Month: August 2015

Firsts

I’m the first-born child, so I’ve always been the first to do something. The first to get her driver’s license, the first to go to college, the first to move away from home…again. Today marks the day before the first day of my junior year–except it’s a little different this time. I’m living on campus.

Instead of commuting I decided to live in an on campus apartment, which will serve me well since I’m heavily involved on campus. This is also the first time I’ve had my own room in a shared apartment complex with three other girls. The last time I lived on a college campus, I shared a teeny-tiny dorm room with two girls. So, this is HUGE. It’s wonderful. I have leg room! I have the space to make it personally my own.

Welcome to a corner of my humble abode

Welcome to a corner of my humble abode

I’m so excited to start this year and look forward to the opportunities that await me! We Are!

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VSCO Hype

I’m obsessed with taking pictures–even though I’m only an iPhone photographer. Instagram has become my best friend and I’ve gained some *haters* for the amount of posts I’ll upload in a day. However, dear readers, grip your keyboards because it has come to my attention that there is a new photo sharing app.

If you heard a faint gasp, yes, that was me.

I’ve been seeing links to this app called VSCO, or Visual Supply Co., in people’s Instagram bio’s, so I thought I’d give it a try. It was a long process of trial and error, after error, after error. But I finally got the hang of it, and I’m very much into it. VSCO provides a clean, sleek and minimalistic environment for the creatively inclined to display their work. Whereas Instagram is a general photo-sharing social media site.

Desktop view of my own VSCO account

Desktop view of my own VSCO account

Mobile view of my VSCO account

Mobile view of my VSCO account

Don’t get me wrong, Instagram will always have a special place in my heart, but VSCO is somethin’ else.

Check out my account if you’d like: MEGCONN.VSCO.CO

Always, Meg

Her Conference 2015 Weekend–Sunday

In my previous post, I introduced the first part of my New York City weekend, detailing my Saturday excursion in anticipation for the main event of the weekend–Her Campus’s Her Conference! Without further ado, here’s a look at Sunday.

Looking back on the day-long event, it was arguably the most empowering event I’ve ever attended. Allow me to paint you a picture. The venue was in the Financial District, NYC (the Convene to be exact), with pristine white walls, industrial accents and wooden features. Tons of girls around the same age as myself were dressed “collegiate-chic” and carried Her Campus “swag bags” with tons of mini goodies and treats. The atmosphere oozed with anticipation for what the day has in store. Besides, it’s not everyday we get to listen to and meet some of the most successful people in industries like public relations and journalism.

Let’s start at the beginning–shall we? Registration for the event started at 8:30 am, which meant I had to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed well in advance if I wanted to get from Manhattan to the Financial District in time. My alarm was set for 7:00 am. That was enough time for me to wash up, get dressed, apply makeup, have a quick coffee and for my aunt to catch me a cab (to pick up Emily at her hotel) all before 8:00 am. I should probably add that, that was my first time taking a cab by myself. I’m basically a New Yorker now, right?

I met up with Emily, and soon we were on our way (via taxi) to The Convene. Once we found the building we took two huge escalators to the second floor, to which we were greeted by so many young women. Seriously, I’ve never seen that many girls in one room at one time. Upon registering, we were given a lanyard with name tags, a black journal that read “Do What Makes You Happy” and a tote bag with the Her Campus logo on it, commonly known as swag bags, filled with mini beauty samples, body washes, coupons from their sponsors and so much more.

Our prestigious nametags and the adorable notebook.

Our prestigious nametags and the adorable notebook.

Thankfully, the notebook had a schedule for the events of the day so we were always on time and on track. At 9:30 we had the first keynote speaker of the day–Lisa Arbetter, Editor of People StyleWatch. Yes, we got front row seats. And yes, we also did fangirl. Some things we learned from Lisa:

  • Great leaders aren’t born–they are made.
  • Plan, but prepare for those plans to change…and change again.
  • Shut up and do good work.
  • What you fear will happen, will happen. And you will live.
  • Be decisive. You can always change your mind.
Lisa Arbetter--Editor of People StyleWatch

Lisa Arbetter–Editor of People StyleWatch

Lisa soothed our worried souls and over-thinking minds, especially when it comes to figuring out life after college and post-grad jobs. During the Q/A, she touched on topics such as: how to build confidence in the fashion industry, how to deal with bad bosses, the staple clothing item every girl should have (hey ladies, it’s a black blazer), her thoughts on the future of fashion magazines (they aren’t going anywhere), how to network, as well as how to stay grounded in the fast-paced fashion industry.

