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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Jones New York at HerConference

*Note: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.*

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"Take constructive feedback and help it grow your career. If it's not constructive, forget it and move on."

If you've read my NYC travel guide, then you'll know that one of my suggestions is a little unconventional: attend a conference in the big apple! Top experts come from all over the globe to speak in NYC, and you can learn a lot in a single conference. I was honored to be asked to attend the HerConference, which is an inspiring development event geared towards women that focuses on topics such as marketing, entrepreneurship, media, and social impact. Read on to see what we learned at the event!

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Jones New York at HerConference


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The Jones New York activation was front and center at the conference, and with good reason. This line is specifically made for professional women, and filled with sophisticated, effortless looks with a modern twist. It's the perfect aesthetic for driven, business-savvy women in the workplace. 

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I love being able to pull from the Jones New York collection for professional clothing that makes me feel confident and powerful while staying trendy and polished.

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They even had a complimentary nail bar set up for conference attendees with power colors. I went with Future CEO Red for obvious reasons!

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Keynote Speakers


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I'm always a fan of a good quote, and there were a ton of great ones at the HerConference.

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The first keynote speakers were Keltie Knight, Jac Vanek, and Becca Tobin of Ladygang, which is a huge weekly podcast. They've overcome a lot and shared their stories and advice on making it as entrepreneurs in the business world. Here are some key takeaways from their talk:

  • You can't let rejection dilute your potential for success. One of the Ladygang crew tried out 4 times for the Rockettes before she made it. Ladygang was rejected from nearly every network before being picked up by the E! network. In their words, "you were wrong about me, I am a star!" which is hilarious, but also a good mindset to have.
  • One Ladygang member said: Being from the south, where women's worth can sometimes be based mainly on looks and who they marry, it's important to realize that you have so much more to offer than your looks. Life is long, and you're not going to be cute and 20 forever, so being driven and empowered is something that will carry you much further in life.
  • You don't have to be a hardcore feminist. You can empower each other but still like fashion and watch the bachelor if you want to.
  • On setbacks: One Ladygang member says she gives herself 24 hours to be upset then jumps back in the game (I've heard Beyonce say something similar). Another member semi-jokingly said she gives herself more like 3 years to be upset, so to each their own! 
  • This too shall pass. It's hard to remember those good feelings when you're going through personal struggles like a breakup, but try to keep it in perspective and remember that it won't last forever.
  • Be tenacious. Looking back, one wished she was more confident and able to speak up for what she deserved earlier in life.
  • When sending out pitches, until you get a no, keep asking! I've found this to be true when reaching out to hotels and other aspects of business. Some people get hundreds of emails a day, so if they haven't specifically said no thank you, they might not have even seen your pitch yet. Don't be afraid to follow up (in a polite way).
  • Your 20's are hard, your 30's are better for women. This is still TBD but I could see it being true. You're still figuring out a lot about who you are in your 20's, and a lot is still heavily focused on your looks. In your 30's you know what you want, and it's more about your drive and going after your goals.


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Jones-New-York-HerConference

Samantha Barry was the keynote speaker on the second day of HerConference. She has an impressive resume as social media producer at both BBC and CNN, and now is Editor in Chief of Glamour magazine. Plus she has a very cool Irish accent! My favorite takeaways from her speech include:
  • Take constructive feedback and help it grow your career. If it's not constructive, forget it and move on.
  • Viewpoint is key. Don't do an article on Kim K.'s pink hair, but when Kylie Jenner tweets and it results in Snapchat's stock going down, do a piece on other women on social media with clout and influence like hers.
  • Go above and beyond. Our generation is so good about texting, direct messages, and emails. We can stand out by actually picking up the phone and getting an in-person coffee conversation.
  • Do something others can't. Samantha got an exclusive with Cynthia Nixon for Glamour when no one else did, which sets her and Glamour apart.
  • If you're interested in a career in digital marketing, it's important to take the time to learn video. Our generation consumes way more video than any in the past, so make sure you at least know how to do basic video edits.
  • Make it known on social media what you care about. If you say you have a passion for fashion, but all of your Instagram pictures are just you and your friends on the weekend, that won't help you land a job. Make sure your social accounts speak to your brand.


