January 31, 2011

Mom Says I'm Special

One of my many unique qualities is that I’m left handed (that’s right, I said many J). You already know that I like quotes – I also like fun facts. For instance: did you know that only 10% of the world’s population is left-handed?

Historically, left-handers have taken some slack. The Latin word for left meant evil and unlucky back in the day. In Chinese culture the adjective left can sometimes mean improper and unorthodox. I think people are just jealous.

Here are some of my favorite facts about being left-handed:
-          Of the 7 most recent Presidents, 4 have been left-handed. If fact, both Obama and McCain are left-handed, so the only possible outcome of the last election was a left-hander.
-          Left-hander’s brains are structured in a way that increases their range of abilities -  aka we’re high achievers
-          We make more money than right-handed people – on average 10-15% more. We’re very smart!
-          On a standard keyboard you can type aprox 3400 words using only your left hand – you can only type aprox 450 words using only your right hand
-          We spend less time in lines – studies show that people tend to veer to their dominant side when choosing which line to stand in. Less people = shorter lines
-          We can write and use a computer mouse at the same time.
-          We have our own holiday – August 13th – Look it up

Here are some of the challenges of being left-handed:
-          All of the following tools were made for right-handed people – scissors, can openers, corkscrews, computer mice, notebooks, binders, guns, power tools (not that I have much experience with the last two)…the list goes on and on
-          Very few classrooms (if any) have left handed desks – ya know the one’s I’m talking about with the desk part attached to the chair? (insert traumatic middle school flashback here)
-          Eating next to right-handed people is always a hassle – lots of elbow bumps and spilled soup
-          If I use certain pens, the ink smudges on the paper and my pinkie turns colors
-          Left-handed people have more accidents than right-handed people…Apparently we’re a clumsy group. In our defense, most of those accidents happen while using tools/products designed for right-handed people.

Clearly the pros outweigh the cons. Plus, when I see other left-handed people, I get to say cool things like, 'Oh my gosh, you're left-handed? I'm left-handed!" Instant bond. If right-handed people did that, it'd just be weird.

January 27, 2011

Obsessed With Quotes

I love quotes - It’s an obsession really. I also love quotes on things – posters, coffee mugs, pillows, magnets. I even save cards if they have unique messages (Don’t worry, I’m not a hoarder. I only save my favorites). Last year, I discovered Curly Girl Design at a unique little shop called Chelsea’s in Broad Ripple Village. Each time I stopped by there was a different selection of greeting cards with fantastic quotes and sayings. The messages are simple yet profound and the designs are cutesy and creative. It was a great day when I found the website! You should definitely check it out. Here are a few of my favorites:

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Another one of my favorite Curly Girl quotes is, "There is a direct correlation between the level of happiness in one's life and the amount of silliness they allow into it." My life is full of silliness, and I can vouch that it does have a positive impact on my happiness! How much 'silly' is in your life?

