Category Archives: Money

Lesson #365: The final lesson.

7/20/15.

The day I started this blog, I was on my closet floor crying because it felt like my life had become a continuous bad day.

Now I’m sitting here on a mocha-colored couch outside of a coffee shop all the way across the country in California, typing my last lesson, and still crying.

It’s good to know some things don’t change.

When I woke up today, all I could think was:

“Mia. It’s been 365 days.”

I couldn’t grasp the number. Trying to process it was like standing on the edge of a cliff, looking out at the vastness, and becoming overwhelmed with fear.

Except I had already done it.

Four seasons, twelve months, 365 days.

I can’t begin to explain the amount of joy, the depth of gratitude, the undeniable sadness, and the expanse of excitement I am feeling right now.

It’s been 365 days, and my life has changed in ways I never thought it would, or could. I have experienced so many things and seen so much in just a single year, and I’ve gotten to express every part of it.

A few months ago, someone told me something. I never wrote it into a lesson because something seemingly more prominent stole the day, but I remember scrambling to write it down, and hoping and praying that the right time would come along again to share it with you all. And I think today is that day.

It literally felt like everything I knew was falling apart in that moment and in the moments that followed—and I’m sure you’ve all experienced the feeling. I walked to work sobbing, and although I cleared my eyes in time before checking in with my boss, she knew something was wrong. After confiding in her, she told me something I’ll never forget.

“The reality of it now is not the reality of it forever—I promise.”

And after this year, and this blog, nothing in my life has ever rang more true.

It just so happens that I started this blog during a dark time in my life, and now it’s ending during the best.

In the nowhere-near-linear process of this turn around, I’ve learned so, so much. Perfection isn’t real. Money can’t buy you happiness. It takes time and guts to heal. Run with full abandon towards what you love, and cut loose what you don’t. Culture and beauty is everywhere. You are seen. People are shitty. People are fantastic. Life is great—or at least it can be if you make it.

From New York to Maryland to North Carolina to Florida. From my beloved hometown of Virginia Beach, VA, to my second life at school in the mountains of Harrisonburg, VA, to landing my dream internship in Los Angeles, California.

It’s been 365 days since I pressed the little blue button to create this account, and hit “publish” on a lesson for the very first time. If I’m being honest—I cannot begin to tell you how utterly happy and relieved I am that I don’t have to come home exhausted at the end of every night and write a lesson. But I also can’t begin tell you how truly sad I am to let this piece of my life go. It’s not every day you get to say you documented each day of your life for an entire year, until you do. And now that it’s over, I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do without my little escape, my outlet, and my canvas for words.

There are truly no words for how bittersweet this is. And if there is a step beyond having no words, then I really have none for how extremely grateful I am.

First, I am always completely and entirely thankful for my God. I know that none of the events in my life go without reason, and that my main man has been by my side through it all. Many times throughout this year my head was more focused on my feet than the sky. I loathed how distracted, busy, and cloudy minded I could be—but He never once left me. I am grateful for the good. I am grateful for the bad. And I am continually and eternally grateful for the grace of God. Even though this (literal) chapter of my life is ending, I am excited to see where He will guide me next.

To my wonderful parents, my special friends, and some really great family members—thank you. Not just for giving me great moments to learn from, but for always pushing me and encouraging me. Nights got HARD. Some days I had so much to do that I wouldn’t be able to start my lesson until 1am. My three options were usually to 1) suck it up and write, 2) cry and write, or 3) go to sleep, wake up the next morning, and then cry and write because now I was behind on a post when I “promised” I never would be. But your constant love and support has been something that’s carried me through, and it doesn’t go unnoticed. All it took was one little comment on the blog or on Facebook or walking across campus to make me look forward to writing the next one. It’s the simple things. You each had a hand in inspiring all these people as well. And I thank you. You know who you are.

To the not so great people—I want to thank you too. After this year, I have a better idea of the kind of people I do and don’t want in my life. I’ve learned that people can teach who you don’t want to be and what you don’t want to be like, and those lessons are just as important. You all have been blessings in my life as well.

To the guest lessonists—thank you for being apart of something so special. Thank you for telling your story.

And of course—the readers. You are all so special to me. Thank you for lending a listening ear. I hope you have all learned and grown in some way. If you remember just one thing from these 365 days—then I’ve done my job.