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The first breakout room we went to was all about how to turn your passion for social media into a job and included a rep from Betches. Advice included:

  • Your experience and creating things are far more important than internships
  • Be well-versed in all platforms, especially what's trending now on Instagram, etc.
  • Be funny, know the brand, know the content. Stories just need to be super relatable, so it's important to bounce ideas off of as many people as possible.
  • Your brand platforms should all sound like 1 person, so all employees need to completely understand the brand voice
  • Know advantages of each platform
  • Get feedback from others on your posts


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We also saw a great panel on the monetization of influencer platforms, which included the CEO of Bloglovin' and the CEO of Obviously. I was actually on Obviously's first campaign ever - you may remember this one with Uniqlo where I even got a poster in the Newbury Street store!  Key takeaways from this panel included:
  • Micro influencers are on the rise. More budget with brands equates to more tiers of programs and influencer levels. A smaller audience is ok if their audience is really engaged in those topics.
  • When pitching, show quality of comments with examples, screenshot metrics of posts, highlight past work (e.g. you took this brand and put this narrative around it). Make a target list (x3-4) and tag them - authentically tag them day-to-day. Show your stats, show what you can do for the brand, show what makes you stand out. Pitch entire story and narrative instead of just saying "hi work with me!"
  • Aside from the usual content on influencer channels, you can collaborate to create content for the brand's channels as well.
  • Push longer-term influencing rather than one-off campaigns.
  • Always counter-offer on rates & know your worth.
  • Collaborate with other influencers who are at your level.
  • Contracts: learn the lingo & make sure you know what you're signing!


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I even got to chat briefly with Mae Karwowski, CEO of Obviously.

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Jones-New-York-HerConference

There were a ton of other fun activations and photo opps at the conference, from Ulta Beauty Bar to a gif photobooth and even a cotton candy station from Bliss. I also won a pair of Hunter's newest boot style which is under $100!

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When life gives you lemons...

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Laugh them away!

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Whether you're an influencer, entrepreneur, interested in digital marketing, or just want to go far in the business world,  HerConference is the perfect place to get the latest tips and tricks from top experts in their fields. I can't wait to put the advice we learned at the conference to good use!  

 Have you been to HerConference? What was it like?
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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Sailing on Cape Cod with Chatham Sailboat Rentals

*Note: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.*

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Despite growing up in San Francisco and living in Boston the past 5 years, I've actually never been sailing until recently. I love the water and have always wanted to try it out, so it was such a cool experience to head out on the Cape with Chatham Sailboat Rentals


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Gliding through the water, with sea salt in messing up your hair and laughing with friends is one of the best feelings and a must for summers in New England. 

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Our instructor Eric was a great teacher. We all got to take turns steering the catamaran and even saw a seal briefly poke his head above the waves! There wasn't too much wind the day we went, but if there was we could have reached a pretty lighthouse down the shore a bit.

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There's just something about being on the water that evokes a settled & relaxed feeling. Any stress you may have manages to stay on the shore where it belongs! 

I can definitely recommend trying out sailing with Chatham Sailboats & Rentals, it was such a smooth experience and made us feel like sailors while staying safe and learning a bit about boating at the same time.

Have you been sailing? How did you like it? 
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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Travel Guide: Weekend in NYC

*Note: This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.*

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When you come to a city as vibrant as NYC, you have a pretty endless supply of options on what to do and see. You could spend weeks in a single neighborhood and still not see everything! Since moving to Boston 5 years ago, I've probably made 4-5 weekend trips out to the concrete jungle, so I figured I'd make a roundup of my favorite places to stay, eat and experience in the city - from the touristy (but worth it), to hidden local gems.

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Travel Guide: Weekend in NYC

Where to Stay: Hyatt Centric Times Square


http://www.chowdownusa.com/2018/08/travel-guide-weekend-in-nyc.html

For better or for worse, I've started to realize that I'm getting a little addicted to just gazing out at new views - be it skylines, beaches or tree tops. There's something to be said for the endless possibilities that come with new horizons.

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That said, you can imagine why I fell for these floor-to-ceiling windows at the Hyatt Centric in Times Square, with their front-and-center views of Manhattan! Locals may shy away from Times Square since it's deemed touristy, but when you're not a local sometimes you just have to see and experience those popular areas for yourself! This central location was honestly bustling with so much energy, it's impossible not to have fun and get excited here. I can't even begin to tell you how delicious their room service food was too - it was definitely gourmet, on par with the great NYC restaurants this city is infamous for.

http://www.chowdownusa.com/2018/08/travel-guide-weekend-in-nyc.html

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"Free admission to those who dream"

Not gonna lie, it took us way too long to figure out what this sign said. But we were smitten with it once it clicked. Clearly they put some thought into the interior design of the room which is so important. Little touches like this that give you a smile, just make you feel a little more at home.

http://www.chowdownusa.com/2018/08/travel-guide-weekend-in-nyc.html

"Heads north, tails south"


As someone who loves to travel, this one speaks to me and I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to take it home! Someone tell me if you see this in a Target or something somewhere! 

http://www.chowdownusa.com/2018/08/travel-guide-weekend-in-nyc.html

The Hyatt Centric Times Square is also home to the highest rooftop bar in Times Square. Bar 54 is named for the floor it's on in the hotel, and offers epic views of lower Manhattan and the Chrysler building! Pro tip: the wait to get up here can be long, but you get to completely skip it if you're a hotel guest! They also have a chic restaurant on the 1st floor called T45 Restaurant, which is a fun bistro serving globally inspired shareable plates.

