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California Dreamin – San Diego Style!

Hello from back on the east coast! I just returned from the most AH-MAZE-ING trip to San Diego! Between experiencing a new city, meeting so many new people, and getting incredible career experience, I can absolutely say it was one of the best trips of my life.

san diego collage

We hopped on a plane at an absurdly early hour at DCA, and 6 hours later rolled up to this place:

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Yeah…WHOA. This property is the most beautiful and secluded resort I’ve ever been to (um, and it’s PINK!). I even woke up extra early on a couple of the days to just walk around and soak it all in. As you all know, I’m a big fan of the winter and colder weather, but honestly no one could have been unhappy in this 70 degree paradise. There was a golf course, a pool, and several delicious restaurants right on site. Check out some more pictures of the property below:

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Even these hallways are unreal

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The courtyard outside my room

20131113-073923.jpg On Thursday we took a little break and ate lunch next to the beach and then ventured down to play in the sand and stick our feet in the water for a little bit. It’s always nice when we have a little time to explore the city we’re in…and when we’re relaxed enough about the event to enjoy it! Growing up right on the Atlantic, I had never been to the Pacific Ocean so this was particularly exciting for me!

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Lunch with a view!

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ocean

Once Friday rolled around, we really had to buckle down and “gets to steppin'” as we say around the office. So we spent most of the day in the staff office eating chocolate covered oreos and running through seating changes and other logistics. However, we couldn’t even complain about that seeing as how this was our view from the office balcony:

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Definitely broke a record for most of these eaten in a 4-day period….

Oh, and as for as the event itself – well, check us out:

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Special Events team with Senator Cruz

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Our set-up for the welcome reception

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Check out that staging for Governor Walker!

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Dessert Reception to wrap up the night

What an amazing opportunity to travel to another part of the country and learn alongside and bond with so many people who are just as passionate as you are about certain issues. My head was in the clouds the whole time – and I still can’t believe how lucky I am! We even got to meet Senator Cruz, Governor Scott Walker, and Scott Rasmussen! I learned SO much from each of my coworkers, and I can’t wait until the next big conference! Until next time, San Diego!

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-S

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Monthly Catch Up

Big news everyone, this weekend I became an official DC resident!

If you follow us on instagram (or check our our new instagram feed sidebar! –>>) you’ll probably have seen some of these photos, but a catch up from September and the first week in October is probably in order. We’ve been moving and shaking here at LoL.. guests visiting, work travel, work in general, weekend fun & more!

Enjoy!

Too cute,, right? Shes adoptable!

infact, S & I had to be dragged away NOT to adopt her..

 

mmm teds

you saw this recipe right?”

I’ve also ended up at eastern market EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND. It just never gets old…

I want them all

 

market goodies

 

perfect day

Its still been unbelievably warm in DC, considering that its October now. I’m ready for fall personally!

xXE

sidenote: some of the photos borrowed from Lindsay at seayoulater.wordpress.com but I was there.. so it still counts ūüėČ

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2 Weeks, 7 Cities, and Blurred Lines on Repeat

Brace yourselves for a post FULL of pictures! This is the second catch-up post from my August recess travels and there is no better way to show you all what I was up to than a bunch of photos from the road! After hitting up Gettysburg, I left for a 2-week tour across 6 cities! But that wasn’t before traveling home to Philly for my best friend’s bridal shower and some family time (I’m leaving this part out from the post, but it still counts as another city traveled to)! From Tampa to Indianapolis, I definitely experienced more of America over these two weeks than I had in the previous 22 years!

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Coffee played a MAJOR role in the completion of this tour…

It was a true whirlwind experience – fast-paced, stressful, and tiring…but I loved every minute of it! Traveling with an experienced coworker was such an incredible learning experience ¬†– plus we just had so much fun together from gossiping, to eating, to blaring and dancing along to “Blurred Lines” on our long car rides. I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking in this post, with a little narration.

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Bye, DC!!

Stop #1: Fayetteville, Arkansas!

