This past weekend I went to lunch and a movie with my friend Cat. When we were ordering our snacks before we went into the movie, she told me she couldn’t get any chocolate because she’d given it up for Lent. This got me thinking… what could be the benefits of giving something up and making that kind of commitment? What would that feel like? I struggle with self discipline on a daily basis. Maybe this is something I should try?
So, what is something I consume every day, that I feel is impossible to give up but would truly benefit me if I didn’t consume? Soda. And since I’m on my way to Austin for SxSW and will be staying with my good friend Shelby who’s been trying to get me off soda for years, I think this is the perfect time to kick off a challenge.
I’ve never challenged myself to something like this and pulled it off. Well, actually, I quit smoking a couple of years ago and completed a 5k last year, so it’s not like I’m a complete lost cause. But I’m definitely iffy about my self discipline. Gotta learn sometime, I guess, and maybe practice will make perfect?
Anyway, I’m really excited to see what it feels like to really give something up and stay committed. I drink Diet Coke and Diet Ginger Ale multiple times every day. What will it feel like to give up something I’m truly addicted to? Maybe if I can do this, l’ll be pumped to challenge myself to commit to something else?
I’m on the plane to Austin… so when I land, it will be the start of no soda for me for 30 days. Wish me luck!
The iPhone 5 might not be arriving any time soon, but that hasn’t stopped artists and design firms from creating their own mock-ups. After analyzing the various iPhone 5 rumors, Italian designer Federico Ciccarese came up with these gorgeous renders. Ciccarese’s visio…
March 31st is Advisor Appreciation Day. At NSCS, our advisors play a HUGE role in everything from fostering relationships between NSCS and schools to providing support to members and chapter officers. We owe major thanks to our advisors and use this special day to show our appreciation.
Even if you aren’t a chapter officer working directly with an NSCS advisor, I’m sure you have a campus advisor or professor that’s made an impact on your life in some way. For me, it was my very first college professor. He wasn’t my “official” advisor, but he became a mentor and friend to me throughout my (extra long) college career. I learned so much from him and in fact, the reason I’m passionate about working with college students today is because he showed me what having an “advisor” could really do for a college student. (Shout out to Mr. Michael Johnson at Middle Tennessee State University!)
Anyway, enough about me.
Here are 5 tips to show your advisor how much you appreciate them:
A thank-you note! So simple, yet SO powerful. I prefer handwritten. (Oh, and if you don’t have personalized stationary, I highly recommend getting some! Very classy. It’s cheap, you can design your own and you will use it like CRAZY. You can order it from a site like Vista Print or even find some SUPER cute designs at my favorite place for everything, Etsy.) For some tips on writing a thank-you note, read this article by Leslie Harpold.
Treats! Everyone loves a delicious treat, yes? Try making some simple, no bake cookies that are dorm room friendly. If you want to do a little baking, I’m a huge fan (thanks to years of my mom baking tons of these for holiday presents) of both the banana bread and cranberry bread. You can buy a mix for either of them and add a personal touch by wrapping them with plastic wrap or foil and ribbon.
A mug! Most everyone enjoys either a cup of coffee or hot tea in the mornings. Let your thank-you gift be a daily reminder of how awesome you think that person is. You can buy plain mugs just about anywhere, use a paint pen or acrylic paints to create a personal thank you message and voila!For more detailed instructions on decorating a ceramic mug, check out this eHow article.
Gift cards! Whether it’s a $5 gift card to Starbucks or a local coffee shop or a $25 gift card to a great restaurant, your advisor will appreciate the gesture. Giving someone a gift card is a great way to show thanks without being overly personal or sappy.
A book! One of my favorite ways to show someone I care is by giving them a book that has meant something to me. Hit up the used book store to find a good deal or check out Amazon.com for great prices. I always like to write a little note in the front of the book, as well, to make it even more personal. Hint: Make sure the book is appropriate. Twilight or The Encyclopedia of the Horse, while they may have meant something to you, are probably not the best choice.
