Monday, August 31, 2009

Dear Athens, I Miss You.

It's nearing four months now that I've been out of college (115 days to be exact), but I think I'm just really grasping it for the first time recently. Up until a few weeks ago, it's been summer. For me, and for everyone. I'm never in school at this time of the year, and having so many friends living in New York for just summer internships made me feel like I was one of them. I was last summer, after all.

Somehow it was easy to think that come the middle of August, I would head back to Athens with the rest of my friends. Now it's so weird for me to grasp that my younger friends are sitting in class all day while I'm working and paying my own bills! I guess I had to come to terms with it at some point, but its funny that it took the start of the semester for me that to happen (how much longer can I talk in "semesters"?).

As much as absolutely love living in New York, there's a part of me that really misses sweet little Athens, Georgia. I knew people everywhere I went, I was comfortable in the same home for three years, and I had my safe routine of class and working occasionally... and a little part of me definitely misses that! But the more I think about it, the more I realize it's the just the memories I made in college that I miss. I wouldn't in a million years trade going to class tomorrow for going to work; I'm past that point in my life and it feels good. It's just hard not to miss the friends I made and the traditions that are still going on without me.

Another thing that's hard to swallow... this weekend is the first UGA football game. The first game I'll watch the bulldogs play as an alum, not a student. They'll always be my team, but it's weird to get in the habit of telling people "I went to UGA," not "I'm a student at UGA." It's an away game, so I wouldn't be at the game anyway (Oklahoma is too much of a haul, even for me)... but it's still a weird feeling. I'm used to watching the away games in my living room with my roommates; this weekend I'll actually be home in Sarasota, watching the game with my parents!

I know this is all part of growing up, and as the rest of my friends graduate and move on I'll have less of a pull toward Athens, but right now it's just really weird to realize that chapter of my life has closed.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Checklist, Revised.

Apparently I either have time to update several times per day or not at all for weeks... I really am working on being more consistent, I swear (have I mentioned the whole working three jobs thing?).

So I've decided to expand my checklist. I got a good start to it last weekend, but this past week was a crazy busy blur so I need to get going on it again. I got a letter from my grandfather last week that inspired me to add to the list so I can make sure I see all of the great things this city has to offer. He put it best when he said that many New Yorkers take things for granted here and don't do all of the great things that tourists come here to do. There are so many beautiful parks, amazing museums, and unique experiences to be had in this awesome city and I don't want to ever take it for granted! So here goes, the Revised Master Life Checklist:

1. High Line (check!)
2. Thoroughly explore Central Park (considering saving this for when it's a little cooler out/when the leaves start to change)
3. Get into Gramercy Park (ongoing life goal)
4. Top of the Rock/Empire State Building Observation Deck (per a friend's advice, I think I'll opt for ESB at night)
5. Brooklyn Bridge (check!)
6. Walk along the Hudson (check!)
7. Chelsea Piers (check!)
10. Ferry ride from Battery Park to Staten Island/Circle Line boat ride around Manhattan
11. Giants game (in order to fill the void of UGA football/Athens, I'm becoming a pro football fan. I have a lot to learn!)
12. MoMA (I've been but need to go back and spend more time there - free on Fridays from 4 - 8 p.m.)
14. The Met
15. The Frick (free/donations only entry on Sundays before 1 p.m., only $5 for students otherwise - good thing I still have that student ID!)
16. The Whitney (Fridays, 6 - 9 p.m. - free/donations, also has deals for students on a regular basis)
17. Guggenheim (Saturdays, 5:45 - 7:45 p.m. - pay what you wish)

That's going to have to do for now, I'm already getting exhausted thinking about doing all of this! Any other suggestions would still be welcome though :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Killing Several Birds With One Stone

I'm on quite a roll with my checklist - I knew all I had to do was put it in writing to get started on it! I finally went to the High Line today, I can't believe it's taken me this long to get over there. Walking the High Line turned into exploring all of Chelsea, so I can now check off Chelsea Piers, walk along the Hudson, and Chelsea Market (okay, that wasn't even on my list but I've been wanting to do it).

Walking across town, came across this on Park Ave. - apparently NYC closes down major streets for a few hours on certain days for biking and running. How cool!

random street fair I manage to stumble upon every weekend

I made it!

such a cool concept

under the High Line

Chelsea Market is amazing - I need to go back when I'm hungry because everything looked delicious!

inside the Chelsea Market

the closest I've been to water since moving to NYC (Hamptons don't count)

#5, Check!

I'm proud to say that last night I accomplished my first item off my Summer Checklist - walk across the Brooklyn Bridge! It turned into quite an adventure which included getting slightly lost in Brooklyn, almost getting run over by crazy cyclists on the bridge and $5 martinis but I think it was a success....

heading across the bridge

Elle & I

goodbye Manhattan...

...hello Brooklyn!

sketchy hidden stairs under the bridge

Old Fulton St., thought we'd never find you!

After searching all over, we finally found Grimaldi's... and a TWO HOUR wait. That wasn't happening.

We were about to give up on Brooklyn and head home when we saw a sign for $5 martinis... Lychee & pomegranate pear martinis are better than pizza anyway.

Heading back into Manhattan. I can't decide if the bridge is more amazing during the day or at night.