It is fair to say that I had never truly experienced the “deep south” until I went to Fayetteville….and it was everything I imagined it to be. So quaint, such nice people, and SO beautiful. This was probably one of my favorite cities on the tour – maybe just because the venue was just so unique and fun (see below for pics of the BARN we held our event in)! Unfortunately we didn’t make it to the site of the giant Wal-mart in Bentonville, but we did visit one a little down the road in Fayetteville and I’m counting that as close enough.

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This song may also have been on repeat all trip…

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U. Arkansas campus

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Casually getting lost on back roads trying to find Wal-Mart….

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Taking a preemptive strike against day 1 – ready for anything!

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the most beautiful place on earth – yes, this is real!

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Inside the barn!

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wish I got to test this out…

Stop #2: Tampa, Florida!

We didn’t have that much time in Tampa, but it was also exactly what I imagined it to be. And yes, that means it was BLAZING HOT. But it was also beautifully sunny. I don’t think I’ve ever seen clearer skies. Tampa was my favorite hotel – which is good because I really don’t think we left it at all – hah! But check out the view from my room below!

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Stop #3: Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham is the ONLY city I don’t have pictures of, despite it being the city I was in the longest – go figure! This is probably because we were no where near close to downtown Bham. I did, however, get to experience the southern charm of suburban Alabama! I even went to ¬†Publix for the first time. It’s no Wegmans, but I’ll admit, it was pretty nice.

Stop #4: Indianapolis, Indiana

After a full week in the south, I was SO ready to be back up to familiar territory above the Mason-Dixon line! Though I loved my time spent there, I think I’ll always be a northern girl. That being said, I was ECSTATIC to land in Indy. Especially because I’ve never been there. I was lucky enough that our hotel was right in the heart of downtown and I landed early enough on Sunday to have some time to walk around the city and relax.

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Capital Building

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Circle City!

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Excellent photography skillz with my finger in the corner..

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How much do you just want to be that guy sitting there reading a good book?

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I just love this building…Gov. Pence, you home?

Stop #5: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

I had never been to Pittsburgh either, so this was particularly exciting for me too. Plus one of my best friends from school just moved there so I got to see her! We went to a delicious Mexican restaurant followed by delicious ice cream – the perfect way to spend my night before my last event! ¬†The next afternoon we took a quick break to get the famous Primanti Brothers sandwiches…and they were SO worth it! If you’re ever in Pittsburgh you need to make sure you get a hold of one! By the time we finished up in here, I was totally worn. I would like to think I could have kept going, but my body was so beat up and tired that I was glad to come home and rest!

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Just some random pretty church?

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View of the city from our hotel

Stop #6: Finally home to Washington, DC!

In the end, there is no place like home! My favorite part of traveling is always coming home to my city with renewed appreciation for how lucky I am! A year later, I am still completely in love with DC and I hope I remain in this honeymoon phase forever.

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the happiest home!

That’s all until my next adventure…

xO -S

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Work Trip: Gettysburg

As we mentioned in an earlier post today, we’ve got a LOT of catching up to do! So here is the first of my catch-up posts on travel – my work trip to Gettysburg, PA!

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Okay, so maybe I’m a total nerd, but I was SO excited for this trip! I was there to run the event (my first official trip by myself!), but I also really love learning about American History…so it was the perfect way to test my professional skills and to learn about something I was personally interested in! Win-Win. We started the day with lectures before we moved to the Gettysburg Museum for some presentations and then finally ended on a 2-hour tour of the battlefield. It was dark and rainy, but none of the guests seemed to mind since the content was so interesting. I learned so much that I didn’t know about the Civil War, and it was crazy to think that I was standing where it all happened! We walked Pickett’s Charge, ventured up to Little Round Top, and even stopped at some of the memorials and heard the stories behind them. Here are some pictures from the tour:

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Little Round Top!

As the lead contact for the event, I went up the night before to ensure everything was prepped and ready for guests upon their arrival at the hotel. This meant that I had a little bit of time the night before to explore downtown Gettysburg. Let me tell you, it was everything you imagine adorable small-town America to be. Beautiful scenery, great food, and friendly people. Below are some pictures I collected from around town – including the tavern we ate at and some delicious drinkage.

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Gettysburg is only about an hour and half from DC so it’s a perfect day trip! I highly recommend taking a weekend and heading up to see all that Gettysburg has to offer – I know I’ll be returning soon!

xO – S

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While We Were Away….

