Category Archives: Uncategorized

In praise of the weeds

Blown away by this post. Even more blow away that this is written by a peer, a friend.

We are all story

Of all the questions asked of me since starting grad school, I never anticipated that the hardest one to answer would be “Where are you from?”

As I stumble through the many homes I have had in the past few years my thoughts begin to trip over each other:

“Umm well I’m originally from Maryland – that’s where I grew up.  But I moved here from New Orleans where I was living for two years before this.  Does that count?  Except you know, I lived in Ohio for a few years as well and oddly enough I identify as an Ohioan more than anything…I even risked excommunication from my family by becoming a Buckeye fan (luckily they still love me!).”

I could get even more detailed than that – I have homes that I have only ever spent two weeks in.  “What about Mexico?  That was where I learned that…

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An open letter to the Tennessee Kid Nation

I have been a loud, proud (and often boisterous) fan of Justin Timberlake’s since I was 7. From the moment I saw him strut across the stage to ‘Giddy Up’ on the Disney Channel Concert for *NSYNC. The game was over from that point on (fellow fans, pun intended).

What was most exciting for me was that I shared this love for *NSYNC with my best friend. She and I were polar opposites therefore she favored JC and I favored Justin (my ranking order is as follows: Justin, JC, Joey, Lance and Chris…sorry Chris!). This worked well for our friendship because we never had to fight over the same guy.   I’d spend years battling it out with the best of the BSB fandome as to who was the better boy band—I don’t care if they’ve reunited 85 times, *NSYNC reunited for 45 seconds and the world went ballistic, better comeback..better band (even if only for a few seconds). However, I never did have any friends who loved Justin Timberlake.

I believe a lot of this stemmed from the fact that I am not a competitive person. I just don’t get wrapped up in that nonsense. Therefore, I wasn’t interested in finding another fan friend because I wasn’t interested in the pissing contest of “who loves JT more”. When forced into that competitive corner, a real ugly side of Miss Enlund rears its head. I simply don’t handle intense situations such as sports or UNO Attack! In fact, I spent more time defending Justin Timberlake’s brilliance than basking in it with another person. Plot twist: I was totally fine basking in the brilliance alone on my Timberlake island.

And then the inevitable happened.

One day during my favorite class circa….2007…, I heard a girl in the grade below me talking about Justin Timberlake. Said girl was going on and on and on about how she had gotten tickets to the FSLS concert. Envy began bubbling because I hadn’t gotten tickets and the entire tour was sold out. But alas, I rose above it and began discussing the wonder that is JT and wished her joy during the show.

“Ahh…I’m a huge JT fan, cant wait for it”—girl

“Me too!”—me

“No, but like, I’m a REALLY big fan. Been to all of his concerts. I just love him to pieces”—girl

“Yeah same, I just had bad luck getting tickets this year”—me

“I’m a bigger fan…”—girl

“I’ve been a fan since I was 7..have fun!”—me

“Well I’ve been a fan since I was 6, so I’ve loved him longer”

And then my head exploded. Even though she had “loved him from a younger age” she failed to recognize that while she was 6 and I was 7 the YEAR WAS 1998 and therefore we had both liked him since 1998. Petty… I know. Hense why I never cared to have JT friends.

The Mrs. JT nickname carried on through college.

Last summer, z100 announced that it was having a contest to determine who JTs Biggest Fan was. All you had to do was explain in 140 characters and then get people to vote. I’m bad at limiting myself to a few characters, but I knew I could get the man power behind me. The contest lasted about 2 1/2weeks. I was so touched by how many people pulled through for me. I had something over 5000 votes. The support was unreal and I was floored.

I basically teetered between 1st and 2nd with this one girl. Remember when I said I had an ugly competitive side? Well, I found her on any and all social media and stalked the bejesus out of her. When she’d knock me out, I’d get really aggressive and amp up the voting posse. I created a JTfan blog to try and campaign because I don’t believe in limiting myself. I monitored what she was posting and I envied the fact that…SHE HAD ALREADY MET JT! GIVE ME A CHANCE z100!!!!!

That was the most exhausting and intense two weeks of my life. Right at the tail end of it, that girl and I got knocked down and it got so intense that I sat down and said to myself…”if its meant to be, it will be”.

Then …. That girl (Andrea, btw) direct messaged me on Twitter. *raised eyebrow*. She and I started discussing what the possible outcome of the contest would be and how z100 would go about announcing it. She admitted to stalking me right back…and the other girls that were in the top tier with us. We mutually discussed the person we assumed won the contest before the poll was closed, Mauri. Andrea informed me that she had begun to connect with most of the people in the contest to kind of keep an eye on the announcement.

I wasn’t about that. No way was I getting involved with JT fans now..especially via social media. No pissing contest on my twitter feed, kthanksbyeeee.