I thank this blog for allowing me the space to not be perfect. I thank this blog for teaching me about self control and dedication—but for also teaching me about the fact that shit happens. Living comes before anything else, and you have to momentarily leave all guilt and thoughts if you’re going to do it fully. I thank this blog for teaching me how to be scared, but doing it (or writing it) anyway. I thank this blog for teaching me to live with thicker skin, but to be open, honest, and vulnerable.

Most of all, I want to thank this blog for challenging me to look for the best in each and every single day—especially when there was no “best” in the day—for confronting it, expressing it, and turning it into something meaningful.

I will miss this so much.

I no longer have an excuse to find the best in each day—but I hope this year has taught me how.

It’s good to know some things don’t change.

But it’s good to know some things do.

This blog has added so much color to my life. It been more than a blog for me; it has been a journey. And I can’t believe I did it.

It feels weird coming to the end. It feels like I’m not finished; like there’s so much more to say.

And that’s because there is.

The lessons we learn are perennial. They will continue to arise in many shapes, sizes, and forms.

It all branches on one big tree. They stem from the root of life, and they turn out to all be a part of the same foundation. I’ve found that all lessons all come back to the same core concepts, and this is what I’ve come to know.

Do what makes you happy,

be passionate, compassionate, and kind,

and always, always, always keep learning.

The world will keep telling us this time and time again.

And so will I.

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Day 365.

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Lesson #361: Hey, I just met you. And this is crazy.

7/16/15.

Today I rolled out of bed at 5:30am to start getting ready for my day, but no coffee was needed because I was headed to the Emmy Nomination Announcement Ceremony for my internship that morning—and that was enough to fuel me for the entire day.

I arrived at the Pacific Design Center and walked nervously through the beautiful halls complete with sleek modern design and old-fashioned gold detailing. I followed the Emmy Nomination signs to the theater destination. IMG_7368 I assumed I’d report directly to a set-up area labeled E! News like a few of the other shoots I had been on. I thought I would sit there until the crew and the producer arrived, and then I’d help set up.

Surprise.

When I arrived upstairs just shy of 7am, there was no area labeled E! News.  There was a medium-sized room full of breakfast foods and fruit, hot coffee, and a large number of very scary real life adults.

I love engaging with new people. But about 30 or 40 busy, experienced, and most likely stressed out professionals running around at 8 in the morning?

Not so much.

For close to an hour, I waited in a room with retro couches and standing tables packed with producers, camera operators, sound engineers, television hosts, reporters, anchors, and other high-up workers. The producer at E! that I was working under for the morning wasn’t there yet, so I had an hour to either sit by myself in the corner, or use this as an opportunity to chat it up as many industry heads as I could.

I sat in the corner by myself.

Luckily, I had an everything bagel and some strawberries and fruit to keep me company.

A few kind texts from my mom, too.

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I chose a seat in the corner next to a guy in his late 20s/early 30s—mostly because he didn’t seem as intimidating as the others and he was on his phone. This meant I wouldn’t have to awkwardly attempt to talk to him, awkwardly keep a conversation going, or scope out whether he was too busy to talk or if he didn’t want to talk at all.

I knew what an opportunity I was passing up, not out on the floor (or on the couch) interacting with others.

I mean—these are people IN the industry.

But I honestly couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I look 16, I’m obviously younger than the rest of them, and I had trouble thinking I would be taken seriously. What would someone do if I approached them to talk?

Who was I to them?

As soon as the guy next to me got off the phone, he turned to me, rolled his eyes with a kind humor, and a lightheartedly said: “Roommate drama.” I laughed and replied: “Yea, everyone knows about that.” We began talking.

Our conversation was interesting, and it lasted a good while. I told him why I was out here, how I got to where I am, and what I want (or think I want) to do. He seemed genuinely interested; it took me by surprise. Not that he seemed rude or mean from the beginning—or that any of these people did—it was just the fact that he was giving me a piece of his time. And that’s a precious, hot commidity out here.

After the first part of the conversation and a little bit of back and forth about our lives, I ask him what he does and how he likes it.

Turns out, he’s a producer at Time Warner.

We exchanged information, and now I have a new LA friend. Or at least, a connection.

