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115th Boston Marathon!

24 Apr

So I survived my first Boston Marathon… My sister took her camera with her during the race so we could capture our experience. The spectators were amazing. Hearing my name being called every few feet really helped me stay motivated throughout the race. It was great to be on the other side of the corrals!  I really didn’t start to get tired until about mile 20, then my quads started killing. I finished with my best time, and beat my goal time by 6 minutes! It was a great, long, exhausting day and I was so lucky to have my sister to share the experience with. Thanks to everyone who came out and watched and cheered for us!!

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Check out one of my other favorite blogger’s experience running the Boston Marathon!

Scatterbrained.

12 Apr

I’m a little all over the place right now. Lots has been going on, per usual, and I have not really had a minute to post about it all.

On April 2nd  I went to Mount Snow in Vermont for the Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge finals. A friend of mine’s dad works for Pepsi, so she goes every year. I was lucky enough to take part this year, so we stayed in the Grand Summit Hotel and spent the day on Saturday (after a long and snowy drive up on Friday) snowboarding/skiing and spent the night loungin’ in the hot tub. It was great to get away from the city for a little bit.

Courtney and I at the bottom of the Mountain

I started working part time at my new job at BzzAgent. I have spent the past two Fridays in the office, learning the ropes, and doing some work for them at home.

I finished up the last two Showcases at Suffolk for accepted students, and after this coming Saturday, I will be done with weekend tours at Suffolk for good. We had a large turnout with 1,500 attendees, and for once we also had gorgeous weather.

I am finding it difficult to go to my classes, which are electives, when the rest of my weeks are so busy. My mind is 80 percent involved in working and finishing up my internship at Cone, the PR agency, and maybe only 20 percent involved in my classes. I guess that is why they call it senioritis.

And last but not least… Exactly ONE WEEK until the Boston Marathon!!! Freaking out just a little bit. I went for my last “longer” run yesterday, but for some reason I was in so much pain. I have been debating switching to new sneaks for a while now, but now I am afraid it is too close to the marathon to switch. But, I decided I have no choice; my shins and the right arch of my foot decided to start hurting as soon as I started, and continued hurting right through mile 4. Only makes me frustrated and more nervous. I think I should take the rest of the week off running, but if I buy new sneakers, I’ll have to run in them a few times this week. I found a great article about the mistakes of tapering and injury treatment on Runners World last night when I was doing some research. It was also cool to look under the hashtag #BostonMarathon on Twitter, and see what other runners are thinking this week, right before the big race.

Anyways, the end is near, and I am super excited to run with 30,000 other runners next Monday on Patriot’s Day! On the bright side, this week equals tapering and carb loading- two of my favorite words. 🙂

I think for the next few weeks my mind will continue to be scatterbrained. Without all of the running and marathon training, I am not sure sure of what else to do with all my my time! Train for another perhaps?

The end of one and the beginning of another

31 Mar

There is so much going on right now, yet I feel like I am just waiting for it all to happen. I ended my internship at Mom Central after 1.5 years, and it was definitely hard to say goodbye. They were so sweet and signed a card and had cake for me before I left. It was a great work environment and overall a really great company. I will continue to recommend that students from Suffolk intern there. (If you need a contact, let me know!) It was a great learning experience and as an intern, I really got to have my hands in a lot of different projects. I learned all aspects of PR, Marketing, Business Development, journalism, Social Media, and the importance of teamwork (which is not at all like it is in a school setting!) I felt part of the team. What else can an intern ask for?

I start my new job at BzzAgent part-time tomorrow!

18 days til’ the marathon…

My sister and I in our new Boston Marathon 2011 gear!

4 Weeks until the end of school…

I’m just waiting for all the craziness to start.

p.s. BuyWithMe had a deal today for 50% off at City Sports! Check it out!

 

How DO we find that “Me Time”

22 Mar

My weeks are seeming unbelievably busy right now.  This week will probably be the busiest, seeing as I am currently employed at Mom Central, Cone, Suffolk Admissions, and BzzAgent (Hurray new post-grad real-life job!) And let’s not forget about class and training for this little thing called the Boston Marathon. My days include leaving my house at around 7 or 8 and not stepping foot back into my apartment until about 8 at night. Talk about exhausted. But in the end, it will be all worth it. No I did not go on Spring Break like pretty much every other college student (especially the seniors), but I successfully landed myself a new job. And like my mom never fails to remind me, I WAS in Australia for four months during my Sophomore year , so I guess I had enough Spring break to last me the rest of college (rest of my life?!)

