Friday, August 29, 2014

Favorite TV Shows

I know I should be excited for the last big summer weekend, but I am more excited about all things fall which includes the return of some of my favorite TV shows. I went on a hiatus from TV shows for a few years and gave up on religiously following any of them. That has since changed and I thought I would share my favorites here. Since most shows will start with new episodes in late September/early October, it is the perfect time to start binge watching shows so you are ready for new episodes.

This may be the most addicting show. Ever. In less than 3 weeks, I managed to watch close to 30 episodes which allowed me catch up with the second half of Season 3. Scandal takes places in Washington D.C. where Olivia Pope and her team of associates are fixers to an array of scandals that take place within the capitol city. I have a major girl crush on Olivia Pope from her fierce ability to say "It's handled" to her dreamy apartment and untouchable style. As much as I like to think of myself as OP, I know I am more of a Mellie, who is married to the ever so handsome President Fitzgerald Grant III. I've watched the entire series start to finish twice so far and am pondering doing it again before the Season 4 premier on my birthday! I'm convinced there is something I missed early on that will lead to a greater scandal.

I love the city Nashville. Charlotte and Nashville were my top two cities for TFA and I considered moving there a year and a half ago after teaching. So it goes without saying that a show about Country Music that takes place in Nashville is high on my list. The characters are all so flawed yet you find a way to love them anyway. If you start from Season One, you will hate Juliet Barnes (played by Hayden Panettiere) then love her, hate for a bit, and then realize that you love her no matter what. Rayna James (played by Connie Britton) has the two cutest daughters (Lennon and Maisy) and I download all of their songs (as well as the rest of the soundtrack) as soon as they are available on iTunes. While most people watching the show love Deacon, it is of no surprise that I love the Mayor of Nashville, Teddy Conrad. So much has happened sine Season 1 and there have only been two seasons.

One of my favorites is HBO's Girls. Of course, I am impressed that Lena Dunham was able to create, write, produce, and star as the main character of the show. While I don't have too much in common with her character, Hannah, I absolutely adore Marnie and Shoshanna. From Marnie singing Stronger by Kayne to Sosh's insane style, I can't get enough of this one.

The Newsroom 
I LOVE the news. I literally always have the TV on to some news channel and can be obsessive with following stories. I pondered a career in broadcast journalism but after my short hobby of making news stories as extra credit assignments in middle school, I think its best for everyone that I stayed off of the air. Anyways, I have watched The Newsroom and hysterically laughed from the character's awkwardness and then sobbed during the episodes on Maggie's trip to Africa. I love following Mac and Will and their watching their relationship evolve. I'm obsessed with Sloan and want to be her best friend although, I am pretty sure she would have zero desire to spend a significant amount of time with me. I think the season premiering this fall will be the last season, which is disappointing if you follow it regularly. I can't wait to see how it ends.

Real Housewives 
There is always a Real Housewives of Wherever on Bravo but I love the fall because it means the return of my absolute favorite girls, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. This was the first housewives show I watched and the only one I follow religiously. I just can't wait for the girls although, it may not be till November.

A long weekend is perfect for bing watching TV shows. If you are like me with 10+ hours of plane rides ahead of you, TV shows make the perfect in flight entertainment.

Enjoy the long weekend!



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Boy Jean

It's not even Labor Day yet and I am already turning in my white jeans for fall staples. While my style is mostly girly, I do love a few staples from the men's department. My Dad's watch? Yes, please! Men's button downed shirts with leggings and puffy vest? Don't mind if I do. Mid 90s oversized sweater finds at the Junior League Warehouse? Perfection. 

I was pretty pleased to discover these Boy Jeans at Madewell. Slouchy comfort, I'm in fall heaven. Since the jeans were more boyish, I dressed it up a bit to give it a more feminine look. 

You know I love tortoise

Older oversized Kate Spade pearls and a J. Crew top (similar.)

Louboutin heels. 

If you donate an older pair of denim to Madewell they will be donated to provide housing insulation for those in need and you get $20 off of your jeans purchase!



