The Weekend Five: Networking Tips for Introverts

246Six years ago, if you came up to me and said that networking would be one of the keys to my success after college, I would have slapped you across the face.

Okay, I definitely wouldn’t have slapped you across the face (that would be pretty awful, wouldn’t it?), but the idea of networking was terrifying to a shy college freshman like me. The word “networking” evoked images of ill-fitting professional attire and awkward encounters with high-level executives who would never give a college student the time of day. To me, “networking” required an overly assertive, almost aggressive demeanor. How could an introvert like me ever compete with those big personalities?

What I didn’t know at eighteen years old, however, was that networking was not limited to professional development events and a formal exchange of business cards. By joining clubs on campus, making friends in my classes, participating in internships and getting to know my professors and advisors, I was actually building my network without even realizing it.

Networking ultimately led to my first job out of college and continues to play a huge role in my career today. I may be an introvert, but I have found ways to network that have worked well for me. To all of my shy or otherwise introverted readers out there, this article is for you!

The Weekend Five: Networking Tips for Introverts

awkward-small-talk1. Don’t think of it as “networking.”
Think of it as relationship building. By genuinely getting to know people, you not only create a stronger network, but you also improve your own quality of life! Your conversations don’t have to revolve entirely around a business pitch. As I mentioned before, networking doesn’t always take place at a formal networking event — a lot of times, it can happen in a classroom, an elevator, a club meeting or your dorm building. Talk to people and get to know them one-on-one. Start with people you may already cross paths with or with whom you may share a few mutual contacts. A lot of times, this is far less intimidating than walking right up to a complete stranger from the get-go.


2. Get involved in an organization.
Whether you enjoy professional student organizations or community service projects, join a group (or two) that introduces you to new people. By working toward a common goal or sharing a similar interest, you have an easy way to break the ice while doing something you enjoy. I still keep in touch with many of my fellow officers from the organizations I was involved with in college, and today I am getting to know new people in my college’s alumni association by attending their events and meetings as well!


49d6977a63d509aaed85f0147d44ba793. Find commonalities.
Networking doesn’t have to mean diving headfirst into a conversation about your company’s products and services. Sometimes, a great way to build your network is to start by finding things you have in common. At one networking event, I found myself talking with a guy about our recent travels, and by the end of our conversation, I was invited to be a guest speaker in one of the classes he taught. At another event, I bonded with the lady behind me at the buffet over our shared interest in some of the food. It turned out she was a very important person on the board of an organization that I worked with, and now she knew who I was! Pro tip: If you’re feeling really lost at a formal networking event, head over to the food table and strike up a conversation with one of the people nearby. People love talking about food (and trying to guess what some of the interesting looking appetizers are!).


4. Attend events.
Leave the house. It’s not easy to meet people and form lasting connections from the comfort of your couch. (If it were, Tinder would have a much higher success rate!) Attend events that interest you – not just networking events, but professional development workshops, guest speakers, social events, etc. Find a friend to attend with you if it will bring you out of your shell a bit more, but if your friends aren’t interested in the types of events you like, go by yourself. Because most of my friends did not have my major in college, I attended a lot of club meetings and agency tours on my own, and I don’t regret it for a minute. I made new friends that way, and learned a lot about my major and the industry that I wanted to go into!


Comfort Zone5. Get out of your comfort zone.
Sometimes you will need to do the things that scare you, and that’s okay. I say “yes” to opportunities constantly, even when they seem intimidating, because I know they will help me to grow. That’s why I take on so many public speaking engagements and try to break out of my shell at events — I never want my nerves to keep me from meeting people or from growing personally and professionally. I draw my energy from within and require that time to myself to recharge and refocus, but that shouldn’t limit me from getting to know others and setting goals for myself outside of my comfort zone. You don’t need to do anything that conflicts with your personal values, but I challenge you to get out of your comfort zone the next time you attend an event and get to know someone new.


What are your networking tips for introverts? Share yours in the comments section below!

The Weekend Five: Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn Characters

Five Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn CharactersEverything I know, I learned from Audrey Hepburn.

Okay, perhaps that’s an exaggeration, but ever since I first watched Roman Holiday back in high school, I have been in awe of the glamorous actress and her equally glamorous characters. I dressed up as Holly Golightly for my decades-themed 21st birthday party (complete with the fancy cigarette holder), and whenever I’m stressed out, I’ll often turn on one of her movies to relax. (I even somehow integrated Audrey’s film characters into a blog post about balancing health and a social life.) The actress herself was someone to aspire to – a humanitarian and devoted mother.

