A Dark Day in Democracy

I’m not one to write about politics. I find that I never have the right words, the right facts or the right way of framing things. However, on this day I could only write what I was truly feeling. 11/9/16 is a dark day in democracy for the United States. It is a day that will shake half of this country to its core, in fear of the future.

I wish I could put the blame on those who voted 3rd party or didn’t vote at all, but I can’t. They made their choice and so did everyone else. What’s done is done, and today is one that we should take to mourn. Mourn the loss of of our innocence, the loss of ignorance, the the loss of what could’ve been a historical moment for women, and the loss of the future many of us had planned. We must mourn these losses in order to move forward.

Maya Angelou once said,

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Today we will never forget the fear that struck our hearts when the ballots rolled in. We will never forget the anger and hatred we felt when we had lost. We will never forget the sadness of a candidate giving their concession speech, and President Obama standing there during his remarks acting like it’ll all be okay but knowing that he will be leaving office on January 20th… leaving a legacy behind we won’t forget during this lifetime.

So today I say mourn the loss, take the time to process what just happened. Then tomorrow, let these feelings fuel you to finally speak up and do your civic duty. We’ve lost the innocence and ignorance we gained from the last couple years, we lost the ability to just rely on our votes and those we elected into office. It’s time we get involved so we can protect what America has accomplished, and those in our communities who are fearful of what’s next.

It’s time to do what Ghandi once said –

“Be the change you wish to see in the world”

It’s time to stand together and fight for what America can be. The Legislative and Executive branches may have the right to enact laws, but we have our rights as well. We have the right to speak, to assemble, to petition and to practice our beliefs. Whether we all agree on the issues at hand or not is no matter now, now is the time to stand up for each other and make sure the next four years enact the positive and hopeful change we’ve been asking for.

So take today to mourn the loss and the past, then tomorrow the real work begins.

How Being Lactose Intolerant and a Birthday Gift Taught Me How to Cook

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A couple months ago I was told by my doctor that I was probably lactose intolerant. After a 2-week no-lactose test and no problems what so ever, I knew I was going to have to give up milk, cheese, chocolate, etc. I was a bit sad but almost thankful because I knew it was going to force me to eat the way I’ve been wanting to for months.

A dose of reality

In the past I’ve usually eaten pretty healthy, aside from a tasty dessert or hamburger and fries every now and then. So when I found out I had to cut out all lactose products I really had to think about what I had been putting into my body. I tossed out all of the cheese in my fridge, bought lactose-free butter and thankfully I already had olive-oil based mayo. From that moment I thought I was condemned to a life of salads and fruit. Thanks to Buzzfeed Food and a 23rd birthday gift, I was wrong.

My Sister for the Win

On my 23rd birthday my sister got me a Blue Apron 2-week subscription. I’m on week 2, and so far it’s going pretty well. In my first week I overcooked one meal (and it was too difficult to make in my tiny studio kitchen), I did find one recipe I’d make again (brown butter gnocchi).

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While none of the Blue Apron recipes are dairy free (so happy for lactaid pills), it has taught me how to not be afraid of making things aside from salad and eggs. So to my sister, who is a great cook, thanks for the subscription! I’m now not afraid trying new recipes in the kitchen.

Buzzfeed food is my google

Any of my coworkers will tell you I love Buzzfeed. I reference Buzzfeed articles all the time, and I LOVE their recipe section, Buzzfeed Food (Tasty on Facebook). While some of the recipes will have too many ingredients for my liking, I have found some great recipes because they reference food blogger sites or their own recipes.

While I could Google for ‘easy dairy free dinners’ it’s much easier for me to look at recipes on Buzzfeed that I’d want to make and just remove the dairy where I can. While there are dairy-free cheeses and such, I think it’s best to just try to make the recipe without the milk or cheese… it’ll probably also taste better because the lactose-free cheese I bought was DISGUSTING.

