Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Feed the Beast

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Creativity is something often lost in the daily grind; routines can get monotonous and can easily cause one to fall into a creative conundrum. But this list, 33 Ways to Stay Creative, can help you switch up your routine or break out of it completely.

Take this list and run with it. Creativity, positivity and spontaneity are each part of the beast most people keep unintentionally caged and malnourished.

So feed the beast--unleash your creativity and let it run wild. You'll be pleasantly surprised.

Rock out, kiddies!
- Jasmine

Friday, February 24, 2012

I'm Sorry, What's Your Name?

Phoenix Coyotes LW Paul Bissonnette during After Hours.
In communication, writing well is only half the battle--you need to also be able to speak well.

Proper speech is tricky because colloquialisms and accents can hinder a person's ability to speak well or learn to speak well.

Ten Words Everyone Should Know How to Pronounce gives a small sample of words and phrases the majority of people mispronounce. Once you read this, you'll be surprised how many words you and those around you mispronounce and don't even realize it.

On a less serious note, the following video is another great tool for learning proper pronunciation. Hank Green, nerdfighter and one half of the VlogBrothers, talks about some commonly mispronounced phrases and words. Watch and avoid some easily avoidable embarrassments. Plus, it's funny as hell.

When I mispronounce a word, I make sure to correct my mistake aloud. For me, this is a concrete reminder of my slip up and allows me to redeem myself.

A lot of the words and phrases we mispronounce go unnoticed because the fallacies are widely accepted. For me, it can be attributed to a small town upbringing; "Ain't," "got" and adding an "s" to the end any store name is common among the older generation in my hometown.

With that said, some mispronunciations can be nipped in the bud before they're ever a problem.

My biggest mispronunciation pet peeve is name mispronunciation. My last name, though a grand total of six letters and phonetic, is always slaughtered by professors and other acquaintances.

As a rule, if unsure how to pronounce someone's name, always ask. Asking is far less embarrassing than pronouncing someone's name wrong. If you don't ask, you'll never know.

This is a quality rule, especially because I want to work in the NHL.

Have you seen some of those players' names?

I always remember an incident from a college hockey tournament a few years ago. It was the banner raising ceremony for the winning team, and a local sports reporter was doing a post-game interview with the winning team's captain. Her interview was also broadcast in arena for the fans to hear.

In front of 20,000 plus fans and those watching at home, she butchered the captain's last name and didn't even know it. Once informed of her mistake, after the interview, she apologized and corrected it.

But the entire situation could have been avoided if she had familiarized herself with her interview subject and asked, beforehand, the pronunciation of his last name.

I'm still perplexed how she didn't know because she covers college hockey regularly and this guy wasn't a random fourth-liner who happened to score the game-winning goal. He was the team captain--the person the media flocks to and interviews often.

Moral of the story: do yourself a favor--ask.

Until next time...

Rock out, kiddies!

- Jasmine

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Industry Insiders: Kelly Cutrone

A bi-weekly series profiling insiders in the fashion, beauty, sports, public relations and media industries (editors, PR girls, etc.) whose successes in the industry is beyond inspirational. 

She's legendary. She's amazing. She has taken the world of fashion PR by storm.

Yes, my friends, she is THE Kelly Cutrone.

Photo Credit: Paper Mag

Found to be unsavory by some and seen as an honorary mother figure by others (and by others, of course, I mean me) due to the information extracted from her two amazing books If You Have to Cry, Go Outside and Other Things Your Mother Never Told You and Normal Gets You Nowhere, she is undoubtably one of the key players in the fashion PR industry.

Kelly Cutrone runs People's Revolution (an aptly named... please tell me you get it) PR firm with two locations--the principle location being, of course, in New York and a satelite location in LA--along with her former television show (which was cancelled a while back by BRAVO in order to make more trashy housewives shows, surely) Kell on Earth. Her newest endeavor will be as a judge on America's Next Top Model and that may just get me to watch the show again.

Her straightforward attitude, brash and caustic nature, along with her dedication to hard work is what makes her, her. Traits such as these are what prompted her nomination as Industry Insider. But, to be perfectly honest, can you think of another PR maven who is more recognized, FEARED, or revered as her? No? That's what I thought.

Follow her on twitter @peoplesrev!


