Fly Birdie, Fly

8 Nov

“How do you wait for heaven and who has that much time? And how do you keep your feet on the ground when you were born to fly?” Sarah Evans sang it well describing how we feel as we are growing up.

Our mindset is “I will soar away like a black bird; I will blow in the wind like a sea; I will plant my heart in the garden of my dreams and I will grow up where I run wild and free.” We work our whole lives to reach our dreams. Granted our dreams change a little. As children we want to be famous athletes, famous ice skaters, astronauts, or princesses and we never even think of what is realistically coming towards us.

Nobody had told us that growing up would be hard. We look ahead and see only rainbows and butterflies and the miles of road that lay in front of us. But the truth is, there are unknowing bumps ahead on that road. We think we will easily be able to jump those bumps because we are “country strong, hard to break like the ground we grew up on,” as Gwyneth Paltrow sang.

When we’re in high school we can’t wait for college and to be independent. When we’re in college we can’t wait to stop juggling school, work, homework, and internships. We can’t wait to just get a job and work 40 hours a week and eventually come home to our loving soul mate at the end of the day and walk the dog.

For some, this comes easy. Some people don’t leave much behind and don’t encounter as many bumps as other people. That’s why, no matter how many bumps, I know I always have it better than somebody else. We encounter so many emotions: broken hearts, first kisses, illnesses, excitement of new things, deaths of loved ones, professional rejection and more.

When each of the above happened to me (some earlier in life than I expected) family and friends were always just a phone call and a hug away. I was truly blessed to have so many people who cared about me. I was fortunate to grow up in a small town where I had beautiful trees to climb, camp fires and country music on Friday nights, four wheeling, fishing, and a school where we all knew each other and could build forever friendships. I also had parents and a sister who I could talk to about everything and anything. Many find it hard to believe how close my relationship is with my family. They are always there for me to cry on their shoulder or laugh with me until our stomachs hurt – not to say we don’t have our fair share of problems, because every family does. But I know I can always count on them.

In the years between undergraduate school and a professional career, I was torn between two lives. I couldn’t possibly stay in the comfort of my small town, find a job that was geared toward what I wanted to do, and be successful at it. I knew I would have to move away but I so deeply wanted to be able to drive home on weekends to be in the comfort of my family and friends. On the other hand I wanted to get far away and experience different weather, new people, palm trees, and life outside of Northeast United States and the little bubble I lived in. I worked my whole life towards a good career. I had been in long relationships and told them it was over because I would be moving away since I had spent more time working and in school than I had with them (harsh I know).

I decided I would leave the decision up to faith. I prayed for a good future and applied to thousands of jobs all over the ENTIRE country. While applying to jobs, I was working as a Chevrolet Spokes model and traveled the country to do so. I visited so many beautiful cities that I could “see myself” moving to. One of my favorite cities, early in the tour, was San Diego, CA. It was beautiful. The weather was gorgeous, so much to do, endless career possibilities, and an ocean that stretched as far as I could see.

As applications were sent out, I realized more and more that I would probably find something closer to home due to the ease of hiring somebody driving distance rather than flying distance. Then the call came. I was offered a job as a Communications Specialist in Vista, CA (about 35 miles North of San Diego) and they wanted me to start in three weeks.

After hanging up the phone I was running around excited, texting and calling my friends and family and then bam. Life hit me like a pile of rocks. I have to pick up and move across the country, find an apartment, start a new job, and leave my ENTIRE life behind me. I was flooded with tears and excitement. I stopped and thought to myself I was “born to fly;” why is this so hard?

In the days leading up to the start of my new career, things were a bit hectic. One minute I was thrilled to be moving to such a beautiful place and the next minute I was sobbing and hugging my friends and family because the thought of leaving them bore a hole deep inside me. As always, they spoke words of encouragement and said I could always come home if I need to. So I did it. My sister hugged me goodbye, was thrilled at what I was doing and said she couldn’t wait to come visit. My father flew across the country with me as we waved goodbye to my mother choking back tears saying goodbye to her baby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In two anxiety-filled days my dad and I found a beautiful little pool house for me to rent, settled me in, and met the people at my new job (my dad felt a huge wave of relief after both of these things were complete). Then, the day came for dad to leave me there alone. I immediately started crying and telling him to stay. He looked at me and smiled. My dad has always been the “tough man.” He smiled as he looked at his baby girl and said, “Fly birdie, fly.” He gave me a hug and a kiss and turned to leave. As I walked back to the car, I turned and glanced at my daddy, the big, tough man, wiping his eyes of tears that had formed.