January 26, 2011

Reading Material

While I was in school, it seemed like everyone had a book recommendation for me. “Business students should read this; Journalism? Oh, you must read that!” I started keeping a list. I even attempted to read a few. Some were insightful and some were funny, some were hard to understand and some flat out put me to sleep. Below is a list of 10 books I think have important messages/lessons for business majors. I picked these 10 because they are the exact opposite of what you would find in a textbook.
  1. All Marketers Are Liars (Seth Godin) – Anything by Seth Godin, really. The books are short, easy reads. A lot of the ideas are obvious, but his stories and metaphors can be pretty amusing. I had a professor that used his blog as part of our ‘textbook’ and I got hooked. (PS – Marketers aren’t liars, we’re storytellers)
  2. AP Style Book – Not necessarily a story, but everyone should own a copy – business person or not. It’s a pet peeve of mine when people can’t write/speak/communicate correctly (*note – in a published/professional setting). With all the resources available, there’s really no excuse. 
  3. Charlotte’s Web (EB White) – I know what you’re thinking – a pig is rescued, end of story. Wrong! There’s a reason the title is Charlotte’s Web. Charlotte’s creativity and ingenuity advertise Wilber’s best qualities which end up saving his life. Talk about a successful marketing campaign! We can all take a lesson from Charlotte. 
  4. Horton Hears A Who (Dr. Seuss) – The message of this story is that all people deserve respect. Horton’s loyalty to the ‘whos’ should remind us that people are the most important thing. Remember the golden rule and treat others as you would want to be treated.
  5. The Little Engine That Could (Watty Piper) – We’ve all read this one. A small engine takes up the cause of helping the stranded train after all the bigger engines pass by. The message that determination and the power of positive thinking can help us overcome any obstacle is quite powerful. 
  6. The Lorax (Dr. Seuss) – The story stresses the importance of balance and vision. It’s also a reminder that it’s important to conserve natural resources
  7. Oh, The Places You’ll Go (Dr. Seuss) – This is one of my all time favorites. Here’s what I take away: Life’s tough, but the opportunities are endless. Failure is inevitable but you have to keep moving forward. You will succeed (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed!). True in the business world and life in general. 
  8. The One Minute Manager (Kenneth Blanchard) – It’s quite simple really. One-minute goals; One-minute praises; One-minute reprimands. Set a clear goal up front. Praise doesn’t have to wait for a special occasion, let people know they are doing a good job. If someone does something wrong – tell them, help fix it, and move on.
  9.  The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (Steven Covey) – I studied these habits in my senior capstone class. I think they are pretty self-explanatory. 1)Be Proactive 2) Begin with the End in Mind 3) Put First Things First 4) Think Win-Win 5) Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood 6) Synergize 7) Sharpen the Saw
  10. Strengths Finder 2.0 (Tom Rath) – Everyone has weaknesses, yes – but, I agree with the author of this book that it’s more important to focus on your strengths. I had to take the Strengths Finder assessment as a Freshman and as a Senior at Butler. It was interesting to see where my true strengths lie (what hadn’t changed), and what had become my strengths over the four year period.
I know, not what you were expecting! People keep telling me to read a financial book. I keep trying, but you might as well give me sleeping pills. It has the same effect! If you ever find a good one (that will keep me awake), let me know.

January 19, 2011

What Can You Do With 13 Extra Hours?

When I was little, my mom didn’t have cable at the house and didn’t let me and the siblings watch very much TV – which might be one of the reasons I’m a TV addict now… Anyways, thanks to DVR and the fact that I now live by myself, I have a lot of time to get lost in TV land. I never have to share the remote or pick between two shows – it’s great!

Or is it…

According to The Nielsen Co., 99% of American households have at least 1 TV, and 31% of American households have 4 or more TVs. The average American watches more than 35 hours of TV per week. Think about that. There are 168 hours in a week. I’m asleep for at least 49 of those hours, so I’ll assume you are too. The average person is at work 40 of those hours. AT MOST, that leaves 79 hours of ‘free time’ left in a week. Do you spend 44% of your free time watching TV?

I tallied up my TV time from last week. 20 hours of television (Note: I’m not including the 2 movies I watched. Yikes!). I use my DVR, so technically that cuts it down to about 13 hours – and I’m underestimating because I always forget to fast forward through commercials… I didn’t think 13 hours was that bad – especially since most of my TV time happens after 8 pm. In reality, 13 hours adds up. If I live to be 123 (yep, that’s right – I’m going to break the Guinness World Record), I’ll spend over 83,148 hours watching TV. That’s 9.5 years of my life sitting on the couch (and I’m lowballing).

That’s scary. From now on, I’m going to try to spend no more than 2 hours a week ONLY watching TV. There are so many other things I could be doing while “my shows” are on. I mean, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to keep up with what’s happening on The Bachelor. So if I’m not doing crunches, folding clothes, or cleaning my kitchen – I’ll make sure I’m watching TV with other people. At least that way, I’ll have some social interaction. Plus, it’s way more fun to watch reality TV with friends. I am by no means saying that I’m going to cut back on my overall TV time, I’m just going to multitask and use my TV time more efficiently. Wish me luck!

January 18, 2011

Setting Goals

I ran in the Frostbite 5K last Saturday. Race time temperature was 36 and conditions were icy. People were pretty much sliding down the hill at the 2.5 mile mark. As I was tip-toeing between the patches of ice listening to people slide and watching arms flailing about, I couldn’t help but wonder why people actually ran these races. Then I smiled as I realized they are all running for the same reason I am – the challenge, the competition, and the sense of accomplishment to name a few. Oh – and let’s not forget the cheesy awards and door prizes. As I was collecting my second place prize, all I could think was who is the other crazy person out here at 9am on Saturday that keeps beating me? I haven’t collected that first place prize all winter!

