving yourself isn’t easy every day. Some days, it is. And that’s a blessing. Other days we have to fight for it. I wanted the visual poem for this writing to reflect the want and need for loving yourself, not the pretty ease of it all. Loving yourself isn’t always about confidence or feeling good in your skin. I’m learning that loving yourself, largely, is about learning how to be alone with yourself, training yourself to think good thoughts, and how to go through things (physically and emotionally) without someone always holding your hand, even though that’s nice from time to time.

If you’re going through a hard time, feeling lonely, or are discovering/rediscovering how to love yourself – you’re not alone. You never are and never will be. I’m here for you and my whole heart is with you.

All visuals were shot on my Canon Rebel T3i. Poem recorded on my Blue Yeti mic. Music by Kevin MacLeod.

Click the video link to view more facts on this video.

Thank you so much for watching and taking time to read this. All my love to you. xx

 

Life & Lessons

Cheers to the new, and to the year.

This is not your typical New Years post.

For starters, it’s not January 1st.

In fact, it’s fourteen days after the new year has begun. The buzz of newness has probably already started to wear off for most of us, and the hangover already seems to be kicking in.

But for me, the party is just beginning.

This year, I decided not to make or take any resolutions seriously in the first few days of our new slate. I’m learning something: keeping score before you’ve started the game is dangerous. We are creatures of habit, yet we can’t seem to stay on track when it comes to the things we want the most for our lives. I thought to myself: maybe I should walk on the playing field before I run the play.

I chose to start January 1st, 2018 as any another day. New year, same shit. The only difference is that this go-round I let the thought of resolutions and goals and wants and plans whisper a melody in my mind without hanging on to any one lyric, and without turning off the music either. I didn’t cling to or claim the first “I want to go the gym three times a week” or “I want to make more videos.” I typically write everything that crosses my mind down, but I wouldn’t even let myself near a piece of paper in these first few weeks. I wanted to let the possibilities ruminate in the room of my mind; I wanted to see which desires would emerge as the truest of the true.

And I think we have a winner.

Err, winners.

This may be odd, especially to people like myself who try to find balance and find symmetry in everything, but the resolutions that reoccured, protruded, and rose high above the others don’t match and don’t quite make sense in regards to the traditional “New Year Resolution” narrative. These resolutions were what my heart was singing very clearly through all of the mess. So I listened.

Here are my three resolutions:

  1. Read one book a month. Feed your mind.
  2. Celebrate the small victories.
  3. One thing at a time.

Like I said, they’re a bit strange. They go from detailed to abstract, and they might not make sense upon reading them. But there’s something quaint about that, at least to me. They are special little snowflakes; they are mine. I will explain.

I used to love books when I was little. I was a very bossy child (still am) and I would insist on reading my books to my parents rather than the other way around. My mom loves to tell me this story about my 3rd birthday: how when I unwrapped toys and Barbie dolls I was overjoyed, but when I opened a book it was all over. I couldn’t stop flipping through the thing. I didn’t want to open any more gifts. And after the whole thing was said and done, the first present I picked up again was the book. Nothing else was as fascinating. This still rang true on my college graduation day when I did the same thing at 21 and my mom reminded me of this story. “Nothing has changed,” she said. During college you get your fair share of books, but the “fun” reading was reserved for summers only. When I graduated, I read a book here and there. But this year, I want to make it a realistic priority. My soul misses the words.

I have an issue with always living in the future. I’m always planning and plotting my next project, my next hang-out, my next job, my next problem: the list goes on. But this year is about the victories — and very specifically, the small ones. I think there’s something so beautiful about celebrating the small stuff. And I’m going to need it to get through this year, because it’s going to be a tough one. I just moved across the country away from the love of my life and my family to chase my dreams (that I’m not even sure of anymore). I’m not too keen of my job. But I have to keep it in perspective to keep myself afloat. Every day is one step closer to being reunited with a loved one. Every day is one more page I’ve written for my web series, or my film. Every day is one more day I have the opportunity to meet someone special or make a connection. Every day is one day closer to something. I’ve found a loophole around always anticipating what’s next: tricking myself into living in the present to make for a better tomorrow.

