A New Start

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Unlike the Arrested Development episode, I will not be shortening the title of this post and putting it on a license plate. Although, it does make me laugh every time.

Things are changing this year–2014, the year of the horse, which I’m told is “my” year and I intend to make it so. New responsibilities at work, new apartment (pending approval that looks good), first true roommate (and hoping she wont get sick of me asking for outfit advice), first time taking some big risks, new outlook on life. Here’s hoping that this year (2 months in) is going to be a good one, but hope only goes so far. Actions do speak louder than words. So–we shall see where this goes.

Justin Timberlake= The Bee Gees & Bruno Mars = The Police?

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On my drive to work, I heard the new song “Suit and Tie”, and apart from the Jay Z insert, I couldn’t help but be reminded of The Bee Gees and JT’s stint on SNL as Robin Gibb on “The Barry Gibb Talk Show” with Jimmy Fallon. The song had the feel of the 1970s and Justin’s smooth vocals made it seem like this wasn’t produced in the 2013 era of Ke$ha, Taylor Swift and other painful singers that produce the same song with different lyrics.

So are we moving backwards? In a good way? They say history has a way of repeating itself and we’ve all heard allusions to classic songs in current ones, but could THE Justin Timberlake be the influence that makes it cool? Bruno Mars is doing something similar with his new hit song, “Locked Out of Heaven” and sounding suspiciously like a song from The Police (Pre-Sting becoming “Sting”).

There seems to be a trend showing us that what’s old is new again. Whether it be music, the countless numbers of 90s Pinterest boards and blogs I’ve seen pop up, or the recent article in the New York Times about Pinball making a comeback (I was always horrible at the game and prefer Pacman but I digress).

How do you take something old and make it cool again? Especially if it has fallen out of “coolness”. If you have a product that’s not as constantly present and gorgeous and George Clooney, how do you attract fans or customers to a 51 year old product?

Depending on the product, this could change but to make something old new again, you don’t necessarily have to reinvent it but instead, repackage it. How is this tradition, this older product relevant in today’s society? What makes it stand out besides the fact that it’s classic and has a heritage? When you think of how your service or product can fit into the modern lives of today’s society, I think you’ll find your answer as to how to put new life into it.

Where did all the leftovers go?

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Thanksgiving came and went in a flash and tonight I have just finished off the last of the leftovers from the meal. Yum. One of the best Thanksgiving meals in my memory. I also got to experience the first major holiday with the “step family”. Luckily for me, they’re not the evil type, quite the opposite. It was also a change to experience what brothers are like, pretty much what I imagined–the older one taunting the younger one who would try to hide the pouting from his face.

Anyway, what I wanted to share was the cheesecake I made and very much enjoyed. Drum roll please…

The Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Pomegranate Syrup

(Courtesy of my favorite magazine, Bon Appetit)

http://www.bonappetit.com/images/magazine/2012/11/greek-yogurt-cheesecake-with-pomegranate-syrup-646.jpg

This was extremely easy to make and assemble, perfect for the Holidays when you want to get as many things out of the way before your event so that you can actually enjoy it!

This cheesecake was delicious on its own, the Greek yogurt adding a tang and cutting through the cream cheese and the graham cracker crust was the perfect base, buttery enough to not dry out each bite, but sturdy enough for a spectacular presentation. Adding in the pomegranate syrup and seeds were just the icing on the cake..well, you get the idea.

My only advice would be to use a very small bowl for dissolving the gelatin. I used a larger mixing bowl as my selection was limited, and it made it difficult to cover all of the powder with the water.

These leftovers lasted about a week–self restraint to not eat it all in one sitting after the boys left and still tasted great. Make it and let me know what you think! The recipe is linked above.

Enjoy!

Stop kicking the Stormtrooper, it’s dead.

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I’ll say it from the start. I’m not a Star Wars fanatic. I held out for 19 years to even see the original three. While I enjoyed them and see why people could have Star Wars sheets well into their 30s, I’m not so sure I’m buying the $4billion+ deal Disney struck to purchase the franchise’s rights. 2015–Star Wars VII. Really?

It seems that we can’t leave well enough alone anymore. How are we supposed to appreciate the classics when remakes and sequels are churned out like baby bunnies? I was appalled when they made Sandlot 2 (I played softball, but I was equally offended when they awkwardly tried to wedge a girl into the storyline from what I gathered from the IMDB description, I never bothered watching it out of principle).

I’m all for brand extension, I think it’s great to play on people’s loyalty to get them to buy your new products, diet cherry coke is delicious and my apple products reinforce that statement. However, when it comes to creative works, do we always have to redo something else? It seems there are fewer and fewer new artistic ideas lately, especially in the movie and music industry (Aaliyah is dead and yet singing in a Drake song).

I don’t claim to be a creative type, especially with writing; most of my creative stories in elementary school revolved around one theme: me getting a dog and meeting Michael Jordan (90s child). But, are we losing creativity or just resting on our laurels? If it’s the latter, take the message from Bring it On and stop resting on them, even if you come in 2nd, it’s a pretty sweet routine.

Maybe I’m just a sucker for the classics (I refused to see Footloose 2.0 as well) but for you Star Wars fans who are excited for another trio of movies, how will little kids saying they love Star Wars make you feel when they have no idea who Harrison Ford or George Lucas is, let alone how he’s connected to Star Wars. I know I got in an argument with a 7 year old about who the real Power Rangers are (Amy Jo Johnson was my hero). Can we really allow a new generation to have these new Star Wars as “their” Star Wars without truly appreciating the origin? Maybe it’s time to leave well enough alone and just make money on the Lego versions of Wookiees.