A few minutes after 8am, we were finally allowed into the theater where the announcements would soon take place. Each network lined up in a row to begin preparing to record the live event. A few minutes later, the celebrity announcers, Uzo Aduba and Catt Dealy, gracefully pranced onto stage to greet the house and begin listing the lucky nominees. They were surprised at the end of the announcements when the president of the Television Academy came out on stage to read the last two categories. Both of them were nominated for their own show! They didn’t put that part in the rehearsal, so they had absolutely no idea it was coming. I had a huge smile on my face, watching the two amazing women humbly and adorably freak out on stage as they were selected for such an honor—especially Catt in her british accent.

Both seemed humble and sweet. Uzo was absolutely beautiful (she doesn’t have real life crazy eyes…hence the reason she deserves an Emmy) and flawless, and Catt light up the stage with the positive energy and presence she radiates. Before the interview, I told Catt I loved her romper (seriously it was so cute) and she smiled and laughed and thanked me. She went on to tell me how she loved them because they reminded her of Jimmy Kimmel’s pajamas. After the interview she thanked the crew and turned to thank me (for whatever reason). I wanted to shed a single tear of happiness, but I kept it together. What a kind lady.

On the way back to my car, I found myself walking next to an older lady on the way down the large ballroom stairs. She commented on how marvelous and grand the stairs were, and how she was waiting for her prince at the bottom. I laughed and made a joke about still waiting for my prince to come, and she said “I’ve been waiting for years.” We began talking—and again—I had a lovely conversation with yet another person.

Turns out, she’s a producer at the Television Academy for the Emmy’s and Tony’s.

I wanted to fall over and die.

I also wanted to tell her how funny and ironic it was that I applied to the Television Academy internship and didn’t get it—but somehow I still ended up here anyway.

I wasn’t sure if we were on that level yet, so I didn’t.

Even at my own internship, in one of the first weeks I ran into the executive producer in the bathroom without knowing it.

Sometimes we come across the best people in the most mundane of places.

Whether it’s a producer, a stranger with an interesting or inspiring past, your next best friend, or your future significant other—you never know who you are speaking with.

Be kind to all,

and most of all,

don’t be afraid to say hello.

Day 361.

Lesson #353: Learning to slay with Andy Cohen.

7/8/15.

Does Andy Cohen really need any introduction?

The author, executive producer of The Real Housewives franchise, and host of Watch What Happens Live on Bravo is well known for his sense of humor, his style, and his bold personality. Andy has written three books, was the head of development at Bravo for over ten years, and continues to rock out as the host and executive producer of his own late night talk show.

And did I mention he’s won an Emmy?

Lucky for myself and a group of other interns in Los Angeles and New York, we got to listen to him, speak with him, and ask him questions.

I promised myself when I started taking down all of the great things Andy was saying that I would only choose one to write about.

But seriously, who was I kidding?

We all know I can’t do that by now. Plus—there’s always room for more lessons, right? ;)

Andy is actually just as hilarious in person as he is on camera. But what you may not know or see is just how hardworking, motivated, and dedicated he is behind the scenes.

Here’s 10 incredible things I learned from Andy Cohen.

Is it too early to drop the mic?

1. “Be motivated and aggressive, but in a decent way.” 

Andy Cohen started his career as an intern at CBS news alongside Julie Chen. He said that he would literally get in wherever he could in order to learn whatever he could. Andy laughed as he told us he would snoop around to see where the soaps taped. “I would bust through any door I could just to watch what was happening,” he recalled.  Later on in his career, Andy decided to go out on a limb and directly ask— “What do you think about me being on camera?” It didn’t happen right away, of course. In fact, he did a million other jobs before then. But the moral of the story is: if you want something, ask. You never know who could help. You never know what could happen.

2. “You can’t have the authority to say or do something if you haven’t done it.”

Andy stayed at CBS News for 10 years. He started as a desk assistant and moved around the company. He got experience in the edit room, the control room, on the field, answering phones, etc. He practiced wearing a variety of hats, and when the time came to be a producer, he wouldn’t just be able to say, “I want to be a producer,” he had the ability to say, “I know how to be a producer.” Much like we’ve learned from many other people and speakers and guests this month, if you want to be somethingbe it. And if you can’t “be it” on your own terms, then get experience that directly relates to it.

3. “If you don’t get something, it’s actually for a reason. And it will lead you to somewhere you’re supposed to be.”