Turns out I keep getting beat by someone I used to beat in high school – not good for my ego. I guess I’m a bit more competitive than I realized. It’s time to get serious. With one more race in the winter series and training started for the Triple Crown, I gotta step it up. It’s time to move from running whatever I feel like to following an actual training schedule. I figure if I put my goals in writing, I’ll be more apt to stick with it. Two years ago, I ran the mini blind, with no official training plan. I completed it in 2:44:00 – 12:30 splits. This year, I’m training. I have 2 goals:

-          My goal – 10:00 miles
-          And my reach goal – under 2 hours

I’ll let you know how it turns out. 101 days and 7 hours til race time.

Also, the group I run with introduced me to White Castle breakfast after the race last weekend. One word – YUK! I’m not sure which was worse, the food itself or watching the guys eat 4-6 sandwiches each.

January 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!

Special post for my padre's birthday. The top 5 reasons (with photos) my dad should win Father of the Year Award - in no particular order.

1. He's the lead guitarist in our band - The Redheads. Look for us on tour Fall 2011
2. He takes me to Vegas and makes sure I find a spot to watch the Butler game - and doesn't argue when we wear matching shirts.
3. He helps me hop fences when mini-golf balls go astray
4. Father/Daughter dates to GABP - enough said
5. He puts his family first no matter what
Happy Birthday Dad - I Love You!

When Did That Get There?

I’ve lived in the Louisville area my entire life, except for the four years I was in Indianapolis for college. I just recently discovered what an amazing city Louisville is to live in. There’s a reason they call it the Possibility City. I have a growing list of places I want to visit, restaurants I want to eat at, and activities I want to participate in. Right now it’s a list of 35 items, but I add to it every day. My goal is to cross one off per week.

Since I had a race on Saturday morning, I took it easy Friday night. I crossed an item off my ‘movies to see’ list instead of going out into the cold to work on my ‘Louisville’ list. I ended up venturing up the hill to watch The Social Network with Jen Vern. Jennifer has been my best friend since the ‘Blue Powerade Incident’ on our first day of freshman year at PHS nine years ago. Ask me about it sometime – it’s a pretty great story!  While we like to compare ourselves with the famous explorers and adventurers Lewis and Clark, our stories and adventures relate more closely to those of Lucy and Ethel. Since Jen will be accompanying me on most of my adventures, I thought it would be a good idea to introduce her. Like a best friend should, she puts up with my crazy ideas and usually has a few of her own. She is always up for the challenge and doesn’t question the items on my bucket list (although I have seen a few eye rolls!).

I could go on for pages about why it’s important to have a best friend, but I won’t. Instead I’ll leave you with this quote by Arnold Glasgow, “A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad.”

One of our earliest adventures – PHS Basketball games

Jennifer is a pretty excellent party planner – there’s usually an inflatable slide
Concerts at the Waterfront – We like to make new friends

Summertime Shenanigans – We don’t even have to leave home to cross some items off the bucket list!

Our most recent adventure, Ugly Christmas Sweaters + Karaoke

January 13, 2011

Marketing Is...

Here’s how Dictionary.com defines it – the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.

Here’s how my college Intro to Marketing Professor defines it – Satisfying customer requirements using the 6 P’s (Price, Place, Promotion, Product, Presentation, People) - which by the way will be the focus of a future post.

Here’s how my boss defines it – Any point of contact with a potential customer, including but not limited to promotions, sponsorships, events, point-of-sale material, and media

Here’s how the ‘average person’ defines it – Ya know, like, commercials and signs and stuff.

I’m a marketer. It’s what I do. I’m one of the very lucky people. I knew my senior year of high school that I wanted to be a business major. I knew my first semester of college that I wanted to be a marketing major. I was fortunate to land a job in my field four months after graduating. I’m of the lucky ones who loves going to work in the morning (ok - not every day, but definitely 9 out of 10) and actually feels like I’m making a difference. One thing I have discovered is that marketing is a broad topic. Everyone has a different idea about what it entails and how it should be executed. I’ve been collecting my favorite marketing articles and ideas for a little over four years now. I still haven’t come up with my own definition, but maybe that’s because there isn’t an official definition.  One thing I’ve discovered in this field is that every day is different, every project is different. I love it, I really can’t get enough!  I’m going to dedicate my Thursday posts to business topics. They’ll mostly be marketing-centric, but I’ll do my best to include other topics as well.

