August Reading List

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Happy Wednesday, dear readers. Hang in there. It’s almost Friday. Here are some articles that have recently caught my eye.

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Get Ready for Generation Z
One of my co-workers shared this with me last week and I must be honest, after reading it, I felt overwhelmed. These kids, born after 1995 and are now 18 or under are literally wired from the crib. So far, they seem to have more of an entrepreneurial drive and care about environmental issue more than any other demographic. Because I work in marketing at a university, it’s my job to understand these kids and to market an education to them. After reading this, I know I’ve got quite the task ahead of me.

What to Wear to Work
The problem with common sense is that it really isn’t so common. What people are wearing to work these days convinces me of one of two things: they live alone without a mirror, or they genuinely have no idea what is or is not appropriate to wear in a professional setting. (To be clear, I’m not just basing this off of what I see where I currently work, but also conferences, workshops and professional association meetings I’ve attended over the years.) This guide from Real Simple is just that-a simple guide to what is and what is not suitable for work. My personal rule: When in doubt, overdress. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You gain a reputation for being the person who always looks put together? Yes please.

Why Are There So Many Women in Public Relations?
I often thought about this in college. Once I advanced from my journalism classes into my PR classes, I noticed at least 70 percent of my classes were made up of women. I suppose at the time I fell into the trap of stereotyping and reasoning that “women are naturally better multitaskers, organizers and communicators.” This article from The Atlantic gives insight into this area with both anecdotes and data. Fun fact: Megan Laney, who is quoted in this story, was one of my college roommates and is a fellow UO journalism and PR grad.

Downton Abbey Cast Responds to ‘Water Bottle-Gate’ Photo Fail
Situation: Official photos of the Downton Abbey Cast were released this week as teasers for next season’s launch. One glitch, the show is set in the early 20th century and someone from the crew left their water bottle on the mantle behind Lady Edith. Opps! The cast responded this week with a creative comeback. What started at a #facepalm situation, turned into a cute and cheeky full-cast photo. Well played PR department, well played.

Money: Don’t be stupid with it

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Sounds like an easy enough assignment, right? The reality is that for many of us, we don’t control our money, our money controls us.

Last fall, I went through Financial Peace University and graduated. It’s genuinely one of the best things I’ve done for myself as an adult. I used to freak out over money, like sweat and say, “I just don’t want to talk about it.” My dad tried to sit down with me and help me create a budget, but just looking at all those numbers in excel and it overwhelmed me and made the anxiety worse. In the end, I didn’t do anything with my money. I had credit card debt that was growing and every month when my paycheck would be deposited into my checking, I’d just spend it until there was no more. The worst part was the guilt. I knew I was behaving childish, but I felt overwhelmed at the thought of where to begin.

My parents had an intervention. No, really. They sat me down and told me that I was welcome to live at home as long as I wanted under one condition: I had to go through Financial Peace University and “learn to manage my money like an adult.”

Gulp.

It was not at all what I expected. It was detailed and it was practical.

I made the decision to hand my credit card over to my parents where I asked them to “hide it somewhere in the house where I’d never find it.”

After ten weeks, I graduated and I can honestly say, I have peace about my finances. I’ve paid off my credit card debt and I’m saving like a boss. I pay cash for everything. I even have an emergency savings account!

My guilt has been replaced by not only peace but pride. I am so proud of how I’ve grown and am excited for where my life will take me and all the doors that will open for me because I am being so responsible with my finances.

Now, don’t make the mistake of thinking I’ve got it all together. I don’t. I even occasionally slip up and get an email with an overdraft notification on my checking account. The important thing is to get back up and move on. Don’t let those mistakes hold you back.

Now several months in, I’m discovering new things I love about FPU. One of which is Rachel Cruze, Dave Ramsey’s (FPU founder) daughter. She does some great video blogs and also occasionally breaks down things that are specific for us ladies out there.

Take a look at a recent video blog of hers:

I love this idea of different categories of stores. I felt inspired, so I decided to share mine here!

Three affordable stores that I shop at:

  • Target
  • Old Navy
  • H&M

Three expensive stores that I shop at:

  • Rue La La
  • (Need an invite? Click here.)

  • Nordstrom and Nordstrom RACK
  • JCrew

Her rule of always buying on sale is a must. I do this even at Old Navy. Once you start paying cash for everything you’ll feel so proud of yourself and you won’t even want to go back!

Check out Rachel’s YouTube channel for more great tips. To find where you can take a Financial Peace class in your neighborhood, click here.

5 Reasons Why I Wish I Were Annie Walker

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I like watching TV. Go ahead, judge away. I don’t care. Honest.

One of my fave new shows is Covert Affairs. I found it on Amazon Prime and watched all the back seasons. The current season started in July. It’s so addictive!

The show’s main character is Annie Walker who works as an operative in the CIA. In short she is totally everything I wish I could be in an alternative universe.