Now, two months later, I am still wallowing in the grace and beauty of southern California. It really is gorgeous. I have made friends and enjoy the breathtaking landscapes. But I still can’t help to miss my home – my small town, my friends, and my family. It really is a whole different place out here. Although I love it and can’t imagine giving up what I have here, it still isn’t quite like home. I call them almost every day and count down the days until I can see them again. Who knows how things will work out, what I’ll be doing, or what bumps will be in my road ahead. But every time I get choked up, I remind myself of those few simple words: “fly birdie, fly.”

Fashionista?!

31 May

Public Relations consists of a lot of interaction with people. A big part of interaction is how you present yourself physically…

My personal view of fashion may be different than some women. I feel that most women are purely about the name brand or how expensive it is. Fashion to me is simple, how you look regards how you feel. If you look good, you usually feel good. It is also a way to express oneself. 

                                                          

When I was little, fashion went no further than “play” clothes and “school” clothes. As I aged slightly, I remember my number one priority was waking up and planning my outfit for the day. I had to decide what would look the best and what would get that one guy’s attention. At that time, fashion was all about the right outfit to wear and getting ready for that certain guy. I wanted to stand out but not like a sore thumb.

Also, in the fashion industry, models and celebrities and how they present themselves are a huge part of the business. A lot of sales are based on what the latest fashion is (according to the celebrity). Does the model look good in that outfit? Could I look good in that outfit? I am going to go to the store and try it on. How do they present themselves?

                                                       

 Fashion has changed immensely as I’ve grown up. Now that I look back at what I wore when I was little, I am mortified. But at the time, that was socially acceptable. As I got older, when my parents still tried to buy my clothes, they would be stuck in their own fashion sense that was not similar with mine.

The best part about fashion when I was younger was back to school shopping. It was the one day of the year it was financially acceptable to go shopping and buy lots of items- and I could pick them out. This lead to present day “retail therapy.” After a bad day, we call our friends and it is acceptable to go shopping to make us feel better about ourselves.

 I love how fashion changes with the seasons. It adds variety to the wardrobe. With each change of season, a new excitement mounts. With fall and winter we get excited to put on fashionable and dark-colored boots, coats, and sweaters. As the warm sun of spring arrived, we shed those fashions for pastel tanks, shorts, and capri’s.

                                                                                                 

I not only pay attention to my fashion but of those around me; everybody’s mood changes as they pull out their new season’s wardrobe. Your wardrobe adds so many different aspects of your personality- majestic, fun and funky, sporadic, beautiful, bright, tasteful.

Then as you go off to college- you can reinvent yourself through fashion and it is exciting. Although most, including me, went with the “sweats” look to morning classes. As an adult, you love being exposed to the importance of fashion and how the clothes you wear in a certain environment speak volumes about who you are.

As I’ve become an adult, fashion has become more of my expression of who I am and what I am capable of which, with the appropriate outfit, can feel like anything.  In a tank top and gym shorts I can run for miles.  In a suit and a pair of pumps I am the most powerful woman in the room.  In a flirty dress I am the envy of every girl at the club. Fashion for me is a sense of confidence in who I am. I am able to drastically change roles in my daily life with a simple outfit change.

                                                            

It’s exciting in the business world to buy new, tasteful professional clothes. After work, I change into comfortable athletic clothes to hit the gym. While running the treadmill, I already begin planning out my outfit for the night out ahead.

Fashion has played a huge part in every aspect and stage of my life. It defines who I am and leaves an impression on those I come in contact with.

Special thanks to Amanda Smith for some help with this post.

Seattle Travel; City Splendor

23 Nov

Much to my disappointment, Seattle Grace is a fictional hospital and “McDreamy” wasn’t walking around Seattle while I visited (I am a huge fan of Grey’s Anatomy). However, there was much more to see…

Seattle was the first city I’ve ever visited on the west coast. To my amazement, it was more than just rain. It was a spread out city that had much to offer. As soon as I stepped off the light right rail, I crossed a pair of train tracks, suitcase rolling behind me and looked up to see a huge sign “Safeco Field.” As a baseball enthusiast, my adrenaline began pumping. I then looked to my right and saw “Qwest Field.” Baseball enthusiast might be a slight understatement of my love for sports because I truly love most sports. Mariners field and Seahawks field were staring back at me all lit up.

I continued the short walk to my hotel, which to my liking, was right across the street from these fields. I checked in and walked upstairs and rushed right to my window to see the view. Off to the right, in the distance, was city center in all its glory with the Space Needle poking in the distance.

It was late and the time difference had unfortunately taken its toll on me so I decided to get some rest. In between work hours, I would be able to do some sight-seeing. I was there on business, as a Chevrolet Spokesperson/Brand Ambassador at the annual auto show. The first two days was all work and no play.

