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Words of Advice

The Genies Try Standing Desks

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Have you heard the phrase, “sitting is the new smoking?” As a millennial, I’ve been hearing this non-stop and it doesn’t ‘sit‘ well with me seeing as I sit from 9-5, Monday through Friday of every week.  

I believe the stir all started when Martha Grogan, a cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic said, “for people who sit most of the day, their risk of heart attack is about the same as smoking.” Many researchers refer to it as “the Sitting Disease,” and have said that there are also links to increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and early death. 

So when a friend at POPSUGAR offered to donate all of their old, but very high-quality standing desks to the Gossip Genie team, I jumped on the opportunity. We got in Anneliese’s truck and headed downtown to grab them.

One week later, many of the Genies are already enjoying using them. I’ve asked each of the Genie’s how they felt about them throughout the last few days and this is what they said: 

“I’ve had my standing desk for about an hour and I’m already obsessed. It’s SO nice to finish one of the many Gossip Genie treats, go back to my workspace, and burn off a little extra energy standing while working.” – Shannon

“I never really gave the standing desk a chance when I came across them in the past. I can’t wait to start using them! It will be nice to have the option of both sitting and standing during the work day.” – Ali 

“I’m excited to try it, though I haven’t yet! Former Genie Dana used to use one all the time and I was always curious to try it. I hope it can help with my posture!” – Anthony

“I’m excited to try my standing desk! I’m not sure how much I’ll use it, but I’m excited to see if it will help my back and neck feel less sore after a long day.” – Kristina

“I still haven’t tried my standing desk because I get nervous about trying new things. Everyone else seems to like theirs, though, so I should probably give it a try!”  – Keenan 

I’m sticking to sitting on my balancing ball chair, but I might be willing to try it in a few months!” – Jacqui 

As for me (Taryn), I’m loving mine so far! Even sitting at it has been more comfortable because I’m sitting higher up and I don’t need to hunch as much. When I do stand at it, it’s very comfortable! I think I’ll stick with it and try to stand for at least one hour every day. 

Infographic: Why Your Business Needs a Social Media Strategy

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Living in the 21st century, it’s hard to avoid social media. It’s all around us, but does your business have an effective social media strategy in place? With over 1 billion users just on Facebook alone, the opportunity to advertise and engage with people is endless. Social media is a relationship-building tool, which if used correctly, can build a larger client base for a business. If you want your business to evolve, then embracing social media is a must and should be an integral part of your company’s digital marketing strategy. Here are a few reasons why. 

5 New Year’s Resolutions Everyone Needs to Make

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I know 2016 was a rough year for a lot of people. But it was literally the best year of my entire life. I quit a job I was unhappy at, I started working for Gossip Genie, I bought my blog domain, and most importantly I became a Mrs. It’ll be hard to top 2016 for me, but I have a few career-related resolutions that I think will make this year fan-freaking-tastic for me. Here are 5 New Years resolutions I think every worker should add to their list for 2017.

1. Gain a new skill

Educate yourself! I feel like advancing technology has made self-education so accessible to our generation, so why not learn a new, valuable skill? My job is pretty creative, so I look to more art-related courses in order up my portfolio game. With so many e-courses, free youtube tutorials, and local classes available at our fingertips no one has an excuse to stop learning.

2. Be Assertive

Is it just me, or does being assertive feel really awkward? This year I’m going to remove “sorry” and “just” from my vocabulary. I’m going to be self-aware, know my worth, and have faith in my ideas. And I think you should too ;).

3. Be a Better Teammate

I think there is always room for us to grow as coworkers. This year I will consistently ask my work buddies if they need help with their projects, do what I can to help them succeed and provide constructive criticism when necessary. I think the last one will be the most difficult, but like I said in #2 you have to speak up or no one will learn and grow.

4. Set Concrete Career Goals

I love that our generation’s career ideations are more in line with “follow-your-heart” than “make tons of money.” It’s no longer surprising when people start their own businesses, change their field of work or switch to a company that more closely aligns with their career goals (regardless of how long they’ve been at their current company). But I think this free-spirited approach to our field of work has left our generation with a lack of concrete goal setting. This year I’m going to set specific, measurable, and achievable career goals. And you know what? I’m going to reach them.