I’m still just an “ok” cook, but that’s fine with me

While I can still easily over-cook my food or not season it as well as I should’ve, I’d say I’m a pretty decent cook at this point. While I’ll still stick with what I know most of the time, it’s because I tried something new that my body feels better than it used to and I finally have a relationship with food I’ve been wanting for a very long time.

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So I’ll end with this – I may still eat a little cheese or chocolate from time to time but I’m thankful I learned how to cook with the help of my body and Blue Apron.

x Kelly

#boss

What Does ‘Adulting’ in Your Early 20s Really Mean?

 

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Another day of work and another night of trying not to order Grub Hub while sitting on the couch watching Netflix. When we enter the “real world”, we often think about whether we are actually adults, or not. We have entered the work force, have not-so-great apartments (usually with roommates) and only some of us make the time to workout. So what does the word “adulting” really mean in your early 20s?

First, breaking down the word “adult”

As soon as we graduate college and start our first post-grad job we are now no longer allowed to call ourselves a anything but an adult – because by law and life we are officially adults – expected to join the “real world”, contribute to society and support ourselves.

If you Google ‘definition of adult’ your screen will automatically pop up “a person who is fully grown or developed”. However, at the age of 22 would I consider myself fully grown or developed? Honestly, I’m not sure. Most people say I’m “mature” or “professional” leading them to say I’m an adult. However, this was the first year I did my taxes by myself, and I still called my dad three times asking questions.

So if being an adult is someone who is grown and developed like Google/the dictionary says, yet being an ‘adult’ brings on all of these new responsibilities, in our early 20s are we really adults or are we still pre-adult?

What “adulting” entails

In my mind, adulting includes the following:

  • You are financially independent
  • You have insurance
  • You have a job
  • You do your own taxes
  • You have a 401k
  • You can make yourself a meal other than easy mac
  • You know how to properly clean an apartment/house
  • You have a place to live that’s not your parents basement
  • You do laundry on a somewhat-normal basis
  • Your apartment doesn’t look like a college frat house
  • You have somewhat of a savings account ($20 in savings counts)
  • You check your bank account at least on a weekly basis, and lastly…
  • You can make yourself a cocktail at the end of a long work day.

If you can check off at least three of these things, you’re doing something right. Today, adulting entails a lot of things but being in your early 20s is hard enough. It’s different being an adult in your early 20s and an adult in your late 20s+, but you’re adulting.

What to remember moving forward…

At this stage in life everyone is the same yet different. We are all in the same boat but moving in different directions. Some of us are moving up quickly, while others are still getting their feet wet. When we walked into the office on our first day no one said it was going to be easy. In fact, I think they said it’s going to be hard.

If you’re to take anything away from this post remember that in our early 20s we are adults, but there will be times it is hard and we might need a little guidance. So getting a bit drunk with your friends after a bad day at work, spending a little too much on eating out and ubers is all part of the learning process. It’s 100% normal, so just roll with it. You’re an adult now remember?

x Kelly

#boss

Celebrating 1 Year

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Today marks my 1 year anniversary at my work… AKA I’ve been a college graduate for over a year now. I’m pretty sure that officially makes me an adult (scary), and looking back on this year I realize I’ve had it pretty good. I have plenty of bumps in the road but overall I have a great job, adorable studio and a pretty good sense of who I am. Overall, I’d say after everything that happened in 2015, today is definitely a day for celebration… and to that point, I thought I’d share 15 things I learned this past year… so here it goes.

Things I’ve Learned During My First Year as an “Adult”

  1. Being happy matters.
  2. Beware of apartments that are like a faux Prada bag.
  3. Keep doing you.
  4. Take care of yourself.
  5. Be reliable to your team, friends and family.
  6. Go grocery shopping at least once a week.
  7. Don’t worry about finding “the one”
  8. Learn how to make a cocktail (with the good alcohol)
  9. Have a savings account
  10. Invest in your 401k
  11. Find a doctor/dentist in your city and schedule your own doctor/dentist appointments
  12. Remember that Uber is the silent budget killer
  13. Take yourself out for a good meal every once in awhile
  14. Know how to use excel properly
  15. You don’t have to have a  plan, just an idea

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” – Allen Saunders

While all of these lessons are valuable, number 15 is probably the biggest lesson I had to learn this year. I’ve always had a plan. I planned out every single class, time abroad and internship my freshman year of college. Everything I planned out happened, and I accomplished everything I had hoped to in college. However, I now know you don’t have to have a plan.