  1. She’s incredibly brave. She serves her country without abandon. Say the suspect she’s chasing is running below a bridge along a riverbank, Annie would jump into the river. JUMP!
  2. She’s adventurous. Annie will go anywhere at anytime, without question. “We need you on the next flight to Russia,” her boss will say and she is there. Or her boss says, “We need you to intercept a hand-off in the Havana airport.” So goes. Amazing. To just live life without abandon is amazing and admirable. I cannot count the amount of times Annie has been in a situation where I’ve thought, “How on earth is she going to get out of this one?!”
  3. She’s always stylish. Granted, she has a personal stylist on the show, but please, if she’s in Paris, she’s in couture. If she’s in Morocco, she’s adorned with the most colorful scarf, bangles with bells and beaded flats. In the first two seasons, if she was chasing a terrorist, she’d be doing it in Louboutins. This season, she’s been spotted with Stella McCartney bags and in last week’s episode, she stashed some illegal drugs in her Prada bag. How she affords all this on a government salary is completely besides the point. Girl’s got style and she’s saving the world while doing it. Props Annie. Props.
  4. She’s perfectly charming. Notice how I said “perfectly.” It’s not too much, but it’s just enough. It’s enough that it allows her to get away with quite a lot. This asset opens a tremendous amount of doors for her. She’s a smooth talker and she’s able to snake her way in and out of some ridiculously sticky situations.
  5. Her intuition and wit can get her out of any situation. She is crazy smart. Her cover the first three seasons was that she was an employee at the Smithsonian and man did she know everything about pieces in each and every collection at the Smithsonian. Also, she speaks at least five languages fluently.

Confession: When Annie is an a bind, I often think of this song:

What shows do you watch?

I’d love to hear your favorites. 

Don’t Buy Into The Lies

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This week, while scouring Pinterest, I came across this image.

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First, let’s talk about these flowers. I mean WOW. I heart pink peonies. Like big time.

Now, for the legit part. What’s stunning to me is that some people actually buy into this statement. If you’re wondering what the problem with this, allow me to explain.

Let’s say for a moment that this is wisdom and truth to be followed. If that were true the world would revolve around me. I’d do whatever I want whenever I want. My best interest would come before anyone else’s. Do what makes me feel good? Shopping buys me happiness. So do doughnuts. So do weekends when I don’t have to work. Also, I love sleeping in. So maybe I should just sleep in instead of going to work. If someone hurts my feelings, I’d peace out on the friendship instead of having a confrontation. What if driving 20 miles over the speed limit made me happy?

Here’s the reason why this doesn’t work. Life takes courage. Courage to do the right thing. Doing the right thing is rarely easy. I’d argue that life can bring you joy and joy and happiness are two vastly different things.

Happiness is what I feel when the Ducks win. Joy is what I have when I think about how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family. It’s something that grows and is more permanent.

Being kind, gracious, generous and selfless is not easy, but it’s what we need to be if we are to have a beneficial and functioning society.

Imagine for a moment the world, full of selfish people. It’s actually terrifying isn’t it? what would become of the poor, the sick, the hungry, the needy?

So to this ridiculous statement surrounded by incredibly beautiful flowers, I say, what a piece of you know what.

 

Jump In

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My life is controlled chaos right now. I’ve got so many things going on at work that I find myself longing for the weekend and when it comes, I soak up every minute of it.

To be fair, while there are a great many projects on my desk right now, I enjoy working on each of them. I also know that seasons come and go at work and this just happens to be a particularly crazy time.

At the end of this month, I will have been at my job for one year. I feel like the last year flew by. My job turned out to be not at all what I expected. It’s better.

The most challenging aspect has been directly managing projects where in the past I would have worked under someone who managed it. For example, my employer recently sponsored a golf tournament with key publics in coordination with a local radio station. I’ve gone with managers before to events like this, but running point was a first. That morning, I woke up and thought, “OK, I’ve never done this before, but I’ve seen other people do it many times. I have all the tools I need. Let’s go!” Then, at the end of the day I find myself driving home thinking, “Well, look at that! I didn’t screw that up at all!”

Ha!

The best part is that being thrust into these situations has taught me a tremendous amount. Now I look forward to next year, when I’ll know what to expect.

Last year when I wrote about going back to work, I wrote that I was jumping back in. I had no idea how true that would be. This job has been a lot like jumping or diving. Here’s what I know to be true about diving:

I know how to swim.

I’ve dove before.

It’s not that far.

There’s a ladder close by.

When I’m faced with a professional challenge, fear and doubt can easily creep in. What if I belly flop?! What if I hit my head? Sometimes I feel a little nervous to take it on by myself, but then I remind myself of the truth statements I can stand on:

I’ve been educated in the top PR program on the west coast.

I’ve seen other people do this many times before.

I’ve done this task with others successfully before, so there’s no reason I won’t be successful now.

I have a wonderful team who can support me when I need it.

I’m so grateful for my job and for all that I’ve learned in the last year. I’ve learned to trust my instincts, to access the area and then jump right on in! Don’t let fear dictate your actions. Trust yourself and trust your experience. You can do it! Jump!

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