On My Radar: 2018 Edition

Happy 2018!

I can’t believe it’s the start of a new year. In some ways 2017 flew by, but in others it dragged on. I’ve been eagerly awaiting 2018 for a while now, and it is finally HERE. Cue all the praise hands and happy dances.

So many exciting things are bound to happen this year, I can hardly wait.

Although I am still planning and finalizing my “resolutions,” I will share those with you soon. In the meantime, I wanted to share what’s on my radar lately because I’m really excited about them.

On My Radar…

{ONE} “The Magnolia Story” by Chip and Joanna Gaines

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This book! I received it for Christmas because I’m a huge fan of Fixer Upper. I was always intrigued by the husband & wife duo who flip and design houses, raise four kids, live in Texas, and keep God at the center. However, while reading The Magnolia Story, I became an even bigger fan of the Gaines’.  It’s an easy read, too, so it hasn’t taken me long at all to be almost finished it. I’ll probably finish it tonight and I started reading it a few days ago.

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{TWO} La La Land Piano Sheet Music

This piano sheet music book is another thing I received for Christmas and I *love* it. I’m always on the search for new songs to learn on the piano to challenge myself and keep my skills sharp. Since I teach piano and no longer take lessons myself, playing for fun usually does not happen on a regular basis. La La Land quickly became one of my favorite movies in early 2017, and the soundtrack is downright ah-maze-ing, so I am excited for the challenge.

{THREE} Fur Vests

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This trendy piece of clothing has stumped me. I love how it looks and received one as a gift this year. I’ve pinned a few outfits on Pinterest that includes this statement piece, but I have yet to test it out. It’s so warm and stylish, I’m excited to wear it soon.

{FOUR} Bloom Daily Planners’ Daily Calendar

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 4.10.56 PMI discovered Bloom Daily Planners a few years ago while researching the best academic planners to use during my senior year (*cough* my Type A is showing *cough*). Bloom is a Delaware-based company and their founders attended the University of Delaware, so obviously when I found this out, I was hooked and purchased my first of many products from Bloom. This year, I received the Bloom Daily Planners’ Daily Calendar and it sits proudly on my desk at work. It’s not only adorable and colorful, but every day features a quote or a challenge – two of my favorite things!

 

Those are a few things on my radar. What’s on yours?

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5 Words: The Secret to Not Procrastinating

DISCLAIMER: 

In my blog post, “The time is now,” I mention I was reading through drafts of my unpublished blog posts that at the time did not go live because I was not sure if I wanted to post them. In “The time is now” I hint that maybe I’ll finally publish some of those old drafts.

The below post is one of them.

 

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The Secret to Not Procrastinating in 5 Words:

 

 

 

 

 

Turn. Off. The. Cell. Phone.

4 Ways to Balance Creativity and Work: Article by Made By Meagan’s founder, Meagan Walsh

Keri Note: As part of the new year, I wrote down several resolutions I was determined to keep. One of which was to incorporate guest bloggers into LittleMissKeri on a regular basis.

I am SO very excited to feature Meagan as the first guest. We swapped blogs– I guest wrote on her’s (my article can be found here) and now she is writing on mine! Yay!

Meagan is a fellow college student and the next Martha Stewart (sans jail time). She’s a crafting queen and the nicest person you’ll ever meet. I’ve gotten to know her better through school and extracurricular activities and have always been envious of the way she can make something out of nothing. Through her Instagram and Pinterest pages, it’s easy to tell that she has talent behind the sewing machine. To say it plainly, she puts Pinterest DIYs to shame.

To feature Meagan on this blog is an honor. Not only is she a creative genius, but she also just opened her Etsy shop and you can now buy her creations! Stop by the shop by clicking here and buy something from Meagan today!

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As an upcoming college graduate, I find myself completely terrified of entering the workforce. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed past job experiences, but the notion of spending my entire life behind a desk and missing out on time with friends and family is something that just cuts to the core.

I am then reminded that nearly everyone I know either has, is currently, or will one day go through a very similar situation and I’m faced with the reality of making the best of it. In an ideal situation we would land our dream job with a dream salary in a dream location and we would live out our days happily as contributing members of society.

But frankly it’s not that easy. Working long hours in less-than-desirable pay grade is the norm, especially for first-time employees, but the characteristics reach far-beyond entry-level positions.

I’ve always been the creative type. I enjoy spending my days behind my sewing/embroidery combination machine (yes, I’m an old lady stuck in a twenty-something’s body) and there’s a good chance I’ve lost all my fingerprints as a result of my glue gun. I find that I’m at my happiest when I create something with my hands. From hair bows, to purses to scrapbook crafting, I’m into it all.

