April 2011 archive

By not having a clue

live-life

EDIT: Skip down to the advice part if nothing else. It’s actually pretty legit. If I’m judging myself that is. :)
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In case I’ve not said it recently, I absolutely love blogging. Not only is a some sort of self-realized therapy, but it’s also a great way to connect with people. Sometimes just via the internet, other times in person. The latter, I used to think incredibly “weird,” but somehow it’s not anymore. Crazy how opinions evolve…

Often, I’m emailed questions from readers. Most of the time it’s about clothes, but the rest of the time it’s about my job. And since graduation time is just around the corner, I’ve decided to post one of questions I’ve recently received about my job and answer it here. Mainly because I have 4 to answer on the same subject and I think it’d be easiest to share this way…

“I was wondering what are the most important pieces of advice that you could offer or skills that you learned along the way that would perhaps help me in my future endeavors. Also, how did you know that politics/government route was the correct path for you?”

Where to begin…

Throughout my college experience I wanted to go into a every field imaginable: professor, politics, psychiatry… the list goes on. At some point my parents just convinced to get a degree and get out the door. And thus, I FINALLY graduated, off-schedule of course, with a degree in the Classics. Think Latin and Ancient Greek.

Having been editor at my university’s newspaper my senior year, I had decided that writing was my passion. My closest friend at the time, a fellow newspaper staffer, had a dream of moving to DC and being a reporter. I borrowed her dream and decided to make it my own. Perhaps more dedicated to a goal than those around me, I applied to every political rag in town. As luck would have it, I was offered a reporting job with a startup paper in DC. But in a visit up to the city I balked. Worried a startup would fold before I even whet my journalistic appetite and instead I took a gig with a lobbying firm. *Worth noting, said startup is now the best of all 3 DC political rags. Go figure. Funny how things work out.

So nearly 2 months before graduation, I had a job set in a city hours from home, where I didn’t know a soul. I had NO idea what I was doing with my life. That’s the important part of all that I’ve said thus far. I HAD ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE.

Working for one of the last bastions of Republican consulting, I began to find myself. I realized what a die-hard politico I had become throughout the years. I knew my strength still lie in writing, but I wasn’t necessarily writing the way that I wanted to at the time.

Throughout the next two and a half years, I jumped in to every political opportunity I could find. From endless campaigning, to becoming Chair of the Alexandria Young Republicans, I did all that I could to walk the talk of  a politico.

October 2009 – December 2010 are more painful than productive. Working as a Political New Media Manager at the Republican Party’s HQ. Managing a Congressional Campaign. Working as a Press Secretary for a U.S. Senate race. Unemployment.

This whole time taught me that sometimes life doesn’t go as planned. If you read my blog during this time, you know I was more upset with life than happy. It made me question what I wanted to do. Did I belong in DC? Was trying to get on Capitol Hill and ruling out all private sectors jobs foolish? Was Press work just a pipe-dream? I had no idea. I was clueless and so downtrodden you wouldn’t believe…

Fast forward to this January. I landed my dream job on Capitol Hill — Press Secretary. Working for a new Member of Congress. The pay is far less than the private sector would offer and the hours are ATROCIOUS, but I love what I’m doing so it’s hard to complain. Well complain and complain too seriously anyway.

Looking back now, I can see that all the things I’ve done say the past 10yrs of my life, has lead to me to this place. From writing for the university newspaper to College Republicans, to working at a lobbying shop, to campaign work… they were all small pieces of the puzzle that I couldn’t understand until now.

ADVICE:

1. Take risks. Risk Failure. Realize that you’re young (heck, even if you’re not) and go with your gut and pursue your dreams. Life presents many opportunities to make decisions. Sometimes this will lead you to failure. But failure’s only temporary. It all comes down to how you get back up and move forward.

2. Learn how to wait. And when to wait, and what to wait for. Creativity has a different schedule and a different rhythm than other forms of work. It doesn’t like to be rushed but sometimes it is urgent. Investigate the difference between procrastination, avoiding work and gestation, waiting for the work to ripen and oneself to grow into it. Sometimes there is a great difference between gestation and procrastination; other times they borrow each others’ clothes. Sometimes we need to invite the creative into our lives with attention, awareness, personal rituals. At times we are waiting when we need to act. Other times we are busy trying to make things happen when it is time to wait.

3. Accept the loss of control. Life is consistently inconsistent. Much as we’d like each of our days to be calm and trouble-free, there are so many things beyond our control that this just isn’t realistic. As much as you may want to always stay in control, God knows I do, sometimes you it’s in the moments where you lose control that you find yourself landing in the “just right” place.

5. Be willing to start over. If you find something doesn’t work for you, move on. It’s your life, don’t waste it. You don’t want to make up one morning and realize that you never followed your dreams. Life is too short to say “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I’ve got plenty of time to do that”.

6. Demand more. Set goals that challenge you. That s-t-r-e-t-c-h you. That have the ability to take you to the next level. I would much rather fail trying to do something that made me work out of my comfort zone and expand my abilities and work harder than I ever thought possible, than to succeed at doing something I knew I could accomplish with my eyes closed. Stretching yourself is what sets you apart from everyone else. Most people are content with “just getting by.” Demand more of yourself.

SKILLS I’VE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY:

1. Confidence. If you were to ask me if I’m good at my job, I could honestly, and truthfully tell you there may only be one or two other people capable of doing what I do and how I do it. Confidence isn’t about a false reality. It’s about knowing who you are, what you have to offer and then owning the hell out of it. I wasn’t always so confident in myself, but it’s hard to deny what I know to be true.