DC is said to be a ghost town in August. Congress is out on recess, and everyone else is on vacation escaping the crazy DC heat & humidity. Well, even though neither of us are Hill staffers, we decided to embrace that outlook anyway and took a short hiatus for some summer fun (and work!) in August.

Here’s just a few pictures and snipits of what you missed while we were away (don’t worry – we’ll go into more detail soon with some belated posts about our adventures):

S –¬†From bridal showers to baseball games, with 2 weeks of traveling in between!

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E – Traveling home, friends visiting, taking advantage of the fantastic warm weather!

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What have you been up to?

xx S&E

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NYC Recap!

Remember how I said that I was going to NYC a few weeks ago? I forgot to update you on the trip! If you follow me on instagram you’ve probably seen most of these but there is always a story behind every picture…

First I was there for work… in Jersey City which is ALMOST NYC.. as you can see from the beautiful view

View from the Goldman Sacs building

Finally, we united in Sty Town and headed out into the night!

The night began!

We went to Houstan Hall in the west village.  Imagine a german beer hall FILLED to the brim.

look at the size of those guys!

The crew!!!!

As the night progressed….

The next day we woke up bright and early and took the subway to Williamburg for a large food fest with a fantastic view!

Smorgasburg!

Seeing as it was Michelles birthday, we hit up a little Sushi place around the block from her apartment

Birthday Sushi!

And headed out into the night for some dancing…which somehow I got no pictures of, just instagram videos which I’m not entirely sure how to share just yet.

The next morning was brunch at the Sunburnt Cow (clearly named for me as I got burned just sitting around brooklyn) If you can imagine, is a tiny bar with fantastic breakfast and lunch items –think steak and eggs– with bottomless drinks and all Australian men servers.

The rest of the afternoon was spent walking, lounging, saying goodbyes, and grabbing dinner at this adorable 24/7 restaurant in the east village called 7A Cafe that I’ve now managed to go to every single time I’ve visited new york this year. I’m claiming it as my spot!

The next morning it was time to head back to Penn Station, but not before I got caught in a torrential downpour

No cabs to be found!

Ahh NYC… always a great visit. I think the friends are half the fun though.

xE

 

 

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How to quit your first real job.

Two weeks ago I had to do something that absolutely terrified me — I gave my two weeks notice.

Lets rewind a bit to get the full story.

As college seniors we’re pretty much wired towards finding a job and being pushed out into the real world to start this “career” that you’ve been training for…but more often than not, you’re not sure what that means. I studied Economics, Biology and Organizational Psych so by that standard I should be…working in HR Analytics for a Pharmaceutical company? There is no straight path and the only thing I really knew is that I wanted to be in D.C. and tada, I made it as one of the 43% of college grads who were employed post college. This is nothing to be taken lightly, my mom was thrilled, family so proud, etc and so I packed up my bags and moved down to D.C.

New job was great, and wow these paychecks are awesome! But there was a lot of adjustment socially (where are my best friends from college?!), financially (excuse me¬†Comcast – Internet is HOW much a month?) and just lifestyle wise (9-5 is not really a thing, its more like 8:30-6:00 on a good day). However, I was learning a lot and everyone around me was supportive of this hard time. I don’t know what other jobs are like, so lets keep rolling with this one!

Fast forward 8 months, I have learned SO much. About the business world, working with people, office structure and about what I can officially cross of my list of what I want to do for the rest of my life Рa necessary part of discovering your career! I accept that while I love the office and people I work with, there is no room for advancement of any kind where I am.

Two months later, an opportunity to change companies and positions arrives at my door (or in my LinkedIn inbox to be precise) and I decide to apply, heck why not?¬†One month after that, I’ve just signed an offer letter with a new company and I will be transitioning in a month. Oh the excitement!!

But there is one problem… I have to tell these great people who took a chance on my as a silly little new grad and taught me so much that I will be leaving them, after less than a year. Oy.

I had never quit a job before. Internships ended, I graduated high school or college, tennis season came up but never actually quit.  Quitting is no easy feat, and in this town and in this economy your number one goal should be to NOT BURN BRIDGES.

