Plan It For The Gram

I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase, “Do It For The Gram.” Many IG users can do just that. Take a quick pic and post without much thought. I’m not one of those users. 

First of all, I’m a perfectionist. I overthink overthinking. I’m working on it. I promise. I have a layout that I’m really liking so far. So I have to plan! Plus I love planning so it works for me. 

When it comes time to post something on my social media, I can’t stand it when I don’t have anything prepared. The occasional spontaneous post is cool but I’d rather have something scheduled. Did I mention I do social media for a living? Based on my experience social media is all about strategy.

I have a mini notebook where I draw up a grid and write down ideas for my layout on my feed. I also do what I like to call, content photoshoots. I pick out outfits, hairstyles, and locations for my best friend/favorite iPhone photographer Nina and I to go out and get the best pictures we can get.

The first time we did a photo shoot, I put together five different looks. I used those pictures for content throughout the next seven months! The only thing I had to worry about was crafting the perfect caption. 

Planning for the gram saves a lot of time and it’s a lot of fun. I highly recommended it to anyone working on their personal brand.  

So when you see me @parissmichelle, like it and know I probably spend a lot of time on it.

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How to Deal With Coworkers You Don’t Like

Can you think of a coworker that you don’t like? I bet you can name more than one. We don’t always get to pick who we work with. If there’s someone on the team that isn’t a joy to be around, we have to learn how to deal with it. Sometimes, this is even harder than work itself. Here are a few tips that I recommend to get through it.


Find the Silver Lining

Focus on something that you DO like about that person. I know. You probably can’t imagine anything decent about your work enemy. It doesn’t have to be work related, it could be something simple. So and so wears really nice glasses. So and so doesn’t smack when they chew. So and so always brings snacks. Even if you have to dig deep, find a nice quality to think about when you see that person instead of thinking about all the things that annoy you.

Avoidance

This may sound silly to some but just avoid that person. Don’t make it obvious but if your least favorite colleague has lunch in the breakroom every day at noon, try going at 1:00. You’re going to have to be around that person regardless, so try to find some time away.

Be Prepared

Depending on your reasoning for not liking your coworker, be ready for whatever comes up. If that person constantly talks about politics and you’re not trying to engage in the conversation, have a plan to change the subject. If you’re working with a Negative Nancy, be ready to offer some positivity.

Don’t Tell Everyone

If a certain coworker is the reason for your eyerolls and sighs during the day, it doesn’t need to be broadcasted. You may think you can trust your work friends to keep it a secret, but you never know. You don’t want to risk a public feud with someone that you have to deal with everyday.

Keep Your Cool

Often times, when someone realizes that you don’t like them, they try to make you hate them. If you’re not receptive to certain people, they may get defensive and work even harder to get on your nerves. Don’t allow these types of people to bring you down to their level. No matter what they do to get at you, think before you react.

I have a lot of experience working with coworkers who just were not my favorite people. It’s hard but it gets easier. Whenever it gets tough, I remind myself that I’m getting paid! In the end it’s always best to keep peace in the office. Your reputation will follow you throughout your career. Make sure that what people are saying is good for business no matter where you work or where your next opportunity takes you.

How do you deal with coworkers that you don’t like?

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Summer Recap

Consistency is important to me. I know I haven't been consistent lately with my posts, it's been a busy summer. Let's catch up!

Girls Trip

First of all, I finally made it to New Orleans for the 2018 Essence Festival! This has been on my to-do list for years. I've always wanted to visit NOLA and experience the culture, food, music, and art. I went with a group of friends from college. It was amazing! I would love to go back.

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Etiquette Certification

I made it official. I'm a proud graduate of the American School of Protocol! This has also been on my to-do list for a while. I spent a week in Atlanta and earned my certificate in Corporate Etiquette Training. I learned a lot. It was a wonderful experience. 

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BDAY

I'm a year older! I celebrated my 29th birthday in August. I kept it lowkey this year. Two of my friends took me out for dinner and drinks. As always, it is a blessing to see another year! 

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Ode to Canva

Canva is a free graphic design app that I recommend to anyone for anything. Especially those who do marketing. I manage social media channels and I’m always looking for new ways to promote things online. I started using Canva last summer for Instagram posts and to promote my brand. Little did I know, Canva is great for literally everything.