Whatever you decide, any opportunity you take to thank your advisor for their hard work will definitely be appreciated.
An article I wrote for the NSCS Wish You Worked Here Blog…
When I first started at NSCS, my supervisor, Bailey, was always expressing to me that a huge part of NSCS culture was for each of us to work to develop ourselves both personally and professionally. She always said that she would do that for me, but it was important for me to do that for myself, as well. At first I didn’t quite know what she meant by that. At that time I had a job, and that’s what mattered to me. As far as developing my career, I had no idea what that really meant. I knew that people had moved up at NSCS, but as far as my position and what I was doing, I just couldn’t quite envision where it could go. I also couldn’t imagine what could change, not just within my position, but with my career in general.
During one of my weekly meetings with Bailey, she drew a picture of a tree with a bunch of fruit hanging from it. She said, “The fruit on this tree are NSCS opportunities and you have to be willing to jump up and grab that fruit as soon as it becomes available.”She said she’d always be looking out for me and reaching up to grab the fruit on my behalf, but it’s also important for me to stay on top of the fruit that she may not see and reach up and grab it on my own. Again, I wasn’t quite sure what she meant by all of this, but it always stuck with me and I always pictured that in my mind. Bailey always encouraged me to figure out what I wanted out of my position, gave me feedback on what she thought I was especially good at and encouraged me to challenge myself to think outside of any sort of box I may have created for myself.
So now, about a year and a half later, after so much wonderful encouragement from Bailey and other colleagues, I finally understand. My position has grown, changed, morphed, and is in the process of changing even more. It’s like, out of nowhere, these changes became obvious to me and almost natural. As I became more involved in social media, attended tech conferences and learned about managing online communities, big things began to happen. I started working more with NSCS as a whole to incorporate social media in everything we do (from engaging members to increasing transparency to promoting and even developing programs) instead of just using it as a customer service tool. Originally, my position was sort of half customer service and half social media. At this point, social media has really morphed into its own world and customer service no longer fits in. Trying to balance two positions that are really each their own separate entity has become quite a challenge. Luckily I have a supervisor and an executive team that is supportive of my vision, willing to hear my ideas and actually listens to what I NEED. My position changed and now my needs have changed. At the same time, NSCS’ needs have changed. It’s become obvious how important it is to be active on social media, to have an engaged online community and to stay up to date with technology. Both NSCS and I have grown into different beings, if you will, and neither of us would be where we are without the other. Our needs line up. How cool is that?
Bottom line is this: After a year and a half at NSCS a whole new world has opened up to me and I can actually comprehend what it means to have a career. I’ve been given the opportunity to develop my career and the confidence to go for it. I have officially learned how to grab the fruit.
We’ve officially got it all in SE! I’ve seen crazy big deer, my boyfriend saw a raccoon snacking in the middle of the road, I’ve seen foxes and alley cats. Today, I saw a wild turkey. If I see a bear… forget the Shenendoah! We’re going camping at the Anacostia!
There was this lady on the street that came up to me (a little too close for comfort) and was mumbling about being a diabetic and needing a sandwich. At first I was annoyed. She’s probably just a drunk or something. Then, all of the sudden, I got really sad. I felt bad for her. Why was she in that situation? What if she really was a diabetic and really needed to eat and I just ignored her when I have plenty of food to share? I went upstairs, put together a bag of food and took it to her. I thought of my dad. That’s absolutely what he would’ve done. How lucky am I to have had a dad like that? I hope she ate the food.
1) I have got to stop making conversation with so many random people on the street. I end up getting stuck for 20 minutes talking to someone about college, scholarships, installing printers or the consistency of dog poop. I am going to try to keep my mouth shut more and just smile. I mean it this time.
