Empire State of Mind

Helllllo my internet friends! I hope you didn’t think that I fell off the face of the earth, or that I’d forgotten about you. I merely took some time off from blogging to completely enjoy being at home in the interim between graduating from UNC (Go Heels!) and moving to NYC to begin work with NBCUniversal. Now bear with me, as this is an aggressively long post.

My, oh my, how busy I have been! I spent May and June trying to get myself organized to make the big move from my hometown of Charlotte, NC (born and raised, baby!) to the Big Apple. Basically that consisted of me stressing about all the things I had to do, but waiting until the very last minute to do all of them. Typical. So, I passed time lounging by the pool, reading Gone Girl and hanging with my friends and family. ‘Twas lovely, truly.

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The ending to this book had me feelin’ all kinds of crazy.

 

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Ah, the Queen City in all her glory.

 

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A Charlotte sunset.

 

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Home sweet home.

On Thursday, July 3rd, I flew from CLT to LGA with a heavy heart. Yes, of course I am thrilled about this new adventure – I am in the capital of the world with a big girl job right out of college – but nonetheless, it is hard to say goodbye to those you love. With tears in my eyes, I hugged my parents and boarded my flight. And, honestly, there were more tears in the cab to my apartment. Like my beloved Mimi, I am just not one for goodbyes. I am sad to leave the South, where my parents, sisters and closest friends live, but I am looking forward to the fun to be had in the Big Apple!

You’d think that once I arrived at my apartment that I’d unpack, but alas, my “stuff” (AKA bed, dresser, hangers, EVERYTHING I OWN) doesn’t arrive until July 14th. Sigh. So, for now I am living out of two suitcases and sleeping on an air mattress. Could be worse – at least I’m not homeless!

The very first night I got to the City, I met up with my best friend from UNC, Tara, who is a native of New York. She had invited me to go on a river cruise around the City with her and her friends from home. Knowing I would have nothing to unpack, I attended and had a blast. Also on the cruise was our friend Emma who also went to UNC – bringin’ the South up North.

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Me, Tara and Emma
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What a view!

This July 4th was not quite the Independence Day I am used to. My roommate, Kelley, and I spent the day tackling a rather long t0-do list trying to get some items together for our apartment. We visited Kmart and Bed, Bath & Beyond, which are conveniently located near our apartment. We got everything from a kitchen trash can to a window AC unit for our main living area. We walked blocks and blocks and were utterly exhausted, but managed to shower and head down to the Manhattan Bridge to watch a spectacular fireworks display. Then we crashed.

The following day, I went on an excursion to Queens to purchase a love seat. After having THE WORST shopping experience with Ashley Furniture Home Store in Charlotte, I had to start from scratch in finding living room furniture. Ugh. So, I decided I’d make the subway trek to the Macy’s Furniture Showroom out in Queens. After having a bit of trouble finding the right subway entrance (and getting laughed at by a subway worker) I finally found the correct “R” train headed to Queens. I hopped off the train and found that the Macy’s Furniture Showroom was in the same complex as a Target #blessed. I found a darling love seat that is set to arrive soon and spent some more dollars in “The Red Mecca” (which by the way has an escalator just for shopping carts – lolz!).

Again, I was dead after that excursion, so I came home, had some dinner and watched Netflix on my little air mattress. I promise I’m not really this lame (well, maybe I am?).

Today (July 6th), I woke up early and went to church at 9 a.m. Conveniently, there is a Catholic Church right around the corner from me. However, it is a Polish Church that only offers two masses per week in English. I checked it out, and while it is a beautiful sanctuary, I had such difficulty understanding the priest that I may have to continue “church shopping.” Still, though, it is nice to know that there is a church very close should I ever want to pop in for some quiet prayer time.

After church, I unfortunately had to haul myself to the Walgreen’s Health Clinic. Like a five-year-old, I woke up with an outrageous ear ache, and sure enough, I have an ear infection. I thought people were immune to those after, like, age 10? I’ve officially been proved wrong and now have some antibiotics in my arsenal.

Post doctor’s visit, I had some lunch and tooled around my neighborhood aimlessly. It was so lovely to just be able to stop and look around, without any true place to be. The highlight of my day was visiting Washington Square Park, which is about a 15 minute walk from my apartment. It is quite the destination for people watching, and it is truly a beautiful park. I really do love that, despite being such a “concrete jungle,” New York does have some stellar community parks.

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Washington Square Park – a must see in NYC!

 

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That’s me creating “bubble art” in the park!