Whenever I search for templates, I’m blown away. You can create invitations, brochures, invoices, coupons, web banners, posters, and more! I promise you, whatever type of graphic design needs you have, Canva will become one of your best friends. It’s definitely one of mine.

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What Are You Gonna Do After Graduation?

Anyone who’s made it to the finish line has heard this question way too many times. What are you gonna do after graduation? Well, I wanna pass my finals first to make sure it's still a go. Then after that, I’m going to get my outfit together, decorate my cap, get extra tickets for my family, make a hair appointment, get my nails done, put in about fifty more applications, pack my stuff to go home and pray that I get an interview. But after graduation… I’m not sure yet.

I understand it's a general question, but it's not easy. People don’t just graduate one weekend and start a career the following weekday. That would be ideal. But does that happen for everyone? Nope.

When I was in college, I always imagined that I would start my career right away. I’m a hard worker, so I figured employers would be blowing my phone up. It got to the point where I dreaded talking to people about my plans because I knew what they were going to ask. I didn’t know how to respond. Nothing was certain other than the fact that I was moving back home. 

My point is, we all have ideas for what we want. Sometimes those ideas are replaced with reality. There’s nothing wrong with asking someone about their next move. I've chosen to let people tell me because I’ve been there. 

Also, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. There’s a big difference in, "Congrats! What's the next step?" and "Wait, so what did you get your degree in? Oh. Now, what exactly do you think you’re going to be able to do with that?" Pause for a second and read them both out loud. See what I mean?

To all of the students working hard and preparing to walk the stage, I wish you nothing but the best! If I see you out in public, you don’t have to worry about me being one more person asking you what you’re going to do after graduation. Just continue to work hard, have faith and everything is going to work out for you! And if you ever need any advice on getting through it, I got you. 

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First Appearance on Charlotte Today

I visited Charlotte Today to talk about video resumes! This was my first interview about my services. Colleen and Eugene are so nice, they along with the entire staff made me feel welcomed. I was a little nervous, until I sat down on the couch. When it was my time to go on set, I knew I had to just do it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 

P.S. The dress is from Rent the Runway! 

Beyonce is the Queen of Marketing and Social Media

First of all, this is not an opinion post. This is a fact. And just like Beyonce, I can back it up. I was Beyhive before there was such a thing. I’m going to sound biased but I can't help it. You ready?

You know when you’re not paying attention and suddenly something catches your eye and you have to do a double take? I think most of us experience that when we see a new post by Beyonce. Queen Bey has single-handedly taken over Instagram with over 114 million followers. Who else is out here posting gorgeous videos that highlight the whole outfit, the nails, hand jewelry, hair, makeup, and accessories? Whenever I see a new one, I’m inspired to create one but I just don't want to put that much pressure on myself. Whether its a recap video of her latest outfit, an adorable picture of Blue or a date with Jay, she stops us in our tracks and dominates our timeline.

Beyonce has always been a very calculated celebrity. She makes moves with so much grace yet causes the most commotion with whatever she does. When Beyonce dropped her self-titled album, I almost couldn’t sleep. My friends and I had been waiting for her to release a new single. Instead, she gave us more than that without warning. No teasers. No promotion. No nothing. The album sold 828,773 copies within the first few days. 

In a world where everyone is doing the same thing, sometimes you have to think outside of the box and do something different. Beyonce has mastered the element of surprise and keeps her fans and her haters guessing. She doesn’t do interviews. She doesn’t talk about what she’s going to do. She just does it. And I love it!

Beyonce has won numerous awards and broken several records. Most recently, she made history by being the first black woman to headline Coachella. I’m not gonna lie, when she first appeared on that stage, I shed a few tears. I knew greatness was about to happen. Still, I was SHOOK. You can never be fully prepared for a Beyonce performance. Beychella was EVERYTHING. Honestly, that’s the best way for me to sum it up. I was speechless. I’m so glad that I took a nap so that I could wake up at 2 a.m. to witness it!

I’ve been a Beyonce fan since Destiny’s Child. As someone who works in marketing and social media, I admire her creativity, work ethic, and loyalty to her fans. I’ve followed her career for years. I keep track of her moves because she inspires me. I know she puts in long hours with her team thinking of ways to promote her brand. And they win every single time. Someone should start a Beyonce marketing class. I’d be the first to register.

