Tuesday, February 28, 2017

March Motivation: The One Simple Thing You Should Do For Women's History Month

Since I started working at an outlet like MAKERS where women's stories are uncovered and celebrated in abundance, I have become increasingly interested in learning the stories of those around me on a daily basis.

Living in New York City, I am surrounded by people from all walks of life. On the subway, on the street, in the office, everywhere. Where are they from? Where are they going? Who do they love? What are their hobbies? Will their stories — no matter how unimportant they may seem — be passed along?

This constant curiosity made me realize just how easy it is for stories to get lost in time. Particularly for women. And though the award winning "Hidden Figures" film did an incredible job of uncovering the stories of NASA's "human computers" Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, just imagine all of the other women's stories that were lost in history... Especially those women who did not have an extravagant life with outstanding achievements.

So, since March is officially Women's History Month, I am hoping to hear the stories of even the seemingly average women and girls. Because every story deserves to be told.

Background Image From A Prettier Web

1. Find an outlet where you can submit personal content.
Many outlets accept personal testimonies or editorials through "contributor submissions." Sometimes, you may even get paid for these contributions! Three places that may be particularly useful for you:
  • The Huffington Post: "We're always looking for posts that are succinct, shareable and satisfying. Have something to say that nobody else is saying, or a personal story everyone will relate to? Send it to us"
  • Narratively: "Devoted to original and untold human stories, delivered in the most appropriate format for each piece, from writing to short documentary films, photo essays, audio stories and comics journalism. We are always interested in adding new, diverse voices to the mix and we pay for stories."
  • MAKERS Stories App: "The MAKERS Stories app aims to empower women to be their own storytellers and to change the world one story at a time."

2. Create and share a personal YouTube video.
While I am by no means a filmmaker, videos are one of the best ways to tell a story in a unique and eye-catching way. Whether you have a YouTube channel or just want to upload one video of you or a friend, this platform is definitely a promising option.

3. Write a blog post.
Celebrate 'you' with a special piece about yourself. Share your story with your followers so they get to know you on a personal level. Don't have a blog? Try posting your story or short personal essay on your social accounts. Facebook? Tumblr? Who knows, maybe even you can do it in 140 character parts on Twitter — no matter what you choose, you can get creative!

4. Jot it all down in your diary/journal.
If you don't feel comfortable making your story public or promoting it across social media, simply write it in your private diary or journal. Your story may not seem like much now, but over time you can add to it, update it, and watch your personal story unfold. Plus, even if your story may not seem "noteworthy" to strangers, your current/future children and grandchildren might enjoy reading it later in life... and you might, too.

5. Comment below and I will promote my favorites across social.
Tell me a small piece about what makes your story special in the comments section below! Throughout the month I will promote pieces of my favorite comments with the hashtag #ASprinkleOfHerstory. Be sure to leave your Twitter handle/Facebook link so I can tag you if you are chosen! Don't want to leave a comment? Share your story using this hashtag and I will happily retweet!


Who?
As some of you already know (hopefully most), my name is Taylor, I am 23-years-old, and to be honest, aside from my college entrance essay, I've never really written about myself, so bear with me as I am new to this.

The thing is, I have always loved to write. Whether it's about things that inspire me, the successes of empowering women, or a topic I feel will be helpful for readers, writing gives me an outlet to share my voice and connect with others in a powerful way.

What?
From the time I could walk, I was always taking dance classes. I never competed seriously and though I was far from the best (probably actually closer to the worst), it was a creative outlet that I held onto.

By the time high school came to an end, I decided I was going to move onto different things. High school was filled with ups and downs — ones that, in my young mind, felt like the happiest and worst times I would ever go through. But by the time graduation rolled around, I was ready to move on.


Where?
Eventually, I began my first classes as a full time student at Fordham University in New York. Here, I got my first internship and quickly realized I wanted to end up in a field in which whatever I created impacted those around me.

For me, these creations came in the form of writing. Through my college years, I applied to any and every open position, leading to internships at television shows, including "Inside Edition" and the "Rachael Ray Show" and magazines, including "Marie Claire" and "ELLE."

I wrote for my hometown's local newspaper, blogged for a startup, contributed to "I AM THAT GIRL" and "Spire & Co," became president of a campus club, and eventually ended up where I am today.


When?
Now, in the months following my college graduation, I have found myself increasingly curious about the stories of women. These stories are some of the very ones we tell at MAKERS, which is the very inspiration for my blog. I wanted to tell my own story in a series of posts that others could relate to, so that I could one day look back and see just how far I have come both professionally and personally.


