It's been a little while since I've had the time to post on here, but as you can tell by the title, the end of summer is upon us. When I began this summer, I didn't have the highest expectations. To be honest, I had no way of being able to know all the incredible things I would go on to experience. So to fill y'all in, here are the things I did this summer and what I learned from them:
Your girl here managed to juggle work, an internship and volunteering. I ended up dropping the Nordstrom position pretty quickly so that I'd be able to accept positions that more practically lent themselves to my long-term goals. If there's one important thing I learned from that, it's that life is too short to let a good opportunity slip away.
This summer, those opportunities came in the form of a promotions assistant position at iHeartRadio and a creative services internship at CW11- KSTW.
I learned a lot of things about myself in those roles. For example, I LOVE having coworkers who I can talk to. At both positions, I found I produced much better work and had way better days when I worked with people who I could bounce ideas off of or joke around with to pass the time when things slowed down. Also, when I worked with people who genuinely cared about what they were doing- whether they were trying to get their foot in the door with radio, or were counting on promotional videos we produced to be included on their reel.
At iHeartRadio, I realized how much fun it can be to interact with people. Getting to talk to listeners of the different radio stations and see them get excited about things made each shift I worked seem to fly by.
The best advice I received about this job was to make every interaction the best it possibly can be. You want to imagine that the booth you're working at has your name on it. You want the people who walk away from it to say to their friends that they had a great time at "Aubrey's Booth" (or whatever your name is). I think this applies to a lot of things in life. Treat everything you do like it's branded with your name. It doesn't matter what company you work for or who you represent, you want to make every interaction as positive as possible. The other day, someone I work with told me that I have the ability to get people excited about nothing and that has to be the best feedback I've ever received.
At CW11- KSTW, I learned a lot about trial and error. Some good ideas just don't make good scripts, and even though it sucks throwing out something you worked on, it's best to just learn how to bounce back quickly. I think the act of writing so much about a relatively narrow topic (CW TV shows) made me learn how to think of more ideas and write much quicker. By the end of my internship, I was able to come up with ideas and turn them into blog post and scripts in a matter of hours. I also got the other intern to admit that I have a great sense of humor, which was a highlight.
DJ-assisting at KEXP also introduced me to another aspect of the music industry. I learned about the importance of preparation and being able to quickly think on your feet when things don't work out. While a lot of things can be improvised, it's always easier to at least have the majority of a playlist predetermined.
Like I always tell people, I'm lucky I got hot in college because it forced me to develop a good personality and sense of humor in high school. I think I really started to come into my own this summer though. I focused on staying body-posi and wearing what makes me happy. As of right now, it's unclear how I'll manage to fit all my new clothes in my suitcase to take back to D.C., but I'm sure I'll find a way to make it work.
After years of struggling with body image, I found myself happy with the way I looked for the first time I can remember. I've really focused on hydrating and staying active this summer. Even though I haven't ran as much as I'd hoped to, I've opted for walking and public transportation whenever possible (save the planet yo). A really awesome habit that I've gotten into is going on walks. After meals, or when I'm just bored, I slip my headphones in and do a few laps around the park up the street from me. I've also gotten back into the habit of stretching when I'm sitting around, which is something I can't recommend highly enough. Life is tiresome and your body carries you through it, so it's important to show it some love by stretching out sore muscles.
During the school year, I was dealing with lots of health issues, and it felt great to spend some time healing and getting better this summer. I think it's easy to get wrapped up in the fast pace of the world, but sometimes it feels good to slow down and take the time to heal before moving forward. I'll have more on this in another post, but for now, just know know things are really good.
ALSO: If you haven't already seen all my instagram posts of my new tattoo, I got a new tattoo!!! I always said I'd get some super meaningful ink one day, and this one is it. Honestly, I couldn't be happier with the work that was done. I had Marco over at Hidden Hand in Fremont, Seattle do it and it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen and perfectly encompuses all the different elements that I wanted!
I finally got around to podcasting! I've been meaning to get into it for a while now, so I'm super excited to be branching into having my own podcast now. After months of deliberation, the title will be Blondetourage and it'll mostly just be me and my friends/sister talking about life and things going on. I promise I'm kinda funny so people should all definitely listen to it! The first couple episodes are really short, but I'll be starting a new tab on this website for it so be sure to check it out!