So this leads us to my advice in this matter, having just gone through the same ordeal.

So you’ve officially decided to quit, regardless of having another offer in hand:

1. Give two weeks notice.

Check your company hand book but two weeks for someone in an entry level position (as us new grads usually are) should be appropriate. Some companies may have given you a bonus stipulating that you stay there for a year so if you¬†haven’t¬†hit that mark yet take that into consideration. Also consider how much time they are going to need to replace you– have you been key on a project for months? Two weeks may not be long enough. There are also some companies that will tell you to leave that day. This saves them money, or they’re angry, or it’s policy…whatever it is just know that you will get your check in the mail and that will be it.

2. Tell your direct supervisor before anyone else. 

You may work in a company where there are tons of young people and you all are friends, go out and tell¬†each other¬†everything. It¬†doesn’t¬†matter, DO NOT tell them first. Word spreads like wild fire and my boss was very happy to hear that he knew before others, as this had not usually been the case. It shows respect and consideration of their needs in the matter.

2a. DO IT IN PERSON.

Walk into their office after a meeting or schedule a time to chat. If you can do it in person, do so. If you can’t, phone in at minimum. NEVER email them your resignation without a conversation first.

3. Put it in writing.

After you’ve told your supervisor, put it in writing. Preferably email. Just for documentation sake.

4. Be positive.

This applies for both job interviews and exit interviews but never dis your current employer. Regardless of the fact that you hated it, the hours were long, your supervisors were mean or whatever you find the issues is. You stay positive, you mention the only reason for moving on is about you and growth and wish them the best.

The art of Manliness Suggests:

“Thank your boss for the opportunity, and if she asks why you‚Äôre quitting, simply emphasize something about the way in which your new job aligns better with your key interests than your current one does. ‚ÄúI‚Äôve always wanted to do more teaching, and in my new job, that will be the biggest part of my responsibilities.‚ÄĚ If there isn‚Äôt a reason like that to give (maybe you‚Äôre just jumping ship because of the downer culture of your current company), just tell your boss (and this goes for your colleagues too) something positive and general like, ‚ÄúI‚Äôm ready for a new kind of challenge‚ÄĚ or, ‚ÄúThis is a better opportunity for me.‚ÄĚ”

5. Don’t have one foot out the door

You gave your two weeks, now work for them. Make sure projects are transitioned, any phone numbers or clients are contacted, etc. Don’t just start surfing the internet because you suddenly can and don’t care. If¬†that’s¬†the case you’re just using them and wasting¬†everyone’s¬†time.

6. Say goodbye.

There must have been people you¬†genuinely¬†enjoyed working with or talking with at lunch. So say goodbye to them in an appropriate manner — I suggest a short personal email or card. Also, I will be bringing in cupcakes for all¬†because, who doesn’t like cupcakes?

Good luck! D.C. is known for being a revolving door, they’ll understand.
&if you need any advice, you’re always welcome to ask us.

xE

Categories: Self Improvement, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

CPAC 2013 at National Harbor

*First I have got to apologize for the absolutely terrible picture quality in the post…my excitement paired with my crappy iPhone camera did not serve me well this weekend…*

For you non-politicos out there ‚Äď CPAC refers to the Conservative Political Action Conference, where thousands of conservatives gather each year to attend workshops, panels, and speeches by some of the best conservative lawmakers, commentators, journalists, and policy wonks.

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Gaylord National Hotel right on the water at National Harbor!

This weekend was all I needed to ensure that I am definitely in the right place. There’s nothing quite like being around thousands of people from all over the country that are so passionate about the same things you’re passionate about!

We left work early on Friday to head over to CPAC as a team, which was awesome. Unfortunately we missed some of my favorites – including Rand¬†Paul¬† Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, and Mitt Romney…but we still arrived with plenty of time to see my #1 favorite current politician – Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana. Bobby did not hold back at all – firing shots at the Obama Administration, the Republican Party, and NJ Governor Chris Christie.

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BOBBY!!

We attended a couple other workshops Friday evening, and I almost stayed for the dinner with Jeb Bush, but ultimately decided against it because I’ve been fighting off a cold and wanted to make sure I was in perfect shape to endure an entire Saturday of CPAC madness.