With that being said, and being as busy as I am, I am desperately trying to find some time to myself throughout my days. The only way I could do that is to cut back on the running and training. And to be honest, that probably won’t happen. There are only 27 days until Boston. With Spring here, I guess I was hoping training would start to become more enjoyable- but I am finding it very difficult right now to stay motivated to run when it is STILL snowing, especially the long ones. The aches and pains are starting and I am starting to wonder if less is may be more right now.

As I read other training blogs, I find myself discouraged as to how many miles I have been putting in a week, compared to them. I had a few long runs (long being only about 18) but I am wondering if I really should be doing more (like 24-26). Since once again I have to mention that I failed to obtain a number for the marathon, I guess my time really shouldn’t matter- I guess I should just run it to run it, but my mind needs something specific to work for. It’s like the same idea that if I am not training for a race or marathon, I have no motivation to run. And I am too afraid to stop running, too afraid to gain back the weight I have lost since I started running September of 2009. (Has it really been almost 2 years?!) Do I love running? No, absolutely not. I never look forward to going for a run. I just do it because I know I have to. I don’t love anything about it, except how it makes me feel after I am done.

Then there are the days when I come across some inspiration and motivation through other runners. Things like this, that I found at http://100milewarrior.blogspot.com/

“Training is doing your homework. It’s not exciting. More often than not it’s tedious. There is certainly no glory in it. But if you stick with it, over time, incrementally through no specific session, your body changes. Your mind becomes calloused to effort. You stop thinking of running as difficult or interesting or magical. It just becomes what you do. It becomes a habit.

Workouts too become like this. Intervals, tempos, strides, hills. You go to the track, to the bottom of a hill, and your body finds the effort. You do your homework. That’s training. Repetition–building deep habits, building a runner’s body and a runner’s mind. You do your homework, not obsessively, just regularly. Over time you grow to realize that the most important workout that you will do is the easy hour run. That’s the run that makes everything else possible. You live like a clock.

After weeks of this, you will have a month of it. After months of it, you will have a year of it.

Then, after you have done this for maybe three or four years, you will wake up one morning in a hotel room at about 4:30 am and do the things you have always done. You eat some instant oatmeal. Drink some Gatorade. Put on your shorts, socks, shoes, your watch. This time, though, instead of heading out alone for a solitary hour, you will head towards a big crowd of people. A few of them will be like you: they will have a lean, hungry look around their eyes, wooden legs. You will nod in their direction. Most of the rest will be distracted, talking among their friends, smiling like they are at the mall, unaware of the great and magical event that is about to take place.

You’ll find your way to a tiny little space of solitude and wait anxiously, feeling the tang of adrenaline in your legs. You’ll stand there and take a deep breath, like it’s your last. An anthem will play. A gun will sound.

Then you will run.”

And this is what it’s all about. This is why I run. Besides the fact, of course, that I love to eat.

So when searching for things to cut out of my day- to make more time for me… I guess I will just have to accept that running IS my “me time.”

Some Inspiring Words

15 Mar

I found this on another blog that I follow often, http://wttmb.tumblr.com/ and I just love everything that it says. If only I could really live life like this.

5 Weeks until Boston Marathon!!!

PR Advanced: Be the Change

1 Mar

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend Boston University’s PR Advanced conference, sponsored by their chapter of PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America).

I learned about the conference through a fellow intern at Cone;  she happened to be on the planning committee for the event. I had battled back and forth about whether or not I should attend the conference, especially since there was a non-prssa member’s fee, but she insisted that it would be well worth my time, and a great way to learn the ropes of networking for public relations. I have known that this is a major part of any job, especially in public relations, sales, and marketing fields, and that the more experience I can get with networking and learning about other agencies and companies before applying for jobs, the better.

For my first PR conference, I was pleasantly surprised. Employees from Mom Central always go to various conferences throughout the year; some good, some bad, but they always sound very interesting. One of the biggest conferences of the year (at least for MC) is BlogHer, where employees come back with lots of swag in tow from every type of Brand, and more business cards than one can even count (that I would spend the rest of the week entering into our contact database system). I made it my goal of the conference to accumulate as many business cards as I could and meet as many people from different agencies that were at the career fair. I thought that the career fair and panel would be the highlight of the conference, thinking the rest of the day would just be spent listening to some speakers, but I was definitely wrong.