Finally, I need to start taking things one by one. I’m guilty of taking on too much. Not for anyone else, but for myself. I try to start five projects at once, see four friends in a week, and do a million things in a day. Not. possible. In fact, I always end up neglecting all of it because I’m so overwhelmed. One of my very good friends used to tell me all the time, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” I know that’s disgusting and weird and you’re like “Who are you, you freak,” but it’s just some metaphor that he’d heard (OK?!). And it makes sense. But for a person like me who thinks BIG, I don’t have one elephant. I never have one elephant. I have five. Lined up down the block. And for me, I just need to take each thing in my life one at a time. Dive in, make it whole and give it my all, then move on to the next. No matter how hard it is, or how long it takes. It’s better to get one thing done than to get nothing done at all.

Now that I’ve given you full insight into the thought process behind my resolutions, here are my two-cents on making yours for this beautiful, promising year:

Make it specific. 

If you are going to choose something concrete, such as the gym or a specialty diet or volunteering or listening to more podcasts — make it specific. Avoid the words “more” or “a lot.” Choose. Declare. One time a week. Three times a week. Every other week. Once a month. Commit and repeat.

Make it general.

You know I love a good contradiction. If you’re going to choose something abstract, make it general. I guess that’s sort of a given, but that’s the point. Think outside of the box. Don’t be afraid to make your resolution(s) a mantra or a motto. That’s fun AF. You can attribute it or place it onto anything and everything into your life.

Write it in pencil.

If you’re a writer like me, try this with me: write your goals in pencil. You can write it big or small; on a whiteboard covering an entire wall or in a notebook tucked away under your nightstand. This sounds silly, but I swear pen can sometimes mess with your brain. It’s so scary!!! It’s so permanent!!! Well flip the script. Write it in something erasable. This way, you know you can change or adjust it whenever you want and it’s not as daunting. Which brings me to my next point.

Be kind to your progress.

We live in a world that fears commitment. I think this is mostly because we aren’t committing to the things we actually love. But the catch is, even when we do it’s still never easy. That’s why it’s a commitment. But trial and error is a real, true thing. Be kind to your progress. You have to try something to know it’s not really what you want to do or what your heart desires. That’s okay. It knocks down one possibility and moves you closer to the one that will actually move your soul and change your life. Don’t be afraid to change, adjust, or make a new resolution. Heck, try out one thing a month. But once you find the thing that you really do want to hold on to, don’t quit. Even when it gets hard.

Happiest of days to you. Wishing you all the love in the world this new year. Go get ’em, tigress. xx

YOURSTRULYMIA

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Life & Lessons

14 Things I Learned From My Last College Spring Break

What is known to be the week of unimaginable amounts of alcohol, major sun burn, and bikinis so small your 13-year-old sister shouldn’t even be able to fit into them turned out the be quite the opposite for me—unless you count the bathing suit bottom I’ve had since middle school, the sun rash on my inner thigh, and the single spontaneous shot of tequila we took on the strip. After catching up with a few high school friends in DC, I traveled south with three of my college friends to spend the week kicking back on the beach in Clearwater, Florida. It was my first and last tropical spring break, but believe me, it was no Panama City. There were lots of old people and ice cream shops. We watched sunsets next to families and shared peanut butter and jelly donuts and went on walks to nowhere. The wildest party we had was falling asleep after too many crab legs. But we laughed a lot. We even cried a little. We talked, and sat in silence, and smiled, and made memories. It was a wonderful time.

My favorite part about getaways and vacations (aside from the fancy stationary pens they leave you in hotel rooms) is the brain space it grants you. Staring at the sea and the sky makes you think. I did a lot of this. Staring out a car window also makes you think. I did a lot of this too. Also—I’m just a sappy, thinky person. So naturally this blog post makes a lot of sense. Here’s a run down of what ran though my brain this past week. I hope you get as much out of these moments and realizations as I did, or even come to your own truths. Let’s start shallow, like the questionable pool at our three star motel.