Why?
Why this has all happened is quite the question, but regardless of the reason for it, I believe I have ended up here so I can use my words to influence others. Whether I have an impact on 5 million people or 7 over the course of my life, knowing that my words are out there and have been meaningful to at least one person — even myself — is enough to make it worth it.


Let's make sure we are a part of history! Tell me one thing about you or someone you know in the comment section below and/or share your story with #ASprinkleOfHerstory.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2017

11 Travel Hacks That Your Travel Agent Hasn't Told You


Wanderlust (n): A strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.

Ever since I could even think about exploring the world and traveling to foreign places, I promised myself I was going to do so.

But of course, as things often do, priorities take over and the destinations on my bucket list took the backseat to my responsibilities.

For me, trying to get a degree while interning every semester/summer and working part time jobs took priority over traveling. It's tough (and pricey) to take off from school, work, or whatever else to travel for an extended period of time, isn't it?!

And often times, even if you don't have school/work or you can take the time off, chances are you have a child or children in school, a partner who is working and/or getting a degree, friends who have different days off than you do, and/or you don't really want to go alone.

Nevertheless, I'm done with making excuses on why I shouldn't travel and giving myself all of the reasons why I should. Because if not now, when?

So, since it's that time of year where travel is at its peak. I've gathered some of the best travel tips and tricks that your travel agent wouldn't tell you, to help you (and myself) get ready to jet set and go.

1. Choose the right destination.

While you can go almost anywhere with almost anyone, there are specific trips that are best for those specific someones in your life. Here are some suggestions of places to go with the different people in your life — and even where to go by yourself.

○ Flying solo?

According to Travel + Leisure, some of the best places for women to travel solo include:
          - Iceland
          - London, England
          - Kripalu Center in the Berkshires, Massachusetts
          - Washington, D.C.
          - Norway's Fjords
          - Okinawa, Japan
          - Stockholm, Sweden
          - Melbourne, Australia
          - Copenhagen, Denmark
          - Saba, Caribbean
          - Taipei, Taiwan
          - Salzburg, Austria
          - Austin, Texas
          - Dubrovnik, Croatia
          - Munich, Germany
          - Seattle, Washington

○ Traveling with friends?

Whether you're in college, recently graduated, or just looking for a fun trip with your girlfriends, the College Times listed 18 perfect places to travel with your best pals and they're definitely all on my list:

          - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
          - St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
          - Tuscany, Italy
          - Bermuda
          - The Bahamas
          - Nashville, Tennessee
          - Cinque Terre, Italy
          - Barcelona, Spain
          - Budapest, Hungary
          - Prague, Czech Republic
          - Stockholm, Sweden
          - Las Vegas, Nevada
          - Cappadocia, Turkey
          - Lisbon, Portugal
          - Vienna, Austria
          - New York, New York
          - Athens, Greece

○ Exploring with a lover?

Condé Nast Traveler concluded that the 16 most romantic places to stay in the world are located in the following places, check the original article for the exact hotel locations:

          - Venice, Italy
          - Maui, Hawaii
          - Barnard, Vermont
          - Ocho Rios, Jamaica
          - Paris, France
          - Ladera, St. Lucia
          - Riviera Maya, Mexico
          - Newport, Rhode Island
          - An Lam Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam
          - Napa Valley, California
          - Gili Lankanfushi, Maldives
          - Udaipur, India
          - Franschhoek, South Africa
          - Little Torch Key, Florida
          - Wadigi Island, Fiji
          - Bali, Indonesia

○ Sightseeing with family?

The best family destinations around the world, according to National Geographic are:
          - Amalfi Coast, Italy
          - Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
          - The Great Wall, China
          - Hong Kong
          - Iceland's Ring Road
          - Machu Picchu, Perú
          - New York, New York
          - Marrakech, Morocco
          - Havana, Cuba
          - Paris, France
          - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


2. Search for flights in private mode.

Once you choose your destination, the next step is, of course, to book the flights and place you will stay. But, before searching for any of it, make sure your Internet browser is in private or incognito mode.

To do so, go to "File" > "New Incognito Window" (in Chrome) or "File" > "New Private Window" (in Safari or Firefox). This will prevent airline or other travel sites from using your search history to determine where you have traveled and what you have previously paid, which could potentially help safe you money depending on when you are searching.


3. Subscribe to receive airline emails.

If you have a preferred airline, make sure you are subscribed to its email list. Whether it be Delta, Jet Blue, American Airlines, or another, most have email lists where you can receive fare alerts, special deals, and flash sales to make sure you're getting the absolute best deal.