How to Take a Professional Profile Picture

People can tell a lot about you by your profile picture. Sure, it’s not cool to judge a book by its cover, but it happens. If your profile picture shows you with a group of friends drunk, with your tongue sticking out, or sticking up your middle finger, what will a hiring manager think?

I can tell you what they won’t think. They won't think you’re the perfect candidate for the job. It’s not fair, I know, but would you hire someone with a suggestive profile picture for a job?

We all have our own personal lives outside of the office but that’s where privacy settings and Snapchat come in handy. Don’t put everything out there for people to see. Why does it matter? Believe it or not, people will look you up. They check out your online presence before you’re hired. They check when you get hired and they may even try to be nosey enough to see what you’re up to when you leave. Don’t give people something negative to talk about.

Here are a few tips on taking a professional profile picture:

Dress Professionally

If you’re going to take a professional photo, wear a professional outfit. You don’t have to look like you’re going on an interview or to the royal wedding but look your best.

Smile

Who wants to work with someone who looks miserable and unapproachable? A smile will show people that you are friendly and open to new opportunities.

Quality is Key

You don’t have to use a professional camera but make sure it's a clear photo. Posting a blurry photo shows you didn’t care enough to take the time to take a decent one.

Be Yourself

I get the whole fake it until you make it, but not for this. If you’re trying to be something you’re not, you run the risk of it coming through in your photo. Be your authentic self and hope for the best!

 

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I Participated in the Junior League of Charlotte’s Little Black Dress Initiative

Junior League of Charlotte hosted its annual Little Black Dress Initiative (LBDI) February 26 through March 2. The purpose of LBDI is to raise awareness about poverty’s effects on children and families in our community. The fundraising goal was set at $60,000.

I heard about LBDI through their Instagram. Since participation was open to Junior League members and the general public, I decided to give it a try! I felt that this would be a great way to support the community by raising money and awareness for a great cause.

In preparation for LBDI, I found a black dress to wear for five days and thought about ways to accessorize. I also practiced what to say when people inquired about the campaign since participants were encouraged to wear an “Ask Me About My Dress” pin.

People asked how I felt about wearing the same dress and to honest, it really hit me the fourth day. By then I felt like I needed to wash it and it already needed to be ironed after the first day. But I didn't do anything to the dress. Why? Because people who are living in poverty can't just wash or iron clothing at ease. They have to make do with what they have, and that’s what I did.

Since this was my first time participating, I set my goal at $200. I only raised $145 but I gained a new understanding of poverty in the city of Charlotte.

Here are a few facts that I used in posts to encourage donations:

  • 50,000 children in Charlotte are currently living in poverty

  • Almost 1 in 5 children in Charlotte are currently living in poverty

  • Over 4,000 children in Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools are reported homeless

  • 134,000 Charlotteans are living in poverty

The week following the LBDI, I went back to having to plan out outfits for work each day. I had gotten used to wearing the same dress so it felt weird wearing something else at first.

After participating in this campaign, I look at my wardrobe with a new set of eyes. Think about how many times have you found out about an event and said, “I have nothing to wear!” I’m also guilty. But that is a comment that I now know I shouldn’t make. I have enough options to choose from. Wearing the same dress for five days showed me what it truly means to have nothing to wear and limited resources. I’m more grateful for what I have and I’m even more inspired to give back to others. The 2018 LBDI raised a total of $66,425! This was a wonderful experience and I hope to raise money and awareness in the future with the Junior League of Charlotte Little Black Dress Initiative.

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What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

One of the best things about being a child is thinking that your life is going to be perfect. You daydream in class and fantasize about this made up fairy tale. People always ask you, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And you always have an interesting answer because you're young and you've got your whole life ahead of you. Those were the days. 

It's a beautiful thing to hear children talk about their hopes and dreams. It gives you insight on their perspective on life. And for some of us who are still trying to figure out what we want to be when we grow up, it may even give us some new ideas.

When I was growing up, there was always something that I wanted to be. When people asked, I was ready. These are the occupations that I can remember wanting before turning ten years old. Since I'm able to remember them, they must have been the things I wanted to be the most!

The Little Mermaid

At four years old, I was set on being The Little Mermaid. I loved the movies and all of the songs. I had a Little Mermaid t-shirt that I wore all of the time. I thought she was the coolest Disney Princess. 