Monday, August 25, 2014

Apartment Tour: Bedroom

The final stop of my palace apartment tour is my bedroom. If you follow my Home Sweet Home board on Pinterest, you could probably guess that I would love an all white bedroom (all white house, even better.) Unfortunately, Henry does not approve of this style and I had to trade in my beautiful white bedroom for something a bit more concealing to dirty puppy paws. 

I adore my Serena and Lily bedding. It was a splurge I made three years ago and it may have lost a bit of its shine due to weekly washings (when you share a bed with a 100 pound dog, this is a necessity) but I still love it. (A little hint, if you stalk their website enough you will start to see 40% off Ads on your sidebars. Thanks Google!) The monogrammed pillows were a more recent splurge from Pottery Barn. I'm not a big monogram fan, I think it can be overdone, but on the pillows its a nice touch. My headboard came from Target online a few years ago. I don't think they have it anymore but they definitely have some newer, cuter styles. (Did you know that if you have AAA and log in to Target through their site you get 10% off of your order and free shipping? That's how I afforded this headboard for $100.)  

I like my bedside table to be really personal so I keep a picture of Henry, a framed sweet letter from a friend, fresh flowers, my favorite rosary, and a candle. I also love this print from The Everygirl. I have a phone case with the same quote. #neversettle

I also like to use my jewelry as decor. I grabbed the tray from Ikea a few years ago and filled it with some of my favorite Lily Pulitzer and Kate Spade jewels. These acrylic jewelry stands from The Container Store are perfect for holding all of my bangles. Jewelry is too pretty (and expensive) to be hidden in a drawer. And to complete the room, I keep one of my first Inslee prints. She's very chic. Always my inspiration when getting ready. 


Hopefully you enjoyed the tour. In case you missed it, check out my previous posts on the Office, Dining Area, and Living Room!



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How To Get An Interview

So you've crafted the perfect resume, spotted your dream job posted online, and are wondering what to do next. First, call me. Kidding. (But not really, a girl needs leads OK?) How do you make sure that the hiring manager sees your resume and cover letter that you spent hours working on only for them to read it for about 10 seconds? Do you do what everyone else does and submit your resume through the online portal then pray to the job gods that someone gives you a ring? No. 

If I were on the job hunt (not that I ever would be because I know Jeremy occassionaly reads this) I would start by figuring out who the hiring manager is and making sure they receive my resume. Once upon a time, this would have been far more difficult but thanks to LinkedIn and the internet, you can easily identify who you need to be talking to and quickly. If you are applying for an Analyst or Specialist position, seek out the Manager, Director, Senior Director, etc..  Once you've picked out one or two potential hiring managers for your dream job, you have a couple of approaches to get their attention. 

The more assertive option is to look up the number for the company, again using the internet, and call into the company and ask to speak to one of hiring mangers (use their name here.) Chances are, you will get a voicemail. But if the stars are aligned for you and they happen to pick up the phone, introduce yourself, share your interest in the position, and ask for their email so you can email them your resume and set up a time to speak in more depth about your experiences. If you get the voicemail, leave them a friendly message and your number to call you back. (I'm not kidding about the friendly part. Do you know how many boring messages people receive a day? Make it stand out.) 

The less assertive option but still preferable over the post and pray method, emailing. There are multiple ways to do this. One, use the internet (again so helpful that one) to look up company emails. Is it first initial last name @ company dot com? If so, try various options until your email is no longer bounced back. If the company has done a good job of hiding their employee emails, you can always use LinkedIn. First, send them a connection request. Once they accept, immediately send them a message on LinkedIn introducing yourself. Typically when people respond, you should be able to press reply directly from your email Inbox and there you have their golden email! Let's say a Director isn't accepting your request, find an Executive Assistant or someone at the company who will accept and use their email to crack the one you need!

Now the best method to ensure success... a mixture of both. Call the hiring manager at their desk, connect on LinkedIn, and email them. Make it so that they are so sick of your name they have no other choice but to call and discuss your background with you! More than likely, they will appreciate your assertiveness. 