4. Search "airline name + promo code" on the Internet or look on the airline’s Facebook page for discount codes.

Whether or not you are subscribed to an email list, always be sure to do a simple Google search to see if you can save even more. Search "*insert airline name* promo code" to see if there are any discount codes that will work to give you an even better deal. Not seeing any through your search? Try checking out the airline's Facebook page for discount codes or try out my favorite site (for all kinds of discount codes), Retail Me Not.


5. Rent a house/condo.

If you're traveling for more than a few nights, it's important to make sure you're not only saving on your flight, but also saving on other accommodations. Unless you have credit card points or a timeshare, often times hotels are not the best bang for your buck. Searching for options on sites like Airbnb or VRBO and paying a flat weekly price can often save you a lot of money.


6. Save on car rentals through your memberships.

Should you choose to rent a car — whether it's for a road trip where you don't need a flight or for transportation around your destination — there are ways to save if you search. Check to see if any of your memberships will help save you money. Those like Costco (Costco Travel is also great for vacation packages, cruise deals, and amusement/theme park discounts) and AAA often offer great prices on rental cars.


7. Traveling with one partner? Reserve the aisle and window seats.

If you're traveling with one other person, try reserving the aisle and window seat. Most people don't want the middle seat, so you are more likely to get the whole row to yourself. Should the flight be fully booked and someone does end up sitting next to you, I'm 99.9% sure they'll be happy to switch with you for the window or aisle seat so you're next to your travel buddy.


8. Roll your clothes when packing.

Pack like a pro and roll your clothing instead of folding it all in order to save space. Also try: putting your socks inside your shoes and putting the heaviest items at the bottom toward the wheels to make it easier to roll.


9. Save Google Maps for offline viewing.

Especially if you are traveling abroad where you won't have access to cellphone service (cheaply) and often times wifi, it's important to make sure you have your destination's maps saved on your phone for offline access. To learn how to do so, click here.

10. Pre-order meals at the airport with the Grab app.

Download the Grab app, which is available at 40 different airports in the United States, to have food ready and delivered to you at your terminal and/or on the way to your gate.


11. Take advantage of airport wifi.

Now this is an absolute lifesaver. Anil Polat of foXnoMad blog, created this "always-up-to-date list of airport wireless passwords around the world."


Do you have any helpful travel tips or tricks? Comment below so I can add.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Why You Should Love Yourself First


Before I begin, I'd like to point out the fact that I am by no means an expert on love or relationships. I do, however, believe that from the relationships I have been in, I learned a lot about myself. Particularly what I want in a relationship, what I don't want in a relationship, and also what I deserve in a relationship.

On a more personal note, I've had my fair share of relationship mishaps in the past — as many of us have. I've been heartbroken, I've been the heartbreaker, I've been given far less love than I deserve (and made the mistake of believing that's all I deserved), and I've been guilty of wondering if it was, in fact, me who was the problem.

But between having my first boyfriend at 14 to my current relationship at the ripe age of 23, I've thankfully grown and matured, made mistakes and learned from them, and recognized and nurtured the important relationships in my life.

Along the way, I found myself, accepted my flaws, and recognized my worth. And as soon as I did, as soon as I decided I would focus on myself, I ended up in a healthier and happier relationship than I could ever dream up.

I've learned, because of this, there is no love quite as powerful as the one you have with yourself. Self-love opens the door to a world of possibilities. Whether that's a romantic relationship, a friendship, a career opportunity, or anything else, you have the ability to make it happen.


"Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world."
Lucille Ball

"Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are."
— Marilyn Monroe

"You’re always with yourself, so you might as well enjoy the company."
Diane von Furstenberg

"You alone are enough, you have nothing to prove to anyone."
— Maya Angelou

"Believing in our hearts that who we are is enough is the key to a more satisfying and balanced life."
Ellen Sue Stern

"If you wouldn't say it to a friend, don't say it to yourself."
— Jane Travis

"Lighten up on yourself. No one is perfect. Gently accept your humanness."
Deborah Day

"In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different."
— Coco Chanel

"Self-esteem comes from being able to define the world in your own terms and refusing to abide by the judgments of others."
Oprah Winfrey

"I am allowed to have healthy self-esteem."
Amy Poehler

"If you don't see your worth, you'll always choose people who don't see it either. When your self esteem rises, your life follows."
Mandy Hale


Have you started to love yourself? How did you learn to do so? What was the hardest part?