We were so excited to see Governor Scott Walker Saturday morning, but unfortunately missed it thanks to a marathon blocking off all the roads downtown (ugh). We did still make it in time to see Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Sarah Palin. Now these aren’t my favorite people in conservative politics, but it was still cool to see them all in person! We also got to see Dr. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, and a rising star in politics. If you haven’t heard anything from him yet, ¬†you should definitely look him up – he is really inspiring and eloquent in his speech.

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the PACKED room! Note the press/media all on their computers on the right…so cool

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Sarah Palin herself!

On top of the programming being awesome, I finally got a chance to visit National Harbor! Being that it is all the way out in Prince George’s County, I’ve had no incentive to get down there all this time, so it was awesome to finally have a reason! It’s basically a little town filled with shops and restaurants on the outskirts of the city. I wish we had more time to explore the area, but I’ll definitely be making a trip back sooner rather than later.

The highlight of National Harbor is the Awakening Statue, which surprisingly has no real story behind it other than a man struggling to break out of the ground…

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The little kids playing on it was too much to handle

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We took a short break from all the political jargon to walk around and grab lunch at Rosa Mexicano. I was a little disappointed with the lack of options, but finally settled on tortilla soup and chicken taquitos, which were delicious. Not to mention their super strong pomegranate margaritas!  On the way back to the hotel we came across one of my favorite stores, America!, and someone was clever enough to put this guy out front:

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Making my friends pose with Obama

We went back to the hotel for the last few speeches – Ann Coulter and Ted Cruz, two people I have very different feelings about. Ann Coulter is….an acquired taste, in my opinion. She’s definitely not my go-to source on conservative ideas. Ted Cruz, on the other hand, I admire a lot. He’s young, passionate, and energetic. We both have immigrant fathers and you can tell he really cares about and believes in the policies he promotes, which is important and rare in politics.

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Crazy Ann Coulter

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TED CRUZ!!!

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Standing ovation for Senator Cruz

I’m so inspired and excited from this weekend! I can’t wait to see what the future of the conservative movement holds. This all refers back to our recent post about job hunting. It’s so worth it to spend time finding your passion and applying it to your career. Trust me, life is much more enjoyable when you love your job! My apologies again for the terrible pictures, and for rambling on in this post about politics…I’ll post a cookie recipe soon to make up for it, I swear!

-S

Categories: Local Places, Politics, Work, Work Event | Leave a comment

Tips for Job Hunters

A few months in the real world doesn’t make either of us experts – we still struggle to balance work, fun, money, and health, but we’ve made it work so far and now we’re here to give tips to people who are in the same position we were in less than a year ago.

*Just a warning – this post will be full of cliches and cheesiness…but we wouldn’t write anything we didn’t think to be true!*

Trying to find a job after graduation can be a pretty pain-staking experience. But it can also be exciting, if you look at it the right way. You could move anywhere, meet new people, and really begin to build your life.

is this where you’re at??

Here’s a few tips on how we made it work:

1. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.

Laugh all you want, but it’s so true in almost all aspects of life, including your job search. You can send the same mediocre resume to a thousand companies and hear back from only a few…or, you can really target a few companies and tailor your resume and cover letter for those positions. Use buzz words from the job posting, highlight only the most relevant experience, and mention very specifically what you like about their organization (do they have a specific program/initiative/project currently that you feel especially connected to?).

2. Find your passion.

If you’re only going to send your resume out to a few companies or positions, you need to know which ones. Find a way to combine your technical skills with something you’re passionate about.¬†Companies will have a hard time turning you down when they see that not only do you have the knowledge necessary to fill the position, but also that you are passionate about their mission.

For example, Shianne has known for a while that she wanted to work in events – she’s always on the move, very detail-oriented, and likes to be in control. So when it came to graduation and applying for jobs, she thought about what she was passionate about, which was public policy, and tried to find a way to combine the two. Hence, how she came into her current role in special events at a conservative think tank, the perfect job for her! ¬†She’s not directly involved in formulating policy, but she can use her specific skills to support¬†initiatives¬†she really cares about.

