Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An Inconvenience Rightly Considered

First of all, I want to apologize for the absence.
Quito kept calling my name making it hard to stand still at a computer for too long.

Second of all, I want to thank everyone again who guested blogged for me while I was away. I hoped you all enjoyed hearing from different people this month.

I want to share with you about my month in Ecuador little by little.
First, I want to take about a tiny little coastal town called Puerto Lopez.

It was so charming and refreshingly simple.
That was not my first response, however.

I read a quote in my journal that said:
"An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered."

That pretty much sums up the weekend at Puerto Lopez.

We were told we were going to the beach and staying in a hotel.
Well, apparently, a hotel/resort on the beach is the same thing as a dirt floor hostel with mosquito nets in the middle of nowhere.

I had my first miniature freak out at this point because I was not prepared for "roughing it" that weekend.
I had my good little cry, washed up in our sink that fell off the wall, and dried off with towels that did not cover all the important parts.
(If you know what I mean.) 

I gave it a chance though,
and I am so glad I did.

Our group fell in love with this tiny coastal town.
Tiki huts lining the beach created a super fun night life,
and even though we had a ghetto hostel,
it turned out to be a charming little place.


We ate all our meals at this cute little restaurant called Restaurant Spondylus for every meal.
It was so delicious and fabulous to have seafood right from the ocean,
and to have soda in glass bottles with fun straws.
the little things

We went to Isla de la Plata by boat,
which was an experience.
It is nicknamed a "Poor Man's Galapagos".
We went on a hike to see some wild life, 
and then plunged right into the ocean for snorkeling. 

This was a huge feat for me,
because I am not a very good swimmer.
But I did it
with the help of my lovely friends Molly and Amy.

What started as an inconvenience truly turned into a charming adventure,
and I have four dresses to prove it.


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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Social Media for PRSSA Chapters-- Lauren K Gray

In public relations, we know that social media is one of the top tools for PR today. With that, PRSSA National has many social media platforms to communicate with members around the country and out of the country!

Social media pages for Chapters are very beneficial. My Chapter, the Western Carolina University Chapter @WCUPRSSA, uses Twitter, Facebook, blogging and LinkedIn to post industry news, Chapters news, National news and other updates as they surface.


Our Chapter also uses the Facebook page for events and discussions. We post job and internship opportunities at least once a week, which is beneficial for our members who could be searching for jobs and internships. Events on Facebook are useful because members get a reminder of the upcoming event and they can RSVP to the event and get more details about the event.

Twitter seems to be a PRSSA favorite lately! @PRSSANational posts job and internship opportunities as they arrive on the PRSSA Internship Center. For your Chapter, you can tweet individuals to remind them of meetings, thank people for coming to meetings and more. I think Twitter is more personal than just a mass message on Facebook. It’s very useful! A lot of Chapters retweet @PRSSANational posts and posts by other Chapters. 2010-2011 PRSSA President Nick Lucido even created a list of Chapters on Twitter: http://twitter.com/nicklucido/prssa-chapters.


Twitter and Facebook are also great ways to communicate with other Chapters. I know our Chapter has gotten a few ideas from other Chapters for events and meeting topics, we are all here to help each other!
A lot of Chapters also have a blog or a website to talk about industry news and PRSSA topics. For example, the WCU PRSSA Chapter has our blog http://wcuprssa.wordpress.com where members can get information about our point system, meeting calendar, blog updates and more. We posted notes from a few different conferences our members attended and more.
I think it’s important for Chapters to use social media to communicate with members because while email is very important, emails rack up quickly and are easily overlooked. College students are on their social media sites every single day. Does that mean they will check the Facebook and Twitter pages? No, but it is another method of communication for reaching more people.

As the 2011-2012 PRSSA National Vice President of Public Relations, I will communicate to members through our social media channels, the bi-weekly update and the PRSSA President phone and email tree. It’s very important to check these channels for PRSSA news and updates! Here are our links to our social media sites:
           Something new we will be doing will be adding videos to the YouTube channel from the National Committee members! We will add introduction videos to tell you more about us and our initiatives. I will also ask Chapters to submit Chapter news via video so we can upload Chapter news to our YouTube channel as well! We want to utilize all our social media channels to their fullest potential.

            If you have any questions about starting social media for your Chapter or social media for PRSSA as a whole, please feel free to reach out to me! Tweet me on Twitter @laurenkgray or email me at laurenkgray2@gmail.com.
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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Louise from Coffee & a Cardigan

Greeting, coffee-lovers!  This is Louise from Coffee & a Cardigan! 

I love coffee... I can't go a day without it.  I became officially addicted about seven years ago, when I managed a coffee-shop in college, called St. Drogo's.  (St. Drogo is the patron saint of coffee-houses and unattractive people. Go figure.)  A certain teacher (I call him 'He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named') caused me grief in the form of a term-paper, and coffee was a great comfort to me.  Now that I'm graduated, married to a super-cool guy, and raising an incredible daughter, I still turn to my favorite coffee-shop Dutch Brothers in my time of need... and in times of joy... and anger... and whenever I have a spare few bucks, really.  