Fly Girl

Yes, I watched In Living Color when I was a kid. I probably shouldn't have but a lot of jokes didn't register. The only thing I remember was wanting to be like the girls who danced on the show. I just knew that I would be on the set when I grew up in my dope 90's outfit dancing my little heart out.


Ice Skater

I was in awe of ice skaters' elegance and grace on the ice. And the pretty, shiny, glittery outfits, I wanted them all. It looked so much fun to me. I thought of it as the closest thing to being able to fly.

 


Judge

I used to watch Judge Judy every day after school. I admired her because she was straightforward and put her foot down. I guess I thought I would transform into an assertive and witty professional if I too, were a judge. 

By the end of my fourth-grade year, I was set on one career. Writing. I fell in love with writing when I was nine years old. All of my previous career goals vanished once I realized how much I love to write. Even though I decided to go into marketing while I was in college, I will always be a writer first. 

When I think about what I thought I wanted to be as a child, I can't help but laugh at myself. I can't swim, I love to dance but not in public without liquid courage, I don't like ice skating, and it's been years since I've watched court shows.

What did you want to be when you became a grown up? 

Before You Choose a Career, Get an Internship!

For the most part, we get to try things out before making a decision. We test drive cars before we buy them. We visit houses in person before signing mortgages. We try on clothes before we add them to our wardrobes. 

The same can happen in our careers! I highly recommend taking an internship to decide if you’re in the right field. 

I started doing internships in high school. My school called them "Explorer’s Programs." I completed one at the Mint Museum, The Charlotte Observer, and Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. I gained valuable experience. I learned how to be a better writer, earned volunteer hours as a junior docent, learned about Charlotte art, self-defense, etiquette tips, and more.

The most important thing I learned was that I no longer wanted to go to school for journalism. Why? Because I was advised in high school, that within five years people wouldn't be reading newspapers and magazines. I couldn't believe my ears. I loved newspapers and magazines. I read them faithfully. This was pre-social media and WiFi. So the thought of not reading the news in print just didn't sit well with me. However, I kept it in mind and considered other options. 

Once I got to college it all made sense. Social media is where we find out about everything. By the time the news hits the stands we've already seen it through an app on our phones. 

As an undergrad, I gravitated more toward social media, event planning, and marketing. I also completed more internships where I learned more about radio, public relations, and digital marketing.

I landed in higher education, which ended up being a great fit. My journey to get here would have been more difficult had I not done those internships. Each one taught me something different that I will always remember and apply to my current and future jobs.

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Whether you’re in school or not I recommend doing an internship. Most programs are for college students but it won't hurt to ask. It's the best way to determine if what you think you want to do is actually what you want to. 

If you’d like to set up a resume workshop, mock interview or need advice on internships, please contact me

P.S. I don't have very many pictures. This was before smartphones. As you can see, I have a digital camera around my neck! :-) 

My First Wine Tasting

I am a proud member of the Urban League of Central Carolinas Young Professionals Auxiliary. Our exec board hosted several events during Join Week 2018. It was an honor to facilitate the Wine Tasting for fellow young professionals. 

During the wine tasting, we reviewed wine etiquette including different types of glasses and how to hold a wine glass properly. We sampled Moscato, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Thank you to the Urban League YP's for allowing me to help with the tasting. It was a great experience and I look forward to future events! 

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Struggles After Graduating From College

I dreamt of going to college since I was in elementary school. The goal was to go to college, go to grad school, get a job in a big city working in the music industry using my PR skills, get married, travel with my husband, then think about having kids. Nothing went as planned. Literally, nothing at all.

After I graduated college, I moved back home and struggled to find a job. I worked part-time as a radio promo associate, ended up going to school online, and didn’t get a job in my field until a few years down the line.

I didn’t think life after college was going to be perfect. But I didn’t think it would be so hard. There were times when I wanted to give up. I started to regret even going to school. Why work so hard to get a degree that you can’t use? Who wants to be hassled to pay back loans with a just a part-time job? Do you know how annoying it is for every job you apply for to say you don’t have enough experience? How can I get experience when I can’t find a job, to begin with? The flashbacks are so strong. Let me reel it back in. Relax, relate, release!

There are a few things that I wish I had known:

Finding a Job is Not Easy

Before I graduated college, I literally got every job I applied for. Granted, they were summer part-time jobs or internships, but still. So when I left college and couldn’t get a call-back, I didn’t know how to handle it. When I got an email starting with anything along the lines of, “We appreciate you taking the time to apply for...” I wanted to flip a table. You'd think that you should be able to get a decent job with a degree but that's not always the case.