2) I saw the moon tonight and made a mental note that it wasn’t close to being a full moon and felt relief that it would be awhile before Tyler turns into a werewolf for the first time. I guess watching 4 episodes in a row of The Vampire Diaries can cause one lose touch with reality.
So a couple of weekends ago my boyfriend and I decided to spend the afternoon at the National Harbor. Not only do they have a Rita’s, an amazing Mexican restaurant, beautiful sailboats and views of the Potomac, they have a Peeps store! I never knew these existed and honestly, I wouldn’t have cared…. but thank GOD we decided to go inside and see what it was all about. They have an ENTIRE Mike and Ike section where you can buy Mike and Ike’s clothing, pillows, hats, and ALL kinds of flavors! You can even buy them by the flavor from these cool turnstyle candy machine things. I found lots of things I wanted so of course I had to drop obvious hints to my boyfriend - “Wow, this Mike and Ike’s hat would make a perfect present for the 4th night of Hanukkah!” I finally got to try the Mike & Ike’s Lemonade Blends and they are BY FAR my new favorite.
We also took a sailboat ride on the Potomac, which was BEAUTIFUL (and yeah, it was romantic). The sailboat was a really cool old crabbing boat from the early 1900’s. There wasn’t a lot of wind so we didn’t move too fast, but it was still really nice.
Oh, and they have this REALLY cool statue on the beach there…
Ya know what the best part about this place is? It’s only 10 minutes from my apartment.
I haven’t posted in a good bit. I’ve been busy! I went home to Tennessee over July 4th. It was great sharing my hilarious stories about life in Southeast DC with my friends and family back home. I think everyone got a good laugh and I got quite a few looks of concern. I assured everyone I was okay and that life up here isn’t as bad as the stories make it sound.
While I was home I got to see my (old)horse, Nick…
AND! I finally got to bring my dog Gracie back to DC with me. It has been GREAT having her here. I missed her SO much. And she gets along well with my boyfriend’s dog, Jimmy.
One of my brother’s friends came to visit me. When giving him directions, I warned him that he might be a little uncomfortable parking and walking up to my building. When he got in to my apartment he told me I’d scared him by saying that and he’d brought a knife with him. Whoa, man! Maybe I need to stop warning people. Do I warn them because I’m worried about them or do I warn them because I don’t want them to think I’m unaware of my surroundings. I don’t know. Either way, maybe I need to approach it in a different way. I do want people to WANT to come visit.
This weekend I’m going to be in a promotional video for my building. I don’t really know much about what will be going on or what I’ll be doing, but I’m nervous/excited. I’m nervous because I’ll be on camera! But I’m excited because I’ll be getting the opportunity to say good things about my building, community and neighborhood. We need all the support we can get… and I think having me on the promotional video will show that ANYONE can kick it here. Even a southern Jewish girl like me! I’m also really excited to have the opportunity to work with Anthony Anderson, creator and star of Anacostia: The Web Series. He’s producing the video. I told him I was nervous to work with him because he’s TOTALLY famous. He replied, “Yeah, HOOD famous.”
Maybe I’ll get to be hood famous someday? A girl can dream.
Streetcar vs. Rover: Or How I Lost My Sweet, Southern Innocence
In the mornings, there are these noises. It sounds like very strong metal hitting cement. It starts around 6am. It makes a steady “bang… bang… bang…” sound with a little bit of rattle in between the bangs. Well, a new sound has been added. I still get the slow and steady “bang… bang… bang…” but on top of that is now a faster sound, that is not as heavy. Maybe a lighter metal hitting cement? Kinda like a ding crossed with a click and then crossed with a bang.
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON? WHAT IS MAKING THESE SOUNDS?
Oh yeah… they are putting in a streetcar system…. yep, a STREETCAR! Unless this somehow makes it cheaper, faster and/or easier for me to get to work within the next few months I consider this project to be RIDICULOUS, a WASTE OF TIME and REALLY ANNOYING!