The morning started with the first keynote speaker, Jon Iwata, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at IBM. I assumed that I would not be able to relate much to this speaker, but Jon Iwata gave one of the best speeches I have ever heard.

He started  off talking about how marketing is about the consumer, where pr is more about the message. He touched upon the marketing funnel which uses four steps: Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action. He explained that this model is weak though, since it does not allow for feedback, which other communication models do (at least the ones I have learned about through my PR classes.) It was interesting to learn about marketing contrasted with public relations, since I  never took actual classes in marketing.

However, in both PR and Marketing, the end result is to get the consumer or your audience to take action.

Within his speech he started talking about why belief matters and that it is important that we do not confuse fact with what people believe.  It is our job to distinguish from the two. He used a couple different analogies to describe this. My favorite was the donut example. He had three brand images on the screen; Dunkin Donuts, Krispy Kreme, and Hostess. He asked if we all believed donuts were best served hot, where would we go? Obviously we would choose Krispy Kreme. If we believed donuts were the best breakfast foods for kids, we would choose Hostess. And if we thought donuts were unhealthy, then perhaps we would choose Dunkin Donuts, since they have other options besides donuts. However, this may result in a rebranding for Dunkin Donuts, or at least a change in name  so people do not associate “donuts” with Dunkin “Donuts.”

“Awareness is fine, but Belief is better,” Jon Iwata stated. According to Iwata, the top factors that cause people to believe something are fact, personal experience, and what other people tell them.

Jon Iwata made me think about social media in this sense. It seems like social media was made for this reason; to make people believe what you have to say- to offer them fact, but to back it up with personal experience. Even if we may not know everyone we follow on Twitter, we follow them for a reason. We listen to what they have to say for a reason. They make us aware of what they are saying, but to a certain extent- we believe them. That is some power.

However, even if we do believe something, this does not necessarily mean were are going to act on it. So why don’t people change their behaviors, even if they believe something? Jon explained that if people lack “agency,” where people have to feel they can be successful in order to act, then they will not change their behaviors. So as PR and marketing professionals, we have to provide our audience with the tools they need to succeed. We need to tell people exactly what to do to get them to act on what their beliefs.

Here Jon quoted Yoda- “Do or do not, there is no try.” What a great quote.

Peers matter. In order to get people to act, it helps to let them know that their peers are doing it as well. So much for the “ignoring peer pressure” speech we all got in our DARE programs growing up.

Jon provided us with an example; the hotel he was staying in was trying to get guests to reuse their towels. One sign simply asked guests to reuse their towels to save the environment. There was no change. However, when guests read the sign “The majority of our guests reuse their towels,” the hotel saw a 26% increase in the reuse of towels.

The presentation came to an end after he spoke to us about the invention of  Watson, the QA computer that beat out Jeopardy contestants. We watched the clip from the show, and Jon let us know that Watson kicked his but in a test run for Jeopardy, before it was even ready to go.

It had only been about an hour at the conference and I had already learned so much. I was rapidly taking notes and I couldn’t wait to attend my first breakout session of the conference, which was an Agency Panel titled “Opportunities Worldwide.”

The different panelists from this session were Barri Rafferty, Senior Partner and Director at Ketchum- NY, Meghan Smith, Senior Account Supervisor at Edelman- NY, and Katherine Wilburn, a consultant Gagen Macdonald. The moderator happened to be Jonathan Yohannan, the SVP of Corporate Responsibility at Cone, so I was able to chat with him for a few minutes after the panel about my current internship at Cone.

Some of the different things the panelists talked about included using your skills and personality traits to land a job. They talked about perhaps taking summer internships even after we graduate (which are paid, thank goodness), since many of those internships turn into full time positions. I never considered taking an internship after I graduated.

Barri Rafferty spoke about using social media to our advantage. Sure we all have a Facebook and Twitter, but how do we use it? Can we translate it to cross over into our professional lives? Of course this got me thinking more about social media. How do I generate interesting content professionally that other people might be interested in?

Now more than ever, it is important create our own personal brands and use social media to portray them.  I have to think some more about this one. What is my personal brand? How would I want to be seen through social media and does that reflect what people see when we meet face-to face?