The third day, the anxiousness inside of me could not hold any longer. I gathered a group of my coworkers and we decided to walk down to the bay front and see Pike Place Market. I had no idea what to expect but this site had been recommended by many others. We walked through the busy streets, filled with pedestrians on the crisp morning and looked out over the water.

Despite the cold, it was a clear day and the water was breathtaking. The sound of people working and touring made the hustle and bustle loud but in a comforting way. “FRESH FISH!! FISH HERE; WE’VE GOT ALL SORTS,” yelled husky voices from behind the corner top. “Try a fresh pear,” said another salesperson as he reached out a sample. The juiciness flavor filled my taste buds and made me realize just how hungry I was.

We continued to walk and see the many different shops. There was everything from crafts to food to psychic readings to cafes. On almost every corner sat a “Seattle’s Best Coffee” shop. As we strolled, we stopped for many pictures with sculptures, scenic bay front pictures, and even a picture of the original Starbucks. We stopped at a café that overlooked the water as the time ticked into the late hours of the morning. We sat and enjoyed a cup of coffee and some eggs and visited about all we had seen.

There were museums, aquariums, fantastic restaurants, and more to see. Unfortunately, time did not permit to see everything.  As our last night in town neared, I swore I would not leave the city without at least going to city center and seeing the Space Needle. My roommate and I hauled the hotel shuttle and went down. To our liking, the prices to eat dinner there were extremely reasonable, and we knew this was a once in a lifetime chance… “When in Rome…”

We indulged in a glass of wine, a succulent dinner, and a tasty desert while visiting for hours and slowly spinning atop the needle. It was fascinating. The view was gorgeous. The city was lit in all its splendor and the clouds had cleared for a beautiful view. The water splashed calmly aside the large city. The pictures captured of the city are not even remotely close to what view we experienced that night.

It was certainly a trip to remember and hopefully a trip to take again someday. Bring your rain boots if you are worried, but more importantly bring a camera…

Cleveland Cavaliers & Boys and Girls Club Fundraiser

19 Oct

“How many more minutes till we go on the court,” whined the smiling little children from the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland.

“Just a few more minutes- I promise,” I replied with anxious excitement in my voice. “Are you excited to play basketball on the Cleveland Cavaliers court before the game?”

“I am sooooo excited! I even put on my good basketball shoes to play! And I can’t wait to watch the Cavs game after,” exclaimed the little girl, her hair pulled back with curls, and her eyes glinting with excitement.

On October 5, 2010, a fundraising event occurred at Quicken Loans Arena to support the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland (BGCC).

My master’s project for Kent State University (KSU) included studying why and how events are strategically smart as a public relations tactic. I wanted to plan a successful and large event in order to show my ideas and research.  I decided there was no better way to do so than through helping a non-profit organization.

The Boys and Girls Club is the positive place for kids.  Their mission is to enable young people who need it most to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

Local TV and radio personalities played a short basketball game with kids from the BGCC to make up the teams.  Moondog, the Cleveland Cavaliers mascot, served as the referee.

The TV personalities who participated in the game were from Channel 19 WOIO while the radio participants were from Radio One group and Z107.9.

Players from Radio One: Colby Colb, DJ Knyce, Ro Digga Subs: Kameika Smith, Coach Jeff Wilson GM

Players from Ch 19: Entertainment Reporter Chris Van Vliet, Chief Meteorologist Jeff Tanchak, Sports Director Tony Zarrella, Sub: Investigative Reporter Carl Monday, Coach: Anchor Sharon Reed

The basketball game occurred ten minutes prior to the first 2010-2011 pre-season NBA Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game versus the Charlotte Bobcats. Tickets to the game included entrance to both games. If the ticket was purchased through a specialized link, BGCC received a portion of the ticket price.

On the second floor concourse, a silent auction was held to support the BGCC. Two pairs of autographed basketball shoes were donated to the auction as well as two autographed basketballs. All memorabilia was autographed by Cavaliers players and were donated from the Cavaliers Community Relations team.

Jodee Hammond and Justin Parsons, KSU Public Relations graduate students, volunteered during the game at the silent auction table. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a part of the auction at Megan’s event,” Hammond said.  “It’s always interesting to interact with people, and the people who placed bids really got into it in the last minutes. It was intense, which made it fun for us. And knowing the proceeds were going to a good cause was an extra bonus.”

The silent auction raised more than $500- all of which went directly to the BGCC.

More than anything, the BGCC just wanted to raise awareness through this event. Channel 19 and radio one advertised through their media. Channel 19 broadcasted sports and weather live from the event as well. A Facebook event was set up to advertise the event and was linked to the BGCC website.

