Category Archives: Memories

First Quarter of 2013: Giving Up on Brevity (Once in a While)

I had a meeting this week where I was asked to break down what makes a good blog. My answers surprised me:

While brevity is certainly appreciated most of the time, I think pacing and spacing are much more important, but that’s just my personal opinion.

I came up with my list of blog-writing tips mostly from instinct and memory. What stuck from my internship? What lessons have I learned from blogging? But I did have a moment when my stomach started folding over. I am not a successful blogger, I thought. I have no business telling anyone anything ever. 

Yet there I was. It was a normal workday and, on the clock, I was being paid to give my opinion on what good blog-writing looks like. I got to spend a half-hour analyzing web content (blogs by managers, directors, and vice-presidents) with a colleague I admire. I left that room feeling like my diplomas were suddenly worth their weight in papyrus.

The opinion I gave to a communications professional? It’s not just what I think “blog experts” want. But I think there’s no one way to live life, writing imitates life, and there’s no one way to write either.

So I’m going to give longer blogs a fair shake. I think it fits my writing style a little better and will give me room to exercise judgement. It might even inspire me to post more often, but let’s walk before we run.

What’s been going on since January?

MARCH: good news!

I’m converting from part-time (3 days a week) to full-time (with benefits!) at my job. I’m communications support staff for the Language & Culture program, but I will also support other teams like the community service team and the board of learning advisers.

This is huge. There is a 100% shift in my feelings toward tasks. I’m under less pressure because it’s not hourly, but have more responsibility because I own my time. Instead of every hour being worth X amount, some hours are worth $10 and some hours are worth $100. I wake up ready to work, and I go home with a willingness to do more. 


Launch and Learning – castlecurio.com received a little TLC this week

This week, I worked on my online portfolio. I gutted everything that didn’t work–besides, WordPress has had 2 billion updates since then–and made a new menu. Notably, I took out the editing tab. At best, I’m a good beta reader. I am available for freelance digital strategy and design work. But only for 2 projects or clients. 


Visitors to D.C. this month: my parents, Beth and Bernadette, and Jessie.

Also, I now have a sofa! Yes, I went 6 months without one. (I used an Aerobed.)

FEBRUARY / JANUARY: going from memory

  • I went to the Detroit Institute of Art — definitely didn’t make it to all the exhibits so I’m planning on going back for the photography exhibit. 
  • I saw Shen Yun at the Detroit Opera House — more political than I expected, but beautiful and sometimes surprisingly humorous dances.
  • Phase One of Travel Hacking is resulting in 70,000 miles from two credit cards. I’m also close to reaching two free nights from Starwood hotels. Phase Two involves signing up for the Travel Hacking Cartel.
  • Visited my girl Kayla in Richmond, VA
  • My dance instructor Chris came to DC for a week. I do believe that taxi driver learned a valuable lesson: take the money.

New Year’s Day Traditions

I feel so clean! A whole new year, free of mistakes and full of adventures, little and big.

There are a few things I like to do on the first day of the new year, which of course has been appropriately rung in with spirits, noise, and lights. I always try to have worn a new dress on NYE, but sometimes I just wear a new piece of jewelry or scarf. This signifies “abundance” to me, a hope that the year will be one of plenty.

And I gotta be clean. Shampooed, conditioned, shaved, lathered, and lotioned. Ready to greet the new year.

January 1st. I don’t like to rush. I feel a little giddy. I take stock of myself. I look over my resolutions, of course.

I write a little bit.

I start my thank you cards, to remind me to be grateful.

Small beginnings for each resolution: some stretches for flexibility, a smaller portion of leftovers from the party, a little prayer when inspired, an extra hug for brother, and a hundred emails deleted. Get the ball rolling for the next day and the next.

Then I relax. I use a little of the “expensive” coffee and sip slow. I start playing a game.

This year it’s Civilization 5.

iSurrendered to the iPhone

“Allyyyyyyy,” I squealed when my friend walked in the door, “look!” I held up my new phone.

Her first words? Just a fact of my life:

“You better get a case for that, ma’am.”

BTW: If you don’t want to read this but know what really awesome iPhone apps I should download, hit me up please! The highlights of my app collection right now are Sushipedia and a quiz about countries’ flags. I need help.

Meet iPrim. Yes, I like giving objects names and yes, I have Hunger Games fever.

I actually got two. This Hello Kitty–if you don’t know how much I love that cartoon cat, you don’t know me–case and a smaller, snap-on “slim fit” case in a French vanilla color. For when I need it to be more professional. (Oh jeez, my phone has outfit choices. Ridic.)

Ally’s concern was echoed by pretty much everyone I know. That I do not have a strong track record with phones is common knowledge. Even the sales guy seemed exceptionally concerned. When I brushed off his final attempt, he said, “I’m just saying. You said the word ‘mishap’ to describe three separate phones.”

I’m clumsy, to be sure, but I also tend to pick the phones by look and feel. I broke six blackberries of the same kind before I moved on. The Verizon store employees in my small hometown called me “the blackberry girl.” I loved the Droid 2′s big, sliding keyboard, but the software bugs required me to reset it a dozen times.

This is me when I held the the iPhone 4s

This Monday, I got fed up with finger-dancing around a dead spot on my Droid’s screen and finally succumbed to the allure of the iPhone. I’m trying to resist brand loyalty to Apple. . . but their products are just so beautiful. And it was a great deal with the upgrade.

iPrim (hah!) also replaces my ailing camera and  syncs easily with my Macbook. But I’m most excited about the fact I bought it myself. It’s the first of (what I hope is) many steps toward fiscal independence. You can laugh at me if you want, I understand all I did was buy a phone. I know I have a long way to go. I’ve just started to try to pay for things myself and I struggle daily with budgeting.

Maybe there’s an app for that?