Mod podge runs through my blood.

I’m finding myself increasingly scared that once I find a full time job and begin working that I’m going to lose the energy to complete a hobby that genuinely fulfills my soul. I’ve been very fortunate to grow up in a household which thrives on creativity while also balancing strict academic and personal success. My parents raised me to succeed academically while always allowing me to paint, sew, act, and play sports.

I’ve made it my personal pledge to keep that mindset during the beginning of my career. I think that no matter what stage of career you find yourself in, it’s imperative to maintain creative balance.

Here’s my pledge (which I intend to hang up on my wall in some sort of crafty fashion) to help maintain creative balance in a working career.

1. Schedule Time

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Make time at least once per week to indulge in a creative outlet. Whether it be painting, photography, interpretive dance, sewing, or music. Honestly I don’t really care what you do- just do something. Depriving yourself of a hobby that you love for the sake of making money will hurt your soul in the long run (I can’t guarantee the soul-crushing, but go with it). Write down that time in your planner- and actually do it. This time is for YOU and bettering YOU. This isn’t time to skimp out on.

2. Create Something with your Hands. 

It’s my personal belief that there is literally nothing better than the satisfaction you get from creating something. The first time I made a pillow was quite possibly one of the best days of my life. It’s so important that we, as humans, recognize our amazing ability to create beautiful things. walsh3

3. Share

The internet is amazing. Amidst all of the scary corners of the internet, we find spaces where we can share our creative outlets with others. From a simple share on facebook of that Pinterest recipe gone horribly wrong, to a full blown tutorial (check mine out!) to share to everyone, being able to have the work you do inspire someone else to create is an amazing feeling.

4. Reflect

It’s so tempting to come home from work and retreat into yourself. During my summer internship I sometimes worked normal hours and sometimes worked into the night and I found it so hard to just relax. We want to take a nap, watch some TV and interact on social media. Take some time every day to reflect. It doesn’t matter what on, but what it all boils down to is perspective. Work is not your life, your love, happiness, relationships and satisfaction are your life. Reflection can take many forms, but it’s important to find the form you most identify with- from meditation to religion to just writing it all down.

Am I still afraid of losing a little bit of my time and energy when I start working? Of course. As part of my personal pledge, I finally opened my etsy shop, giving myself literally no excuse to slack on taking some creative time to myself- I mean, I have orders to fill!

Perspective. It’s all about perspective.

Am I still going to search for my dream job? Yes.

Am I going to find my dream job? Yes.

Am I going to set aside creative me-time after I have an amazing day at my dream job? Yes.

Do what makes you happy. If you’re lucky enough for your career to be your creative outlet, then that’s amazing, and I can only hope to one day be in your shoes.

What do you do to balance career and creativity? Tweet me and visit me on my blog and on my crafting blog!

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Hump Day Snow Day.

Remember when I said that Delaware weather is extremely unpredictable?

Yesterday, we received 12+ inches of snow.

Yep, not lyin’. That actually happened.

Because of this, my job was cancelled yesterday and today, which means I’m stuck at home finding ways to occupy myself without going completely insane.

If you’re anything like me, you like to stay productive. Having ‘free time’ is weird and I don’t really know what to do with it. I’m used to having a schedule that’s jammed packed with places to go, people to see, things to do. With the weather completely erasing my plans and me now staring at a day that has no pencil markings, I’ve come to the realization that I need something to do.

So, with coffee as my sidekick, this is what I’ve done so far…

I’ve created my own 101 in 1001 list.  You can find more about it if you click the link, but basically it’s 101 things I want to accomplish in 1001 days. I’m slowly, but surely, trying to check items off the list and frankly, thanks to two snow days, I’ve been able to check off a few! I definitely recommend doing this and if you end up joining me on this adventure, let me know and I will add your name and list link below mine.

I began my adventure jar. A mason jar, a little decor, and loose change. It’s as easy as that. Save your loose change and then, when you want to make a purchase or reward yourself in some one, you use your adventure money. Maybe by the end of the year, I’ll have enough money to buy these shoes. (killer, right?!)

One of the things that I *should* be ashamed of, but am soooo not is the fact that I created a Pinterest board called My Happy Place. Truth be told, I love desks, stationary, and brightly colored everything. (I mean, it IS #8). It may be the Type-A nerd in me or the girl who couldn’t wait for the first day of school just so I could buy a new notebook, but this inspirational board inspired me to reorganize my desk and spruce it up. I added a few pictures, a small whiteboard for writing down inspirational quotes, and cleaned out my desk drawers. Nothing says Happy Keri more than a clean, organized desk. I know… I’m weird.

