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On Surviving Holiday Parties

You might’ve been invited to a few Christmas parties by now, hosted by various frenemies, co-workers, & acquaintances of acquaintances you met like one time who managed somehow to get your number & invited you to a random Christmas party.

With the better of such parties comes eggnog that isn’t for the kids, among other adult beverages that make going out in the cold, wearing scratchy ugly sweaters, & hearing “All I Want For Christmas Is You” for what seems like the fourteenth time in a row a little less intolerable.

But one too many hot toddies in, & you may very well end up on your boss’s naughty list, which lets her know who will be getting the present of a pink slip this year. And unless Aunt Verna left you a fund that can be drawn on, being jobless isn’t cute, despite how much fun not doing work is. Short of skipping all the parties & making yourself look like a misanthrope (& probably not in a hot way like James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause), there are a few rules you should take note of now & keep in mind as you try to hold a conversation with someone whose name you can’t remember.

Arrive early to leave early.

If you’re not thrilled about attending a particular party then make sure you’re not there still when the area under the mistletoe gets handsy. Sufficient is the reason that you’ve “been here since 5” to justify a premature retreat. Even though some embarrassment might accompany an early arrival (especially if the host is anything like you & thus still getting everything ready), only dirty looks will follow a late departure. Besides, you could always offer to help a little & gain favor-coins that you can cash in when you’re delivering earlier-than-expected adieus.

Have an escape plan for the dullards.

The people who say that everyone is interesting obviously have only ever conversed with members of Time’s “Most Influential” lists. #sorrynotsorry but some rando’s vinyl-friendly home audio setup isn’t as cool as she thinks it is. If any philistines should block your path with their tedious takes on TV shows only available in bootleg form, be ready to talk over-excitedly about your own favorite pastime. You might just scare away the meek narcissist if you’re too intense & self-absorbed for the other’s comfort. Alternatively, you could just play the tried & true “I’ve got to take this” game. Regardless of your plan, you should have one ready to deploy lest you get stuck hearing about the wild & wonderful world of yarn.

Don’t overindulge.

I don’t need to explain myself here. At the very least, eat enough food before & during the party to ensure that you don’t go home way too sleighed.

Just enjoy yourself.

Life can be a constant series of weird, new, scary, exciting events, so long as you make an effort to venture away from the well-worn grooves of habits you track day in & out. Not every event will be as splendid as a “royal wedding” but not every event should be written off for not being regal. At least one party might be a genuine opportunity to interact with new people & simply have fun. And who knows? You might very well end up meeting your next Santa baby.

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time,
KM

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1 Social Media Marketer’s “Favorite Things” List for the 2017 Holidays

It’s been 21 years since Oprah introduced her first “Favorite Things” list, & she hasn’t stopped being the influential & leonine figure whom even teens think is cool for a single day since.

Indeed, a testament to Oprah’s power is how reviewing the list upon its release has become a sort of modern holiday tradition on par with complaining about Starbucks’ holiday cup designs & “watching” Netflix’s digital yule log. For anyone with about $14,000 to spend, you can buy each and every item off of Amazon. But for those who either have leaner budgets or still need additional gift ideas, allow me to offer up a few of my favorite things.

Of A Kind’s “Professional Enthusiast” Round 4 Weekender Bag

Being in social media requires one to always “be on” around people. Why, baked into the term “social media” is the idea that when communicating with others, we ought to be friendly—or, at least, fake a smile when talking to someone whom we really don’t like. There are few better commercial ways to show off one’s gregariousness than by walking from the gym to work, for example, with a bag that announces your professional status as an enthusiast.

LuMee’s Duo Marble Case (for all iPhone Plus models)

If you’re in need of an upgrade to your selfie game, then look no further than Kim Kardashian West’s favorite brand: LuMee. Developed by a professional photographer, you know that you’re selfies are in good “hands” (qua a thoughtfully-designed case) when you’re using a product that makes a cameo in Instagram-worthy pictures like this.

Wacom’s Bamboo Slate

Despite how much of our lives takes place in the digital world, I still prefer jotting my thoughts down on pen & paper to thumbing my thoughts into any given “time-saving” app (sorry, Evernote). Still, it’s often a hassle to transfer what I write or doodle to a computer. What’s cool about Wacom’s Bamboo Slate is that by using it, I don’t have to waste time by, say, retyping what I already physically noted. The Slate can automatically upload what I write on paper to the cloud with a button’s push. The future is here, unfortunately sans jetpacks.

Prep’d Pack Lunchbox with Modular Food Storage Containers and Chopsticks Set

This is actually from Oprah’s most recent “Favorite Things” list but I couldn’t resist including it here. Upgrade your sad paper bag to something that says, “I have my life together, betches.”

Gratitude Collaborative’s “For The Dude” Gift Box

Don’t know what to get your male friends? Want to give back a little to the world? Gratitude Collaborative has exactly what you need with its box filled with goodies for any special man in your life, the price of which includes a donation that goes toward giving meals to the hungry in our society, so why not get a few more boxes? Or, you could always just be a Scrooge & get some gifts that don’t help out charities. What you do with your soul is up to you.