Your Girls Under PRessure

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Taking Risks With Writing

Last semester, I took the most amazing class. It might sound kind of awful and hopelessly boring upon hearing the name:

Writing Theory.

Yeah. I would be lying if I said I wasn't dreading this class at first. As time went on though, I fell in love. With hipster boys. And with writing. Again. Not that I didn't love writing before, but I didn't think about how many different effects it had on people and industries. There's mechanized writing and computer-intelligence based writing and is any of that even really writing? That's what we explored. And it was BEYOND amazing.

But there's one lesson I learned right away in that class. I had to be a risky writer. My teacher was not one to adhere to convention. I had to be out there. I had to write an informative essay and throw a poem in there just because by being in that class, I had writer's license. I had to be imaginative, to put things out of order so that they would be more ordered. I had to learn how to be me and translate it into typeface.

All of the sporadic craziness that you see as my "writing" on here has been influenced by that class.

So how does this relate to you, my future PR lovelies?

If something, anything about your writing doesn't stand out (and NO, having your stand-out feature be poor grammar or spelling does NOT count!!!), your press releases and proposals aren't going to be used or chosen. It makes you ineffective in getting your point across. The way you write is indicative of who you are, and is a building block to your brand.

I leave you with THREE main things (so professorial, like when they lecture and put a beyond large amount of emphasis on a number or phrase to signify its importance...hint, hint...)

1. Take your writing seriously,
2. Be whimsical when you can, and
3. Inject as much of your personality as possible without sacrificing your professionalism.

Good luck, and don't be afraid to get risky!



Thursday, February 16, 2012

The End of the Vegan Challenge

Last week marked the end of my one month vegan challenge. Although difficult at times, it proved really rewarding. Although I've realized that going vegan for the long haul is NOT for me, I have cut back on my meat intake and I've made the effort to eat more natural foods. I've even developed a strong liking for soy milk, and it's now my preference for coffee and cereal.

What I thought would be a difficult month full of hunger and sadness actually turned out to be wonderful and helped me broaden my culinary tastes.

Nevertheless, I'm glad it's over. Food restrictions make me sad.



Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Call me Mrs. PR Girl

In honor of Valentine's Day, the holiday I love to hate (if you didn't already get that from the header of yesterday's top 10 list), a post about what may well be MY ONE TRUE LOVE: working toward my career. Whether or not you are as cynical about today as I am, I hope you enjoy this post!

Sometimes I feel like I'm going to be that girl who is married to her career. I picked a field that will require tons of hours in the office beginning with my time as an intern. That's not a complaint in the slightest. I understand that in order to further my career, I will need to work tirelessly and as an editor or a PR girl, I'll need to spend a significant amount of time both learning the ropes and working--it's something I am not only willing to do, but something I want to do. I feel like that's the difference between me and some of the people I know. I feel like some people don't have the burning desire to be in the fields of editing or PR like I do. But I digress.

The point I'm trying to make is that I seem to close myself off to relationships because I feel like working toward my future and career are more important. That's my priority right now. Some people think that is a bit ridiculous and I'm forgoing fun and happiness to ensure that I'll have a job when I graduate. Maybe I am. Or maybe, just maybe, I genuinely like what I'm doing and I find the networking enjoyable.  I haven't felt that way about my course of study in a long time, but that's a story for another day. I don't think that I need to be spending all of my time nurturing a relationship right now. I made a point in my face time post that absolutely applies here. If I don't have the time, or if I am unwilling to give up what I'm doing to create "face time" for someone, I shouldn't have put myself in that relationship in the first place. It's simply unfair for the other party.

One day (hopefully at least) I'll be able to balance everything in a way that school/volunteering/career building activities won't be factors deterring me from pursuing a relationship. But for now, the reality is that I have to get further acquainted with myself and my goals and develop the willingness to make some face time. (Who would have known that that random dinner conversation would have been the fuel to so many of my posts here?)

Wishing you love and inspiration,


Monday, February 13, 2012

Getting Ignored or Rejected: How to Cope

Woo! Just in time for Valentine's day!!! Just kidding, we aren't talking about that kind of rejection (unless you count number five...).

Being ignored sucks. Being rejected sucks. But, it happens, and somehow, we have to toughen up and get through it. To help out a little bit, we compiled a list of 10 ways to deal with these predicaments. Check them out...