This weekend’s blog focuses on a few of the lessons to be learned from some of her more popular roles. Share your own favorites in the comments section below!


1. “Oh, but Paris isn’t for changing planes, it’s… it’s for changing your outlook… for throwing open the windows and letting in… letting in la vie en rose.” – Sabrina Fairchild, Sabrina (1954)
Early in the movie, a lovesick and insecure Sabrina travels from New York to Paris to attend culinary school, and she emerges a sophisticated and confident young woman. The lesson to be learned from this? Sometimes, all you need is a change in scenery to become a different person. For Sabrina, that new backdrop is the Eiffel Tower, but in reality it can be anywhere – a new city, a new country, or even a new park across town that you’ve never visited before. Travel, no matter how far the distance, can change your perspective on the world, on people and on life in general. (And of course, when in doubt, Paris is always a good idea.)


Five Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn Characters2. “There are certain shades of limelight that can wreck a girl’s complexion.” – Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Not all attention is positive attention. Holly Golightly learns this the difficult way, as she finds herself at the center of more than one scandal throughout the film. Certain shades of limelight, in fact, can lead to a negative public perception of a person. It’s okay to make mistakes from time to time, but important to strongly consider the choices you make and align them with the reputation you want to have.


3. “When you can be fancy-free and flash a smile that folks come flocking to see, you’ll be as lovely as can be.” – Jo Stockton, Funny Face (1957)
Positivity goes a long way. Sometimes, a simple smile can make a person’s whole day that much brighter. We may worry about how well we’re dressing for our body types or when was the last time we had our roots touched up, but an even more important lesson in how to be lovely is to consider the way we make others feel and the type of energy we put out into the world.


5 Lessons Learned from Audrey Hepburn Characters4. “You musn’t give your heart to a wild thing. The more you do, the stronger they get, until they’re strong enough to run into the woods or fly into a tree. And then to a higher tree and then to the sky.” – Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Don’t go into a relationship with the intent to change someone. If the person you fall for tells you that he or she doesn’t want to settle down, believe that person. Never idealize someone to the point that their flaws or even their differences in opinion don’t exist. Recognize people for whom they are and don’t try to pin down someone who doesn’t want to be pinned down.


5. When in doubt, break the rules and take a mental health day. – Princess Ann, Roman Holiday (1953)
This lesson isn’t a quote from Roman Holiday, but it does partially sum up the film’s premise. Princess Ann has grown weary of her press engagements during her tour of Europe, so she escapes to spend a day as a Roman tourist, making a few unlikely friends along the way. The film ends on a bittersweet note, and she ultimately returns to her duties as princess, but Ann does have the opportunity to experience Rome from a different perspective and make lasting memories of her time in the ancient city. Sometimes in life, it’s okay to take a break from your obligations and do something exciting for your own well-being. Recognize when you are being stretched too thin, and do something about it.


What are your favorite lessons from Audrey Hepburn’s iconic movie roles? Sound off in the comments section below!

Link Love Wednesday: Draco Malfoy & Shane at Walmart

Courtesy of

Courtesy of

It’s that time of the week again! You know, that time when I post interesting, funny and sometimes bizarre articles from around the web for a very eclectic link roundup. Get ready for this week’s Link Love and share your own favorites in the comments section below!

Any fantastic articles you’ve come across lately? Drop a note in the comments section or share your favorite posts that you’ve published!

Link Love THURSDAY: Terrible Real Estate, Frozen and Social Media Pre-Nups

6097da4d58773b2814cef7fea44965eeGood evening, readers, and happy June! How have you decided to start your month? I kicked off June with my third Whole 30 (because I am clearly insane!) and by participating in the 100 Happy Days challenge. For the next 100 days, I will photograph something that makes me happy – and I encourage you to do the same! If you’d like to see my progress (I’m on Day 4 so far), feel free to follow my Instagram!

Plenty of interesting/strange news has also come with the new month, so allow me to share this week’s batch of link love with you!

What links have you come across this week?

The Weekend Five: Profile Pictures That Every Guy Has Posted

funny-pictures-selfie-dog-no-filter-makeupA few months back, in honor of my social media addiction, I wrote a little piece about the five profile pictures that every girl has posted, at one point or another, on Facebook. Because I believe in equal opportunity for the genders, I felt that it was high time to poke fun at the males this week! Guys, we know you are all special and unique, but much like the ladies, you too are guilty of falling into predictable social media patterns. :)

This week, we’ll explore five of the most popular types of Facebook profile pictures that most of the guys on your friend list have uploaded.