The Face Shop’s Facial Mask Sheets

My job (like those of many others) can be stressful. But after a long day at the office, I usually like to “treat myself” with various things like a good face mask. I know I’m not the only one who enjoys this method of relaxing, so why not spend a little (this isn’t a splurge at all) for a whole pack of face rejuvenation? Your future wrinkle-free self will thank you.

CB2’s Glass Straws

More often than not, you can spot me sipping on an iced coffee, regardless of where I am, what I’m doing, or what the weather is like. It’s easy to imagine then that I use up a lot of plastic from just this one habit. If the one you’re getting a gift for is 1) addicted to caffeine & 2) always trying to be a little “greener”, then I’d highly recommend getting them a dishwasher-safe glass straw (or a few for a chic cocktail set).

Xoopar’s Green Bluetooth Mini Speaker

I don’t even think this speaker needs an introduction. Like, just look at it. It’s cute. Somebody probably needs a speaker for, say, their bathroom. Get it for anyone because everyone will fall in love with how effin’ adorable this little guy is.

Of course, you can always ignore my advice & get whatever you want for the people in your life. Just don’t show up empty-handed to a white elephant party saying you didn’t know what to get because that’d be a lie that would merit some coal this year. Now that’s a gift no one wants.

Santa’s little helper,
KM

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Why You Should Care About Net Neutrality

If you’ve been anywhere on the internet lately, you might’ve seen something—a headline, your vocal-on-Facebook-but-shy-everywhere-else friend’s latest post, some trending video on YouTube, etc.—that references the impending end of “net neutrality.”

I don’t blame you if, despite the amount of coverage the subject’s received, you still don’t know what the term means. I get it. It’s not the sexiest of topics; in fact, it sounds eye-glazingly technical in a way that “Kylie’s baby bump” doesn’t, no matter how much time you spend gathering receipts on where “it” is. Besides, ignorance isn’t necessarily bad, so long as you seek to light up rather than keep dark the shadows your knowledge doesn’t reach.

So let me break down for you what net neutrality is, & what its demise might mean for us, digital marketers & all. Are you ready? Good. Let’s go.

Net neutrality refers to the doctrine that what the internet has to offer & makes possible—from websites to streaming services & everything else online—is equally accessible to you, regardless of who you are. This is the internet as you know it. Internet service providers (or: ISPs for short) such as AT&T & Spectrum cannot limit your access to the internet based on your identity or what you’re accessing, but that can all change after December 14th.

Last week, Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai announced his plan to repeal regulations that have thus far made the internet free of interference from ISPs. These regulations prevented ISPs from, among other things, slowing down or even blocking access to (i.e., censoring) content and/or services that, say, they find disagreeable or competitive. That means in theory you could pay extra for using Instagram if an ISP like Comcast wanted to push its own picture-sharing platform by slowing down access to the app you, your boyfriend, & the thots he follows all spend hours a day on.

You might wonder if the worst predictions about the abolition of net neutrality are overblown. Being a skeptic myself, I understand. But there’s no need to wonder if said predictions will actually come true because they already have in countries like Portugal. Just take a look for yourself.

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And that, essentially, is what the future could look like: messy, expensive, & downright ugly. But it doesn’t have to look like that. It’s still possible to take action to prevent the FCC from rolling back the rules that have made net neutrality possible. To make your voice heard, visit BattleForTheNet.com, which will help you contact your Congressperson to let them know that you don’t want a future where you have to pay extra to shop online a little tipsy.

Together, we can save America from becoming more like Portugal (no offense, Portugal—you’re a beautiful country).

Your civic-minded social media marketer,
KM

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5 Things I’m Most Thankful For

I don’t know about you but Thanksgiving is probably my FAVORITE holiday, if only because it’s the one time of year people don’t judge me for wearing sweatpants.

But the holiday isn’t only about the food, so we’re told. And believe me: I totally agree (I guess). It’s a rare opportunity for many of us to step away from the busy-ness of work & reflect on everything we’re thankful for.

In the spirit of the holiday, I’m sharing a few of the many things for which I feel #blessed for having in my life.

I am thankful for delivery food.

There are PLENTY of days when I find that I’ve scheduled myself in such a way that it’s nearly impossible to cook some breakfast, let alone lunch or dinner. (And don’t ask me, “Well, how much time do you spend online shopping, Krissi? How much time do you blah blAH BLAH.” I don’t want to hear it. I do what I must.) That’s why Postmates & UberEATS—or, let’s be real, Dominos on those days—are pretty much some of my most used apps (after Instagram & Netflix, of course). I’d probably starve if it weren’t for app-based delivery tbh.

I am thankful for coffee.