Next on my career advice, how to successfully prepare for the phone interview. Stay tuned! 



Monday, August 18, 2014

Apartment Tour: Living Room

This week, the apartment tour continues with my living room. I probably spend the most time in this room so it was really important that I made it both comfortable and stylish. 

The couches and chair are from Ikea. They aren't the least comfortable but they also aren't the most comfortable couches ever. I LOVE that they are slip covered and I probably wash them at least once a month. Henry spends more time on the couches than I do, so its nice to have an easy way to clean them. One day, I'll splurge on nicer couches, but for now, they do the trick. 

The pillows are a combination of Caitlin Wilson and Trenna Travis. I made the Trenna Travis ones myself with my sewing machine from my short lived design career freshman year of high school. I haven't mastered the zipper upgrade so the pillows have a hand sewn finish.  For $12 a yard, its a sacrifice I am willing to make. I've been day dreaming about Caitlin Wilson pillows for years so I splurged during a recent sale and purchased a few for my home. Definitely a good decision. Ikea has the best pillow inserts for $8!

I had a friend who custom made the window treatments and they are beautiful!! She doesn't have a website but I suggest you follow her Instagram, its worthy of your envy. 

And just like every other room, I have my Inslee prints. This room happens to have my favorite! For my 25th birthday, my mom had Inslee do a custom illustration of me and Henry. My hair is flowing ever so perfectly, its true she makes you thiner, and we are casually strolling past the most gorgeous peonies. I mean really, this may be my favorite gift I ever received. EVER. I also received the coffee mugs print as a gift from a sweet friend recently! 

Only one room left from my expansive apartment! Stay tuned! 



Friday, August 15, 2014

Gratitude Challenge

My mom challenged me in a Facebook post to list 15 things that I am thankful for. Instead of sharing it as a status, I thought I would do a blog post.

1. Henry
This little man is my other half and my constant companion. For the past five years, he has kept me company through so many highs and lows. I love him more than I than I thought you could possibly love someone and am thankful for his unconditional love in my life. Although, I do wish he was a bit better about sharing the bed.

2. Mom
My mom is my best friend and I am so thankful she raised me to be the woman I am today.  I thank her for letting me call her excessively and tell her every minute detail of each day. She is an amazing role model and I hope to one day be half the woman that she is.

3. Dad
For anyone who really knows me, you know that I am my father's child. I am grateful for his sense of humor and competitiveness, which I inherited.  He has taught me how to be a fighter and believe in myself and he always there to help me navigate any circumstance.

4. Friends
As the years go on, this list seems to dwindle but I am so thankful for those who I can call my friend. While some of you have been around for 15+ years and others are newer, you have each shaped me in unimaginable ways. You are all so different than myself in many ways and I am so thankful for your support in everything that I do.

5. My Former Students
Throughout my time as a teacher, people continuously told me what an impact I was making on my student's lives. While, I hope to have impacted in some small positive way, they changed my life in more ways than I ever anticipated. They taught me patience and understanding, perseverance and tenacity. They inspire me each day to live for more than myself.

6. My Faith
My faith is something that I do not like to openly talk about because it is so deeply personal to me, but I am beyond thankful to have someone stand with me and guide my life each day.

7. My Job
While I may struggle getting out of bed each day, I am so thankful to come to a place where I am surrounded by genuine people who have compassion for others and encourage me to be better and do more each day. Being a positive, collaborative work environment effects your overall well being and I am grateful for my team.

8. My Education
I am so fortunate that as a young woman, I have been able to attend school my entire life and pursue my passions. So many do not have access to quality education and I am proud of myself for the education I have attained and my commitment to helping young girls obtain an education around the world.

9. Independence
As an only child, I have always been independent, almost to a fault. I am proud that I am able to provide for myself (and Henry.) Living on my own is not always the easiest option (especially for the bank account) but I have been able to learn so much about myself and grow in confidence and for this, I am thankful.

10. My Time Spent in the Classroom
My two years of teaching were definitely a roller coaster ride of highs and lows. Despite the challenges, so much of my experiences from those two years shaped my character and establish myself as who I am today.

