GivingTuesday

The good news is I have a FEW pending posts that I’m still working on!  So I haven’t failed entirely on my challenge of writing more.  The better news is that I have begun co-writing for the blog of the center I work at!  What makes me even more excited is that I’m able to put my passion and skills to work by convincing the women that I work for to step into the online platform for their non-profit.

Mixed into all of that I’ll be taking on a new writing challenge: writing the stories of the guests that I serve.  I’m thrilled about this different approach to writing and I look forward to connecting with the guests on a personal level and learn more about them.  Although it took some bumps and bruises to learn the ropes of the center, I’m beginning to figure out my purpose and my place–and I’m loving it!

One idea that I brought to the table and have been granted to permission to run with it, is to have the guests, staff, and volunteers of the Rebuild Center take part in the social movement of #GivingTuesday.  I learned about it yesterday and its safe to say that I’ve become OBSESSED with this brand new holiday.  #GivingTuesday follows the chaos of Black Friday and Cyber Monday as a kickoff to the season of giving…back!  Service is evidently an important part of my life, and this is a really cool social movement that is bringing service to the forefront and reminding people to help others (to learn more about #GivingTuesday click the image).

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Isn’t that why we’re put on this earth?

My idea is to have the guests, volunteers, and staff take part in the #UNselfie hashtag by creating signs on why they serve, or why its important to serve.  What I’ve urged our guests to do is offer the perspective of “how important it is to benefit from service, love, and kindness”.  Most of the unselfies that are being posted are about why people are motivated to give back–I decided to provide the motivation.

To see more of the project for work, check out http://lanternlight.org/

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Damnit! I lost the challenge…again.

And for that matter—the game.

I promised myself I would write more and share my experiences here in New Orleans.  I have failed in doing so thus far.  I will continue to challenge myself in bringing forward my story and the stories of those around me.

This last month has driven me crazy.  I realized that while I was at school I kept myself way busier than I had even realized.  In those four years I would lay down to go to bed…and I would go to bed. I was THAT tired. I was never plagued by this “mind running a mile a minute” nonsense before bed. How could I waste my time on reflecting and/or worrying?  In fact, I’m almost certain at the time I had thought I was bizarre because I never planned too far ahead or thought of anything outside of a four-week span.

LOL, hey there reality check.

I can’t even say that since my last post I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I think I’ve been struck with a real strong case of the feels. SO MANY DAMN EMOTIONS have been occurring. You name it, I’ve felt it:  Longing, sadness, anger, joy, elatedness, fear, anxiety, laziness, motivated, concern, fear, unwanted, fear..have I mentioned fear?!

I wish I could even voice what I’m afraid of. I can’t tell if it’s the future, the past, the present, the city, the people, the lack of a love life. Who knows?  Amidst all of that, I’m strangely happy.  I feel like I’m in the right place doing what I need to be doing.  Part of me wishes I was doing more, whatever more is. I keep reminding myself that it’s absolutely okay to have time to read leisurely.

So, I’m upping the challenge for myself. I tried to get myself into the routine of one blog post a week.   I think I’ll up it to two.  My hope is that the increased challenge will push me to write more. Here’s to writing and the feels.

Until next time ;]
Miss Enlund

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I don’t know about you, but I don’t know if I like being 22

It’s this incredibly vague area where everyone agrees it’s time to grow up and its acceptable to make mistakes…so long as they aren’t deemed overly immature or irresponsible because you’re 22 now so you’re supposed to be getting your head on straight.

Or something like that?

As T-Swift (or T-Swizzle, as I like it) has proclaimed “we’re happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time. It’s miserable and magical”…oh no. Miserable, I’ll agree…magical, not so much.  I can’t even pinpoint how I feel at this stage of my life because I’m so damn overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions and plans.

You know how you catch yourself pondering life on almost every vacation you go to?  I’m not sure why this phenomenon takes place, but I feel (at least for me) that it happens every time I stay in a place for a few days that isn’t my home.  So, try to imagine what the hell I’m going through at this point in my life.  I’m 22 with no idea who I’m supposed to be and I just moved to a place far away and I’m not busy anymore.  I’m constantly comparing everything I’m experiencing here to everything I’ve experienced in my short 22 years of life.  I’m also trying to soak in much more than the sun down here, but its overwhelming as all hell.

I guess I’m whining because I really have no idea what’s going on and I can’t determine if that’s okay or not.  I’m trying to gauge if my peers are in a stable part in their life, but I can’t tell if they’re bs-ing the interweb or just avoiding the truth of life as well.  Wah, being this whiny is for the birds. I just want to have life figured out because I LOATHE this learning curve bullshit.

Until next time ;]
Miss Enlund

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Rainy Days

One of the most fascinating things about New Orleans is the way it rains.  Often when it rains, it really does pour.  Giant drops cascade from the sky but the sun still remains visible.  This is what makes it so magical; the sun catches each drop and creates a gorgeous shimmering experience. This phenomenon has occurred almost every day since I’ve moved here (just two weeks ago).

Interestingly enough, the city never seems to be entirely under a rain cloud.  The first time I experienced the skies opening up, my roommates and I were across town.  When we arrived home (just a 15 minute drive) we learned that it hadn’t even rained by us.

Also, the weather forecast means zilch.  Regardless of the precipitation percentage, ITS GON’ RAIN!  This is probably due to the fact that we are technically in Hurricane Season (although we haven’t—thankfully—experienced any threatening weather, yet).  This northerner, however, is overly captivated by the weather.