The Weekend Five: Profile Pictures That Every Guy Has Posted

1. Group Photo With All Friends Still Intact.
Unlike the ladies, who tend to crop all of their friends out of group photos, guys are likely to post these pictures to their page as they were taken, no edits. This can prove especially confusing on mobile and online dating profiles, as visitors to those pages may wonder which guy in the picture is actually the man in question, but for Facebook, it makes sense:  guys can assume that their social media contacts will be able to distinguish which person is them!


2. The Goofy Picture.
Again, unlike many of the young women who use social media, guys aren’t afraid to post a less-than-perfect picture of themselves that shows their sense of humor. This picture is posted without regard for angles or any other artistic properties, and is meant to make you laugh.


meet-someone-profile-pictures-century-flirting-ecards-someecards3. The Slightly Dressier, More Grown Up Picture.
There’s always one picture of the guy in a suit, at a fancy dinner, in graduation garb or (in true throwback style) on his prom night.


4. The Significant Other.
From my observations, guys post fewer of these pictures than girls do, but these pictures do pop up from time to time so that the subjects can prove that they are not #foreveralone.


5. The Picture That Isn’t Him.
Usually, these are memes that fit his sense of humor, but they can also include images related to his favorite sports team or stills from a sci-fi movie or video game that he loves. For many girls, this is a waste of prime real estate, but for the majority of guys, it isn’t that big of a deal. Personally, I have to take a selfie to make up for this every time I see one of these, but that’s just me. :) (Kidding, by the way!)


Depending on the guy, you may find other types of profile pictures: action shots playing sports, flexing photos at the gym, artsy pictures with crazy Instagram filters… the list goes on. What are your favorite categories?

Link Love Wednesday: Let The Holiday Cheer Begin!

know-secret-santa-anything-christmas-ecard-someecards_largeCan you believe that we’re already in the thick of December? On Saturday, I tuned in to ESPN to watch my university’s football team battle it out amidst an ice storm in Texas, and found it crazy to think that winter is quickly approaching (even if winter merely consists of cold fronts where I live). With Christmas and the New Year looming dangerously ahead, it’s time to break out some of the holiday link love!

Link Love Wednesday: 23-Year-Old Edition

online datingHappy November! The temperatures have gotten lower, the Halloween candy is gone and the pumpkin-spiced drinks are in full bloom, so it’s starting to feel a lot more like fall around here!

This week’s roundup delves into a few of life’s greatest mysteries. Kidding – just a few interesting articles to get you through the week!

  • Having just celebrated my 23rd birthday in September, I can’t help but relate with these soul-crushing truths about being 23, as I’m sure many 20-somethings will.
  • Which professions have the most psychopaths? Here’s hoping that your career doesn’t pop up on this listing!
  • This article discusses why online dating can be a good thing.
  • Of course, this article suggests that online dating is making us miserable in our love lives because of the number of choices available to us. What are your thoughts?
  • For many of us, middle school was a miserable time in our lives. This BuzzFeed list reminds us of the things we are definitely not missing out on, now that we are all grown up.
  • I stumbled across this site, Forty Days of Dating, a few days ago and was completely glued. Two friends in New York with completely opposite relationship problems decide to date as an experiment for forty days, and the lines between friendship and love become increasingly unclear. You will want to stick around till the end!
  • Looking for a good read? This article will guide you to a classic book you’ll love based on your TV preferences.
  • The most retweeted tweets of all time will give you a greater insight into social media and society itself. (Sad to know that more than one of these tweets came from a member of One Direction!)

Any great articles this week?

The Weekend Five: Lessons in Grammar, Part II

grammarTwo years ago, I wrote one of my most popular posts, discussing some of the common grammar mistakes we tend to make. As a marketing professional with some experience in the editing world, I have definitely seen my share of grammatical errors, and have even been guilty of a few myself!

This week, I wanted to share a few more of my grammar pet peeves and some of the lessons I have learned throughout the years. Feel free to include some of your own in the comments below!

The Weekend Five: Lessons in Grammar, Part II

1. Know the difference between “less” and “fewer.”
While both “less” and “fewer” seem to mean the same thing, they are used in different ways. “Less” is used in relation to quality, while “fewer” is used in relation to quantity. I am less satiated than you are, because I have eaten fewer candy bars than you have. I do not have less candy bars.


grammar22. You are not “suppose to” do anything. (Tweet this!)
I notice that a lot of people will drop the “d” in “supposed to,” and not just as a typo. Use “suppose” as a verb to mean to presume or to expect, but if you “have to” do something, then you are “supposed to” do that thing.