I do know I want to work abroad in a year or two, and maybe eventually start my own business. However, unlike the past I have no deadline. To celebrate my 1 year anniversary, I’m going to cheers to not having a plan anymore. As I’ve said many times in this blog post, life’s too short and I’m 22. It’s time to just roll with it and keep doing what I’m doing, then see where it takes me.

x Kelly

#boss

New Year, New Me?

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With the start of a new year, the topic of resolutions and goals pop up all around. You start to see numerous articles about how to keep your New Year’s Resolution, keeping yourself in check of your goals and how you can become a “better you” with the start of the new year. Well, I do not believe in New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, and this will sound harsh, I think they’re a poor excuse as to why you didn’t start working out consistently, reading more or working harder than you did last year.

Why now?

From my observations, the practice of New Year’s Resolutions is short lived. I can’t think of one person I know who kept up with their resolutions, and it always makes me wonder – why? The first thought that comes to mind, and is an excuse I’ve used time and time again, is “I’m busy”. The time old excuse that in reality only applies to a select group of people who really don’t have the time and need to focus on more important aspects of their lives, is thrown around loosely by many.

So, why now? Why always the start of the new year? For as long as I can remember, the start of the new year always reminds people of what they didn’t accomplish the year that’s ending and makes them think of what they want to accomplish in the year to come. However, should we continue to buy into something that has a low success rate? The logical person in me says no, because there are far better ways to achieve goals.

How can I accomplish my goals?

coffee-shop-girlSo far this year, I’m off to a good start with the goals I’ve been planning for awhile. For starters, I’m actually blogging tonight, and I’ve kept up a workout regimen because I found a workout class I like (very rare). What can you do to accomplish your goals? I would say the first thing is to stop thinking of excuses and do it, you’re wasting your time otherwise.

The second thing you can do is to schedule your goals. This would not take very long to do, but if you want to keep up with reaching your goals, set annoying alarms on your phone or calendar to remind you that you need to workout, or study a new language, go through your monthly budget, etc. I’m usually a very organized person, but I started scheduling days I have to workout and days I need to write, and so far it’s going well.

The third and final thing is to stop thinking short term. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your goal of being healthy or doing better at work won’t happen with the snap of your fingers. Write your goals down, remind yourself every day that if you keep at it things will happen over time. But also keep in mind to not become obsessed, and to work in the steps to reach your goals while still living life and having fun. If you obsess over this year, being “your year”, you won’t be able to enjoy it, and it’ll just be another year in the books.

Don’t forget…

  1. Stop making excuses
  2. Schedule time for your goals
  3. Think long term

If you do these three things, you can stop calling it a “New Year’s Resolution” and instead just say it’s what makes you, you.

x Kelly

#boss

*Images provided by Google Images

Making the Most Out of Content Discovery

Making the Most Out of… Part 2

I almost didn’t write this tonight, but I told myself when I wrote my last post that I needed to finish my new series this week (to keep it relevant). However, I knew I could write this post if I wrote about my new favorite platform to use, content discovery. I am a bit biased since I work for a content discovery platform, but I truly believe that it’ll soon be an integral part of all strategic communication.

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Why would I use a content discovery platform?

Why wouldn’t you use a content discovery platform? If you use Facebook or Twitter ads, or even a display network, content discovery is the new(er) kid on the block making waves in post-click engagement and a better correlation between marketing efforts and ROI. The great thing about content discovery is that it’s not necessarily an ad or product page, it’s content – and sometimes really great content you didn’t know you needed.