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Don't mind me, just searching for some good H&M deals while I'm up here.

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How inviting are these yellow pillows? I wanted to just curl up and take a nap!

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What to Do

 Walk the Brooklyn Bridge


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The Brooklyn Bridge is more than a great photo op (though it definitely is that). There really is a buzz of energy in NYC, whether it's from the multitude of people in a small area or centuries of incredible history and stories here. This bridge is a great way to feel that energy while stepping out of the heart of the city itself, not to mention getting a great view of that iconic skyline. Plus, when you get to the other side you're in Dumbo, Brooklyn which is the next NYC area I want to explore!

Pro tip: get there early to avoid the crowds. We got up at 5 AM to head over, and there were still some joggers out and about on a Saturday morning.

http://www.chowdownusa.com/2018/08/travel-guide-weekend-in-nyc.html

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Visit the Rosé Mansion


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I got to attend a kickoff party at the Rosé Mansion before attending the Her Conference on my recently NYC trip. This is the cutest pop-up in Manhattan right now, with tons of picturesque rosé-themed rooms and interesting wine facts (not to mention a tasting)!

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Hold my calls, it's rosé o'clock. 

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It's almost like they set up shop here with Instagram in mind...

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Concrete jungle where rosé dreams are made of.

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Swinging through life like...

Expand Your Horizons: Attend a Conference


http://www.chowdownusa.com/2018/08/travel-guide-weekend-in-nyc.html

You'll see the full post on this soon, but I came out to NYC to attend Her Conference. This is a super inspiring event geared towards women interested in getting ahead in business, especially as entrepreneurs and in the media / marketing space. Being a blogger and someone who used to be in marketing, this was a really exciting event to cover. I came away energized, inspired, and full of fresh perspective and advice. I even got to meet girlboss Mae Karwowski, CEO of Obviously (who I worked with on my Uniqlo Campaign)!

Bottom line: don't forget that New York is also a hotspot for thought leaders, and attending a conference here is a great way to network and expand your horizons.

http://www.chowdownusa.com/2018/08/travel-guide-weekend-in-nyc.html

Take a Stroll (or Boat Ride) in Central Park


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Is Central Park touristy? Yes. But is it also still beautiful, iconic, great for people watching, and a brief nature respite from the big apple skyscrapers? Also yes. Bop around, take a boat out, go to the zoo, reenact your favorite sappy movie moments, have a picnic. So many possibilities here!

Pop in to the MET Museum


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Escape the heat in the summer or the snow in the winter by popping into the MET museum. It's huge, so don't expect to see it all in one afternoon, but it's fun to bop around and see some exhibits! 

Top of the Rock


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On a clear day you'll get a great bird's eye view of Manhattan and Central Park at the Top of the Rock. 

What to Eat


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The Milk Bar Store has everything from birthday cake shakes to cake truffles. 

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Beyoglu is a cute Turkish restaurant near the MET Museum, which is filled with super fresh, healthy dishes that are absolutely packed with flavor.

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Secret diners, intricate presentations, phenomenal flavors and creative textures - this is what great restaurants like Aldea are made of. In a city like NYC, a certain level of expertise is expected in fine dining, and Aldea absolutely steps up to the plate - with a Michelin Star to show for it!

http://www.chowdownusa.com/2018/08/travel-guide-weekend-in-nyc.html

Tanner Smith's is a fun restaurant & bar. I'm a fan because they didn't bat an eye when I asked for an egg on my tacos.

http://www.chowdownusa.com/2018/08/travel-guide-weekend-in-nyc.html

For a cozy Italian meal in the heart of Manhattan on Park Ave, Bread & Tulips is the perfect spot. They have outdoor seating which is perfect for people watching,  plus they offer gluten-free penne pasta.

http://www.chowdownusa.com/2018/08/travel-guide-weekend-in-nyc.html

Bea is a fun, trendy brunch spot in Hell's Kitchen. They offer live jazz and some of the best small plates I've had! Each dish is $10, or you can have unlimited plates brought out for $45.

http://www.chowdownusa.com/2018/08/travel-guide-weekend-in-nyc.html

What's your favorite thing to do in NYC?


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