Sorry, mom & dad, but there is nothing more sacred in my life right now than the ritual that is my morning cup of caffeinated elixir, which makes the beginning of any day a little less intolerable. Similarly…

I am thankful for wine.

As coffee makes the morning “a little less intolerable”, so wine makes the rest of the day a little less intolerable, not to mention, it’s fucking delicious. If you don’t agree, then you need to upgrade from whatever boxed swill you’re being fed because there is a whole world out there of fermented grapes I know you haven’t tried. Besides, have you ever tried pairing your beautifully shareable-on-social dish with water? Yeah, you try getting a lot of likes on such a sad situation.

I am thankful for Tim Berners-Lee.

Don’t know who good ol’ Timothy is? You should. He literally invented the internet. Can you imagine a world without it? I can’t. I don’t even want to try. The prospect seems too grim.

I am thankful for “the blondes”.

The employees of Blonde are hands down the most important reason why I work here. Really, I couldn’t be more thankful for them. Plenty of offices like to claim that they’re a fun or zany bunch of professional misfits who “work hard” but know how to “play hard” too. Yeah, I’m sure Christine in accounting really knows how to turn up.

You may have seen the photos—professional quality poses of people awkwardly feigning excitement to fight over the same stapler & share a bathroom with strangers. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here, have a picture.

See what I mean? I’m thankful for the fact that I DON’T have to deal with such a tribe during work hours. Thank you, Blonde, for being enjoyable without trying too hard.

 

And I hope you, dear reader, have some people in your life with whom you too can share in some mothereffin’ gratitude this 2017, a grade-A ordeal of a year.

 

Feeling #blessed,
KM

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5 Ways to Overcome Creative Blocks

Creativity is a big part of what I do. From dreaming up campaigns to angling a photo properly to even writing this blog post, I am constantly engaged in producing original work. Yet as any creative knows, there are times when the social media Muses decide to take a vacation from their regular visits, & that’s when I start to panic.

But before I start hyperventilating, I remember that there are a few routes one can take to successfully circumnavigate nearly any creative block. Here are but a few of my favorite ways to overcoming any lack of inspiration.

1.) Walk away.

From time to time, the best way to deal with a creative block can also be the easiest. You see, the subconscious mind is a powerful problem solver that works behind the scenes of waking life by its own mysterious methods. Walking away (like, literally, going outside & ambulating) & focusing on something else can often be the best opportunity for the subconscious to pick at the pieces of whatever problem you were working on before delivering to your conscious mind a new, perhaps enlightening arrangement of said pieces. Even if you don’t have an “a-ha!” kind of moment while taking a break from your problem, any interruption in your work may break cripplingly recursive habits of thought, thus providing you with a different (and hopefully creative) perspective. That being said…

2.) Sometimes, you’ve just gotta work through it.

You’re not always going to solve a problem by just “walking away” for a stretch. In an over-scheduled world brimming with demands & deadlines, taking a break isn’t always an option. And even when you do have the time to leave a problem alone for a while, that doesn’t mean you should, especially if you’re doing so just to procrastinate. Whether you’re too lazy or too scared of failure to put in the hard work that is being creative, there are times when the only way to overcome a creative block is by dealing with it head-on. Willpower may very well see you through to the end.

3.) Just draw (or write) freely.

This is really only an exercise in momentarily shutting up the occasionally incapacitating critical voice that each one of us has in our respective heads. By free associating, one can open her mind to theretofore ignored ideas, let alone, to connections between ideas—links that could prove to be useful to a creative problem solving task. However, the point isn’t necessarily to produce anything of value (i.e., relevant to what you’re working on). Again, you’re just trying to break free of negative thinking, which inhibits creativity. Alternatively, you could come up with lists of certain numbers of “things” such as people you’d like to meet or places you’d like to visit. Again, the purpose of such an activity is to free your brain from enslavement to habits like perfectionism that are antithetical to creative thinking.

4.) Set up arbitrary parameters for yourself.

In the face of seemingly endless possibilities that a lack of guidelines affords, you might become overwhelmed, & therefore unable to move forward. If that’s that case, then you should consider forcing limits upon yourself. Of course, you have the freedom to move however you may wish between such boundaries. But if you’re the kind of person who thinks too much (which is not always a bad thing), then you might want to consider, say, avoiding using the letter “e”, a feat that’s actually been accomplished already in a novel.

5.) Talk to someone.

Finally, if you’re all out of ideas on what to do, then don’t be so hubristic as to think you couldn’t use some help from another. Find a trusted source with whom you could talk aloud & freely about the problem. This could entail simply defining the problem for yourself to another person or it could even mean brainstorming possible solutions with them. Whatever the problem & whoever the person, there’s almost virtually no harm in getting a fresh perspective.

By now, I hope you’ve realized that blocks are merely momentary obstacles that are ultimately surmountable, so don’t be so hard on yourself the next time your text cursor is blinking menacingly on a blank page. Just loosen up, remember what I wrote, & you’ll be well on your way to being creative yet again.

Creatively yours,
KM

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