Mauri was named JTs Biggest Fan and I felt a flutter of envy. I did the big girl move and followed her on some social mediums and decided that she was an alright person. Same decision followed with Andrea. Since the release of the second half of 20/20 my hesitation with connecting with JT fans has diminished and my friendship with Andrea and Mauri is something that I hold so dear to my heart. More importantly, I started following other Timberlakers. Such a great decision. JT is effing wonderful, I think I’m pretty great, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he has some of THE MOST awesome fans out there I can’t wait to meet my girls, #JTsisterwives, in December to see our man SLAY us at Barclays Center. Thank ya’ll so much for the support, friendship, and laughs! LOVE my fellow fangirls/guys.

 

Here is an open letter to the #TNKidNation #JTfam #TNKids #timberlakers all over the world :

 

Thank you #TNKidNation,

Our fandom is so much more than a screaming-to-tears, cyber-supporting “stalking”, retweeting fanatical group of people. We love JT and each other hard, support, share, and UNDERSTAND what it actually means to be slayed in the special way that only Mr. Timberlake knows how.

Outside of us, people have a hard time understanding why we get butterflies when JT crinkles his nose and does that grin. Following Justin throughout his career has brought us pride, fun, creativity, love, and pure ecstasy.

Thank ya’ll for being there to just understand and to share in the giddiness of this perfect #yearofJT. Following along on your reactions, how he has inspired ya’ll to create cool shit, and how much he just means to all of us has been so comforting. Its great to not have to justify or explain why I love Justin so much. Ya’ll just get it because you get equally as tongue-tied in trying to explain. Often there aren’t words to describe what following Justin is like…just beaming smiles and ridiculous uncontrollable body flails.

It’s because of the fandom that I don’t feel weird…at all.. for supporting every single thing Justin has his hands, including but not limited to: all of his brands, all of his band members, dancers, managers of various operations, his mother…and the rest of his family. Why only support just Justin, right? He clearly surrounds himself with amazing artists and people. Might as well!

What’s even cooler about the #TNKidNation is that so many of us have met up with one another. We’ve become real friends. Conversations don’t always revolve around Justin Timberlake or any of his other projects/brands. We’ve begun to lean on one another and support one another as individuals. That’s just beautiful and I hope it’s something that Justin realizes. His fandom his global—he’s connecting fans in the states with those in Germany. He’s fostering this connection for transplanted fans, in new areas, to find people close to them.

I am a proud Justin Timberlake Fan and even prouder member of the Tennessee Kid Nation/Family. So much love to all of you out there! Keep doin what you’re doing.

Erika

PS—a VERY special shout out to all of the MOMS who have supported our crazy asses and been on every line with us and shared in each and every panic attack that Justin has been responsible for.

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The cold front from the New Orleans perspective

Even more relevant now since we’ve had three freeze nights in a row . Will be thinking and praying for the guests this entire weekend ❤

An Open Letter to Sharkeisha

Bryant Cross

Dear Sharkeisha,

Real recognize real, so I decided to write you today. I’m from (and live) in the Southside of Chicago so I understand street politics. I know that you can’t let disrespect go unchecked because you have to fend for yourself. The police that are suppose to watch out for us are the very ones that hurt us. Teachers don’t care what goes on in the school because they’re too busy focused on other things. No one is watching out for us. No one is looking out for our best interest. Therefore, we must do it for ourselves. That is why disrespect can’t go unchecked. I know that letting a little disrespect slide opens the door for people to get bolder with their antics. But let me say again – I live in “Chiraq.” After so many killings I’ve come to ask certain questions, questions I will ask you…

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Combatting Realities

I had two very serious realizations recently: time stops for no one and in just two months my life will be entirely different. 

My co-worker recently lost her great grandmother.  In talking with her and attempting to console her, I was reminded of my grandfather’s death 12 years ago.  His death impacted my family in so many ways but it also marked the first real encounter with death for me and most of my cousins.  Naturally, once your brain begins to tick, there’s no telling where it will end up.  I started thinking of the next eldest members in my family (my grandma and her sister).  My heart dropped beyond my feet once my mind crept into that place.  I asked my co-worker how old her great-grandmother was and she replied with a proud response of 83.

As if my heart hadn’t dropped enough.  My grandmother Is 80 years old (although most would think she’s a mere 65) and she’s sprightly, talkative, always down to go out and loves her libations. She can still tear up a dance floor and she creeps more on Facebook than a 14 year old girl.  It’s hard to accept the fact that she’s an 80 year old woman because of how she carries herself, but in the peace of night you can see where Father Time has had a few checkups with her.  She’s achy, a little bit slower both mentally and physically, and her patience has be worn thin.  I pray that we ring in her 90th birthday the way we brought in her 80th but there is no promise in tomorrow.  This realization hit me like a ton of bricks.  Cherish the ones you love, make them tell you their life’s story, and spend time with them.