1. Sit in the fetal position and cry until you are out of tears. Or don't. We're not here to tell you how to live your life, we just want to make strong suggestions.
2. Take the time to lie on the couch, eat ice cream straight from the carton, and watch your comfort movie. Clothing is optional.
3. Convince yourself that you were just too good/young/threatening to get the position, or so strikingly amazing that they were afraid to contact you again.
4. Open up a new credit card and partake in some hardcore retail therapy. You can pay for the bills when you get that paych... oh wait...
5. Party until you  a) forget about the rejection or b) pass out. Whichever comes first. We won't judge. (Side note: this also works wonders for guy rejection. A plus side is that you can find a new guy while partying. Yay bad decisions!)
6. Lean on your friends. This is the quickest way to find out who your actual friends are. Real friends are by your side when you're down.
7. Call your mom for an ego boost. She always has to tell you how great and beautiful you are even if it isn't true. That's how I got through middle school. I swear.
8. We're proponents of making playlists for every possible emotion, so turn on your angry music as loud as you can get away with and sing to the lyrics as obnoxiously as you can until it's all out. If you're into trying to find positives, do the same with happy music. But positive thinking is overrated. Kidding.
9. If you're being ignored by your dream company/firm, be persistent. Just keep bugging them until they listen to you. Bonus points for stalking dream employers/camping outside their offices. The latter is a real winner.
10. You're still alive. This is great! Rejection didn't kill you! Now that you have a feel for it, it's going to happen more than once, get back up and try again. The industry loves go-getters.

We hope this lighthearted bit of advice (take that how you will) brings a smile to your face upon the unfortunate event that you are either ignored/rejected. We've both gone through experiences that put us in that position, and quite frankly, it sucks. Our best, most real advice is to keep trying. Get work experience anywhere you can get it and don't be afraid to try again. Like we said in number ten, the industry loves go-getters.


Elise and Jasmine

Friday, February 10, 2012

Informational Interviews

I'm a very inquisitive person. I like to know about people, places and events. Of course, I also like to know about my major and future career field--public relations.

A lot of people go through the motions of college or technical training without ever really knowing what they are getting into. Hence, most people change their major in college between three to seven times.

Crazy, right?

Do yourself a favor; just taking classes isn't going to give you a great view of your future career field. Invest time in doing a little field research.

Snag a few informational interviews.

Sounds difficult, but it's really not. Just reach out to professionals in your field, tell them a little about yourself, and find a time when you can meet and talk shop.

I've only conducted a couple informational interviews, but it's been most helpful for gearing up for my future career field.

Informational interviews aren't extremely formal, but do remember:
  • Dress well: You don't have to dress to the nines, but don't show up in ripped jeans and an old t-shirt.
  • Be punctual: Though informational interviews aren't super formal, it's still important to make a great first impression and arriving early is just the trick.
  • Be personable: Being friendly will get you remembered.
  • Do your homework: Being prepared for any interview is extremely important. Whether you're there to find out about the organization or the individual, do a little bit of research on the organization's or the individual's achievements. 
  • Ask questions: This is the point of informational interviews! Just make sure you ask relevant and appropriate questions. 
  • Talk about you: This isn't the time to tell your life story, but do tell the interviewee about yourself. Where you are in school, your internship search or involvement and career aspirations. All is quality information that can help the interviewee give you helpful advice.
The best informational interview I conducted was with an alumnae of my university and degree program. I was able to inquire about how she felt about the university and the program, and how she got her job. It was a great experience and I gathered a lot of advice for my ambitions. 

She also told me to keep in touch and left the door open for an internship opportunity with her employer. 

You never know what an informational interviews can bring, so go for it! Talk to people, inquire and make connections and contacts. All are important in communications fields.

Rock out, kiddies.

- J

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Industry Insiders: Alyonka Larionov

A bi-weekly series profiling insiders in the fashion, beauty, sports, public relations and media industries (editors, PR girls, etc.) whose successes in the industry is beyond inspirational. 

The Observer
Alyonka is self-proclaimed "host, producer, observer, curious lady and master of social media." Though self-proclaimed, Alyonka has definitely earned her titles--specifically in the realm of hockey.

She works for The Sports Network (TSN), attending high-profile hockey events as the eyes and ears for the network and fans. She conducts interviews with players and gives an inside look at event happenings. Most recently, she went to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, to attend the 2012 NHL All-Star Weekend.