Even after all of his experience at CBS, Andy Cohen didn’t get his first dream job he applied for. When he was denied the position to be the network runner of a new channel called Trio, he thought it was the end. But one thing led to another, he was introduced to Bravo through a person he knew—and seriously—just look at where he is now. Might I point you to the first two paragraphs again? Keep dreaming. Seriously!

3. Set yourself apart. 

Yea, you’re cool and all. But are you different? When Andy first became a producer at Bravo, he made it a point to be unique. But how? He thought: “I’m going to be the only producer blogging for a network, and I’m going to do it every single day.” (I am Andy Cohen… surprise) The blog was hilarious, and people loved it. It opened the door for him within the network and later contributed to him landing his own show. He had personality—and it was recognized.

4. Has anyone ever told you about—I don’t know—good communication?

People tell us “having good communication skills” is important, and they tell us constantly. We hear it from the day we start applying to our first internships and jobs, to family members (and non-family members… I don’t know which is worse) lecturing us about relationships at wedding receptions, to the inevitably basic advice we receive during our first class public speaking class. If you’re not as sick of hearing about it as I am, then you should receive an award.

And maybe a little gold star too.

I can’t pretend like I’m good at it, because I’m not. I like to hold conversations with anyone and everyone—from a friend to a stranger on the bus. But that’s not necessarily good communication—that’s just talking. When it comes to asking for what I want or breaking the bad news or talking about a problem or anything up that alley?

Hi. I’ll be in the corner, trying not to barf.

When people say the words “good communication,” I instantly think: “Seriously. What even is this ‘good communication’ you speak of? And what exactly does it entail? What does it actually even mean?”

And I think Andy was the first one to actually answer it for me.

(He’s a good communicator, clearly)

He said this:

“Be able to communicate clearly, concisely, and decisively—about what you want, and why you want it.”

If I could underline this a million times, I would.

Spit it out!

What do you want?

And the real key to being a good communicator…

why do you want it?

5. Speaking of what you want…

We’re not talking about your dream job, or dream significant other, or the $10 bathing suit bottom you just saw on sale.

We’re talking about the task at hand.

Andy said you need two things to do it,

and two things to do it well.

1) A strong sense of vision. What do you want? What do you not want?

2) A strong sense of the brand. What are you like? What fits you? And if it’s for a company—what fits them?

In other words?

Know yourself and know what you’re working with.

6. How do you balance—well—life?

I had the opportunity to ask Andy a question, and you could probably guess what it was.

“You do a lot of things: from writing, to producing, to hosting—to now starting on a new project in the fall. As someone who wants to do a lot of things as well, how do you balance—well—life?”

Andy paused, laughed, and then said: “…I really don’t know.”

After a giggle from myself and the audience, he told me four of the most powerful words—and four words that I needed so badly to hear.

“Work deadline to deadline.”

7. You will receive criticism, whether you like it or not.

It’s inevitable. You’ll receive positive feedback and negative feedback and see bad comments and hear horrible things. That’s just the way it goes. “You have to let it roll off of you,” Andy said. He told us to not let the good stuff go to our heads, and to not let the bad stuff derail us. “Consider who it’s coming from and go from there.”

8. Monitor your breath, always.

When someone asked Andy: “What’s the number one advice you would give an intern, if you could only say one thing?” He replied with this. Seriously.

“Monitor your breath. Always,” he said.

Everyone laughed.

“I’m dead serious.”

He told us it’s the absolute worst first impression you can leave with someone.

The stank may not last, but that memory of you does forever.

9. Do you, boo boo.

“Focus,” Andy said. “Don’t get too political or backstabby or crazy. Just make sure whatever work you’re doing is good.” That’s what really matters.

10. Be #you. 

You are you! You’re your own brand. You’re own person. And that makes you awesome in itself. Andy told us, “I try to be myself and not think about it too hard.” He said people can always tell when you’re not being yourself. One thing he always remembers is what (he thinks) Oprah once said: The key to being great on TV is being the same you on camera as the you off camera. One of the most important things you can do is work somewhere that allows you to be yourself. This applies to every industry and every person—no matter who you are.

Now, I know I said I would tell you ten things.

But I think I’ll leave you with one last piece of advice from Andy as good luck.

11. “Swing as many times as you can before you find where you want to be.”

Like Andy said,

follow your bliss.