1. Phones suck.

I don’t understand why we are addicted to distraction. I don’t know why we choose the people on our screens over the people right in front of us. I constantly evaluate whether I am going to burst from the amount of news and entertainment and blogs and emails and updates that I want to (and feel like I have to) read. But when I put my phone away for an entire day while we were here, I remembered what it’s like not to question any of that. And it rocked.

2. Phones rock.

I love sharing my experiences and thoughts with the world. I love being able to take notes when something cool happens and email them to myself so I can write blog posts like this. I love capturing moments with lenses, and seeing what my friends are up to on the other side of the world, and being able to let my parents know I’m safe. I hate Apple maps, but I am grateful every time I open it that I don’t have to unfold a blanket-sized paper one. Thank you, technology.

3. Walks are the best.

I forgot how much I love these things! You get active! They generate thought!  You see cool things! You smell the roses! They make you feel like typing sentences with exclamation marks!

4. So is the sun.

Sunshine doesn’t fix everything, but it fixes a lot. I’ve been trying to figure out why I’ve felt so weird and unmotivated lately, but then I remembered it’s because I’ve been spending the past month with my head in a hood stomping through snow and cursing at the cold. Sunshine feels good and it reminds you to be grateful for life. It recharges your soul. When there’s sun, take advantage of it. Where there’s sun, go. I like to think of it as a natural medicine or herb or drug. Get the D. (But use protection, specifically sunscreen, thank you and you’re welcome)

5. Things can be mended. 

Bad things happen. People will hurt you, intentionally and unintentionally. But I know two things. One, people make mistakes. Sometimes really big ones. And two, people can change. I know these things because I’ve done both. The second was a result of the first. Humans suck, and you and I are not excluded. But humans can also be really great, too. Forgiveness is hard, but it is important. And I’m still learning. The third thing I’ve learned may be the most important, and that is that things can be mended. Broken friendships and relationships get better with time (key word is time). But know that while some things fix themselves, a lot of things things don’t fix themselves—at least not at first. It involves communication, and effort, and proof that that person is not just trying to make things better for the heck of it, but that they actually want things to be better.

6. Mending looks different every time.

No scar or crack heals or gets filled in the same way or in the same amount of time. I’ve learned that you can’t put an expiration date on hurt.

7. Some people just won’t get it.

Every situation is unique. Some things mend differently than others, and not everyone will understand. And it’s not your job to convince them.

8. What people think of you is not a reflection of you.

It is a reflection of themselves, or where they are at in their head or day or process. I’ve discovered that when people are being rude, it’s usually because something has happened to them. If a person says something mean, it’s because of an experience they’ve had or a perception they’ve created in their reality that isn’t necessarily true of your reality (Thank you, The Four Agreements). When someone is acting annoyed or irritated, they are dealing with emotions they may be handling or hiding. I know that doesn’t really make what they say or do any better or less hurtful. But it helped me stop questioning myself and my actions when I realized this. There is something that person has to figure out for themselves. Let them, and you go on with yo bad self.

9. Sometimes what other people think of you is a reflection of you.

Are you noticing patterns?

10. Your parents are your ultimate teachers.

Stop right now and go thank (or give thanks if they are no longer with you) your parents for being them. I don’t care if they are or were the best or the worst—they provided you with a foundation for your life to mold and learn from. I am infinitely grateful for mine. I have realized so much about myself and my habits; who I want to be and who I don’t. How your parents raised you and where they raised you is a part of your life story—more than you even know. I realized this while talking to my friends this week. This is my moment to tell the world that my parents are fantastic, fantastic people. I love them not only for giving me life, being in my life, and providing for me in life, but teaching me what I know and how I know it.

