Sunday, March 27, 2011

Confessions of a Wannabe Vagabond

Here comes another confessional blog post.

I talk about adventure and travel all the time,
but really I can be quite the chicken.

I desire to be that woman who 
knows 7 languages
has traveled the globe
always has a story to tell.

I want to be 
"Marie" off of the movie "Dan in Real Life",
"Belle" from "Beauty and the Beast",
Elizabeth Gilbert author of "Eat, Pray, Love".

I want to "want adventure in the great wide somewhere"
I want to "want it more than I can tell".

But the truth is,
I am not a risk-taker.
I like to play things safe.
Roller Coasters terrify me.

I will be boarding my first solo flight in 4 days,
and I am freaking out a little bit.
I will be living in another country for 4 weeks this summer,
and I am freaking out a little bit.

Don't get me wrong,
I am SO excited about these trips,
but I am an unexperienced traveler
about to embark on some adventures that put me out of my comfort zone.

But then again it wouldn't be an adventure 
if I wasn't out of my comfort zone.
So this wannabe vagabond is about to 
jump in head first into the great wide somewhere.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Pray for Japan

I am writing an article about Springfield's relief efforts with the recent Japan disaster.

Can I be honest with you all for a moment?

With Spring Break and school and work,
I kind of avoided the whole suffering in Japan thing.
I know, it is a terrible disaster,
but I didn't let myself come to grip with the incredible reality that so many people were suffering.

Then I talked to Jeff Nene, the PR Directer at Convoy of Hope.
I watched their video
listened to horrific stories
was confronted with the faces of despair.

Here is what Jeff had to say:
“We’ve have never faced anything like that before in our disaster response history,” Nene said. “Japan didn’t suffer a disaster. They suffered three disasters one right on top of the other. You have the earthquake then you have the tsunami, which has caused much greater loss of life and loss of buildings and property than the earthquake did, and then you have the nuclear problem on top of that, which just hampers the response. We have people in those zones that can’t come out of their houses. We are afraid to send a team to those areas for fear of radiation exposure, so we have had to step out of our comfort zone and do things differently than we are accustomed to.”
 Japan's disasters are so great relief has been done from afar.
Jeff said that 350,000 people are still left homeless.
It is incredible to think about those in Japan,

but there is hope.

There are people everywhere pulling together for Japan's sake--
including Japan.
They are fighters.

Springfield is doing their share of relief as well.
Next Monday, Springfield's Nakato is donating all their sales they make that night to Japan.
Since Isesaki, Japan, has been Springfield's sister city for 25 years, the city is sending funds to them to help them through this tough time just like they did for us in Ice Storm 2007.

Don't ignore it like I did at first
avoiding the hurt.
Empathize with our brothers and sisters across the globe.

Pray for Japan.

Pray For Japan from Convoy of Hope on Vimeo.

If you want more information on how you can be a part of relief work in Japan, check out my Ozarks News Journal feature.
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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Build Your Own Cathedral

One of our speakers at PRSSA Day last Friday was Ryan Knapp, Digital Manager of NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America). He gave some invaluable tips on using social media to build your personal or business brand. (Although, he said that the phrase "building your personal brand" rubbed him the wrong way). He was an incredibly engaged speaker with a lot of content directed at social media.

5 Social Media Tips from Ryan Knapp:
  1. Social Media is not free. Yes, it is essentially free to utilize; however, in order to use it well, it takes time, which is cost. So it is important to know what social media outlets would give your company value (benefit over cost).
  2. Make the networking come to you. He shared a story about how a young guy created a place for soccer people to discuss things online bringing the networking to him.
  3. Don't just send a resume. Make a full "I want a job" campaign. He shared another story about a lady who used the hashtag #IwanttoworkforDR (Digital Royalty). She would post blog posts to Twitter and tweet things of why she should work there. She works there now. 
  4. Social Media can be utilized for "Social Good". It is a great way to promote and bring people together for a cause.
  5. It is just a tool just try something. Do. Tools should play off your ability to do. Social Media is like legos. There are instruction booklets out there, but you need to build your own car. (Hence, the awesome Twitter graphic made from legos!)
Knapp also shared a great story of a man named Don Justo. A man from Spain who built a cathedral out of nothing. People thought he was crazy, but he continued to "build his own cathedral". 

That is what social media boils down too: tools that allow you to Build Your Own Cathedral.

My favorite power point image used:
I hope you laugh at this picture as much as I did, and don't leave rude commentz...unless you want to. ;)
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Sunday, March 20, 2011

PRSSA Day 2011: Social Media

PRSSA Day was on Friday.
It was a HUGE success!

It essentially is a student planned PR conference at MSU.
We had key note speakers like Ryan Knapp & Tressa Robbins, social media panel, & networking.

This year's theme was Social Media.

Not to mention GREAT FOOD!
And only for $12! 
(Well, $15 for me because I registered late.)

Here is a picture of our awesome executive board who made it all happen this year.

Sara McClendon, Sara Gwin, Lindsay Van Quaethem, and Daniel Ortega
I will share what I learned in more detail soon!
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Seattle Adventure in Store

I have some exciting news:
I am going to SEATTLE!!!

This year, PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) is having their National Assembly in Seattle,  WA.
I am honored to represent my Missouri State chapter as a delegate, this year.
I am so thrilled to have the chance to visit such a coffee saturated place and hang out with lots of PR nerds, like me. :)
I will also get to visit some dear friends Katie & Robbie Britt.