And if you keep working towards it,

you’ll be just fine.

Day 353.

Lesson #345: And they worked happily ever after.

6/30/15.

Can you forgive me for a momentary lack of loyalty?

For a second today, I abandoned my number one rule:

Never stop learning.

As you know, Tuesdays mean we have a guest speaker in class.

But I’m only human, and I made a mistake.

I momentarily caught myself thinking that I had nothing new to learn—mostly because I was missing being an extra in a movie to be in class—but nonetheless, I’m still embarrassed the thought even crossed my mind. How could I basically betray the whole purpose of my blog?

I’d like to think it wasn’t with pretentious way; thoughts like this aren’t a regular occurrence for me. But after three or four guest speakers combined with my circumstance, I started thinking: What does it even matter? Won’t their advice all be the same? To make connections? Work hard? To do our best?

Today, Amy Baer came to my rescue, and seriously proved me wrong. She completely flipped the table, and gave some of the most incredible advice I’ve ever received in my life. It was an absolute honor.

Amy Baer is a former studio executive (AKA the previous CEO of CBS Films and Executive Vice President of Sony Pictures…wowza) turned independent producer and founder of her own content company, Gidden Media. Baer and her Gidden colleagues, Chris Ceccoti (JMU Alumni…whoop whoop) and Jes Bikert, were kind enough to share a little bit of their stories and give us some insight into the professional world.

Amy started with my favorite thing to hear from people:

her story.

When Baer started her career, she was working at a desk. She began thinking rather quickly: ”How do I break out of this mold?” She was terrified that she would get comfortable; that she would become a career secretary. Working at a popular company, she realized that nothing about it was appealing other than the outside perspective; that the company was “cool” and “big.”

She said one day it hit her: “I’m not exactly sure what I want, but I know it’s not this.”

I think this is all something we can relate to—or will at some point in our lives—whether it’s a job, internship, relationship, or something of the sort. Here’s some freaking great advice from Amy Baer on how she handled it, and what she’s learned over the course of her career.

Before your happily ever after

One of the very first things Amy told us, is to tune in internally and really get clear on what we want to be doing.

“You have to be clear internally, because this is a noisy business.”

We know in our gut what kind of things we enjoy doing naturally; it’s instinctive. It’s pretty simple: you know what you like and what you don’t—whether you know exactly what you want to do with your life, or not. Don’t focus on the job title you want, or the position you crave. Focus on what you love to do.

Sounds easy, right?

But with your first few jobs, that might get put to the test.

You might have to try a few places or positions to figure out where your heart lies.

So onto the next chapter of life.

During your happily ever after

So you finally get your ‘happily ever after’ job.

Or at least—you think you do.

But the story isn’t over here.

The truth is, what we usually think is our end destination, is only the beginning.

The show goes on—and there might be a few plot twists along the way.

Here’s five things you may want to know.

1. Part of remaining happy in what you do involves holding near and dear what’s valuable to you. It’s unavoidable: at some point in your career, you will have to choose between what you value, and your job. At one point in her life, Amy got offered a great job opportunity with DreamWorks, but she had to watch another person get it because she didn’t want to move her kids in school. You will have to choose. And because of this, you won’t get every job. But you will ultimately get to keep and have what you love and value. As for Amy, she didn’t get that specific job. But in the end, she got the job. (I mean…she’s running her own company!)

2. Discover and create a safe space with a great group of people where ideas can be kicked around without judgment. The people in this environment should be encouraging, but everyone should constantly be pushing and challenging one another also. Jes loved a script they received about rice. It was a strange concept, but he went for it anyways. He told Amy to read it, and she ended up loving it too—all because she was open to it.

3. If you’re afraid, this business is not for you. Amy told us that we’re constantly going to be told our idea “won’t work.” She has received feedback on pitches multiple times: ”No one is going to buy this.” She told us, “Well that’s their opinion. Next phone call.” And even we you do get it—everybody falls flat on their face at some point. “Everybody. Everybody. Everybody,” she said. “And it’s not ‘if’. It’s ‘when.'” One or two or five projects are bound to be a bust. But there are one or two or five that won’t be.

4. If you’re looking for security, this business is also not for you. Things are changing, constantly. Nothing is promised. But the good news? There’s endless possibility. Especially in this day and age.