 

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Pollination and what not.

Tomorrow I’m off to Philadelphia for the week for training for work! The real world is officially knocking at my door – I can’t believe it!

Be sure to follow my adventures on Instagram – my username is @tarheelinthecity and I’ll be hashtagging with #tarheelinthecity as well.

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A True “Pick Me Up”

If you know me, or any of the 6 lovely ladies I live with in “The Cottage,” we love our coffee. The seven of us probably consume 3 pots a day. No shame, gotta get by somehow. 

So, would you buy a “social” coffee mug? One that displayed a sweet picture or an inspirational quote each time you filled it with hot liquid? I know I would.

Well, this is no longer a dream, you can make this a reality

Introducing the Muki, a social coffee mug created by Paulig, a small Finnish coffee roaster, and TBWA\Helsinki, the Finnish arm of the international advertising agency.

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Source: http://mashable.com/2014/04/24/social-coffee-cup/

This mug adds an additional perk to your morning java, by giving you a sweet surprise with every cup. Each time it’s filled with hot liquid, an e-Ink image appears that can, from there, be uploaded to social media sites. Users control the mug through an app, and can choose whether they want their mug to show them inspirational quotes or fun pictures.

Of course, the Muki, being a new form of technology, has to go through beta testing before hitting stores. The cool thing is, though, you can be a part of the testing by applying at Pauling’s website. So far, about 2,500 people have applied to be a part of the tests.

If all goes well, this mug could hit shelves in Finland in 2015. I think this calls for a European trip next year.

streeteasy.com Saves the Day!

Hello world, it’s me, Katherine, and I have officially begun my last week of college classes. Cue panic attack lol (but seriously where does the time go? FREAKING OUT). I am a basket case of emotions right now – scared, sad, sentimental and excited – but I really am grateful for technology, once again, for allowing me to finish out my senior year at UNC and for helping me get excited about my big move to NYC in July.

Yes, I have already thanked email for connecting me to my future employers, but today I’d like to thank the site streeteasy.com for allowing me to house hunt in NYC without leaving the comfort of my home (and pajamas) in North Carolina.

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I was alerted to the site by a colleague of mine (I am old enough/mature enough to have colleagues?!) who used the site to help him find an apartment rental when he moved to NYC last July. 

The site is unique in that in hones in on housing in New York. That is, as opposed to sites like Zillow.com or realtor.com, it is specific to the neighborhoods and boroughs of New York. This has been extremely helpful to me and my future roommate (hey Kelley!) as we try to search for housing in particular areas of NYC that will be close to our work. 

The site is really awesome, too, in that it knows New York housing and will allow you to search for apartments that don’t require you to pay a broker fee, as this is common in the NYC house hunting voyage (AKA I am going to be even more broke than I already am).

This site has made me all the more thrilled about my move to New York, though. It is exciting to know that I won’t be homeless, and although my rent payments will force me to have a lifestyle equivalent to a person without money, I am excited and grateful to know that I will have a place to call my own and to relax after work. 

So, if you are moving to NYC, I highly suggest giving streeteasy.com a whirl – you won’t regret it!

Overall, technology has connected me more than I could even imagine to my future home and it has made me excited to take on this new journey. I am looking forward to July and can’t wait to be a city gal!

Email, I Love You.

People can hate on email all they want, but I would just like to proudly proclaim how grateful I am for email. Sure, it hasn’t really seen much change since its birth and since the days of dial-up AOL accounts, but it still serves the same wonderful purpose it set out to – to allow instant communication.

Why am I announcing my love for email today? Well, I just had an overwhelming desire to thank the electronic mail for all it’s done for me as of late.

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Since accepting my full-time, post-graduate job with Comcast/NBCUniversal in August 2013, email has been my primary source of communication with my soon-to-be manager. It has allowed me to learn of my start date, my job description/responsibilities, my official location assignment and so much more. It has allowed me to get to know my manager better, before I start working with him in July. It has allowed me to get in touch with the man who is currently working in the position that I will be entering into. And, it has allowed me to do all this in a relatively short time frame.

I can quickly send detailed messages, much more detailed than I could via text message, to these individuals. I am able to be more verbose in my messages than I would be via text message.

Additionally, it is more convenient than say, talking on the phone, because each party on the end of the communication is able to reply to emails whenever they have the time. Rather than playing phone tag, we simply email when we can and wait patiently for replies.

Another convenience factor? Unlike a phone call, email keeps record of the messages sent, and easily allows you to search and sort through your messages to find the ones you are looking for. It is a permanent log of your conversations, which is so useful, specifically for business purposes.