3. “Conversate” is not a word.
This fake word comes up in a lot of songs, but the verb version of conversation is “converse,” not “conversate.” When in doubt, use “discuss” instead.


teacher-english-grammar-appreciation-ecards-someecards_large4. If you’re “apart of” something, you’re not really a part of it.
“Apart” implies that two things are not together, so when people say “apart of” when they are describing group membership (ie: “I am apart of the school band.”), they are actually removing themselves from that group. You are “a part of” a group. If you’re removing yourself from that group, you may be “apart from” it.


5. “Who?” or “Whom?” That is the question.
The easiest way to know if you should be using “who” or “whom” is to replace those words in a sentence with “he” or “him,” respectively. For example, if you want to say “Daniel was a boy (who/whom) loved sports,” you can determine that the correct word is who, because “he loved sports,” not “him loved sports.” Meanwhile, in the case of “I don’t know (who/whom) to ask,” would you ask he or him? Because “him” is the word that fits best, you would want to say “whom.”


What are some of your grammar pet peeves?

Link Love Wednesday: From Goosebumps to Mr. Darcy to Miley

GoosebumpsHope everyone is having a beautiful week and a lovely October – I know I am! With the fall now here and the weather finally beginning to cool down, it’s time to lounge outside on the porch and check out some of the latest interesting links to hit the web. Enjoy!

What are some of the interesting articles you’ve picked up this week?

The Friday Five: Tips For Spring Cleaning

With the weather now warm and the flowers in bloom (along with every allergen imaginable!), we can officially say this: spring is here. And the spring brings its own set of opportunities along with it: the opportunity to uphold our New Year’s Resolutions, the opportunity to plan for the summer, the opportunity to begin anew. Of course, one thing that spring always gives us the chance to do is to de-clutter our lives. In other words, it is time to participate in some hardcore spring cleaning!

A lot of people shudder at the thought of unearthing piles of forgotten belongings and having to sift through everything at once. In fact, I am currently dreading packing up for the move from my on-campus apartment (where I’ve built my home since August 2009) to my new Bachelor pad in four months, mostly because of the hassle of storing and then moving so many items I haven’t even looked at since freshman year. Anyone in my family who is reading this is probably even laughing right now, knowing how much I hated cleaning before I started college. However, a part of me looks forward to the detox that this year’s spring cleaning will bring. In honor of change, here are five tips for organizing your things more effectively.Tweet this!

The Friday Five: Tips For Spring Cleaning

1. Turn on some music.
A great way to stay energized throughout the process as a whole is to satisfy your sense of sound with some upbeat music. Unlike television, it won’t give you the excuse to look up from what you’re doing and become distracted, but it will make things infinitely less boring. All you have to do is resist the urge to dance. Make a playlist following some of these rules before you start, and choose music that won’t make you fall asleep (for me, anything by Nirvana or Coldplay). Some songs I’ve been enjoying lately that might help you get started: here, here and here.


2. Break things up.
Trying to tackle everything at once will only leave you frustrated. You’ll grow weary very quickly, because there won’t seem to be an end in sight, and you’ll give up prematurely. To escape this fate, before you begin your spring cleaning, make a list of everything you need to sort through. Then, when you decide to start cleaning, focus on only one or two of those things at a time. For example, in my room, I need to reorganize my desk, dresser, bookshelf and closet, so I will focus my attention solely on one of those sections in a day so that I don’t get completely burned out. If cleaning is really not your thing and you have some time to spare, then consider breaking things up even further and focusing on one drawer or shelf a day.


3. Don’t be afraid to throw things away.
Nostalgia alone shouldn’t dictate what stays and what goes. If you find something that you haven’t looked at in more than a year, chances are you don’t need it now. You will always be able to justify keeping it with some “memory” you have, but you will have to prioritize if you are going to get anywhere. If I haven’t used it, looked at it or thought about it in months, I usually toss it in a black garbage bag, and after my pilgrimage to the dumpster, a part of me often feels liberated. Clearing yourself of the junk that has been piling up all year will take a huge burden off of you.


4. Find a method to your madness.
Before you start putting back the things you decide to keep, figure out how you are going to organize them this time around. Is there a more efficient way to store your belongings? Evaluate. For example, I like to keep my books in alphabetical order by author, and the clothes in my closet are coordinated by color. You may want to store certain belongings in labeled boxes in order to find things easier. However you choose to do it, make sure you figure something out so that you will have a more clearly defined place to put new things as you purchase them.


5. Embrace the challenge.
You aren’t just clearing out a space in your room or your house — you’re making room for change. Let this exercise inspire you not only in all things material, but in all areas of your life. Figure out where you need to rethink things and what you can do differently to keep life fresh and pursue new experiences. :)


What are some of your tips for spring cleaning?