5. Beware of boredom. And most importantly, when you do get bored with what you’re doing, leave. Fear boredom like the plague. Don’t listen to the paycheck, or the voices that say, “This is what I should be doing next.” Hating or becoming disinterested in what you do everyday—and staying—is death on earth. You should love what you do, because it’s what you’re spending your life doing.

When you do come to that fork in the road, feeling unhappy or unsure about what you’re doing, really sit down and ask yourself this:

“Why am I doing this?”

Baer had to ask herself this when she found herself unhappy at one of her jobs. She remembered thinking, again,

“This is not what I want to be doing.”

She recalled her earliest memories of being happy. “When I was younger, I fell in love with the way I felt when I watched movies. I thought, ‘What does this job have to do with creative content?’ It didn’t. So I quit.”

When it came time for questions, I asked: “How do you know it’s definitely time to leave, or if you should stay a little bit longer to get the most of the experience?” Chris answered: “Ask yourself: ‘Am I still learning things? Am I growing?’ If not, it’s probably time to go.”

As we were about to move onto to the next question, Amy came back to me and told me something I’ll never forget—or at least something I never want to.

She told us to always ask ourselves:

Am I serving where my passion is?”

And I think that pretty much sums up the entirety of the talk.

Go where you are able to serve your passion by doing what you love.

Go work happily ever after.

But like any old tale, we have to question it’s authenticity.

Is ‘happily ever after’ a real thing?

Maybe we’ll work happily ever after, and that will be the end of it.

But maybe we’ll spend our whole lives searching for what we love to do, finally finding it, and then searching and finding it all over again.

Like Brenna expressed in her guest post a few days ago, many fear being average.

But what I fear?

Finding something above average that I love doing, but never being satisfied with it somehow; always wanting more.

That idea is actually terrifying to me. But in a way—it’s inspiring. It’s fantastic. It’s whimsical. It’s magical.

A world of opportunity is a scary thing.

But it only means more opportunity for us to keep falling in love with different aspects and subsets and branches of what we love to do. It means we have the opportunity to constantly create different things, think in new ways, and continually change and impact our corner of the world. We just can’t fear the change.

So how does it end?

Well.

It looks like we’ll work happily ever after—

—until our next fairytale carries us away.

Day 345.

Lesson #328: When in LA… and Maryland and Philly.

6/13/15.

The craziness is over.

I say that lightly, because it never really is.

On Thursday night, I flew cross country from LA to Maryland to meet up with my parents to drive to Philadelphia to film another wedding. After another three time changes, I’m finally about to arrive back in LA. The trip was a short one, but I can most definitely say my short little excursion was packed with mishaps, mayhem—and a bunch of lessons.

1. Always tell your parents you love them and are grateful for them. They do a lot for you, and while you can never really repay them for it—you can try by showing them some love.

2. Unfortunately, shit happens. Not only do you need a Plan B and C, but you need a Plan E, F, and G—and you might as well start thinking about H, too. Bring more back-up than you ever think you’ll imagine needing. In my case, this means that when I’m filming something, I need to start carrying my extra camera battery and memory card (like, five of them) on me at all times. Not in my bag across the room—but on my person—in my pocket or my pants or my boobs or wherever. I need to have always have access to it, and quick. Fortunately and by the grace of GOD, I captured everything—but I was darned close to missing a few things after my camera filled up rather quickly with some good shots (even with two memory cards). When I went inside to quickly upload the clips, the ceremony began to start (my laptop had the wrong time because of time changes and I didnt even realize it…scary) and I had to literally RUN downstairs and back outside. I couldn’t even upload the clips; I just began deleting shit off of my camera. When the ceremony was over and I went to upload the clips to my laptop—what do you know? My laptop storage was full as well. Luckily (Plan C, yea?), I brought my external hard drive. Surprise: that didn’t work either. My laptop wouldn’t let me drag the clips to into the folder. The DJ offered to let me download the clips to his laptop, and then sent them to me. I was so embarrassed. So lesson learned here, and thank goodness for good people. Which leads me to my next point:

3. When all of that happened, the DJ told me: “Hey, us wedding party people gotta stick together.” Whether you believe it or not, you will always have some sort of team by your side. Humanity is not as shitty as you may (or may not) think it is, I promise. When it comes down to it—people are always there to help. Be that person for someone else, too.