Back in Murfreesboro, Tennessee we don’t have buses, trains or STREETCARS! We do, however, have the ROVER, which is this adorable little green shortbus with a picture of a dog on it that takes people around town.
Awww, so sweet!
Is it just me, or have my blog entries gotten progressively more negative and mean sounding? What is this city doing to me?! Oh where did my sweet, southern innocence go?
I'm walkin' around all confident, thinkin' I look good...
Living in SE DC will do that. I walk up and down my street, get on my bus, go to Congress Heights or Anacostia Metro Stations… the whole time I’m looking around thinkin’, “DAMN! I look good!” It’s hard not to think you’re hot shit when you see what most of the people around those areas wear. Now, I know, there are some gorgeous women dressed REALLY well and some extremely attractive guys who are more into fashion than anyone I’ve ever known. But those people are few and far between. MOST of the women seem to not know what a bra is, don’t understand that bathing is something you do everyday and as for hair? Let’s not even go there. So of course, in comparison, I LOOK LIKE AN EFFING MODEL! It’s good for one’s self esteem.
But then, reality check….
The train passes Navy Yard, then gets to L’Enfant and before you know it, I’m not so hot anymore. Enter the twig-like, 23-year-old girls in pencil skirts, flip-flops and blond ponytails. I have to force myself to not stick my foot out and trip them. Bitches.
This morning on the bus all I could smell was wet dog. The man across from me had no teeth and was wearing 2 different shoes. The lady (if you can call her that) sitting next to me had on no bra, had 3 kids with her and kept scratching her head really intensely. Oh, and I overheard her mention something about being pregnant (AGAIN!). I’m not sure if I should be offended or take it as a compliment, but another lady on the bus said she loved my outfit multiple times. We started talking about where I shop and she kept repeating the names of stores as I said them like I was speaking another language. Now, I’m not from a big city… I don’t have a lot of money… it’s not like I’m a fashionista or anything… but she was really looking at me, listening intently, like I was sharing with her some super secret fashion advice straight from… (I was going to name some fancy fashion show but I realize I don’t know of one - this is how NOT into fashion I am)… but you get the idea. I’m just a girl who pays attention to what looks good. Nothing special. I bathe at least once a day, brush my teeth twice a day, wear a bra, don’t let my parts be all hangin’ out and I brush my hair. THIS IS NOT NEWS, PEOPLE!
The other day I was waiting with the my regular 5-6 peeps at the Anacostia Metro Station for the W2 bus. It pulled up and I didn’t notice anything different at first. When I went to climb the steps to get on the bus there were no steps. Weird. Then I realized the inside was sparkling clean and had comfy seats that you don’t slide around on. As we all entered the bus we were kinda looking at each other like, “What’s going on? Did we get a new bus?!” It was like a group of starving children being handed bottled water. “What’s this beautiful, clear liquid in this bottle that doesn’t break when you drop it?” No one said anything. We all just had these really excited, happy looks on our faces. We were blessed by the bus gods that day, my W2 peeps! Of course we never saw that beautiful machine again. I suppose it went back to the good life in Georgetown.
It was about 9:15am. The Dupont Metro Station was crowded. I made my way off the train and headed up the escalator. I was wearing some cute sandals with a really flat sole. I was jammin’ to the Gorillaz on my iPod. Next thing I know my sandal gets literally SUCKED into the escalator and RIPPED from my foot. People just kept pushing right on past me. No one even stopped to tell me I shouldn’t be bending over to attempt to remove my sandal from the sharp teeth of the escalator while my scarf dangled dangerously close.
I walked around Dupont Circle barefoot for about 20 minutes and finally found a CVS that sold flip-flops.
I bought one of those buggy things you can use to put your groceries in. They are SUPPOSED to make transporting groceries easier. It was $50! I expect miracles for that kinda money!