Best of all, the Cavaliers employees donated tickets so all kids from the local BGCC could attend the event, which they did and added a night of hopes and dreams to their memory.

This event would not have been possible without the help from BGCC employees Kara Copeland and Amanda Apostol, Cavaliers employees Chris Lesko, Colleen Garrity, Tracy Volnick, Kate McShea and other operations staff, Ch 19’s Program Director Dan Salomone, and Radio One’s Rohnesha Horne. Thank you to all others who helped and participated!

Nashville- Music City

20 Sep

“Roll into town, step off the bus. Shake off the where you came from dust. Grab you guitar, walk down the street- sign says Nashville, Tennessee.  But I have found…It’s a crazy town, full of neon dreams.  Everybody plays, everybody sings; Hollywood with a touch of twang. To be a star you gotta bang, bang, bang.” Jason Aldean

Growing up a country music fan lover, I always dreamt of visiting Nashville, TN but never had the opportunity. A few weeks ago, my old roommate and I changed that and it was more than I ever imagined.

Of course I knew it was the home of the Country Music Hall of Fame and is named “Music City” but I never realized it was so much more than that. It has attractions and sites that include history, religion, music, booming business, unique food, sports, and entertainment. And despite the shocking floods that took place just a few short months ago; it has never looked better.

Nashville and its friendly people bounced back with great energy to fix the city.

The city holds annual events such as fairs, marathons, concerts, diversity events, charity fundraisers and more.

As I walked down the street for the first time I literally couldn’t catch my breath and stop staring at all the places to see.  It had everything from country music restaurants and bars that teach line dancing to piano bars to laser tag. It was incredible.

I was told I had to visit the Wildhorse Saloon- Nashville’s #1 Dining and Entertainment Destination. As soon as we walked in we were filled with the old country-style wooden carvings and logs and a huge wooden dance floor yet modernized with lit up signs and a lit up bar.

A bartender was carving an ice sculpture right on the bar for fun to entertain guests while live bands played on the stage and others line danced on the dance floor. Dinner was excellent and was washed down with specialized drinks.

After dinner we wanted to explore these two popular streets (Broadway and 2nd Ave). Every bar along the strip was filled with incredibly talented country music bands playing everything from old-style to contemporary country. They played original and cover songs and fully impressed me. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought they were the country stars themselves.

Each bar and restaurant was uniquely structured and had its own atmosphere. Many bars had pictures and autographs of the many popular country music artists that played or visited there.

The streets were filled with laughter, conversation, and music. Others lined the streets with high music hopes and dreams playing music with their guitar case open in hopes to be discovered.

Later that week we were anxious to explore the other aspects of the town around the outside of the city. We took a trolley tour that opened our eyes to the other beauties of the city.

We discovered historical sites such as The Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, Hermitage Hotel, old architecture, Civil War sites, The Nashville Parthenon, and more.

Also in the heart of the city and around the outskirts included the Convention Center, Bridgestone Arena, Music Row, CMT, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and more.

I could’ve spent days exploring the city. It was exciting and beautiful and definitely a stop to make when traveling…

Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky Finds Love

4 Aug

It’s not often we see the “Cinderella story ending” come true on ABC’s shows The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. After all, the last two couples ended it. Both Jillian Harris and Ed Swiderski called off their year-long engagement last month and Jake Pavelka and Vienna Girardi had a nasty split in June.

On top of that, I’m not one to believe in love at first sight. I believe the Cinderella ending can only happen after a couple has been through trials, tears, love and hurt.

Bachelorette

Well Bachelorette, Ali Fedotowsky endured all of the above in the last two months on the show as well as before the show even aired.  Now, she has her Cinderella story ending with Roberto Martinez.

Ali didn’t believe in love at first sight either when the show started but she has now changed her mind. “I feel like the two of us came together that first night and he ended up receiving the first impression rose because I got that feeling right away,” Ali said.

Ali definitely went through her trials and tears throughout the events of The Bachelorette. First, in Turkey, she found out Justin Rego secretly had a girlfriend and was just trying to get publicity for his professional wrestling.

Then, in Tahiti, quite the romantic destination, Ali excitedly went to get Frank Neuschaefer for their date only to find out he wanted to leave because he was still in love with an ex-girlfriend.

As the season continued after the heartaches, she had two wonderful guys left to choose from. The audience as well as Ali knew that both were great men. Even Ali’s family approved of both guys.

Before Ali went on her final date with Roberto she was confused to tears. Once the date began she was all smiles. By the end of the date she realized she didn’t want to leave and that she really wanted to be with Roberto.