Going forward: Fall 2017 and onward
I go back to Washington, D.C. to begin my senior year in ten days. It's weird to think that I'm almost done with college and this stage of my life is ending, but I'm so excited to finally be in the "real world." Nothing is solidified for post-graduation yet, but I know I want to try to get a position on-air for a radio station. Right now, I'm looking into small towns across the East Coast and West Coast (sorry people in the middle area but I need to be in a state with ocean-access).
Something I'm super psyched about that's coming up is BMOC, which is my sorority's annual fall philanthropy event. This fall, I will be co-chairing the event with my roommate/best friend Ali and I'm just thrilled to be able to give back to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, which has given me so much in the past. This means I'm getting ready to spend the next month and a half freaking out over finding sponsors and people to donate, as well as coordinating a pageant. I'm sure everything will be amazing though!
I never thought I'd be at this point in my life at age 19 and that I'd already have achieved so much before my 20th birthday, but the world is an amazing place full of incredible opportunity and I can't wait to explore them all. Hopefully y'all stick around for the next leg of this journey and all the legs that come after (even though it might be weird if I have more than two legs). Enjoy your summers, soak up some sun and eat ice cream for me!
If you haven't noticed, I've redone this website recently. This is my last summer before graduation so I figured it was a good time to switch things for a more professional vibe. Going from that, I still wanted to keep this website personal, so after much internal debate I'm going to continue with the blog and vegan portions of violetaubrey (now renamed aubreyvioleta). If you're curious and want to stay updated with what's going on in my life, follow my internal monologs and check out photography, then look no further! This part of the website will remain fully functional and up for you!
And if you're looking for an immediate update, well then keep reading. I have some things going on.
What I've been up to
The semester just wrapped up at AU, and I've been back in Seattle for exactly week now. At the beginning of May, I put together a few different pieces about music that are available to view on this website (check out Radio and Print). There's also a variety of some of my favorite projects that I worked on throughout the semester on those pages, so be sure to give them a listen or read!
I've recently been getting back into photography and have a few projects in the works so I'll be sure to keep you guys all updated on those! I'm hoping to do a sort-of "week in pictures" series on this page to showcase the different things I experience and see this summer. If you want to see my more narcissistic side, make sure you're following my Instagram, where I post pictures of myself a little too frequently.
I ended by semester with some super cool experiences that included touring NPR headquarters, wrapping up my time as an editorial intern at Memunatu Magazine and putting together my first resume reel!
Coming up this summer
As previously mentioned, I have a few different photo projects I plan to work on (don't worry they'll all be shared on here), but beyond that I plan to spend this summer preparing for post-graduation and hunting for jobs. I'm still figuring out if I feel more inclined towards radio or TV broadcast, so hopefully I'll figure it out by the end of the summer. Most of what I plan to do is looking across different stations and networks and preparing cover letters to send out to them in the spring.
Yesterday, I stopped by KUOW's RadioActive, which is the program I participated in my senior year of high school and that I credit with developing my passion for journalism. It's really an incredible program and network of youths who are passionate about sharing stories. One thing I've realized this year is that I can go out on my own and cover stories without having the immediate backing of a station or school. In my free time this summer, I hope to cover some stories and topics that I'm passionate about, which I'll share on this site and on my Facebook page. Covering music-related topics at the end of this year was really eye-opening for me and I realized that covering a topic I'm interested in helps make the whole journalistic process seem a lot more fun and exciting. I loved getting to talk to different venue owners, musicians and music critics about what they thought about the D.C. music scene and how they've seen it change for my longform radio piece, and it was really interesting to talk to different students and record collectors about how they viewed the resurgence that the music industry is seeing in vinyl for my enterprise story.
This summer, I'll be staying busy by working full-time out of Nordstrom's corporate HQ in Seattle, DJ-assiting at KEXP 90.3 FM and volunteering at KING 98.1 FM.
A list of projects I've been involved with this semester
Just to make it easier, here's an overview of the highlights:
It's easy to get caught up in life. Between classes, work and interning there have been many times during which I've forgotten that things exist outside of school and trying to build my career. And beyond that, it's easy to lose your sense of self when you're so preoccupied doing everything. Recently, I took a class titled Women, Leadership, Policy and Power. The pre-class assignment included a series of self-reflection questions to lead you to discover, or simply articulate, "what you really want to do." I think it's important to reflect inwards and figure out what it is we truly wish to do. That doesn't necessarily mean quit your job in the pursuit of happiness, but it could e as simple as setting aside 10 minutes every day for "you time."