After the first keynote speaker, we chose to attend a PR related panel titled, “What ‘I work in PR’ really means” for the first session. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. We met four PR ladies, Rachel Jerome- Account Executive with Mission Media, Suzette M. Martinez-Malavet- Account Executive with BLJ Worldwide, Colleen Wormsley- PR & Talent Relations Manager with DoSomething.org and Krista Tietjen- Account Executive with Sunshine Sachs. Some things I took away from these talented ladies:

  • That not everyone is cut out for the job, only those who are passionate.
  • PR is consuming and demanding–but well worth the effort.
  • The ability to make and maintain relationships is key.

The second session I went to was titled “Climbing the Ladder: Journalism Jobs Later On”. We met Andrea Stanley- Senior Editor at Seventeen Magazine, Rachel Silver- Social Media Director at Birchbox, Amy Odell- Editor of Cosmopolitan.com and Dan Koday- Editor-at-Large for Time Inc./MIMI. There, they spoke about how they arrived at the positions they hold now and what it takes to work in journalism as well as how to manage those who are working in journalism. Many of the panelists noted how they started at the bottom and had to adjust to not necessarily making content, but instead managing those who do. They also stressed some things they look for in potential interns:

  • Good interns should beg for work. Don’t just wait for it.
  • Be passionate, personable and positive. No one can warm up to a stone cold face all the time.
  • Have good ideas and be obsessed with social media. (this works for me since I already am lol)
  • Be punctual–but I think that goes without saying.

Next, was lunch which was sponsored by Chipotle! So you already know I was all about those burrito bowls. After lunch we had our second keynote speaker, Terri McCullough the Director of No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project. While she told us about her organization, she didn’t go into much detail about what she does specifically as director, which I was disappointed about. But hey, at least we learned more about the organization.

Emily and myself at Her Conference 2015

Emily and myself at Her Conference 2015

The next session was titled, “The Evolution of Success”, with Joan Kuhl, President and Founder of Why Millennials Matter. She stressed the idea that if we as women in the workforce band together, the workplace would be an easier, more efficient environment to work in. Which begs the question: why can’t we accelerate the “me” mindset and also include others? This session was refreshing, uplifting and motivating especially for us young women who aspire to reach our full potential. Some things I took away from Joan’s presentation was:

  • With self belief anything is possible.
  • Relationships matter!!!
  • The differences and similarities of mentors and sponsors.

By this point in the day I was blown away with everything I had learned already and more importantly–how much I  learned about myself. However, it wasn’t over just yet. For the final keynote, Laura Brounstein, Special Projects Director for Cosmopolitan Magazine, introduced the finale of the day: #ActuallySheCan: Reaching Your Full Potential. The #ActuallySheCan campaign strives to instill in young women that they can actually do anything they put their minds too. Hence, actually she can. Laura’s speech was about always working to the best of our abilities and reaching our highest potential, regardless of the voices in our own heads. This left the entire room in awe of the charismatic woman who Laura is.

Laura Brounstein and myself for #ActuallySheCan

Laura Brounstein and myself for #ActuallySheCan

Soon after, the entire conference was invited to take a group picture. Some girls (including myself) were handed signs that read, for example: “Just here for the dance floor” with the #ActuallySheCan hashtag on the bottom. With all the girls from the conference in one large huddle we all immediately started introducing ourselves. Was it because we were all trying to process the events of the past few hours or the lack of elbow room? Who knows, but what I do know is, that in that moment I truly felt unstoppable.

Emily (second from right), myself (far left) and the wonderful ladies we met at the conference!

Emily (second from right), myself (far left) and the wonderful ladies we met at the conference!

I know, that is the most cliché statement anyone could say after going to an event such as Her Conference, but then again, how else am I supposed to feel? From 8:30 am to around 5:15 pm, I was not only surrounded by powerful women in industries across the board who made me feel invincible, but also young women who share similar dreams as myself and found the words of the panelists just as inspiring.

From meandering New York City to listening in on the best advice from women I aspire to be like–this has truly been a weekend I will never forget. I managed to take my very first train ride (it’s been a long time coming) and meet Editors of major magazine companies all in just two short days. Trust me, I’m still in shock–but the good kind of shock. Her Campus’s Her Conference event left me with the kind of shock I’m supposed to feel when I know I am making the best decisions for my present and future self–and I couldn’t be any happier than I am right now.

Always, Meg

Her Conference 2015 Weekend–Saturday

I had originally wanted to post this earlier in the week, but due to a busy schedule…a week later will have to suffice.

This past weekend (last weekend) I had so many “firsts” crossed off my life to-do list. However, so much has happened that I can’t possibly fit everything into one blog post–it would be insanity. So, I decided to write two separate blog posts, one for Saturday and one for Sunday. Here it goes.