In contrast, Elyse is kind of entirely not too sure what she wants to¬†commit¬†her career path to even after graduating months ago.. was that something you were suppose to figure out in college? We’re so young! There are so many wonderful options out there! What about her dream of ¬†flying fighter jets, is that dead?

(In all honesty, probably yes. Tell yourself that.) 

Should you find yourself in this frame of thought, a few things probably need to happen. You’re going to need to make a plan of things you want in a job and what you want out of life. If work life balance is huge to you, you should consider that in the career and company you look at. If you’re a great people person but not so great a math, consider that too. Make a list of your honest strengths and weaknesses.

and finally…

3. Don’t be afraid to network!¬†

networking

TALK TO PEOPLE. We’re past the place where a summer internship is going to make or break your career path decision. Talking to people who have the job you think you want is a huge help because it may not be exactly what you thought.. or it could be perfect!¬†Plus, us real world people are¬†surprisingly¬†happy to help out and pass along any knowledge we have or information to connections you want to make. LinkedIn can be an amazingly powerful tool for this — just don’t abuse the power.

Also a suggestion, read some advice from¬†Business Insider,¬†LinkedIn Thought Leaders¬†or this book —¬†What color is my parachute? They can help you think through your wants and needs are and maybe even enlighten you to a career path you did not know existed.

Of course none of this is to say you should be super picky – it is a rough time out there, so if you’re lucky enough to land any job, congrats! But there’s no reason to settle for something you don’t absolutely love when you’re totally capable of¬†doing¬†so much more!

Good luck out there, future grads! And don’t fear, the real world is a lot better than they lead you to believe!

-S&E

Categories: Self Improvement, Work | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

5000 Miles in 1 Week

Greetings from my couch in Arlington! I’m so glad to be finally home after a 6-day, 3-city, 5107 mile business trip for work, where I helped organize and execute 7 different events – all part of our nation-wide tour to introduce our new President to our members.

First stop was NYC! After a pleasant 4 hour train ride, we arrived at Penn Station, and headed to our hotel, The Grand Hyatt at Grand Central.

super modern hotel lobby?

Move Over, DuPont Circle

Next up: Denver! I was only here for about 24 hours, but I can honestly say that everyone I met in Denver was SO nice, and it was exactly how I pictured it. I can’t wait to go back sometime when I actually have time to explore and enjoy the city. We hopped in a rental car – and my hopped I mean packed all 6 of us plus 15 bags…

We became bag packing experts, bellhops everywhere were impressed

exactly what I’d imagine Denver is like outside hotel walls, not that I’d know

Tuesday night we ate at my favorite restaurant from the entire trip – Cool River Cafe. It was just us girls so we decided to split a bunch of small meals…which turned into more food than we probably would’ve all gotten had we ordered separately. I wish I would have taken a picture of the buffalo potatoes we got….but just imagine the most delicious mix of fries and tater tots with a little buffalo spice….yummm

Golden Globes were here just a few weeks ago!

We had a little time Thursday morning to explore the city, so we hopped in the suburban and headed to breakfast at Jack n Jills. This was honestly one of the most delicious breakfasts I had ever had! Since it was raining, we decided to stick to a driving tour for the most part after that. We made our way down Rodeo Drive, Sunset Blvd, and saw the walk of fame before driving up to Griffith Observatory for the “best view of the Hollywood sign.” However, with the fog, we actually couldn’t see the sign at all – but it turned out to be a pretty great adventure and bonding experience for our team anyway.

My team pointing to where we THINK the sign is…we all really have no clue

The actual event was down the street at the historic Beverly Hills Hotel, which was sooo gorgeous! After our event Thursday night we hung out around the hotel and – kid you not – ran into Steven Tyler, Mel Gibson, and Lionel Richie…SO COOL.

Lionel– blurry but so worth it!

After that kind of night, none of us wanted to go home, but with another 4:30 a.m. wake up call, we knew we had to leave at some point. We pushed through our final two events Friday morning before half the team left and returned to DC. However, myself and a colleague stayed for an extra night of LA sightseeing. On our night off, we decided to explore Rodeo Drive, where I somehow managed to keep my wallet shut, despite the temptations.

woops forgot to take a picture until the cab was driving away..

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