2. Time management. I spent the greater part of 2007 and all of 2008 with a full time job at a lobbying firm and second full-time job working for the McCain campaign, both before and after the lobbying gig. Every day. And on weekends. Allthewhile I was also the Alexandria Young Republicans chair. President of my sorority’s alumnae chapter in DC. A public relations advisor to my sorority at the University of Maryland. A member of the DC Jr League…. and the list goes on. My point is, you can do a LOT if you learn what to juggle and when. When I know I only have an hour window to accomplish something, I get it done.  When I know I have all day to finish that same one-hour task, I get it done in that hour.

3. Teamwork. Great things can be accomplished through teamwork. We each have different strengths, which is why at times, things can best be accomplished in a team setting. Teamwork teaches you to look at other’s strengths and put your ego aside in order to produce the best result.

4. Public speaking. The ability to speak clearly, persuasively, and forcefully in front of an audience – whether an audience of 1 or of thousands – is perhaps my greatest gift, but also a learned skilled. Being able to speak effectively means you can sell anything – products, of course, but also ideas, ideologies, world-views. And yourself.

Holy cow have I gone on and on in this post… clearly I’m not one for too much editing today. And I recognize that I didn’t directly answer the initial question that prompted this post, but that’s me. I rarely take a direct path to anything.

Oh well. If you’re only reading this, know that I’ve ended up where I am, by not having a clue where I was going. By following my dreams. By working through the hard times. By crying through the failures. By always working towards being better than I’ve been before.

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My week in fashion

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Congressional recess has always been one of my favorite things in DC. Before working on the Hill, it meant late mornings into work, abbreviated hours and hardly any traffic on the dreaded I-395. Now on the Hill, it has a new meaning. It means 8hr days, as opposed to 15+. It means casual outfits, and even t-shirts and jeans. That’s not to say I’m always so good at embracing the casual, but I did today. So I that should count for something.

Lilly Loves Recess

Monday’s recess outfit. I embraced the good weather and donned “spring” Lilly for the first time of the season. Oh wait, no. That’s wrong. I wore my Lilly Conlan grass print dress last week. Okay, whatever. I thought it was the first time I was wearing Lilly this season. Either way, it was a fun day in the warm DC sun.

Recess Casual: Wednesday 20 April 2011

No idea what I wore Tuesday, and clearly I was kept busy enough that I didn’t make a polyvore that day. The only day this week that I didn’t… oh well.

Wednesday I took the opportunity to wear a fun little black dress with my new McKim’s. I was going out with friends after work, so I wanted to wear something casual, but something that I could still transition into the evening. Thus the black dress.
Date Night DC
Thursday’s dress isn’t clippable, so no outfit for Thursday. But here’s to Thursday night date night…  I had the most fabulous time. And any excuse to wear this Roksanda Illincic number works for me.Yes, this girl loves to play dress-up.

Casual Friday: 22 April 2011

Today we only had to a work a half day. Yay, Good Friday (for more than just that of course). It’s a wet, icky and cold day here in the DC area, so I fully embraced “recess casual” today. Heck, I ended up in a hoodie later in the day when going to the movies with roommate. Today was just ICK. But I did try a bright top and shoes to start with. There was at least some cheery effort on my part, before Mother Nature continued to deliver crap weather. Yeah, good job making it a nice day out for Earth Day. #fail

Okay, well that’s all from me for tonight. Have to finish writing something for the boss. Hope everyone who’s traveling is doing so safely. God Bless!!

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Wish List Wednesday

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Because Wordless Wednesday just isn’t for me…

April 2011 Wish List, Set 1

I normally don’t like animal printed Murfee’s, but this one is just to-die for. As soon as I find it on sale somewhere, it’s mine. And this Anthro skirt — amazing. I mean, with a tan and some pumps it’s unstoppable.

Wish List 3

While I want all of these gorgeous sets, the only one that’ll actually end up being mine is the first Kendra Scott one. It’s too “me” to pass by. That and I found it on sale today whilst trolling around the internet. Gotta love that. I’m a huge fan of the KJL necklace too. What a statement it would make with a little black dress…

Wish List 2

6-19… these are the long-shot wishes. I actually plan on getting #7, but everything else… just not in my pay-grade to live this dream. Maybe one day when I’m not a Hill staffer. Oh the life of a Federal employee. Such great style taste, without the wallet to back it up. I mean, those prive pumps… SO GOOD.

Here’s to wishing!

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Oh la la, Rue La La

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I don’t normally make posts just to tell you one little thing, but it seemed worth it this time.

One of my favorite discount, designer shopping sites is giving $20 credit to new members.

Rue La La is… an exclusive, invitation-only online destination where Members discover premier-brand, private sale Boutiques, each open for just a brief window of time. Their focus is a well-edited collection of sought-after offerings from the best brand names in the world

So click the image above or HERE for your invite to this awesome site today. Now’s definitely the time to join. I mean, $20 credit is super legit!

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Giveaways Galore!

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If you’re having a case of the Monday’s, then I’ve got just the post to cheer you up. I mean, who doesn’t love giveaways, so be sure to check them out!

The ever-fabulous Lulu and Daisy is giving away an awesome note holder from Pete’s Sake on Etsy. How cute are they!? The winner gets their choice of design:

The Life of a Suburban Princess also has a fab giveaway going on of Annie’s Homegrown stuff. Mmm yummy!

Check back later, I’ll be adding a few more throughout the day!

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