Rewind to three weeks ago. A friend of mine, Emily, messaged me asking if I wanted to go with her to an all day affair on a Sunday in New York City called Her Conference, an event through Her Campus. I’m not one to pass up an opportunity that gets me out of my comfort zone, so I accepted. I bought my conference ticket and was ready to go weeks in advance. I was thrilled to be given this opportunity because throughout the day we would listen to accomplished magazine editors and inspiring keynote speakers. Plus, meet girls not only from around the country but also around the world who share the same ambitious qualities as myself.

I booked my train tickets, connected with my aunt who lives in Manhattan (who thankfully let me stay with her) and spent my Friday night packing. Due to excitement and fear of missing my alarm, I only slept a few hours and woke up bright and early Saturday morning to make it to the train. I made sure to book the same train as Emily so I wasn’t completely alone. But, let me tell you, my first train ride was a great experience and I seriously wish I took the train sooner in life! Something about seeing so many professional-dressed people in one car made me feel rather important–like I too was on my way to a business meeting.

We got to Penn Station around 10:45 am where I met with my aunt and said goodbye to Emily until the conference. From there, I hauled my luggage to my aunt’s apartment and continued on around the city. I’ve been to NYC before, the first was the typical Times Square excursion and the second was a day trip to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. However, I had never been to Central Park or walked around the city in day light! So, this was my chance to see more of the cities treasures.

The first part of my Saturday was walking around the Central Park Conservatory Garden, not too far from the apartment. Although it was blazing hot outside, the shade from the trees allowed me to fully appreciate the gorgeous greenery.

Central Park Conservatory Garden

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Central Park Conservatory Garden

Then we grabbed lunch at a cute little restaurant called The Barking Dog Luncheonette. What was interesting about this restaurant was that they allowed dogs (with leashes on of course) to sit with their owners on the outside deck.

Salmon Bagel sandwich with cream cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and capers at The Barking Dog Luncheonette

Salmon Bagel sandwich with cream cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions and capers at The Barking Dog Luncheonette

After lunch, we made our way to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Currently they have a huge Vincent Van Gogh exhibit displaying his Irises and Roses. Unfortunately, I was unable to get pictures of the paintings due to their age and fragility. However, I was able to snap a few shots of The Met’s costume exhibit which featured China: Through the Looking Glass–which was absolutely breathtaking.

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Eventually we made our way up to the roof of The Met, which had great views of the Manhattan skyscrapers. Honestly, they made my heart pound. Nothing more beautiful than a breezy afternoon overlooking one of the greatest cities–in my opinion.

The Met rooftop overlooking Manhattan

The Met rooftop overlooking Manhattan

Once the rooftop became crowded we decided it was time for a seriously needed coffee break. We could go to Starbucks–or an original coffee shop in Central Park. Obviously, we chose the latter. After exiting The Met, we turned right and meandered through the park. I was able to see the Belvedere Castle and walk through The Ramble–which was no easy feat and, seriously, not for the faint of heart. With winding stone walk ways and paths, it’s easy to get lost in the lush surroundings and stumble down The Ramble’s trail.

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The Belvedere Castle

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We finally made it to our coffee stop, The Boathouse. It was a cute little restaurant overlooking a lake in which people could row boats back and forth. Our next stop in Central Park was the Model Boat Pond, which was arguably my favorite part of Central Park. It had a secluded feeling to it, even though the gorgeous buildings peeked through the trees in the distance.

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The Model Boat Pond

After our time in Central Park, we built up an appetite which led us into a quaint little Thai restaurant called Enthaice. I opted for pad thai (the usual) and ordered some interesting appetizers. I love little shops and restaurants in cities because if you were to take a tour bus or follow a tourist-y itinerary…you would completely miss these unmarked gems. Which in my opinion, makes them more unique and original.

After dinner, we got fro-yo and headed uptown to my aunt’s apartment. I spent the rest of my Saturday night reflecting on the past 24-hours, as well as preparing for the next busy 24-hours. I’m so thankful to have been given the opportunity to travel into New York *by myself* on the train and to explore the lesser known parts of the city.

The city that never sleeps or turns their lights off

The city that never sleeps or turns their lights off

There is nothing more exhilarating than learning through new life experiences. As a natural creature of comfort, I actively look for ways to expand past my comfort level and mentally, intellectually and emotionally grow as a person. I truly believe the best way to do so is to step out of the comfort bubble and find things that scare us, accept new opportunities and make experiences out of them.

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built”. Well, Eleanor, I couldn’t agree more.

Always, Meg

P.S.– Stay tuned for my post about my day at Her Campus’s Her Conference event!