Another aspect of her job is human interest. She takes the time, usually for TSN, to create short human interest pieces on NHL and CHL hockey players. During the 2012 World Juniors, Alyonka did a feature on the projected NHL number-one draft pick Nail Yakupov. Her lastest human interest subject is NHL all-star, Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Joffrey Lupul.

Alyonka also works for the hockey clothing company Sauce Hockey. She's the covergirl for their 2012 Spring/Summer lookbook and did an interview for the catalogue.

Before becoming a "host, producer, observer, curious lady and master of social media," she tried to make it big in the music industry. Alyonka and her sister, Diana, tried out for American Idol. The Larionovs didn't make it into the top 24, but that didn't stop Alyonka for pursuing a media career.

Alyonka moved to Pittsburgh, Penn. to attend the Institute of Art and ended up working for the Pittsburgh Penguins, hosting and producing Pens TV segments for the team's website. One of her most popular videos, "Cooking with Geno," received tons of buzz around the Internet and in the hockey-sphere.

Since her budding Pens TV days, Alyonka has worked on some high-profile projects including the NHL's Alexander Ovechkin biography DVD and HBO's 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic series--the inaugural season featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

I'm always excited to see what Alyonka's next move it going to be. She keeps her options open and picks her projects wisely. She's a well-traveled and well-rounded lady.

Alyonka is a go-getter and multi-media threat. I profiled her because she has accomplished so much at such a young age--she's only 24--and has mastered multiple media platforms. Alyonka is a creative individual and her curiosity gets her far. Also, her innate ability to chose what stories to tell is impeccable.

You can keep up with Alyonka and her projects through her blog, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Until next time...


Your Girls Under PRessure

Monday, February 6, 2012

From Lack of to Pursuit of Passion

Sometimes we need a little inspiration to pursue what we love. Sometimes, we need a kick in the ass. Either way, it's important to follow your passions. I found that out the hard way, but now, I'm making myself a little more vulnerable and sharing my story with you. I hope that it helps you realize that in the grand scheme of things, passion is going to leave you with a much more robust and enjoyable life than money will. That being said, my story...

I find myself having to justify my course of study all the time. Family, nosy inquisitive people at church, and even friends are always asking me why I chose to study English and communications. They tell me how I'm "wasting my talent" by not pursuing a career in the medical field. They tell me that I won't have job security (which, yes, I do understand) and that I probably won't have the quality of life that I'd like to.

All of that used to matter to me. A lot. It's why I spent a year of my life miserable. Of course, I never let people know I was miserable, struggling to wake up for class, and dying a little bit on the inside every time I hauled myself and my 30 pounds of textbooks to the library. I always smiled, I always responded to the annoying "How's school going?" question positively, and I always hated myself for lying about it.

There are still times when I feel like it's more impressive to tell everyone I'm pre-med. It helps me evade the probing questions about why I'm doing what I'm doing and if I know the consequences. But honestly, I'm proud to study what I study. I'm beyond passionate about reading and writing. I love the prospect of communicating with others, with editing, with putting those passions into a career. If I have to spend the first few years after school working at an entry level or as an intern, so be it. It's better than wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on medical school only to be miserable my entire life. Finacially secure, but miserable. That realization prompted me to take a new direction, one in which I knew I would be passionate about what I was studying.

Here's the story behind my change of course.

In high school, everyone told me I was proficient in science. I worked hard, studied hard. I believed it. I spent most of my high school days becoming a perfectionist. I joined numerous clubs, student council (which, I must admit, was the best decision ever), and the National Honors Society. I studied and actually tried. I worked. I tried to round myself out as much as I could. I wanted to be perfect so that I could get into the perfect school, get a huge scholarship to said school, and live a happy collegiate life with my amazingly brilliant collegiate friends having thoughtful, provocative banter on the topics of politics and philosophy all while maintaining a perfect 4.0 gpa and volunteering so I would be the best prepared candidate for medical school. That's not exactly how things turned out.