For more information on my career choice, Click Here
For more info on Butler's marketing program, Click Here
Check it out – Over the next 8 years, there are going to be lots of opportunities for people who have a marketing degree: Click Here

January 12, 2011

Reality TV

I mentioned in my first blog that I’m a bit of a reality TV junkie. It’s not something I’m particularly proud of, but as far as bad habits go, it’s not the worst one I could have. Battling a runny nose and sore throat last night, I skipped my usual evening run and opted to clean out my DVR instead. This meant watching the latest episodes of The Bachelor and The Biggest Loser. Funny how when I got to work this morning and checked my new feed, I found an article titled, Peace of Mind: Snooki psychology, the pros and cons of reality TV. 

In 2009, there were 56 reality programs on the major networks – that doesn’t even count the shows on Bravo, Food Network, MTV, etc., etc., etc. I sure wouldn’t want to be the person counting the number of shows on cable networks! So what’s with the obsession - Why does America love reality television? My guess is that it gives people a chance to blend fantasy with reality. Who doesn’t want to loose 10 pounds? Find love? Win a million dollars? Chances are, on every program, there is a participant you can relate too. It’s fun to imagine what you would do if you were placed in that situation – how you would act, what you would say.

I was so jealous of the “Pretty Woman Date” on The Bachelor that I almost dropped my Oreo into my glass of milk mid-dunk. What woman wouldn’t want to be pampered at the spa, given her choice of gorgeous gowns, a free pair of diamond earrings, and a private concert at the Hollywood Bowl? After imagining myself on that date, I also took the opportunity to judge all the crazies during the cocktail party. Note to self – don’t cry on the first date. I haven’t yet picked the girl I think is going to “win,” but after that episode, I’m voting for Emily. Then I moved on to The Biggest Loser. It’s really hard not to laugh during the workouts and challenges, but honestly, I don’t think I could do some of the things those participants do! Also – I would have totally caved and eaten a donut. I’m team Arthur and team Courtney all the way.

I will leave you with this final thought – in the last decade, more people applied to “The Real World” than to Harvard.  Oh, and here’s a link to the article: Click Here

January 11, 2011

15 Things You Should Know About Me and My Blog

1.       I’m an avid runner. You can expect updates on my latest runs and the crazy paths I take. I’ll also post some of my favorite workouts and helpful hints for both beginners and long time runners.
2.       I love to read. These days, I read for fun – to escape from the real world, if only for a few chapters. I’m always looking for something new to read. I’ll let you know what I find and you can offer me suggestions.
3.       I coach High School Cross Country and I love it. I get to share my passion with others and I stay updated on the latest slang and pop culture happenings. I’ll keep you informed as well.
4.       My family is my world. They are also quite insane. I am the oldest of three, so there is always a good story to be told. I promise you both laughter and tears.
5.       I’ve lived in Louisville my entire life (ok, I’ve lived 10 minutes from Louisville my entire life). I have yet to explore all of the amazing things about this city and can’t wait to discover everything that the Possibility City has to offer.
6.       I recently graduated from college (Go Butler!), started my first job, and moved into my own apartment. With each comes lots of unexpected challenges.
7.       Mocha Lattes are my favorite! I recently tried to make my own at work with coffee and a cocoa packet. Talk about a failed experiment…
8.       I’m a bit of a reality TV junkie. I’ll keep you updated on who’s not getting a rose on the Bachelor.
9.       I love sports. I’m a baseball fanatic (go Reds!), a Colts fan, and a proud supporter of Butler University athletics.
10.   I’m at the point in my life where I’m going to A LOT of weddings.
11.   I love Big Red and Mt. Dew but I can’t drink them very often because the amount of caffeine and sugar causes me to bounce off walls.
12.   I read a lot of articles and I’m pretty opinionated. I’ll share my favorites and try to keep my comments as positive as possible.
13.   I want to use this blog to support my family, friends, and community.
14.   I love taking pictures so as I write about some of my adventures, I will post pictures too.
15.   I love to eat but I’m an awful cook. I like to collect recipes and I’ll post my favorites. I can’t vouch for them, but they’ll all look delicious!