5. Build Your Network

There’s no denying it. It’s all about who you know. Whether it’s winning a new client, getting a new gig, or finding a mentor – your network is key. This year I won’t just build my network, I’m going to remember to nurture the relationships as well. That means follow-ups, small notes, and lots of thank you cards.

Do you have any career resolutions?

4 Movies That Will Motivate Your Career

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Something everyone should know about me is that I absolutely love movies. As a self-proclaimed couch potato, nothing sounds more appealing to me than cuddling on the couch with my cat, a glass of wine in hand, and a full bowl of popcorn on my lap. While I may not have the most refined taste in entertainment, I can attest that I learn a little something from every silly movie I watch. So without further ado, here are 4 movies that will help kick your career into high gear.

1. Legally Blonde

A must-watch for anyone who needs some career/education motivation. Elle Woods works her way up from simple sorority girl to a thriving Harvard Law Student. How does she do it? Hard work. Dedication. Personal drive. The only caveat is her initial inspiration to go to law school is for a guy. But don’t worry, our girl Elle gets some perspective along the way and ends up achieving a ton because it’s what she wants.

2. The Devil Wears Prada

Andrea is a newbie to the fashion world. The Devil Wears Prada follows the beginning of her career at a renowned magazine. After struggling for a while, read: showing up late, misunderstanding directions (maybe Mercury was in retrograde?), and acting generally “sheep-ish” we get to see a montage of Andy’s career successes. Score. She learns her way around the industry, climbs through the ranks, beats the odds and ultimately gains her boss’ approval. Side note, don’t read too much into her friends’ and boyfriend’s rude reactions to her epic career successes, they’re clearly jealous. P.S. How could Andy not succeed with a boss like Meryl Streep. She’s all the motivation we need to be an amazing career woman. Am I right, or am I right?

3. Brave

Merida suffers a similar fate of many Disney princesses that came before her. That is, her parents’ antiquated ideations have led them to believe their daughter is destined to rely on a man. But don’t worry, Merida decides to take her fate into her own hands, and compete for her own hand in marriage. Get. It. Girl. She stays true to herself and believes she can be queen on her own terms, even when everyone else constantly tells her no. While this film doesn’t focus on a career, I think it’s a great example of believing in yourself and your abilities.

4. Miss Congeniality

Last but not least, Miss Congeniality follows Gracie Hart, a total B.A. FBI agent who is the definition of a *boss* at her job. Confidence – check, ability – check, skills- check. If you need any kind of motivation on how to truly care about your career, look no further.

4 Career Lessons I Learned from the Hamilton Soundtrack

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I’m going to be honest with you all. I am absolutely obsessed with the Broadway play, Hamilton. But I’m not alone. As much of the country can agree, this play is revolutionary. The ideations expressed throughout Hamilton transcend generations, race, gender, social class, etc.

Don’t worry, the many hours I’ve spent listening to this amazing soundtrack, has not only left me with the ability to tell you everything about Hamilton’s life (useful for trivia nights), but I’ve also learned 5 highly applicable career lessons.

1. Believe in yourself, even if no one else does.

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Play: Unlike many of the other founding fathers, Hamilton was not born into high-class power positions.Yet he still managed to become one of the most influential people in American history. He earned it.

Takeaway: If Hamilton can rise up through the ranks on merit alone, then you can, at the very least, believe in yourself. Believe in your pitch, your reasons for a promotion, and your ideas. Even if others don’t.

2. Hamilton didn’t accept “no,” and neither should you.

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Play: Throughout the play, Hamilton tries time and again to become a commanding officer in the military, but is continually met with rejection. The future first president of the United States flat-out rejected him, but even that didn’t stop Hamilton from pursuing his passion. Eventually, he led a troop into the battle at Yorktown and was VICTORIOUS.

Takeaway: Maybe your manager/client has rejected your brilliant idea, but if you truly believe in it then don’t accept rejection, at least not yet. Do more research, back up your ideas with objective reasoning, and pitch it again. Don’t give up on your ideas, make them stronger.

3. Think, create, and make your voice heard, no matter what.

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^ Yeah, Hammy isn’t going to listen to that advice, Burr.

Play: Hamilton is a talker. He’s not afraid to speak his mind. And to be honest, he’s usually right.