3 TIPS FOR SUCCESSFUL CONTENT DISCOVERY CAMPAIGNS

  1. You really need some great content. While not-so-great content will get you clicks,  having great content will definitely help in terms of high CTRs and low CPCs. (CTR = click through rate, CPC = cost per click).
  2. Lower CPCs gradually over time. The one thing I’ve learned in these past 6 or so months is starting at a higher CPC and gradually lowering over time to ensure a campaign’s longevity resulting in consistent or higher CTRs over the same amount of time.
  3. Don’t just sit there, make optimizations. Content discovery platforms usually allow for UTM source pass-back and conversions. Use these tools to your advantage and don’t always let your campaigns just run. If you want to track blog sign ups, ask about conversion pixels or ask to block certain source ID’s you are seeing a low performance from in Google Analytics. By making smart optimizations you are making room for a great campaign with a much better ROI than a regular display network.

I could talk about tips all day for running successful content discovery campaigns, but these three things are very important. While sometimes campaigns will just falter, if you implement these practices more times than not, you’ll see why content discovery is a better platform to invest in.

Is that it?

No, like I said those three tips are very important, however a lot of successful content discovery campaigns are made by testing things out. There’s no one-size fits all to the perfect campaign, but if you think of it like Cinderella you’ll find that someday the strategy will fit just right.

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This post was short and sweet but if you have any questions about making the most out of a content discovery platform, just ask, I’m happy to help.

x Kelly

P.S. Did you watch the U.S. Open tonight? That third set was insane! #SerenavsVenus

#boss

How to Make the Most Out of Every Platform

I hope all of you readers are enjoying your long weekend, because by Labor Day we all need that extra non-PTO day off. The idea for this post popped in my head when I was heading home on the L this past week, and after my last post about analytics it just seemed to fit… so here it goes.

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It’s Not One Size Fits All

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, WordPress, paid search, native, content discovery… these platforms all work differently and they all provide a different purpose. For example, paid search is not for those who want engagement because the clicks are low and the impressions are high. While you should be monitoring and collecting insights from the platforms’ analytics programs, you should also think twice about tailoring branding to each platform. I say this because all of the platforms have a different audience than the other.

Audience Matters

Each of these platforms has a different audience base. Since 2011, 3.3 million American Facebook users between the ages of 13 and 17 no longer use the platform, and 3.4 million American Facebook users between 18 and 24 have also left the platform. If you are trying to reach the younger millennial or even the generation “Z” audience, I would pick a different platform. (International Business Times)

It’s big data such as the statistics above which show why strategies should vary by platform. Not all products fit each generation, and while each platform demo-targets differently you cannot always control the platform. Your best bet is to figure out the audiences for each platform and tailor your strategy through your findings. What works on Instagram will never work on LinkedIn, and that’s how it works.

Storytelling is always important

I’ve seen plenty of promoted posts from Facebook advertising about how to create engagement with ads that tell a story. Storytelling right now works, you just have to figure out what story will fit which platform. My favorite recently is Ted Baker. I found the brand via Pinterest, however I followed them on Instagram and the way they do giveaways is pretty clever. Basically, they give you a blip of a story or a riddle and you have to find what piece in their other Instagram profile “Ted’s Cabinet of Curiosities” fits the description, then you comment with the answer and a hashtag.

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My example isn’t paid or sponsored, but what Ted Baker does is wrap their branding in with a great story… pretty smart if you ask me.

Figuring Out How to Make the Most of Every Platform

If one size doesn’t fit all and audience along with great storytelling matters, the only other things you’ll need for figuring out your media strategy are some big data, a big whiteboard for brainstorming with a venti latte and a team of 20. However, if that were true some of the great advertising/PR/content marketing/whatever we’ve connected and engaged with wouldn’t exist.

COMING SOON

This week I’ll be posting a series on how to tailor media strategies for each platform you use.  I could’ve broken down the entire post platform by platform, however that would result in an essay with many stock images from Google. Personally, I would rather stay away from the long blog post because it’s my pet peeve. Brevity is important everyone (also note that for your strategies).

Have a great rest of your Labor Day weekend and talk soon.

x Kelly

#boss