Hopefully no one was watching as I put the damn thing together in the courtyard outside my building. I kept dropping things, it kept falling apart… if anyone WAS watching, I’m sure they got a good laugh. I got it together, fill it up with my groceries……….
THIS THING IS A PIECE OF SHIT!
Not only was pulling the damn thing up 3 flights of stairs difficult… BEYOND difficult… the wheels are already bent! Grrr!
So there are millions of other people out there who live on top floors and don’t have elevators. How the hell do they get their groceries up there? I even made it through Goodwill and Bed Bath & Beyond without buying anything because I didn’t want to have to figure out how I’d get it up to my apartment.
Anyway, my groceries made it, as you can see here…
On a more positive note, I got a pedicure and my toes are a pretty purple!
I feel like I’m dreaming. I feel like this is some imaginary life that doesn’t belong to me.
It seems like every day I’m looking at something thinking, “REALLY?! Did that just happen?!” From the arrests I see to the crackheads on the bus, this is DEFINITELY a new world for me.
Last night when I got home I happened to look out my window and saw a bunch of people on the road across the alley from me. Then I saw news crews. Then I remembered I’d overheard a conversation no the bus about a candlelight vigil being held for the kid that was killed over the weekend. I was so shocked by it and unsure of how to react. I’m sitting there in my cute, little apartment trying to decide what to make for dinner and this is going on outside. I opened my windows so I could listen. I ended up standing in my bathtub looking out the window from there (it had the best view). I listened to a man speak through a megaphone. I listened to someone who sounded like a preacher or minister speak. I heard crying and screaming. There were people singing. Then a woman busted out with Boyz II Men’s “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday”.
I can’t stop thinking about it… Sunday, while I was unpacking chotchkes in my apartment and organizing my purses so they look pretty hanging on the wall… a kid was dying in woods right outside.
As I was standing in my bathtub looking out the window observing all of this I started to think about the things people told me about this area… all the warnings I got, the jokes that were made…
So, I suppose I just have to start somewhere. I’ve been over-thinking and I’m going to stop doing that! Right now! I will just start at the beginning, obvi…
I moved to the DC area in the beginning of March 2010 for a job working with a non-profit organization in Dupont Circle. For the first 6 weeks I was staying with friends in Manassas, VA and commuting. I spent approximately 5 hours a day commuting to and from work. No bueno. During that time I was on a major hunt for a place to live. I knew I wanted to live in the city, but I also knew it was going to be difficult to afford. I looked at tons of places, went through multiple possible roommate situations and had no luck with any of them. Finally, I went to look at this really cool sounding apartment. I fell in love with it. The neighborhood was really cute, residential, seemed really quiet. PLUS, I could actually afford it! And with no roommates!
Blah blah blah happened… I decided to go against the advice I heard from just about everyone…
"I wouldn’t even bother going to look at it."
"DO NOT live there. Anytime you hear of crime in DC, that’s where they are talking about."
"Southeast DC? No way!"
"People get shot there all the time. I was only there once and within the first 10 minutes I saw a drug bust."
"It’s the murder capitol of DC!"
…and before I knew it, I was living in the Congress Heights/Anacostia neighborhood of Southeast DC.
Move-in day was intense. When the first thing the mover says to you is, “I do NOT like your neighborhood, you need to move!” you can’t help but think, “Oh shit, what have I gotten myself into?” After making a few trips to and from the car and seeing people around I realized I was probably the ONLY white person within at LEAST a one-mile radius.
Movers yelling at me, insisting I give them an extra $600… all alone… no friends to call… everyone hates my neighborhood…. weird looks from people on the street… time for a minor emotional breakdown. I locked myself in my car, the only place that has been a constant for me since I moved, and cried…
After I gave the movers their $235236980 and they left, I just chilled out and took it all in. “This is going to be okay,” I thought. “The neighborhood will accept me if I’m confident, real, friendly… I just need to be myself!”
So begins the life of a southern Jewish girl in Southeast DC….