11. Running
It's easy to take a gift such as running for granted and I am so thankful that I have sweet Malachi to encourage me to run and live each day!

12. A Warm Chocolate Chip Cookie
This may be my favorite thing in the world and while I have limited my intake (thanks aging body) there is still nothing sweeter than a perfectly made chocolate chip cookie.

13. Oreos
I'm not sure who made Oreos but my life would not be the same without them.

14. Birthday Cake
With Birthday cake comes a celebration and for that, I am grateful!

15. Champagne
Life is a little bubbly at times, but I am so thankful for the journey!

Happy Weekend!



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Kids Playing Adult

Up until recently, I have been on the same page as most of my friends in life. While we may have gone to different colleges, we were still all applying and starting college at the same time. When I arrived at school, I was surrounded by others who were making the same transition to college as I was and felt equally as anxious about the upcoming years. While our college experiences were vastly different, we were still all in college together. The first year after graduation, it was the same. While we all had different jobs across the country, we were all still navigating the transition to young adulthood together.

For the past year, I've noticed that we are all on different pages and even different chapters in our lives from everything to careers to relationships. Sometimes, I feel like we are still kids playing adult and I can't believe that this is my reality.

I think about our careers and how some of us are on a strict path to our dream career and others are still wandering. Some quickly received multiple promotions and even relocated to different cities (countries even) for new opportunities while others are still in the same spot where we started a few years ago.

I think about our education and how some us transitioned straight out of school to graduate school and now have our MBAs or are Doctors or Lawyers and others are starting their applications.

I think about our living situations and how some of us live on our own and others with roommates. Some of us are renting, others are buying homes, and some even building brand new houses.

I think about relationships and how some have been happily married for years and others of us haven't been on a date since January. Some of us are eagerly awaiting the engagement ring and others are ending long term relationships.

I think about children and how some of my friends have multiple beautiful young babies, some think of our pets as children, and others are terrified at the mention of a baby.

At times, I feel overwhelmed wanting it all and feel inadequate compared to my peers. I want a career that lands me on one of many "30 Under 30" lists, I want the graduate degree to deepen my credibility in one of my passions, I want to own my home that is beautifully decorated, and I would like to at least go on a date. (Not reaching for the stars here.)

Then, I remind myself that it will all come at its own time. I can't think of anyone really who has mastered all of the milestones yet and we are all doing so at completely different paces. Some days, I feel so far ahead and other days, I feel like I am falling behind.

For the first time, the question where do you see yourself in five years, has a wide range of answers. As much as I love to plan, I honestly have no idea what my life will look like in five years and have given up on trying to plan for it.

For the moment, I am proud of where I am and anxious to see where my journey takes me on a timeframe that fits my schedule.

Until then, I will keep being a kid playing adult.



Monday, August 11, 2014

Apartment Tour: Dining Area

I am excited to continue to share my apartment as part of the apartment tour series. Really, you can see my entire apartment from the moment you walk in, but I am trying to extend this series for as long as I can. 

I called this one the Dining Area because technically, its not its own room. It is the area where I eat all of my meals so I shall call it the Dining Area to give it a feeling of formality. I've always loved sitting at a table to eat dinner  and have never been one to enjoy a meal from the couch or the coffee table. Every breakfast and dinner, Henry lays under the table at my feet, never begging of course. 

My table actually came from my parent's house before junior year of college. I think its supposed to be a card table so the drawers are on the side are actually lined for games. Maybe one day I will invest in a different table, but for now, it does the trick. Audrey actually belonged to my mom when she had an apartment for work in Tampa. When I moved to Charlotte, she came with me. I picked up the placements on sale at Crate and Barrel. 

I dream of one day owning a fancy Society Social Bar Cart, so until that is feasible, I will have to settle for my bar tray. I'm actually not a big fan of liquor drinks, unless they are loaded with sugar, so I like to think of mine as a wine and champagne tray. I received a nice set of wine glasses and the gold polka decanter (Target Threshold, sadly no longer available) for Christmas. I love these shatter proof Go Anywhere Flutes for my champs! 