This year, I've been focusing on what I need to do to make myself happy and feeling content. Happiness doesn’t come in a one-size-fits-all perfect little box. Its different for everyone. That being said, here are some things that I have found to be unequivocally helpful in maintaining and growing my own happiness.
Establish a morning routine
When I wake up, the very first thing I do is make my bed. If my bed is already made, then my day has to begin, there’s no crawling back in for a just a few more minutes that end up turning into an hour-long nap.
After making my bed, I stretch. Some mornings it’s for 5 minutes, some mornings it’s 15, but its that initial flow of energy and brain stimulation that makes the whole day feel lest stressful and more composed.
Be mindful of what you're eating
If eating something makes you feel gross 30 minutes later– don’t eat it! Recently I’ve been working to reestablish my relationship with food. I think it all begins with where you get your food. Every Sunday, I make sure to go to the Dupont farmer’s market in D.C. to stock up on veggies and apples. There’s something about seeing where your food comes from that makes it so much more positive of an experience than just going to the grocery store (plus there’s no Oreo cookies to distract you from buying healthy food).
I’ve been working to incorporate fruits vegetables with all of my meals and minimize the processed stuff. Personally, when I eat healthier, I have so much more positive energy than when I don’t.
Also, cutting back on the things you don’t need. I’ve had to cut WAY back on my coffee consumption (and if you’ve read my earlier post, you know how much I love my coffee). By switching mostly to tea, I find that I’m not suffering caffeine crashes and withdrawal headaches and my energy is much more sustained throughout the course of the day.
Listen to your body. If you're thirsty, drink water! If you're craving something sweet, go for fruit. Most importantly, make sure you eat something (even if it's just a handful of almonds) every four hours, to maintain a healthy level of blood sugar.
Have a free day
On Saturdays I don’t do anything, and it’s my favorite day of the week. My schedule or organized to make sure that Saturdays remain free from plans, so that I can take the day to focus on whatever I want to do. This allows me to take trips into the city, or walk to the Georgetown waterfront to read and do it all at my own pace. There so much more enjoyment to be found in life when you’re not rushing from place to place and event to event.
My only rule for myself on my free day is that I have to get out of my room and off campus for a portion of this. Taking a step back from the stressful college atmosphere really allows me the freedom to process things a little slower and find an internal type of contentment that comes from being alone with myself.
Go to the gym
Or you could go for a run outside– regardless of where you go, make sure you’re getting exercise. It doesn’t have to be a marathon every day, but it needs to be something. Whether it’s yoga or going for a long walk or doing squats, make sure you always do one thing every day that’s fitness related. It’ll boost your endorphins and give you and overall feeling of wellbeing.
It doesn’t have to be super far, you don’t have to stay for an extended period of time, but make sure you get out every once in a while. Maybe you hop on a bus to the next city over or you go visit family for the weekend. Just make sure you get out and see more of the world than where you currently are. It’s easy to live in a bubble and feel trapped, but it’s important to get outside of that bubble and realize that life isn’t about one location, there’s a whole universe around you.
It's easy to hate on 2016. During the past few weeks, that seems to have been the Facebook post of choice for most of the people on my social media networks. As awful as these past few months have seemed, there was a lot more to 2016 than shocking elections and tragic deaths.
Reflecting on my own year, a lot has happened. I’ve had a variety of highs and lows, and 2016 has been a year with lots of changes. I’ve grown a lot as a person, and there’s a lot that I’m grateful to have experienced and learned from. As it comes to a close, I've realized there's a lot that happened to me in 2016 that has changed my life for the better.
From Nicaragua to California to New York to Portland, this was the year I learned how to travel. Sure I'd flown from one coast to another for college and visited various family members across the nation many times, but I'd never traveled by myself before this year.
It started with a research trip in March to the Makengue Reserve in Nicaragua, where I learned that maybe I wasn't as outdoorsy as I'd thought. A childhood of hiking and camping trips never could have prepared me for the constantly high temperature and humidity, relentless bug bites and lack of water. But despite the dizzy spells and exhaustion, I left ten days in the rainforest with the confidence of knowing that I could make it through that. Not only that, but I left with the most incredible memories and experiences and an unquenchable hankering for plantain chips.
I saw the Milky Way in all of its indescribable serenity, watched wild monkeys and sloths in treetops and realized that I’m truly awful at Spanish.
Next was an impromptu trip to Northern California (you can read about it here) to visit one of my friends from college. In the past I’ve flown out to see family, but I’d never traveled without my parents and I’d never stayed with someone I wasn’t related to. In a weird way, it felt like my first taste of independence. I concluded my summer with a road trip trip to Portland for a weekend of camping.