The End.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Checklist: Summer in the City

A lot of my friends who lived and interned in the city made "to do lists" as the last few weeks of the summer wound down. It's a great idea, especially since for so many of them this may be the only time they're really living in New York. I meant to do this last summer but I never wrote it down and before I knew it I was packing up my tiny apartment and heading back to Athens for one last football season (oh yea, and one last year of college. details, details...).

Since I've moved here permanently, I feel like I don't really have an excuse to make one of these check lists. I have no pressing deadline of when I'm leaving, so I can do all of these fun activities whenever I want, right?

Wrong. In a few months (weeks?) it will start to get cold, and this Florida girl will be hibernating in her warm apartment for the few hours a day she's awake but not working. Sooo I've decided to make my own version of the checklist, I'll call it the "things I want to do before it gets too cold to move" list. Since I'm one of those people that has to write things down and check them off to ensure that they actually get done, I figured my blog would be a good place to keep my list safe and sound. Here goes, suggestions are welcome...
  1. Go to the Highline Park. Am I the only person in all of Manhattan who hasn't been yet? I think so. This needs to happen ASAP.

  2. Explore Central Park. Of course I've been to Central Park, but I usually go straight to my normal spot so I think I need to branch out. And also under this category, I can tentatively put "eat at Tavern on the Green." Tentatively because I first need to fit it into my monthly budget. I have been in at night for a party, but I need to go eat a meal there. Or maybe just get a mimosa and call it a day.
  3. Get into Gramercy Park. While I'm on a roll with parks, I figured I should throw it in there. It should be noted that this is more of a life goal, and if I had the opportunity to get into Gramercy Park in the middle of a blizzard I'd leap at it.

  4. Go to the Top of the Rock and/or Observatory Deck at the Empire State Building. I'll probably go with the latter since I now work in the Empire State Building and I think it's cheaper. Anyway, I want to go to one of these places and see the amazing panoramic view of the city just because I never have. And it will probably be more enjoyable in warm weather. Most things are.
  5. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (and ideally get pizza at Grimaldi's).
  6. Walk along the Hudson River (I think this can be accomplished in conjunction with #1).
  7. Go to the Chelsea Piers (see above).
  8. Go to the Frying Pan. A bar and restaurant on an old sunken ship, what's not to love?
  9. Go to The Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden in Astoria. I keep hearing great things about this place as a fun daytime activity on the weekends & they apparently have a great beer selection. Also it would be my first time in Queens (if you don't count switching trains at Jamaica Station).
I thing I'm going to leave it at this for now, although I know I'm missing things. Any suggestions?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another New Chapter

Once again, I've fallen off the face of the blogosphere for a bit. I feel like I go through these phases where I update daily and have all sorts of things to write about and then there are weeks where I just can't managed to post a single thing. This time I'm not lacking material, I've just been way too busy to post. Between planning a best friend's birthday, saying goodbye to other friends leaving the city after the summer, and making the transition to a new job (!!) I've been swamped.

Yep, you read right: I'm starting work at a new company this week. Tomorrow will be the last day of my wonderful Peppercom internship and I start at Parasol on Wednesday. I'm sad to say bye to everyone at Peppercom but excited for a new challenge and the next chapter of my career. I'll keep you all posted once I get going with this new job!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Never Stop Learning, Part 3

Since I've talked a few times now about how important it is to keep learning, even after graduation, I'm thinking about making this into a regular weekly topic on here... we'll see if that really happens. Anyway, last week I had the opportunity to listen in to Bad Pitch Blog's "Night School" Teleseminar thanks to a scholarship they gave to several students and professionals (I'm still not really sure which of those categories I fall into these days). Being familiar with Bad Pitch, I knew it would be both informative and entertaining and I wasn't disappointed.

As anyone in PR knows, pitching is crucial to our job but surprisingly many people still don't know what they're doing when it comes to reaching out to reporters (this became obvious through the many examples of material forwarded to Bad Pitch Blog on a regular basis). There was a lot of good information about the art of pitching, but there a few things that stood out to me.
  • Spend the extra time to make sure you're pitching the right person. This led into a conversation about sending mass e-mails and how it should never be done in pitching. By sending out generic e-mails and not respecting the needs of a reporter, we're further and further eroding the credibility of our industry (we've all seen this infamous blog post, case and point). PR professionals should be someone a reporter can trust and even approach for sources, not dread hearing from. Building relationships is key.
  • Journalism vs. blogging = paid vs. passionate. When pitching a blogger, realize that they're writing this blog because they love the topic. Chances are they have another job and life outside of this blog, so take that into consideration as far as how much time they have to read your pitch. Take the extra 10 minutes to become familiar with their content and even leave a comment or two before reaching out to them with a pitch.
  • Reporters complain about the lack of follow up from PR people. I have to admit, this absolutely shocked me. Most of the time when I'm following up with reporters I just feel like I'm harassing them. There were several good points made about how to follow up effectively, such as not starting a follow up call with, "so... did you get the pitch I sent you?" They got it, open with something original and provide new information to go along with your pitch. As was pointed out in the seminar, "pitching isn't a buffet, it's a 7 course meal." Don't give out all the information you have in your pitch, keep it short and continue following up with additional relevant information.
Overall the seminar was definitely helpful, as I know I can always use some tips when it comes to pitching. Thanks to Kevin Dugan and Richard Laermer for this opportunity, and Dr. Karen Russell for bringing it to my attention in the first place.