I did well in high school. I'll admit it because I earned the grades I got. I got into the schools I wanted to get into. I got scholarships. Unfortunately, though, I didn't get one to my dream school. I did get one to an amazing school, but it still would have been extremely expensive. So I did the responsible thing and took a scholarship to a school where I wasn't entirely sure I would be happy, but to where I was sure I would make the best of the experience. I decided to major in chemistry to become a dermatologist. Yes, one of the more superficial fields of medicine. I met some amazing people and studied tirelessly only to do OK in my classes. If you know me well, you know that OK is never accpetable. EVER. So I evaluated myself. What was it I loved? What I loved was writing and communicating. If I couldn't do that, I knew I wouldn't be happy. But deciding to change course was difficult. What would my parents say? What would people say? (WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE WE ALWAYS HEAR ABOUT? AND WHY ARE THEY FOREVER IN EVERYONE'S BUSINESS?) Would everyone think I wasn't academically capable? I was. I really was.

I guess I worried too much about what people would think of me. I shouldn't have. I worry too much about pleasing everyone. As one of my friends told me so often, "Elise, it's impossible to make everyone happy. If you try, you'll never be happy yourself, and what's important is that at the end of the day, YOU are happy." I took it seriously this summer and decided to officially become an English major. And as far as my studies, I've never been happier. I love doing what I do and school continues to be an enjoyable experience. No more stress from the science classes, Organic Chemistry problem sets, seemingly endless labs. I have passion for what I'm doing, and that's the most important thing.

If you take nothing else from this post, realize that doing what you're passionate about is the best option. Yes, you're going to face struggles. Yes, it's going to be scary. But it's worth it. It's risky, but worth it. If you really love what you do, you'll be a success. I'm sure of it.

Wishing you inspiration, success, clarity, and passion,


Friday, February 3, 2012

10 Accounts You Should Follow On Twitter

Since top 10 lists are kind of my thing and twitter is a super effective form of getting little bits of information across, I decided to do a post on some awesome PR-related handles. Here are 10 awesome accounts I suggest you follow, in honor of #FF (follow Friday, for my brilliants that didn't already figure that out):

1. @nycprgirls: they're amazing. Their tweets and blog posts and everything about them. Just follow. Please.

2.@publishPRgirl: she blends my two favorite worlds, publishing and PR. Brilliant. So. Brilliant.

3.@peoplesrev: It's Kelly Cutrone. Enough said.

4.@PRnews: keeps you up on the newest ish in PR.

5. @OscarPRGirl: she's hilarious and so informative. And anonymous. Love love love.

6.@dkny: see reasons I love @OscarPRGirl and realize it applies super well to DKNY PR Girl as well.

7.@PRbytheBook: another book-world related PR account. I'm a book nerd, I'll be the first one to admit it. (If you are too, you should click HERE and read this! It's kind of unrelated to this post, but nonetheless, PHENOMENAL)

8.@PitchEngine: helps you work on creating pitches and working on press releases.

9.@stefskinner : I was obsessed with her on Kell On Earth and I'm obsessed with her now.

10. @UndrPRssr: because you want to follow your favorite new blog. Or your favorite new bloggers @esabak and @jrgrotto. No shame in my self promotional game. Too cheesy? #sorryimnotsorry (see what I did there? With the hash tag? Don't hate. I know you love my awkward and quirky sense of humor. Deny it all you want.)

Yeah, it's a pretty fashion-oriented list. But in my defense, I'm a fashion lover; that's my thing. Know of any amazing PR-related accounts in other fields? Who would comprise your top 10 list? Let me know! There's nothing I love more than feedback--ok, that's false, maybe I love cookies, soy lattes, and Louboutins a bit more, but you get my point.



Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Constructive Distraction: NYC PR Girls

Procrastination doesn't have to be a total waste of time. This monthly post highlights websites to make your time avoiding research papers and textbooks productive.

via nycprgirls.com

NYC PR Girls

Authors: Adrianna and Meg

Two non-native, but long-time New Yorkers working in public relations and living in the Big Apple.

Premise: A blog documenting two girls’ professional journey, giving advice to aspiring fellow PR girls, and dishing insight on the daily life of a New Yorker.

Background: Meg and Adrianna studied public relations during college, and then moved to New York to break into the business. Both did so through internships that turned into jobs. Currently, A and M are employed by separate PR firms in the Big Apple.

This blog is easily one of my favorites and I make time to read it. The posts are short, so they’re not time consuming, but give helpful information pertaining to the PR industry, New York City and even school.

You can follow NYC PR Girls on Twitter: @NYCPRGirls

Until next month...


Your Girls Under PRessure