So in two months time, I’ll be fulfilling my dream of moving down to Louisiana for a year of service.  This realization hit me as I walked out of the Student Union of my college.  That familiar and comfortable feeling will not be present in just a few weeks.  I’ll be in a super-humid place, fighting my curls and figuring out how to become a local in one of this country’s greatest cities.  Coincidentally a pang of guilt struck me because I will be so far from my friends and family.  This reality combats the aforementioned reality.  My communication abilities with my family will have to increase.  Therefore, I’ve decided to begin an old fashioned…. (drum roll please…) ADDRESS BOOK.  A tangible item with addresses and phone numbers so that I can send physical cards, letters, and packages.

Here’s to loved ones, life dreams, and physical mail, ya’ll.

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World’s Worst Blogger

Yikes! I have failed myself again!

My intention was to write when I was home, but home was uninspiring.  It was the first time I had been home for an extended amount of time in three whole years.  I can’t believe how much has changed and how much hasn’t changed either.  I will say that being home solidified my feeling of having outgrown home and needing to move on.

Also, the largest distraction from writing was the z100 contest I entered myself into.  This contest took up so much of my energy that I didn’t do HALF of what I NEEDED to do while at home.  Sadly, I have to report that I only got 4th place.  I will be filing this experience down as a case study!  I was able to get over 5000 votes through social media and word of mouth.  I’m really proud of that and I was humbled by the amount of support I received for a two week-vote daily type contest.  Plus, it just must not be my time to meet Justin Timberlake yet.  I know it will come soon enough though! If you’re interested, check out the blog I created for the competition to showcase the extent of my love for him (http://www.erikaisthetnkid.tumblr.com)

So for the rest of the summer, I’m back on my campus working with a program that brings young international students to NYC to teach them the English language and culture.  I can’t begin to express how much fun I am having with these kids.  Most of them have a great grasp on the language and are really flourishing.  Others struggle a bit but are pushing themselves to speak it better.  The most rewarding element of my job is watching them experience certain American nuances and learning about who they are and how their cultures function.

For example:

In recognition of DOMA being ruled unconstitutional (on my birthday—such an honor) I shared the news with the students (predominantly from Russia).  That conversation started off with one simple question “do you know what homosexuality is?”  I explained that in America, in some places it is legal for two people of the same sex to get married.  And hopefully now, more states will make it legal.  I then asked what they thought about that and how their countries treated homosexuality.  Their answers varied, but the majority said that their country was against Gay Rights.

THE COOLEST PART OF THE CONVERSATION?!

Only one student, out of the 15 I spoke with, felt that being gay was wrong.  These 14-16 year olds are down with people being free to love whoever they choose!

More on my adventures with the kids to follow, as well as a posting about my experience of traveling to Russia!

And huzzah to all of my friends in the Gay community! 6/26 was a remarkable step forward for each and every one of you!

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13 Books Every PR Pro Should Rread

Women Of Color In Public Relations

By Brad Phillips-  This post can be found here

 

 

 

I’ve read dozens of books that focus on media training, crisis management, body language, and public speaking. Many are quite good; a few have become favorites.

Below are some of my all-time favorites. This isn’t a comprehensive list, as there are surely great books I haven’t gotten around to reading yet. So if you have favorites that are not on this list, please leave them in the comments section below.

Public speaking

You Are The Message” by Roger Ailes: A true classic chock full of smart thinking and “ah-ha!” moments. Before Roger Ailes was hired to run Fox News Channel, he was a high-profile communications consultant. (He coached Ronald Reagan in 1984 before the second presidential debate that cemented his re-election.) If you want to learn how to be a more effective public speaker, this is…

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“What Makes You Dominant And Me Submissive?” FOX Host Megyn Kelly Shuts Down Male Colleagues On-Air

I, too, am offended by this. Why does it have to be entirely the woman’s role to be nurturing? What he is saying is offensive to the father’s that stay at home and raise their children and provide them with love and nurturing. Without putting single-parent families aside, what about the men who gain custody over their children? They have to be nurturing and firm. What is the point of having defined roles in parenting?  Both parents should support, nurture, challenge, and discipline their children, regardless of gender. When there is an imbalance in parenting, children begin to take advantage of one of the parents or pit them against each other. I personally believe that that is detrimental to a marriage as well.

And for men feeling emasculated by women bringing in bread and having power…welcome to the other side of the track. That’s the root of all issues if you think about it. No one person should have POWER over another person because then there is little room for mutual respect. Sheesh.

Thought Catalog

Crazy to see a bit of a progressive agenda coming out of the FOX ether, but host Megan Kelly emerges victorious in this surprising segment in which she executes a point-by-point take-down of blogger Erick Erickson’s recent piece that argued that “stay-at-home mom” is the “natural” role for women in families and “breadwinner” is the natural role for men. She also sticks it to a more-docile Lou Dobbs. Worth a watch. [tc-mark]

You should like Thought Catalog on Facebook here.

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via – Think Progress

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