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts To Give Yourself


I don't know about any of you, but I always feel guilty spending money on articles of clothing or items that I can only wear/use once. I know the whole "outfit repeating" thing is shunned upon in the fashion world, but to me, the whole beauty of style is being able to take something from your wardrobe and transform it to make multiple unique and killer outfits (also because I would be lying if I said I haven't worn some of my favorite outfits more than once — or seven times).

With that said, festive holiday attire is of no exception. I mean — if I'm going to buy something to wear on Valentine's Day or, I don't know St. Patrick's Day?, I want it to be something I can wear more than just one day a year. But, that's not to say I won't be wearing red or pink for Cupid or green for the ol' St. Patty. In fact, I'll probably be decked out, but in things I can wear again before the same day in 2018.

For this reason, I'll be buying items that, while festive, I can wear more than once. From items like the pretty red ruffle dress to the pink and red tassel drop earrings pictured above, these are just some of my favorite finds that can be worn throughout the year as well as on February 14th.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Highlights From The 2017 MAKERS Conference


After months and months of preparation and excitement for The 2017 MAKERS Conference, I was absolutely ready to get to California's beautiful Terranea Resort and kick off an unforgettable three days... Or so I thought.

The weekend before my expected departure day I could feel myself starting to get sick and despite taking regular doses of Zicam (every 6 hours as instructed) to prevent what I thought would be just a bad cold, the worst case scenario ensued.

The final diagnosis? Bronchitis (which is far from ideal, especially for someone with asthma) and the flu (even though I got a flu shot back in November).

So when I had to change my flight from Saturday to Monday, I'm sure you can imagine how disappointed I was. My first-ever business conference delayed because I had not a cold, but bronchitis + the flu.

Nevertheless, the three day conference, which began the Monday I landed at LAX, was one of the greatest experiences of which I have ever been a part.



DAY 1

By the time I arrived on Monday, we were ready to get evening 1 of the conference started. To kick off the night and open the conference, the MAKERS team premiered an exclusive opening video from Hillary Clinton, in which she voiced that the "future is still female," followed by an incredible discussion between Gloria Steinem and Octavia Spencer about the importance of uncovering the stories of all of history's hidden figures.

After a few other sessions with some amazing speakers, it was dinnertime. At the "MAKERS Pub," the team played episode 1, "Making Herstory," of its first-ever podcast, which tells the story of Maria Pepe, Little League's First Girl, that is followed by a rapid fire round of questions answered by the one and only Gloria Steinem. (Fun fact: my voice can be heard in the podcast's intro saying "to shape the leaders of tomorrow.")

That same night Kathy Najimy, Zosia Mamet, Debra Messing, and Rosie Perez performed a series of "Real Life: Essays," directed by Najimy herself.

DAY 2

Though the foggy weather and morning rains continued into day 2 of the conference, the speakers continued to brighten up the sessions.

While the second conference day was chalk full of dozens of inspiring speakers and correlating videos, some of my favorite moments from the day included Tamika Catchings of the WNBA's moment with aspiring WNBA players Caylie and Maya Lopez (aka The Splash Sisters), Jill Soloway's hilariously relevant speech, and Cynthia Erivo's tear-jerking performance.

At dinner that night, MAKERS celebrated its 5th birthday with the help of everyone who made it possible. So, before bringing out the birthday cake, Dyllan McGee, Founder of MAKERS, called everyone from the team up on stage where we stood and did "the Gloria" pose with MAKER Gloria Steinem.

Afterward, Dyllan called up all the MAKERS in attendance who made it possible. For those of you who don't know, MAKERS are trailblazing women, often historyMAKERS — ranging from Serena Williams and Abby Wambach to Michelle Obama and Madeleine Albright. (You can browse the full list here).


DAY 3

On the third and final day of The 2017 MAKERS Conference, the final speakers took the stage, including (but not limited to) NASA astronaut Leland Melvin and NFL player Russell Wilson, two feminist males of the new MAKERS Men series panel.

And, once the last day wrapped and everyone left to continue to #BEBOLD, the sun set on a wonderfully inspiring and incredibly rewarding experience for everyone — both those on the MAKERS Team and those in the audience.



As this year's conference theme was #BEBOLD, I am inspired to continue this effort as the year progresses. Stay tuned for the list of ways I plan to do so. Tell me: How will you #BEBOLD in the coming months? Comment below with any ideas!

Watch all of the exclusive footage from the speakers at The MAKERS Conference by visiting MAKERS.com and following MAKERS on Instagram and Facebook.

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