Farfalle with Marscarpone, Asparagus & Hazelnuts

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This was one of my favorite dishes that my mom made me in high school and I had no idea it was so easy! I couldn’t find the original Bon Appetit link since my copy is a beat up magazine clipping, however, it is on Epicurious.

So, how easy is this delicious dish? Let’s see….

Roast asparagus (about 2lbs cut into diagonal 2-inch pieces) in olive oil, salt & pepper o a foil rimmed tray at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. You can do this up to 2 hours ahead.

Then, cook 1lb of Farfalle until al dente in salted water. Reserve 1 Cup of pasta water. Then add 8oz marscarpone cheese, 2/3 C grated Parmesan (fresh is best but Kraft is just fine) and the asparagus. Toss to coat, add water slowly if the sauce is too dry.

Serve in large family style pasta bowl and top with extra parm. and chopped chives (optional) and chopped hazelnuts (toasted are really good, but to save time, plain are just as yummy).

It’s a light dish, but has enough to it that you don’t feel like you just ate plain pasta. It also feels hearty without making your roll away from the table. I think next time I may try and spice it up a bit by adding some crushed red pepper or maybe drizzle some fresh lemon juice over the top . Can’t wait to have this for lunch tomorrow!

Serves about 8. About 390 calories/serving.

Enjoy!

Drive Away Domestic Violence

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Today I participated in my sorority’s 2nd annual Drive Away Domestic Violence golf tournament. With help from my sisters, I planned and executed the first one last year, so it was nice to enjoy it this year as an alumni who only had to pay and take a few whacks at a little white ball. (It was a scramble and we did use one of my drives–which was decent and not a pity choice, so that was great!)

It was interesting to see how something I had poured so much effort and heart and late nights into live on after I had left and I have to thank the amazing women currently in the chapter for keeping the event alive, and doing so quite well. As a stereotypical only child, there were things I noticed that were different than how I had originally planned but once I stepped back, I realized that (SHOCKER) my way was not the only way to do things. I think that’s the hard part about being a part of my generation and an only child. We’re so used to trying to be the best, doing things alone, being told that to stand out we have to do things that make us shine.

Working in PR is an interesting blend, there’s so much team work but there’s so much solo work that doesn’t always coordinate with your team. So I think that constantly being reminded that we don’t have to do things alone or only from our point of view is a beneficial occurrence for us. Especially after being removed from such an amazingly tight-knit community in my sorority, you forget just how much help you received from others, even on the days you felt most alone.
I’ll also take a moment to plug Domestic Violence Awareness. Too often it is referred to as the cause that’s uncomfortable to talk about, or worse, not referred to at all. Yes, it’s not yet a cause adopted by pro sports or something that’s cute and fun like puppies, kitties and Sarah McLachlan, but it’s one that affects so many individuals in our nation. It’s also not just crimes against women, a common misconception. Domestic violence and abuse can affect anyone: men, women, adults and children, which is why it is so important to start a conversation. In women, domestic violence affects one in four. ONE in FOUR. It’s a startling thought.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. So please, help raise awareness. Donate to local shelters or foundations to stop the abuse and start conversations or learn more about what Domestic Violence Awareness means.

You never know who you could be helping by raising awareness, so thank you, from all of us.

How Do You Start Your Morning?

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It seems every single day there is a new article promoted through my LinkedIn news feed saying what I should or shouldn’t do in the morning to be successful. They list all the things super successful people do before arriving in the office, or things they do right when they get in. They go for 5 mile runs, somehow ignore e-mail the first hour of work, eat a new brand of granola I’ve never heard of, etc. As I’m sitting here counting the hours until I need to wake up (Diet Coke too late in the evening, whoops!) I got thinking about those articles and here’s what I’ve got.

Reasons I’ve stopped listening to these articles:

1. If I ran 5 miles in the AM I’d have to wake up at 3 a.m. to make sure I’m done, showered, and breathing in time to catch my train work work. I’d also have to run the risk of missing work due to a lung collapse. I can do most exercises fine, but running outside and I don’t get along. Sensitive skin to temperatures, low attention span, and prone to dropping iPods are not qualities great for running.

2. As an intern, I don’t want to jeopardize my delicate position by ignoring e-mails from my boss. PLUS she has an AP Style test that she’ll send out for points (I’m aiming for a Purple Pig gift card and a pedicure!) and I don’t want to miss that. And it’s also the way I get my thoughts organized for the day.

3. I’m lucky if I get an Eggo waffle toasted on my way out the door. I’ve never been a big breakfast fan except when it involves bacon, which I don’t usually buy for time and my heart’s sake. So the fancy Shape magazine approved breakfasts aren’t high on my list. Most  involve bananas too, which I hate. So there’s that.

 

Anyway, the main reason I don’t want to read more about “How Top PR Pros Start Their Days” is because those things may work great for others but it forces us to compare our ways of doing things. There are things I can improve, I can do my yoga stuff more often (because I like it) to try and become more of a productive morning person as there are things I’m sure you all want to improve. But if we live in the footsteps of another’s success, where does that leave room for ours?

There is no end-all-be-all morning. Especially for those who work night shifts and are going to bed when we wake up. It’s up to us to find what we like to do. Try a few suggestions of others if they appeal to you, but don’t force yourself to be something your not because that will eventually affect your work life and then you’re sure to just be a cog in some corporate machine. So if mornings for you are rolling out of bed, haphazardly sticking contacts in your eyes and running a brush through a rat’s nest of hair, so be it.

As long as you don’t fall asleep driving to work or at work, we’ll all be okay.

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