It’s Hard to Make Friends

This one took me by surprise. Once I graduated I felt so distant from people my age. When you’re in school, you make new friends on the regular. It’s so simple to strike up a conversation with someone in the cafeteria or walking to class. In the real world? Everyone is already grouped off and it can be difficult to find your way in. There are people like you out there, looking make friends. Volunteering and networking are great ways to make connections. You’re around like-minded people who believe in giving back to others and promoting themselves. That’s actually how I met two of my newest and closest friends.

Stay in Touch with the People You Know and Love

Once you graduate, you may end up in a whole new city from the people you met in school. Don’t lose those connections! You will need them. Take the time to send a quick text or pick up the phone and call that old roommate or best friend from college. That person may need to hear from you, too. We’re all going through it. Think about much you appreciate it when someone checks in on you. 

Not Everyone is Willing to Help You

You will meet people who are so excited that you’ve graduated from college! They may appear to be happy for you and want to see you do great things, but this doesn’t apply to everyone. Some people out there only want you to help them - for free. I’m a huge advocate for internships but don’t let people work you too much. A lot of times people will make you think they want to help but in reality, they’re just picking your brain because you’re fresh out of school and may know something that they don’t know. Network, volunteer, intern, job shadow, take a new class, anything that will help you and make you more marketable in your job search. Just know that it’s important to understand who is truly rooting for you and who’s just using you.

Post-Grad Depression Is Real

Have you ever cried and didn’t realize you were crying? I actually remember being home watching TV, eating ice-cream and all of a sudden, I felt the tears fall down my face. I had never experienced that before. I dealt with so many rejections, in addition to my own issues in my personal life that it weighed me down. I got to the point where I would only eat certain things. I went through a chicken tender phase. I also went through a period of time where I only wanted salt and vinegar chips. It sounds weird but it must have been a chemical imbalance. I lost sleep. Most days, I didn’t want to go to sleep and wake up to another “we chose another candidate email.” I felt like everyone was against me since no one would give me a chance. I prayed so hard to get out of that place. I really had to learn to be strong and have faith that things would work out for me. And they did!

I wouldn’t dare say this 3 to 5 years ago but now that I’m good, I can say, “I’m glad I went through it.” I couldn’t see it then but I truly believe that I went through all of that so that I would appreciate where I am today. If I had walked across the stage and in an office starting out at 21, I would probably think it’s all about me and I wouldn’t be able to share my struggle to help other people. God makes no mistakes. He knew that I needed to be back home with my family. He knew that I needed to take time to get myself together before working full-time. Most importantly, He knew that I needed a break. I was in agony spending so much time on the couch waiting for someone to call me for an interview. But I had worked so hard in school since kindergarten and I started working at 16! I needed some time to be able to just relax. I would have enjoyed it more had I not put so much pressure on myself. But I’m glad I made it. And whatever you’re going through in your post-grad life, you’ll get through it!

For those of you who dealt with the harsh reality of being thrown into “adulting,” how did you cope? What are some tips that helped you get through any struggles that you faced?

Ten Fun Facts About Me

Since this is my first blog post, I thought I’d introduce myself to you. Based on what’s listed on my website, I’m sure you know that I’m an etiquette consultant. I offer professional services to help people reach their goals, but I wanted to share a few things about myself that aren’t on my about me page. If you stick around, you’ll see some of these expanded on in future blog posts.

  1. Going to concerts is one of my hobbies. I’ve been to over 20 concerts.

  2. Martin is my favorite TV show. I quote Martin every single day.

  3. I have a long travel bucket list. I would love to explore as many new places as possible.

  4. I love painting and coloring. It’s my favorite way to de-stress.

  5. I haven’t had a perm since I was 19. I’m team natural and proud.

  6. I’d like to learn how to play an instrument. Maybe piano, guitar or the drums.

  7. I hate roller coasters. Don’t try to convince me to get on one.

  8. Food is very important to me. I eat every 3-4 hours in order to avoid being hangry.

  9. I love dressing up. I’d choose a dress over jeans any day.

  10. Writing makes me feel free! I’m a little nervous about starting a blog, but I love writing so it should be fun. I hope you enjoy!

I'm excited to share more posts with you!

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