When I returned to school for fall semester, I managed to squeeze in two New York trips. Through the first one left me lost in Harlem with an anxiety-ridden grandmother waiting for me in the Bronx, I left with a deep appreciation for the 2 and the 5.
I've been at a loss for words for a while now. Last night, in front of the White House, a reporter asked me and my friends what it would mean for us as young women to have the first female president elected. We talked about gender equality and how for the first time in our lives, we would know that we lived in a country where we could be whatever (or whoever) we wanted to be. We talked about how inspired we felt by Hillary Clinton and that seeing such a strong, female figure encouraged us to follow suit. That was at 11:30 PM. We held onto hope. We said all the votes haven't been counted yet and that there'd be a recount. We naively insisted that this wasn't possible; a Trump presidency wasn't possible.
This morning I woke up and I wasn't sure how to feel. Today was supposed to be a special day. I didn't just vote for a female to be president, I voted for Hillary Clinton (something I've been trying to do since the '08 primaries), and I was going to watch her become 45. But today is not a happy day. As I sit here, waiting to watch the concession speech from the woman who I thought could do anything she set her mind to, I am overwhelmed with a sadness for our country. I don't know what will happen in these next four years. I feel a disconnect with my fellow Americans who thought that it was okay to appoint a man who has sexually assaulted women and promoted extreme hatred for minorities into the highest office. I am so sorry to all my friends who now feel unsafe in the country we call home. My grandparents came to this country to have a better future for themselves and their families, and now it upsets me that others may not get the same opportunity.
That being said, we must all hold strong. Four years isn't an eternity, and we will make it through this together. There will be more elections and we will show up to show the world that Trump's America isn't our America. We will mourn, we will heal and together we will win back our country. Sending love to all.
How many times have we said it during this summer alone? To your best friends from high school, to the people who live next door, to an old dance teacher that you run into at a art walk. But do we really mean it? And if we do, what do we expect to talk about? The weather? Local Traffic? New construction? Does "keep in touch" really just mean, "maybe I'll run into you again some day?"
Maybe the burden of contact falls on me, thus meaning the lack of contact is entirely my own fault. The number of business cards I've collected throughout the years and failed to reach out to is ridiculously high, even by my own standards. Perhaps if I overcame the hurdle of sending the first life-update email out, then I'd have more success not losing track of the people in my life.
And what exactly does keeping in touch entail? For my mom and her friends from past days of traveling abroad, it's as simple as sending out an annual Christmas card. For others, it's a scheduled cup of coffee once every year or so, to talk about everything that you've missed in the other person's life. The phrase can convey so much more than a scheduled occurrence though.
Think about all of the people that you didn't keep in touch with. All of the Facebook friends from high school that you'll probably never even speak to again. Sometimes I think that I should feel sad about that. After all, I spent four years navigating small talk and sitting next to people in class who have ended up playing such minor roles in my life, that I'm not even sure they've impacted it at all. I guess "keep in touch" is not necessarily a request, but rather a way of saying, you've made an impact.
I'll be the first to admit it, I've never been good at throwing things away. I'm much better at attaching sentimental value to articles of clothing and old knickknacks that really should have been donated to Goodwill years ago. Eventually though, whether it's the dress you wore for your first day of high school, or that gorilla figurine you got for your 8th birthday, everything has to go.
This summer, I've learned that you shouldn't expect to clear it all out in one go. Shirts that are you "absolute favorite" at the beginning of the summer, become a waste of space by the time fall rolls around. At the end of the day, what you have to think to yourself is, if I was moving across the country tomorrow, what we be worth putting into storage or bringing with me. If you'd be able to life without it for a year, chances are, you don't need it.
Though I am in no means an expert in decluttering, here is my advice for how to decide what stays and what goes:
Have you worn in in the past year? If no, donate it or bring it in to a thrift shop.
Are you only keeping it because of sentimental value or because it's a present? Again, if you don't wear it don't keep it.
Do you feel anything less than the 100 emoji when you wear it ? Your clothes should always make you feel fabulous. If they don't, then they're not worth the closet space.
Look for redundancies. Unless you wear it every day, you don't need four of the same shirt. Try to cap it at two if its something basic and essential, like black tank tops or white shirts.
Certain items might be worth the storage space. I'm not saying to get rid of your favorite prom dress, or anything like that, but maybe you don't need every homecoming dress you wore for four years.