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.

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…

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 Decade of Dove

If you know me, or even if you’ve read my past blog posts, you know how I feel about the media’s portrayal of women – I don’t like it. I don’t like that the media tells us that what is beautiful is a stick thin model with a perfect tan, straight teeth and amazing clothes. Simply put, that is an unattainable ideal and I am sick of it being the norm.

So, I’d like to take everyone back to 2004, when the Dove brand revealed its findings from a major study it conducted called The Real Truth About Beauty: A Global Report.  This study found that only two percent, yes two percent, of women would consider themselves beautiful. That’s a startling and sad statistic, one that is rooted in society’s narrow definition of what beauty is.

So, in 2004, 10 years ago, Dove launched its Campaign for Real Beauty. The campaign is considered to be one of marketing’s greatest success stories as it has opened the world to discussion and conversation about the limiting definition of beauty in today’s culture. Below is a brief timeline of some of the major events of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.

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2004: The campaign launched with an ad featuring women whose looks challenged society’s traditional definition of “beautiful.”

2005: Dove launched the most iconic phase of its campaign, with an advertisement featuring six women with real bodies and real curves, aimed at knocking the idea that only thin is beautiful.

2006: When Spain announced that overly thin models would be banned from fashion runways, Dove felt that it had to respond, as this was an issue at the heart of their campaign. They produced a short film titled Evolution that showed the transformation of a real woman into a supermodel. The movie aimed to show viewers just how unrealistic this idealized version of beauty really is.

In the same year, Dove founded the Dove Self-Esteem fund which was created to inspire and educate young girls, and to help them recognize a wider definition of beauty. As a result, they released a commercial titled Little Girls at the Super Bowl, which reached approximately 89 million viewers.

2007: The third phase of the campaign was a major global study called Beauty Comes of Age. This study revealed that 91 percent of women ages 50-64 believe that society needs to change its views on women and aging, to grow more accepting of the beauty of aging. The campaign celebrated women over 50, with wrinkles and gray hair, reminding the world that beauty knows no age limit.

The same year, the company launched an online film called Onslaught as a reminder that the media sensationalizes an unattainable, unrealistic perception of what beauty really is. The women we see in magazines are photoshopped and have an army of makeup artists and personal trainers, and are far from representative of real women.

The Dove campaign for real beauty continues to grow and expand, and it continues to draw attention to the fact that the media’s portrayal of such a narrow definition of beauty has harmful effects. According to research, today’s fashion models are 23 percent thinner than the average female.

With so much exposure to advertisements, starting at such a young age, it’s no wonder that a study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that children under 12 who were hospitalized for an eating disorder increased by 119 percent between 1999 and 2006. But, it is disturbing.

Like Dove, we each need to challenge the idea that what the media portrays women to be is all that is beautiful. With such unattainable ideals come consequences, risk of eating disorders and mental health problems. In the end, is selling through sex worth the destruction of someone’s self-esteem or self-worth? The answer is obvious, and Dove has proven that.

Let’s start a movement. Let’s shake the advertising industry. Let’s shake society. Let’s shake ourselves. Let’s change our definition of beauty.

An Ode to Technology

After reading a post by my classmate Jourdan in which she thanks technology for keeping her connected to those she loves, I can’t help but want to do the same. Technology has allowed me to maintain close relationships with loved ones, and it especially helped me when I was far from my (immediate) family and friends when I lived in Los Angeles this past summer.

I honestly can’t imagine my life without some of the technology that’s in it. What would I do without my smartphone? How would I ever make plans with people? How would I  call my mom 37 times a day? Our JOMC 240 class has had me thinking about this a lot – just what would I do without this constant communication?

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I had a conversation with the parents of the children I nanny for regarding this. They are younger than my parents (sorry mom and dad), but at 40, they didn’t have cell phones in college. They told me they’d have to make plans by stopping by someone’s dorm room and writing on a whiteboard that the person had on the door. They’d write letters to friends who were far away. They called home occasionally, using a landline phone. They didn’t live in this wired, digital age where connectivity seems so vital and without it, we feel lost. I can certainly tell you that I’d feel lost without it.