Takeaway: Take a note from Hamilton and be confident in your work. Speak up when you have a question or an idea. Regardless of your job title, make your voice heard.

4. Your reputation matters.

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Play: While Hamilton didn’t lack confidence, he did lack politeness.

Takeaway: You should speak your mind and make your voice heard in your organization, but you should also be respectful and open-minded to other’s ideas. As Hamilton would say, “you have no control […] who tells your story,” so don’t give them anything bad to say.

Sit back, put on some headphones, take a listen, and learn a lot.

 

 

How to make a splash at your tradeshow on social media

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Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the International Vision Expo in Las Vegas and live covering the event on social media. The International Vision Expo is a conference and expo for the eyecare and eyewear industries, displaying the latest in fashion, technology, and education. Gossip Genie previously attended Vision Expo East in New York but we had bigger role at Vision Expo West and incorporated a wealth of new campaigns to drive engagement and increase reach at the show.

As a result, interaction with the show via social media reached record levels at Vision Expo West 2016, with a 700 percent increase in Facebook engagement over 2015 and more than 30 percent increase in Twitter impressions. The official show hashtag, #VisionExpo, was used more than 4,500 times during the show, and more than 20k people viewed the official Vision Expo Snapchat filter.
Here are a few tips to increase social media engagement at your next tradeshow or event:

1. Highlight exhibitors in unique ways
Vision Expo West offered 180,000 square feet of exhibit space with more than 100 new fashion brands debuting fall lines so there was a lot of ground to cover! It’s important to feature the many different brands present but with so many exhibitors, it can be hard to think of new and unique ways of highlighting them. Getting face time with the owners and designers behind the eyewear at Vision Expo was helpful to gather interesting information and tidbits to tweet out and use for content.img_7354

2. Use video to engage people who can’t be there

A major component of our social media strategy at Vision Expo West was to increase the use of video at the show. Prior to the show, we teased the event through video clips from past Vision Expo attendees and exhibitors to drive registrations for Vision Expo West 2016. We also launched a Snapchat account for the show where we used video to document key events at Vision Expo West, including a party at Tao Nightclub. Our Snapchat stories were viewed over 20,000 times. During the show, we used Facebook Live to broadcast the Vision Expo Pop-Up Talk series, the most popular of which featured a model showing off the latest fall eyewear trends. This allowed the audience at home to get insight into the interesting things and educational courses happening at the show.

I also had the chance to film ’90s singer Lisa Loeb, who was debuting her eyewear line at the show, on Facebook Live and interview her about her frames.

Video content really gives your audience a behind-the-scenes look at the event.

3. Connect with local bloggers to attend the event 

A great way to increase the reach and engagement on social media for your show or event is to have influential bloggers attend. We incentivized bloggers to attend with a free pair of designer eyewear. We also had the bloggers host a giveaway on their blogs with the eyewear to help increase our engagement with the #VisionEpxo hashtag and expand our follower base. This was a win-win for the blogger and the exhibitor, Marchon Eyewear.

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4. Promote the hashtag and always use engaging, high quality photos

It goes without saying, but captivating images always resonate better. We were lucky to have some amazing frames and displays to photograph and share on social media!

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Stress Less: 12 Ways to Stop The Worrying

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12 Ways

I have to warn you, guys, the statistics on stress aren’t pretty. Stress is the “basic cause of 60% of all human illness and disease” and “1 in 5 Americans experience extreme stress” regularly that includes shaking, heart palpitations, and depression (stress.org).

With work, family, bills, friends, and errands constantly on our minds, it’s easy to let it get the best of us. We spend all our time working on project after project and running from event to event without ever taking a moment to step back. However, we seriously need to remember the importance of breaking this cycle of overexertion and focusing on self-care. After all, you always want to put the best version of yourself out there for the world!

I took a moment to ask friends and coworkers how exactly they handle stress and anxiety for this blog. So, the next time you feel like everything’s falling apart and you can’t calm down and you just want to run away and never come back, I recommend using one of these strategies instead.

  1. Working Out

Working out helps me. Yoga to clear the mind, and intense cardio to release energy from a busy day.” –Elizabeth

Break a sweat to forget! Working out is a positive way to refocus your energy and relieve tension. It gets the endorphins pumping to lift your mood and calm the mind.