I picked up the blue vase on sale at Anthropologie last year, but have you seen the new Tory Burch home products? My Pinterest in swimming in all of the latest additions. 

Lastly, no room is complete with out a little Inslee. Obviously, I loved the Champagne Toast print. 



Friday, August 8, 2014

Weekly Reading

A lot of Bloggers that I follow post on Fridays with weekend reading. I always look forward to Friday posts and catching up on all of the interesting articles and videos floating around from the week. I thought I would give it a try and share some of the readings I have been keeping up with this week. Happy Friday!

I am beyond impressed to read about what Shiza Shahid is doing to create positive change in the life of girls around the world. Amazing to think that in our lifetime, every child can receive a higher quality education. Did I mention she was 25? 

I have been following Humans of New York for a while now and look forward to reading about the people he photographs each day. For the next 50 days, he will be traveling the world (10 countries to be exact) and documenting it all through photographs and stories to promote the Millennium Development Goals. I cannot wait to follow along. 

I've been a long time fan of Emily Giffin's books and her ability to make you fall in love with flawed characters. I enjoyed learning more about how she launched her career and found most of her advice applicable regardless of your profession. I was also excited to hear that Something Blue will be coming to theaters! PS. You may see a familiar face on The Everygirl soon. :) 

So proud to call Clemson my alma mater and it is no surprise that students love Clemson

I also enjoyed this article about a CEO who left his dream job to focus on his family. I found his perspective to be refreshing and inspiring. 

There has been a lot of talk on Ebola everywhere this week. Often times, I am disappointed by the lack of compassion I hear in conversations and surprised by how quickly we all are to make assumptions. I loved reading this letter from the Head Nurse at Emory. It's inspiring how nurses canceled vacations to be part of this team. 

What have you been reading this week? Have a great weekend! Henry and I are off to Charleston! 



Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A Resume From My Recruiting Perspective

Image Source (My first attempt at photoshop and it took about 30 minutes!)

As a recruiter, I’ve had quite a few friends seek my input when it comes to preparing their resumes or prepping for an interview. Research shows that as millenials, we plan to change positions every 2-3 years, which means majority of my friends will be on the job-hunt soon. I look at resumes all day, everyday. While some resumes are so beautiful they deserve to be displayed in The Recruiting Hall of Fame Museum, others with the same experience, are like looking at a pre schooler’s proud attempts at coloring in the lines. 

When I see a resume, my eyes go straight to the most recent position listed and start dissecting from there. Once I read the company name, I often look for a brief company description. While I like to think of myself as knowledgeable of most US companies, there are simply too many. There’s a big difference between a $30M and a $30B company and the same role looks different at each. Make sure to clarify. I had a hard time with this because in my self centered universe, everyone knew what Teach For America was on my resume. Then, I started networking and was asked more often than I expected to explain my two-year commitment to teaching. (While I thought people who hadn’t heard of TFA had been living in a different century and clearly weren't a good fit for me since they weren't passionate about education, that is not how networking works and I had to add the description to my resume.) Once I have an understanding of the company and hopefully did not have to resort to Google due to the lovely company description you provided, I move on to the job title, which helps me to identify a potential candidate. Executive Assistant applying to a Human Resource Manager position supporting 1,200 employees, probably not going to happen. But a HR Generalist supporting 800 employees, has potential. Next, I jump to dates! Dates are simple yet so telling. How long has the person been with their current company? Are they a job hopper with an eighteen month limit before they start looking again? Why is there this gap in experience? Have they been promoted three times in the past five years? So many details from the dates I could go on endlessly! I also recommend including months as well. Saying that you were in a position from 2013 – 2014 can mean a lot of things. Was it December 2013 to January 2014 or January 2013 to July 2014? Please don’t leave me wondering. Once I have reviewed the basics, I may read one or two bullet points from your very well planned, powerful phrasing of your resume. I also do a quick scan over to education to make sure you meet the educational and certifications requirements of my client. Sadly, once you’ve landed that first job out of college, no one cares about your GPA that you spent so many nights in the library working to improve. Go ahead and take that off, it gives your resume a more mature vibe.  Lastly, if I am skimming a resume, I enjoy reading about the occasional volunteer activity or organization that you are a part of outside of your career. To me, it gives the candidates a bit of a personality and less of a name on a paper scenario. I also enjoy finding similarities and topics of discussion outside of career history for interviews. If I find all of the above to be intriguing, I will give you a call and that my friends is for a different post!