In my opinion, email is not outdated and is still relevant. Sure, maybe someone will come along and make it a bit “cooler” or “sexier,” but I don’t think email will ever lose its purpose. We need email. We need to be able to communicate on the fly, and to have record of it. And while text messaging allows for quick communication, it doesn’t quite allow you to be as wordy as email, and it lacks the same professionalism that email has. It also is much harder to go back and wade through old texts as opposed to searching your inbox for old email messages.

So, email, thanks for allowing me to feel more settled and excited about moving to NYC in July where I’ll be working in the Financial Reporting Department at NBCUniversal. And thank you for your years of hard work, I feel we’ve only grown closer with time.

Think Before You Tweet Part Deux

People, people – have we already forgotten what I said about the Internet being forever?! I am afraid so, based on one 14-year-old Dutch girl’s tweets to American Airlines over the weekend.

Sarah A.K.A. @QueenDemetriax_ posted a fake terrorist threat against American Airlines on her Twitter account, tweeting the following at the airline:

@AmericanAir hello my name’s Ibrahim and I’m from Afghanistan. I’m part of Al Qaida and on June 1st I’m gonna do something really big bye

The airline promptly responded with the following:

@QueenDemetriax_ Sarah, we take these threats very seriously. Your IP address and details will be forwarded to security and the FBI.

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Sarah then begins to freak out, while simultaneously being jubilant about her increase in Twitter followers (typical 14-year-old girl reaction I’d say). She even tweeted “Okay today was the highlight of my twitter days.” I mean, are you kidding me?!

Well, SHOCKER ALERT, turns out it is actually not smart to tweet fake terrorist threats! Who woulda thunk it? Sarah has since been arrested and her Twitter account has been suspended. But, luckily Storify has screenshots of all her tweets here.

I really don’t know what to say about this, but I’ll repeat myself once more. The Internet is forever. For.Ever. Even though Sarah deleted her tweets and even though her account is no longer in use, Storify captured her tweets and they will forever be available for people to search and for people to remember Sarah’s lack of judgment.

And, it’s a reminder that if the Internet finds something to be a big deal, the world is going to have to react. Even if her threat was fake, because there was so much attention surrounding it, it would’ve been a crime not to arrest her, for if such a threat had been dismissed as fake and had become real, there would’ve been a great deal of blame passed around.

So, like I said in talking about Stephen Colbert, think before you tweet. Think before you post anything on social media or online. While most of us would know not to make such a distasteful joke like Sarah, I am sure there are times when we have tweeted or posted questionable or risque things. Don’t do it. People can screenshot that in seconds and it can haunt you for eternity. So think before you post, and really, just don’t be dumb.

Style by Emoji

I feel a bit childish owning up to this, but I love emojis. Adding them to my texting conversation instantly makes the conversation’s mood lighter and more fun.

If you love emojis like I do, then you’ve secretly tried to look like them – whether it be closing one eye and sticking your tongue out (we’ve all done it) or attempting to make heart eyes (I’ve tried). Well, thanks to Vogue, you can now dress like your favorite emojis. Vogue, forever first in the fashion industry.

By following this link, you can see how to dress to impress with emoji style. 

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Whether it’s going on a run, catching some rays, heading to work or heading out for a night on the town, Vogue has your emoji-inspired style. To think that this seemingly simple form of media has infiltrated our lives so much so that we aspire to dress like emojis blows me away. Technology has come so far.

I don’t even think (I could be wrong) that emojis were even much of a “thing” about 5 years ago, and now we are looking to them as style icons. Amazing.

Google Glass: It Does the Dating for You

Yesterday in class, Professor Robinson showed us a video and I have not stopped thinking about it. The video features Google Glass, and a woman using it to immediately “size up” her potential dating pool.

While wearing her Google Glass, this woman is able to walk by men in a coffee shop and she is immediately linked to said man’s Facebook account. She’s given the man’s name, age and job title. In addition, she’s told how many mutual friends they have on the social media site. Then, her Google Glass tells her whether or not she’ll be compatible with said individual. I suggest you watch the video for yourself….

So, my question is, would you wear these glasses? Would you let Google Glass do a compatibility test for you (assuming it was 100% accurate) to take the guess work out of dating?

I’m scared that some people would.

In a world where face-to-face communication is already lacking, I worry when technology like this actually becomes available. I worry that the art of conversation will cease to exist, and that we will no longer be able to communicate on a natural level.