Check out the video and enjoy the lovely sounds of the rain! http://instagram.com/p/dyJIcVSxZb/#

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Four guys and two little ladies

So more on my current living situation

I’m 22, just graduated from college and I live with one of my best friends and four other guys. The thing is, three of those guys are over the age of 65 and are committed to religious life.

Now one might ask, “Why in God’s name are you living with 3 OLD MEN?!”

I am one of the proudest alumnus of Iona College (Class of 2013), which is a small private institution that was founded by the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers.  For a long time Iona was run by the Brothers and almost every one of them have studied at Iona.  A few still teach and many of the Brothers still live in community around the campus.  This is how I was introduced to this congregation.

I wanted to do a year of service (specifically in New Orleans) after I went on a Mission Trip through my school in 2012. The city is unlike any city I’ve been to and the people are so…there just isn’t a word to describe the wonderful people of Naw’lins. While on the trip, we visited the house that I am now living in.  We learned that the three Brothers open their home and life of community to three volunteers each year. I knew that evening we’d met them that I would be a volunteer in that house one day.

So now, here I am.  The other boy I live with is also an Iona grad.  In fact, he was my Mission Trip leader and he moved down here last year to volunteer.  He loved it so much so that he stayed for round two.  Most of what I’ll be talking about from now on will be anecdotes of life with three Christian Brothers, the service that I’m taking part in, trials and tribulations of living on the Big Easy, and (of course) mentions of Justin Timberlake.

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Post-Grad Probs

What did you do after you graduated college?

I went home for three weeks (the longest amount of time I had spent in my home in three years).  Attempted to visit the local watering hole and realized that I’m just not about that life anymore.

Then I went to work for a summer camp of sorts.  I pictured it being an UH-MAZING summer job; hanging out with foreign kids, running around New York City, and giving them a remarkable and memorable experience in the states.  I would blog about our travels and the funny misunderstandings that inevitably take place between a kid from Estonia and a kid from Brazil.  Most of the above happened minus the blogging.  I didn’t expect the job to be so damn exhausting.  I also didn’t expect to have a staff that partied just as hard as they worked (which I’m insanely thankful for). This part of my summer ended all too quickly, unfortunately.

So I went back home for three weeks (as if I didn’t hate the first go around enough—sorry Mom). I focused on prepping for my second trip to the Legends of the Summer Tour with mi madre and finishing up the masterful artwork that is my walls. I also spent a lot of time freaking out and essentially hating the fact that I was no longer in college.  I think I spent a week in my room…straight.  I should have spent more time packing and prepping for the MOST GIGANTIC MOVE OF MY LIFE…at least thus far.

Just about a week ago I flew down to New Orleans to begin my year-long commitment to service and living in community with three Edmund Rice Christian Brothers.  In my last posting about people having the control over decisions, that’s what I was referencing. I’m an absolute weirdo, so I don’t often talk about big situations when they’re brewing, in fear that I’ll compromise the outcome.  Thankfully, the Brothers accepted me into their volunteer program in one of the greatest cities this country has to offer.

What I’m most excited about is this experience schedules plenty of time for reflection and chillin (unlike the last four years of my life).   This means I’ll finally be able to uphold the one thing I’ve been trying to get my ass in gear with: writing consistently.  So be prepared for insights into religious life, living with two volunteers who I went to college with, and what life in New Orleans for a non-native is like.  And of course, anything pertaining to Justin Timberlake ;]  Although, for my fan psychoticness—check out my fan blog on Tumblr.

So here’s to peace and new beginnings!

Miss Enlund ;]

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Confession

Two months after graduation and I’m sitting on my bed room floor (crawling the interweb) and pondering life.  I’m trying to make necessary steps for my future but right now its in the hands of someone else.

Insert twitching convulsion here.

This is by far the worst part of anything.  I have most definitely learned that I prefer to have the control in situations.  One may choose the phrase “control freak” to define my anxiety in times like this.  Well one, I guess you’re right.  “What in the hell is wrong with being a control freak?!” is my retort to you!

I’m the type A personality in that respect.  I prefer to do things on my own because I know they’ll get done right.  If they get done wrong, well then no one has disappointed me but myself.  I enjoy taking risks but not gambling? I’m impulsive with some things and I take my sweet time with others. Gah, will the rest of my 20s be this?! This constant reflecting/soul searching bundle of confusion?

I’ve come to terms with this whole control freak thing.  This has been validated through those moments of trying new things and realizing that they just aren’t my cup of tea.  You know what pisses me off more than not having control? Being told I need to lighten up.  Word of advice?

Don’t tell a control freak to lighten/loosen up or to relax.  We’re pretty aware of the fact that we need to relax, we know how to relax, and we have it scheduled in our planers just how, when, where, and why we intend on relaxing.  We don’t need your command or your suggestion of what is relaxing. See yourself out, thank you.

Now if only everyone else around me will accept this fact and let me be my controlling self.  I feel that people should treat this trait of mine as if it were a religion. I accept this as a way of life. If I’m not imposing it on your life, kindly let me live the way I choose to.

Forgive the rant. I just hate that decisions are currently up in the air, waiting for someone else to return for their vacation and act on them. Instead, I sit here silently freaking out, distracting my mind with crafts, my cats, and the pool that awaits me.

Le sigh. Someone just hire me.

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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 In PR

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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