11. Nature is talking to us.

I’m going to be honest with you. I’m 21, and big waves freak me out. But I noticed something: the big waves were never as scary as I thought they were when I swam straight into them, or turned around and rode with them. But they were always scary when I ran away and hope they didn’t hit me. Nature is always trying to tell us something. Catch my drift?

12. Seagull attacks are a real thing.

A seagull literally took a bite out of my friend’s sandwich. I couldn’t make this stuff up, folks. But what was really fascinating and infinitely less upsetting was the evening we watched a 12-year-old boy play with a flock of seagulls by leading them with a single Cheez-it. Magic. At first I was terrified for his life, then I laughed with him, then I was transfixed in pure awe. It was one of the most beautiful things I have seen a very long time. I felt liberated through this little boy; he was having the time of his life. He was so innocent. So free. The most amazing part is that he was in control, and he didn’t even know it. This made me think about my own life.

13. The times you feel the most lost, you never actually are. 

This is a common theme in my life, because I’m graduating and I’m scared and sad. This would not be the first time, but I’ve realized that this is probably going to happen a lot in life and I am okay with it. I started thinking of all the transitionary periods in my life. I look back and realized I got through all of them. Every single one. And the best part is, when I think about where I am now, every “next” stage turned out even better than I imagined it. I felt lost, but now I realized I never actually was. I was just scared. The plan for our lives is already mapped out, and even better than we know. A friend told me “If you don’t feel lost, then you are safe. And if you’re safe, then you will never grow.” Fear is a sign that you are putting yourself out of your comfort zone, and that’s where all the good stuff happens. Guess what? Everything is going to be okay.

14. Light follows.

Just like the seagulls, light follows. Or at least—that’s what we thought. We watched the sun set every night. The first evening, I noticed the reflection of the sun in the water created a path of orange light leading straight to my feet in the sand. I smiled to myself. A sign from the universe just for me, right? The second evening, my friend Meredith said something about it. I told her I was thinking the same thing yesterday, and we shared the moment. The third evening, we noticed the path of light led back to us yet again. All of a sudden, it was not cute anymore. I walked down the beach to solve the mystery. As it turns out, the trail of sun traveling across the water directly to my feet followed me wherever I went. It followed everyone. I was pissed! This was supposed to be a sign, what the heck! I returned with the bad news. They gasped in horror. Then we laughed for a long time. I felt so stupid. We were mad the magic wasn’t ours. But then I realized that wasn’t true. The magic was ours; it everyone’s. And that made it even more real. The world doesn’t revolve around me. It doesn’t revolve you. There’s enough light to go around.

The world is a big place. But the sun will find and follows us wherever we go.

YOURSTRULYMIA

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Professional & Career

37 things I learned from being a producer

Beyonce once said, “It takes a true bad ass to run shit.” But the truth is, Beyonce never said that. And I am not a true bad ass. But the good news is after my first experience as a producer for the student short film, On The Run, I’m 5% there.

People are often like, “What even is a producer? What does a producer do?” Well, well, well. Step into my office.

A producer oversees the creative and business aspects of the production. They help steer the film from it’s conception to it’s completion.  They work behind the scenes. They handle the day to day operations, and act as the point of contact for the film. Sometimes I was out and about running errands. Sometimes I was at a desk typing and scribbling away. Sometimes I held stuff on set. Sometimes I went to the car or to the store to get food or coffee or a prop we forgot. A lot of times, I was making calls and talking to people and convincing and asking and bribing (legally, of course) and scheduling and preparing.

I saw a lot more documents than I ever wanted to see, dealt with more people than I thought I’d ever have to, and got really good at professional-sounding emails and a grown-up phone voice. I was the organizer, the solver, and the handler. I wore whatever hat I was handed, whenever and wherever. But my main job was to bring a team together, create an environment where that team could flourish, and then let my team do their job. And that’s how it all happened.

Being a producer is about being a little bit of reckless, and a lot bit of graceful. It’s busy, and then slow. It’s boring, then exhilarating. And like any job, it has it’s ups and downs.