I worry about the loss of people’s lives. No, I don’t think this technology will kill people, but I do worry about the loss of people’s social lives. What will life become if we put all our faith in technology and no longer rely on ourselves to do anything?

It’s a scary thought, but with virtual reality becoming more readily available, I’m afraid this could happen sooner than we think. I, for one, will never trust a pair of glasses to find my soul mate, or even find me a best friend. That’s what socializing is for (and trust me, I could talk to a wall).

And while this video was just an April Fools Joke, I can’t help but shudder at the thought that this could be the future of dating…

I’m Moving to NYC for…Uber?

It’s officially official – I am moving to New York City in July! I am so excited to take on the Big Apple, the Concrete Jungle!

There is so much to look forward to with this move of mine: walks around Central Park, amazing pizza, a real.life.job and…Uber! What, you didn’t see that one coming?

This past November I traveled to Washington, D.C. with one of my roommates and was introduced to the wonderful world of Uber. If you don’t know what Uber is, allow me to introduce you, I think you’ll be happy I did.

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Uber is an app that connects riders to drivers, making movement through cities fast and efficient. Basically, think of it as an on-demand taxi service. Simply go to the Uber app, “order” a driver, wait for your ride and end up at your desired destination.

Uber is taking a lot of the hassle out of communication. Uber allows you to pay for your ride through the app, including tip, by connecting it to your credit or debit card.

Uber is innovative. It’s amazing. Uber makes transportation fun and easy. Better yet, Uber is now available in over 70 cities, helping people move more freely and explore more.

While I know I won’t be able to afford to Uber around New York City every minute of every day (hellllllo subway), I’m excited for the possibility to use this technology, available at my fingertips, to see more of a city I never dreamed I’d be living in.

Uber, I can’t wait to take a ride through NYC with you.

Promoted Tweets: Love Um or Hate Um?

I don’t know what it is about promoted tweets, but I absolutely hate when they show up on my Twitter feed. I’m sorry Taco Bell, for the millionth time I am NOT interested in eating off your breakfast menu. And yes, Chex Cereal, I know that puppy chow (or as you call it “Muddy Buddies”) are delicious, but I do not need you all up in my Twitter feed reminding me of that. Hello companies, there’s a reason I don’t follow you.

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If you agree with me then you’re not going to like what I have to say next. Turns out Twitter is now allowing certain “high-profile” users to promote their own tweets for free. These tweets will be “pinned” to the top of the user’s feed, and won’t be subject to a time limit, it will merely be labeled as “Promoted” and appear on the top of their page. And while this feature is only available online (not in the app), I am bothered by it. 

I just don’t understand why people should be allowed to promote their tweets. I don’t understand the point of it, I mean people either actively follow you or they don’t – and if they don’t, they probably don’t care.

Us regular folk can pay to promote our own tweets, but I just don’t see the value. Am I alone in this sentiment?

A Real Life Catfishing

I just wrote about an online fairytale, and here I am twenty four hours later about to talk about an online nightmare.

You’ve probably heard of the dating app Tinder, right? I’ve never used the app but from what I understand it “matches” you to people you may want to date who are within a certain radius of you (is that right world?). The app’s website claims “It’s like real life, but better.” 

On the app, your Facebook page is linked to your Tinder profile, and this allows you to choose certain photos from your Facebook to appear on your Tinder profile. You can then write a little bio about yourself that appears under your name (first name only). Basically you match up with people (and potentially go on dates with them) after only looking at a few pictures. Doesn’t sound like real life to me, but I digress.

My classmate and friend Kristin recently learned that her identity has been stolen online and is being used on Tinder. Someone who is going by the name of “Kim” and is about 80 miles away from Athens, GA has used photos of Kristin to advertise herself on Tinder. It’s like an episode of Catfish, but it’s all too real when it’s your face in the photos.

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Turns out this “Kim” gal has gone so far as to create a fake Facebook account with Kristin’s pictures. Scary stuff. 

Kristin is angry, and rightfully so. I would be terrified to find that someone had taken photos of me offline and used them for their own purposes. Even creepier when it’s used on this dating app. 

Kristin is now trying to find said “Kim,” and is using her situation as motivation for her final class paper to write about online security and privacy. But, she needs YOUR help. If you live near Athens, GA and can “match” with “Kim” on Tinder, we need you to do that! We need to stop “Kim” and save Kristin’s identity! Please read Kristin’s story here and pass this along! And, if you get any leads, email Kristin at shotwellka@gmail.com.