My second breakout session was about emerging technologies.  I had the opportunity to learn about Pongr which is a new site geared towards creating brand ambassadors through uploading pictures of your favorite brands, in hopes to become the “CEO” of the company. We met with the founder and challenged him with our questions about the goals of the site.

Our second keynote speaker was Margery Kraus, Founder and CEO of APCO worldwide. She talked about ROI ( Return on Investment) + ROR (Return on Reputation) equaling Market Capitalization.

After the second keynote, we had a career panel with Stephanie Deitzer, Founder and President of Style at Work, Maggie Van Der Laauw, Manager, Human Resources at Burson-Martseller, Kate DiChristopher, Human Resources Manager at Marina Maher Communications, and Eric Leist, Emerging Technical Strategist from Allen & Gerritsen.

#PRAdvanced Trending in US

#PRAdvanced Trending in US

Throughout the panel, they encouraged Tweeting using #PRAdvanced, while they displayed the tweeted questions and responses behind them. Soon enough, #PRAdvanced was a trending topic in the US.

They answered all of our questions about the job search, and gave us some great advice. One of the most interesting things I took away was their idea that the standard resume is old news. They suggested that all we need is a strong LinkedIn site, with all of our experiences and social media sites attached. This was a surprise to me. The importance of having a strong, organized resume has been drilled into my head since high school. Social Media- changing our lives forever.

The day came to a close after we were able to network at the career fair with several different agencies including Fleishman-Hillard, Marina Maher Communications, Ketchum, MSL Group, Cone, Burson-Martseller, Hill Holliday, Porter Novelli, Lewis PR, 360 PR, and Allen & Gerritsen.

I was left with a stack of business cards and wondering how soon was too soon to connect with all of these new contacts on LinkedIn and Twitter in order to  start my post graduation job search.

I also need to talk to someone  on campus about starting a PRSSA chapter at Suffolk. I have no idea why more PR and Marketing students did not know about this conference. Maybe this is something I can try to do for Suffolk before I graduate, for all of those other PR and Marketing majors. Knowing about all of these events and conferences would have been very beneficial. I spoke briefly with Rachel Sprung, the national VP of regional activities for  PRSSA about getting a chapter set up here at Suffolk. So for those of you incoming students, it’s in the works!

Another benefit of small classrooms- chocolate!

24 Feb

My review writing class for Suffolk meets Tuesday nights from 5:30 to 8:10. I took this class as an elective, since I had fulfilled all of my required classes for Suffolk, and I only had a remaining 11 credits to take. Each week in this class we do something different, which leads to writing a different type of review for the following class. We did a movie review of  the 1994 film “The Paper” one week, and this past Tuesday we were lucky enough to visit a chocolate cafe in South Boston.

Started by a Suffolk Alum,The Blue Tierra Cafe specializes in gorgeous hand crafted chocolates, most of which look too gorgeous to eat. I have never seen such beautiful pieces of chocolate that taste just as amazing as they look. Through our review writing class (and funded by Suffolk) we were each allotted $25 each to taste what ever we wanted, in addition the chocolates that were set up on trays for us before we arrived. Among my favorites were unique flavors like Caliente!, which is made with spicy cayenne pepper and dark chocolate- a combination that sounds strange but actually blends perfectly together (if you don’t mind a little bite in your chocolate), the pbj- which tasted oddly enough like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and the Lady Luck- dark chocolate raspberry ganache with a touch of champagne. Of course I also loved the peanut butter cup (I’m obsessed with peanut butter) and the dark chocolate covered oreos. I also have to admit that I ordered a huge delicious chocolate chip cookie. I wish I could say that that was all I tried, but I would be lying. I honestly don’t know how there are food critics and samplers that are not 400 pounds. I could not stop myself. Not the best day to skip a work-out, but the chocolate was definitely worth it!

Everything was delicious and I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.  My friend Geralyn took a couple pictures on her phone, but there are higher quality pictures of mostly everything I sampled on the Blue Tierra website.

The vibe of the shop is worldly and eclectic and the coolest thing about the shop is that most of the ingredients are natural, local, and organic. The dairy is from a farm in Milton and owner Jen Turner tries to keep her shop as environmentally friendly as possible. Blue Tierra can be found at 258 West Broadway in South Boston, MA 02127, between streets C and D.