I will see this view in 12 days!
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

21st Street Coffee and Tea

This week it is time for a coffee shop review!
As you all know, I spent last week in Pittsburgh
and visited many coffee shops.

My favorite being 21st Street Coffee and Tea:

They serve Intelligentsia coffee in an excellent way.
I thought their sign, "We encourage you to taste your drink as served," was well...
I understand the heart behind the sign,
and it made me giggle.
However, it did come across a little awkward to customers.

I got a cappuccino,
as usual.
(I know I am getting predictable.)

It was yummy.
The espresso was good,
but the milk was perfection
with a lovely tulip on top.

My favorite part of the shop was the secret upstairs where you can look down and see their Clover machine.
So cozy and perfect!

I also went back and got 12oz. of Tanzania Edelweiss coffee bean.
I have been enjoying many French presses this week from these beans.
Very citrus and pomegranate like

Overall, I had a fabulous experience at 21st Street Coffee and Tea.
The Baristas were helpful.
The coffee was excellent quality.
The space was creative and cozy.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

The City with a Front Door

I had the most lovely adventure over Spring break with Jay & Amber.
It was a perfect blend of coffee, culture, & community.
To start off where I left off,
We ventured out to Oakland for lunch!

At Oakland, we had the "ultimate Pittsburgh experience" at Primanti Bros.
These sandwiches included every side item on the sandwich for easy eating without a lunch break for people like truck drivers, sailors, & miners.
It was an experience.

Also, on a coffee note, we visited Ryan at the Starbucks where he works, and I got an epic Pittsburgh mug as my token sovernir.

Afterwards, we wandered into a magical old book store.
We found an incredible edition of Hobbit for Travis. :)

Then we went to the top of the city with a front door at Mount Washington.
Travis and Jay loved the statues.

That night we had dinner again.
It was so wonderful to be apart of that community for even just a couple of days.
It was as if we had always been there and would always be.
True community is such a beautiful thing, we sometimes take for granted.

They depended on each other,
worked together,
laughed with one another,
prayed in unison,
and LIVED life together.

Later, Travis, Jay, Amber, and me skipped out on Bible study and went for ice cream at Oh Ya's,
this place with millions of toppings that they blend all up for you. YUM!
We played spades (as usual) while the ice cream was being consumed.
Travis & Jay whipped me & Amber pretty good...but it was fun.

Tuesday, Travis & I explored Pittsburgh on own in a lazy fashion.
We walked Carrie & Scott's dog, Max,
and ate lunch at The Church Brew Works.

It was an old Catholic church transformed into a brewery!
It was definitely an experience with awesome food and homemade root beer. 
The booths were even made out of pews.

We spent the afternoon at Squirrel Hill at the Te Cafe and  the Library.
I think our entire trip could be boiled down to food, coffee, and books. :)

This adventure was amazing.
Pittsburgh is pretty much the coolest town ever.
I enjoyed Pittsburgh's coffee, culture, and community.
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Monday, March 7, 2011

Pittsburgh Preview

So Travis and I made it to Pittsburgh
To visit our lovely friends, Jay & Amber.
It rained the entire drive through the night,
But after 15 hours, we made it!

Once we were there, it felt like we just came over for a visit,
Filled with Spades, conversation, cookies, & good food.

We visited a Mennonite Church,
Which was fabulous.
The pastor taught on a very controversial topic,
Presented both interpretations of Scripture,
And left it up to us to make a choice.
It was refreshing.

So far, we have visited 3 coffee shops:
(They are so great for putting up with my coffee explorations!)

Sunday afternoon was spent at the Strip District
& random SNOWBALL fights.

Oh, ya, it SNOWED!
On Spring Break.
Travis & Jay built a 7 foot snowman.

It has been great getting to know Jay & Amber's community:
Karen & Dave,
Carrie & Scott.
Each night we gather for dinner and afterwards have prayer.
Last night, we had Lentil Burgers!
YUM :)

This morning we had pancakes at Pamela's
and walked around Squirrel Hill.
Looking forward to what the rest of our adventure holds.
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Friday, March 4, 2011

Elsie & Emma of Red Velvet

Exciting news!
This past week, I had the privilege of interviewing Elsie & Emma of Red Velvet about how they use their blogs to promote their business.

If you have never checked these girls out online, 
They are so adorable.
And if you live in Springfield, you should check out their shop on Commercial Street.

 Red Velvet is a vintage & hand-made things boutique that also sells cupcakes! 

 I had so much fun doing my first "Broadcast Journalism" project.
If you want to check out my team's story on Social Media in the Springfield community, click here.

Also, here is the video we made:

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Feeding People

This week I got to "return to my roots".
PRSSA & Lambda Pi Eta (Communication Honor Society) teamed up for an awesome volunteer effort at Ozarks Food Harvest!
(I may have been a bit bias in my planning, but it is such a good cause!)

Two girls went with me (Susan & Tara), 
and we had a blast with this other older group.

Our job was to pack food boxes after the others sorted through dented cans and expired foods.
It was neat to be a part of tangibly feeding people  who need it most. 
Our volunteer supervisor told us we pack about 6,000 pounds of food (if I remember right),
or what they normally pack in 6 hours.
Yeah, teamwork!!!

It was great to return to my internship location and give back again!
If you are ever looking for a place to give back in the Ozarks,
check Ozarks Food Harvest out!
They are doing so much to reach a significant problem in the community.
Lindsay's current intern, Sara, and her put together this new awesome video to.

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