If you like to run, I recommend trying out Spotify’s ‘Running’ function. It will create a playlist of songs that have the same tempo as your running speed to keep you moving.

  1. Bath Time

For me personally, a bath is usually my go-to activity for stress relief. I drop in a rose-scented bath bomb, put on Gypsy Kings radio, and focus on mindfulness. Don’t forget to silence your phone too!

  1. Journaling

Journaling is an excellent way to reflect on the day. You can write about your worries, list out your blessings, or doodle to your heart’s content – whatever works for you.

Bonus: for those looking to try something new, try a 30-day journaling challenge. Pinterest has loads of these challenges, which give you a specific topic to discuss or task to accomplish each day.

  1. Pouring Yourself a Drink

Sometimes, a refreshing beer or tasty cocktail can do the trick. As long as you don’t go overboard (nobody needs to deal with a hangover during a busy week), go for it – you deserve it!*

*Wine is best served with a side of Bravo and a carton of cookie dough ice cream.

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  1. Adult Coloring Books

Keeping yourself busy with a fun yet mindless task like coloring is a good way to divert your attention elsewhere. You can buy loads of different kinds of coloring books at the dollar store. Peace of mind for a buck? Yes please.

  1. Making Playlists

Creating a kickass playlist for your commute or workday can make the rest of your week much more enjoyable. It gives you something to look forward to rather than just dreading everything on your to-do list.

  1. Reading

Putting down the phone and picking up a book is a good way to give your mind, neck, and eyes a rest from technology. I know you have a whole stack of novels you’ve been meaning to get to anyways.

My current recommendations:

 

Let me know what you think when you read them!

  1. Volunteering

“I go to PAWS animal shelter, and volunteer in ‘Kitty City’ AKA I play with kittens for 2 hours.” –Shannon

Giving back is another positive way to refocus your energy. You’ll be too busy interacting with new people, making memories, and putting good back into the world to think about yourself.

  1. Unplugging

Sometimes, you just need to isolate yourself from our constantly connected world. Putting off text messages to the next day, saving emails for first thing in the morning, and logging off Facebook can make all the difference.

Things to do that don’t require a phone, laptop, or TV:

  • Play a board game
  • Walk your dog
  • Do a Sudoku
  • Sew something
  • Ride your bike
  • Buy fresh flowers
  • Write a letter
  • Throw around a football
  • Clean out your closet
  • Make coffee

 

  1. Phoning a Friend

Just letting everything off your chest and venting is sometimes the answer to all your problems. Call a friend and ask them to talk – something this simple could be just what you need.

Shoutout to my go-to friends – you know who you are.

  1. Crafting

Scrapbooking, crocheting, collaging, painting, modge-podging – whatever floats your boat! Working with your hands can be a nice way to give your mind some time off.

  1. Meditation

“I use Buddhify and Pacifica.” –Sonia

Taking the time to meditate can help you re-center your focus on the things that truly matter. There are loads of apps available in the App Store or Google Play for you to try out.

Pro tip: if you are new to meditation and don’t want to spend money on an app, Spotify has loads of meditation sessions available in their ‘Word’ section.

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So there you have it! I hope one of these strategies can help you manage your anxiety and take the edge off your day. I’ll leave you with this little reminder: “You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.”

Work from Home Like A Boss

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Like many agencies today, Gossip Genie gives employees the option to work from home. Although some people thrive in a home environment, others might find it stressful. It can be difficult to have the same productivity level from the comfort of your living room. I personally love working from home, and a lot of times I feel like I’m even more efficient.

If you aren’t yet comfortable with your ability to work from home, then this article is for you! Keep reading for tips on how to stay on top of your to-do list from the comfort of your house.

1. Create a work space

Regardless of your living situation, you should try to carve out a small space in your home that is dedicated to work. It can be a separate room, a desk in a corner, or even your kitchen table. Creating a workspace in your house will help make an environment that is conducive to working.

I would stay away from claiming your couch or bed as a work space. Those areas of the house are associated with rest and relaxation, so they might cause a dip in productivity. 

2. Turn off distractions

Just because your TV is 10 feet away from you doesn’t mean it should be on. While some people need background noises to concentrate, others do not.