Before I completely leave the topic of resumes, I thought I would share a few things to avoid. In effort of full transparency, I have never read a cover letter or an objective on a resume.  I know, it’s depressing. I myself have spent hours carefully crafting cover letters so that they were both personal and professional and now, I don’t even read them. My last tidbit of advice goes to the formatting. I know Word comes with some fancy resume templates that you can use. Avoid them. Often times, once you press send they lose their presentation and a recruiter opens up the previously mentioned preschooler attempt at coloring in the lines. Also, avoid using the header feature. Most companies use some type of applicant tracking system that scans resumes into the system and sometimes, the lovely scanner, will not pick up your name if its in a header. So instead of being Danielle Leach, you become “Relevant Experience.” You can play in Word with margins, bold, italics, underline, font sizes and make a resume that opens beautifully on every computer without the fear of becoming “Career Objective” to your future employer.

Hopefully, you found this helpful. I plan to share more of my recruiter insights in the upcoming weeks. If you’re in the market, happy hunting! Always feel free to contact me for any advice.



Monday, August 4, 2014

Apartment Tour: Office

One of my favorite things about living alone, among many others, is decorating. Decorating takes time and patience. In my own fantasy world, I would have been able to decorate the apartment with about one month's worth of shopping sprees. Unfortunately for retailers, I don't have the bank account of an heiress and it took about a year and a half to get my apartment where I really want it. 

This room was originally designed to be a formal type of dining area but I thought it would be a more appropriate home for my over sized Pottery Barn desk that I love and refuse to part ways with.  I am definitely in need of a stylish place to pay bills, pin away on Pinterest, read articles, and write blog posts. 

This room is a healthy combination of Ikea meets Pottery Barn. I've had the desk since college and its no longer available at Pottery Barn but they have some similar alternatives if you're in the market for a new desk. The book case came from Ikea and yes, that is a book of Will and Kate on display. The scalloped pin board is actually from PB Teen. (It's not just for teens!) My desk accessories are courtesy of Ikea, Inslee, and Sugarpaper LA. 

I invite you to play a little game as I post more Apartment Tour features, how often do you spot an Inslee print? This room has Emily's Girl's on the book shelf, my very first Inslee print from over 3 years ago, and her calendar. I can't wait for 2015 to be released. 

Thanks for stopping by!



Friday, August 1, 2014

Charlotte Brunch Spot: Little Spoon

I love finding new places to eat around Charlotte so I thought I would start sharing a few of my favorite spots here. 

Little Spoon recently opened up along Selwyn Avenue. Since it is walking distance from my apartment, I pass it daily and have been eagerly waiting for it to open. It was well worth the wait. 

(Notice the man in yellow with his thumbs up?) 

Little Spoon is a farm to table concept and everything was delicious in addition to fresh. They have a large chalkboard in the back that lists all of the local farms they use and their menu changes daily. 

My friend Emily and I could not decide what to get so we ordered a few things and split them all. We ordered a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, a shredded chicken sandwich, bacon, and cinnamon crunch toast. Not pictured, the vegetable chips we sampled from the table next to us. (Thanks for sharing!) 

I was recently looking forward to ordering their hot pocket and pop tart, but they sold out by the time we got there at 11:30. Early bird gets the worm (or the poptart.) They serve breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday and brunch on Sundays. 

Can't wait to go back soon!



PS. A huge amount of gratitude goes to Emily who spent Sunday morning taking pictures for me to feature on the blog this week! You're the best and have always have photography to fall back on if teaching doesn't work out. :)