The cool thing about any job in any field is that when it comes down to it, we all essentially have the same goal: to get the job done. Being a producer taught me about the ins and outs of filmmaking and business, but it also taught me about life and professionalism on a larger and more universal scale. Here are some things I learned along the way.

1. Your first option should never be your only option.

2. Your first option is often not your best option.

3. Never be afraid to ask. Just spit it out. Ask ask ask, or you will never know.

4. People are more kind and willing to give than you realize.

5. People are also hard to deal with.*

6. Negotiate. Everything is a balance.

7. Risk is a wonderful, terrifying, very important thing. Befriend it.

8. (See 7) Realize that when you take risks, shit will most definitely hit the fan. Know that in advance. Be okay with it. Prepare for any and every outcome. Handle with grace and care.

9. Often, things don’t go as planned.

10. (See 9) Often, it’s a blessing in disguise.

11. Rely on your team. They are your allies, your bloodline, your heartbeat, your everything.

12. Know you can’t do it alone.

13. Know you will have to do some things alone.

14. Dance parties are important. (Especially in parking lots at 3am)

15. A team that bonds together is a team that stays together.

16. Learn how individuals on your team react and respond. Tailor the delivery of your compliments and critiques to each person. Think about how your words will best be received.

17. You don’t have to be an asshole to get things done.

18. If you don’t like something, say so.

19. If you do like something, say so.

20. Days and nights will get long. People will get tired. People will be stressed. Things will be said. Feelings will get hurt.

21. “Don’t take it personal” is easier said than done. But really—don’t take it personal. You can’t afford to. There is no time to sit and toil over it. Keep moving.

22. Don’t just communicate, communicate well. Be clear. Be concise. Be transparent. With everyone. Always.

23. Sometimes you will feel useless. And it’s not anyone else’s job to make you feel otherwise, which sucks. What you choose to do about it is up to you.

24. Starting early is never early enough. Start earlier.

25. You will probably cry.

26. You will definitely laugh.

27. You will definitely eat a lot of food. And consume more sugar than you ever thought you would, or could.

28. But don’t chug two Coca-colas back to back after 1am. Seriously.

29. No one wants to be the one to crack down, but someone has to be the one to crack down, and when you are the one to crack down, people will get upset. You have to learn how to get over that super quick. 

30. You will mess up. 

31. (See 30) Sometimes you can fix it. Sometimes you can’t.*

32. (See 31) It will feel like it’s the end of the world, but it’s not. I promise.

33. When you are forced to choose between your pride or the project—choose your project. Always. 

34. Things will get broken, both literally and figuratively. Your job is to put the pieces together, but know that sometimes you will have to pick the pieces up, too.

35. Prioritize the right things. Think smart. Work smart.

36. If you come to the table with a problem, don’t forget to bring a solution.

37. Always, always, always give thanks, appreciation, and love. Constantly, genuinely, and graciously.

*Take tylenol as necessary. Or a shot of whiskey.

As a person who fell in love with filmmaking after making Youtube videos at a young age, I am used to having creative control. I have always been the one to conceive the idea, execute the idea, and edit the idea. But to step back and orchestrate a team was different. I had to trust that my team could do the job and carry out the vision. And they did.

Making a student film while juggling the actual task of being an student, an employee, and a real life semi-functioning human being with social and physical needs is hard. Creative work is draining, but rewarding and beautiful, and that’s why we do it. Having a big vision is a big task. It’s not easy. It’s not predictable. I was not perfect. I did good. I did bad. I messed up along way. But that’s the extraordinary part about this and about life. You learn as you go, and put the lessons learned under your belt for next time.

Sources: http://creativeskillset.org/job_roles_and_stories/job_roles/757_producer

YOURSTRULYMIA

This post is dedicated to my incredible, wonderful, and hilarious team members of Track 02 productions. Becca, Wells, and Tyler—I love you!

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