If the TV is too distracting, but the stillness of your apartment is driving you crazy, then you should try putting on some tunes. I personally love Spotify’s Workday – Pop playlist, or movie soundtracks (Lord of the Rings is my go-to).

3. Keep a regular schedule

Unless your manager tells you otherwise, you should keep your normal working hours. If you maintain the same workday schedule at home, then you’ll be more incentivized to get through your to-do list by 5:00pm. Good employees know how to prioritize and get their work done in a timely matter, so don’t think working late is the ticket to a positive performance review.

 

How to Prioritize a To-Do List

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How to prioritize

We’ve all had those days where our to-do list is about a mile long, and everything seems to be priority #1. Unless you’re some kind of superhuman (lucky you) – we all have to get through the prioritization process the same way: one task at a time. As you stare at your seemingly daunting list, try not to panic, instead use these 5 questions to figure out which item is the true priority.

1. What is the due date?

This should always be the first question you ask yourself. If you have a project, report, or agenda that absolutely needs to be done by noon and it’s 10:15 a.m. it’s a pretty safe bet that you should do it before anything else. If possible, always try to complete projects as far ahead of the due date as possible (easier said than done, I know). I think we can all remember that 10 page college paper we started writing the night before it was due… Live and learn.

2. How much time will it take?

Your list is lengthy, but think about how long each task will take to complete. If it’s something simple and you can get it done quickly, try and knock that one out first. By focusing on the smaller tasks at hand, you can get a lot done in less time. I think we can all agree there is no better feeling than crossing items off your to-do list.

3. Do I have what I need?

In order to complete any ask you need to have all the information. If you are waiting on outstanding items from your coworkers or clients, make sure you reach out to them ASAP. It’s a no brainer, but if you don’t have all the information, you can’t complete the task. Anything on your list that falls under this category should be reprioritized until you have all of the necessary components.

4. Can I break this down into smaller tasks?

Sometimes there are items on my to-do list that seem so daunting, I just want to put them off a little while longer. But refer to question #1 for the possible consequences of procrastinating a major ask. In this case it’s helpful to break down your project into smaller tasks. For example: if you have to put together a presentation, then break down each aspect of the presentation into smaller tasks (gathering visuals, writing copy, creating an outline). This will help guarantee no part gets forgotten, and breaking an assignment down into smaller tasks can help make it feel a little more manageable.

5. Who’s asking?

Here’s the last question to ask yourself when prioritizing a to-do list. Requests and projects come from everyone: your manager, the head of the department, clients, etc. When prioritizing it’s important to keep in mind who the deliverable is for. For example, if a client asked you to do something, then that task should most likely take priority over a request from a colleague (but not always).  Think about the “big picture” in these instances, and prioritize from there.

How I Keep Up with my Creative Technical Skills

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Working in social media means constantly being up-to-date with the latest digital trends and playing the role of copywriter and art director. With a degree in PR, I have to admit, my education did not include photography or graphic design classes, so learning on my own time has been essential to working in this industry. There’s two resources that I highly recommend if you’re like me and didn’t learn these skills in school or just want to brush up on your skills.

Adobe Creative Cloud

I have a Creative Cloud subscription, which gives me complete access to all Adobe programs—Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, you name it. There are various videos for each program that range from tutorials for beginners to projects for developing your skillset. I like to take advantage of the community forums for troubleshooting and figuring out how to do specific application actions.

Photo Credit: TechSoup

Photo Credit: TechSoup

 

Lynda.com

My latest obsession has been the LinkedIn-acquired online learning database Lynda.com. The site is organized by different learning paths— design, IT, photography, web, etc.— where you can watch nearly 5,000 videos and complete “assignments” with downloadable exercise folders specific to each course. If you’re new to any of these disciplines or need someone to tell you the basics of what to learn, then Lynda.com is perfect—it’s just like taking an online course, but at your own pace and with no grades. The videos are also extremely high quality and very clear to follow. As an added bonus, you can receive Lynda.com certifications for the courses you take, which is a great feature to use at a company for continuing education.

The best part about each of these resources is that I can use them at my own convenience to work around my work and personal life. Economically, I’m spending about the same or even less on a yearly subscription of each of them than I would by just taking a single class at a college.