With all the stressors one faces in college, it’s no surprise that this Cornell study Jourdan found indicates that communication between college students and their parents is critical. The study discusses how important this communication is for the students on an emotional level, and how the support helps them in so many ways.

I truly can’t imagine if I weren’t able to reach in my pocket, grab my phone and text my family members when I needed some quick words of motivation. I can’t imagine not being able to FaceTime my parents (and my dog) on a regular basis. I can’t imagine not being able to send an email to a friend who’s studying abroad.

There is so much that technology allows me to do as far as maintaining, and even building, relationships. So, here’s to you technology, for keeping us connected to the things and people we love most.

7 Apps We All Wish Existed

Admittedly, I am socially awkward, but I am not in the slightest bit ashamed because, in a way, aren’t we all? (Just say yes to make me feel better). Thank God we all have our iPhones to save the day when we need to avoid said situations. However, there are times when no amount of Instagram stalking or email reading can save you from the self-induced awkwardness you’re experiencing. 

However, Alexis Kleinman at Huffington Post dreamed up 7 apps (that sadly don’t exist) that would save us from ourselves in these painfully uncomfortable situations.

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1. The “Of COURSE I Remember You” App

With this app, you’d never run into the problem of not remembering the name of the person who just excitedly waved at you on campus. The app would allow you to hold up your iPhone, which would match this person’s face to their Facebook profile, instantly giving you their name and maybe some weird photos of them at a costume party.

2. The “To Listen Or Not To Listen” App

Most of us hate voicemails. Sure, they’re super informative (are they?) but honestly most of the time we’d prefer for someone to just text us and tell us what they wanted. No annoying voicemail notification with a text. This app would rate your voicemails on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “don’t even bother listening” and 10 being “listen or you may die.” It needs to happen.

3. The “Delayed Text” Button

We’ve all been there, texting someone we are interested in and not wanting to look like an eager beaver with immediate replies. Yet, I know for myself, if I don’t type a response within 5 minutes of seeing a text, I’ll probably never reply because at that point I’ve already forgotten that I’ve received a text. Yay for shortened memory/attention spans! This “delayed text” button would tell your iPhone to wait 30 minutes before sending the text you’ve composed, making you look calm and collected all the time (even if that’s certainly not the case).

4. The “Eavesdropper” App

If I am wondering around campus alone, there’s a good chance I am rockin’ some earbuds listening to Songza to entertain myself. However, with my earbuds in place, there’s also a good chance that I could miss out on some hilariousness going on around me. Enter the “Eavesdropper” app. This app would immediately shut off your music when a funny conversation is going on around you (or even if something important is being said). The app would listen for key words in people’s conversations such as “break up” or “cupcakes” and bam, it would shut off your music. Genius!

5. The “Locked or Occupied?” App

This app would solve one of life’s longest mysteries – is the bathroom locked because someone is in it or because I need a key from the cash register to use it? Simply hold up your iPhone to the bathroom door and the answer will be given to you.

6. The “Automatic Slang Definer” App

Ok, I may be 21, but I am know little to nothing of what is going on in pop culture. Basically, if you throw a new slang term at me, I will assume you are speaking jibberish and ignore you. This “Automatic Slang Definer” app would solve all of my problems. It would alert me when someone says something hip and cool (with a little “ding”) and it would give me a definition. Think of it as an automatic Urban Dictionary.

And last, but certainly not least, my favorite of these made-up apps. Drumroll, please…

7. The “Trader Joe’s Pros” App

I am a Trader Joe’s fanatic. You can find me there more than once a week buying everything in sight from greeting cards to dark chocolate covered almonds. But, as it turns out, I am not the only Trader Joe’s addict, and every time I go there the store is PACKED. With this “Trader Joe’s Pros” app, your iPhone would connect you to a video camera located outside your Trader Joe’s store to show you whether or not the place is a zoo. The app would save you tons of time and lots of headaches. Also, if it were up to me, this app would give you inside scoop on the best Trader Joe’s products (because there are so, so many).

Now, if only I knew how to create an app…