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I read “Heaven Is For Real.” It’s a true story about a little boy who had a near-death experience and went to Heaven for 3 minutes. The real reason why I began reading it is because the movie is coming out in a few months. When possible, I try to read the book before the movie so with a few days to spare, I decided this was a good time to do it. I read it in 3 hours– it’s that good. I definitely recommend it!

I began knitting a scarf. When cleaning out my room, I found a ball of yarn and my knitting needles. Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I used them. It’s been that long. So, why not start a new hobby? Maybe I’ll actually be able to check off #81. 

Well, that’s about it. So far, I haven’t done too too much with the free time. Besides planning for a few events in spring and keeping myself busy with odds and ends, the two days have been relaxing and I haven’t lost all sanity yet. There’s still hope.

However.

I really can’t wait to get back into being busy.

What are some things you’re doing during this break? Any ideas, suggestions, foods to try, or DIYs you’d like to share? Comment below or send me a tweet! 

 

5 Reasons Why Oreo is PR’s Favorite Brand

“Oreo: Milk’s Favorite Cookie.” Just the slogan alone makes you want to rush to the grocery store, grab a family-sized package of double-stuffed Oreos and a gallon of milk, and settle down with your favorite movie for a night of pure relaxation.

Is it the cookie that makes you feel this way or the public relations team behind it?

Regardless, individuals aspiring to work in the field of public relations can learn a thing or two about Oreo’s public relations team. The brand, celebrating its 101st birthday this year, recently blossomed from just another brand on the shelf to World’s Most ‘Liked’ Cookie on Facebook. How can this be? Easy. Dunk your Oreos into a glass of milk and check out the
five reasons why Oreo is PR’s favorite brand.

1) Once you have a brand identity, keep it. Oreo has made a name for itself. When one thinks about Oreo, they naturally tend to think about milk. Oreos and milk has become a popular dessert preference and for good reason. Not only is the combination genius, but so is the branding idea. When trying to create a brand, ask yourself: Who are you and what do you do? For Oreo, the answer is simple: I am Oreo and I am Milk’s Favorite Cookie. Once you’ve discovered who you want to be, sticking to it is critical. In the world of public relations, being unique is synonymous with staying consistent. Keeping your brand identity doesn’t have to be boring, but to be successful, confidently and constantly sticking to who you are is extremely important.

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2) Social media can be your friend. Social media, a popular way brands reach their audiences, can be particularly useful. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Vine… the list goes on and on. With so many choices, one might wonder how to ‘stick out from the crowd’ and make an impact. For Oreo, interactive sites like Facebook and Twitter prove to be the most successful because the sites allow Oreo to post witty pictures of its products. However, just because Oreo joined Facebook, doesn’t necessarily mean your brand should, too. Where are your fans? Are they on Facebook or are most of them on YouTube or Vine? Social Media can be a useful tool, but only if used in a wise and purposeful way. Figure out what works for your brand and use it to your advantage.

3) Listen to your audience. Oreo does a great job of this. Once you figure out where your audience is, connect with them. By joining Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, Oreo quickly became its fans’ best friend. The company created smart-phone apps, YouTube videos, downloadable songs, and online games. Why did it do all of this? Oreo’s audience requested it. If you want to be heard, you must also listen. What does your audience want and what are they saying about you? Just like in a personal friendship, you must listen to your audience’s desires and take them into consideration. Figure out what they want and make it work.

4) Keep your message “with the times.” Although keeping a consistent brand is critical, adjusting the actual message is necessary. Oreo repeatedly excels at this. When the lights suddenly went out during the 2013 Super Bowl, Oreo immediately posted a picture on its social media outlets with a caption that read: “You can still dunk in the dark.” The brand stayed consistent (Oreo is Milk’s Favorite Cookie), but the message appeared at a time when it would be most understood. If Oreo had waited until after the game to post the picture, the message would have been pointless and unmemorable. Stick out from the crowd, think quickly, and stay current.

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5) Have a personality. Be professional, but be personal. Celebrate the little joys in life. One way Oreo does this is through creative and fun-natured contests. A recent contest it held focused around funny pictures of pets. The company called it: Oreo Pet Show. Fans submitted pictures of their adorable pets, Oreo picked its favorites, and fellow Twitter followers and Facebook fans voted on their favorites. Oreo took a break from promoting itself and focused on its fans. The contest not only gave Oreo visibility as a brand, but it also portrayed that the company didn’t have to be “all business all the time.”

Through staying innovative and taking advantage of social media, it’s easy to see why Oreo has developed into a desirable (and delicious) brand. By sticking to its identity, listening to its audience, and keeping up with current events, Oreo has simultaneously become the cookie of preference and the genius of public relations.