4. Don’t let anyone (no matter how tempting) distract you from what you need to do when you need to do it.

5. Sometimes you have to go out on a limb and ask. When you want something to be good, you have to speak up, or it’ll never happen!

6. Just because something is popular, doesn’t mean its good. Which I guess is kind of obvious. But I had to re-learn this one after we ended up having the absolute WORST philly cheese steaks in Philly. We passed a perfectly fine restaurant to chose the more popular, well-known one. Huge, huge mistake. Don’t do it.

7. If you ever park in an airport over the weekend, make sure the parking prices match up with what’s online. Or you’ll pay $80 dollars and probably cry.

8. If you ever park in an airport over the weekend, make sure you actually write down exactly where you parked. Or you’ll walk around LAX for an hour at 1am, and also probably cry.

9. If you drop something on your car floor at 2am, don’t try to pick it up. You will get pulled over by the police with megaphones, surrounded and approached for what looks like drunk driving, and you will definitely cry.

10. Tacos are great. But sometimes tacos can’t fix a bad night.

It’s okay, you’ll laugh it off the next day.

Day 328.

Congrats Kristin and Adam; wishing you a happy ever after and all the love in the world :)

Lesson #319: The 5 whens.

6/4/15.

1. When you’re part of a team, the team comes before any personal want, gain, or goal. What I learned at my internship from sitting on set instead of at my desk during the busiest time of the day.

2. When you’re willing to walk the extra mile, you will be rewarded in the end. What I learned from walking thirty minutes down Sunset Boulevard, desperately and hilariously searching for a Mexican restaurant with my friend Carly, and finally finding the perfect one after almost turning around and giving up hope. It turned out to be the best food I’ve had in LA so far, and the wait staff was made up of the most kind, incredible people. (Go to Antonio’s on Sunset… you won’t be sorry)

3. When you just communicate and ask—I promise you—you save yourself 10x the trouble.  What I learned when Carly and I parked at Astroburger, spontaneously decided to walk all the way down Sunset, then realized that we were probably going to get towed. I called and begged for forgiveness and the safety of my car. It worked. Just be nice, and ask.

4. When you’re open and kind and apathetic towards others, you have the ability to positively shape someone’s day—even their life. What I learned as a broke college student during her first week in LA with a depleting bank account, waiting on her first paycheck, who had to pay for her meal with two different cards plus cash. After such great service, I told the waiter how embarrassed and horrible I felt for putting him through the trouble. He looked at me, smiled, and said, “It could be much worse. One time I forgot my wallet, had to leave my watch and my gold necklace at a restaurant, and ran back to my house to get my money.” I hugged him and thanked him for his kindness and understanding. “It happens,” he said warmly. I don’t know if he’ll ever know how much he made my day and shaped my thoughts. While I still felt bad, he made me feel better. I am a huge believer of always being kind to others and I try to do this every day of my life. But this made me think about how I treat others even more. What about when it’s not that easy? How will I react when I may be in a frustrating situation with someone else? Will I allow myself to get upset? Or will I be understanding? Ask yourself this too. So in closure: share your stories, be understanding, and be kind. Pass it forward.

5. When you don’t copy or save your blog posts before you submit them, the day will come when autosave won’t actually save you. What I learned when the day finally came. You’ll hate yourself, completely lose the desire to type it again for a few hours (…or days), and then have to type the entire thing over again.

But it’s okay.

It’s different, of course.

But somehow, it’s always a little bit better the second time around.

Day 319.

Lesson #302: Demand respect.

5/19/15.

After finishing up a few-months-long business project with an awesome long-time family friend, I called her and thanked her for allowing me to have one of my very first professional freelance opportunities.

To be completely real, doing business with someone you know can be totally awkward at times. As a business person, you have to be in a completely different element. And when someone has never seen you that way or vice versa, it’s… well… weird.

I think she may have read my mind, because she told me this.

“You have to demand a certain amount of respect from people. For yourself, and for what you do.”

As a huge pushover at times, and as a young adult (who occasionally drinks juice boxes and cries about growing up and feels five) slowly immersing myself into the “real” world, this really stuck with me after the conversation. Because it’s so true.

You’re have to set the bar for yourself.

You have to know your worth.

And you can’t be afraid or ashamed of that.

That’s the only way you’ll ever get what you want, and get what you deserve.

Day 302.