My adored Minnetonka boots have the most wonderful rich brown coffee color... it's what drew me to them in the first place! Paired with a comfy unbelted dress, assorted bracelets, and my parrot ring, this ensemble was perfect for running errands and walking about town.
Thanks so much for reading, everyone-- I hope you have a lovely day!
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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why Live in Community // Adventure in Togetherness

Greetings! This is Amber here and Bethany has asked me to do a guest blog post for her for some reason. She is pretty cool like that. Just a little background on me – I currently live in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania with my handsome husband Jay (who is also guest blogged) and three other couples in a huge house. That’s right, there are eight of us sharing life together in the same house. Does that sound crazy to you? Well, let me explain why we do it.


Experiences in Community
Let’s begin with our experiences of living in community with other people. Both of us have had many positive experiences living with other people, and our fair share of challenges. We both lived in the dorms of Missouri State University for at least a year. 

My most significant adventure with community happened my junior year. I moved once again to a bigger house that was more inviting to community than the small apartment. I lived with my sister Emily and two other girls who challenged and sharpened me. The house, which we affectionately call “Florida” for the street that it was on, quickly became a place of refuge, good times, and deep conversations. There were often times when people just wanted to hang out somewhere, so they came to Florida for hot chocolate and board games. Florida is where three of us realized that we were going to marry our wonderful husbands. 

For the first time, I felt like I was able to use my home as a ministry and that is because of the community that existed inside the walls of that house. We challenged one another and spurred one another on towards love and good deeds. There is a Proverb that says “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” That is what Florida did for me. It sharpened me and I like to think that it sharpened the other three girls as well. Going home to people who love you and want to challenge you to become the person God has designed you to be was a constant source of growth spiritually.

Ever since my time in Florida, I have been hungry for community. I have lived with an incredible family from my church, my sweet oldest sister and now I live with my beloved whom I married about two ago. All three of those living arrangements have been wonderful and blessed. However, they lacked community that Florida had. They lacked the iron sharpening iron.

Benefits of Community Dwelling
The apostles in Acts were of “one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. There was not a needy person among them.” (Acts 4:32 & 34) Jay and I feel like that is the best way to live our lives. To be of one accord and share your possessions with those who are in need and with brothers and sisters in the Lord. You may say that you can be in one accord with just a husband and wife, and we completely agree. However, for us, we choose to live in harmony with multiple people from different backgrounds with different gifts.

Another benefit of community has little to do with faith. It is simply a bonus benefit of community dwellers. It seems easier to live an “organic life” in community. What I mean by that, is it is easier to grow your own garden and make your own clothes and live off the natural goodness of the Lord through relying on other people. Putting a range of people together under one roof is like taking a cornucopia of skills and talents and putting them together to work toward a common goal. It is more effective to work together to make that happen.


We don’t live in community so that it can change us into people that we are not. We desire community so that we can change the world to bridge the gap between what is and what should be. We don’t want to live in community because it is easier. We desire community because it is challenging. We don’t want to live in community to avoid the church. We desire community because we are the church. We don’t want to live in community simply because it is permissible. We desire community because it is beneficial. We don’t want to live in community to escape any person or thing. Will you join us?

If you want to learn more about our community or would like to read more about our adventures, check
out our blog at www.jayandamber.wordpress.com.

Jay and Amber's Community
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ecuadorian Eats

This post is dedicated to all the food I have been eating in Ecuador. 
Yes, I know it is about dinner time, so you should probably not read this if you are super hungry... :)

This is the first meal they served us that I LOVED!
It was ham and llapingachos.
What in the world is a llapingacho?
It's okay I didn't know either.
It is a potato and cheese pancake looking thing,
and it is SOO good!

Last Tuesday, the group went to a restaurant called "La Boca del Lobo".
It was such a cute place.
(I will share more pics later of the decor,
but now here is the delicious food we had):

I had chicken kabobs wrapped in bacon dipped in dijon mustard with bread.
Yes, I was in heaven.

My lovely friend Morgan had this stuffed mushroom dish that looked scrumptious. 

Fruit is more than a staple here in Ecuador.
We eat fruit at just about every meal.
I am not much of a fruit person,
but I am adjusting.

In the Middle of the World, we saw these baby bananas that are supposed to be super sweet.
Aren't they adorable?

This is called Rambutan.
It is a red spikey fruit with a juice white center.
There are also seeds inside...
which you are NOT supposed to eat,
learned that the hard way.

Okay, do you see that chocolate bar in the background?
It is called Pacari,
and I am addicted now.

The first thing I craved from the US was Askinosie chocolate.
My craving has been satisfied with this single origin chocolate from the Esmeraldas region of Ecuador.
I have already bought like 5 bars.

At the beach this weekend, we had amazing seafood!

And soda pop in adorable glass bottles. :)

This is dessert from that restaurant on the beach,
which is called Spondylus...
weird, I know.

Brandi discovered this adorable bakery called Corfu.
I think I may go every day.
The pastries are absolutely incredible.

Yesterday, I felt a bit under the weather,
so we played it safe and tried a deli.
I had an amazing Caesar salad with a cheese empanada.

My food adventures are certainly not over.
This weekend we are trying "Cuy",
which is guinea pig.

I am a little scared,
but it is a traditional dish here,
so I have to try at least a bite.

Tenga un buen dia!
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