The saying goes that “Everything isn’t always rainbows and butterflies.” But for Chris Lambton, runner up on The Bachelorette, rainbows showed hope on a day when things looked gloomy. Before his mother passed, she said to always look for her in rainbows.

Right after Ali broke the news to Chris that he wasn’t “the one” for her – a bright rainbow shone over the sky and the entire cast and crew of The Bachelorette was taken aback for they all knew what it meant and Chris went on camera and said, “That is just my mom saying ‘when you put yourself out there for love there is always a chance to get hurt.’ And I have allowed myself to open up and I know she is just like ‘Good job Chris.’”

The final event -rose ceremony – of The Bachelorette played out differently than all other seasons. Since Ali had already broken the news to Chris and known Roberto was the one for her, the audience was left wondering not who Ali would choose but would Roberto choose her back?

He sailed up to the event in a boat with the wind blowing on a beautiful sunny day and walked up the steps. They immediately kissed and shared a wonderful moment together when he got down on one knee and proposed with a beautiful ring surrounded by breathtaking flowers, palm trees and ocean scenery.

Many skeptics of The Bachelorette say it is impossible to fall in love that fast especially when all events consist of the most outrageous, beautiful, and fun things.

“I tell her all the time I can’t believe we met on a TV show; it’s crazy,” Roberto said with a laugh. “But it is people. It is just like anything else. You make your relationship work in your own right.  Where you meet could be anywhere. We just happened to meet on this show and I love this woman with all my heart and there isn’t much more you can say.”

The couple was then whisked away by helicopter for a vacation to Catalina Island – a good PR idea from the travel public relations professionals there.

Rotary Club Celebrates 100th Anniversary With Tall Ships Event

15 Jul

The four-day Tall Ships Festival took place in Cleveland, Ohio this past weekend in honor of the Rotary Club’s 100th anniversary. 13 replica historic vessels sailed into the Port of Cleveland at 4 p.m. Wednesday evening and docked until Sunday for the festival.

A torch procession took place to being the Tall-Ships races.

The torch baton was passed through five council areas to symbolize a united group:

  • Hartlepool
  • Middlesbrough
  • Redcar
  • Cleveland
  • Darlington and Stockton

The baton passes through until it is lit at Seaton Carew on August 4th.

The festival offered the chance to view the sail from Cleveland’s big ship, the Steamship William G. Mather, docked behind the Great Lakes Science Center as well as from the air aboard the 1929 Ford Tri Motor, the Tin Goose, at Burke Lakefront Airport.

The Port of Cleveland was located behind the Cleveland Browns stadium. Thursday through Sunday part of the festival ranged from 9 a.m.- 6 p.m.

Cleveland event

A variety of tents covered the parking lots along the lake to showcase their products and services. Most exhibits consisted of information on Great Lakes maritime history, sail training and environment themes. Tickets to go on the boats for tours ranged from eight to 14 dollars a day.

Three ships provided hour and a half long tours. The ships included the Nautica Queen, Goodtime III and Holiday Cruise. A variety of businesses also sponsored private hospitality functions – including Kent State University– who hosted their events to show appreciation to its alumni and for professional and corporate development.

The tall ships sail all around the world doing these festivals. The different tall ships include:

  • Barque- Three or more masts, all square-rigged except the after mast which is fore-and-aft rigged
  • Full-Rigged Ship- Three or more masts, all square-rigged
  • Barquentine- Three or more masts, all fore-and-aft rigged except the foremast which is fully square-rigged
  • Brig- Two masts, both square-rigged
  • Brigantine- Two masts- the foremost is fully square-rigged and the mainmast is fore-and-aft rigged
  • Topsail Schooner- Two masts, the foremost carries square-rigged sails over fore-and-aft sails
  • Schnooer- Two or more masts, fore-and-aft-rigged

Tall ships

90 degree heat and a blazing hot sun burned the sky as people walked to view the ships. That didn’t stop the event from being a huge success. The festival brought in not only people from all over the state, but also all over the country. I talked with people from Colorado that came to see the event.

Many local folks enjoyed it too- for business or pleasure.

Tall ships event

“At Pearne & Gordon we saw it as a great event to celebrate our 100th anniversary of our patent work and bring clients to,” Jim Irwin, lawyer, said. “We hosted an exhibit at the event and it was nice to talk business while enjoying the nice weather and the historic ships.”

These historic and beautiful vessels represent ships of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, Great Lakes trading schooners,  and more. It was a fantastic way to show the cities excellence and what it has to offer- a strategical move for Cleveland public relations.

Images: Google Images